Monthly Archives: June 2014

Destination Known

It’s summer and I haven’t headed anywhere yet. As a preschool teacher, I’m home for the summer with my son and daughter. I like to decompress in the first part of summer but today I’ve realized that I haven’t started doing that yet after three weeks of summer passing. I’m still floundering in To-Do’s. I’ve gotten a lot done, accomplished quite a bit, but I haven’t completed projects that I wanted to have finished by now. In fact, I've even started new ones that could have waited until later. I’m floundering.

We all know where we are going. Most of us can safely conclude it’s upwards.

And I’m not talking about where we are going tomorrow, where we are going financially or where we are going socially. I mean, where we are GOING, going. So while we are down here, we need to make sure our days lead upwards.

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The destination we are inevitably heading towards doesn't need to be on our minds every day, but our direction should be.

We have an imaginary ladder that sits outside of our front door every day. When we leave the house, will we be one rung higher when we return home or one lower? One rung up constitutes feeling good about yourself and making others feel good during our travels that day. If we came home feeling remorseful about how we made someone feel today, or if we made a bad decision, our ladder AND our spirit are getting rung down. Yes, traffic was bad, but we made it home safely. Worry about the ladder, not the traffic. Our days affect us all inwardly. How we handle it will then determine the REST of our day, and probably the rest of our FAMILY’S day, too. So when we put our key in our door or pull into our garage, we should check the ladder.

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We can vow to be Rung Leaders. Our rungs are endless so we can go as high as we want to. It’s the one place not to be afraid of heights.

As Rung Leaders, we get extra distance if we allow others to climb upwards on our ladder. Give a rung away once in a while. Believe it or not, you’ll gain more rungs.

It’s easy to earn rungs. You don’t have to come home with a big paycheck, a new car or even organic groceries. You just need to be kind and thoughtful and world embracing. And as Rung Leaders, we are teaching our little rung leaders to become big rung leaders one day.

What should we do today to help us finish one rung higher, minimum, by days end? Right now I’m sharing rung habits. I’ll check my ladder later when I take the dog out. And if I stop and chat with my neighbor, Linga longer than my normally rushed walk, I’m pretty sure my ladder will be prettier on my return. And I like pretty things.

It’s not possible to go past the top rung no matter how hard we try. There are always more rungs. But it does count later. LATER, later.

So I’ll continue working on my To-Do’s and my stock pile of paperwork and my floundering. But when we reach our destination, we won’t be looking back down the ladder at our To-Do’s and workload and cars and houses and furniture. We’ll look back at our leadership. Our actions. Our children. How we affected others. No one up there is going to say, but your laundry…gosh…you never ever completely finished it. They will notice how many people were able to use your ladder and how they will be using it for years to come. And you will be crowned a Rung Leader. If you want to head in that direction, put your crown on now, and you’ll never have to worry if it’s going to fit or not. It just will.

Mommy’s Rule The World.  Lead The Way, Mommies~~            Love, Katherine~~

Katherine A. Rayne is an author. Her book, Back To Being A Woman (Without Changing The Man) will help you wear colorful, well-fitted crowns. Make your ladder and path light up for those behind you.

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Back To Being A Woman (Without Changing The Man) is for sale on Amazon.com  ebook and paperback. Change makes you Lighter!

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Don’t Forget to take out the Garbage

Don’t Forget to take out the Garbage                     June 23, 2014

I spend more time than I care to admit on my social websites. And if you asked me to give them up, my whining would begin; “but it’s fuuuunnnn…”  And it is. I think a lot of it has to do with my love of reading and my love of writing. I get to do both here. And I’m learning, too. I've also been inspired more times than I can count, and Pinterest seems like the most beautiful virtual place to vacation. I always sign-off inspired! I've done nothing, but I've felt something.

A little like the feeling that we might get at church or temple. You've sat through the sermon doing nothing, and then you come away with something. Something that wasn't there when you sat down.

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I know we've all sat at tables in restaurants and watched half of the diners there peering into their phones or devices while eating together. It appears we've checked out from socializing, even with family at times. But I have to admit that I love it when people are sharing their finds with the people around them. There have been countless fits of the giggles that I've witnessed as they hold up their phone to those next to them with shock and laughter on their faces. We have become very religious about our social networks. And we can complain or click our tongues at it all that we want, but it’s here to stay. (I hope!) We can also embrace it.

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My own keep-in-touch-with-friends-and-family ratio has gone way up. In the past, I've kept in touch with family and friends that have moved away with my annual holiday newsletter. Once. A. Year. While receiving their years’ worth of news in the same way or in a neatly written Christmas card with good wishes.

Now? I get to see and hear about their holidays and vacations and kids’ birthday parties and job accomplishments and weekend activities and what they had for dinner and what movie they saw (with their review!) and what animal crawled in through their doggie door last night, as it happens(!) with their photos and status updates! Even if I only comment, “Looks like a fun day!” I’m saying more than what I would have said to them during the whole year through. So, YESWAY, I’m quite happy with my social media obsession.

I often “friend” or “join” other social user’s pages that seem inspiring or fun. If we are going to be so religious about our social networking, we might as well make it like church. Make sure it’s inspiring, fun and a positive influence on our lives. Let it move us forward in life, not weigh us down with MORE bad news, bad relations or bad karma. I don’t watch the news on TV. I get email updates from news organizations to get the highlights, but when I sit down and TRY to watch the news (because I feel like I really should), by the third story, I have to turn it off. Especially if my daughter is sitting close by. It’s depressing. Plugging in only positive influences into our day is a better way to live.

The written word is powerful. It's why I can't make myself throw away those 25 beauty magazines that I've yet to read. (They're full of WORDS!) But we can’t let it be more powerful than us. Don’t feel guilty about being addicted, but make rules. Not just for our kids. For ourselves. No social sites until the dishes are done. Or visit while dinner is cooking. (Set a timer, though, if you don’t like burned pot-roast). Promise yourself you'll get three things done around the house first before you get to sit down and troll. Allow yourself only laptop or desktop computer time for social media and save your phone for checking emails only. I know that MY emails are adding up. (Probably because my Facebook page is so much more fun.) Does anyone else have “255 unread emails?” Be honest.

So do plug-in certain times of the day. Make your social networking the "later," not the necessities. And treat your pages religiously. Stop “friending” or “following” anything or anyone that isn't a positive influence on your day. Don’t let another’s negativity bleed into your day. At least not voluntarily. That’s Garbage-In, Garbage-Out. Dispose and Delete. Promise yourself positive posts only. Good-in, Good-out. And recycle the best ones by sharing. And if you have a minute, come visit a place I spend lots of time in. 🙂  www.Facebook.com/BackToBeingAWoman.com 🙂 Happy Socializing!

Visit my website and more of my blogs at www.BackToBeingAWoman.com. My book is on Amazon.com, Back To Being A Woman (Without Changing the Man). And involves no social website within its pages. 🙂

The More Grounding Activities We Give Our Children, The Less We Will Need To Ground Them

 Ten (10) Grounding Activities to Do This Summer to Save Us From Summer Boredom and to Help Prevent Bad Behavior

 Summer has begun and my eyes are showing some signs of sleeping in. Waking up to crevices of the suns’ light seeping in through the blinds is a peaceful way to wake up.

It’s exactly how nature intended it to be!

Waking in the dark has never made sense to my physical being. And the absence of the vibrating sound of my phone alarm in the darkness improves the start to my day ten-fold.

I love how the lighted summer mornings also allow me to see the wispy eyelash shadows on my daughters’ cheeks as she sleeps in a quiet slumber that would normally be hidden in the dark on school mornings.

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I love having peace in my life. It seems you need it even more when things aren't so peaceful.

My to-do list will keep me from solitude for a portion of the summer. It weaves itself slowly throughout the house from my bathroom to lanai, and my name is written all over it since I am the only adult that lives here.  Let it be known that I will have a pretty little 11-year old helper.

I have two kids, but one is an adult. He is 21 and is still socially busy since before his pre-puberty days. I see him but never long enough to put him to work. He would if I asked but instead I cherish our rare visits together as talks and relaxing times. With only one child at home now, I don’t have the sibling rivalry, but I have friends that are ready for summer to end and could easily send their kids back to school as we speak.

From past summers, I always found that “grounding” activities kept us more in sync and with more hair left on my head by summers end. There are spiritual definitions of “grounding” but it also occurs easily with basic activities.

Touching nature is one large accessible open- doorway to “grounding.” 

In my classroom as a preschool teacher, I keep play bins for my students on a counter for easy access. Sand is messy in a classroom, so instead I keep one bin filled with small gravel and another one filled with dried black-eyed peas, both with either scooping toys or small tractors.  So very often a child will wander over to them and play quietly for long periods of time. You can witness the calm come over them as they play and interact with their classmates.

“Our hands touching nature is more magical than fun. It is peace inducing.”    

With the beginning of summer here, putting these ten (10) activities down on your to-do list will help keep you sane and keep your kids grounded. They are even better when the whole family does them together. Making memories while grounding doubles the benefits!

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1)       Find a local farm and pick fruit. Touching nature at its best!

2)       Make sand castles in the yard or at the beach or park!

3)       Build with Popsicle sticks (wood)! Let imagination lead the way. 

 4)       Gather leaves from outside of all colors and create a collage by gluing onto paper.

5)       Make snow cones! (ice = water)

 6)       Make mud pies. Water and dirt equals major grounding!

 7)       Find smooth stones in the yard or garden and make Pet Rocks.

 8)       Build a campfire. Don’t worry that you might not be able to light it. Pretend to make                      S’mores by using graham crackers, Marshmallow Fluff and Nutella spread to make                       Indoor S’mores!

 9)       Build a Domino maze (wood)! Make it travel through the house even longer than my to-               do list!

 10)    Have everyone sketch (charcoal or lead) a picture of their own version of nature.

Gardening is also a great activity with the earth, seeds and water combination. Have a picnic on the lawn or even in the rain! Go swimming. And don’t forget that most sports balls are made of leather. When our children play ball of any kind, they are being grounded even then.

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If you have an indoor day because you are tending to your to-do list and you have broken up the tenth argument of the day, drop everything and take them outside, including you. I remember many late nights when one of my babies wouldn't stop fussing and nothing would soothe them. When the stroller, the car ride or dancing to music didn't work, I’d finally come to my senses and just take them outside, even if it was 3:00 am. They’d calm the instant the fresh air hit their tiny lungs. Never forget the resources that we have.

The outdoors is available in unlimited amounts!

Most of these activities won’t cost a cent and have many benefits of fun, grounding and surely lots of laughter by the time the fun is done. Your children will be calmer and more relaxed if you do it often.

Remember that when school is around the corner again, it comes with new teachers, new classes and possibly a new school which will create a new stress for them. Continue with the grounding activities to help them come back to a peaceful state of mind. And make sure you’re close by to catch the conversations that will happen when they are happy and peaceful and inside their young minds. The best conversations happen then, not when we are trying to pull information out of them on the ride home after a long day at school.

If time-outs and grounding for bad behavior happen at your house, the ”grounding” activities are a good replacement to help children “pull themselves back together again.” You won’t have to discipline as often. Do them the favor, as well as yourself. Happy Grounding! Get dirty and enjoy!

Katherine A. Rayne is a preschool teacher, writer, blogger and author of Back To Being A Woman (Without Changing The Man), a book to inspire and build strong relationships with everyone in our lives, including with ourselves. You can find puzzle-pieces of inspiration on her blog when visiting her website: www.BackToBeingAWoman.com.  Like and join her Facebook Community: www.facebook.com/BackToBeingAWoman .  Follow her Daily Challenge Tweets at https://twitter.com/BeingAWoman . Her book is for sale on Amazon.com in paperback or ebook form. Besides her son and daughter, Katherine also has a seven year old Papillion named Muffin who is the warm and fuzzy of their home!

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Mud(dle) Through It

Muddle Through It

June 8, 2014

Sometimes it’s too big of a puddle to go around. You have to walk in it and through it. Even if you’re wearing your favorite shoes and prepared instead for rain with your umbrella.

It’s a messy-life-puddle. There’s good news, though. Once you’re in it, once the shoes have already been dirtied, you have no reason to rush through it. Sometimes if you try to rush through it, you just make it messier. It then splatters on your favorite pair of jeans or your new white shorts. And I’ll be the first to admit that you can get stuck in it. I've come out of it fully covered, unrecognizable, because I didn't know how to rinse it off. It can hold us back and distract us from our journey.

When we are kids, we want to play in the mud. But mom usually says, “No! You’ll get dirty!”

If you have lived even one day on this earth, one of the God given gifts for you is that you will get dirty. Life isn’t one big “let’s stay clean!” challenge.

When we are born, there are already a few gazillion potholes laid out neatly waiting for us. Even as we sit here reading, the universe is cultivating our next big challenge. So put on your big girl panties and your “okay, here we go,” attitude and don’t worry. Just like breakfast and laundry are a part of our lives, so is mud.

The challenge isn't to get to the other side (where ever that might be for each of us) unmarred, clean and utterly happy the whole way through. The challenge is what we will do when we get dirty while we have to hurdle and trek through it. Will we squish it through our fingers and hold it up to the light to see what it’s made of? Will we just keep rinsing it away, as if that will be the end of it? Will we splash it off onto others around us making it an even bigger puddle?

It’s not a place to stay long. We only have to travel through it.

But if we don’t take the lesson from it, we will come across that same mud puddle again and again until we've been able to navigate its murky depths thoroughly.

There’s a reason for it, and even if we don’t figure out its reason, it really is about how we handle ourselves through it. It’s easy to be happy and pleasant when life is leading us through the paved route, but harder to keep a positive mind frame when traversing through the mud.

So imagine yourself sitting in the muck, dirty and upset and with no one close enough to pull you out. What do you do?

It starts with a smile. The first image you may have conjured up was of you sitting in the mud with a furrowed brow and muddy clothes. Now try looking at yourself sitting there in the same clothes, in the same spot, but this time smiling. Could it actually be turned into fun?

We first have to let go of how it has just interrupted our day (and our life). We have to change our plan right there and then while sitting in it. We can’t waste time and worry mourning about what we were supposed to be doing. That plan no longer exists. It went POOF went we went kerPLUNK! Make a new one. Take extra time if you need it. Laugh through it somehow. Take photos!

“Remember that deep, dark mud puddle I fell into? I never experienced a mud puddle so deep and wide, but here I am, weathered but clean and refreshed, and smiling.”

There are mud puddles that I've been through and looking back on them now, their memories still don’t bring any traces of a smile to my face when thinking about them. Yesterday's date marked the 17th anniversary of my miscarriage. I keep the date because I always want to remember there was a baby. It doesn't make me smile but it doesn't make me sad, either. It makes me wonder about the possibility of having a sixteen year old in my life right now and how different life would be. It's not something to forget. But while I traveled that muddy road 17 years ago, I know that I smiled often.

We’ll get through our mud puddles but it’s up to us how we do it. There WILL be an end to it. Find the faith that it’s there for a reason and that there is a silver lining to it. Label your mud and yourself while there. Become a pro-mud wrestler in your Life Swamp, or a silver lining detective in your Murky Mystery. And guess what? You get to stomp through it sometimes, too. (Be a soldier on the Aha-Team.)

So the next time your little one wants to stomp through a rain or mud puddle, don't tell him no. Tell him to be careful of the snakes in his river!

~Katherine A. Rayne~ (not quite Master of Mud)

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