Tea Time

Tea Time

Tea Party Time?

Have you ever invited someone, or been invited, to a tea party?!  If you haven’t, you must! However, I must state that your tea party will never be a match for having a tea party at Anne’s, my mother-in-laws, home.  She is the Queen of Tea Party!  As the phrase goes, “she is the Hostess with the Mostess!”

For five years, we had the joy of living just down the street from Joel’s mom in Yakima, Washington.  Joel and I knew that this was a very special time for our little family of three which, now with “Mams” just a block away, made four.  We spent many a weekend visiting each other.  Mams also did a lot of babysitting of Jessica, so Joel and I could go out on a date together.  Anne would also watch Jessica once or twice during the week so I could go write music with my friend, Jeff.  Mams actually was really my support staff.  If it hadn’t been for her, my music would never have had the chance to blossom!  I am forever grateful for this.  Thank you, Mams!

Earl Grey? Hot!

Oh!  Back to the tea parties!  Once a week or so, after school, Jessica and I would walk from her elementary school across the street and stop in at Mams house for a visit.  Often those visits became little tea parties.

Anne has this way of taking any normal everyday food and making it extra fancy and special.  She also is a great house decorator, so doilies and fancy table cloths decorated her dinner table.  She often had a candle and petite little plates for us to use along with her beautiful teacups and saucers.  She would often take a large blueberry muffin and divide it into thirds, and sometimes have a few crackers and cheese on the side.  Our “Tea Party” consisted of her very weak coffee, and my hot water with a variety of teas. And last, but definitely not least, Mams would put together the perfect mixture of juice and water just right for Jessica’s tummy.

We would often talk about Jessica’s day at Preschool, Kindergarten, or First Grade.  Usually, much laughter took place along with silly stories and little games Mams and Jessica would routinely play.

Tender Mercies

It truly was a special time we shared together.  I encourage you to stop and take time to slow down.   Enjoy a treat and something warm to drink.  This is a great time of year to make memories with family members, neighbors, friends.  But then, what time of year isn’t a great time?  You could also pick up the phone and give someone special a call and have a long distant Tea Party!

I wrote this song, “Tea Time,” for Mams.  It is written from the perspective of Jessica, reflecting on these days when she was a wee little thing.

Who in your life would love a tea party? Put the pot on and start a new memory.

Add to the conversation. We’ll be glad you did!

photo credit: T.MoE via photopin cc

Prints of Peace

Prints of Peace

footsteps_in_the_sand

Janet’s Blog

Once Upon a Time…Prints of Peace

There was an early thirty-something year old mom.  She was “just off” one particular day, meaning emotionally just in a funk.  Before picking her daughter up after school she stopped and reflected on her day and contemplated what kind of trail “emotionally” she was leaving behind.  Were they prints of peace? Hmmm… “Oops!” She realized she had been, shall we say, less than charming in her interactions during the day.  Well, before I…uh…before she knew it, words came to her head in the form of a song about footprints.

Footprints

We all have footprints in our lives.  Some of them we leave behind in others’ lives and some of them are left behind in our lives.

The footprints we leave behind are something we have control over, if we choose to.  We can either act out whatever mood we are feeling at the moment (maybe warm and friendly, or cold and prickly, or even whiny).  Those around us will just get to experience whatever we are feeling at that moment, which at times could be great and other times just hideous!  If that is the route you take, then it is possible that people might start avoiding you in the grocery store for fear it was a “bad day.”

However, if we choose to not let whatever has happened that day to be in charge of our behavior, then it’s more likely that people will experience us as more consistent individuals.  People actually appreciate it when you can present yourself in a somewhat “even keel” sort of manner.  Life has enough challenges that sometimes a friendly interaction can help them redirect their focus from the late bill that got mixed in with the Christmas letters.  A friendly little chat can often help people step back and give themselves a break.  Accidents happen!

Footprints that are left in our lives are not something we can control.  Everyone is in charge of their own behavior and choices.  Just because you choose to keep yourself in check emotionally doesn’t mean that others see no reason to do anything other than spread their great grumpiness wherever they go.  We do get to choose how we respond to them.  Maybe instead of being offended, we can show them a little grace. Little prints of peace.

Sometimes, other people footprints can however leave quite an imprint on our lives.  Enough that we can’t help but be affected.  Say for example you’re driving down the street sitting at a stop light when suddenly you find yourself caught in the middle of a multiple car, car crash.  While the car crash can be upsetting, unsettling, and a bit painful, choices still can be made on how we respond.

At first blush, a victim may have a few choice words they’d like to share.  I know I did…um, would have.  However, wishing horrible things on the texting driver doesn’t do anyone any good.  “Stewing” on things tends to give one a chip on their shoulder and makes them a grumpy Gus.  It also burns up a lot of energy that could have been used for something positive.

So anyway, once in a while this songwriter goes back to that old song and sings it to herself to help her remember to pay attention to how she is stepping.

Where are your footsteps taking you? Towards prints of peace?

Join in the conversation. We’ll be glad you did!

ADHD Oompah, Part One

ADHD Oompah, Part One

Oompah

A salute to sanity!

I wrote this song for my husband, Joel, and daughter, Jessica.  It was actually a Valentine’s gift a few years ago.  We had survived our first year of knowing I had ADHD which was why we were…..uh, let’s just say, when it came to communicating with each other we were “having troubles,” as Jessica use to say when she was a wee person. (Not Wii, wee)

In fact, the first verse is written from my daughters perspective and the second verse is written from my husband’s perspective. Dealing with ADHD is difficult.  Living family life with a member with ADHD really can be very difficult.  Yet, sometimes it can provide a family with some wacky or fun moments too!  Seriously, the spectrum is that wide of a range!

Now, you can’t ignore the challenges that come with ADHD but you also don’t have to sit and stew in them, either, singing your woes.  There are two things I strongly recommend, instead:

  1. First, celebrate the colorful dynamics that come with ADHD.  Kind of like a magnifying glass, ADHD magnifies not just the challenges but beautifully magnifies the gifts that each person has been blessed with.  Focusing on these things helps you remember you are valuable and you bring something special to the world.
  2. Second, you just gotta laugh at some of the silly predicaments you get yourself and/or your family into.  One example of that is this dilemma that happened twice!  I have one of those Betty Crocker Cookbooks that everyone seems to get when they get married.  Well, mine is no longer a cook book but a “cooked book”!  Twice I have managed to lay the book down on the stove and then accidentally turn on the wrong burner.  Yep, the back of that book has been nicely branded with that unique spiral that can only come from an electric burner.  (Good thing it didn’t happen when we had a gas burner, eh?!)

I can’t help but smile whenever I interact with that book!

(Stay tuned for part deux coming soon to a website near you!)

While waiting for part deux you may want to click on support info and check out the excellent ADHD books listed.  They are some of the best to read whether you are single, married, or have kids.  The books are written for adults and kids.

So, what’s your story? Do you deal with ADHD challenges? Do you also “cook” your cook books?

Add to the conversation. We’ll be glad you did.

photo credit: jenny downing via photopin cc

Highs and Lows

Highs and Lows

The Highs and Lows of Highs and Lows

I am sure none of you can relate to this, but I just need to get this off my chest.  Family relationships are a challenge!!

However, that is not where it stops.  Family relationships are complicated.  Why?  Because when you get right down to the core feelings, we love and care for our families very much.  They matter to us!  What they think about us matters. What they say about us or to us matters sometimes way too much!

Isn’t it it kind of funny how we can fiercely love someone, but really not like them so much?! It often has to do with disappointment. There are certain people, like our parents, that we have this internal craving for their approval, support, and unconditional love. However, our parents aren’t perfect, they have different points of view and often don’t realize how hurtful their words can come across when they disagree with you. We get so caught up in wanting to be accepted and agreed with that if there isn’t agreement and understanding it becomes a personal injury.

We all have shortcomings. Due to our varying relational skills sometimes we can only agree with a person to a certain point and then we can’t go any farther. Then we have to find a way to choose the importance of the relationship over the importance of the topic. Sometimes that may feel impossible to do.

It is surprising to me that I can make myself patiently interact with a stranger, but if it’s family I may not be nearly as good about holding my tongue.  It’s harder for me to be objective. This is not something I am proud of.  Of all the people to be patient with, it’s my family I want to experience my good side more than anyone else and yet often the opposite is true.  Does anyone relate to this?

When we pledge at our weddings to be faithful in good times and bad, that includes grumpy nights, and family squabbles, ingrown toenails, and dental fillings.

I guess when we are with those we know care about us, we relax or let our guard down.  Maybe we don’t work as hard to connect, because we are already connected by blood or promise.  In some cases it’s got mostly to do with personality differences or even where you land in the family.

The bridge on this song is the kicker in this song, too:

“Through the Highs and through the Lows it’s become clear to me, that only by God’s love and grace, I can love my family!”

Ultimately, we need God’s strength to help us continue to love all our family members. With God’s strength, a bit of objectivity and a slice of humor, family gatherings can be a bit more enjoyable for everyone! Blessings to you and yours during these up and coming holidays!

Add to the conversation. We’ll be glad you did. And if you’d like to sample “Highs and Lows” on iTunes, click here and scroll down the list.

PS: I guess that’s the wonderful and crazy thing about love, it doesn’t always make logical sense.  Actually, does it ever?!

Click here for the “Highs & Lows” video: http://vimeo.com/75366050 Enjoy!

photo credit: bichxa via photopin cc

 

Maybe Someday

Maybe Someday

Maybe Someday

Writing this song was a very therapeutic experience for me.  It allowed me to express myself when there really was no other way to do it.  I had been putting off really looking this pain in the face for close to a year but finally sat down and allowed myself to put on paper words that had been swimming around my head for way too long.

Relationships are complicated.  Period.  But many things play a part in that, some internal dynamics and some external and sometimes both.

Several years ago, I experienced a time that I believe was caused by both.  The end result of an event left me feeling very alone.  Up to that point I felt I had found friends that were closer than even family.

However when that event took place several friends just checked out. One person even told me, “Don’t tell me what happened because I don’t want to have to make changes to my life.”

“Ouch!”

But one friend went out of her way to talk about the issue several times. We then just agreed that things were different but that our relationship would carry on. So we made time to continue our relationship. We moved forward with the understanding that our relationship was one built not on just convenience but commitment.

Her gesture meant the world to me and we are still good friends even though she has since moved away.

I guess one of the pluses with family conflict is that you are permanently connected either by blood or marriage so you often are put in a position of having to, at least internally, revisit why you are in conflict. You have to re-decide if the topic is really that big a deal or not. Sometimes it is a big deal and you have to come up with a creative way to be around that individual as little as possible. But other times you can decide to move past it.

Someday, Maybe

A counselor friend of mine shared with me something insightful. She said that we all have our own Social Skills Toolbox. Some people have more tools inside than others. These tools are normally given to us growing up or even in counseling. We use our tools within our relationships to understand each other and be able to see things from each others perspectives.

However, sometimes relationships come to a crossroads. This happens when one of the parties has tools to deal with the situation that the other doesn’t. The end result being that the one minus the tools disengages from the relationship.

Painful but true.

An interesting thing happened the week after I wrote this song.  A second friend of mine contacted me and said, “Hey I want you back in my life.”  I couldn’t help notice that I felt ready to move forward.

Spending time writing this song and reflecting on the situation gave me the tools I needed to reach a resolution with that person. The changes in some of my relationships may not be something I will ever understand because the reasons may be much more complicated than I can comprehend now.  But who knows…Maybe Someday.

Have you ever had an event impact an important friendship in your life? How did it go? Are you friends now?

Add to the conversation. We’ll be glad you did.

Click here for the “Maybe Someday” video: http://vimeo.com/75275423

photo credit: Stuart Dootson via photopin cc

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