What Do You Regret Spending Time Doing?

My son told me today that Star War's was 40 years old.  His fourteen year old face, animated with a smirk that made his dimples come out, beamed when he said, "Mom, Star Wars is 40 years old, so that makes you older than Star Wars."

I'm not sure why this is funny.

But he also thinks that being taller than his mom, body odor, and wearing underwear five days in a row is funny.

Sitting down at the computer to begin a blog post, I let my eyes wander a bit while thinking how I should start.  I promised a Creative Writing Accountability group that I would produce a post a week.  I didn't say anything about a well thought out essay of awesomeness written with the potential of a Huff Post spotlight - which would of course send me into overnight viral fame lasting long enough for me to notice and wonder how I can capitalize on that fame into something lucrative - like a children's picture book deal, before fizzling into nothing because I'm really still a mommy/nanny blogger with a dream and a penchant for gesso and splashes of color and run-on sentences.

As my eyes wander up to the ceiling, I see these reddish splatters of what might be spaghetti sauce. On the ceiling.  Which I can not touch without the help of a chair and my tippy toe's.   I hope it is spaghetti sauce.

I really hope it is spaghetti sauce.

The fourteen year old I was telling you about, he thinks all kids of weird stuff is funny.  Like nose bleeds, which were getting so bad that we had to take him to the doctor.  I would not put it past him to have done something to cause actual blood spatter across the ceiling.

If you have any experience with teen age boys you understand.

There is a spatter of spaghetti sauce on my ceiling and I don't know how long it's been there.  At least a couple of weeks - I can't  remember the last time we had any spaghetti.

I really should stop what I am doing and clean it up.  I really should.  It's what mom's do, right? Isn't the reason women are exhausted, stressed and overwhelmed.  Because they see the little messes that come out of no where.  Little messes that no one else sees. And no one cleans. They work hard all day, make all the meals, do all the cleaning, make sure everyone is doing what they should be doing, they take it all on and manage it to the best of their abilities.  They clean up the messes no one makes and no one sees. Sometimes in the business of it all, the most important things in life fall through the cracks.  Things like self care, relationship investment or a dream so important that on their death bed they will be regretting having not spent more time and effort reaching for that dream.

The Deathbed Moment of Regrets, of total honesty.  Yeah.  About that.

When my grandmother was in hospice in her home, beginning the process of dying, she looked down the hallway at my children playing with some blocks and said.  "You need to clean that mess up."

She was a wonderful woman.  I admire her greatly an miss her still.  I don't think she had ever heard the concept of self care.

But I have.

I sat in the theater during the first run of Star Wars.  And I raised babies to the voice of Oprah.

I know what self care is.

Unless I get someone else to climb on a chair - that sauce will probably be there until we paint over it.  I know what I want to spend my time doing.  A perfectly kept home is not a priority.  Not even a perfectly sanitary home.

But getting this blog post written for my accountability group is something I will not regret.  

What are your priorities?  What will they mean to you on your death bed?  Is old spaghetti sauce on my ceiling any less gross than the spray of a bad nose bleed?


How To Be The Most Confident You

An Idea

When you were small did you feel out of place or different?  I have this idea that has been formulating since my late thirties (I'm gettin into my fabulous fifties now,) I have this idea that every person on the planet has at one point felt out of place and different. 

In any group of people, when I am feeling awkward, someone else in the group is feeling the same way. Maybe everyone in the whole group is feeling that way, at the same time. I think this happens in every gathering of people, at every every age, in every setting.

I think everyone feels like they are on the outside looking in.

When does it happen that we start thinking certain people never feel insecure, inadequate or imperfect? Famous people sometimes look like they have it all going for them.  We see them on t.v, watch their stories unfold, but even reality t.v. makes it look so much more perfect and comfortable compared to our own lives. I wonder if Kim Kardashian ever feels ugly or stupid. I wonder if  (insert famous actress of your choice here) ever felt like she wasn't worthy, wasn't good enough and didn't fit in.

Closer to reality there is probably at least one person at your workplace who looks like they have it all together.  Or think of church, sometimes there are entire families who seem to be living the dream of the perfect life.  Think back during the school years, college, high-school and jr. high and the first time you really became aware of social differences.

My theory is that every human being no matter how wealthy, beautiful or gifted she is, has felt different and inadequate many times during their lives.

Take a introspection moment here.  Look back at all those times where you were so uncomfortable with yourself and the situation that you wanted to peel off your skin, that you wanted to hide under a rock, that you felt  not good enough...

Add a few people who always look like they have everything together and they always know what they are doing...

Draw a mental picture for yourself.

Now see them with the same pain you felt. See that what is really happening underneath.

What Happened With Me

I remember feeling like an outsider the first time I stepped on school property.  I'd had a small social circle before Kindergarten which consisted of my older brother and some cousins.  A pattern of me feeling different within my own family had already been established and school did nothing but reinforce it from Day One.

After some really pain filled, emotional years as a child I became a Christian at sixteen.  Jesus revealed His love to me and brought me out of a very dark place.  I was filled with despair and hate. I had a hair trigger temper that was capable of very destructive rages.  I loathed everything about myself.  Stupid, fat, ugly, awkward, lost, different, not enough, not good enough.  And I hated everyone else.

And then I met Jesus, Son of God, God in the Flesh, He showed me a love so profound it literally changed my personality.  First He loved me as I was, stupid, fat, ugly, ect.  Then He showed me who I was:  Loved, Wanted, Good Enough to Suffer and Die For.  And then He showed me how He saw everyone else.

How I Became Confident

I think understanding these three things is the key to being the best, most confident person you can be.

Understand who you are
Understand Who loves you.
Understand who everyone else is. 

And once you have these three revelations, being the best, most confident You is so much easier.

post card for Canvas Corp Brands DT swap

When I share my art, it's not because I think it is perfect, professional or worth the big bucks.  It isn't perfect.  But very few artists are ever fully satisfied with their work plus we all stated at the same place and we are all on equal playing ground.

I share it because I want you to not be afraid to share yours.  I share it because it is a part of my story.  I share my story because it might make you feel like you are not alone, different, and out of place. I create fearlessly because it is so much fun, I am all most certain everyone on the planet should be doing it too.

Silly Glasses postcard - but it was too fat to send so it went in anenvelope! 

Okay.  Maybe not.  But if you want to make stuff---fearing what other people think about it should not be a reason for holding back.  They feel the same fear you feel and they do it anyway.  Some of them even create fearlessly and teach classes!

Art cards from the index card a day challenge at DaisyYello.com#ICAD2016
Confidence may not happen for you like it did for me.  And sometimes it is a process.  (Almost fifty, did I say?  I am still learning stuff.  Which is actually kind of wonderful when I think about it.)  But if you haven't started the process what are you waiting for?

Did you make any New Year's resolutions to be more confident?  Did you make any decision to become a better You?  Did you Pick a One Word this year that has been guiding you on a pathway to more positive wonderfulness in your life?

If you did , Yourdori.com & The Gratitude Girls Cheer League is hosting a Heart Check event on facebook. You are invited.  There are five daily prompts for comments and photo sharing.  (feel free to go back and do the previous prompts!)  Comments will get you entered to win a coffee gift card and a "flip book" made by me.

If we are to teach are children to be confident, we must learn the path for ourselves too.  Do you think my theory is correct?  How are you learning to be a more confident person?


You Know A Little Girl or Boy Just like This - Bread and Jam for Frances- The Nanny Reads

Published in the early sixties, Russell C Hoban wrote seven picture books about a precocious badger named Frances.

I remember these books from my childhood, in the same way I remember Winnie the Pooh.  There was always a Frances book around somewhere.

 I could very much identify with her and sometimes I was a bit jealous of her- But Frances, I knew would not hold that against me, because we were very much alike.

Except, I think, she is much more clever than I am. 

If you have ever met a strong willed and highly intelligent kindergartner, you have met a child just like Frances.  I can almost hear her mind ticking as she thinks through problems and develops her own ideas. 

Have you ever heard that ticking sound with your child? You know that sound, it's the thought process that brings them to a perfectly logical response to something you have said and done.  

Like when you tell the child not to pick the "green" tomatoes, so she goes out and finds a "yellow/orange tomato."  Because, what you should have said was, "Don't pick tomatoes that are not ripe." 

Author Russell Hoban allows the little badger girl something I don't see very often in current children's literature.  Frances, true to being a young child, is a little bit selfish.  Instead of being a negative thing, I love her more for this. 

Anyone who has ever been around children realizes they are not born empathetic, broad minded creatures - today's society expects children to be naturally loving and compassionate to all living beings while forgetting the life lessons that teach such traits. Frances acts just as a child would act, while her parents act just as they should, with wisdom, patience and clear boundaries. 

In the book "Bread and Jam for Frances,"  Mother serves breakfast for the family and Frances decides she doesn't like eggs anymore.  

Frances did not eat her egg.She sang a little song to it.She sang the song very softly:"I do not like the way you slide,I do not like your soft inside,I do not like you lots of ways,And I could do for many days

Without eggs." 

Naturally all the talk about eggs in the story made me want eggs along with some bread and jam. 

Frances parents don't argue with her food choices, instead they let her live with the consequences.  Now I know parents who have had food troubles with their kids. I actually live with some picky eaters who develop new smell and texture issues on the daily basis.  Sometimes the problem is not as resolved as quickly as it is for Frances. 

 However surprisingly, sometimes it is.  

Illustrated by Lillian Hoban, the Frances books have a sweet continuity of color and style.  She used soft pastels and details that perfectly match the writing. France's world is slightly old fashioned, I imagine they are more like my mother's childhood than mine, which for me is another positive.

I highly recommend all the books.  Bread and Jam for Frances is a good bedtime story, with a decent length, great little poems, and an engaging story.

It would also be great coupled with lessons about food and trying new things.  Nannies (and parents) might want to use the story as a starting point for time in the cooking kitchen where kindergartens help prepare a special egg breakfast, or pack a lovely special bento box.  One of the keys to having kids try new things is having them prepare it with an adult.  Frances just might provide a little inspiration.