Friday, May 11, 2012

The personalities of my kids observed at the park..

You can tell a lot about a child by observing them at the playground.  

Here is my clan and the pics to show my research: 

Here you have my first born son, Jorge.  He will 7 in June and is our natural born INTROVERT.  When he enters any situation he has to assess first.  And then he typically decides he would rather play by himself (unless his brother, Alex, is available).  He enjoys doing things that could get him hurt. 

Here you can observe my second born son, Alex.  He is 5.  And is our resident EXTROVERT.  Never meets a stranger and typically makes a friend within the first two minutes.  He is very good at asking what other kids would like to play and can corral a group to play together (he does have those gorgeous blue eyes).  He can also woo any girl no matter the age (as seen below).  

Here is my baby girl, Eva.  She is 3 (will be 4 in August).  Because she is the only girl, she does have a  bit of firstborn INTROVERT in her.  And she much prefers being "the momma" to the little ones.  You can bet that once she has arrived at a park she will have located a "baby" within minutes and will be "helping" him/her as any good mother would.  Otherwise, she tends to play in the dirt, by herself. 

Here is the monkey.   The "baby" of the family.  He turns 2 tomorrow.  And it shows.  Hard to know for sure, but I am pretty sure he is already an EXTROVERT.  He loves men.  He will reach to be picked up by a man WAY before a lady can woo him (unless she has food).  He enjoys hitting, laughing and making momma have a heart attack.  Not sure what personality trait that is, but I am hoping the hitting stops.  

I truly have had to chill out with my introvert"ed" children and let them be.  I used to think I had to make them like me: "Eva.. why don't you go play with that girl over there?"  "Jorge, that boy looks like he'd like to play with you.."  But then I realized that 1) it NEVER works and 2) they are who they are and that is so not like me OK.  They are social, and when they are comfortable they will interact as they feel the desire.

I have truly seen them deepen who they are because I'm not so pushy anymore. I enjoy watching how differently God made my kids and I really do want to learn how to support them better in developing their own personalities.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My life is a mess. And in 10 easy steps, yours can be too.

First, you must read this article out recently from CNN (CNN? I know, right?).

I understand that with a title like the one for this post, it can be hard to see that I am actually being truthful and facetious at the same time.

It's so very true that we all struggle at some level with wanting to be approved by others at one point or another.  But what we most want, and are drawn to, is the person that is aware of their "mess" or that life is messy, and is vulnerable with it.  Nay, okay with it.

So I was thinking about my life over the last year and a half and what has changed since then.  How is it that I am comfortable admitting that my life doesn't look like a page from Pinterest?  Nor are my children little well behaved love junkies.  How can I now be comfortable spewing my "vulnerabilities" all over the world wide web?

Because the people pleasing, performance treadmill makes me nauseous. 

So for those wanting the freedom that comes from a life of mess.. let me share my how to list.

1.  Realize that the person sitting next to you at that play date, church pew, or in that office space does NOT have it together. At all.

2.  Understand that the person sharing their hurts with you would actually love for you to share some of yours instead of trying to fix theirs.

3.  Being vulnerable is scary stuff.  It's never fun to go first.  Unless you get to the point where you see the strength and courage in it.

4.  People who say they want "real friendships" and "real realness" (whatever that means) rarely know how painful it can be. Therefore they can bolt quickly.

5.  You are not "too much to handle."  It's just that the other person can't admit their own mess, much less support you in yours.

6.  Being brutally honest with others is much easier than being brutally honest with yourself.  But it has to start with you.  Otherwise its called fake (aka as false humility).

7.  Put yourself in situations where you get really uncomfortable with what it would take to be honest about how you feel, think or want to act, and then realize that the other people in the room feel the exact same way about their fears as well.

8.  Realize that NOONE lives like Pinterest.  That's why everyone likes to go there and daydream.  It's fun for a little bit, but it's NOT reality.

9.  Admit that your life is out of your control or unmanageable.  Also, acknowledge what your biggest defect of character is.  Then tell someone.  Do this regularly.  Ask God to change it.

10.  Embrace that life is messy.  This will free you up from having to feel you have got to have it "all together" or look like others (who don't have it all together).  Recognize your own strengths and marvel that all our kids will one day be in therapy.

I love the point that the author makes in the article I linked to: "Heroics are often about putting our life on the line. Courage is about putting our vulnerability on the line. If we want to live and love with our whole hearts and engage in the world from a place of worthiness, our first step is practicing the courage it takes to own our stories and tell the truth about who we are. It doesn't get braver than that."



Monday, May 7, 2012

My tattoo fallout...

After much thought and consideration.. I got my first tattoo.  

So to answer the first round of questions I have gotten: 

1.  Yes, I know this is a FOREVER deal.  I kinda took that into consideration when doing my research. 

2.  I am quite certain that the satisfactory health rating on the wall of the shop I was in made it obvious that I was probably NOT going to get infected with a disease.  Oh, and the dude wore gloves.  

3.  Yes, It hurt like someone was cutting my skin with a knife.  Over and over.  The wrist: a very sensitive place. 

4.  No, I could not think of a more BOLD location than the one I chose.  Because the head and neck were out of the question.  (although I did tell my brother-in-law that my next tattoo's were either going to be "MS13" on my back or teardrops under my eye). 

5.  No, I am not concerned if my children decide they are going to get a tattoo one day. In fact, my biggest fear as a parent isn't that my child will get a tattoo or have a child out of wedlock. My biggest fear is that they will reject Christ.  That they will decide that the God we love has been portrayed in a way that makes them unsure of His affections for them and His sacrifice to bring them to Himself.  If they do get a tattoo I hope they don't get it while drunk on spring break (not that I hope they have that scenario either).  Other than that, I will probably take a picture.

I was very aware the negative hatred opinions out there about getting tattoo's.  I was prepping myself for the conversations I would have, because lets face it.. I live in the Bible belt.  And unfortunately The Church (Universal) hasn't always done a good job of making it more about what Christ has done for us than making sure everyone lives a certain way. Especially, in the South.  We are much more image conscious here.  We have a zeal, that's for sure, but it can be pretty burdening to others who really want to know if God loves them for them.  Not based on what they have done or will do.

Here is a snippet of something I wrote to a family member about this: 
"Well I will tell you the other side to getting my tattoo. I am a "recovering legalist." I have, for years, lived in such a way that I thought I could EARN favor with God by how I acted. And I would let everyone else know how they should act too. Thankfully, about 18 months ago God really shook up my world and brought me to a true understanding about what the Gospel is really about. It's about the fact that Christ EARNED not only my righteousness (as if I'd never sinned) but also EARNED God's favor toward me. My standing with God is secure. That doesn't mean that I don't choose to obey.. but I realize that there is no amount of "good behavior" that makes God love me more. And that includes making everything black and white. Christians tend to prohibit what God allows and non Christians tend to allow what God prohibits. Both are equally dangerous. (quoting my pastor, Bob Flayhart). 

Two years ago a tattoo was taboo. But not out of a mean heart.. but just not understanding that things that aren't strictly prohibited in the Bible mean it's a matter of choice/freedom to the individual. Instead, of it being about MY OPINION on the matter and everyone should just do that instead.

So getting the tattoo "Steadfast Love" is based on the bible verse: Lamentations 3:23 "The steadfast love of the Lord endures forever. His mercies are new every morning" Steadfast love: constant, unending, persistent. That's the love of the Father. I don't have to perform to get that love. But having felt that love I do want to please him. But I know now that because of Christ, His affections for me are secure. There is nothing I can do (good) to make God love me more. And nothing I can do (bad) to make God love me less. 

Long story. But the truth is,  I've been a Christian for 14 years and I am just now understanding a tad bit more of God's love for me. I am thankful for Christ and the freedom I have to get a tattoo (which Paul in the Bible warned us not to use our freedoms to sin.. ie. being harsh to those who don't feel the same freedom or taking part in what he strictly prohibits)."

So, if you are against tattoo's because you just don't like them, fine.  But please understand that Leviticus 19:28 is not a mandate against tattoo's.  It's a mandate against the worship of Baal.  Big difference.  I am fine with anyone not liking my tattoo for the tattoo's sake.  But it is not a sin to get a tattoo.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Do you have a tattoo?  Have you gotten heat from it?