24 Things I have Learned…

I’ve been feeling somewhat reflective this week.

Maybe because one of the Extras heads off to college tomorrow. Maybe because the other children are getting older and heading back to school next week. Maybe because I’ve been through an awful lot in the past several years and am full of gratitude because the children and I have landed in a good place.

In no particular order…

  1. It is possible to dig around a minivan and find enough spare change (mostly pennies…) to put a gallon of gas in a vehicle. If you pray really, really hard—that gallon will get one home, then to work the next day (payday) despite a 25 minute commute via freeway. You can roll into the nearest gas station at noon on fumes…
  2.  Pancakes are not just for breakfast. They work for dinner when trying to stretch the food budget.
  3. Ask for help when help is needed. But only after digging for a solution on you own. People grow tired of ‘the boy who cried wolf’ person who needs perpetual help. But I’ve found that there is always somebody willing to help, when I’ve needed it most.
  4. It is possible to avoid getting mowed over by a treadmill, when your daughter throws one down the stairs at you. (I know Katie—I told you to PUSH when it was stuck…and you Nick, standing there watching with a juice box and popcorn??) Thankfully, I have ‘catlike’ reflexes and managed to shuffle backwards down a few steps quickly, bounced off a wall and hung onto the damn treadmill. It was cheap entertainment for my son.
  5. It is possible to walk away from a life…a home, marriage, financial security…and move toward God knows what?? And for it to be an adventure. To enjoy the journey, laugh and have fun amidst the struggles and sadness.
  6. No matter how dire the situation, there is always a rainbow if you wait a while, look hard enough and are willing to seeit.

    Our UNPLANNED Puppy. We rescued Grace last summer. She just turned ONE. She has been a wonderful addition to our family...

  7. Entire root systems will grow in gutters. (Sorry Teresa). My son cleaned (weeded?) the gutters yesterday. But all is well now…
  8. Kids will re-arrange a family room when you least expect it. We had been talking about changing it around all summer, but lacked the time, energy—or both. Exhausted, after not sleeping the previous two nights (thunderstorms kept Rocky dog up. He in turn, kept me up…) I staggered into my room to lay down for a bit. When I wandered out, my son, Godchild and Godchild’s boyfriend were all relaxing and watching a movie on our huge sectional couch. AFTER moving the furniture around exactly in the way I had wanted it!! They were like church mice–I never heard a thing. And my house is small…Love those children! They are the BEST.
  9. A twelve-year-old Honda Accord will make it from Ohio to Hilton Head, South Carolina and back home again. It isn’t quite as luxurious as traveling in a newer mini van with a ton of space and DVD player with cordless headsets. On the other hand, without the electronics, there was conversation and bonding. Which I know my children loved.
  10. Financial restrictions can make a person more creative than they’ve ever been; re-finishing old furniture, finding needed items for free, sharing a lawnmower with a neighbor and more.
  11. If a parent is happy and at peace, the children who live under that parents’ roof are happy and at peace.
  12. Children crave time and attention from happy adults far more than they need or want material possessions, money or ‘stuff.’
  13. Sadness goes away in time.
  14. Hurts heal.

    The Coolest Christmas Tree Ever? An almost 25 ft.  ‘deciduous’ tree created with branches from outdoors. Of all the Perfectly Pretty trees we slaved over…I know a handful of children who might remember this one best!!

  15. The definition of DECIDUOUS; “Trees that have leaves that fall annually.” Or a fancy term for dead tree branches and sticks.
  16. It is a bad idea to blog about losing weight BEFORE going on vacation. It is almost inevitable one will come home having gained a few pounds…and then those who read the blog must be thinking, “what was she talking about?”
  17. Often we are protective of our children and we hurt when they are sad or struggling. Parents never want their children to experience hardship and often want their children to have life ‘easier’ than they did. My new outlook isn’t that my kids have no challenges or struggles; it is that they have the strength, courage and determination to overcome their challenges.
  18. Lead with love. This is a biggie for me. I try very hard to look at my intent and motivation when making decisions. To make sure I am coming from a good place. It is never a good idea to lead with anger, frustration or negative aggression—nothing good comes of it. Positive things come when we lead with love. (I win some and lose some here–but do my best…)
  19. There is always a solution. Sometimes we don’t like the solution. But there always is one.
  20. If you are in a relationship and trying to figure out if the other person is IN or OUT, it is best to proceed as if they are OUT. If a person is confused about being in or out, then they are OUT. We tend to make this complicated. (I know I have in the past). But it really is that simple.
  21. Further, if you don’t know if you are in or out—then you are OUT.
  22. The more uncomfortable I am, the more likely I am on the right path. I am always glad to find the other side, when I push through fear and doubt. I’ve found that nothing is accomplished by staying in my comfort zone.
  23. I have never had regrets when I put my favorite People first—before all else. Even when it seems another decision is the better way to go, or is easier.
  24. Sometimes the best things that ever happen to us come from our biggest failures, or in getting exactly what we DIDN’T want.

There you have it. My half assed list of things learned in recent years. 

Please share your lessons, if you are inclined.

5 thoughts on “24 Things I have Learned…

  1. #12 is easy to forget when we are busy, stressed, tired. But when we are busy, stressed, tired is usually when we are pressuring ourselves over the wrong things and for the wrong reasons. And ironically, it is often when our children need us most. (Or at least, that is what has been true for me…)

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