Posts By: Stacey Nerdin

Mom Advice: Reclaim the Miracle

 

cloud formation seen during flight

Photo (c) Stacey Nerdin, credit & link when using

This weekend on a flight home from the Type A Parent Conference, I was lucky enough to sit alone in an exit row seat with full access to the window. I have no fears about flying, and generally enjoy watching the sky and sneaking peeks of the ground whenever we’re close enough to pick out features in the landscape.

On this flight I decided to pull out my camera and take pictures of some of the spectacular cloud formations out my window. I took first five, then a dozen, and probably 20 or more pictures before I realized other passengers were watching me. I got a little embarrassed and quickly put my camera away.

And then I remembered something author Patti Digh said during her opening keynote of the conference. She told us that when something happens for the first time, we call it a miracle. But every other time it happens, we call it ordinary. We need to reclaim the miracle. We need to reclaim the extraordinary in every day life.

When did it become ordinary to fly among the clouds? When did anything become ordinary to you that once seemed unlikely, impossible, or improbable? Is there a miracle in your life that needs to be reclaimed? Are there many?

I decided not to let my own embarrassment keep me from remaining in awe of the clouds; I took out my camera and took dozens more pictures before the end of my short flight. I’m so glad I did. When I showed them to my family, their own amazement at the cloud formations affirmed what I had been feeling all along.

Don’t miss the chance to be amazed, even by something you see or do every day. Celebrate the ordinary. Reclaim the miracle.

 

You can connect with Stacey on her personal blog, Tree, Root, and Twig, or on Twitter and

Mom Advice: How Do You Keep Your Cool when the Kids Are Home for Summer?

summertime grass

Either your kids are out of school for the summer, or they are about to be. While summer can be a time to relax, visit friends, and make memories, it can also be incredibly challenging. Days blur together, kids get bored, and patience runs on short supply. I know for myself, it’s hard to find “me” time in a house filled with bodies, and even more difficult to keep on track with five personalities competing for attention.

In an effort to get ahead of the game, this morning I polled my Facebook, Twitter, and blogging friends to see how they are preparing to stay sane during the long, hot days of summer. Here are some of the most common answers:

  • Buy a membership to the local zoo, children’s museum, or another institution your kids will enjoy. Memberships are cheaper than paying for individual visits, and if you already have a membership, you’re more likely to get up and go on the spur of the moment when you want to get out of the house.
  • Sign the kids up for summer day camps, or hire a part-time babysitter to come in and help with the kids (especially if you work from home). Sometimes the stress of summertime comes from what feels like unending “togetherness” – introducing other adults or helpers into the mix can break up the routine and give everyone a fresh perspective.
  • Familiarize yourself with the free outdoor activities in your community. Look for: hiking trails, parks, outdoor theaters, community concerts, splash pads or fountains. Keeping the kids active could be the secret to having some peace at home later in the afternoon as they rest or take some quiet time.
  • Look for summer reading programs – either at your local library or online; PBS Kids and Scholastic both have great online options. Having something to keep your kids’ brains busy and giving them a goal to work towards can keep summer days from feeling too aimless.
  • Keep a stash of goodies on hand – toys, books, games, novelty items, crafts – that you found at the dollar store or discount aisle. Every so often during the summer, surprise your kids with something new to them. It doesn’t have to cost much, and kids are typically entertained most by the unexpected.

And the number one piece of advice for keeping your sanity during the summerMake and keep a schedule! Nearly every mom I heard from said that staying on a schedule, even over the summer, helps their family to avoid lazy, drawn-out days, boredom, and restlessness.

What about you? What’s your “Mom Advice” for staying on an even keel while the kids are home for summer?

You can connect with Stacey on her personal blog, Tree, Root, and Twig, or on Twitter and

Mom Advice: What Is Your “Here and Now?”

blue polka dots

Years ago when I was seeing a therapist for help with my anxiety and depression, he gave me a rather odd exercise to try at home. Presenting me with a sheet of blue round sticky dots, he told me to place them around my house in the areas I trafficked most. Because my anxiety and depression often had my mind reeling in every other direction but the present, this therapist proposed that the blue sticky dots be my “here and now” – a visual reminder to assert myself back in to the present, back to what was right in front of me. The idea was that I should try to see the reality – or things as they really were – and not allow my mind to wander into dark corridors and either fret over the past or worry over the future.

The blue sticky dots stayed up for a while, but time passed. Whichever dots didn’t fall off eventually were taken down when we moved (which was frequently in those early days of marriage). I forgot about the blue dots, and went about dealing with my anxiety and depression in a variety of other ways.

I’ve recently been struggling again with keeping my mind on the matters at hand. I don’t think you need to be dealing with anxiety and depression like I do to have this same dilemma. Many of us find ourselves in our busy lives worrying about what comes next, or questioning what it is we’ve already done. Our minds follow spiderwebs of thought and it can become overwhelming, leading us farther away from the core of things.

Whenever I feel most mentally and emotionally overwhelmed, I’ve started asking myself this one question: What is my here and now? When I’m in the grocery store, walking through the aisles, and my thoughts begin to race ahead to dinner time, soccer practice, tomorrow’s band concert, and so on and on and on, I stop myself and ask: what is my here and now? I am here, in the store, grocery shopping. That’s all. That’s all I need to worry about at this precise moment.

While it’s appropriate to plan ahead and prepare and be ready for what comes next, when you feel yourself caught in an avalanche of unproductive thought, I challenge you to ask yourself: what is your here and now? You might be surprised – and liberated – by the answer.

You can connect with Stacey on her personal blog, Tree, Root, and Twig, or on Twitter and

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