Monday, December 5, 2011

Who am I?

Zen master Wu Kwag once said...

"Be yourself.  Who else do you actually think you could be? After playing the "fitting game" for ions we all become tired and finally come to the recognition that there is no one else to be but who we are" 

So, Who am I?  Don't Know! 
Hapchang! 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

You need to keep those words in your mouth!

As most of you know this is the time of year that we lost our baby boy Landon.  We had a lot of people who wanted to help us through this time but there really wasn't much they could do (unless they could give me my baby back).  As I am getting ready to have a play date with another mother who lost her daughter, Abigail, I think back to that time.  What words helped me?  What words didn't help me? 

This got me thinking...maybe people don't know what to say. Maybe they don't know what to do.  Or maybe they don't know what not to do, what not to say. 

I am no expert (there are plenty of those around) so take the rest of this with a grain of salt.

Here are some things I have found through my own grief and from the grief of the mothers I helped with the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Group. Again, I am no expert, just experienced. 

What you probobly shouldn't say
  • Count your blessings
  • Be thankful for your other children
  • You should/should not have another baby
  • Aren't you glad you didn't have more time, it would have been harder
  • You'll get over it soon
  • You were happy yesterday so why are you sad today 
  • God needed an angel
  • Why didn't you answer the phone/door/email
  • I know how you feel
  • Are you going to replace him with another baby
  • If you would just get out of the house you'd feel better
  • You should care about what people think
  • Aren't you going to write thank you notes to every person who came to the service
  • You need a therapist, you should still be sad - it was a couple months ago, that is a long time.
  • Read this book, it will help you get over the death of your baby
  • Calling the baby "the baby"
  • I feel sorry for you, I can imagine how painful this is

What you COULD say
  • I'm sorry
  • How can I help
  • I accept your grief and its okay if you don't want to talk about it.
  • Here's my shoulder, cry on it if you need to

If you didn't notice the could say list is much shorter.  When someone looses a baby there really isn't much you can do for them.  Yes, meals are nice, cards are nice and well meaning friends and family are nice but even with these you still have to live in your grief.  Some will find themselves wanting to be with their family, some their friends, some their faith and some just want to be alone.  The hard thing for someone outside of it to realize is that you will weave in and out of these things for a long time. 

Time heals all wounds?  Well, kind of.  Time does lesson the pain, lesson the depression and the saddness but the wound left by a child loss never completely heals.  There isn't a day that I don't think about Landon and wish he was here.  Oh, how I wish he was here...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

You are going to do what?

Sitting in meditation from 6am - 9pm, two days in a row seems a little daunting don't you think?  That's what I thought when this idea was first brought to me but not any more.  So what makes me look forward to sitting on my cushion for 15 hours a day, only eat for health and only get up to walk in meditation?  Choices, that's what!

When you walk into a Dharma Room all choices disappear.  All feelings, perceptions, impulses, arrogance - gone.  When its time to bow, you bow.  When its time to chant, you chant.  When its time to sit, you sit. It doesn't matter if you do or don't want to.  It doesn't matter if you are tired and it doesn't matter if you are dressed comfortably.   When its time to eat you eat only what it takes to sustain your practice.   You eat what is served or you don't eat.  It doesn't matter if you have to pee like a Rusian racehourse, you don't leave the Dharma Room except during walking meditation and you better pee fast because you are to return before sitting resumes.  When you leave, you bow and when you enter again, you bow!

I know what your thinking, that all these rules are crazy, too strict, right?  Well, all these things are what makes me want to sit retreats. 

Every day of my life is filled with decisions.  What time to get up, what to wear, what to feed my kids, whether I should cry or smile, what should I do to make it through another day, and on and on and on.  Every night I go to sleep thinking about all these decisions.  Whether or not I achieved all I set out for while making these decisions.  Whether or no my decisions affected the ones I love. Whether or not they were right or wrong.  Everything I decided in the morning I am able to see and think about at night. This is a lot for a person who is struggling with depression, has 3 kids (one with chronic illness) and a home and a husband.  Agreed?

When I enter a retreat my choices, my ability to make decisions is taken away.  Unlike a regular day I don't have to decide anything.  I don't have to choose.  I just do - bow, chant, sit, eat.  I have no choice.  Isn't that lovely?! 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

9/11

9/11/01 - I was sitting on the couch watching The Today Show like I did every day.  The phone rang just as they were reporting that the first tower had been hit "accidentally" by a plane.  It was my friend Polly.  She was calling to see if I was going to the PAT Playgroup that morning at 10am.  I told her to turn it to channel 7 to see the building that had been hit.  As we were talking we both saw the second plane hit the second tower!  We both said "Oh my god, what just happened".  We stayed on the phone, talking about what was happening while watching the live coverage.  We were still on the phone when the first of the two towers fell.  Then the second fell then we got off the phone so that we could go to playgroup.  We met there and everyone was talking about what was happening.  By the time we left playgroup I realized how serious this whole thing was.  I called my husband, who works very close to the court houses and Capitol Building, to make sure he was okay.  They were all in the conference room watching the news coverage.  He didn't seem as worried as I was.  Later that night I realized it was because they all went back to work and didn't watch all the coverage that I did.  I told Tyler , who was 2, that I couldn't play today because I had to watch TV.  I couldn't keep my eyes off of it.  As I was watching I saw them rescue a deeply buried ambulance that had 3 people in it.  I thought that was the beginning of a lot of rescues, I was wrong.  I went to bed that night and couldn't sleep.  I had several nightmares and ended up getting up and watching CNN for the rest of the night.  I was in shock.  I knew one thing though, this was a day that Tyler was going to end up learning about in History class.

What were you doing 10 years ago? 


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Awareness?

What is awareness?  Is it knowing something is happening, something could happen or something does happen?  Does it mean that being aware changes things?  I've been asking myself these questions a lot this week.  Mainly because I've gotten 4 different emails asking to change my facebook status to some silly puzzle that is suppose to bring awareness to Breast Cancer.  I know I might sound controversial when I say this but I don't believe that a simple facebook status bring awareness to anything.  And if it does, that awareness doesn't change anything?

Yes, wearing purple on a certain day does bring awareness to the words "Child Abuse" but what does it change?  If you want to change child abuse you need to turn in parents who abuse their children.  You should support organizations that educate parents with abuse issues, support organizations that help the children of these abusers. 

Yes, wearing pink and changing statuses does bring awareness to Breast Cancer, but what does it change?  Why don't we encourage women to get mammograms, support health care changes that makes them more assessable? We can educated pregnant mothers to breastfeed their babies, especially their baby girls, to reduce both of their risk of developing breast cancer.

Heart Disease is the #1 killer of women.  Wearing Red does bring awareness to those words but what else are we doing to change it?  Are we making exercise programs more affordable?  Are we educating women on heart healthy diets?  What are the red shirts teaching women? 

Now, all of these are MY OPINIONS.  Whether or not they make a difference I won't really know.  I do know that being aware of something is just not enough.  I think we should all start "being aware" and start doing something about these things! 

*I'm stepping off my soap box now*

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

12?

Tyler turns 12 tomorrow...


Yes, this fun loving kid is turning 12!



Yes, I know him and his cousin are are not old enough to be 12!



And this cute little football player can't possibly be as old as 12!



He's growing up too fast! 



Yet, he's still my baby!



Always has a great smile on his face!



Always looking for a laugh!



Interested in everything!


And just plain adorable.

Well fine, I'll admit it, HE'S 12! 

Happy Birthday Tyler!
We love you very much!

Friday, August 19, 2011

6th Grade and Kindergarten

Time flies and before you know it you turn around and your little girls and little boys grow up.  This week I sent my oldest two children off to school.  I could go on and on about what it is like to send my babies off to 6th grade and Kindergarten but I'm going to let my pictures tell my story today.  Enjoy! 


Liam had to have a "packpack" too!


My handsome boy waiting on the bus.


He has hated posing with his grade every year but I make him do it anyway!


My precious girl on her first but second day of Kindergarten.
(the stomach flu made her miss the first day)


So cute decked out in pink!


Finally, on day three, I got a picture of the two of them together.


And the school bus takes my baby away...



Wednesday, July 13, 2011

If I had known...

If I had known that he'd grow up this fast...I would have stared at his tininess for hours instead of wishing he were older...


If I'd known he'd grow up so fast...I would have touched his soft skin more instead of passing him off for the few seconds he was quiet...

I

If I'd know he'd grow up this fast...I would have wrapped him up every night and placed him to sleep against me instead of instantly going to sleep myself...


If I'd know he'd grow up this fast...I'd would have fought sooner to find out why he was crying instead of giving the doctor the benefit of the doubt...


If I'd know he'd grow up this fast...I would have put this tiny costume on him every day instead of packing it away as soon as Halloween was over...


If I'd know he'd grow up this fast...I would have let him sit in the sink every moment he wanted to instead of taking him out as soon as I was done...


If I'd known he'd grow up so fast...I would have asked for those rare smiles more often instead of wondering why he don't do it often...


If I'd known he'd grow up so fast...I would have stared at him sleeping instead of feeling relief...


If I'd known how happy encouragement made him...I would have praised him all day long instead of putting the camera down and going to switch laundry...

video

If I'd known how soon those little words would sound like big boy words...I would have listened to them for hours...

video

If I'd known how hard it was for him to walk...I would have thrown him a party for this achievement...

video

And If I'd known how soon he'd grow up...I wouldn't change a thing.  Because he has become the strong, confident wonderful little 3 year old boy that I am lucky enough to call mine...


Happy 3rd Birthday Baby Boy...
I hope you have a great day tomorrow... 


 I LOVE YOU!


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Leadstrom Family Vacation 2011!

Its been a hard year so far!  A lot of new things, a lot of doctor bills, a lot of "life as we knew its are over"'s happening.  What should you do when you've all had enough?...A Family Get away, right?  So, we packed up our van and headed to the mountains to escape the reality here at home. 

Our first stop was Arbor Lodge. 
The kids were board to tears but Nathan and I loved touring this old house.


Then we drove to see the Nebraska State Capitol Building.
 I've never seen such an artistic building.


Then we drove to our hotel in Kearney. 
On the way we got to watch a storm come in over the mountains.  Beautiful!


The next day we took advantage of the local tourism and visited Fort Kearny. 
The kids got to stretch their legs before the long trip to our cabin.


After many stops for drinks, potty, screaming Liam's we finally made it to our cabin.


And just in time for the most beautiful sunset!


We woke with plans to visit the local Mammoth Site/Museum.  It was really neat.


Then we went to tour Wind Cave.  Again, very neat!


And since we were already in the car we decided to take the wildlife route of Custur State Park.  We were so mesmerized by the local wildlife that we were late checking into our cabin. 


 We even got to pet wild donkeys.  They almost bit Liam because he had just ate a snack and still had the residue from it on his hands.  One of the momma donkeys even let us pet her baby that was so new she still had her umbilical cord. 


After a great nights sleep in the wonderful camping cabins we headed for my favorite part of the trip - The Crazy Horse Memorial.  It was wonderful and mesmerizing but the best part is I got to watch my husband experience the one place that he always wanted to go when he was a boy. 


After many hours at the memorial we headed to Mt. Rushmore. 
 It was crazy busy and rain was coming in but we had a great time there. 



Last up was our trip to Lead.  This is a legendary gaming town with a historic hotel.  The kids thought it was great that they could sit by a slot machine while Nathan and I gambled.  (Insert bad parent of the year nomination here)


Lead was suppose to be our last stop before we started the 11 hour trip home (which would be made into 24 because of the lovely screaming of our lovely 2 year old), BUT, we just didn't want to come home so we decided to take a scenic tour instead.  Here lies the Badlands...


This was the most beautiful part of the state with the sheerest drops I've ever seen.  Liam and I stayed very far away from the edge because, and I quote Liam - "I don't want to fall off of there, I don't want to die over there, I don't want to die in this shirt".  Do you think my fear of shear drops is starting to wear off on my youngest?  (insert another bad parent award here).

All in all this was a WONDERFUL vacation. 
It was spontaneous, relaxing, beautiful and just what we all needed! 

Now, back to the real world.  Ugg. 


Monday, June 13, 2011

Hey Monday...F&*K OFF!

You've heard of cause and effect, right?  The yin and the yang?  Every action has an equal and opposite reaction?  Okay, how about Karma?   Well I have heard of all of these and today I experienced them all.  So hang with me, this is going to be a play by play of my day...TRUST ME...its worth reading to the very end! 

I should have known how today would turn out when I woke up so stuffed up I could hardly breath.  A Advil Sinus, a Singular and a Zyrtec later that was history.  So I headed to swimming lessons with 3 kids, got there early, walked up to the playground and 3 bumble bees surrounded me and my kids.  Kayleigh ran, Tyler ran but Liam stood there.  The one child who should run from poisonous bees just stood there.  So I risked my life and shoved Liam out of the way and the bees wondered off.  Phew.  Swimming lessons went off without a hitch so we headed home to enjoy a nice lunch with Daddy! 

By this time I thought that the bad day curse was behind us so I went to a friends house and had a wonderful play date with her, her K's, a friend I hadn't seen in a while and her girls too.  We ended up staying for 3 hours!  Bless you Lara, she was a great host. 

Then we headed home.  On the way there I begged the kids to please go downstairs while I made dinner.  They did do that, for like a second, then they were at my feet screaming for food.  Ghesh, like I never feed them?  So, I opened the freezer to get out the chicken I thought I had for chicken day and there was none left.  The only meat in the freezer that was acceptable for Liam was a 1 pound package of hamburger.  So I did a quick thaw then put it in to fry in the pan.  As I'm doing this I hear a blood curdling scream from the bathroom - LIAM WAS PEEING IN THE CORNER!  I screamed, and I mean screamed, for him to stop, cleaned it up, cleaned him up then went back into the kitchen to find that the only meat I had for Liam was now burnt!  *Deep Breath*

So, I called my husband and had a telephone panic attack because I had nothing to feed my poor boy.  He came rushing home and scooted me out the door to The Merc to shop by myself.  I was so happy to get out of the house, shop and finally get the things I needed to do Liams rotation correctly.  On the way I decided to treat myelf to a Kwik Shop Diet Coke and, sure enough, the woman in front of me in line had no shoes on then proceeded to fill a dog dish with ice and pop.  G.R.O.S.S!!!!!! 

I took a deep breath then drove to Lawrence.  I had a lovely shopping experience at The Merc, loaded up my groceries and felt so much better.

*This is where you think my day ended up good, right?  WRONG!*

I decided to treat myself to a McAlister Orange Cranberry Club Sandwich to celebrate my Merc victory!  I walked in, ordered my sandwich, used the restroom while they made my sandwich, picked up my sandwich, made my drink, walked through the entire, crowded restaurant, got in my car and then noticed...MY SKIRT WAS TUCKED INTO MY UNDERWEAR!  That's right, I showed the whole crowd of hungry people my ass. 

* DEEP BREATH*

I'm home now, sitting on the computer waiting to get struck by lightning because that has to be the only thing left that could happen, right?  Before that happens I must sign off with my title in mind...Hey Monday...F*&K OFF!!!


Monday, June 6, 2011

The Pick and Choose Question

Who else has said these famous words..."Because I said so"  OR  "Thats what you get and if you don't like then you get nothing"  OR  (my favorite) "YOU GET WHAT YOU GET AND YOU DON'T THROW A FIT!"? 

I think about these sayings a lot.  Mainly because I say them a lot - but not to myself!  I say them to my husband and I say them to my kids at least once a day.  But when they are said to me its a whole different story.

I was sitting at Zen practice yesterday, the first practice I had been able to make it to since the first of May.  I was ready and really excited to be back.  I had almost forgot what it was like to sit when this quote came to me - "The great way is not difficult".  Of cource, that would happen.   And, like many times before,  I got mad, really mad!  Because, I'll tell you, THE GREAT WAY IS DIFFICULT!  I was so angry that I asked my teacher the question that Im pretty sure I already had the answer to..."Why do they say the great way isn't difficult.  Is that true because it sounds like bullshit to me!"  I was hoping to get an answer like "yes, it is bullshit, at least it is for you!" OR "life IS difficult, the great way IS difficult, its okay to give up".  But, I didn't get that answer.  Instead I got "Whats the end of that quote?  Its if you don't pick or choose".  Oh yes, wise teacher, I forgot the end of the quote.  The very important end of the quote. 

I left Zen practice still mad, still confused but knowing the answer.  Liam has food allergies, I cook differently.  My husband is gone every night this week, I do everything on my own.  My house is a mess, my house is a mess.  I can't change it so why freat about it, right?...

You are thinking I came to this wonderful conclusion, right?  WRONG!

I know the answer to my question.  I know it deep down, I understand it.  But I still think its bullshit.  Its easy to say just do it.  Don't pick and choose and you will find the great way to be easy - well, I just don't know about that.  Im too angry for that! 

But then what is anger anyway?  Another question...



"The Great Way is not difficult if you just don't pick and choose"

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Numbers, who needs them?

WARNING:  The following post will contain some a lot of complaining.  Yes, I know how blessed I am.  Yes, I know how strong you think I am.  Yes, I know I've survived days that I thought would kill me BUT I'm going to complain anyway.  I think I deserve that.  If you don't think I do then please ignore this post.  And please be kind for I am only human!  And if you can't be kind then just blame my friend Lara because she told me to go ahead and post even if it was complaining.  In fact her exact words were "Its your blog, go for it".  But be kind to her too, for I love her!  =) 

Ive been given a lot of numbers in my life.  The first time I remember was 816-3614.  That was my phone number when I lived in Tonganoxie.  Then there was the number 9. That was how old I was when we moved from Tonganoxie.  Then I remember 12.  That's how old I was when I was sent to live with my Grandmother (the BEST SUMMER EVER!).  I also remember the number 1991, when I met my future husband and 1994 when we graduated High School and moved out on our own (yes, on the same day). 

I never really thought much about numbers until Landon was born though.  The first number I remember was 47, his pulse ox reading when we got to ther ER.   Then there was 80 which was how much of a chance he had of surviving his open heart surgery.  At the time it seemed like a HUGE number.  80 out of 100, that seems like pretty good odds. But then there was 1, as in 1 day at a time on ECMO.  Then there was 50.  That's how much of a chance he had of coming off of ECMO.  Then there was 0 and that was how much of a chance he would have to survive the day.  Tell me, how did we go from 80 to 0?  Anyway... 

Now, here is the kicker...this week we heard the number 39.  Last month we heard 6 but now we hear 39.  39, that is how many foods we found out our youngest is allergic to.  And I thought 80 was big.  Oh no!   I'm not going to spend this whole time listing the foods he is allergic to but I will tell you this, if it has any type of corn, gluten, milk, peanut, pork, fish or rice in it then he can't eat it. 

Now to the complaining...

Im really upset about this number.  What is my poor baby going to eat?  How is he going to celebrate his birthday at school?  How is he going to swallow 8 different suppliments a day?  WHY DOES HE HAVE TO SUFFER SO MUCH!  And, as for me, how am I going to cook for him?  How am I going to do anything else if I have to cook 3 meals a day from scratch each and every day?  How am I suppose to sit back and watch another one of my babies suffer, again?!  And, while Im at it, why didn't anyone believe me that he had food allergies when he was 19 months old and stopped nursing and his tummy troubles began?  Did I not tell the doctors SEVERAL times that I thought he had food allergies.  Duh!!!

Many people have said how tough i am.  "You are so strong" I hear them say often.  But, seriously, thats a really nice compliment but I am not.  I've had Liams list and rotation diet and research in my hands for 5 days now but haven't been able to muster up the stregth to look at it.  I know the list but I have no idea what else to do with it.  I know its going to be hard and IM SICK OF EVERYTHING BEING HARD! 

As hard as this is to admit, and as selfist as this may make me sound, I must say that I have done my time.  The universe is trying to teach me something, I know, but Im tired of learning.  Im tired of bad things happening to me, Im tired of them happening to my kids!  *Deep Breath* 

So, I'll leave you with a few numbers now that I have finished my little bitch session.  80 - that is how much of a chance there is of me always being pissed about this.  0 - that is how much of a chance there is of me not continuing to fight for what I know.  2 - that is how old my precious little guy is who cried for 15 minutes today because he wanted peanut butter on a spoon.  100 - that is how much of a chance I have of surviving this.  And 0 is the percentage of a chance that I am going to be happy about it! 

And thats all I have to say about that! 




Friday, May 13, 2011

Mothers Day? Maybe!

I thought of this story on Mothers Day...
An old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. "Such bad luck," they said sympathetically. "Maybe," the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. "How wonderful," the neighbors exclaimed. "Maybe," replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. "Maybe," answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son's leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. "Maybe" said the farmer.
Mothers Day was an interesting and wonderful day.  I spent the day with my wonderful family.  My husband got me two of the most wonderful gifts - a statue of the Buddha and a porch swing.  I got biscuits and gravy and corn beef hash and a whopping 13 HOURS of sleep.  I spent the afternoon with my "mom" and then went to Zen practice.  I returned home to have dinner with my boys and little girl and then went to bed early after sitting and talking with my husband of the new porch swing. 

 I sometimes dread this day as I don't have a relationship with my biological mother, but this year was different.  I was checking facebook, as I do often (lol), and I kept seeing everyone posting pictures of themselves with their mothers.  It gave me some really conflicting feelings.  I was mad, because of who and what my biological mother is but it also made me happy because I have a "mom" in my life now.  The anger made me ever more grateful for her.  I shared these feelings with her and she told me that my childhood should be something to be grateful for.  Because, if I had not had my childhood I would not have the relationship I have with her now.  Because of my past she gets me now.  I have never really looked at it that way.  Do you see the conection to the story now?  

I must say, this was the best Mothers Day ever!  I hope yours was as well! 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I've got nothin'!

I'm going to be honest here, I'm trying to come up with Blog posts but I've got nothin'!  I have no energy to think of something to write and no will power to try to drum that energy.  So I'm just going to share some sites with you, sites and blogs that I love.  Maybe you will love them too.   


This is my friend, Michelle Gee's, incredible site.  If you are a couponer, someone who likes to save money or someone who likes to see others save money then this site is for you. 

This blog is not updated often but when it is it is sure to teach you.  Whether or not you are a Buddhist this blog is still worth checking out.  And I hope, one day soon, this teacher will guest blog on my page (hint, hint Rebecca!)


This blog tells the story of a beautiful little boy who has challenges just like Liam.  It was this site and this friend that encouraged me to see her sons allergist and I hate to think what would be if we hadn't gone last week.


This site is great resource for anyone who is interested in meditation.


And this one is a plug but, hey, its a good site nonetheless! 


And, finally, this site is one of the most beautiful I've seen in a while.  Its sweet, inspirational and has the most amazing birth story linked to it. 



So, if you are board, or enjoy looking around the world of the internet, check some of these out.  I guarantee they are worth your time.  And I promise, soon, that I will come up with a better post then this one =) 






Friday, April 15, 2011

Who's ass?

Yesterday I noticed that I hadn't wrote on my blog for over a week.  I had told myself that I would try to write on it at least once a week so I started trying to come up with an idea.  I tried to come up with something brilliant but all I could come up with was complaints.  I thought and thought, googled for ideas, gave up, cursed at the computer, cursed at myself and even asked someone to do a guest post for me (which I really hope she still does).  Needless to say, I had a very bad attitude!

Not long after I posted this on facebook...


Dear Universe,
I'm told I am stronger than you so you are more than welcome to keep messing with me but if you don't leave my little guy alone I'm going to be forced to kick your ass.
Have a nice day, Traci
 

Before long I got this response..

If you and the universe are one,
whose ass will you be kicking my dear?

Thank you Margaret Wheeler!  You are a great teacher (and friend).

Have a great day everyone! 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

THE PRESENT MOMENT...



A Japanese warrior was captured by his enemies and thrown into prison. That night he was unable to sleep because he feared that the next day he would be interrogated, tortured, and executed. Then the words of his Zen master came to him...

"Tomorrow is not real. It is an illusion.
The only reality is now."

Heeding these words, the warrior became peaceful and fell asleep.



Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Crazy!

I admit it - I'M GOING CRAZY!  I'm exhausted, depressed and overwhelmed!  I NEED A BREAK.  But you know what is really crazy?  Its my own fault (well, not all my fault but this one part of it is)!  For years, upon years, upon years I have taken on the role of "housewife" and not asked much of the kids or my husband.  Yes, they will do just about anything I ask them to do, but I didn't ask them for what I needed.  My stupid self thought that they would just get it and do it.  Crazy, I know.  I expected that of 3 MEN (and a daughter)?  I really could go on and go on- don't worry I won't - but the point of this post is - here it is - are you ready - ASK FOR HELP!  Duh, Traci!  So, once I realized that these crazies can't read my mind and they aren't going to do it on their own I decided it was time for me to delegate.  Tonight, for the first time, I sternly, yet nicely, said this...

"Is everyone done eating now?" 

They kinda looked at me wondering "why are you even asking?"  They looked at each other, swallowed hard and looked at me with a bit of freight.  I thought they were going to jump ship and swim away from me as fast as they could but before they could walk the plank I sternly, yet not quite as nicely, said...

"Liam and Kayleigh you are to clear off the table.  Tyler you are to put the left over food in the fridge and then go fold the laundry that has been going off during dinner.  Nathan you help the kids clear off the table and then give the kids a bath. I'll do the dishes and clean the counters and stove." 

And do you know what happened next?  Yep, these suckers crazies turned into lovelies and did exactly what I asked of them.  The kitchen is cleaned, the laundry is folded and now (OMG, at 6:45PM) I am sitting on my ars and playing on the computer while watching TV!  HOW AWESOME IS THAT?  Mwahahaha!

I know this is just a small step, and likely it won't become the norm, but I wish it would be.  I wish that they delegated themselves and I didn't have to ask for it but today I'm just so happy to have this one small victory! My therapist says "you have to take your power back" but I think The Buddha said it better...

"You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection." ~ Buddha

Thursday, March 24, 2011

14 Years and counting!

Nothing happens without a cause. 



The union of this man and woman has not come about accidentally but is the foreordained result of many past lives. 


The tie can therefore not be broken or dissolved. 

 In the future,
Happy occasions will come as surely as the morning. 
Difficult times will come as surely as the night. 


To say the words love and compassion is easy. 
But to accept that love and compassion are built upon patience and perseverance is not easy. 


 
Your marraige will be firm and lasting if you remember this. 

On March 29th  Nathan and I will be celebrating 14 years of marraige.  It hasn't been easy going for the two of us.  We've had good times and bad times.  We've gone through sickness and health.  We've grown apart and back together again.  But through all this one thing has remained true...our love for each other.  I love you babe, lets make it another 14 (and then some)! 
.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I said they could so be kept...3 TIMES!!!

The 5 Precepts sound rather easy, right?  They are...

I vow to abstain from taking life
I vow to abstain from taking things not given
I vow to abstain from misconduct done in lust
I vow to abstain from lying
I vow to abstain from intoxicants taken to induce heedlessness.

"Can these vows be kept?"  Senior Dharma teacher asked a Zen student.  "They can so be kept" she said 3 TIMES! 

What the hell was I thinking?  They can so be kept, but not by me! 

I guess if you take them simply they are pretty easy.  I don't kill, I don't shoplift, I don't cheat on my husband, I don't drink, and I...well..I try not to lie.  But if you look at the heart of them they are much more complicated and harder to keep. 

I vow to abstain from taking life...at first I thought this meant that I had to become a vegetarian.  I don't really care for much  meat anyway but my family does so cutting it out of my house is impossible.  But I think not taking life is more than just killing animals.  How often to I take the life from myself.  I kill my spirit when I get self concious.  I kill the spirit of others when I am mean to them or judge them.  So, do I take life?

I vow to abstain from taking things not given...at first I thought this one meant not going to a grocery store and putting sunglasses in my purse and walking out without paying for them.  But I realize now that it is much more than shoplifting.  I take trust, afterall its not given, from someone who thought they could trust me.  I take the spirit out of my children if I choose to treat them as my mother did.  I take the energy of the earth is I am wastful.  So, do I take things that are not given? 

I vow to abstain from misconduct done in lust...I must admit that I either 1)don't understand this one or 2) I've got this one down.  I am in a loving marraige with mutual respect.  I do not have misconduct done in lust because lust does not exsist for me right now.  But, do I really understand this precept? 

I vow to abstain from lying...Crap, this one is a hard one.  I took my precepts and about 15 minutes after the ceremony I lied to someone I love.  It wasn't a painful, hurtful lie.  It was a lie that would in turn stop someone from feeling bad, that they had done something that hurt me.  I also lie to myself all the time.  I lie when I say "Im going to be okay".  I lie when I say "Im not strong".  I lie when I say "Im doing good, how are you".  So, do I abstain from lying?


I vow to abstain from intoxicants taken to induce heedlessness...This one, again, I thought was a given too.  I don't drink and I don't take drugs BUT I do "drug" myself all the time.  Food is my biggest addiction.  I'm not sure it brings me to heedlessness but I do eat without thinking, without be mindful at all.  So, do I really abstain from taking intoxicants?

The answer to those questions are a great big NO!  I don't keep any of these precepts all the time.  I TRY though.  And now, a month after taking them, I realize that I don't need to keep them.  I do, though, need to TRY!  Our guiding teacher, Linc Rhodes, JDPSN, said that all the precepts really are is a guide to stopping suffering.  If you turn to the precepts they will guide you to help stop suffering. 

So now I vow to this.  I will try to abstain from breaking the precepts.  I will TRY to keep them as best I can.  I will try and I will fail but I will TRY!  Can I try to keep these precepts?  YES, I can - 3 times!