Photo: That isn't Molly in the dress and Mary Janes!
Last Mommy Mumday, I began a three part series on the “Three Rs,” the three principles I believe are essential to having commendable character and which are vital to instill in our kids, and even to make sure we have ourselves. Ourselves: that is key. We must understand and practice these virtues (disciplines) in order to “get” them and then model them for our kids. Last week was on Responsibility.
Over the past many months, I’ve heard more and more people say “everything happens for a reason” when something bad happens to them. Some of the events have been small, some quite impactful and even catastrophic for the individuals. Some of those who have said it believe in God, and some believe in a benevolent Universe. I’ve tried to figure out why so many people are saying this phrase, or clinging to this philosophy. Have they thought about it, long and hard, and decided that is the way of things so they will throw their lot in with that faith practice? Were they taught that in some educational or enlightenment training? Or, did they just hear it so much that it caught on and they joined that growing snowball of conviction, rolling down the hill of social media or the blogosphere?
When I was in elementary school, my dad—a professional violinist—gigged all over the state, and sometimes out of state, to make ends meet. One of his reoccurring jobs was in Central City playing for the summer opera season. Central City is in a beautiful mountain area where the streams are cold, fast, and full of Rainbow Trout. When we were lucky, my mom and siblings and I got to stay up in Central City with my dad in a cabin so our family wasn’t apart so much. And some of those times, when there wasn’t a matinée performance of Puccini or Mozart or Gounod, we got to go fishing together.
Clément Fournier clutched his small valise to his chest and walked down the gangway from the aeroplane. Though exhausted from the long flight from Paris, his nerves kept his heart beating quickly.
For the hundredth time, he patted the breast pocket of his suit jacket. Captain Joseph Davis’ letter. Written on his deathbed.
Our yard, sigh. It’s almost never been what I wanted. I’ve planted more doomed plants than there are blades of grass in my neighbors immaculate lawn. When the plants go in, I have delusions of grandeur—and oh boy are they pretty delusions—of how they’ll turn out. But most times, nothing like I imagined ever happens. Shrivel, shrink, die. Part is because we live on a sand hill. Almost nothing grows on a sand hill. I’ve sodded, seeded, plugged, and pleaded, and it just isn’t going to happen.
Yesterday I was contacted by one of the editors I freelance for, offering me a contract. I’m going to have to decide if I take on another project in the midst of trying to blog every single relentless doggone day, plus this wee little task of finishing Book Three of Chloe. As I decide, I need to remember I won’t just have to write the project, but I’ll have to do revisions to rewrite what my editor wants to go in another direction. Revisions are always a little tough, because I hoped I got it the first time. I’ve had editors that never give back revisions. They just take my work and turn it into what they want without any questions or feedback. But without feedback, I never know how to improve. The other extreme is to send it all back with, “This isn’t what I had in mind. Will you try it again from a different angle?” Those are not fun. I do not like those.
Many years ago some friends told me about their bottom line for raising kids, the Three Rs. I was reminded of that yesterday and it’s worth passing along. By teaching our kids these three practices, the other fundamental characteristics seem to fall in place around them. What’s nice about it is that basically, these three principles contain values that we can apply to our own lives at any stage for self-improvement, more peaceful living, and to be better friends, mates, parents—all around better people.
The First Step in Bill Wilson’s addiction program is for the member to admit his or her powerlessness and that life has become unmanageable.
The “refusal to accept any standard short of perfection” is perfectionism.
In the past, I have recognized and acknowledged I suffer from perfectionism. Those of us who have the disease, in many cases, have it because of things in our past that drove us to demand perfection from ourselves to prove worthiness, probably because someone we needed approval or love from refused to give it. Or it was modeled to us at an early age, by someone who needed approval or love from someone who refused to give it to them. Or it comes from being really good at things, one of those really talented, smart people that things come easily for and so they expect no less from others. Or maybe it just seemed like a really good idea to practice and so a person just starts. I don’t know. I just know when a person has it, it is a problem.
As we took our annual summer trips to Minnesota each year to visit Jason’s side of the family, we tried to change it up some and visit different amazing sites along the way. Many times we stopped by the World’s Largest Ball of Twine in Cawker City, Kansas and got a yearly picture of us standing in front of it, chronicling in photos how the kids were growing—and the ball was shrinking as the local pigeons picked it apart to make their nests. On another trip, we visited Mount Rushmore, for which we prepared by watching “North by Northwest” with Cary Grant. (We wanted to make sure the kids had the historical perspective of course.) Also, Wall Drug had to be a part of the experience. What’s a road trip anyway without French Toast dripping in butter and syrup at Wall Drug? One amazing place we saw, which I say, must score in the Top Ten Wonders, was Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota. An entire building decorated with corn cobs. They boast up to half a million visitors each year. (No kidding.) Apparently in the 1800s it was really cool for a town to have a corn palace. It’s a way to show off the abundance of the land. They use corn cobs and other grains to make incredible murals and ornamental artwork over the entire outside and inside. And of course there is a museum and gift shop inside. You can’t leave without getting your commemorative Corn Palace t-shirt, shot glass, or refrigerator magnet. So next time you’re wheeling through the Midwest and have an afternoon on your hands, be sure to swing by the Corn Palace. There’s a Corn Palace coffee mug with your name on it waiting for you!
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Life with Quadruplets
As a mother of quadruplets, I've had plenty of crazy experiences raising "supertwins." I blog a lot of memories about my kids. Sometimes just my thoughts on things. I get those sometimes—when my brain works. Which is about one third of the time.