The Pause

I’m finding that, besides my prayers for my children, The Pause is one of the best tools in my parenting arsenal. That moment before I speak is critical–will praise or criticism escape my lips? Will it undermine everything I’ve done that day? Will I speak scolding words or good ideas of how we can all do better?

When life is chaotic (aka, every minute of the day) The Pause makes all the difference for me.   

(If you can’t tell Baby Houdini is swinging from the handle in the car while we wait at the bus stop­čś«.) It’s so much better when I don’t I go off half-cocked before I’ve had a chance to accurately assess the situation. Often I tend to make up this parenting thing as I go. This can make me fun and spontaneous, like when we ruin our dinner with ice cream and skip cleaning to run away to the park. This can also be tricky in the crazy of four kids, each clamoring for the thing they need right this minute.  This is an accurate representation of how our picture-taking usually goes. Easter 2016 pic–pretty much the best we could do that day. 

Sometimes I forget The Pause and words come out sharper than I intend or my frustrations with another situation, a different kid or even just a rough PTSD day spill out. No one is a winner when that happens.  A decade plus into this parenting gig and I’m just now figuring out how valuable The Pause is, so I speak life into my children. So I encourage and grow these little humans into big humans that love Jesus, each other and try their best to leave this world better off than they found it. 

I don’t care what my kids end up doing for a living. I think it goes without saying that I prefer them to do a job that’s legal and doesn’t involve poles or dancing or something that requires a death wish. Other than that, I just want them to be productive citizens who know how to be kind and work hard. I want them to learn from my mistakes in parenting. 

I hope they will learn earlier in parenting than I did that taking a deep breath before answering the one million questions allotted per child per day is helpful. That counting to three before disciplining a child is imperative. That stopping to figure out what really went on before the he said/she said will help accurately diagnose both the problem and the solution. 

I am no expert at The Pause. I am still learning how to embrace it and use it in each situation with each kid. But I am a mama who doesn’t give up. My children are going to do great things in their lives and it is up to me to nourish those seeds of greatness with my prayers. And before I speak into them all the good and blessing and love and instruction that I am supposed to, I will give them–and myself–the benefit of The Pause. 

I’m happy to say I’m a work in progress-  (photo cred Good Morning Quote)

┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2016. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hey! 

Dear Kids,

Just wanted to say a few things. I know only 50% of you can read but I’m assuming the Bigs will read to the Littles. Do you hear me Bigs?

I know it’s been more circus-y than usual lately in our Traveling Circus. I don’t love that for you but I know a few good things will come from this time.

You’re going to figure out how to live with people in a community. This is a great thing when you’re an adult because you will be able to live among others who are different than you. It might seem hard right now when you’re a kid fighting with your brothers or sister but you’re getting some important lessons.

You’re also learning to live with compassion towards others. Our family has a lot of people and some of those people have some things in their individual lives that make day-to-day life more difficult. This means we all have to learn to communicate even during hard times. It’s good to learn to use your words–someday your spouse and kids and friends will appreciate this about you.

And within our family we have to have extra helpings of grace mixed into our daily life. This is a game changer if you can extend grace to those around you, and not just for them either. It’s for you as well, so you won’t harbor things like bitterness or regrets or resentful-ness towards others. I’m hoping that learning to extend grace early on will lighten your load as an adult.

And finally, the patience that we are constantly having to give each other is invaluable. Patience sometimes means not getting wrapped around the axle on the little things. It’s a much more freeing way to live that allows you to just be present in the moment.

Like I said, this life we’re called to and blessed with isn’t the easiest. I used to wish it was easier for you. But I now know that would be doing you a disservice. Learning these important character-builders as a kid gives you lots of time to practice them on your family, the ones who love you the absolute most.

This is a really good thing. 

I love each of you more than I could ever put into words. And I’m grateful that I have this gorgeous family from all over to call mine. I am the one who is blessed–

All my love, 

Mama

Waiting Room

As I stood in line at Panera, my regular coffee place on the seven year old’s OT days since it’s next door to therapy, I had time to think about waiting. It seems I’ve been doing a lot of the stuff lately and frankly (as my friend Amy would say right here, “Don’t call me Frankly!”), I don’t enjoy it.

Is there anyone out there who does?

Waiting in lines, waiting for the mail, waiting for pay day (can I get an amen here?), waiting for breakthroughs and returned calls and lights to change. We all do a lot of waiting.

This calls for patience on our parts and that is something I’m terrible at. I’m working on it but it’s slow going friends. I fully admit I’m an instant gratification kind of gal. I’ve waited for exactly thirty seconds and I’m ready to walk out the door. Hello!

But as I get older (and hopefully, wiser) I am learning about the Waiting Room. This is the place you go when you’re waiting for one of the aforementioned things to happen. Instead of pacing from one side to the other of it like a wild caged animal as I usually do, gnashing my teeth and complaining the whole way, I’m trying to shift my perspective to one of gratitude for this room.

The Waiting Room, if we’re patient enough to notice while we’re in it, is fully stocked with important and necessary items for our journey. We need to be learning and storing up and preparing while we’re in that room. I have a feeling that if we don’t there’s the possibility our time in the room might get extended. Or we might be sorely disappointed when we exit.

That room, that Waiting Room is where change happens, often before we know it. Circumstances outside that room are changing and moving and morphing into directions and places and people while we’re in our Waiting Room cocoon. We often find ourselves facing trouble or the unknown or something that makes us turn up our nose when we exit. 

When that happens I would posit two questions to you:

1) Did you leave the Waiting Room too early, growing impatient with yourself and the process and the reasons God may have allowed you time in there in the first place?

2) Did you learn what you were supposed to while you were there?

If things aren’t going the way you hoped or planned or thought, ask yourself those questions. Maybe you won’t have the answer you wanted but you might have a new direction.

Wait.

Hope.

Learn.

Breathe.

And wait some more if you have to. When it’s finally time to leave the Waiting Room, it will be that much sweeter and more wonderful than you could imagine.

(photo credit YouTube) ┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2015

I would love to connect with you on Instagram and Twitter, swing by and say hi! 

PTSD Awareness

  

You never know what battles people are fighting within. 

Be kind. 

Have patience. 

Show love. 

You can make a difference!

I would love to connect with you on Facebook or Instagram at My Pink Champagne Life or Twitter @MyPinkChampLife. Swing by and say hello!

(Photo credit Pinterest.com) ┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer