Just Another Day in Paradise

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Have you every heard this song? It was one of my favorites as a romantic teenager thinking that one day when I was in the stage I am now I would be blissfully happy. 

Now that I’m in the married, stay at home mom, little kid stage I’m not blissfully happy. You know why? Well, it’s really just the wording. To me, the word “bliss” denotes ignorance and the “rose-colored” glasses type effect. On the contrary, I know exactly what I chose. I chose this life and as any number of parents out there will tell you: Marriage and Parenthood is not for the faint of heart. This is hard work! If you want a job that will make you feel like you have no idea what you are doing and that you are always on your toes….well, then get married and have some kids (I recommend in that order too). But you know what I am also happier than I ever imagined I could be! It’s not bliss, but hard-earned deep-down happiness!

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As I was trying to do laundry the other day and my water heater went out (for the 3rd time in the last 3 months) and as I was pulling out and disconnecting the washer so I could get to the dryer and see what in the world was wrong with it too, I started laughing as this song, “Just Another Day in Paradise” popped in my head. My husband was on his way home to find me and the laundry area drenched (did you know that some houses have TWO water turn offs?) and a pile of dirty clothes scattered through the house cause a three year old knew her mommy was trapped behind the washer. But you know what? We were all happy!

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Last week the song came to mind again as my girls came dripping and muddy through the house after playing in the rain. Then again a few days later when my son  “accidently” blew up a water balloon in my face. I couldn’t help but think of it again yesterday as we were doing our traditional “interviews” with our kids and our three year old came and jumped on the couch with Mommy and Daddy and flipped upside down putting her dirty feet on the wall and then jumping on her Dad and saying “I farted!” and then giving him a big hug and saying “Good Daddy!”

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The thing is, pretty nearly every day something messes up my plans. Pretty nearly every day there is a question or concern that I’m not sure how to answer. Pretty nearly every day I fall asleep if I sit down for more than five minutes. 

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BUT…..Also, pretty nearly every day my son makes me laugh with his crazy laugh that he gets from his latest jokes. Pretty nearly every day my oldest daughter nearly chokes me with a huge hug and looks at me like I’m the greatest mom ever. Pretty nearly every day my 3 yr. old daughter brings me “flowers” from our yard (well, sometimes the neighbors too). Pretty nearly every day my baby girl gives me a goofy grin while breastfeeding and lets the milk dribble all over as if to say “I love you so much, Mommy!” And pretty nearly every day my husband gives me a look or a touch that gives me butterflies and makes me fall in love all over again.

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No, it’s not easy. I become frustrated, angry, irritated, hungry, exhausted, and sometimes just break down and cry. BUT, I am also becoming more thoughtful, caring, patient, humble and downright happy. Each day really is another day in Paradise.

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Internet….whachuthink?

ImageOne way we use the internet is to scan or create cards online and email them (much more reliable than our land-mail system)!

Hallelujah! I have internet again!

So funny how I lived more than half of my life without a computer, let alone internet, and now if I go a day without it I feel like I’m missing an arm!

The internet has become one of my main sources of information, socialization, and communication and though I’ve often fantasized of living in the “good old days” I don’t know that I could do it now.

This is the thing, the internet has it’s evils, just like most anything else nowadays, but being a busy mom that lives far away from family and many friends I like the fact that I’m just a type or skype away from my dear ones.

I also love being able to research and educate myself on subjects that affect me and my family and that I’m interested in. It’s awesome that my children can hear, see, and do so much more with the subjects that interest them.

Now that I’m blogging a bit, I find that I have something once again that I enjoy doing and look forward to and can use as an incentive if need be. I also like feeling like the community feeling that can come from online networking and finding people to exchange ideas with and learn from.I love sharing and expanding my views on a variety of subjects.

Yes, there is the addictive nature of internet use, there is the pornography and filth, but shouldn’t there be opposition in all things? As for me, I’m all for it. Do I worry about the bombardment of negativity? The possibility of wrong information or TOO MUCH informaiton. Yes. Do I worry about what my children will encounter on the internet? Yes.

However, I think the internet is a another great opportunity for us to stand our ground, choose our side, decide who we are and where we are going. It’s not what is there, it’s what we do with what’s there. It’s just like anything else, it’s our choice. We’re not victims here, we’re agents. A tool or a vice. You decide.

Attitude

It seems the word “Attitude” has a bad rap. It’s kind of like the word “Diet”, we tend to get this negative connotation when in fact everyone has some sort of diet and everyone has some sort of attitude. It’s easy to have a good attitude when things are going good. But what about when things aren’t going well, are we doomed to have the cloud of pessimism following us around until things improve?

Isn’t it amazing how our attitude can totally change, for better or worse, the way we feel about a particular experience?  For example, if we are in a bad mood we may take everything our spouse says as a personal attack. We may not even notice that our child is lovingly smiling up at us waiting for a hug. We only see the mess our toddler made and not the carefully painted picture they made for us. We don’t see the beautiful sunshine or wonderful fall leaves. Why is this? Why does a bad mood make everything seem so negative?

Well, my theory is that when we are in a bad mood we are thinking about one person, ourselves.  We are so focused inward that we have blinders on to everything around us.  Thus our feelings are stuck on our own problems and own negativity. The very opposite occurs when we are have a positive attitude. We focus outward. We see, we hear, we experience things from a more holistic and complete approach because we are seeing a bigger picture. We serve because we can see needs beyond ourselves and thus we gain added joy from that service.

These phenomena could be compared to taking a picture. We could just take a picture of the grape jelly stain on the white table cloth. If we do that, we will only see the stain and we won’t have a positive outlook for that poor table. But what if we were to zoom out a bit and take a picture of the entire table. Well, then we might see that the table is made of a beautiful marble or hardwood, that it is set with a seemingly perfect (from this larger view) white table cloth and a beautiful centerpiece of a Thanksgiving cornucopia, which is surrounded by all the lovely and delicious fixings for a Thanksgiving feast. Would our view and thoughts of this table change now? Would we be seeing it in a more positive light?

Well just like the focus of the lens on a camera, we have the power to choose how we are going to look at things and experiences. One of my favorite quotes of late is “We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust the sails.” by Thomas S. Monson. We are not a victim of circumstance, we can choose how we will look at and see each aspect of our lives. Is this easy? No, no one ever said it would be, or should be. It’s part of our life’s journey and our duty to learn self-mastery.

If we choose to look at every experience as an opportunity, rather than bad luck or punishment, we will begin to notice two things. First, that nothing is ever as bad as it seems. Secondly, that even when things are bad, there is always something you can learn that will make us better off in the end.

So why not try it? Instead of thinking “Why me?” or “Poor me.”, let’s try thinking, “What can I learn?” and “What CAN I DO?” If you can’t change the situation, you can always change your attitude.

So, what has helped you face challenges with optimism? Have you ever seen a situation in which you could see how a more positive attitude would improve it?