Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What Do You Stand For???

Dear Claire,

There will probably be at least, a few times in your life, when something just doesn't sit right with you.  You will witness something that just feels wrong - in your heart and in your gut.

It will be your decision whether to speak up.  You won't always speak up and that's okay, but sometimes you will.

In order to speak up, you have to know what you stand for.  What do you believe in?  How do you feel people should be treated?  Do some people deserve to be mistreated?  What bothers you?  What keeps you up at night wondering?

What you stand for will change and grow as you do.  Your perspectives and beliefs may widen at times and narrow at others.  This is okay.  This is part of life.

You'll also learn, that in life, there is very little, that is black and white.  Almost everything lies somewhere in between, in the gray area.   

Once you figure out what you stand for, don't focus on shoving it down everybody else's throat.  You have your beliefs, and they have theirs.  Share you feelings, ideas, and opinions and allow others to share their's.  Listen to them.  Really listen.  It is often that there is no wrong, only different areas of right.  So just listen and learn from the people you know and the people you meet.

Some of the things I stand for:

1. People being treated with respect and kindness regardless of how they look.
2. People choosing their religious, or lack thereof, beliefs.
3. People having second, third, and fourth chances in life, but not neccessarily with the same people.
4. Healthy relationships where both people are safe, happy, and thriving.
5. Listening to someone's story to get the full sense of where they have been, where they are now, and where they hope to be going.

What do you stand for?????

Love Mom  

Monday, September 17, 2012

Be Grateful

Dear Claire,

Growing up in a stereo-typical, middle-class family in a small Canadian town means, that it may at times, be difficult to understand and recognize, how truly fortunate you are.

Most of your classmates and friends will have shoes on their feet, clothes on their backs, and a roof over their head.  Many of them will get to play soccer each summer and go skating in the winter.  Some of them will go on family vacations, have cottages, and always have the newest technology.

Chances are, you'll probably want to have and do all of these things, and I hope that you are able to.

There's nothing wrong with having, and doing, and experiencing the best that life has to offer, as long as you are grateful and appreciate all that you have.

Unfortunately, there is no way you'll be able to appreciate what you have, unless you recognize all the things many people in our community, country, and world live without.  You won't really appreciate going on a vacation until you learn that many people never get a few hundred kilometers past the town they were born in.  You won't appreciate your new 'back-to-school' clothes, until you know of a family who is struggling just to buy new shoes.

One day, if you work hard in school and are able to save extra money, you may be able to travel and see first-hand what real poverty looks like; then you will really appreciate all that you have.

Until then you can get a glimpse of poverty, war, imprisonment, and all the other struggles I hope you never personally experience, through good literature, through reading the newspaper, and through watching the news.  Hopefully this will help you empathize with people whether you know them or not.  Hopefully this will help you appreciate all the gifts you were given due only to your place of birth.  And above all, hopefully this will encourage you to help others in whatever way you are able.

Here are some great books I read growing up which truly altered the way I saw other people and the struggles that were forced upon them:

Here are some that I read as I got older...

Love you when you know how lucky you are!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Does Anyone Do Aerobics Anymore?

Dear Claire,

When I was growing up there this fantastic show called 'The 20 Minute Workout'.  It "starred" three nameless women who wore the most fabulous body suits, tights, sweatbands, and of course...leg warmers.

They had big hair, big blue eyeshadow, and did old-school aerobics for twenty minutes (hence the show's name).

Anyway, obviously you were suppossed to set up your workout mat in the living room and follow along, but I was just a kid so I just sat and watched. This was a time before 'Tree Hosue' so there clearly wasn't children's televison shows playing 24/7.

What I learned from watching this show is that doing aerobics sucks, but being in good health is important.

Hmmm...what's a girl to do?

Do something that gets your heart rate up, makes you sweat a bit, but most importantly - do something you enjoy!  If you pick something you actually like, it won't be so painful to go and do it.

Pick a sport, a dance class, circuit training, yoga, roller blading, running - try them all!

And if you don't like any of them, then I guess you'll just have to do 'The 20 Minute Workout' over YouTube. Sucker.

Love you when you're breaking a sweat!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Timeless Tuesday - Sewing

Dear Claire,

Sewing is one of the best skills to have!  It is wonderful to be able to hem your own pants, fix a button, and even create your own clothes and household items.

All the most famous and fabulous fashion designers can sew, so put yourself in lovely company and learn this timeless skill.

Love Mom

Super handy!

Super Fun!

Super Coco!

Super Retro!

Super Best Ever Mr. Valentino!

Monday, September 10, 2012

It's Their Problem, Not Yours

Dear Claire,

One day, if you become a mother, be prepared to receive an avalanche of "questions", "concerns" and "advice" from friends, family, acquaintaneces and of course, complete strangers.

People are going to want to know what type of labor you're planning (natural or medicated?!), if you're going to breast or bottle feed, what school you're going to send your children to, what solids you plan on feeding them, what clubs you'll sign them up for, and on and on and on.

You'll be able to tell if people ask you these questions because they truly care about you and your children, because they'll be a huge fan and one-hundred percent supportive of whatever your answers are.

If they question and critique your choices and/or decisions, chances are they're just trying to make themselves feel better about the decisions they've made.  It's not your problem.

Here's the thing...parenting is mostly a guessing game and usually done through trial and error.  Sure there's some decisions made based on your values, but most of the time you're just  making decisions based on what feels best for you and your family. 

You don't ever have to explain or justify your parenting decisions to anyone.  As long as you feel right about what you're doing, than you've done a fantastic job. 

So my advice to you is to take the critics with a grain of salt, and just be grateful that you're happy and confident in whatever way you've chosen to raise your beautiful children.

Love you and your choices!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Timeless Tuesdays - Romantic Movies

Dear Claire,

If there`s one thing that`s timeless it`s romantic movies...people (I`m assuming mostly women) love them!

Now, I am the least cheesy-romantic person in the world.  It just gives me the heebie-geebies and makes me roll my eyes.

However, there is one romantic film that I LOVE.  Gone With The Wind.

Maybe it`s because the romance is hidden in between the deaths of three husbands, slavery, a civil war, trying to steal a best-friend`s husband, and the death of a child.  Just as I`m about to roll my eyes, the romance is over and I can go on watching.

But honestly, the romance in this film is great, because Scarlett is one tough woman and she makes her men work for it.

God, I love that girl.

Love you too Claire-Bear.

p.s. - If you want me to buy you the complete `Gone With The Wind`Barbie collection, I will.  But don`t me mad if I play with them when you`re not home.