You Are Terrific

This summer we went on our annual Not Back To School outing at a wonderful warm springs pool. Every year we have a family or two join us for the day. At lunch time we meet at some picnic tables and devour the foodstuffs we brought from home. Each year as I pack our lunches, I ponder what my friend Kylene will pack for her family. She always seems to have very nutritious items and I must confess I feel as if I must mirror her food choices, you know…so I look like I’m a good mom. If she serves her family rice crackers, I can’t very well bring potato chips. I mean, come on. What would that say about me? Hey, I’m confessing here. I didn’t say it was rational.

Well, this last summer, Kylene admitted I was the one that intimidated her. We were both astonished. And I was left in shock that I could be the one that looked like I had it all together, when clearly it was her who was organized and intelligent. This affected me so much that I stopped blogging. All I’ve ever wanted was to inspire women. To encourage them to be all that God has made them to be. And here was evidence that I was anything, but inspiring. I was actually causing another to feel less of a mom. Ugh! Not a fun moment. Defining, yes. Fun? No.

I tell you this not in hopes you will comment and tell me how very encouraging I have been to you (although I wouldn’t be upset if you did), but to say, “Hey! Let’s wake up, women! We’ve got to stop this nonsense. We MUST choose to tell our friends how great we think they are.” If I had ever stopped to tell Kylene what a great mom I think she is, how I think she’s fabulous for the way she feeds her family, how I love that she is so conscientious about taking her part in going green, how I love the way she homeschools her children and how smart I think all of them are, and how I wish I had just a pinky portion of her creative talent, then maybe I wouldn’t be so intimidating. Just a thought. Maybe it wouldn’t work.

But I’m just saying, we as moms/grandmoms/women don’t always get the ‘Attaboys’ we need. Our culture is not set up that way anymore. We’re rushing from one place to the other, busier than any of our ancestors have been. And the rules of living are so different. We’re faced with an immeasurable amount of decisions our grandmas or even our mothers didn’t have to face.  Most of us are guessing at how to do this life with no one to help us measure what a good job looks like.

I know the world my mom grew up in is very different than the one in which my kids are growing up. My mom, as a parent, didn’t have to wonder about how to restrict computer/Facebook/texting/Netflix time. She didn’t have to push us to go play outside. There just weren’t a lot of things to keep our interest inside. There weren’t kids’ programing on TV twenty-four hours a day. There weren’t gluten allergies or kids with ADHD or Asperger’s Syndrome. My mom has no personal experience with many of the things the 2011 Mom deals with today. Now, that isn’t to say she doesn’t have valuable things to say, I still need and treasure her advice, it’s just that if she’s at a loss at what to do, boy, oh boy, so am I.

And most of the time, I’m guessing whether I’m doing a good job or not.  And since I know I could always do better, I often opt for the ‘Not Doing So Well’ grade. Let’s be honest, many of us think we are C average women. We’re exceptional at many things, but there are other areas of our lives that need work. And if you are like most women I know, you choose to focus on the ‘Needs Work’.

Music Man reminded me of a phrase he heard from a friend on Facebook,

“Tell a girl she’s pretty; she’ll forget it in an hour.

Tell a girl she’s ugly; she’ll remember every time she looks in the mirror.”

Where am I going with all of this? God reminded me this morning how much we women need to be authentic about our challenges and encouraging to each other. I got a call from a friend today who suffers from fibromyalgia. She’s thinking that her body would benefit a gluten, dairy and sugar free diet, but she’s leery about beginning for fear it will be awful. As I shared with her that I would gladly hold her hand and walk her through, she expressed her gratitude. She explained that eating a special diet can feel very isolating, and to know that there is another who would be willing to walk the road with her was comforting and encouraging.

I realized that God still has a plan for me. I need to take my defining moment and learn from it, not run from it. Yes, God designed me to encourage women. To help them face their giants. To tell them they can do it. But at the same time to be real. To share my hurts and my weaknesses. And then to purposely recognize the giftings of those around me. And then tell them.

Couldn’t we all use a friend like that? Someone to encourage, inspire and just be our biggest fan. Someone to say, “I’ve been watching you, and you’re doing a great job. Keep up the hard work. You are making a difference.” Let’s vow to be this for each other. And know that all this stuff I put on this blog is my way of sharing what I am learning. And just that. No more. You do not get to beat yourself up because you’ve never made kefir or have no desire to make your own mozzarella.  Someday, you might be interested. And when you are, come on back and visit. Otherwise, just be entertained by my craziness.

I really do think you are terrific. Keep up the hard work. You are making a difference.

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About kathleen

I'm a stay at home chicken momma with 2 boys and a very understanding husband. In December of '09, we moved to our dream farm. I'm excited to try to become more self-sufficient. So far I have 1 rooster, 9 chickens, 2 goats (some babies on their way this spring), 1 llama, a dog, and a cat. Come along and join us, as we city-slickers figure out how to make our own homestead. You're sure to be entertained.
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14 Responses to You Are Terrific

  1. Nicole Timm says:

    Kathleen…you made me cry..BUT in a good way. Your writing is amazing, and inspirational to say the least. Thank you for sharing with us. Have a blessed day my friend.

  2. kathleen says:

    Nicole,
    I’m so glad it touched you, and thank you for the compliment.

    You are one of those amazing women I am so glad to have been able to get to know a bit. I am constantly amazed at the wonderful things you do with your boys. I can tell you are a such a loving mom and that your boys are going to be wonderful men. And I try not to envy your creative talents.

    Thanks for being my soccer mom friend.

  3. Stephanie says:

    Kathleen you are loved! ? I appreciate your writing, all that you share. I too, have felt like you feel at times, well many times in fact. Especially when comparing my homeschooling style with other moms. I always feel like my kids are missing something, or they’re not going to be well rounded. Thank you for sharing this. You are correct, in the fact that we really do need to tell each other over and over again, how great a job we’re doing with, just about EVERYTHING! Thank you again, for sharing your heart, and please don’t quit blogging again, I love, love, love reading your posts!

  4. Dawna says:

    I vow to try harder to be one of those friends. You are right, we can all use more encouragement.

  5. kathleen says:

    Stephanie,
    Thanks so much for your wonderful words. You, my friend, are truly amazing. I watch you in wonder. I wonder how it is possible for one woman to accomplish so much and help so many people. God has truly gifted you as a leader and given you a heart for reaching out to women especially. I admire your ability to run a homeschool group, run your own family business, a food coop, prepare healthy meals for your family and homeschool too. Your kids are wonderful people and so smart too. Thanks for being my friend. You are a blessing to me.

  6. Misty says:

    It was sad to read one of the reasons you stopped blogging for a while, but I greatly admire your transparency in sharing with us why. Love you friend and am blessed to go through this adventure we call life, with you. What a ride its been so far, I wouldn’t dare predict what the future could hold!

  7. Mary Zogg says:

    Dear Kathleen,
    I just read this as I am friends with Stephanie and it did bless me and made me cry. Thank you for your honesty and encouragement to be authentic. Stephanie is one of my daughters friends who is also a home school mom. I have so much admiration for these young mothers who strive to give their children the upbringing that will shape their lives to be better people. I want to tell them all how much I admire them and wish I could have a do over to be more like them. I know they are making sacrifices but the ones that count. As a daughter, mom and grandma I
    feel like I wasn’t good enough or didn’t do a good enough job but I know this is not about me and it is about how we can make a difference in our daughters, their friends and in the children. I am amazed at my daughter Geri and her home school friends and all they accomplish with field trips, sharing resources, the skill of homeschooling their children, the efforts in feeding them nutritious meals and especially teaching them God’s word and that good character does matter. I know these moms get tired and I would just like to encourage them to keep doing what they are doing and that it will be worth it and that they all deserve a gold star! They are terrific! Thanks for saying it so well. Blessings!

  8. kathleen says:

    Dawna,
    I vow to be one of those friends for you as well, sweet friend. I am so glad to have you in my life. You provide me with a listening ear so much. When I need to unload or sort through messy thoughts, you allow me to give it all to you. And you are not afraid to say, “Um…that sounds like pride to me, Kathleen.” Wow. I so appreciate you. You dazzle me with your spacial skills, your incredible knitting speed, knitting beauties you create, your desire to do what is right, your devotion to your sweet husband, and your incredibly grounded and intelligent children. Despite what you think about your parenting skills, your boys are going to be amazing men. I can see their love for you…and respect. You are a great mom!!!

  9. kathleen says:

    Misty,
    Thank you. I am so glad to be on this adventure with you as well. You inspire me to keep learning, keep researching, keep looking for the truth. Every conversation with you causes me to yearn for more from this life…be it from Jesus, food, family, marriage, education. Wisdom oozes from you, my friend. I have always admired your willingness to be authentic. You’ve made me brave. Thanks for listening to my ‘stuff’ and not judging, but lovingly searching for answers with me. I have always admired your ability to get down on the floor and play with your girls. And of course, your cooking…well I don’t call you Chez Misty for nothing. 🙂 You’ve amazed me by how you put your husband in a good light even in your frustration. You are an amazing woman.

  10. kathleen says:

    Mary!!! My Weekenders buddy! I’m so glad you came by. And thank you so much for your beautiful words. I know Geri and she’s a wonderful mother and woman. You HAD to have had something to do with that!

    Thanks for your willingness to speak up and encourage us younger moms. We need you!!! Your grandkids are so fortunate to have such a fabulous Grandma. You’re doing a great job. Keep up the great work. I’m rooting for you!

  11. Rachel says:

    Oh sweet Kathleen…
    First of all, I’ve so missed your blog. It was so disappointing to check and….still the llama entry. For months! Please keep writing. You are so inspirational, uplifting, thought provoking and are sharing talents God gave you, which bless us. Thanks for the reminder to encourage others and not to keep quiet AND to embrace how God made us and stop comparing! God is showing me how flawed we ALL are..how humbling, yet encouraging. I love you!
    Rachel

  12. Samurai Mom says:

    O, Kathleen, I am SO sorry I made you feel like you couldn’t blog, I like intimidation, it’s like a challenge! I think you are great. Love you, Kylene

  13. Mama Baer says:

    Kathleen, I don’t always have time to read or comment on all the blogs I try to read. I can relate to what Mary wrote about having a “do-over” but I am so thankful that God isn’t finished with any of us yet. We are so blessed to have you in our family and to see you modeling patience when I have none – especially dealing with your mom in law — your sweet smile helps me more times than you will ever know. Thanks for writing the sweet story about her special Christmas eve memory too. Keep writing and we’ll keep reading . . . 🙂

  14. kathleen says:

    Kylene, I think your awesome! But then I already mentioned all the things I admire about you, besides you help me name the farm. 🙂 You didn’t make me feel like not blogging. It was that I felt as if I was doing more harm than good. It was comparing myself with you that was the mistake. God made me different. And I am so glad He made you different too. I’ll have to remember that you like to be intimidated. Hee. hee.

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