Sunday, September 26, 2010

The "B" word....

** I offer you my sincerest apologies for the length of this post.  The topic of bullying came up for me this morning and I felt it was worth posting my thoughts, with the new school year well under way our children are once again experiencing bullying on the playground.  My perception of this issue is my own and I do not expect anyone else to agree with me.  This is a touchy subject with parents all over the world and I respect everyone's ideals and beliefs about it. **

I'm sure we've all had an occasion where we've dealt with a bully in our lives, and watching our children go through it can be excruciating and we often don't know how to approach the issue.

As a parent of children who have experienced bullying in the school, I think it's important to first keep an open mind.  When your child comes through the door after a day at school and unloads all the stuff that made him uncomfortable about the day, take the time to ask some important questions to try and sift through what may be your child's insecurities and not a bullying issue at all.

My middle son used to come home and say to me "everybody at school hates me!"  I would then ask him "who is everybody?"  After some investigation, I would find that there was one child specifically who made it his duty to create conflict everyday with him, would work towards getting other kids to join in the conflict and make him feel like everyone disliked him.  To a child who just wants acceptance from other children, it is easy to get caught up in the feeling that "everybody hates me".  We do it as adults as well.  It's our ego's way of filling us with more fear and insecurity about ourselves.

I didn't "poo poo" his statement about everyone hating him, I questioned it.  I questioned why he felt the way he did.  I questioned what happened to bring about the supposed hate he was feeling.  I question everything until I got to the heart of the matter, which usually always turns out to be an insecurity that my son is nurturing in the moment.

I also let my children know from the beginning that I am interested in only the truth of the situation.  That I am not interested in embellishments or twists in wording.  Just the simple truth and the facts so that I can guide them to a solution that will be most effective.  When you are engaged in this kind of conversation with your child you can usually pick up on the subtle queues they are giving to indicate they are not being completely honest either in what their role was in the situation or the role of others.

My boys also know that I am not the kind of parent that will run to the first school official or parent to unleash a wrath of anger and assumptions (however tempting that sometimes is).  I work to give them the tools they need to deal with the situation themselves (we have yet to have a circumstance where parental intervention is required, they have been quite capable of handling it themselves with support from myself and my husband.  If it were to escalate I would certainly step in, of course with documentation of what has transpired in the past).

By taking these steps I am providing my children with the necessary skills to dig deeper into a situation to find a solution without over reacting to it.  I am allowing them to become more aware and to learn from their peer group.  I am also allowing them to take responsibility for their relationships, something they will definitely need to know how to do in the future.

What I find has happened over the years is that the term "bullying" has been used to describe everything from physical threats to emotional abuse to a simple disagreement between children.

So what is bullying really?  Bullying Canada describes bullying as "someone who hurts or scares another person on purpose and the person being bullied has a hard time defending themselves".  I will add that it is usually directed at a someone the bully feels is weaker than they are and is a consistent ongoing behaviour with the bully, it is not a random act.  A true bullying situation demoralizes and alienates the person being bullied and has lasting emotional effects on the "victim".

Not every situation that your child encounters that makes him uncomfortable is a bullying situation. 

Bullies have an agenda.  It is always in their best interest to manipulate another person, beit another child or a even their own parent. 

I don't agree that bullying build character and that children should just "suck it up" and I never inform my boys to do this.

What I have learned over the years is that despite well intentioned educators, the children who are being bullied are largely ignored when they submit a complaint about another child.  A reason for this is that the bully is often a repeat offender and the parents are unresponsive to phone calls home and disciplinary action that needs to be taken and so the bully is given more power and is able to continue with his destructive behaviour.  This is when I decided to coach my children and to give them a safe place to talk about their feelings and dig deeper into what can be done to alleviate the problem.

For example, my own children have made a decision to no longer associate with a boy in the neighbourhood because this boy decided that one day he would carry a utility knife "for protection from people who are mean to him".  They decided to tell this boy that they would no longer be riding their bikes to school with him or spending time with him after school because they felt uncomfortable around him.

This was not the first time my boys had been in an uncomfortable position with this boy, and had on countless occasions witnessed him manipulating, criticizing and demeaning another neighbourhood boy.

This boy went home to his mother and told his mother that my sons were being mean to him and that they were bullying him.  We've known this family for years and have known about this boys tendencies for a while now.  The mother confronted my sons without my knowledge or permission while they were playing with friends.

This mother is not doing her son any favours.  She is actually enabling her son in his sociopathic behaviour.

It's important as parents to recognize our children's tendencies.  It is important to learn more about how they interact with other children, pay attention to conversations they have, how they respond to others and how they deal with conflict.

It can be as easy as listening at the window when your children are outside playing with friends.

By doing just this I learned that my youngest son likes things his way, he likes to have everyone playing a part when they play.  Other children will often go off and play at something else when he gets a little too obsessive about it and he ends up playing on his own.  Eventually he will learn how to play in a more balanced way because he will experience this over and over again, this is how children learn to be social.  If I stepped in and cleared things up or instructed the other children to play his way, I would be enabling his behaviour and he would never learn to socialize "properly" and he wouldn't be a someone anyone would want to associate with.

If this particular mother were to better understand her son, she could effectively help him to realize why he feels the need to intimidate and demoralize other children.  The other children he is involved with are trying to teach him proper socialization and she is standing in the way of this natural process and growth.

Helping our children through these times is not easy, we have to be diligent with every opportunity and we have to be respectful of everyone involved.

This is not an easy thing to do.  It is not easy to let go and let our children learn through their peer group.  It is not easy to take a good hard look at our beloved child and see that they are struggling and need help.

However, we MUST confidently step into what is not easy to effect positive change in our children's world.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Note to self: get out of the way!

Does it ever feel like there is always something getting in the way of your success or holding you back from getting what you want out of life?

It often feels this way to me.

I can go along for months gaining momentum with each opportunity that comes up only to find that one day I wake up to a brick wall where there was no brick wall before!

I often wondered why this happens. 

Well, maybe "wondered" isn't the right term.  I've always known why this happens, I CHOOSE to ignore it, hoping it will go away!

Does this sound familiar?

For example, the one area of my life that could use a boost is my relationship with my business.

I can pinpoint exact moments when I sabotage this relationship and to be honest I am no longer disappointed when things don't go exactly as I had originally planned because...well....I know I'm sabotaging it.

So today someone asked me the question "in the deepest part of yourself why are you sabotaging your relationship with your business?" 

My answer shocked the heck out of me.

I replied "I'm afraid of becoming successful because then I may not have the time to spend with my family the way I want to spend it". 

I equate "success" with working like a dog 24/7 because that is all I've known, it's what I was taught.  I have not fully integrated the vision of success being whatever the hell I WANT it to be.  And the reality is it would look like having oodles of time to spend with my family!

The other thought I have associated with success is "who do you think you are, what have you possibly done to deserve success?"

The moment I spoke the words it felt utterly ridiculous.  Who is afraid of success?  What a stupid fear?  I'm so ashamed that I've had this fear and it's been holding me back...

But wait a minute....

In the moment I voiced that fear.  In the moment I finally acknowledged it's existence instead of sweeping it under the rug I felt a shift in my perception.

I had been holding myself back through indulging this fear.  It doesn't have anything to do with anyone but me!

I began to notice my whole body start to feel heavy, a calm and peaceful relaxed heaviness came over me and I could feel that the acknowledgement had somewhat released the grip that this fear had on me.

To me fears indicate a missing piece to a puzzle.  It's frustrating to have missing pieces to a puzzle, isn't it?  If we dig deeper into our fears we begin to uncover those missing pieces and bit by bit we can put the puzzle together and in doing so we make ourselves whole once again.

What is your biggest fear when it comes to meeting your full life potential?

Are you ignoring this fear hoping it will go away?

What is it going to take for you to release this fear and take the next step toward living an inspired life?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The gift.....

Evolving and growing has always been a fascinating process to me.

I liken it to opening a gift.

You know that big juicy gift that is sitting on top of the table along with all of the other gifts.  The anticipation of knowing that you'll soon have your hands on something mysterious.  Will it be an easy journey to what is inside or will it take a process of removing layer up on layer of gift wrap?  Will there be a picture on the box to give you a hint of what's to come or will the instructions be written in a foreign language and require some assembly?

Anymore, when I lay my head on my pillow at night I know that I am saying goodbye to the person I was during that day and preparing for a new life that will come with the rising of the sun.

I've come to realize over the years that growth is inevitable, whether you are prepared or not it happens.  Sometimes we don't recognize growth until many months later and we take a moment to survey our life and realize that there isn't much that is recognizable anymore.

We spend a lot of time resisting change in our lives, only to notice one day that despite all of that hard work and energy towards keeping everything the same, life has changed regardless.

Sometimes we resist change because it simply feels more exciting to be engaged and feeling productive than it is to surrender to the unknown and let go of our control.

And sometimes the Universe comes in and kicks you in the butt to get you moving in the right direction.

We've all experienced this sort of kick in the butt.  Though we recognize that it created enough of a shift to stimulate change, we may not have known it was intentional.

Whatever occurs is the Universe's way of telling you it's time to move on.

For instance, I lost a file folder on my memory stick today by accident as I was "cleaning up" information.  This seemed like a very big deal to me in the moment.  I was initially devastated about losing it, and at the same time do you think I could remember what was in that file?  My body and mind were telling me "that was important, and you just lost it all" and my heart was telling me "you no longer need that information as a crutch or guide, it's time to let it go".  And let it go I did.

My point is that we never know what is underneath that wrapping paper.  It could be something easy or it could be something difficult.

You should know though, the more difficult the circumstance the greater the reward.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My friend the full moon.....NOT!

Really... Do we need a full moon EVERY month?


It's gorgeous to look at, terrific at lighting up the night sky (keeping you awake all night with it's brilliance) and absolutely the most effective way to throw me off whack!

We've heard it all before "the crazies come out and my kids are uncontrollable during a full moon".

Have you noticed what it does to your own sanity?

With each full moon I find myself once again considering the reason I feel like I can't think straight, focus or become productive in anything during that phase. My brain is like 75% water and the moon governs the flow and tides of water (I know I am not sounding like a genius here, most likely because I am NOT a genius, I'm just trying to make a point. Bare with me).

During the week leading up to a full moon, I can be found staring into space for long periods of time. This creeps out the other customers in Walmart btw. And if you see me in this state, please be a friend and find me somewhere to sit so I'll be comfortable.

I can also be found wandering aimlessly around the house not sure what I was doing or where I was going.

Currently, the vacuum is still in mid pass, the bubbles have gone from my dish water, I have a 1/2 finished piece of art sitting out, I have not showered (yes, that's what that smell is) and lo and behold I have been sidetracked once again by facebook.

It really is frustrating, I really only have 2 good weeks in the month, considering next week puts me smack dab in full blown PMS! Sorry TMI!

I have yet to find a cure for the effects of the full moon (unless you count vodka, but that's more of a cover up than a cure).

Sometimes I feel it would be best just to stay in bed and hope it passes just as quickly as it showed up.

Then I get out of bed (usually for a bathroom visit), forget my genius plan to stay under the covers and end up starting the madness all over again....


Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Competitive Life

Life can be so competitive sometimes.  What's with that?

We compete in business, we compete in our relationships, we compete as mothers, we compete as neighbours.  Competition is everywhere!  And the stress of that is having a not so nice effect on our bodies, minds and spirits.

Do you sometimes feel like you are running a race and you have no idea who you are racing against or where you are running to?  There's just a sense of needing to do something MORE, something BETTER than the next guy.

In business this is of course what society has taught us.  "It's a dog eat dog world out there" I found myself saying to a friend yesterday.  Do I believe this?  Do you believe this?  And is this belief contributing to yours (and my) occasional need to succeed and the misery we experience in the process?  You bet!

I've never been an overly competitive person.  In highschool I chose cheerleading over other sports, I have never fought another girl for a boy, I don't feel a need to have the latest gadgets, vehicles or material items just because someone else has them and I enjoy losing just as much as winning.

So when this feeling of needing to compete comes about, I know that it is not a natural part of who I am.  I know this first of all because it doesn't feel good for me to think about having to compete.

I do work diligently at shifting this belief and I'll tell you why.

What happens when I get stuck in the competitive thinking brain is that nothing happens in my business, no new ideas, no new plans, no new clients.  It also affects my personal life and how I deal with my family and friends.  When I shift my thinking as this belief comes in is that I begin to feel more energized inside, the ideas begin to flow, I am more accepting of my personal limitations and boundaries, I am more focused on who I am and what I want to offer my clients, my family and the world.

So for me it is extremely important to not get caught up in the competitive forces that are forever at work.

How do I shift the belief?  For one thing I know for certain that every being on this planet has gifts to share with the world, in their own unique way.  Each of us has come into this life with an agenda and a goal that we will work to bring to fruition during this lifetime.  What I have found for myself is that competition slows down my process of growth because it keeps me in a state of fear.  As much as fear can be a motivator it can also act as a resistor to what you desire to manifest.  So I remind myself of this.

Then I focus only on me and my business.  I don't get caught up in how many other people are working in my field.  I don't make it my business to know who is doing what and when.  I don't work to try and "one up" someone.

Maybe this is all sounds a little naive to the business minded people out there, I just don't think that owning a business means you have to become ruthless and competitive towards the other people working in your industry.

I run my business the same way I live my life.  From my heart.  If something feels good, I will pursue it.  If I have an idea I feel would be fun to incorporate and useful to my clientele, I bring it to life.

For me, true success isn't going to come from the number of clients I have in my book or the bottom line at the end of the day.  It's going to come from the knowledge that everything I have done, I have done because I believed in it and it brought me joy.

Monday, September 13, 2010

What are you waiting for?

When was the last time you explored life?

You know, the last time you did something out of the ordinary.  Behaved totally unlike your usual self.  Took a risk regardless of the fear that nagged at you in your mind.

I've done a bit of this lately.  And each time it has set me on a path I had no idea I was going to be walking along.

It started with a trip to a local retirement home at the request of a good friend.  She invited me to come by and take the seniors through a pastel art workshop.

I was a little nervous (okay ALOT nervous) about doing this since, I DON'T TEACH ART!  In my opinion I'm just "playing" with pastels and I have nothing to offer by way of HOW to draw!

Still I went along with it.  The seniors loved the experience, one of them even had her daughter run out and get her some art supplies so she could continue on her own.  A wonderful compliment to my ability to impersonate an art teacher {smile}.

This next one is kind of funny actually.  I've been wanting to revisit my pursuit of effectively communicating with angel guides.  I've done this for years for myself and really had only ever done an "angel message" for one other person and that was about 4 years ago!

So, I decided I would put the word out on facebook that I was in need of some practice and if anyone would like to help me out by being a "victim" I would really appreciate it.

Lo and behold I got 30 responses!  A little more than the 2 I was expecting.

The kicker is that I received feedback from more than half of the readings and they were all very accurate and helpful!  I have now been offered all sorts of opportunities to continue in this line of "work" which is really cool.....and scary....and cool!

My point here is not to go on and on about all the new stuff happening with me, rather I'm looking to show you how if you just step a little bit outside of your comfort zone you never know what good fortune might crop up for you. 

Especially if you find the fun within the stepping outside part.... 

Because in the end, it's the fun that brings you the fortune when you explore life!

Sunday, September 12, 2010


You know when you plug through life doing the best you can, always wondering "am I really doing the best I can?" or "what if what I'm doing isn't good enough?".

Maybe you don't, but I do on occasion....  Okay, who am I kidding...  I wonder about this ALL THE TIME  It's an obsession really.....

I can't tell you how many evening prayers end in "and if you could please send me some sort of progress/report card I would sooo appreciate it, K?  Thanks".

Well, this week I got what appears to be an answer to that prayer.  Well, not the kind you get in the brown envelope with your name on it, the kind that looks like your kids doing an amazing job transitioning into their new school.

I never had to experience this as a kid.  Moving anywhere.  I lived in the same house from the day I was born until the day I moved out at 18 and I stayed with the same friends all through public and high school, some of them stuck with me through marriage and kids.  So, I had no idea what to expect when it came to asking my boys to leave all of their friends behind.

I was really nervous for them, crossing my fingers that they made at least one friend they felt comfortable with and who would make this transition a bit smoother.

Needless to say my worrying was completely unnecessary.

My kids went into that school like little pros.  Picked up every kid they could lay their eyes on and pronounced them friends.  It really was amazing to watch!  To hear the stories of all the children they were meeting and how much they love their new school.  It made my heart fill right up!

I thought of it again today as my son and I rode our bikes side by side to a new friends house so he could hang out.  I thought about how I rarely ever take credit for these types of things in my children's lives, I've been home with them for 12 years now and I truly believe that if it weren't for that constant nurturing and coaching they wouldn't be the confident, true to themselves people that they are today.

So today I am going to take this week as a progress report.  I'm going to read it as though there are a bunch of A+'s on that sucker (since I rarely EVER got A's in school) and hold my head up proud.

Like every mother should when their child succeeds at something!

Who wouldn't befriend these guys???

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Becoming Responsible

This is one of the main points (I believe) of becoming more self aware and spiritually evolved (and by spiritually evolved, I mean more connected to your divine state). 

It is one of the main points to finding true peace and empowerment in your life. 

Becoming responsible for yourself. 

Ask yourself these questions:  Who has responsibility over your happiness?  Your level of self esteem?  Your success?  Your thoughts?  Your goals?  Your dreams?  Your anger?  Your lack of financial independence?  Your relationships?

Very rarely do we accept ownership or responsibility for these things in our life.  How silly is that?  I mean why do we want to give our ability to be happy over to someone who has no idea what happiness even looks like?  Or what about making it someone else's duty to ensure our self esteem levels are at a healthy standard when their own self esteem is suffering?

It's an utterly ridiculous concept and still we see it all too often, don't we?

We put expectations on friends to ensure we are entertained when we are in need.  We complain to our spouses that we aren't happy in the relationship and place the blame on their shoulders.  Our children insist it is you who must find them something to do when they are bored.

Granted, it's a beautiful thing to love someone so much that you try to make them happy, successful, wealthy and fulfilled.  However, it's a much more beautiful thing if you insist on being the person that does this for yourself and encourage those around you to consider the same.

We take a wrong turn in life when we hand over power and control to someone outside of ourselves.  It results in internal and external conflict, marriages fail and friendships implode, people become increasingly miserable and blame everything under the sun on external sources.

This behaviour does nothing more than feed the victim within.  The person inside of us that insists on not taking responsibility for their life absolutely loves being able to blame someone else for their misfortune.

It's not fair when you think about it.  The husband who has been put in charge of his wife's happiness will most surely fail.  There is no room for success since he most likely hasn't got a clue as to what makes her happy (how many women actually know what will make them happy)!

The point is, there is only one person who can be responsible, who has control over your happiness and that person is YOU.

How do you become more responsible?  How do you take charge of your life? 

Here are some tips:

1)  You want to become aware of your emotions in every situation.  Our feelings are our first indicator that we need to explore more deeply.  If you are feeling sad, it isn't because someone caused you to become sad, it is because you placed unfair expectations on another person or experience and the outcome disappointed you, therefore you are responsible for your own sadness.

2)  You want to actively engage in "turning it around".  If Joe is frustrating you because he won't pick up his socks turn it around "Joe should pick up his socks" becomes "I should pick up his socks".  If you want something done and no one is doing it (regardless of your nagging) take responsibility and do it yourself since you are the only one that wants it done anyway.

3)  Remember that no matter what the situation looks like on the outside, people are NOT out to get you, they are NOT out to make your life miserable and there is NOT a personal vendetta against you.  When we get to this place inside of our heads we really have no sense of responsibility for our selves and so it feels like every single person on the planet is against our quest for happiness.  Again, awareness of these thoughts is a great first step because awareness moves us into a new phase of growth and realization.  To get past this you can use the "turning it around" tip.

I have to say that it has been my experience that becoming responsible is not all that hard.  Since the reward is almost always automatic in that you begin to feel empowered and that is where the domino effect starts to happen.

Soon, you will be able to recognize when someone is putting their responsibility on you and you can make the wise decision of not accepting it.  When we accept the responsibility of making someone else happy, or useful or whatever we are perpetuating the problem.

And we all know where that road leads......

Simply J is a self awareness mentor and certified Reiki teacher. 

If you wish to learn more about her work visit

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A trip to Lavender Sense

As a last sort of hurrah before school began, I took my 2 youngest sons (ages 10 & 13) to a Bed & Breakfast retreat in Wallacetown, Ontario called Lavender Sense.

We treated ourselves to 3 days and 2 nights at the Bed & Breakfast and enjoyed all there was to see and do while we were there.

The Lavender Sense property has acres of Carolinian forest with nature trails to walk through or sit within and enjoy the peaceful serenity of the birds singing.

My boys had a great time laying in the hammocks that were placed amongst the trees in the forest, finding treasures in snail shells and beetle carcasses that had long been left behind when whatever moth or butterfly emerged from them.

There is breathtaking artwork hanging amongst the trees in the forest as well, giving it an even more peaceful feeling.

There is a rocky beach about 5 minutes down the road where you can beach comb for interesting shaped rocks, fossils and driftwood.  We brought our reusable bags with us as the boys and I LOVE to find beach treasures.  I loaded my bag with a half dozen large heart shaped stones! 

Sitting by the pond feeding the fish, trying to spot the painted turtle and walking through the rows and rows of lavender plants was another way we spent our time.  The boys even clipped their own lavender to take home with them at the end of our trip.

The bed & breakfast itself is amazing!  This century home is filled with natural hardwood floors and oak trim.  With an angel decorum throughout the home it feels so serene, it's easy to find a cozy corner to rest and read.

The owners of the B&B are so welcoming and loving, it felt as though we were home and not at a B&B at all.  Within the home there is an angel gift shop as well as a lavender boutique filled with oils, cookbooks, jams, teas and all sorts of other wonderful lavender treasures.

This was my first experience staying at a bed and breakfast and I will certainly do it again, very soon.

The Andersen's were very accomodating to my son who is a vegetarian and to the boys themselves, suggesting things to keep them occupied for those rare moments they found themselves with nothing to do!

I highly recommend Lavender Sense as a place to visit during any season, they are open year round and I hear there is easy access to a toboganning hill close by!

I felt as though this retreat was filled with abundance, I could feel it as we arrived and I was filled with it when we left.

Check them out here and see all of the workshops and events they have planned for the year!

If you're looking for a relaxing, quiet getaway, Lavender Sense is the place for you.  It's easy to find and easy to fall in love with.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Writing from the heart

"The positive thing about writing is that you connect with yourself in the deepest way, and that's heaven. You get a chance to know who you are, to know what you think. You begin to have a relationship with your mind."       ~ Natalie Goldberg

I think this is a great quote!

What I find happening is what I wrote about months ago, no longer rings true for me. 

That's what is so great about journaling and blogging.  Without written testament of where I was all those days ago I wouldn't be seeing where I am today.
I'm finding that little by little the things that used to push my buttons about life, no longer have that affect on me.  Anger has turned into Love.  Frustration has turned into Forgiveness.  Impatience has turned into Faith.

With each day I am letting go of the old ways of dealing with life and opening myself up to new understandings. 

It's exciting really.  To look back at where I was and feel the anger and sadness that was living within me and know that today those feelings over those issues are no longer there.

To be honest, it is my hope for every writer that they will be writing differently, seeing differently and feeling differently month after month.  Those are the truest signs that you and I are making progress in our individual journey's.  And yes, I have very far to go, we all have very far to go.  

I write the way I live my life, from my heart.  If in my heart I have conflict you are going to read about it here.  If in my heart I am seeing a new truth about a situation you are going to read about it here.

We cannot see the light if we have not allowed ourselves to admit the dark.



Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Work of Art

There's no doubt about it.  Families are interesting works of art.

I could have said "families are a real piece of work" and that may sound just as true to you, however lately I have been looking at my family with clearer vision and I would have to say that they are definitely a "work of art".

The very role that each of my family members has played in my life has been nothing short of miraculous to be honest.

I was remembering my dad the other night, just out of the blue his image popped into my head.  I was a young girl in this image and I was looking at my dad in adoration.  I truly believed he was a hero.  In his earth story he was an alcoholic with what seemed little time for his family.  What I saw in my image was a man who was doing the best he could with what he had at the time, he loved us deeply and his addiction got in the way.  Nevertheless, as a young girl this man was a hero, strong and nurturing.  Thankfully I got to see this strong and nurturing side as an adult when he walked away from his addiction to start fresh.  

My mother.  Our relationship has never been an easy one (name one daughter who has ever NOT had conflict with her mother) and at the moment seems to be dangling dangerously from an invisible thread.  As a child I remember feeling my mother wasn't so happy.  Not completely sure in whether she belonged where she was standing.  What I saw in my image was a woman with dreams and desires, amazed at how quickly they were forgotten beneath a pile of laundry and a house full of kids to feed.  I do remember, much like me, she struggled with being a stay at home mom and working outside the home to contribute financially.
To be honest I most likely wouldn't be a stay at home mom if it wasn't for my mother, she was who I wanted to be.  The person who kissed the kids as they left for school and welcomed them home at the end of the day, the person who gathered everyone to the dinner table to spend quality time together.

My little sister.  Our relationship is most likely the truest form of love/hate you will ever see.  I think this is true for most sisters actually.  Growing up we fought constantly about clothes, hair, music and breathing (much like my own children do today).  As adults we do a great job of getting on eachother's nerves.  I like to think she had a hand at teaching me to stand up for myself and toughen up, back then she was one of the toughest people I knew, I was scared shitless of her too!  It seemed she hated everything about me until I would find that she was borrowing my clothes and then I realized there may have been a piece of her (buried somewhere deep inside) that actually liked me.  Maybe she just liked my clothes, I like to think my clothes symbolized me...  Please don't burst my bubble.

My little brother.  He came into my life when I was around 11.  My parents had been fostering children for years and decided to adopt.  I won't forget the day I met him or the day he left our lives.  Brothers are very different than sisters.  From the very beginning of our time together I felt this strange need to nurture and protect him.  Maybe because I knew he was fragile and would need some guidance, I call this "big sister syndrome" I seemed all too eager to "save" people from themselves in the good old days.  My brother taught me compassion and in the end offered me an opportunity I couldn't resist.  To live my talk.

My 1/2 brother and I have a different kind of relationship.  He is 20 years younger than I am, came into my life as I was having my own children and so I assumed a more distant role in his life since I was busy raising my children.  I hazard to guess he's never been thrilled with my presence when I was around, since I was usually trying to parent him.  I regret that now.  What he needed was a big sister, not another parent.  2 of those is ALWAYS enough!

I've come to realize that as much as we've had our difficulties, our ups and downs, ins and outs, each person plays their part extremely well, each like a color spread across canvas, each one lending a different perspective and depth to the piece.  Without each color blending into the next I wouldn't be who I am, all of them blended together 

Like I said families are a work of art.