Pray without Ceasing

Source: Pray without Ceasing

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“Mama, do you believe in Santa Claus?”

There I was on Christmas day when my son, Chris was six-years-old and my daughter was three.  We were at my divorced & childless sister’s house, where we spent Christmas eve (yes, I DID haul all the presents!) and Christmas.

Chris was mopey.  He’d play with gifts, but it was clear that his heart wasn’t in it. Perhaps he was tired, but I had to ask.  And his response knocked me on my parenting butt!

no-santa3“Santa didn’t come!  I tried to be a good boy all year” (he WAS very well behaved, except for the black basketball on the ceiling incident!), “But Santa still didn’t bring me the Superman action figure,” he whispered.  The tears spilling from his eyes were the size of tablespoons.  My gut wrenched.  My empathy had me in tears, too.

What was I to do, being a mindful parent who had pledged never to lie to my children?   How was I supposed to answer when my ex-husband’s new wife had given Santa gifts last year and I’d chastised her (I chastised my ex, but of course, he HADN’T shopped or wrapped; he had a new wife!  And what a good thing that I was totally great with THAT!)

If we’re to be honest, we ruin a childhood fantasy.  If we lie, we’ll later be pillaged and used as an example any time our children do something we’ve told them not to do. My own mother would have said “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t!”  She would have offered NO sympathy nor wisdom, rest her soul.

So, I simply had never mentioned Santa Claus to my children.  There weren’t “Santa presents” under the tree.  If they ‘asked Santa’ for something, I hadn’t seen the letter, because that WOULD have led to a discussion.  It just was a non-issue in our house.

Yep, there I was.

“Oh, Sweet Heart, I told you we couldn’t find that action figure anywhere.  You found it in a comic book from when your dad was a child!  I told you several times that it wouldn’t be under the tree!  I looked everywhere I could!” (Note:  Amazon had not yet been invented; neither had eBay)

magic_of_christmasI took him aside and laid it all out for him.  “Do you remember any gifts you’ve ever gotten from Santa?  No?  Well, honey, while lots of parents find the magic of Christmas is something they can’t explain, I believe the magic of Christmas is love. And I believe honesty is really important. I didn’t want to lie to you.”

Yep, I probably broke his heart.  This was a huge parenting moment to me, as (about three years later) was the first time Kate (then Kate-IE) asked if I believed.

By the way, I sent this essay to Chris and asked him if he remembers and wished to comment.  He said

I like the post.  Sadly (thankfully?) I do not remember this, but it sounds like something a young me could have done.

So what did you learn from it?

(also, is the emphasis on “hadn’t”, or should it be on “he”?)

Always a critic… but, in my humble opinion, a mindful & rather well raised one.

Well, I had learned to be honest, and not necessarily to tell the entire truth.

“Mama, do you believe in Santa Claus?”  “Well, Katie, I believe in the magic of Christmas: love.”

Enough about me, how about you?  What do you think of our use of Santa Claus? I’d love your comments.

Unending Love,

Melissa

Melissa Pazen

 

Live Inspired: think boldly; love unconditionally; behave respectfully; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; live authentically; laugh frequently!

 

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Are you a Parent Planning for your Purpose? Are you focused?

I got a traffic ticket a few weeks ago.  A police sergeant saw me driving 56 miles per hour — in a zone where the limit was 30.

speeding_ticketAnd while children weren’t present, I was passing a school! What was I thinking? (Or even, WAS I thinking?) I don’t remember, but I had what’s called “highway hypnosis”, since I’d just come off a limited access tollway.  And that isn’t good enough for me! I know better (I even know what it’s called!) and if I’d been paying attention, it would not have happened! To top it off, I then lost the ticket, so I couldn’t go to ”bad drivers’ school’. I had to pay it, along with the court costs. That isn’t good enough for me! I’m focusing to do better!

Perhaps you’re thinking, “At least no one was hurt.” Well, I’m certainly grateful for that. And more importantly, perhaps I needed a reminder to focus. In driving, my focus must be on direction, control of the car and , YES, how fast I’m moving.  

In life, purpose includes immediate as well as long term. I was driving to work (purposes: driving, getting to my job). At work, I have tasks to complete and goals to accomplish (both are purpose). Since I love my work, I was living out my ultimate purpose.

For my life, I have realized that I’m here to serve, to help, to bring the next generation of humanity to be skilled at living as well as skilled at learning and working. And the ultimate focus on purpose means that I need to be mindful of a number of purposes simultaneously. Fortunately, our gracious God has given me the ability for mild multi-tasking.  When focused, I can drive and think at the same time. I just need to be more aware of each.  

Are you finding some of the same? Can  you focus on the child you’re raising? Can you keep your wants and desires in check when you’re tired and your child is cranky and behaving in a way you don’t like? My chief goal for my children was to raise them to be able to solve the challenges of life with some independence and freedom from the standard solutions. Are you able to remember your goals for your children? And are those goals showing in the behavior of your children?

Perhaps one of the most important life lessons I’ve learned is to take time to breathe when I start to get excited.  

(Five-three-five breathing: exhale as MUCH as you can. Slowly inhale for the count of five; while holding your breath count slowly to three; exhale while s-l-o-w-l-y counting to five. Four-square breathing: exhale while slowly counting to four; hold that four the count of four; inhale slowly while counting to four; hold for four [this is where your body gets best use of oxygen].  Repeat until your mind is off whatever provoked the anxiety.)

I remember a time when my children were in high school and junior high.  I was tired. IPhoto on 11-9-13 at 7.00 AM was cranky. It was dinner time and I was hungry. AND I was starting to act that out toward my kids. My son, Chris (the older), suggested I might want to take 15 minutes to read and have quiet. He sent me to my room!  

I was tickled that he had learned the true purpose of a time out — to calm down, get away from the stimulus that was agitating to me.  I laughingly headed to my bed. I sat for a few moments with my legs up and the book I was reading at that time. And I breathed.

A bit later, my breathing had returned to normal, the emotional load had been lifted from me, and I was again sufficiently filled with resources (physical, mental) to work with the child whose day it was to make dinner safely and lovingly.

Have you realized how grateful I was?  Talk about an “AHA moment”!

So what are you finding brings you pain or is a challenge you’ve yet to overcome?  Need to focus?  May I help you, please?

Unending Love,

Melissa

Melissa Pazen

Inspired Coaching, Melissa Pazen

39w328 W. Burnham Ln, Geneva, IL  60134

Cell:  773.405.3301

www.melissapazen.com

melissa.pazen@gmail.com

Live Inspired: think boldly; love unconditionally; behave respectfully; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; live authentically; laugh frequently! 

 

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Do you know your purpose? May I help you, please?

beecher quote-woman-s-great-mission-is-to-train-immature-weak-and-ignorant-creatures-to-obey-the-laws-of-god-catharine-beecher-324296When I began the decade in 2010, I knew I wanted change.  I knew two things:  I love the little ones and I love to love & help.  Here I sit almost four years later and I still know those things.  

I know another, now.  While I call myself ‘inspired’, unless you’re close to me, I don’t share that I mean “God-inspired”.  

It’s time.  I live my life as a woman led by God.  I live my purpose: loving and helping, grab cup and stayby praying for and/or with my coaching clients, if they wish.  

That said, I’m an extremely faithful yet liberal Christian.  I’ve worked with Buddhist clients, helping them to practice their meditation and fulfill their purpose.  I’ve prayed with clients seeking to change careers.  I’ve also worked with clients who didn’t care how I lived my life, they just didn’t want me to put my opinions on them.  Agnostic, atheist, spiritual practice of any type; I’ve worked well with them.  I center myself with God before beginning conversations.

Those whom I can help include those are looking for someone who can bring them along spiritually.  AND while this may alienate a few, I’m hoping it will make it clear to those who might otherwise only be a bit interested in working with me… or think I’m weak or wishy-washy about my faith.

Leading from that, I have room for two pro bono clients.  That is, I do it for good.

For those who know me, if you want to find your purpose and live your life with it, tell me.  Feel free to let those you know who might be in need of my coaching.  If you don’t know me, feel free anyway.   I can coach over the phone, so distance is no obstacle. FaceTime and Skype are options.  If you don’t know my name or number, feel free to send this contact form, substituting your info:   


Do you know your purpose?  If not, or if you want help to live it, give a shout.  

To God be the glory!

© Melissa Pazen, 2013

Live Inspired: pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

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Love the Fool

“I must learn to love the fool in me–the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries. It alone protects me against that utterly self-controlled, masterful tyrant whom I also harbor and who would rob me of my human aliveness, humility, and dignity but for my Fool.”

Theodore Isaac Rubin (born 1923);

psychiatrist, author

How true, Doctor Rubin.  We all must!

Perhaps if we do this before having children or by the time they’re four-months old, we can help out children do that, too.  I suspect many mothers wonder whether or not they’ve done a good job in raising our children.  Most of the time, I’m certain I did not a good job, but a great one.  My children are now adults with whom I love to spend time!

IMG_3047

My children: Chris (l) and Kate (r) on a Christmas morning!

But sometimes I hear their insecurities, the fact that they don’t love every part of themselves.  Or wish they were different.  And then I think…  this was an area where I was not mindful.  Oh, I told them they were smart, beautiful/handsome, funny…  but I would welcome thoughts on how to help a child to do exactly what Dr. Rubin proposes…

heartful-thanksgiving

Will you help me?  What do you think helps to build self-love in our children?

© Melissa Pazen, 2013

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A Right to Play

Last night, my cohorts in my women’s group were talking about the busy-ness of this time of year.   How can we get ready to celebrate Christmas if we’re so bogged down with “gottas” and have little time for “wannas”?

I suggested booking time for ourselves on our schedules.  Even 15 minutes is useful.  A half hour is even better.  Listen to music.  Look at things and try for a new perspective.  Close your eyes.  Read.  Pray.  Knit.  Whatever makes you happy.  Whatever makes you loving.  Whatever makes the world a slightly better place.

Today, in the box I grabbed to put my packages for the cookie exchange, I found a small piece of prose.  Bruce Williamson wrote it.  I don’t know where else it was published and I hope I’m not breaking copyright protection.  I found it without the circled C at

http://www.itstime.com/download/HappyChildhood.pdf

playing-in-snow

Certificate of Lifetime Membership

By this certificate, know all that the holder of this Certificate
is a lifetime member in good standing in The Society of Childlike Persons
and is hereby and forever entitled to:

Walk in the rain, jump in mud puddles, collect rainbows, smell flowers, blow bubbles, stop along the way, build sandcastles, watch the moon & stars come out, say hello to everyone, go barefoot, go on adventures, sing in the shower, have a merry heart, read children’s books, act silly, take bubble baths, get new sneakers, hold hands & hug & kiss, dance, fly kites, laugh & cry for the health of it, wonder around, feel scared, feel sad, feel mad, feel happy, give up worry & guilt & shame, stay innocent, say yes, say no, say the magic words, ask lots of questions, ride bicycles, draw & paint, see things differently, fall down & get up again, talk with animals, look at the sky, trust the universe, stay up late, climb trees, take naps, do nothing, daydream, play with toys, play under the covers, have pillow fights, learn new stuff, get excited about everything, be a clown, enjoy having a body, listen to music, find out how things work, make up new rules, tell stories, save the world, make friends with the other kids on the block and do anything else that brings more happiness, celebration, relaxation, communication, health, love, joy, creativity, pleasure, abundance, grace, self esteem, courage, balance, spontaneity, passion, beauty, peace, and life energy to the above named member and to other humans & beings on this planet.

adults-like-children

Further, the above named member is hereby officially authorized to frequent amusement parks, beaches, meadows, mountaintops, swimming pools, forests, playgrounds, picnic areas, summer camps, birthday parties, rodeos, circuses, cookie shops, ice cream parlors, theaters, aquariums, zoos, museums, planetariums, toy stores, festivals, & other places where children of all ages come to play and is encouraged to always remember the motto of The Society of Childlike Persons:

It’s Never Too Late To Have A Happy Childhood

And, is hereby and forever more appointed as:

Chairperson, Committee on Reminding Everyone That The Secret To The Game Of Life Is Fun.

Funny how that showed up, huh?

Melissa Pazen © 2012

Live Inspired:  think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

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Over the River, Through the Woods, and Into Dysfunction? No, Thank You, Not Me!

Several years ago, I started telling my family that I’d made other plans for Thanksgiving. It was true. My plans were to avoid my family on the holidays. I simply could not abide the squabbles, the nagging, the insults, the disrespect, the lack of boundaries.

Suffice it to say that my family takes all the fun out of dysfunctional!

And then a few years later, my children told me they wanted to spend holidays with their aunts, uncles and cousins. Really? Yup. So what was a sensible, emotionally intelligent woman to do?

I thought about it for a long time & finally came up with an idea. I invited all to our house. I said there would be a lovely dinner and each of my siblings (or sib’s spouse) could bring one favorite traditional holiday dish. I am delighted to roast a turkey, and I make one that’s moist by stuffing the cavity with fruit & fat (yes, butter). As long as I’m reminded at the proper time, I’ll even make gravy. But I will not serve a meal with five different types of starch. And I declared a truce before anyone stepped foot in the door.

“There will be only comfort and joy in my home. This is the holiday tradition I want my children to remember.”

I was saying that I would absolutely insist we all say only kind things to one another (well, at least NOT to say anything mean-spirited; silence IS golden, after all). I didn’t want anyone exhausted before we sat down to eat.  And I did not care if the football game was watched during dinner.  Uness a niece or nephew was being harmful to self or others, we would let them be (they never have learned how to swing from the chandeliers and I’m childish enough that I have a lot of cool toys in the house). I found some pass-times (mad-libs continues to be a favorite) to give us group tasks.

Mind you, my brothers still need to jibe at one another a bit. Pazens go for the joke at any expense. Sarcasm was taught to us by my parents, at early ages. The “hairy eyeball”, as my husband calls THAT look, and a bit of re-direction can usually cajole them to a kinder, gentler way of interacting.

The only war involves pie crust; it’s over whose is best.

It takes careful planning on my part. The turkey starts to be brined on Tuesday (in the largest cooler I ever found). By the time I go to bed the night before Thanksgiving, the tables are set for dinner, anything that can be cooked ahead and still be tasty is complete.

AND, I always keep looking until I can find people who are not part of our birth family and likely unknown, so that brothers and sister and in-laws alike will feel as if they are in public. It’s amazing how well it works.  I also assign one non-family member to each family member about whom I’m most worried.

I don’t make them tell me for what they’re giving thanks this year. The meal is not perfect nor is my family, but by the time the dishes are done by the teen-agers (Yessir, that’s what I’m talking about!) everyone is relaxed and ready to nap or head home.

If you don’t have time to try this for Thanksgiving this year, you may also try it on Christmas, Easter, and any day you recall as most troublesome.  And let me know how it works for you. And if it doesn’t, either your family is not like mine or you should call me and we’ll make better plans for the next time.

Interestingly, I AM grateful for my family — each member — along with a home, heat, enough to eat, freedom and dogs.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Live Inspired: think boldly; love unconditionally; behave respectfully; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

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