the 3 simple ways to find appreciation and significance

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If you want to be seen, stand up.
If you want to be heard, speak up.
If you want to be appreciated, shut up.”
― Bill Cosby

do you long to feel significant? do want to be appreciated for the amazing person you know you can be?

yeah, me, too.

one of our strongest core needs is for acceptance; to be seen for who we really and fully are.

in our search for acceptance we begin to hide who we really are in fear that our differences, our idiosyncrasies, our quirks, our failings, and our weaknesses are too undesirable for others to see. we convince ourselves that if others really knew who we are or what we really are, they will walk away from us. we fear their reaction. then, we make a decision that fitting in is more important than finding joy by expressing who we really are. we begin to bury our true self and project an image we want others to believe.

we hide.

mired in a state of insecurity, feeling small, invisible, irrelevant, and insignificant many of us journey through life silently, withdrawn and fearful.

this is painful and leaves us dissatisfied.

i’ve spent much of my life demanding perfection of myself and falling short and feeling inadequate on a regular basis. “i’m not good enough” and “what i have to say is not important enough” can run our lives and leave us feeling empty and unappreciated. even though we understand this to be true, appreciating ourselves, accepting and loving ourselves can be easier said than done.

here are 3 simple ways to find significance and appreciation:

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1. if you want to be seen, stand up. i found a trusted friend that i could allow “the real me” to stand forward to. i remember days that i felt paralyzed, wanting to run and hide. yet, i didn’t. little by little, I began to stand up and shine in my own brilliance. what we don’t realize is that people are usually rooting for us to succeed and are truly interested in the unique being we are. they want to know what makes us tick, what inspires us, what brings us joy. when we are courageous to reveal who we are to them, we enrich their lives and inspire them to be courageous as well.

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2. if you want to be heard, speak up. i found that it’s not necessary to bolster and qualify everything i have to say. expressing my passion about what i am voicing, even when different from someone else’s point of view, can be met with appreciation and respect. it is important to know what i want and possess the ability to communicate it to others. beating around the bush, hem-hawing, being mousy and indecisive are frustrating. most people appreciate a person who is confident and direct. this often empowers them to have the courage to speak up for themselves.

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3. if you want to be appreciated, shut up. ok, i am not contradicting myself here (nor is Bill Cosby who originated this point). validate others. listen. in the same way that you strongly desire to be heard…recognize that others do as well. our inner critic can drive us to be critical and judgemental as a means to level the playing field. if we criticize the person in front of us, we somehow feel less critical about ourselves…only, it doesn’t work that way. when we validate others, we are offering them the opportunity for acceptance, appreciation and significance and we begin to release ourselves from our own inner prison. what we sow, we reap. encouraging others to be brave enough to stand up, speak up and find appreciation speaks to our hearts that we can be braver, stronger and bolder as we endeavour to release who we really are. people appreciate us giving them the freedom to be their true self.

be free to love everything about you. your strengths and your flaws -they make you who you are. come to love who you are, then you can then be free to love others. allow the real you to stand up and shine. find courage to explore ways to express yourself and you will discover freedom.

make your journey meaningful, satisfying and significant by being really and fully you…appreciate yourself and watch others follow your example.
D

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i won! spring challenge

deeclarknz.comi was freezing yesterday. chilled to the bone. not even my electric blanket was taking the chill off. the temptation to whine was overwhelming.

i didn’t … whine…

because i’m participating in the 5 days of positive or being grateful challenge on Facebook…i stayed focused…NO complaining.

however cold yesterday was…the signs of spring are beginning to appear.

we have noticed that the grass is beginning to grow again in our yard. my husband said to me the other day, “spring is not far away if the grass is growing again and that means that it’s almost lambing time as well.”

in case you don’t know, dear reader, there are more sheep than people in NZ and one of the true signs of spring in NZ is lambing season.

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“have you seen any lambs yet?” He asked me.

“no, not yet.”

so, being the competitive creature he is, he gave me a challenge. “let’s see who sees the first lamb between us.”

yeah, we are old and can be a bit boring sometimes…but hey, i took the challenge.

(drum roll please…)

i won!

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this morning. driving along with the sun’s rays lifting the day with it’s brilliance, feeling the crispness of the morning air, and daydreaming, i glanced at the glistening paddock to my right. there it was!

the first lamb i had seen for the season, basking in the warmth of the sun. near by, it’s twin, leaping and bounding as if full of uncontrollable joy.

the chill of yesterday seemed distant and warmth filled my heart.

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new life.

playful youth.

nature’s abundance.

my spirits were lifted.

spring is truly on it’s way!!!

(ok, now i hear my NZ readers reminding me not to get too excited because August is coming and as the last month of winter…it’s traditionally fierce. i know. but i’m living in this moment, enjoying the first of spring revelations. i’ll take August on when it gets here…but for now…it’s springtime in my heart!)

what’s your favorite sign of spring?

D

6 ways to support children facing difficult situations

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the phone rang and i could hear the excitement in her voice, “he had a great day. in fact, they both did.”

tears welled up in my eyes and i did my best not to burst into tears; i was both thrilled and relieved. i might add, i was also proud of my daughter.

as a mother, my heart aches when my children struggle in painful situations. it’s even worse, when there is nothing i can do that seems to make a real difference.

however, there was an incredible outcome this time…

let me take you back to the beginning.

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my grandson is such a loving little man. my daughter was a single mom for most of his first fives years and for his age, he was quite emotionally sensitive and gentle. several times a day, he would stop, look at his mother and say, “mum, you’re so beautiful.” when he turned five and started school, he often shared similar compliments with his new teacher.

as well, he is bright and learns quickly. he began attending school in the middle of the year and easily caught up to the expected academic learning levels.

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their little family moved before his second year of school which meant a change of schools.

the change we began to notice was not only in the change of schools…our little man was changing, too.

first, my daughter noticed that he began eating non-food items. she tried everything she could think of: distract, change diet, add vitamins and iron, and visits to the doctor for professional advice. nothing was working. she googled what she was witnessing and found that the condition was called pica. he began to have serious health issues.

she felt helpless and i felt helpless as well.

the eating disorder was not the only change we noticed. he was often unsettled and easily agitated. this was not normal. at all.

we looked at things at home that may be contributing. we wanted to ensure that he was only involved in age appropriate games, TV, and activities. we looked at possible stress points. we were coming up with nothing.

when we talked to him about his days at school, he would mention what sounded like a bit of play ground bullying. so, we turned to the school. they had nothing to report. the school year was ending so we hoped a summer break and a new school year might help bring a solution. summer went well…he was more settled and we were hopeful.

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this year was his third year of school and things were not better-they were going from bad to worse? my daughter began nursing school and her schedule became quite busy and stressful. the school began to call with reports of aggressive behaviour. what? we could not fathom what was happening.

the calls continued to come in from the teacher and my daughter was becoming more and more desperate. we arranged support meetings with the teacher, the assist principal and finally, the principal.

he continued to tell us stories that truly sounded like bullying.

the calls continued to come in. his teacher often explained that his aggressive behaviour seemed to be a result of other children “winding him up” as if he were retaliating. yet, when asked, there did not seem to be any support for him in preventing the “winding up”.

i volunteered to become a substitute (grand)parent aid since my daughter’s time was fully committed with her studies. i noticed an overwhelmed first year teacher, i noticed aggressive playground confrontations, and many situations where adult support was missing when it was much needed. we continued to schedule meetings with school staff attempting to resolve the situation. nothing…at all…was working.

my heart ached for my daughter and i began to feel concern for my grandson. this was not our little boy…he was becoming unhealthy, he was not our happy care-free child and he was becoming reserved and frustrated.

one day while on the playground with him, he pointed to a hedge at the back of the school and told me, “deedee, i used to hide in there during recess but they cut it down.” i was stunned, “jake, why did you hide in the hedge?” “because i’m afraid.”

i wanted to cry.

instead, we attempted to find support from the staff.

sadly, it was becoming clearer that the environment was not safe for him.

she withdrew him from the school at the end of the term and transferred him back to his old school.

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which brings me back to the phone call i described at the beginning of this post.

the change of environment is beginning to make a huge difference.

the principal has placed him in a classroom with a male teacher…which he loves. already, we can tell that his teacher understands how little boys think and learn…brilliant.

his smile and gentle demeanour are back. the pica disorder is hardly noticeable (and i expect it to cease altogether). most importantly, he is less stressed and safe.

what a relief…it may not solve all the issues we were facing but we are off to great start.

children are vulnerable and often find it difficult to communicate how they need help.

here are 6 ways to support children when they face difficult situations:
1. trust your instinct. you know your child better than anyone in the world. if things don’t add up, take action.

2. listen and believe them. although children can get facts wrong sometimes, it’s important to listen carefully. they will give you clues to the fact that there is a problem even if they don’t understand what the problem is. the clues are there: change in behaviour, frustration levels,
emotions and personality. you will find they will attempt to verbalize to the best of their ability, listen.

3. be involved. you will know, instinctively, if you are dealing with a situation that the child needs to work through him/herself. however, if he/she begins to struggle-be involved. sometimes, they just need to know there is back up support. sometimes, they need intervention.

4. be fearless to make the difficult decisions. give yourself the benefit of the doubt. there might be difficult decisions to make to ensure their well-being…make them.

5. ask for help and support. don’t be afraid to reach out for support. we all need help/support from time to time and that is what family and community are about. reach out!

6. don’t give up…no matter how long it takes to resolve. there were times when we were at our wits end. times, when we doubted what we did know, our instincts and decisions. however, my daughter didn’t give up. she started and stayed with it until she was able to narrow the issues down even to make an informed decision. it was stressful. it was difficult to get people to listen. we cried together but we DID NOT stop.

so, the day that my daughter called with good news…we celebrated!

we were grateful…all was well again.

do you have any tips to share about helping children through difficult situations? i would love to hear them. please share them in a comment below.

oh, and give your sweet babies a hug…that’s always a great place to start.

see you next time,
D

Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’

living in the Southern Hemisphere, “the warmth of summer is part distant memory, part dream for the future” as stated by Krista of WordPress’ The Daily Post. as i dream of summer, i am participating in the Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’.

20140727-001948-1188333.jpgseagulls are often regarded as a summertime nuisance. my husband can not comprehend my fascination with these pesky sea birds.

20140727-002241-1361898.jpgmaybe it’s because as a child who loved the beach, one of my favorite things to do was to grab a handful of french fries, toss them in the air and watch them appear as if out of no-where. now that i live close to the sea, sometimes, i sit in my back yard with slices of bread and toss broken pieces into the air just to watch them scurry in. weird? maybe…but i love it.

20140727-002626-1586057.jpgdid you know that seagulls are quite clever? if hungry, they will stomp on the ground with their feet imitating rainfall and trick earthworms into coming to the surface?

20140727-002851-1731914.jpgseagulls demonstrate intelligence in their feeding behaviours by flying up into the sky and dropping hard-shelled mulloscs on to rocks to break them open so they can eat them.

20140727-003806-2286763.jpgin Native American symbolism, the seagull represents a carefree attitude, versatility, and freedom.

20140727-003632-2192040.jpgseagulls are fondly remembered in Utah for helping Mormon settlers deal with a plague of crickets. the seagull is now the state bird of Utah.

20140727-004708-2828193.jpgstill not convinced?

that’s ok.

i can’t explain it…but it’s part of what i love about summer by the sea!

How a winner sees opportunity

20140726-210338-75818377.jpgan opportunity usually involves a set of circumstances with an uncertain outcome…

requiring a commitment of resources…

involving exposure to risk…

 

it’s important to realise that if you want to win…

accepting the opportunity means that you will invest the resources you have to work with, accept the uncertainty and risk then jump in and work with all your might to make the opportunity a success.

give it all you’ve got!

 

 

 

how to honor the importance of technology in kid’s lives

as a grandmother of two beautiful little beings, i am interested in their development and well-being even though i am not totally responsible for it.Feb2013 (547)today, while using my own technology, i saw a question posed by Momastery on facebook (btw, if you are not following them on social media, you should!) the question was this: are there any parents out there who have created a system that both honors the importance of technology in kid’s lives while also honoring the importance of healthy boundaries around their technology use?2013-10-28 15.53.19we live in a technology age. personally, i understand there are dangers (and if i forget, my husband is more than willing to remind me…often). yet, the dangers can be managed in many of the same ways we manage other potential dangers; training, accountability, communication and love. March 2011 010technology is a tool.just as all children need to learn how to handle other household tools, they need to be taught how to use technology, including how it works, how to take care of it, and respect for appropriate verses inappropriate uses at age appropriate levels.2011Dec (11)i may allow my granddaughter to sit in our boat and pretend to drive it; however, i remain close by, remind her what is appropriate to touch and what is not, and i am watchful for potential dangers such as falling-so that i can offer help if necessary.005there is often concern that technology and media should be limited, but what matters most is how it is used. what is the content? is it being used in an intentional manner? is it developmentally appropriate? if a parent is confident with the answer to these questions, limits may become as unnecessary as on block time or book reading or dramatic play or manipulatives or sports. we don’t tell a child that his 10 minutes of puzzle making or reading for the week is up.2012Dec (23)it is important to be digitally literate and comfortable enough with the technology and the child development to know how to be appropriate, what’s effective, and what to avoid. adult involvement and interaction is as vital as it is when children are learning to cook, clean or even ride a bike safely. as children grow older, teaching skills for making wise choices, managing time and recognising risk help children who are becoming young adults learn to value balance in their life.Feb2013 (306)trust your instincts. you know your child and if you think that a child’s technology time is limiting interactions with other kids or you feel a change of activity is called for, turn it off and nudge him/her in new directions. however, it’s also up to the adult to understand the child’s personality and disposition and to understand if technology is one of the ways the child chooses to interact with the world. technology skills can be as comprehensive, challenging and rewarding as the passion for sports, performing arts or writing. technology is an amazing form of creativity-it just has not reached it’s place of acceptance as an art or creative form.Feb2013 (416)my grandson has learned many skills by using various technologies: not to give up because something is difficult or beyond his ability. when he comes to me to work a game through to the next highest level because he is unable to, i remind him of others times that his perservering has helped him to conquer the skill. he has learned to problem solve on his own and is learning to manage emotions like frustration and anger. my granddaughter’s favorite technology is YouTube tutorials on baking and decorating cakes. at age 6, sometimes she gives me instruction when we’re baking together. she enjoys watching but then can’t wait to practice in the kitchen. i couldn’t be prouder. it’s fun to watch them both.
IMG_3384finally, cut yourself some slack. sometimes, technology is also a useful tool for adults because parents have to make lunch, and need time to take a shower.
DSCF1763 in situations like that, it is the adult’s job to make the technology time more valuable and interactive by asking questions and connecting a child’s virtual experience with real-life experiences in his/her world.DSCF1909training children to properly use technology may be new to most of us; however, we are pretty instinctive when it comes to what is best for our children. technology is and has been changing our world in amazing ways. learn together. keep your family’s life goals in focus and be creative.IMG_4752we honor the importance of technology in kid’s lives in the same way we honor other important skills we are equipping our children with…

we train and guide them

we communicate and talk to them about the family’s values

we hold them accountable and protect them

we interact and engage with them

we demonstrate balance by example

we love them

then we watch them blossom, grow, improve, excel, and enjoy!

suffering is optional

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do

not

suffer

needlessly.

your

heart

has

options.

refuse

to

linger

in

the

pain,

suffering

is

optional.

you are a masterpiece

20140705-003530-2130096.jpgwe all have to remove the excess so that the world can see all of who we are…all of our unique beauty.