Everywhere you look, there are heart healthy choices you can make; specialty shakes, heart healthy butter, heart conscience exercise programs. You can even head to a big box store and get your groceries, grab a new outfit, pick up a gift and card for an upcoming event and sit down in a chair for a quick blood pressure check. Being HEART healthy is not only trendy, but a really smart thing to do - as a matter of fact, it can have a positive impact on your whole life. I have found that intentionally being HEART healthy has absolutely added to my better health (in more ways then one). Read on to see which heart I am referring to today...
My kitchen really is the HEART of our home. We've made and shared many memories around my kitchen table. Great meals yes, but also homework (happy and not so happy), warming baby goats in the big sink, art projects, new chicks and ducklings, permission slips signed, creating surprise "breakfasts in bed", baking zillions of Christmas cookies, the sharing of triumphs and tragedies...you name it it has happened in my kitchen.
My kitchen is really a reflection of HOW we are as a family. When it is alive with new life like peeping chicks in the spring, being in my kitchen is a source of smiles. When it is covered with glue and markers and multi-colored paper, being in my kitchen fills you with a creative vibe. When every surface is covered with colorful sweet Christmas cookies, being in my kitchen is exciting and full of wonderful memories. When the smell of a cooking turkey or a roast in the slow cooker wafts from my kitchen, everyone feels a deep sense of safety and reassurance that they are loved and valued. My kitchen is where the good and bad of life flows deep.
As powerful for good my kitchen is, it can also be a source of anxiety and frustration if I am not careful. I'm going to let you in on a little secret. There is a direct correlation between how my kitchen looks each morning when I enter it to start my day and my personal happiness and energy level. I figured out a long time ago that I needed to be heart-healthy when it came to my kitchen and my sanity because of another very powerful correlation and that is the one between how I am doing emotionally and how the rest of my family does emotionally. We all know what happens if we don't take care of the heart...the entire body suffers!
I know it sounds a little crazy, but one of the most important ways I take care of myself is to not go to bed until my kitchen is clean. The rest of the house can be lacking and the laundry not quite finished, but my kitchen, the heart of our home, is put back together in ready for a NEW START each day. I literally and figuratively put away the "messes" of the day and set my sites on starting a new day in the morning. What I know for sure is that the whole concept of starting over is crucial to forward progress, emotional health and the abundance of hope.
Take care of your heart my friends. Take time to intentionally TAKE CARE OF YOU each day. It doesn't have to be a clean kitchen and it doesn't have to be accomplished alone - frankly, I have taught my children to be a very important part of how I get to go to bed with a clean kitchen - find what fills YOU up and invest in yourself! Make it happen.
Here's the important take away from this article...my kitchen isn't the healing force and it isn't the source of my families rise or fall - the truth is that I am. Me, the parent. I am the source of healing; my centeredness is where a sense of safety is created so that trust and new beliefs can be formed. My being consistently able to stay emotionally plugged into my children is what helps them be able to manage their anxiety enough to enjoy the good in their life or make it through the challenges. My hope is often what gives my kids the ability to push forward against even their own doubts and fears about themselves. My ability to start over every day and to teach my children that they can do the same has changed our lives for the better.
My HEART health is the foundation of the happiness of my entire family and so is yours. What are you going to do to take care of your heart today?
Remember...you are NOT alone,
P.S. November is National Adoption Awareness month - be sure to be watching my site www.tohavehope.com for all kinds of happenings you will want to be a part of!
Calgon, Take Me Away!
Calgon, take me away! Literally. Take me away.
Ever have those days? Oh, man. I sure did.
I'd go into the pantry and hide, hoping no one would find me. Wishing I could stay there all day, til bedtime.
I'd imagine leaving a note on the kitchen table (Good luck, honey) and running way. Far away. Pretty sure my husband feared that many days when he left for work.
I'd say...What the heck was I thinking? It's too hard. I can't do this anymore. We are miserable. I don't want to do it anymore. I want to go back to the way it used to be. I wish we had never done this.
I'd say...What the heck were those officials thinking when they placed these children with me? I'm not the right person for the job. I don't know what I'm doing. I'm making their lives worse.
Ever feel like that?
That's when you need someone.
Someone to...cry to, scream at, sit in silence with, lean on.
Someone who will...pick you up, hold your hand, guide you, help you, hold you and cheer you on.
You need someone. This job is too big to do it alone. Surround yourself with support!
Remember...you are NOT alone,
P.S. Need someone? I know how that feels. I really want to be there for you in the best way I can. Join me in the Intentional Parent Coaching Group where I can listen and support you through this hard stuff. It is so important to make sure you don't do this alone.
Which Path Is The RIGHT One?
As parents, we are all faced with so many options for resources to help our children. Neurofeedback, medicine, vision therapy, OT, sand therapy, behavioral therapy. You get the idea. I am often asked by parents of what I would suggest, what works best, which is the right approach. I believe what works best is immersion in family. A family is the child’s best chance at getting through this.
For example, EMDR does work for some people. But the reality is it is frightening for many kids. I think it is emotionally painful for them to have to relive that stuff. It’s hard to know if it’s worth it. Perhaps a better options is US. We can be more intentional as parents and create that brain activity for rewiring to happen.
I am not saying these thing don’t work. I’m saying, let’s try things WITH the family, IN the family first. For example, Audio Visual Entrainment touches on some of the same things as biofeedback and can be done in your own home. But ultimately working on stuff and meeting your child right where he is as often as possible is really the ticket. You providing the safe, consistent environment, where all your child’s needs get met before he even needs to ask, combined with opportunities to strengthen his resilience has the ability to create the same kind of brain wiring as neurofeedback. And that seems like a much better place to start.
Making the decisions of what to try, what to invest in with our time and money, can be daunting to say the least. Helping you make those kind of decisions is exactly what we talk about in my Intentional Parent Coaching Group. Interested? We would love to have you join us! http://www.tohavehope.com/intentional-parent-coaching-group1.html
Remember...you are not alone!
Ever get frustrated because it seems like your child sabotages his own happiness?
It is more common than you think and less of a choice, on his part, than it appears. It is really rooted in an impact of trauma your child has suffered. This is a cognitive impact on your child's ability to use cause and effect thinking and for many children can trip them up on a daily basis.
Children are naturally curious and typically engage in exploration and play. Even before the age of 2, their curiosity expands past their basic needs. They become very intrigued by cause and effect kinds of activities. Push the button and a light blinks brightly. Touch the cow and a moo sound is heard. Cause and effect, simply put, refers to the relationship between an action and its outcome.
Through exploration, experimentation, and play children learn that they can cause things to change or happen. This is where their understanding of cause and effect relationships begins.
Observation becomes the tool for understanding relationships, making predictions, and figuring out why things happen. They learn that they can cause things to happen that they can watch and enjoy. As they "push the same button" over and over, they begin to remember and learn how to make it happen and last. (Piaget, 1952) In the same way, studies show that children also may initiate interactions with others to get attention and receive stimulation or look away to discourage interactions. These are examples of how a young child builds memory of the impressions and experiences of life.
In a healthy, safe situation, children get to explore and play. The brain is being wired to learn how to impact the world in a positive way. It is being wired to understand that if I do x, then z will happen. If if I did x yesterday and z happened, it will happen that way again today. That brain is being wired to figure out why something is happening and then figure out how to fix it.
It is ultimately one of the foundational pieces of the ability to do healthy relationships. It is one of the pieces of the child's filter he uses to understand life and the people in it.
Due to their circumstances, many of our children weren't able to work through these kinds of developmental stages, much less master them. The chaos, fear, and inconsistencies they lived through left real holes in their understanding and ability. That sabotage we see over and over again is deficit not defiance!
Helping your child to heal in this area is beneficial both to him and to your relationship with him.
This is really where "No Matter What & For As Long As it Takes" comes in. To create new patterns of wiring, it takes a responsive caregiver within a nurturing environment that will notice and react predictably and safely to her child's actions.
So, begin by reframing your explanation of your child's behavior. This is deficit not defiance. Then, be intentional about staying emotionally plugged in. Next, when you see your child is hurt, hungry, or upset (or when they should be), whether they say they are or not, meet their needs. Finally, repeat, repeat, repeat, etc...
Pop on over to Facebook and tell me how your child sabotages his happiness and let's talk about the most healing way you can respond!
Attachment in Action
This weekend I had the privilege of spending time with friends to celebrate the birth of a new little baby. As we took turns holding him, he squawked and wiggled. Eventually he began to cry, but as soon as he was back in his momma's arms he settled. It was like watching attachment in action. He smelled her and knew he was home. He knew - yet he was only two weeks old. Actually, he knew the moment he came into this world. That's how a primary attachment works.
As adoptive and foster parents, we need to remember that our kiddos had that same kind of connection with their birth moms. Even if they were only with them for a short time and even if it was unhealthy. They come into this world with a connection already started. And that connection was broken.
That kind of connection is what we are trying to build. It takes time. It takes consistency. It takes trust, and that does not come easy for a child who has had such a deep loss. But that kind of connection is what will propel our children forward. It is what will help them feel safe. It is what will allow them to spread their wings and soar, knowing they have a safe place to fall. It is what will assure them that someone will always be there for them NO MATTER WHAT.
So, keep your feet firmly planted, friends. Choose to be very intentional, move your own stuff out of the way and keep your eye on the goal...building a strong, secure attachment. The quality of attachment that heals deep wounds. Attachment that creates family.
Take care and remember...you are NOT alone!
P.S. Secure attachment should be our goal and achieving it takes time, tools that really work and to be surrounded by the support of those who truly understand. You will find ALL of that in my Inner Circle. Join me today and you will see healing happen. Click here for more information or to register http://www.tohavehope.com/stacy-mannings-inner-circle.html