The Big Difference (K.Blais)

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Awful things happen to us or to the people we love and care about. Terrible things occur continuously in our daily lives. We make decisions which end up being disastrous, although they may have seemed like the best option at the time, and in other cases choices are made for us without our having any say in them at all. Sometimes we hold the power in the decision-making process, and other times we are completely powerless.

Through it all though we strive to stand up and not to sink. We do our best not to let the floods drown us or to pull us down into the depths of despair, even though they may threaten to.

It isn’t always easy. And it doesn’t always work for all of us.

It is essential to remind ourselves that eventually the waters will recede. It’s tricky to remember that sometimes though and, by no means, do we ever intend to make light of the terrible things that happen, but it remains extremely important to attempt to search for the positive amidst the negative.

Out of every horrendous situation is there always a positive to be found? Depending on individual perspectives the answers may vary: maybe, maybe not… and maybe not right away. But, if we search hard enough there is always a bit of light, a small glimmer of hope, a tiny piece of dry land that we can place our feet on, even if it’s just a tiptoe to start. Maybe sometimes the negative just requires a different perspective.

A very close person to me, my dear friend Tracy, has struggled with some health issues over the past couple of years. She one day found herself with mobility issues, needed surgery to repair her knee injury, had a health scare with a dangerous item on the job site, and was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after that (all issues completely unrelated to one another). Add to that other issues which she has dealt with throughout her life, the scope of her tribulations was immense. To be perfectly honest, her world was bleak and dark and at some very low points. With so many negatives piling up on her, there were days when getting out of bed was too much for her to think about.

The floods threatened to close in on her on more than one occasion, but through it all she always searched for that tiny aspect of hope, that glimmer of light, that small piece of land on which she could attempt to stand. Her faith led her to the belief that her cancer was a blessing because having gone through what she had, she was able to be a support system to others battling with cancer. Her journey led her to new friendships which she may have otherwise not have made. Her struggles allowed her to realize the love that so many people had for her. The darkness has allowed her to appreciate the light all that much more. All the negatives that have happened to her have led to so many more positives in her life because she chose to see past them.

Some of us battle with physical or mental health issues, or have loved ones which are battling, which have affected our (and their) quality of life. Frustration, powerlessness, and a feeling of incompetency may overwhelm us. It can be hard to find the positive when we feel so awful. Sometimes we have to realize the negative for what it is. Sometimes we need to surf the waves when we cannot stop them.

Financially or materially we may be experiencing damage or loss. There may be days when our situation seems so bleak that there seems to be no place to go. It is hard to find the positive when the negatives are reflected in everything we have, even our bank accounts.

We may have lost a loved one or loved ones. We all know someone who has experienced the immense grief of losing a person very close to them. It’s extremely hard to see the positive in death and loss, especially when we are in mourning. Sometimes though death can bring us closer to those who remain in our lives. Sometimes death brings a new appreciation for all that we had and all that we have shared with that person, and it may encourage us to cherish and hold dear the time we have with the loved ones left with us. A belief that we will be reunited with our loved one one day can offer peace. Sometimes death can lead us back to life: to living each moment to the fullest and with a deeper appreciation, and may even lead us to taking nothing, even the little things, for granted.

Perhaps relationships have dissolved, friendships and partners have been lost, and life as we knew it has become an illusion. It is difficult to see the negative when everything around us in our personal life seems in a disarray. Sometimes it is difficult to understand how things can fall apart so easily… and perhaps we neglect to see that sometimes things need to fall apart so better things can come together.

Being positive does not mean to ignore the negative. There is no need to put blinders on and pretend that the negative does not exist. Being positive, and living a life which chooses to focus on the positive, can simply mean to live by overcoming the negative. That’s the big difference.

Keeping Our Heads Above Water (K.Blais)

We have been inundated by rain. Not only rain, but the consequences of water displacement, dams, and beaver habitats have wreaked havoc on many areas. Our rivers and creeks have overflowed with the sheer magnitude of the volumes of water they have struggled to hold. Our lakes, once beautiful places of serenity and peace nestled in God’s country, have become sources of gradual destruction and continuous elements of stress.

Bridges have been destroyed. Roads have washed away. Sink holes have erupted where the earth has seemed to attempt its escape from the intensity of the water’s force. Beloved cottages and breathtaking homes at the edges of our bodies of water have suffered. Belongings have been lost, and while only material, the loss of these possessions has still hurt us.

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(photo credits to RL)

We see a sense of devastation and destruction in so many physical ways, several locations around us hit harder than others, and yet how similar this flooding is to our emotional lives as well.

We often become inundated with problems in life. Those emotional wounds we know all too well, in addition to other stresses (both physical and emotional) laid upon us, can seem so much like the volumes of water poured upon our land. We feel the powerlessness of our inability to control what is happening to us.

We have been wronged and the sheer unfairness of being the person wronged can overwhelm us. We feel the injustice of being taken from and yet we are unable to fight back. We are abandoned, betrayed, and deceived. We struggle to obtain truth, only to be scorned by lies and untruths. What we have attempted to build up for ourselves, has only been torn down. More and more the complexities of life, even the every day things, saturate us.

Yet somehow, maybe even somewhat surprisingly, even through the downpours and the flooding, we do not crawl inside of ourselves to hide away. We do not permit the waves to simply continue to cascade over us, rendering us powerless. We do not allow ourselves to sink and drown.

Instead, we search for higher ground. We fill our sandbags and attempt to barricade the water from causing further destruction. We attempt to salvage what we have left. We lean on the support of our loving friends and family. We allow those who want to help, to help. We trust in our faith and in our beliefs. We face the issues assaulting us head on, doing what we can with what we have.

We take things one step at a time, one day at a time. We try to look for the positive and to acknowledge it, wherever the positive can be found. We remind ourselves that tomorrow is a new day in which the sun may shine and the water may slowly begin to evaporate. We keep our head above the water line, treading for as long as it takes because we do not give up. We will not let the waters win.

We remind ourselves to keep our faith forefront. Soon the water will recede back to its natural shoreline. Soon our feet will touch the sand again. Life will continue on. There may be some repairs ahead of us, but that is no different than how the Earth continues rotating on its axis, repairing itself as it goes.

And we trust that what was once beautiful, can be made beautiful again.

 

Letting The Air Get At It (K.Blais)

An old wives’ tale speaks about letting a wound get air in order to heal better. Although medical opinion varies on whether on a wound site heals better covered or uncovered, I am of the belief that both physical and emotional wounds heal better when air is allowed to get in and the wound is given permission to breathe.

Hurt, betrayal, disappointment, embarrassment, and even humiliation have become emotional wounds common in life. Whether intentional or unintentional, because of simple negligence or ignorance, or because of malicious spite triggered by envy or revenge, wounds occur.

We are hurt by those we thought would never hurt us. We are betrayed by those who we believed had our back unconditionally. We are disappointed by how we are treated by others, especially when we would never treat them in the same way. We are embarrassed when we are called out in front of others, or when we are ridiculed when we least expect it. We are humiliated when we believe that what we thought would never happen to us, has indeed happened.

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So, what do we do?

Some of us may bandage it all up, wrapping the damage of the wound tightly to us. We may hide the injury away, underneath a protective covering, hoping that in time the wound will heal on its own. And perhaps the wound will heal. It may disappear entirely with only a trace of a scar or it may seep for a long while, oozing within itself, barely contained behind the bandage that holds it, before eventually healing in its own way.

Some of us may decide not to cover the wound. We may let the wound remain open, airing it out, because we believe that when we can air out our wounds they will heal more quickly and with less oozing and scarring. We leave the wound open instead of covered, baring our injury, in the hope that air and time will heal.

Airing out an emotional wound requires courage. For some it may be talking to a trusted friend about our feelings. For others it may be writing or blogging about a troublesome issue, or in a less public forum, it may mean journaling or writing private letters. In any case, the airing out is important for those people to heal.

Airing out takes courage because sometimes people perceive us as angry. They may think that we are on a rant and pissed off again. They may think we are too sensitive, that we take too much to heart, that we need to let things go a bit more. They may tell us to focus on what really matters (which is entirely subjective), and to let things roll off our backs. And maybe they are right.

Maybe we are angry and pissed off. Maybe we are too sensitive, too heartfelt, and too conscientious about justice and fairness to others. Maybe we believe that the world needs to remember that everyone has feelings and those feelings should be valued no matter who you are or what you can or cannot do for someone else. Maybe we feel that being kind will always be more important than being right.

But that doesn’t make us wrong in feeling any of these ways. Airing or ‘talking’ about when we have been hurt, when we feel wronged, even when we feel insecure can help us face our own perspective, as well as to see and hear someone else’s. We can heal faster when we realize that we are not alone, that others have felt and will feel this same, or in a similar, way. We can learn from another person’s experiences, we can receive valuable advice, or we can simply hear “I get it. I understand.”

We may be embarrassed by our wounds. We may feel childish or juvenile. We may think that we appear weak or ineffective when we allow our wounds to be exposed for anyone else to see. We may feel that we are to blame for allowing these things and/or people to hurt us, in some cases repeatedly. We may even believe that perhaps we someone deserve to be wounded.

But, it takes a strong person to speak about hurt and betrayal. It takes strength and courage to reach out and to bare ourselves and our hurt to someone else. We may be allowing patterns to repeat themselves in our lives, but that is why it is so important to air out our injuries. When things hit the air sometimes the reasons for them become more obvious to us. We are able to reflect a little more clearly on ourselves and on the situation surrounding us. We can see and evaluate the truth about ourselves and others. We can learn, we can understand and be understood, and we can grow.

It may also take time, but airing out our wounds can allow us to heal more quickly and healthily. We will still continue to be hurt by others at times, this is most likely inevitable, but perhaps we can learn to allow the air to heal us. And perhaps we may also learn how to prevent a greater wound from taking place in the future.

(photo courtesy of steptohealth.com)

Being Elsa (K.Blais)


Yep, that’s right. I have become Elsa. I don’t spontaneously burst into song, nor do I conjure up a storm and freeze everything in my path when I am angry or upset (now that’s not to say that some days I wouldn’t like to!), but for all intents and purposes I like to think that I have become, at least a little bit, like Elsa.

While I have written and posted on similar topics, ideas, and concepts throughout the years, I have found myself, as of late, really relying and focusing on the idea of “Let it go”.

I have used and reused the phrase lately probably more than anyone cares to hear, and, perhaps in some ways, it has become my mantra. But whatever works, right? And “let it go” works.

I say “let it go” to my children when I recognize they are becoming bogged down and focused on issues which seem big to them, but which I know are draining their time, energy, and positivity. When their friends (or their siblings) treat them unfairly and they cannot get past the point that it “isn’t fair”, I tell them to “let it go”. They are right, ‘it’ may not be fair, but they have to recognize that, realize it for what it is, express their feelings, but then to move on.

I tell my students to “let it go” for many of the same reasons. It is important that their voices and concerns are heard, but they must also realize that it is equally, if not, more important to “rise above” and move forward. Dwelling on things which we cannot control seldom does us any good. We must also recognize that and move on.

I tell myself to “let it go” when I recognize that I am becoming weighed down by things which are not good for me to be so focused on. There are days when the world either becomes too big or too small and either overwhelms or underwhelms me. There are times when I want more and then there are times when I want less. There are moments when I forget to be simply be grateful, to be happy with what I have been blessed with, and to work for what I want.

Far too often we may find ourselves caught up in issues or business that are really none of our concern. We need to take a step back and ask ourselves some pretty serious questions when we involve ourselves in things not directly related to our own personal life. Does or should this really concern me? Does being involved in this, does knowing (or needing to know) this information really affect my life? Am I involving myself for the right reasons, or am I becoming involved to benefit or to make myself feel better? Am I holding on to something that isn’t mine to begin with? Would it be better to simply “let it go”?

One of the most interesting quotes which I have read most recently is by F. Scott Fitzgerald , “It is more important to be kind, than to be right.” Perhaps maybe we need to let go of things which weigh us down, of the things which are unfair, and of the importance of being right. It is more important to be kind than to let less than important issues and concerns hurt our relationships with others needlessly. 

Maybe it’s time we were all a little more like Elsa. 

words and dreams (K.Blais)

I had a dream the other night about someone really important to me. In waking, I was overcome with feeling melancholy and “saddish” (if that makes sense). While dreaming I was trying to convey how much I truly cared for this person, but my words seemed to have little effect. The individual in my dream seemed to be unfazed by my words which seemed so clear to me, and, it was indeed saddening. I woke up almost in tears and I carried that feeling of sadness with me throughout the entire day. 

I’ve been dreaming a lot lately, vivid and clear dreams that often seem so real I could retell them as if I have actually lived them in real life. I’ve also noticed that my dreams of late have reflected my real life thoughts and feelings, even concerns which have boggled about in my mind throughout the day. 

I have a number of friends whom I care about very much that are going through difficult times with various issues in their lives. My heart goes out to them and my thoughts and prayers are always with them, but I also think how important it is to hug them when they need it and to tell them how I feel, and not just in my dreams. 

In real life, there are times when I worry that the people I care about don’t know how deeply I do care for them. While I always strive to use words full of meaning and to choose them wisely, I wonder sometimes if the words we say have enough value to make people truly believe them. Yes, actions do speak louder than words, but, as I’ve said before, words can be extremely important too. They are, afterall, one of our main forms of communicating with one another. 

Have words lost meaning? Have we used, reused, and overused them so much that others cannot find their intended value sincere? 

We are now submersed in the season of sharing peace, love, and joy. How do you intend to spread those things? Will you share more of yourself with others? Will you choose words that adequately and genuinely express how you feel about those in your life? Will you be more aware of the words you choose to use, how their meanings are interpreted, and how their interpretations might differ from your intentions? 

Will you speak and stand up for those who cannot speak for themselves, even if it means that you are one voice and are standing alone? 

This Christmas, and there beyond, will you choose your words to tell others how much you appreciate and love them? Will you make sure that your words have the meaning and value that you intend for them? 

Top Or Bottom? (K.Blais)

Interesting question, isn’t it?

Let’s narrow the focus: Where do your priorities lie?

Recently I realized that I had inadvertently (and to some extent, maybe even somewhat intentionally) allowed other things to move up on my priority list. I allowed other people’s opinions, pressures, and actions to consume a whole bunch of my time, energy, and enthusiasm. I stopped writing for a while, which turned out to be an ok thing as it allowed me to start again with a fresh perspective, (but it wasn’t ok that I gave up something I love, if you know what I mean).

I’ve been doing more thinking about these priorities and I realize that as many times as I’ve watched this happen with others I have also permitted it to happen to myself.

We often allow ourselves to become consumed things that really don’t matter, or at least things that shouldn’t matter as much as we let them. We get bogged down in hurt feelings, betrayals, and lose our perspective about the ‘big picture’. The little things get in the way. We sweat the small stuff.

But, you know, this is really something that I continually struggle with – what is the key to not sweating the little stuff? How do we not worry about the little things when they seem like big things at the time?

Someone personally attacks our character and it seems monumental. How could he/she say this, do this, treat us this way? Even in trying to look at the positive and attempting to see the best in people we can still find it difficult to move past words that have hurt us and rocked our personal beliefs about ourselves. This hurt becomes huge and it seems almost impossible to move past. So how can we treat it as “small stuff”?

Perhaps this is where our priority list comes into play. Maybe asking ourselves where these issues or relationships rank on our priority list might help; are these things closer to the top or the bottom? Is it extremely important to us how this person thinks, feels, or what he/she says about us? How much does this person’s opinion or actions truly matter in our life?

All too often we find ourselves consumed directly or indirectly with people and things and place them higher on our priority list than we would find ourselves on theirs. Our priority lists don’t have to be identical to those in our lives, but we do need to question ourselves when there are huge differences on where we might fall on one another’s respective lists.

Equally often, we may find ourselves thinking about and worrying about our interactions with others far more often than they even think about us. That should tell us something as well.

So why do we allow these negative aspects to rank higher on our priority list than the positive ones? Why is the hurt others cause us placed higher on our concern level than the love we receive from those who truly care about us? Why is it that the bad stuff is easier to believe?

Ideally, those who are most important to us, those who make us feel good about ourselves and love us for who we are, and those whom we love in return should be at the top of our priority list. We should focus on putting those people first in our lives because they are the ones who will be there and who will do the same for us in return. The things that make us feel good and those activities which we enjoy doing and which are good for our emotional and physical health should rank at the top of our list also.

Consequently, those people who hurt us continuously should rank lower on our priority list. We must attempt to decrease the importance and the affect of these negative people and things on our lives. It isn’t going to be easy, especially when we recognize that our priority lists have been a bit thwarted by their influences.

Let’s try doing the following:

Focus on what is truly important and what matters most.

Direct our positive energy and enthusiasm towards those people and things that are truly worthy of it.

Try not to sweat the small stuff (and recognize the small stuff as less important than the ‘big’ stuff).

Reorganize our priority lists and make sure that the ‘top stuff’ really deserves to be just that.

My War With Words (K.Blais)

I wasn’t going to write a post tonight.

To be honest, words haven’t meant a whole lot to me lately.

I began the new year feeling surprisingly, and disappointingly, defeated. Typically, a new year is the start of something new: new hopes, dreams, and goals, right? Unfortunately, all I have seemed to be able to focus on is what I haven’t done, what I haven’t become, and what I can’t seem to overcome, if that makes any sense.

As I thought about the words to write, a theme to discuss, even some hope or inspiration to pass on, I realized that words, in many cases, have lost their meaning. In most cases, the definitions of words haven’t changed, but the words themselves have lost their feeling.

Think about it – we toss words around like they are pieces of paper in the wind. Words of apology and love are the most overused ones in my opinion. We’re sorry for this; we’re sorry for that. We love this thing and we love that person. I know that there is still sincerity behind those words for many people and in many situations, but sometimes they are just words, empty of their true meaning and lacking their intended value.

We fling out words in anger. Words are hurled and are used to slam someone down or to put them in their place. Words can cut like a knife and slap like a woman scorned. Words can destroy.

Words can be twisted and turned like the windiest of roads and can be misused and abused. They can lie with the silkiest of tongues and they can tell you what they think you want to hear. They can whisper their truths in your ear all the while they are searching for a good place to stick a knife in your back.

Words can sound like you are in a Charlie Brown episode, in the same classroom as Charlie and Lucy, listening to the teacher drone on, “Wah-wah-wah-wah. Wah-wah-wah-wah-wah.”

I was once in love with words. I loved choosing words, using them in different ways to explain, to demonstrate, and to show. I was thrilled when I discovered a new word, or a new way to use an old word, and I loved the way words stuck in my mind and I would mull them over.

I would literally get lost in words – in writing them and in reading them. I believed in words. I felt we had a true connection. I don’t think I’ve fallen out of love with words, but maybe we just aren’t seeing eye-to-eye right now.

Remember the day when someone’s word was their bond? A man’s word was his honour. His word meant he would carry out what he said he would do.

And don’t forget the lack of words, the words that are missing, the absence of which can hurt as deeply as the words wrongly said.

I never thought that my disappointment with words would run so deep. Perhaps, that is part of the reasoning behind my new year disheartenment. I’ve had an enlightenment about words and I am worried that things will never be the same for us again.

I haven’t forgotten, though, that there are two sides to every story.

Words can give us comfort and strength in the times we need it most. Words can heal and restore our faith and hope. Words can mend fences and reconstruct bridges. Words can help us to grow and lead us to learn from our mistakes. Words can give meaning when all meaning seems lost and can be truthful and honest when the world seems full of lies.

I’m not yet so jaded or cynical as to believe that words still can’t still have their endearing qualities or be wonderfully positive, I think I just need some time to figure them out again.

I guess I have another year to do just that.

Why Not Me? (K.Blais)

When I was a little girl one of my biggest fears was being ‘left out’.

I was the chubby girl with glasses who most people generally liked, but not many paid a whole lot of attention to. I was smart, but not quite smart enough to be in the gifted ‘Astrolab’ class that a couple of other kids got to be in. (FYI, I really wanted to be in that class). My grade six teacher said I would never be good in Math like some of my other friends in the ‘high’ math group and that echoed in my head for years to come. (Only recently have I had the courage to overcome this by actually realizing that ‘teaching’ Math in a ‘different’ way makes both me and my students “good” in Math. But that is a story for another time.) Later in high school, an English teacher told me I would never be a creative writer like one of my classmates, only a technical and critical one, and I was/am determined to prove him wrong as well.

Growing up I was kind to others, which often resulted in me being a doormat (another hurdle I would strive to overcome in the years ahead) because I would forgive easily and quickly ‘get over’ whatever it was that had been done to me. I wanted to be liked by others so badly that when I wasn’t invited to sleepovers or birthdays, or included in secrets whispered in ears on the playground or shared behind hands at the lockers, it was devastating.

Maybe I tried too hard to fit in, I don’t know. Maybe I was my own worst enemy by worrying so much about being liked and ‘included’ that I wasn’t myself around others. I don’t know this for a fact either.

Here’s what I do know: being left out really stinks. Here’s what else I know: it doesn’t stink any less as an adult either.

A close friend recently told me that her daughter was struggling with issues with friends such as not being included in hang out plans, birthday parties, and movie nights. My heart broke for her because I knew how her daughter felt: how crushing, especially as a young preteen girl, that can be and how, as a parent, there isn’t much you can do about it except tell your child she is ‘better off’ without these people if they are going to treat her this way. (All of this being completely true but not overly comforting to the girl sitting at home while her friends are out together).

Social exclusion can be considered a type of bullying when it is done repeatedly, directly, and with the intention of causing someone discomfort or unease. Children and adults alike often use their own understanding of the desire to be accepted as the driving force in using the “exclusion tool” to have power over others. For some, the control they exert in leaving others out and excluding them leads to their feelings of superiority over others. It is seldom a good thing.

As we get older we tend to try to edge ourselves away from this type of pre-teen and high school drama. We try not to involve ourselves in the “high school” type of games of who will hang out with who and who will be better friends with who, but sometimes, even as much as we try to remove ourselves from them, those games end up involving us anyway. Sometimes, as much as we try to avoid these situations, we find ourselves caught in the middle of them anyway, even with the best of intentions.

Adults can be as mean as high school kids. Friends and acquaintances have shared with me stories of exclusion that they themselves experienced in adulthood, being left out of activities by people they thought were close friends, at times only finding out about their exclusion by reading about it on social media or in some other indirect way. Sometimes the ‘exclusion’ is unintentional and sometimes it is deliberate; however, I find it is more often the latter which occurs.

Now don’t get me wrong, we can choose who we spend time with and who we don’t; however, I think we have to be very aware of the fact that including some people and not others can be hurtful unless it is done in a tactful and respectful way. Openly speaking about an event that people have deliberately not been included in does not often bode well for our relationships with others. We can do what we want and with whom we want, but considering the feelings of others is important as well. Respecting others is a crucial part of being a considerate human being. Of course, again, this is just my opinion.

As adults we can attempt to slough off our feelings of hurt from exclusion, we can try to ignore the “inside” jokes or stories that we are not privy to, and we can choose to walk away or turn the other cheek when others discuss things we were not invited to be part of. As children and teens this is not so easy. Social exclusion is the new bullying and we need to help our children with strategies to cope and deal with these kinds of situations, as well as to teach them that these actions are not kind for them to bestow unto others either now or later in their lives.

As “grown-ups” we can tell ourselves that if people don’t want to include us then it’s ok because we don’t want to be around others if they don’t want to be around us. That’s what the adult in us says, but the child / teenager part of us still, at times, whispers ever-so-softly, no matter how hard we try to silence the voice, (just like the voice of so many others wanting to fit in and to be included), ‘Why not me?’

 

Sometimes The Sky Explodes (K.Blais)

The Weather Network has been calling for thunderstorms for the last few days in the area where I live. I am disappointed to say that not one has occurred, at least not yet.

Even as a young girl I loved thunderstorms. The darkening sky, the thunder crashing in the distance and gradually moving closer, and the lightning flashing across the heavens continue to give me delightful shivers. The wind also adds a sense of excitement to the thrill of a thunderstorm, its gusts and bursts bringing more rain as it pushes the clouds around like a bully in the sky.

(image courtesy of coolchaser.com)

I’m not sure what it is exactly that I find so thrilling about thunderstorms. Over the years I have even purchased cassette tapes (now that’s dating me), CDs, and downloaded apps on my phone all to hear the sounds of a thunderstorm at a moment’s notice. While I find thunderstorms exciting, perhaps it is the unexpectedness of what might happen next, there is also something relaxing about the steady drum of the pounding rain and comforting about the rumbles in the sky. Perhaps it reminds me that even the world can have a bad day.

While some people become anxious at an impending thunderstorm, I anxiously anticipate them. I find the power of nature to be completely captivating. It’s also reassuring to know that nature can have a temper and ‘lose its cool’ at times too.

(image courtesy of weather.com)

Some days we may feel like a storm is brewing inside of us as well. We may feel like we desperately want/need to be thunderous and loud, exerting our opinions and giving a piece of our mind to anyone who will hear it. We may feel like lightning, flashing and lashing out at unsuspecting victims who don’t see us coming until it is too late. While as a thunderstorm we may leave a wake of wet destruction in our path, we may do so only because we feel a need to vent out our frustrations and the pressure and stress which we have in our lives.

Everyone has days where it seems like everything is bound to go wrong (or at least seem dangerously close to going wrong). (Heck, one might even say that I was having an afternoon like that today!) Frustrations rise, tempers flare, and before long we become a brewing mass of possible eruption waiting to ‘happen’ should that ‘one more thing’ occur. To react to things that are unfair, unprofessional, uncalled for, and even unjust is a natural human reaction, especially to those of us who have a strong sense of right and wrong and of justice. It is natural to defend and be loyal to our family and friends and to those who cannot stand up for themselves. Sometimes, in their defense, we may find ourselves having to stand up for what is right in a tumultuous kind of way.

Although we must stand up for what is right and just and true, for those of us with very strong opinions, convictions, and perhaps even tempestuous personalities, how do we prevent ourselves from becoming the dreaded storm that can potentially wreak havoc in the lives of others, yet still stand up for what we believe in?

I believe that it is extremely important to have people who we can vent things to so that we don’t become a complete thunderstorm to random people and in random situations in our lives, hurting others or own selves in ways in which we don’t intend to. We need to find people who we can trust, who know that in our storm we are not attacking them rather that we are only venting out a frustrating situation. We need to have those people in our lives that will be there for us through the storms and the calm, through the thick and the thin, through any kind of weather really. We don’t need fair-weather friends or people that are only friendly with us to benefit themselves somehow in return.

When we have those people in our lives, let’s call them our personal storm chasers, we realize that we can be ourselves, we can be who we really are and say how we are feeling, whether or not our behavior is always appealing or not. True friends walk in when the world walks out, even when the seas are stormy and the skies are raging. Real friendship is when someone is willing to ‘weather the storm’ for us, even when we are the storm ourselves.

It is also possible to be the storm of reason. We can stand up for what we believe in with loud crashes and booms of thunder as long as we are pointing out facts and not simply disrespecting others. We can provide the lightning flashes of reason to those who perhaps cannot see it for themselves. We may even be able to be the gusty wind of change which guides others to new ways of thinking to allow new perspectives to breeze in.

(image courtesy of weather.com)

While thunderstorms can be dangerous, they are also a great way for the atmosphere to release energy, whether that atmosphere is the Earth’s or our very own. Thunderstorms bring rain which recharges lakes, rivers, and groundwater and cleanses the air of pollution, much like when we are able to vent and cleanse our own thoughts through releasing negative energy and recharging ourselves allowing room for positive thoughts. Thunderstorms are also a primary cooling mechanism for Earth, just as when we “storm” and then afterwards we are able to “cool off” and refocus on all that is good in the world.

“I love thunderstorms. The hiss of the wind, the boom of the thunder, the lightning that lights up the sky. Why? Because of the chaos. Because sometimes in this boring, scheduled life, this waiting-for-Friday-night life that we all lead, we just need the world to remind us that not everything is perfect. Sometimes nature can’t handle the pressure. Sometimes the sky explodes.” (Author unknown)

Musings Of A Mother (K.Blais)

It’s been another whirlwind week, which happens more often than not lately. The weekend doesn’t appear to be any less hectic, especially with Mother’s Day being on Sunday as well. So, with that being said, this week I decided to focus on mothers and motherhood.

Parenthood itself is one of the biggest responsibilities that we are given in life. For my male readers, I realize that many of you take on a lot of the roles and responsibilities of a mother that many women do also. Please consider this a tribute to mothers and to anyone who is like a mother.

Being a mother to two wonderful children, I have a deep respect to anyone who takes on this most noble and challenging role. I can honestly say that being a mom is the absolute hardest job that I have ever had, but it is also fully and completely the most rewarding. There are days where it is true; I want to scream, pull my hair out, and even have a temper tantrum of my own (“This can’t be my life?!?”), but there are also those many more days where I am filled with so much pride and happiness that I have been so blessed with my children.

(photo courtesy of Angie Wren
acgprophoto.blogspot.com)

I have also been blessed with a wonderfully caring mother who has been my best friend throughout all my life. She has seen me through thick and thin and has never once left my side emotionally. I am also fortunate to have a caring mother-in-law who offers support, encouragement, and friendship as well. For some of us, our mothers are no longer with us in one sense or another, but perhaps there is still someone in our lives who fills that special mother-like role either as a family member or a special friend.

In considering mothers, motherhood, and even parenthood in general, I have thought a lot about the following: What is a mother?

A mother is someone who is there for you no matter what. She is your biggest fan, your loudest cheerleader, and your strongest defender. She is the one who believes in you regardless of the odds. She sees the potential in you no matter how many times you may have messed up, gotten it wrong, or fallen apart.

A mother is a sounding board, an options evaluator, and a listening ear when you just need to speak your thoughts out loud. She is the person who you can say anything to, who doesn’t judge you when you are whining, and who takes your side (perhaps while gently pointing out that there are other sides to the story too).

A mother is an on-call nurse, a sympathetic psychologist, and a guidance counselor extraordinaire. She guides with the best of intentions, but also leaves you to make your own decisions, and, consequently, to learn from your own mistakes.

A mother is a finder of lost things, a fantastic detective, and judge and jury all wrapped up in one. She promotes a strong sense of moral justice and sets an example of good citizenship, respect, and kindness to others.

A mother guards your secrets as if they were her own, models the strength and faith we should have, and strives to live a good life putting her family first above her own interests.

But… no mother is perfect. We are all human and so we all make mistakes. We may not always be the perfect example for our children. We may lose our confidence, lose our patience, and definitely lose our cool. We may forget to count our blessings and to groan and complain when the days are tough. We may lose sight of how precious each and every day is, and how, at a moment’s notice, it could all be gone. We may even neglect to think about how time will pass so quickly and in a blink of an eye our children will be grown and living on their own, maybe even as parents themselves.

This Mother’s Day, I am going to be thankful for my mom and the other special women that are mothers who I am grateful to have in my life, but I am also going to be thankful that I am a mother myself. I’m going to be thankful for the fact that I am a mom and I have two amazing children who I love to the moon and back. I’m going to celebrate the fact that as a mother I know that I’m not perfect, and I’ll never be perfect, but I made a promise to always try my best, to be the best mom I can to my kids, because I am the only one completely qualified for the job. Each day is a new day and a new opportunity to learn and I will celebrate the fact that my children help me to keep learning every day.

So, I will count my blessings each day and try to be the best, imperfect mom that I can be, thankful to be just that – a mother.

Happy Mother’s Day!