Tag Archives: identity

Pillow Presents

This is a photo of a pillow in my home office comfy chair. The Curious George pillow, lumpy and bumpy as it may be, is special to me. It was made (by my daughter) from a shirt that my youngest son had worn a lot. I didn’t want to get rid of it when he finally outgrew it. We felt like it was very fitting for him as he seemed so much like the famous little lmonkey character!

On this Mother’s Day Sunday I wanted to share an idea with those of you who have younger children (or even some older kids). They may require “help” in getting a present ready for next Mother’s Day (birthday or Christmas).

You can plan ahead over the course of the next few months or so and notice when your child outgrows a special shirt! You might suggest to him/her that you would like it and ask if they mind if you make it into a pillow and see their reaction.

Your child might be old enough and motivated to get in on the pillow project or even make it themself. If not, you could make it and let them give you the finished product.

For the how-tos just do a Google or Pinterest search for instructions.

Basically just trim the body into a square/rectangle shape (circles are trickier and would definitely require a pillow form) leaving enough fabric to form the sides and seams. Sew your seams inside out leaving enough open space to stuff with pillow stuffing or insert a pillow form to fit. Then turn right side out, stuff and stitch closed. And there you have it! Your keepsake pillow gift.

What do you think? Is this the type of keepsake that appeals to you? Do you think it might be meaningful to your child/children?

I do not tend to be very sentimental about things. There are just a handful. That’s probably a good thing with certain rabble rousing children. The idea of cherishing items from my children’s growing up years may not mean much to them right now. But hopefully in time it will be additional evidence that I love and cherish them.

Mother’s Day can be hard. It was hard today. But I was not surprised. I maintained my calm. Mostly. Lowering the pressure on ourselves and on the rest of the family to make Mother’s Day or any other holiday a picture perfect event can help.

My youngest daughter (whom I have had some extreme relational struggles with) had volunteered to make peach ice cream for Mother’s Day. I strategically waited until yesterday evening to take her to get the ingredients when it would be just me and her and not a regular grocery shopping trip. But the local grocery stores did not have fresh peaches yet and the produce stands were closed for the day. Yikes! But calm prevailed. I got up early and drove about 30 minutes away to “Peach Park” where I knew they would have fresh peaches. It was very much worth it in more ways than one! (Yum!)

Your child might be old enough and motivated to get in on the pillow project or even make it themself. If not, you could make it and let them give you the finished product. Helping them to participate in a way that says “we’re family” can dislodge another brick in the walls of resistance to relationship that may have been built as a result of trauma. There were some small (but huge!) Connections made today that could have been easily overshadowed if we had tried to pull off a larger event (that would likely have been an epic fail).

How about you? Do you have any helpful strategies for lowering the stress levels for holidays and events? Post them in the comments.

Mom, this is for you.

 

I want to express a few thoughts and see if they resonate with any of you.

You may know that within our family we have special needs, attachment disorder (and reactive attachment disorder which is the upper end of that spectrum) mental health issues in addition to that; language delays, social delays; just all these special needs type things going on, and Post Traumatic Stress (PTSD) and OCD , ADHD — and more alphabet soup!

What’s a mom to do!? I’ve learned that if you are all wrapped up in the family, the children, their special needs, and the relationships that attachment disorder has really put a negative spin on (with multiple kids and family members!) then it can really put you in a rotten space. If you have your own identity all wrapped up in the nature of being a parent of the alphabet soup, special needs, chronic illness and all that goes along with attachment issues that is.

The children are growing up and trying to forge their own identities. Some have additional issues with identity — identity crises — because of their past.

Now think about the parents. Moms in particular (and dads, I am not trying to exclude you but you know, I can relate most to moms).

What about your identity?

Your identity cannot continue to be wrapped up in the relationships and in the roles that you have — the roles that are changing — the roles that are up one day and down the next — the roller coaster ride that is this life, without some real damage, without losing yourself, without losing your own identity.

So, you MUST regain and/or hold onto your identity in Christ.

Your identity as God’s child.

Your identity as someone of value and intellect and purpose.

You can hold on to your true identity:

Whether or not a particular relationship goes haywire;

whether or not a particular illness continues or gets worse;

whether or not you have to deal with a mental health crisis that day;

whether or not behavioral issues pop up;

And whether or not other people judge you as someone who should handle things differently than you do, or should parent differently than you do, or is even the cause of some of the behaviors or issues with your children.

And so, who are we doing this for? Are we really just doing it for ourselves? No.

For our children? Yes! But not just for them.

If you are like me, then you agree we are really doing it for God.

And for our love of God.

And in obedience to God.

So we do it for our kids – yes, but as God gives us love and loves our children and our families through us he gives us the ability desire. And HE is the one we are really doing it all for!

He knows your heart.

He knows it all.

He knows these children.

He knows their background and he knows their needs. And furthermore, God is able to take them, continue to work on them, and maybe do it through you or maybe through other people or other ways. So it’s not all on your shoulders. Put it back on his, where it belongs.

That’s all of my rambling thoughts. I hope you ae encouraged. If you are, feel free to share and follow Yesterday’s Orphan for more.

Discovered, Taught, Built or Attained?

Our identities.

Are they discovered, taught, built or attained?  Finding myself, figuring out what makes me tick, discovering who I am . . . sound familiar?  Is this really how our identity is forged?  Or is our identity something we learn from our parents and others who teach us “where we come from”?  Are you a “self-made man” (or woman)?  Is your identity something you build for yourself?  And once you have found, learned of or built your identity is that it?  Or is it something that is fluid and changes over time. And is there something of your identity “out there” to attain?

Most people tend to have questions about their identity at some point in their life (or many points).  Those who have been orphans may question their identities even more.  As parents and caregivers what can we do to help them?  As to the questions above, I think all of the above would be my answer.  And each can form a part of the identity quest.

Let’s take them one at a time.

Discover

Kids can discover a lot about themselves and begin to have a sense of their own identity as separate from others as a baby when they acquire the ability to comprehend and understand object permanence.  Ever play peek-a-boo with a baby?  They are learning that even when they don’t see your face, you still exist and will return.  As kids continue to learn and grow and develop their own sense of self – – what they like and don’t like, how they are different from others around them and have different needs and desires at times they are discovering some of their identity.  We can help them clue in to their favorites and their special talents and strengths.

Teach

As we teach them about their heritage, culture and family values we are teaching identity as well.  We can help our kids to connect with these aspects of their identity.  We can help them to understand that while there are good points as well and negatives in their backgrounds, that there are many parts of the fabric of their identity that are woven together in a unique way.  We can help them to learn about positive aspects and how even negatives can provide opportunities to rise above.

Build

It is important to help our children to understand that their identities are not soley made up of things that are out of their control.  They can build into their identities as well.  Choices they make, big and small, build into their character and lead them into who they are becoming.

Attain

1 John 3:1-2
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears,we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

Helping our children to understand and embrace how God views them and their identity as children of God (and how to enter into his forever family) is the best way to help them in the identity quest.  Identifying themself as a child of God, just as they may embrace their identity in their new adopted family, is both a present identity and a future attainment.  It is ours now, and will be fully ours in the future.

What are your thoughts on the quest for identity and how we can help our children.  I welcome your comments.

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Kids from hard places can have overwhelming emotions.  As a parent, I want to help my children learn to use positive coping skills and give them helpful tools.

I’ve gotten some great result in my own family since I’ve begun using premium essential oils.  Among the many benefits, they can make a big difference in dealing with overwhelming emotions, focus and sleep.

Hit Reply (if you are reading this in e-mail) or Contact in the menu above (if you are on the website) with “essential emotions” in your message to learn more about our premium essential oils and related products that you may want to add to your parenting toolbox.  I’ll send you a short video and then follow up to see what you think.

Answering the Question, Who am I, Really?

As children hit adolescence they all tend to zero in on the things that they can hang their hat on as their own unique identity.  Some of the things they focus on are qualities that differentiate them from their families or help them stand out.

These can be a variety of things such as a sport or hobby focus or changing their styles of clothing and hairstyles.  And some are aspects that help give them a foundation of familiarity, mainly family-based, such as a heritage or tradition, cultural comforts or genetic traits.  Sometimes there may be friction when their choices differ strongly from that of their parents or accepted norms. It is a normal part of growing up.

But when children have a shaky past as our former orphans do, this process can be a lot more treacherous.  The analogy I would use is a tug-of-war rope with which the adolescent/young adult is being pulled one way toward individuation and breaking away from the family, and another way toward the foundational elements that would keep them grounded such as family relationships, traditions, values and beliefs.  pexels-photo-91416.jpegIn general there should be a balance so that it is not pulled too far to either side, but both sides having a firm grip in the life of the maturing young person.

Having less than a firm background can make it difficult for the rope to hold and more dangerous for the young person to pull away, as is natural to do at this age, without that invisible grounding tug.  (We are dealing with this in our family right now.)  And whereas many times tweens and teens are known for trying on different styles or hobbies or interests (“mini-obsessions” they hyper-focus on) like trying on new clothes, your child may have a tendency to get stuck on one and not be willing (or able) to let go or change gears.  Getting through to them that it is okay and expected that they will change their minds as they try new ideas can be difficult.  It is worth the effort to help these children realize that they can let go and try a new approach when the one they are using isn’t working well, without it being identified as a failure on their part, but an aspect of growing and maturing.

Does your child fear to go too far out of the familiar comfort zone and fear losing their footing? They may need extra help to find and expand on qualities they identify themselves with, aside from their family or background.

Negative things can loom large, either from a particular child’s background or about them as an individual at this age and can dominate their thinking.  As children who have had significant trauma in their backgrounds (whether they actually remember it or not) these things can be magnified and take on a larger than life quality, clouding the young person’s ability to see themselves in a positive light.  So they will need guidance to help them grasp a larger, more accurate perspective — one that includes the more positive and even neutral aspects of their identity to give them a better balance.

Helping adolescents and teens to latch on to a balance of foundational, grounding aspects of their identity, plus spread-their-wings, reach-for-the-sky aspects can be a difficult process and will look different for everyone.  Remember it’s a part of the growing up process, though it may look different and take more time (and tears and prayers) to get through for our once orphan children, so that as parents we can stay focused on the big picture and be less frustrated over the small stuff.

To find our value primarily in our relationship with God and his with us is the best foundation any one of us can have!  When your child is asking, “Who am I, really?”  it’s this foundation that really counts.

And knowing your value is in being a child of God is never a shaky foundation!

In Jeremiah 1:5 God says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart . . .”  May we ALL find our identities in our relationship with God through Christ Jesus.

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Real life is often emotional and kid’s from hard places often have overwhelming emotions.  As a parent I want to help my children learn to use positive coping skills and give them tools to help.  There are some natural products we have begun using in our family that make a big difference in helping kids cope with overwhelming emotions, to manage and focus.

If you think it might be helpful for your family to learn more about these products feel free to contact me and I’d be happy to fill you in.