We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.
[Marianne Williamson]

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Smart Habit Saturday

My SMART habit this week is daily prayer. I have had this link saved for a while but only ever used it sporadically - I will now want to make a habit of using it daily:


This site is run by Irish Jesuits and provides on-screen guided meditations and a short passage of specially chosen scripture each day. It only takes about 10 minutes to do and always makes me feel wonderful afterwards. Here is an excerpt from the end of today's reading, which turned out to be very appropriate:

So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today's trouble is enough for today.

At the end of the reading, the guided meditation prompts you to ask: "What are you saying to me, Lord?" Sometimes I really have to puzzle over the answer to that - but not today :D

The rest of this post is WAY too longwinded and contains WAY too much information. You are very welcome not to read it!

Positive Parenting: Good. This week I have been concentrating on giving positive feedback and rewards (hugs and kisses) for all the little things Wombat does well, ignoring minor misbehaviour, asking for his cooperation (that really works! It's amazing how much Wombat understands, and how much nicer things can be if I explain what I'm doing and why, and then do it WITH him instead of TO him.)

It hasn't been all smooth sailing - he has suddenly become afraid of the dark - or perhaps it is just the awful teething making it harder for him to settle? We have had some screaming tantrums at bedtime but it seems better for him if I don't turn the light off until after he has been asleep for a few hours. I am going to invest in a night light & see if that helps.

I have sidestepped napping battles by watching for his 'sleep window' instead of insisting on two naps a day (and am getting hardly any work done as a result). I have also sidestepped the nappy changing battle by using a cloth nappy folded into a pad in a pair of training pants - it doesn't work for sleeptimes, but it makes him feel more grown up during the day - and this week he is finally using sign language for potty! (I have been trying to teach it to him for 6 months - ever since he decided he didn't like pooping in his nappy.) All poop goes in the potty now - and he makes the potty sign when he is sitting on it - now the next step is to get him used to the idea of telling me when he feels the need to pee.

(EDIT: When am I EVER going to learn??? Every single time I have made a comment online about my wonderful Wombat consistently pooping in the potty, I will spend that day changing dirty nappies. Every Single Time. I think that boy can read my thoughts...)

One thing I have found in my reading which has really helped is not actually to do with positive parenting, but it has made a big difference. A while ago I read about St Therese and her 'Little Way'. I immediately sorted out some beads from my stash to make a set of sacrifice beads, but never went any further. This week I found myself reading about St Therese again, and discovered we had something in common:

Every time Therese even imagined that someone was criticizing her or didn't appreciate her, she burst into tears. Then she would cry because she had cried! Any inner wall she built to contain her wild emotions crumpled immediately before the tiniest comment.
(Catholic Online: Saint Therese of Lisieux)

I can SO relate to that! I read further and rediscovered her concept of using beads to count her 'little acts of love'. Nothing heroic, nothing huge, just everyday good deeds - making Wombat smile... cleaning up a mess... smiling at my mother-in-law... it doesn't even have to be something you don't like doing - just something God would approve of!

Basically, when you do a good deed, or offer up some little sacrifice to Jesus, you move a bead towards the crucifix. When you do something wrong (grumbling to myself about hanging the washing... losing my temper... leaving a mess for someone else to clean...)* you move a bead back the other way (towards a Miraculous medal of Mary, or a medal of St Therese, or some other saint/inspiration to do better). I have found this really helps me keep track of my day - I don't despair after a bad day, because I know I have done good things as well, and if I am having had a good day, I am also more aware of the little things I do that hurt others. The beads are very easy to make - here are some clear instructions and here is some more information on how to use them.

*(to quote Sandra Boynton's song 'I like to Fuss': "I like to fuss, I like to moan. I like to stand on my chair and say leave me alone... I like to gripe, I like to brood, I like to stomp all around in a truly terrible mood..." - that's the main bad habit that has me pushing beads in reverse ;P )

Exercise: excellent! WOOHOOOOO! I was so inspired and feeling so good about exercise this week that whenever I missed a session, I did double the next time so I could still tick it off. The secret is in setting such small, manageable ten minute sessions! Having said that, I am on hold for this week. It is that time of the month, and I have discovered an unexpected and unwelcome side effect of weaning. While I was breastfeeding, it seemed that my body had finally settled down into having normal manageable periods instead of my usual bloodbath. I was incredibly happy! Now that I have stopped, I am suddenly plunged back into the dark ages of a huge mess and cramps. *sigh* If I'd known that was going to happen... oh well, I guess it's just more incentive to get pregnant again :P (though Yeti insists on us waiting until I am under less study stress...)

The end result is that my exercise plans have ground to a shuddering halt. I have been reaching for the chocolate, and the second spoonful of sugar that I had happily been doing without has somehow crept back into my tea. The big challenge will be taking up where I left off once this week is over - and that is the challenge I have failed in the past. Still, I was really enjoying the exercise this time, and definitely feeling the benefits of it, even if they weren't externally visible. Rather than push myself in a weakened state, I am going to spend a week doing less strenuous stretching activities and make that part of the exercise habit so I can cope with times like this.

SMART habit progress:

Visit Lara at The Lazy Organizer to join in Smart Habit Saturday - it will change your life! (Find out more about Smart Habit Saturday here: Getting Started with Smart Habit Saturday.)


Steff said...

your beads reminded me of a marble thing i heard...

Let me tell you something that has helped me keep a good perspective on my own priorities.
This is the theory of a "thousand marbles."

You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years."

"Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3900 which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime.

"It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail, and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy.

"So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to roundup 1000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside of a large, clear plastic container right here in my workshop next to the radio. Every Saturday since then,I have taken one marble out and thrown it away.

I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life. There is nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight."

This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container.
I figure if I make it until next Saturday then God has blessed me with a little extra time to be with my loved ones......

Schelle said...

I remember reading that too - and thinking it was a good idea (except for one young Wombat who would see a jar full of marbles and think yummy!)

The difference with St Therese's beads is that there are only ten, and you move them back and forth - towards the cross for acts of love, and away from the cross when you do something not so nice. At the end of the day you reset them - so you can start afresh each day - kind of like Smart Habit Saturday ;D If you slack off one week, you can try again harder next time - the incentive is still there.