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Read the Room! Becoming More Self-Aware

One evening, we had people over for dinner. I had set up all the food buffet-style on the island, but we hadn’t yet asked for everyone to gather to say a blessing on the food. No one was sitting down at the table or at the island. We were all visiting on the couches. Yet, one of my kids started going to town and chowing down on the food. I was annoyed and frustrated. I blurted out a little loudly, “Read the room!!!!”

My kids didn’t know what it meant, so I had to explain it. “Read the room means to look all around you. You can figure things out based on that. Are other people sitting down at the table and island? Are other people eating? NOPE!” This is just one example of teaching my kids how to pick up on social cues.

Read the room is now one of my favourite things to say. It’s applicable to many situations. So, I am going to ask you this: do you read the room regularly? Are you self-aware? I’m aware of the need to be self-aware. Haha! I’m trying. I fail sometimes. Recently, during church, I sat near a friend and we visited off and on during sacrament meeting. By visiting, I also mean laughing. My husband kept giving me side-eye, trying to get me to see that a reverent sacrament meeting wasn’t the most appropriate venue for a gab session. I did not read the room. (And I am not good at whispering. My whisper is other people’s inside voice. 🙈) But I do succeed sometimes, like when I can tell I’m talking too much so I stop and give space for the other people to also add to the conversation.

It’s fascinating to watch people at buffets or pot lucks. Some people are not self-aware. They aren’t aware of the many people behind them who haven’t dished up yet, and they go to town, piling their plates up. To that, I want to yell, “READ THE ROOM, BUDDY!”

I remember talking to my therapist about the struggles I had with an individual. He asked me if I knew what a shadow personality was. I didn’t. He went on to explain that often the things that irritate us the most in other people are a reflection of some quality we dislike in ourselves. Boom.

My mom loved people and genuinely loved getting to know them. She also genuinely loved talking. We called my mom a walking encyclopedia because she knew a lot of information. It was a blessing and a curse. She wasn’t always able to read the room. She’d still be talking as people would be side stepping to get to their vehicle, or moving closer to the door to make their escape. My momma loved to talk. (What I wouldn’t give to hear her tell me random information. What I wouldn’t give to hear her go off on long winded tangents about all the celebrity gossip. My mom had a vested interest in certain celebrity relationships. I remember she left my sister a message on the phone, saying how devastating the news was that Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman were breaking up. Man, I miss that mother of mine. It is funny how the quirks that sometimes annoy you are the ones you miss the most.) This tendency of my mom’s would irritate me sometimes. But now, I’m trying to look deeper in my irritation, to be more aware of this shadow personality business. Looking back, maybe I’m irritated by this tendency in ME!

Self-reflection is a good thing, but I do think we can take things too far and question everything. I’m not saying to do that. Moderation in all things!

So friends, I’m writing this all to give me accountability. I’m also wanting to share these epiphanies I had. Maybe it’s something you needed to hear. ❤️ It’s nice to know we are not alone. So to everyone, including myself, I say…RTR. Read the room!

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What Matters More?: Whose Opinions Truly Count

I remember when my kids were 6, 2 and 1. Getting in the van to go anywhere was a struggle and a stressful time. Kids who hate being buckled up is something that will send parents to the brink of insanity. By parents, I mean specifically Jacquie Fleming.

I remember losing it and yelling at my children, while buckling my toddler up with a little more force than necessary. Because of my frustrations with their lack of cooperation, I became a bit of a mom-ster. (Side bar: When I taught kindergarten, we were learning the letter M. The kids needed to draw a picture of something that started with the letter we learned. I saw one picture and asked my student if he drew a monster. He said that he was drawing his mom. Gulp. I learned to ask questions instead of guessing. For the record, she was a bit of a monster to deal with. I came up with the word mom-ster from that encounter. I thought I was so clever. Turns out, other people are just as clever, but I digress.)

All of a sudden it hit me that if my neighbours were outside, they’d be able to see me spazzing on my kids. And they’d judge me or change their opinion of me. I felt so embarrassed. I feared what they might think of me.

After the intensity of that situation passed, I had the realization that some people DID hear me. Heavenly Father and Jesus heard me. My kids heard me. I felt an overwhelming sense of sorrow at that moment. I realized I was more worried about what my neighbours thought about me than what those who matter most to me thought.

I couldn’t help but think of the lyrics to a special primary song, If The Savior Stood Beside Me. Sometimes the simplicity of children’s songs are the most powerful.

1. If the Savior stood beside me,

would I do the things I do?

Would I think of His commandments,

and try harder to be true?

Would I follow His example?

Would I live more righteously

if I could see the Savior standing nigh,

watching over me?

2. If the Savior stood beside me,

would I say the things I say?

Would my words be true and kind

if He was never far away?

Would I try to share the gospel?

Would I speak more rev’rently

if I could see the Savior standing nigh,

watching over me?

3. He is always near me,

though I do not see Him there,

And because He loves me dearly,

I am in His watchful care.

So I’ll be the kind of person

that I know I’d like to be

if I could see the Savior standing nigh,

watching over me.

(Words and music by Sally DeFord)

Well, I was able to quickly answer the questions posed within the song. I wouldn’t dream of speaking and acting in that way if He was standing near me. This experience has taught me so much. I should care way more about what my sweet family thinks and what Heavenly Father and Jesus think over what the “public” thinks. It was a powerful moment for me. It’s the fear of man versus the fear of God conflict. Sometimes it’s so hard to keep my perspective in check.

I’m so grateful that I can recall primary songs to help remind me of sweet and simple truths.
When I sing primary songs with my children, my own testimony is strengthened. These songs also help me learn alongside my kids in a way that is so meaningful. I love music, in general, but there’s something so special about gospel songs written for kids. My kids are so special. I am working hard at remembering that, even in the midst of my frustrations.

I’m trying to consistently take “holy pauses” before I react, and I have to tell you. I’m way less of a spaz. I’m trying to be intentional with what I invite in our home. That includes feelings. When I yell or overreact, I invite less-than-good feelings. I’m working on it. I’m getting better at it. Having this photo in our living room is an amazing reminder.

I’m so grateful for this beautiful lesson taught to me about what matters more.

(Love Is Spoken Here is another primary song that I love. Here’s a link to the full collection of primary songs if you wanted to have a look-see.)

Update: I just recently had another experience that reminded me about what matters more. This was my Instagram post from December 27th:

Image from Pixabay

I took the kids to see Frozen 2 today. What a delightful experience to share with my kids and my niece!

While sitting in the darkened theatre with my popcorn. (With a combo of butter, dill pickle AND white cheddar seasoning. Magical.) I had a “Read the Room” moment.

The second I sat down with my popcorn, I SHOVELLED the popcorn in my mouth. There were no manners. No regard for how I looked or sounded as I repeated to hoover the popcorn. Lachlan was sitting on my lap and I kept dropping popcorn on him. He didn’t care because he was so happy gorging on his popcorn, too. I looked around and this uncivilized way of eating popcorn was everywhere. It wasn’t just me and my family. This was happening all over the theatre. I’d never eat like this with the light on. But in the dark? You betcha. You feel unnoticed. Anonymous almost. Anything goes.

I pondered this phenomenon a bit more. When we don’t think people see us, how do we act? (I saw a guy pick at his butt today, when he thought no one was watching.) How do we speak? (I’ve been swearing under my breath lately at the kids. They don’t hear it.)

This got me thinking on a more spiritual level. Someone always sees us, no matter the lighting. We are not anonymous. We don’t go unnoticed. What we do and say DO matter.

Anyway, just some thoughts from moi. The things that make you go hmmm. 🍿

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Old Yeller

Now, I’m not talking about the beautiful and tragic story of a boy and his dog. I’m talking about me and my struggle with yelling. Somewhere along my parenthood journey, I became a yeller. Not a screamer, but a voice-raiser that escalates to a yeller. It’s not something I set out to become, but yet, here I am.

(I LOVED this movie growing up. And I LOVE badly photoshopped photos. I think I’m 37 going on 13. Haha!)

I have always considered myself a happy and loving person. I certainly never identified myself as an angry person. When I became a mother for the first time, I felt like a different person. The joy and responsibility that came with motherhood definitely changed me in good ways. My heart was capable of such love. I was a nurturer by nature, and my desire to be a good mom was there. There were moments when I’d look at Evie, our first child, and I’d feel so overwhelmed with love. How did we even live life before the incredible blessing of being her parents? How did we know true happiness and love before then?

Evie was my sidekick and came with me everywhere. Going back to work and leaving her was extremely difficult. When I came home from work, I was still able to give Evie my best. We made our time together count.

When Evie was three and a half, we had our second child, Bennett. It was an adjustment in so many ways, but we were so happy. However, it was after having two kids that I started to yell. Things escalated when I had Lachlan, our third child. Where did all this anger come from? Like for real? Irritation and annoyance? Yes, that was definitely in me. But the anger? I didn’t know I had it in me.

It was hard for my husband to hear me react out of anger. He’s a pretty calm person and rarely has raised his voice at our children. We were talking about my tendency and we came up with me being an Old Yeller. We took things to the next level and came up with new yelling names. We were able to turn a concern into something fun. Just call me Sarah Michelle Yell•er, Boris Yell•tsin, Yell•anie Griffith, Yell•y Clarkson, or Ang•Yell•a Lansbury. (I even made a Facebook post about this and my friends added to the list. I have some funny friends. Please feel free to add to the list! Pure entertainment!)

This has been one of the biggest things I’ve tried to work on. My anger, not my clever yelling name list. I’ve taken parenting classes, talked openly with family and friends, prayed, watched videos, and read articles. I’d do well for a bit and then default to yelling. I was so disappointed in myself. I felt like I could never change. One day, I saw something in my newsfeed about angry parents (Facebook listens to my conversations, I’m convinced. Let me just readjust my tinfoil hat.). I prefer to borrow books from the library now, since my big purge of belongings. So, I was on my library’s app and searched for the author. I didn’t find her, but I randomly found this, and it spoke to me:
Triggers
Exchanging parents’ angry reactions for gentle biblical responses
Written by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake

Read this description and maybe you’ll be touched like I was.
“Do you believe your struggle with anger stems from the wrong behavior you see displayed in your children? The knee-jerk reactions and blow-ups you’re facing are often a result of a bigger set of “triggers.” Some of these are external, like a child’s disobedience, backtalk, or selective hearing, while others are internal, like an overflowing schedule, sleep-deprivation, or perhaps your own painful experiences from childhood.

Triggers: Exchanging Parent’s Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses examines common parenting issues that cause us to explode inappropriately at our children. Moving beyond simple parenting tips on how to change your child’s behavior, authors Amber Lia and Wendy Speake offer biblical insight and practical tools to equip and encourage you on the journey away from anger-filled reactions toward gentle, biblical responses.”

Guys. This was my answer. Why hadn’t I thought to include God even more in this particular struggle? I know it wasn’t a coincidence that I found this book. I NEEDED it in my life. I borrowed it from the library as an audiobook first. I was so touched by the content that I bought the physical book. I also bought the accompanying study guide. I was able to dig deep and I was able to make changes.

I still sometimes default to anger and yelling, but I now have tools to correct myself. I’m pretty good at apologizing to my kids now. I am able to give myself grace more than ever. And I definitely rely on the Lord more.

I have a lot to say on this blog, but I felt pulled towards writing about this. Maybe because I’ve felt my anger bubbling up recently. I noticed I’ve been defaulting to “loud talking”. Maybe I need this refresher more than any of you do. My husband and I have felt so strongly to have peace and unity in our home. One of our biggest desires is for our home to truly be a haven. This reminder is going to help me be the catalyst in our home towards achieving our goal of peace and unity. As we all know, if momma ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy. As women, we truly have power to set the tone of our home. I’ve been a little off-key lately, but I will work on my pitch.

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Missing My Babies

I’m already crying. What I’m about to say is very near and dear to me, but I feel strongly I need to share.

I had miscarriages for my first and third pregnancies. Nothing could have prepared me for the devastation that would ensue. I felt like I did something wrong. I remember thinking that I shouldn’t have lifted that heavy box or gone to Zumba class. I blamed myself for losing my babies. Feeling that responsibility was crippling. I felt like something was wrong with my body. I felt betrayed. I felt like I let Keegan down. I’ve mourned the loss of my two babies who I never got to meet, hold, smell, or sing lullabies to. I’ve mourned the life we had planned with them in it. I’ve mourned not being able to watch them grow up. There are two ‘future families’ I didn’t get to know and love and be a grandma to. My heart has been shattered with the loss of it all.

Anger also became real to me. I teetered on the edge of bitterness. I was angry at Heavenly Father. I was angry at all the happy families with young kids. I was angry at pregnant women. I was especially angry seeing posts on Facebook with pregnancy or birth announcements. I knew deep down that I shouldn’t be angry at all of these people, but I felt it nonetheless. I remember having a break down after reading someone’s post on Facebook complaining about being pregnant. What I wouldn’t give to have morning sickness, discomfort and lack of sleep all for the purpose of having a baby!!!

Each month after both miscarriages, I’d have such hope to be pregnant again. I remember reliving all the loss, pain and disappointment of my miscarriages when I would have my period. Having children is a righteous desire. Why was it so hard??? And why were there so many unwanted pregnancies and/or sucky parents in this world? Sometimes I’d get swallowed up in emotions and the what if’s. When I finally was pregnant again, I was SO paranoid. Every time I had any kind of dischargey feeling, my heart would drop to my stomach. Was it a sign of miscarriage? I had anxiety every time I went to the bathroom. I was riddled with fear before I’d wipe. I was so afraid of seeing blood.

I remember hearing the phrases, “You’ll have others” or “Something was wrong with the baby, so it’s a blessing it didn’t survive”. People would try to comfort me by telling me 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. Those people were right, but they were also wrong. I just needed hugs, love, empathy and probably food. Food is always a helpful thing. Everyone grieves differently. Some want solitude and some want to be surrounded by people. The universal thing everyone needs/wants is food. (I had so many people bring food after my mom died. It was amazing. Some friends even brought me a basket filled with paper plates, cutlery, fruits and munchies. That was genius.)

I know people often times don’t know what to say when tragedy strikes. I’m sure I’ve said the wrong thing. If you don’t know what to say? Be honest and tell the person that you don’t know what to say. Mourn with them. Listen to them if they are ready to talk. Share your story of loss, if they’re ready to listen.

(After my mom died, I loathed hearing “I’m sorry for your loss” and “She’s in a better place”. One of my friends who suffered a great loss said he hated hearing, “If there’s anything I can do…”. He had the best response. He asked someone if he could have their car because they did said “anything”. I’ve found that if you feel like you should do something, go for it. Just do it. Those in mourning probably won’t ever reach out to ask for help. They’re just trying to survive.)

I also became so sensitive when people would ask when Keegan and I would start a family. Or when we’d have our next baby. (What I really wanted to do was answer with Nunya. Nunya business. I would’ve added a damn in there too.) I know people are well-meaning. I’ve been that person, but I’ve learned now to generally not ask people that extremely personal question. Newsflash: it really isn’t anyone’s business! Miscarriages and infertility and timing affect this. And what if you don’t want to have children of your own? It’s really none of our business, regardless of how much we care about our family and friends. I remember going to church and one of my past school teachers asked me when I was due, because I had some signs showing. What that teacher didn’t know is that I had JUST miscarried. I sobbed while sitting on the pew. Keegan was so sweet and tried to comfort me. I think I eventually had to leave the building. That question was such a trigger.

One thing I failed to realize throughout this all was that my husband was also grieving. I was so caught up in my own grief because it happened to me. But, Keegan suffered a loss. It happened to him too. He lost those babies too. It was different for him than it was for me, but it was so hard on him just the same. It was also hard for him to feel helpless when my body was weak and when my heart was broken. It was especially hard for him when I was transported in an ambulance due to extreme blood loss.

When I opened up to family and friends, that’s when healing happened. And that healing was then accelerated once I worked things out with Heavenly Father. I was amazed at how many people have experienced miscarriage and infertility. I’m so thankful for people sharing their story with me. There’s strength in sharing. Healing takes place with sharing. Let’s be better at sharing our story.

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Chicken Pot Pie for the Soul

On New Year’s Eve, 2017, I had the thought that 2018 was going to be my year. I even said it out loud to anyone who would listen. That thought was soon obliterated. January 2nd, 2018 goes down as the worst day of my life.

I received news I had never considered I’d hear. My brother-in-law called me to tell me that we lost my mom. It didn’t register with me at all. I actually thought my mom was lost. I even giggled envisioning her walking around town, disoriented and in her muumuu and winter boots. But devastatingly enough, that wasn’t what he meant. It was an out-of-body experience once I absorbed what was said to me. I let out noises I didn’t know I was capable of making. I dropped to my knees and felt absolutely shattered. I felt so blindsided, so betrayed. We did not expect this at all. Yes, her health wasn’t the best it had been, but we thought we had years left with her. My mom would always tell me that she was a tough ol’ broad. That always gave me reassurance she’d be around for a long time. My mom was invincible to me.

My beautiful mother was only 61. I was only 35. My husband and I had a 6, 3 and 1 year old. This wasn’t right. This made no sense. How? Why? WHY? When my kids would cry for me or ask for me, I would cry and say that I understood. I just wanted my mom. Moms make everything better. We will always need our moms. It’s a fact, regardless of how old you are or how dysfunctional your family might be. To say I was absolutely devastated and broken was an understatement. I felt so robbed. I was too young to lose my mom. She was my cheerleader. She was my safe place. She was a source of love, support, strength and laughter. I felt that my children were so robbed. My kids were too young to lose a grandparent. My little one year old, Lachlan, will have no memories of his Grandma Margi. I felt sorrow, regret and guilt for not having more pictures of the kids with their grandma, especially Lachlan. I felt ripped off knowing I only had one video of her. ONE! (Guilt is a real part of grief, by the way.) I just always thought I’d have more time.

My beautiful momma!

It was all just too much. I felt so much. I even felt anger towards my Heavenly Father. I felt abandoned. I felt so very alone. Did I mention I felt anger? (Anger is also SUCH a real part of grief.)

For the first few days after my mom died, I would wake up in the middle of the night. I would wake up and then the realization would hit that my nightmare was actually my reality. I couldn’t fall back asleep. One particular morning, I woke up at 3 and couldn’t fall back asleep, so I looked on my phone, hoping to distract myself from my new reality. A cooking video came on my Facebook newsfeed. As soon as I saw butter melting in a pot, I was committed to view the finished product. It was comfort food in all its glory: chicken pot pie. I thought to myself how amazing it would be to eat some chicken pot pie. I certainly was in no position to make any food for my family other than pouring milk into a bowl full of cereal. Eating chicken pot pie was not in my future, or so I thought.

Within one day of each other, two friends brought me chicken pot pies. Not one, but two! Soup, lasagna, casseroles, pizzas and the like are typically the comfort food people will bring over when there is a celebration or tragedy. Chicken pot pie certainly hasn’t been on the list. This wasn’t a coincidence. It was a divine influence. I broke down and cried. I was incredibly touched. And it reaffirmed to me that God was mindful of me and loved me. It showed me that He cared about me in all ways, even my insignificant desire for chicken pot pie. I needed this reminder so much. I was also reminded that He didn’t withhold love from me because I was angry with Him. I didn’t feel abandoned. I felt completely loved.

I’m forever grateful for those two friends who recognized and followed a prompting to bring me a chicken pot pie. They ministered to me in ways they couldn’t imagine. They helped me feel my Heavenly Father’s unconditional love when I needed to feel it the most. Their actions helped strengthen my own testimony of God’s love.

Remember that song by Alabama called Angels Among Us? That song is so powerful and beautiful. The chorus gets me every time.

“Oh I believe there are, angels among us
Sent down to us, from somewhere up above
They come to you and me, in our darkest hours
To show us how to live, to teach us how to give
To guide us with the light of love.”

I know firsthand that there are angels among us, both heavenly and earthly. This is one example, of many, where I’ve felt Heavenly Father’s love through other people. I’ve been blessed with that healing power of love. Because of this, I am trying harder than ever to pass that love along.

I’m trying to not shrug off those seemingly random thoughts. They are not random. They are promptings from the Holy Ghost. I am trying to recognize and follow through with those promptings. They might be the answer that someone struggling needs. I’m trying to not let my own insecurities or doubt get in the way of ministering. I’m certainly glad my earthly angels followed through.

Whether you have a feeling to take a chicken pot pie over, write a heartfelt card, or go grocery shopping for someone who doesn’t want to leave their house and face the world, PLEASE follow through with that feeling. I’m a recipient of all three, and more. I’m here to tell you that it has made a huge difference in my healing and grieving process. We shouldn’t downplay the difference we can make. We should be more like the Nike slogan and Just Do It.

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Deep and Not-So-Deep Thoughts

Do you remember that segment on Saturday Night Live called Deep Thoughts By Jack Handey? It was my favourite.

Here are two deep thoughts I love. You’re welcome.

“The crows seemed to be calling his name, thought Caw.”

“Whenever someone asks me to define love, I usually think for a minute, then I spin around and pin the guy’s arm behind his back. NOW who’s asking the questions?”

Anyway, my mind doesn’t really shut off so I have a LOT of thoughts. Some are deep, and some are, well, not. I’ll share some of those with you.

  1. Our tooth fairy gives $3 for the first tooth and then $1 for every tooth after. I’m suspecting our tooth fairy is a real cheapo compared to other tooth fairies. Hahah! What’s the going rate? Also, what the H do you do with all the teeth? I’m feeling like a creepy collector. (Show picture) I had this box hidden on our top shelf in one of our cabinets. Evie was snooping and somehow found the box of teeth. Busted!!! I had to quickly tell her why I had them. My reason was that I asked the tooth fairy to give them to me so I could show the kids their tiny teeth when they get older. The bad news is, I never separated them. The kids’ teeth are all mixed together. #toothcocktail

Also, do any of you feel like a fraud when you tell your kids about Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and Leprechauns? I’m going through a little something right now with feeling that way. However, I don’t want to be “that mom” who shares the truth to her kids too early. My childhood was magical and I want that for my kids. I’ve noticed a pattern that most kids have loose lips. I worry that my kids might share their enlightenment with their younger siblings or other kids who aren’t ready to know.

2. You know what I’m grateful for? The IKEA As Is section. You know how some of the items in that section are a little broken, tarnished or have missing pieces? Even so, someone still sees the value in those items. That’s like all of us! I needed that reminder. We are a little broken but still of value. We are all loved a LOT! I have felt like Humpty Dumpty, but I am being put back together again.

I know the phrase “I Am Enough” is used often, but it is empowering. I have done daily affirmations and this is one I make sure I say. There is power in what we say. There is definite power in what we say to ourselves. So friends, you ARE enough, as is. Say it out loud! Shout it if you need! (Reminds me of Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed when she yells, “I’m not Josie Grossie anymore!!!!”)

3. When something stinks, why do I take double, triple and even quadruple sniffs only to confirm that it stinks.

4. I feel like my maturity level is stuck at the jr high level. When someone asks me where something is, I have the strongest urge to say, “Up your butt and around the corner”. Or when someone says excuse me for any reason, I REALLY want to respond with, “It’s okay. I didn’t smell anything.”

Have I ever mentioned that I’m 37 years old?

5. In an attempt to make small changes to live a healthier life, I chose to use natural deodorant. My very young daughter needed to wear deodorant and I didn’t want to wear drugstore brands. It got me thinking. If I wouldn’t let her put these things on her body, then why would I allow them on my body?

Things I’ve discovered:

•My armpits react to baking soda. It took a while to discover that. I would get red, raised rashes that were bordering on painful.
•Some of these baking soda-free deodorants I tried would work for an hour and then I’d smell like I played in an onion patch.
•I also discovered I sometimes have skunky smelling armpits. Apparently that’s due to stress sweat. Who knew our bodies emanated different odors?
•After 8 months of trying to figure out what works best for me (most people would’ve given up and gone back to antiperspirants by now but not stubborn Jacquie), I discovered the Routine brand works the best. It’s so good and you can get it online, or at The Purple Carrot in Lethbridge. You can get it with or without baking soda.

I had ALL these deodorants in my bathroom. A real process of trial and error!

That’s it for today! Stay tuned for more Deep Thoughts.

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Kids Say the Darndest Things

Do you remember the show Kids Say the Darndest Things hosted by Bill Cosby, when we still all loved him? It was my favourite show to watch. Well, I’m pretty lucky to have some pretty funny kids in my life. Here are some of my share-worthy stories. For some reason, all these stories are about body parts. Hahah!

I tried to be more subtle with my photoshopping. Haha! While googling images, I found out that Bill Cosby wasn’t the first person to do a show like this. Radio host Art Linkletter had a segment called Kids Say the Darndest Things on his program.

The more you know!

1. Volunteering in Bennett’s preschool class last year made me miss being surrounded by students. I was always so entertained by the stuff kids would say. That day was no different. 😂😂😂

Teacher (reviewing carpet time rules): What’s our rule about hands?
Student: You can’t put your hands in your pants and touch your wiener.

The student was absolutely right, though.

2. Recently at church, I was singing with the nursery kids (aged 18 months-3years). We were singing, “I can tap my toes, I can tap my toes, I can tap my toes”. 🎶🎵

The kids had maracas and would tap whatever we sang about.

Me:
Who knows what else should we tap?

Lachlan, my 3 year old: (With both maracas on his chest 🎯🎯)
NIPPLES!!!!
😂😂🙈😳Hahahahahahahah!!!


Bonus story that also happened at church the same day. Lachlan kept poking, feeling and pushing on my chest at church. I asked him to stop and he said, “But I like to do it”.

This is why we sit at the back. This is why. Hahaha!

3. When I taught grade one, I was teaching a unit in social studies on rights and responsibilities. I asked the kids for examples of each. One student said, “When my mom and dad shower together I’m responsible for watching my little sister. ”

To close this segment of Kids Say the Darndest Things, I’ll mention another experience I had in grade one.

4. Now, I love leopard print. I’ve loved it since I was in high school and you could only purchase leopard print items in the sketchy store San Francisco. (Please tell me some of you remember that store! The further towards the back, the sketchier the store.)

Anyway, I was wearing a pair of leopard print shoes to school. As I was holding the door open for all grade one kids to come in from recess, one student said to me, “I like your shoes. My mom has panties just like them.”

Hahahahaha! Out of the mouth of babes!

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All You Need Is Love

For a while, one of my favourite songs was Issues by Julia Michaels. (I said it WAS a favourite for a while, because I tend to be intense with music and listen to my favourites non-stop. Then they stop being my favourite. Sometimes I’m a go big or go home kind of gal. 😬 Oh, and if you now have a hankering to listen to this, just know there is one cuss word.)

One part in the song goes like this:
‘Cause I got issues
But you got ’em too
So give ’em all to me
And I’ll give mine to you
Bask in the glory
Of all our problems
‘Cause we got the kind of love
It takes to solve ’em

I’m not going to delve into her meaning of the lyrics, but bottom line is we all have issues. And it takes love to solve them. Let’s discuss some of my issues, shall we?

Before I dig in, I must mention this. My new timeline of reference has turned into “before my mom died” and “after my mom died”. So, this past year and 9 months since my mom died have been that of accelerated healing and growth for me. Let’s call it Jacquie’s Journey 2.0. (My Jacquie’s Journey OG will be shared at some point.)

I have God and good people in my life. I’m blessed. In a way, I have given my issues to them. They have had a hand in my healing. They have all helped me more than I can even attempt to explain. Love is the higher law, I’ve genuinely discovered. Love is the answer.

One day, I was hit so hard with this truth from Matthew 22 verse 39 found in the New Testament. “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (If you want the full scripture, you can find it here, starting at verse 36.) AS THYSELF!!!!! It hit me harder than hard. I realized I have have only focused on the first part of this scripture all along. I’m quite good at loving my neighbour. It’s easy for me to love other people. But the last part? I’ve never really given it attention as I only focused on the neighbour part. I have liked myself for the most part and I wouldn’t go as far to say that I hated myself. However, I realized that there was a deficit in my self love. And just like that, BOOM! This scripture was the answer to the root of all my issues.

As mentioned, I’ve always found it easy to love people. For deep rooted reasons, I’ve always imagined that it’s pretty hard for other people to love the real me. The flawed me. Insecurity, self doubt and all the things in between have been holding me back. In hindsight, I can see it all now. And it makes me so so sad. I never felt like I was enough. I would seek for others to fill me up with love. I was a validation-seeker. It’s like I needed it from other people because I couldn’t give it to myself. The downside to that is that what they gave me was never enough.

I’m happy to say that I’m well on my road to self-love recovery. I feel a tangible difference in how I view myself. It didn’t happen overnight. It’s been over a year of consistent work. Between God, my loved ones and some amazing professionals (counsellors, a naturopath, massage therapist and an EFT practitioner to just name a few), I have been able to work on a LOT of things. I’ve been called out on things. I’ve been challenged. I’ve had to reopen wounds to properly clean them so that they can properly heal. I’ve also been encouraged. I’ve been validated (not in an enabling way). I’ve dug deep and dealt with issues I didn’t know were even issues. Some of it hasn’t been easy. Some of it has been easier than I anticipated. Because of all of this, I realize that I am enough. I AM ENOUGH! And yes, I just yelled that. I realized I had it in me all along, but I needed help to see it.

Sometimes I try to default back to my old way of thinking. I now have the tools to question my thoughts. I don’t have to buy into that negative narrative any longer. My issues don’t define me any longer. Love defines me. The love my Heavenly Father and my Savior have for me defines me. It’s an unconditional love. The love I have for myself defines me. The love of others certainly adds an invaluable amount of meaning to my life, but it doesn’t define me. My own value isn’t dependent on what others think of me. This new awareness has been absolutely life changing. It’s been freeing.

Love is the answer. ❤️

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My First Blog Post

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C. S. Lewis



I love a good quote. And this quote illustrates that I’m not too old to embrace my new goals and dreams! Keep reading to find out why I started this blog! Especially since I NEVER thought I’d have a blog. Like ever.

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The Beginning of Just Jacquie

Shrek : For your information, there’s a lot more to ogres than people think.

Donkey : Example?

Shrek : Example… uh… ogres are like onions!

[holds up an onion, which Donkey sniffs]

Donkey : They stink?

Shrek : Yes… No!

Donkey : Oh, they make you cry?

Shrek : No!

Donkey : Oh, you leave ’em out in the sun, they get all brown, start sproutin’ little white hairs…

Shrek : [peels an onion] NO! Layers. Onions have layers. Ogres have layers… You get it? We both have layers.

[walks off]

Shrek, 2001

I’m not saying I’m like an ogre, but I can relate to the onion layers. (Actually, I can also relate to the stinking part. Like when I decided to try natural deodorant and some kinds did not work, leaving me to smell oniony or skunky. That’s for another blog post. Also, I can relate to sproutin’ little white hairs. Momma has clusters of those things growing along my hairline!)

I never ever thought I’d blog. It’s just never been an interest of mine. And I never thought anyone would want to read what I’d write. Here I am, though, blogging. I felt very strongly that I needed to do this. The story of why I started this puppy is for another blog post.

I LOVE to share. When I find something humorous, or have learned something or catch wind of something useful, I want to tell the world! My Facebook is full of my sharing. Just call me Sharing, Lois & Bram! (Please tell me you know of this amazing musical trio I grew up with! If not, you wouldn’t have found that funny in the least. Skinnamarinky dinky dink, skinnamarinky doo, I love youuuu!)

(Something you need to know about me is that I LOVE poorly photoshopped photos. It brings me such joy! 😂😂😂)

I need to get back to the layers thing. This blog has layers. It doesn’t fit one mold. It’s a personal sharing blog without restraints. I’ll share the funny, the raw, the vulnerable, the helpful, plus anything else this old gal needs to share.

As for the name? I wanted a blog name to not limit me, to not pigeon hole me into one category. For example, if I had Jacquie Of All Trades (I love a good play on words) as my blog name, readers might think it’s a DIY blog. Or if I named it I Am I Said, referencing Neil Diamond’s gem of a song, people might think I was a Dr Seuss fanatic. Truth be told, I am a big Neil Diamond and Dr Seuss fan. This name business has been an important/stressful factor to my sharing journey.

So, I used to love watching Will and Grace. Jack and Karen were my favourite characters. Jack would often throw his jazz hands up by his face and say, “Just Jack!”. That, along with my desire to be my authentic self, is how Just Jacquie was born. (Jazz hands) JUST JACQUIE!!!

I’ve learned a lot about anger, grief, fear, love, forgiveness, healing, hope and many other things in between. Thanks to my pal Brené Brown, I’ve also learned more about gratitude and vulnerability and to be brave. So here I am, showing up. I hope that some of the things I say can resonate with you. That you can feel support from me. That you feel you’re not alone. And maybe? Maybe you’ll even feel inspired.