Sunday, October 30, 2011

Vulnerability: A Dreaded Beauty


1. capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon: a vulnerable part of the body.

2. open to moral attack, criticism, temptation, etc.: an argument vulnerable to refutation; He is vulnerable to bribery.

3. (of a place) open to assault; difficult to defend: a vulnerable bridge.

The very definition of vulnerable is enough to make just about anyone cringe. It suggests being open to real pain whether it be bodily, emotionally, or mentally. It’s enough to make someone build walls reminiscent of the walls of Jericho around their heart.

We are taught from a young age to protect our emotional state from mockery, our mental state from false doctrine or teachings, and our body’s from injury and/or pain. This very intrinsic notion we have to protect ourselves at all costs is quite useful. However, when it comes to the human relationship it can be quite a hindrance. It can squelch the very fire of human authenticity and interaction. I have experienced this, first hand, for many years.

As a child I was often labeled weird, fanciful, or overly romanticized in thought. I have distinct memories of someone that I looked up to as a young child making me feel as though I was an oddball and therefore not likable. I grew up essentially feeling as though something was wrong with me or that I was simply missing the mark of being a likable person. I became too concerned about people not liking me. Truth be told, I still struggle with that to this day. 

Being vulnerable can be done in many different ways. I find it hardest to be vulnerable in situations dealing with close friends or family when conflict arises. I am of the persuasion that in any relationship that you are even minimally invested, conflict will arise at one point or another. When conflict arises, my first reaction is to throw a fit in private and pledge to never talk to the person that hurt me ever again. This is a foolish attempt to punish someone for something they most likely aren’t even aware of and if they are aware of it they probably aren’t too concerned with how I feel. 

I have learned to push through my feelings of anger, resentment, bitterness, self-righteousness and simply attempt to communicate with the other person how I am truly feeling. My goal is always to reach some sort of mutual understanding. Sometimes it doesn’t come out right. Most times the other person will then take that moment of my vulnerability to their advantage and punish me in some form or another. That is how they are dealing with their anger, resentment, bitterness, self-righteousness or particular emotion. They are, most likely, similarly afraid to be vulnerable.

Vulnerability allows you to accept and love ALL of yourself, including your faults, fears, and insecurities. For instance, I love that I am highly sensitive and perhaps overly invested in making sure openness and communication is in all of my close relationships. Is it a source of rejection for me? Sure, often actually. Does it open me up for attack? Yes. Do people see me as bothersome for discussing my feelings? You bet. The beautiful thing is I am just starting to learn that I don’t need to trouble myself with another person's thoughts or opinions of me. That is a part of who I am and as long as I’m not hurting anyone all is good.

So go on, put yourself out there! Live life according to your own terms! Don’t dread allowing yourself to become vulnerable; you will in turn be beautiful!

Live Vulnerable,

In the words of a mother

Here are some wonderful quotes:

I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable.
- Joseph Addison

To love at all is to be vulnerable.
 - C. S. Lewis

We all need somebody to talk to. It would be good if we talked, not just pitter-patter, but real talk. We shouldn't be so afraid, because most people really like this contact; that you show you are vulnerable makes them free to be vulnerable.
- Liv Ullmann

I think sexy is vulnerability, and there's no way you can act vulnerable. It just has to be there. -Michael Zaslow

I understand now that the vulnerability I've always felt is the greatest strength a person can have. You can't experience life without feeling life. What I've learned is that being vulnerable to somebody you love is not a weakness, it's a strength. -Elisabeth Shue

In the beginning, people think vulnerability will make you weak, but it does the opposite. It shows you're strong enough to care. -Victoria Pratt

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Amber Teething Necklace: Does It Really Work?

There's a new hype about the Amber Artisan Teething necklaces that are sold as an alternative to baby Tylenol and the like. Of course, you are wondering do they work. First, let me give a little background about the necklace.

The amber (tree resin) comes from the coast of Lithuania, collected on the shores of the Baltic Sea. They are then crafted into beads by local artisans. The amber beads have in them a medicinal property called succinic acid which is said to have anti-inflammatory and a natural pain relieving capacity. It is worn as a necklace or a bracelet. As the skin warms the amber beads succinic acid is released and then absorbed into the skin. It's not meant to be chewed on. It is an ancient practice to use amber for the treatment of aches and pains. So does it work? I'll just say I am convinced they work as an anti-inflammatory if nothing else. I actually think they work for a calming effect much like a warm cup of tea before bed as well. However, I'm not convinced that they work for the intensity of teething molars.

I purchased one of these fairly inexpensive amber necklaces from Lithuania when Chey first started to teeth. She doesn't mind wearing it at all. One day, Chey fell over and bumped her head rather hard on the side of our coffee table. She hit so hard that it left a line of blood just under the surface of her skin. I freaked out because of how hard she hit but as I went to pick her up she didn’t seem that upset. I sat there with her for a minute or so and saw the blood thingy appear but I noticed that remarkably she didn’t have any swelling at all! None! Zero! Zip! I said to my husband, “Man, you think she would have a big knot on her head.” He replied, “Maybe it’s the amber teething necklace?” To me there is no other explanation. 

There were times when I would forget to put her necklace back on her after her nighttime bath. She would wake up in the middle of the night in pain. I would put her necklace on, lay her back down, and she would go to sleep rather easily. Now before you think I’m putting my baby at risk for strangulation, these necklaces are special made with the purpose of breaking if there were enough force put on it. It is also designed in a way that the beads will not scatter to eliminate choking hazards. 

I am not convinced that they can tackle the worst of teething like the molars. Now whiskey rubbed on the gums…that’ll do the trick! I’ve only resorted to whiskey once in desperation as Chey was screaming in agony for a stretch of 45 minutes in holy molar pain! Those kiddos sure are tough as nails!

Well then, quick recap:

Does the amber help with inflammation? I vote yes

Does the amber help with pain relief? Mild pain…I vote yes. Extreme pain…I vote not so much.

Does the amber help to calm and soothe? I vote yes

Would I recommend this to a friend? Absolutely

What is the price? Relatively cheap. I paid $26.90 for a 12"-13" necklace. (Fits babies) That includes shipping too!

If I’m totally off my rocker on this one, so be it, but at least they make an adorable international accessory!

Here's to easy teething, in the words of a mother.

For more information visit this site

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Monthly Poem - October

Yes I make out with my food to savor the taste

Yes I dance with the water in my shower when it warms my cold bones
And Yes I feel the same way about my lover
His taste is sweet and his warmth covers me

Yes I talk to myself out loud when I need to figure something out
Yes I laugh at the oddest things
And Yes I feel the same way about my siblings
They let me think out loud to figure it out and we laugh at the strangest things

Yes I happily put my pants on both legs at the same time for efficiency
Yes I blissfully speed to make better time
And Yes I feel the same way about my daughter
Her needs must be met with joyful effectiveness and in idyllic haste

Yes I sing in tune with the birds to cheer me up
Yes I skip over the cracks in the sidewalks
And Yes I feel the same way about my best friend
She sings with me when I need cheered up and she overlooks my faults and cracks

Yes I lay in my bed when I need to cry
Yes I take some Tylenol when I have a headache
And Yes I feel the same way about my mother
She lets me lay on her to cry and she soothes my aches with her love

Yes I turn off all the lights when I leave the room
Yes I open the windows when nice weather comes
And yes I feel the same way about my life
When my lights are turned out I will be done and nice weather will still arrive

~Enjoy poetry in the words of a mother

Monday, October 3, 2011

Holiday Stress and The Art of Giving

I know it's only October, but the holidays will be here in the blink of an eye and I am reminding myself now that I will NOT be buying ANY Christmas gifts this year for anyone! I don't even want to teach my daughter that Christmas means getting tons of presents more so than being with family! Maybe a couple gifts for her but this obsession with materialism in our society has GOT TO GO! Call me boring, but I'm not going to live with the stress that people all to often get under during the holidays.

However, giving is not to be scoffed at. I think that we should be in a constant mental state that allows us to be geared up to give at the drop of a hat. It doesn’t always have to be a material item like toys for your nephew or a new watch for your mom. You can give gifts that are far more meaningful and last a lifetime in the hearts and minds of another that come straight from your own heart. It can be the readiness to give your ear to listen, your shoulder for a tear, or your mind for a helpful idea. It can be the eagerness to give a kiss to your spouse, some playtime with your child, or even a phone-call to chat with a lonely friend. You can give encouraging words to a downtrodden co-worker or a struggling teenager. Give a hand to the old widow in the grocery store or talk to the old man who seems in need of a good conversation. Tell the gal that gave you free advice on a business phone call that she’s a smart cookie and has been very helpful. Bake some cupcakes or a dish and take it to a family member or friend to warm their heart in their time of need. Visit your family more often and make them a priority. Let your best friend know that you value everything they have to say and that you enjoy and appreciate their companionship. Pull your spouse in close and tell them that no matter how hard things get or how bleak things seem that you are committed to see the marriage steadfast and enduring. Give a blanket to a cold, homeless person even if they are a drug addict. Be soft and patient with the lady behind the counter at the deli even if she’s rude. She might have lost someone close to her recently. Find some things in your house that are nice and you aren’t using; give them to someone. Help your family and friends when they are moving into a new house. Give your time to your children, not just when they need it but when they want it. Give your honest advice when someone truly wants it and is in need of wisdom.
Apparently I could go on and on, but you get the drift. Don't mistake me for saying that buying a material gift is never a good, thoughtful, or even the best option. But giving doesn’t have to be turned into who can buy the most expensive item or how can we outdo what we did last year. Even gift giving on the holidays can be as simple as any of the suggestions above. We don’t need to get ourselves into a frantic and spend tons of money or go into debt just to be able to get some relatively meaningless gift for a friend or family member. Sure it’s so much fun to go shopping and find deals and wrap things in pretty paper and bows. But let us be sure it is not in place of some of the simpler things of life? Do we really need a better toaster or a new scarf? Do our kids really need 10 new, shiny toys that eventually fade and end up cluttering up their toy box, sitting next to the rest of the toys they no longer notice? Does the exchange of $50 gift cards really make a difference in the kinship of family? I always find it hilarious how I’ll get someone a $50 gift card to a restaurant and they’ll get me a $50 gift card to a department store. Why don’t we just spend some time together, go out to eat, go shopping afterwards and keep our own money? Oh well. This year I vow to not make any purchases for Christmas and if you buy me something I will still be very appreciative. I will accept it graciously and with a warm spirit, but please don’t feel any less loved when you don’t receive a “wrapped” gift in return. I love you and value having you, my dear friends and family as an intricate part of my life! I am excited and am very much looking forward to the holidays this year! It’s my favorite season for a reason. Because each year it breaks my heart wide open again for the magical cheer and gift giving on a deeper level!
Happy early holidays in the words of a mother!

Oh and I'm planning on doing lots of baking this season so get ready friends, family, and neighbors for pies and cookies! I want to try some new experimenting this baking more from complete scratch!

I am totally making this drink for the holidays this year! See link below for recipe.