DAY 3 – Do Butterflies Have Hearts?

I thought I would explain my blog name. When his sibling arrived, my first-born had his times of feeling less important. Despite our attention to individual “dates” with him, more hugs & kisses, and involvement in school. There’s no avoiding it. Those feelings are just going to be there. It’s normal.

He said his brother gets more attention. I asked him what he meant exactly by that. Eventually, we got to the crux of it – the little one got more mushy, giggly, lovey-dovey stuff. This felt like more or better attention to my 6-year old. Okay, bring on the gushiness!

We devised a plan. When either of us felt the need for a bit of extra love, we would speak our secret code words: Butterfly Heart. Without having to express the need, those words simply meant, “Stop what you’re doing. I need an extra kiss and hug.”

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Butterfly is for Kiss – a light touch of lips like the wisp of a butterfly’s wing. Heart is for Hug because holding each other brings our hearts closer together. Sappy? Maybe. Purposeful? Yes. Beneficial? Heck, yes. Who couldn’t use an extra hug and kiss?

Before writing this blog, I asked my now 8-year old the following.

  • [Me: Do you think butterflies have hearts?]
  • [Him: Why are you asking?] I guess our family always wants to know the “why” behind things… 🙂
  • [Me: I was just thinking about it. I was curious what you thought.]
  • [Him: I think everything has a heart. God wanted to make everything have love inside it.]

Indeed He did!

Whoever does not love does not know God,
     because God is love.
                                                           I John 4:8

So in my journey to be a better Mom, these words are a reminder. After I step on the same blue and yellow Hot Wheels car for the seventh time, I find a bagful of goldfish spilled beneath the couch, and my son’s wash basket is full of clean clothes, there are two things that matter most. My children are precious, and all they really want from me is love.

Heart Monitor: Day 3 , the yell-free zone is still going strong! And not just according to me. Tonight, after I asked him how I’m doing 3 days later, my son verified with a big kiss and hug (butterfly heart), “You’re doing great, Mom!”

BTW – After a bit of web surfing, I discovered butterflies, and other insects, do indeed have hearts. Who knew?

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DAY 2 – Do Actions Truly Speak Louder Than Words?

I’m journeying toward a yell-free home, but it’s not always how you say something. It’s what you say, too. Words can be powerful.

Have you seen the insurance commercial where Jesse, the cowboy, gets smacked off his horse by the words, The End? He’s riding off into the sunset away from his love (because he’s a loner or chronic wanderer or something, I don’t know) and ends up falling off his horse after hitting his head on the words. The message: words can really hurt you. (I have no idea what it had to do with the insurance company.)

My 2-year old reminded me of the importance of words the other morning.

  • [Him: Do we have roller skates?]
  • [Me: Where did that question come from?]
  • [Him: From my mouth. God gave roller skates to my mouth to say.]

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No joke that he said this. It cracked me up and I posted it to my Facebook page. (I wonder if our kids will some day peruse our Facebook posts and be totally embarrassed by what we said about them.)

Anyway, it got me thinking. All things come from God. Our ability to speak. Our mouth to form the words. Our vocal cords to make sound. Our languages. Our brain’s ability to select words to express ourselves. But he does not choose the words for us. In fact, he warns us to choose wisely.

The words of the reckless pierce like swords,
     but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
                                                           Proverbs 12:18

I can’t bring myself to write on my bible pages, but if I did, I’d scribble next to this scripture a big DANGER sign. I might even add a skull and crossbones – it’s fitting. If this were on a prescription bottle, it would have WARNING written above it. You get my point. He’s truly warning us about how critical it is to take care with our words.

Something else I realized is the 2nd part of the verse does not refer to “words”. It says the “tongue” of the wise. The tongue of the wise could very well mean not to use the tongue at all. Keep silent. In fact, I get that feeling from another verse in Proverbs.

Those who guard their mouths and their tongues,
     keep themselves from calamity (out of trouble).
                                                           Proverbs 21:23

I ask myself if He would put words in my mouth like, “Why can’t you ever remember to lift the toilet seat? What’s wrong with you!?!”

I think not.

I do hope actions speak louder than words. That my countless kisses and hugs, eyes filled with love, and snuggles at story time latch on to my children’s hearts and souls far stronger than the mistakes I’ve made. But I know words used without care can be truly harmful, and can have just as lasting an effect.

In fact, yelling doesn’t even need to be in the equation. That’s how powerful words all by their little itsy, bitsy selves can be. An unkind word whispered isn’t any better than one shouted. That sounds like it should be a quote, but I think I just came up with that myself. Feel free to use it. 🙂

And once words are out, you can ask for forgiveness, but they can’t be taken back.

Forgive AND forget? Yeah, we’re not so good at that, are we? We normal people here on earth, I mean. When God forgives, it’s gone. Just gone. That’s a hard one to fathom.

But He’s a superior being and has capabilities we can’t understand. When we forgive, there’s a tattered storage unit in our memory that wraps it in newspaper, sticks it in a box, and holds onto it…just in case.

So we must choose our words wisely!

Heart Monitor: Luckily, I didn’t make a poor choice with words today (Day 2), and no yelling. Success again!

P.S. Did you see the bible verses? Yay! I told you that was part of this blog’s objective. Give me five! I also said I’d be honest. I do not know the bible well enough to pull scripture at random, but I remembered something about words cutting like a knife. I searched the good ol’ web to find what I was looking for, but I DID also make sure I actually read it and the verses around it from my bible pages! Remember, baby steps.

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DAY 1 – I Will Not Yell! Oops, I will not yell (whisper)

I confess. I should not be writing this blog. I am a full-time wife; mother of two boys; project manager and accountant for the household; have a full-time consulting career; part-time photography business; and a growing passion redesigning vintage furniture into shabby chic treasures. I don’t have time to write a blog.

Yet, I feel compelled to do this. Why?

Here’s what I’ve figured out so far.

Accountability – a key to successfully breaking a bad habit is being held accountable…by others. First and foremost, I am accountable to God. He blessed me with these beautiful children, and falling short as their loving parent does not show how much I realize what a gift he’s given me.

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My 8-year old is on this journey with me and has promised to let me know when I’m yelling. With the exception of one deal, in his own words, “You can yell at us if we run into the street. That’s totally okay, Mom!” Ah, a scapegoat!

  • [Me: I just picked up all these toys 20 minutes ago!!!]
  • [Him: Mom, you’re yelling again.]
  • [Me: Oh, didn’t you take the toys to the street and then bring them back in the house just to dump them on the floor again? You can’t go in the street!!!] Just kidding… 🙂

I’ve also invited a good friend for regular check-ins. She’s one of those awesome, totally real friends that will be forgiving but straight with me. I highly recommend finding one of these friends!

My husband and I always try to step in when the other is losing their cool, so he’s another accountability tool in my pocket. Although he’s seldom there when I’m at my weakest…those times where I’ve run out of patience because I’ve been slaughtered with crying, whining, and sibling rivalry on my own for +++ hours.

All good accountability actions, but I felt compelled to take this to an extreme level. To ensure my success, not be able to back out of it, to have to confess how I fared for the day to…the world wide web. Talk about accountability!!!

Therapy – writing can be therapeutic. At least for me. In my younger days (I’m talking many, many “days” ago), I put pen to paper when I was frustrated, hurt, or confused. It usually took the form of poetry and was heartache-related. Stupid boys! (Oops, I’m not supposed to say stupid. Shhh, don’t tell my kids.)

It’s been years since I’ve written a sappy, soulful poem – once I met my husband and married, that need just sort of dissipated. I believe writing can be nurturing again for me. Now a different kind of topic. Striving to be the best mother, wife, Christian, and human I can be. Who knew this could take on the form of a blog?!?

The “big book” – here’s an area where I fail miserably, and that’s reading God’s word. I love to read, love books! I have a whole slew of book ideas and early chapters written down electronically or on paper and stored…gosh, I don’t even know where they all are. (Note to self: Look for all written words before I kick the bucket, someone else finds them, and wonders what in the world I was thinking.) I’ve been writing stories since 2nd grade. My first “book” was The Horse That Learned Ballet (in case you’re wondering, no, not a masterpiece). I find a fictional book I like, and devote myself to complete the series.

The Bible is the most important, meaningful book on earth. Why haven’t I read it cover to cover? Should it be read that way? Maybe, maybe not. At the very least, I hope to pull from scripture for encouragement and guidance. Even if I’m just looking up one short scripture at a time, that’s progress. Baby steps, people. This may be just the push I need to start digging into the “big book”.

So, this is my journey to a yell-free home. Yes, I’ve failed before, but for the first time I feel really hopeful. I haven’t a clue how this blog will evolve…if it will last…or bite the dust. I may not be able to write every day, but I will always share the truth about my daily progress. And I promise to be real.

Does your heart seek the same goal as mine? Will you join me? Let’s find success (and a peaceful home) together!

Oh, I almost forgot the whole point of this! How did I fare on Day 1 of my journey? SUCCESS! And it feels so good! It’s not the end, of course, and I fully expect to have setbacks, but let’s just take it one day at a time, okay?

Day 2, here I come!

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