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Posts Tagged ‘mom’

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Juanita & Gloria Damon (my mom) dressed for prom (circa 1945?)

 

I don’t know about you, but I had a mom who wasn’t shy about speaking her mind. She was the youngest of three daughters and admittedly, teased and tormented her sisters most of her growing up years. As a teenager, she was a spitfire who boasted about having quite a few friends who were boys. But once she met my dad, it didn’t take long to say “I do.” She had just turned 18, and my dad was just 21, when they tied the knot. Their marriage lasted almost 56 years, though not without quite a few painful twists and turns. Through it all, my mom stood pretty firm. She had a way of seeing the world and expected almost everyone else to see it her way. I loved my mom, but she was a stubborn woman.

As the middle of five children, I was the born peacemaker. I wanted everyone to get along. I didn’t like fighting…between mom and dad, brother to brother, or even with my sister. My usual way of handling conflict was hiding or running, or lashing out with hurtful words. One of the first sayings I remember my mom telling me: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” She didn’t always live by that motto, but it’s one I’ve tried to use, especially since joining social media. It’s an early lesson I heard that I’m most grateful for.

The book of Proverbs is full of advice similar to my mom’s (and I’m sure she didn’t know it at the time) – “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.” (Proverbs 10:19)… “The mouth of the righteous is a well of life…” (Proverbs 10:11a)… “The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom…” (Proverbs 10:31a). When I get frustrated with the hate and vitriol spewing forth on television and the internet, I try to keep my mouth shut. I’m not always successful. More than anything, I want my lips to speak wisdom…my words to be encouragement…my mouth to speak life into a world that desperately needs words of hope and grace. O Lord, let me hear my mama’s voice one more time: “Kris…if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

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Day 7 – Giving Up Some Bad Words

I recently had a conversation with my brother and sister about a word we all find offensive…especially in a certain context. It’s demeaning, rude and mostly used to stereotype and categorize people in a negative way. The most offensive thing about this word? It is used by the very person who it is belittling. Yes – you and I use this word to put ourselves down or in a very tiny box. We can’t blame anyone else but ourselves. Oh – you want to know what the word is.

Just.

As in “I’m just a receptionist”…or “I’m just a mom”…or “I’m just a nursery worker.”

“Just” has a first-cousin word – “only” – which we also use frequently.

“I’ve only got a high school education.” “I’ve only been a Christian for a year.” “I only know how to bake cakes from a box mix.”

just-a-mom

Some of us are so good at using these two words that we put them together as in…”I’ve only just learned how to (fill in the blank)”…or “I’m only just a (another blank).”

Side note: I could take a whole different blog for those of you who use these two words to back away from responsibility but not today. You’re welcome.

Let’s do ourselves a favor. In a world full of people more than willing to denigrate and disparage us in our jobs, our roles, our talents and skills, why not cut ourselves some slack. Let’s love ourselves and begin to use uplifting and encouraging language when we describe who we are. When you’re tempted to say “I’m just a mom,” remember that makes you a cook, maid, teacher, nurse, referee, chauffeur, security officer, handyman and personal assistant (and a hundred more titles). You may want to update your resume.

Just take a minute to re-wire your thinking about yourself. It isn’t about what you DO anyway. It’s about who you ARE. Look at yesterday’s blog if you need a reminder.

Just be yourself – only yourself. You are amazing. Just amazing.

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