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Ink Slingers Michelle

How to Win at New Year’s Resolutions!

Happy New Year!  May God bless you abundantly in 2012!

So, you know I have to ask… did you make any new year’s resolutions this year?  I’m sure for most of us we start to think of what we may want to change in the upcoming year and how we should go about doing that.  Maybe you started thinking a few months ago.  Maybe you just started today.  Maybe you don’t want to make any new year’s resolutions for fear of not being able to keep them.  Fear not, for I have a solution for you!

There have been many years that I have made resolutions only to find that mid-January I’ve already failed at those goals.   Maybe I might make it through January but crash and burn in the following months.  Rarely has there been a year where I have stuck through and accomplished everything I set out to accomplish.  Oh how I feel like a failure when that happens!  There are times that I do follow through on small goals and I feel good about those, but most years I abandon the resolutions pretty quickly.  This year I don’t want to do that.  I want to follow through and I want to feel good about the fact that I have accomplished those goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year.  I have figured out a way to make this happen.  Reverse psychology is where it’s at!

This year my new year’s resolutions are the following:

  • Eat as much chocolate as I possibly can.
  • Not lose a single pound of weight.
  • Go to bed super late and get up super late.
  • Let my house be as messy as possible.
  • Spend less time together as a family.
  • Not incorporate the rosary into our family prayers a couple times a week.
  • Not read more of the “classics”.
  • I definitely don’t want to start journaling every day again.

I figure that I can stick to these goals pretty easily!  If I don’t then really I end up ahead!  I keep scratching my head wondering why I didn’t come up with this genius plan years ago.  Imagine all the goals I could have kept and how great I would have felt about myself!  This is my year though… I’m certain of it!

I’m setting the bar low this year knowing that when I do go above those goals I’ve set that I’m immediately winning and if I don’t then I’ve lost nothing.  Reverse psychology at its best for sure!  Of course I know that deep in my heart I truly want to accomplish the opposite of these goals but I figure there are times when I know that I put too much pressure on myself to achieve things that might not be attainable.  I’m tired of feeling like I fail myself time and time again at the New Year.  I have always worked best when someone else says, “I know you can’t do this!”  I’m stubborn like that.  I like to prove people wrong and say, “Look, I can do this!”  I just need to be showing myself that I have more strength than I believe me to have.

So, reverse psychology is where it’s at this year for me.  Of course I know I’m using reverse psychology on myself so you think it may not work, but I know me, and I’m stubborn and I know it will work.  I just wish I had thought of it sooner.

What are your New Year resolutions and can I suggest using reverse psychology to reach them this year?

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Ink Slingers Patty

Kindly address me as ‘Your Royal Highness.’

When I had my first child I couldn’t wait to hear him say that one treasured word every mother anticipates with great joy. Over the months I endured hundreds of ‘dada’s’ and a mash-up of consonants and vowels which only the most skilled linguist could have deciphered. Finally one day, my chubby-cheeked, tow-headed, spring-loaded Tigger of a boy gazed intently into my eyes, and slowly opened his mouth. I held my breath in anticipation with my hands clasped together just knowing this was going to be it-I wanted to treasure this moment, make a mental video of it which I could play over and over again in my mind as my toddler grew into a teen and then an adult. Matthew’s lips formed the word with care…’cookie!’…okay, that REALLY wasn’t what I was expecting or hoping for but it was a start, after all, if a child can say, ‘cookie’, surely the name of the woman who carried him in her womb, loved, cared for and nourished him would not be far behind…right????

Fast forward to a four year old. The word I waited for with such eagerness was starting to get old. ‘Mama, what are you doing. Mama, how does that work, Mama, can I have some ice-cream, Mama…mama….mama…MAMA!

I readily admit there were times when the constant repetition of my title of matriarchal status caused my eyes to glaze over and I involuntarily entered into a catatonic or semi-comatose state. I was once informed that I stood for a full three hours with my right hand raised in the air, mid-pancake flip-while my precocious pre-schooler ran circles around me chattering incessantly, ‘mama, mama, mama, mamaaaaaaaaaa’ Well, it may have only been 30 seconds but it seemed like three hours.

Research has not been initiated as of yet to determine the cause of these episodes of stupor in mothers, however, I have a sneaking suspicion that the repetition of the word, ‘mama’ at a certain frequency and pitch will inevitably cause any mother of any age to gradually lose all awareness of her surroundings. I further hypothesize that this is a survival mechanism developed first in Eve as young Cain and Abel pummeled her with their newfound ability to talk-constantly and with little need to intersperse words with breaths. I am presently collecting data which I plan to sell for billions to the military so they can use this information during times of conflict, by crippling entire armies as my evolving research demonstrates fathers also experience identical results from similar stimuli.

The pre-schooler rapidly (and sneakily) grows into an adolescent at which time ‘Mama’ shortens to ‘Mom’ and subtly, almost imperceptively, the vowel in the word lengthens and contorts until it becomes ‘Moooommmm’. This version is almost exclusively expressed with dramatic effect, either embarrassment, angst or some emotion strangely resembling pity, a pity that is directed at the parent when the adolescent comes to the full revelation that they (the adolescent, of course) knows absolutely EVERYTHING. If they had the foresight to recognize that a few short years later they would be stumbling around in a world in which they realized they knew nothing, their demeanor might change. However, even after thousands of years of mankind walking the earth and advancing in all areas of knowledge and science, this revelation still does not manifest itself until, at the soonest, the early 20’s or when the individual has a child of their own, whichever comes first. Sadly, in some unfortunate souls this knowledge never does manifest itself.

The teenage years are challenging, to say the least. So I, in my finite wisdom, decided to infuse as much humor as possible into my interactions with my teens. Generally, this involves embarrassing them as much as possible with as few words or actions as possible. Maximum embarrassment can be obtained by
a.) revealing there is a relationship between oneself and the particular teen-for example, ‘Hey sweetie!’ yelled across a crowded room of your child’s peers is an ideal and effective method of embarrassment.
OR
b.) any physical contact initiated by the parent involving the child. I find that something as inconsequential as brushing one’s fingers across the teen’s sleeve results in immediate mortification on the teen’s part. I myself, do not waste my time with such minor acts of affection, I choose to ‘give it my all’ which includes a bear hug (if I can catch my child) and if I am quick enough, a brief kiss on the teen’s cheek. Please note that these actions MUST take place within ¼ mile of other teens in order to have effective results.

If you have a child who is persistently doing poorly in school or doggedly pursuing some other course of undesirable behavior, visibility is truly the best weapon. When I discovered my ninth grade son was falling asleep in one of his classes and pushing ‘D’ work to his instructor, I took swift and dramatic action. In an e-mail to my son’s teacher following a parent-teacher conference which did not result in the requested behavior improvement, I informed the teacher that if my child were to persist in his underachievement, I would be quite content to attend class with my son-wearing my high school prom dress. It certainly was helpful that the teacher announced this to my son’s entire class. The attention and fascination my son quickly developed for this particular course was truly inspiring.

My humor did not culminate with my quest to embarrass my children; it extended to our private family interactions at home. Having quickly tired of the teenage ‘moooooommm’ and the associated rolling of the eyes and heartfelt sigh, I directed my children to simplify things and address me as ‘Your Royal Highness’. It is impossible to stretch out three words and imbue them with an appropriate level of drama when the teen is giggling uncontrollably. Hey, I’ll take giggles over angst any day of the week and hopefully, one day when they have teenagers of their own I will hear ‘Your Royal Highness’ out of my grandchildren’s mouths, and I will know I started a beautiful tradition.

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Andrea Ink Slingers

Catholic Perks You Never Thought Of!

The news is a bastion of negativity, and for the Church, these are trying times indeed. I am sure you don’t need me to enumerate the “why’s”. It’s easy to be discouraged with the state of affairs, and I for one could always use a dose of positivity. I am excessively fond of this Church, and I don’t think I could say it any better than G.K. Chesterton:

“The Catholic Church is like a thick steak, a glass of red wine, and a good cigar.”

Yum!

Indeed.

Last time I gave you five things I thought were cool about the Church (that you should think are cool, too!), and since I am inexplicably drawn to lists for some reason, today I give you:

Nine Ways Being Catholic Makes Your Life Easier and/or More Fun (Because I Couldn’t Think of Ten)!

1. Personal GPS– My Divine Mercy medal and St. Mary Magdalene medal jingle together on my necklace with every movement like bells on a kitten, so my family always knows exactly where I am in the house! Pros: I’m never lost and alone! Cons: I’m never alone.

2. Feasts– Looking for a reason to celebrate? See a delicious cake or tasty-looking treat in the store and find yourself saying, “That looks awfully good, I wish today was some sort of special occasion so I could buy it…”? All you have to do is open your iMissal app, check out the calendar, and whaddaya know? It’s So-and-So’s feast day! Bam! In the cart.

3. Smell control– It’s Sunday morning, and as you pull into the parking lot for Mass, you realize that amidst the chaos that is your house pre-Church, you forgot to put on deodorant. What to do? Sit up front, of course! The people up there can only smell incense anyway. If you’re charismatic, keep your hands down.

4. There’s a Saint for that– Patron saint of clowns? St. Genesius. Unattractive people? St. Drogo. Afraid of wasps? St. Friard’s got your back. Venereal Disease? Wait… what? For real? Yep, there’s even a saint for that! (St. Fiacre)

5. Catholic humor- For reasons that still mystefy me, I told my Protestant mother the following joke (courtesy of fisheaters):

A nun at a Catholic school asked her students what they want to be when they grow up.
Little Suzy declares, “I want to be a prostitute.”
“What did you say?!” asks the nun, totally shocked.
“I said I want to be a prostitute,” Suzy repeats.
“Oh, thank heavens,” says the nun. “I thought you said ‘a Protestant!'”

She gave me a mildly amused, exasperated eyeroll, so I said, “It’s me and you together forever, Mom!” to which she replied, “Until we die and I go to Heaven, and you’re stuck in Purgatory!” See? She gets it already.

6. Home decor– Catholics lead the pack in options for dressing up your home. Statues, tapestries, icons, wall rosaries, crucifixes, kneelers, holy water fonts… you could arrange your house in such a way that the Pope himself could jet over from St. Peter’s and feel totally at home. You can even carry it out to your garden with a statue of the Blessed Mother! Let your neighbors know that even your plants are Catholic.

7. Multi-lingual– Impress your non-Catholic friends with your knowledge of many languages! Casually throw out a “Kyrie eleison” and follow it up with, “Oh, you don’t speak Greek? It means ‘Lord, have mercy’.” Or, “Dominus vobiscum! I’m sorry, I keep forgetting you don’t speak Latin. I said, ‘The Lord be with you’. My B.”  Watch as their eyes widen with awe!

8. Fashion options– Never again be paralyzed by indecision when considering your manicure options- coordinate your nails with the colors of the liturgical calendar! They have ridiculous names for nailpolish, anyway. Who could turn down “Lenten Violet”, or “Ordinary Green”, or “Gaudette Rose”? And people say the Church isn’t pro-woman… pfffft.

9. Chant– Who doesn’t love Gregorian chant? But why stop there, I say! Chant everything. Turn your life into a Catholic musical! “Hoooney, have you seeeeen my keeeeeys?” “Have you triiiiied praaaaaying to St. Anthonyyyyyy?” ” Goooood ideeeeea! Aaaaaaamen.” Bonus: this will embarrass the hell out of your older children. Guaranteed.

 

So, there you go. Next time you’re feeling down, and maybe being Catholic isn’t the easiest thing for you at the moment, just remember these perks. You’re welcome!