How to Get Over Blaming Your Parents

If the title of this post got you a little steamed up, then you’ve come to the right place. ūüėõ

Please note: Before all the parents out there (myself included) start feeling defensive, let’s just put it out there that this post was written in the spirit of healing and restoration, not blame.

So, who here has ever blamed their parents for something? Maybe you were that awkward preteen¬†who had to change schools during the middle of the year because your parents wanted to move? Or you were the kid who never attended birthday parties because your parents were overprotective? Or you’re the adult who has spent years in therapy trying to move past the¬†emotional and/or physical wounds you received from a broken family?

Let’s face it, there is a lot of hurt in the world, and too often those hurts originate in the place that hits closest to home – our families. I’ve seen¬†it from both sides of the counseling chair, so I know the reality of it. Even in the most loving and healthy¬†of homes, people get hurt. In families which have gone through abuse, divorce, neglect and addiction, the pain is magnified even more – much like¬†your reflection is multiplied in the presence of¬†numerous mirrors.

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And who do children end up blaming for their hurt?

Their parents.

It would be easy to sit and dwell on all the ways your mother and father failed, neglected, hurt, disappointed and wronged you. It would be even easier to sweep those painful memories under the rug and not think about them. But choosing either of those ways will only leave you broken and battered and bruised inside.

The only way you can heal is to move on from blaming your parents.

How in the world do you do that?

First, by grieving your losses. The attention you wish your parents had given you. The acceptance and support you needed when you made mistakes. A childhood without fear. Whatever areas there were that your parents fell short in, acknowledge them. Mourn the could-have-beens and what-ifs Рthe ways in which your life might have been different had your parents raised you differently. Place those lost parts of your life in a casket lined with your anger, resentment and tears and bury them.

The step after grieving¬†is acceptance. Accept¬†your parents for who they are: imperfect human beings. Despite their “job title”, they are not experts at life, much less parenting. They don’t have it all figured out. They are likely products of faulty parenting themselves and have parented you the way they were parented. They have struggled and may still be struggling with depression, low self-worth, anxiety, guilt, resentment or perfectionism. Despite their best intentions, parents are sometimes not sensitive enough, patient enough, understanding enough or¬†loving enough. They do not always meet our needs or even have the capacity to do so – that¬†is the unfortunate truth. But¬†when we can accept our parents as the imperfect people that they are, we will¬†stop¬†keeping an account of all the ways they have hurt¬†us and perhaps be able to forgive them – not for their sake, but for ours.

It is quite possible that your life could have turned out very differently had your parents made better choices. It is also possible that they did make the best choices they were able to make given the circumstances at the time. But the fact of the matter is that those choices have been made, but you have a choice now to make: Will you continue to blame your parents or will you choose to move on from the blame?

I spent many years as an adult trying to untangle the emotional cobwebs of my childhood. In my quest, I have placed blame, kept my list of wrongs, studied counseling and been to therapy … but I still remained stuck in the past. Ironically, it wasn’t until I became a parent myself that I¬†felt free.

Because I now understand how hard parenting is. And I know that despite my best efforts at being a good parent, I will never be a perfect one.

And in seeing my imperfections, I see my parents, and all parents, in a different light. A light in which I can bask in the freedom to extend grace and forgiveness. To adjust my expectations. To hope for change. And ultimately, to see that God can take even the stickiest, most entangled webs in our life and redeem them for good.

The song for this post is Carrie Underwood’s “Wasted”. The lyrics are a good reminder to not waste time on the past.

What hurts are you holding onto from your family of origin? What steps can you take to let them go?

My Novella’s Cover Reveal!

Okay, so following last week’s blog¬†post, I’ve been making an effort to pin down that monster inside my head (or at least attempt to squash it by sitting on it!), so I could get enough courage to share more about my novella with you.

First of all, you might be wondering why am I referring to my book as a novella? That’s because a novel contains over 40,000 words, while a novella has anywhere between 17,000 – 40,000. Since mine is about 5,000 words shy of a novel, it falls into the latter category. I don’t mind though because for an introvert, 35,000 words is a lot to squeeze out. ūüôā

So here is a look at my book’s cover, which was designed by Deborah Bradseth of Tugboat Design. She is super talented, professional, and easy to work with. I highly recommend her services!

Straight to You (1)

Straight to YouStraight To You

ISBN-13: 978-0692245576

Release Date: August 2014

And here’s the book in a nutshell:

Wanted: A modern knight in shining armor (white horse optional)

Young, sweet and naive, Ashlynn Peters is ever the optimist when it comes to love, but even she is surprised when she crosses paths with a real life Prince Charming. Jeremy Adams, her childhood crush, is back in town. He is even more sweet and handsome than she remembers, and also much more intriguing than any man she’s dated before.

Ashlynn finds herself falling hard for Jeremy, only to discover that he may not be the perfect guy she thinks he is. Will she make the choice to look past Jeremy’s tarnished armor or will she give up her chances of ever reaching happily ever after?

Inspired by the author’s own love story, this romantic novella will have you laughing, dreaming, and wondering if fairy tales really do come true.

———-

The book title is based on the song God Bless the Broken Road, sung here by Carrie Underwood.

Whew, now that that’s out in the open, I’m looking forward to getting the whole book out there for (gulp) all to read. ūüôā

What do you think of the cover? Let me know!

Monday Mentionables: Baked Veggies, Stray Cats & Sound of Music

Welcome to the Monday after Thanksgiving, also known more recently as Cyber Monday, but I prefer to call it detox Monday. ūüėČ I hope you all had a restful and heart warming weekend with family and friends. My family and I had a good time eating, talking, eating and more eating these past few days. I certainly had my fill of turkey for a while, so I thought I’d focus today’s mentionables on VEGGIES. ūüôā
 
1. Baked Veggies. Thankfully, I didn’t have to cook much for Thanksgiving, except for a veggie dish. I choose to bake them because they tend to turn out crispier and more appealing to a kid’s taste buds (think pseudo french fries). I did a random assortment of them for a dinner we went to at our cousins’ home (where a friend treated us to a Heritage turkey¬†that was smoked and seriously the best turkey I’ve ever had!). Unfortunately, we were running late that night (what’s new?!) so I didn’t get a picture of the baked zucchini, mushrooms and carrots I made, but I did take a picture of some baked carrots I made another night this week.
These almost taste like yam fries, but are less heavy. I got the recipe here.

You can essentially bake any kind of veggies. The one that the kids love the most though (even our dear picky son!) is cauliflower. 

2. Stray Cats. Continuing on our theme of veggies, here’s a story I wanted to share about how vegetarians are likely made…
 
C is starting to pick up on words and being able to spell/read them. One of the first words she wanted to know how to spell was chick. Then came chicky and chicken. If you can’t tell, she loves chicks of all kinds. ūüėČ But with her newfound reading skills under her belt, she made a somewhat traumatic discovery yesterday. She came up to me and pulled me down to her level. With her warm breath tickling my ear, she asked, “Why does Meow Meow’s food say chicken on it?!”
 
Doh. You see, Meow Meow is this stray cat we inherited that has been living outside our house for the past year. We originally had been feeding these two other cats (which we named Bob and I forgot the other one’s name) that our neighbor had asked us to feed when he moved away. Long story short, those cats disappeared and this new one showed up.¬†
 
So, back to C’s discovery… she was appalled at the thought of a cat eating a poor chicken. I told her with a regretful look, “Yeah, sorry, some animals eat chickens.” Her little face fell at the thought. Then she exclaimed, “Some people eat chicken, too!”
 
Double doh. One of these days, we’ll need to explain to her that the Chinese word “ji” we’ve been using to refer to the meat we eat is the same word we use for her beloved chickens. We might have a vegetarian on our hands in a few years!

Here’s Meow Meow (sometimes referred to as Kitty – yes, we’re not very original when it comes to names, haha) venturing into our house.
Here’s Meow Meow eating her chicken (gasp!) breakfast.

3. Sound of Music. Okay, what does the Sound of Music have to do with veggies? Well, if you remember the opening musical number to the movie, it’s called “The Hills Are Alive“. Hills equal verdant vegetation. ūüôā Anyway, for those who loved the original Julie Andrews movie, you may be interested to know there’s a remake¬†of the Broadway musical coming up this Thursday on NBC. The best part is that it will be a LIVE¬†broadcast. I watched the “making of” video¬†and was very impressed with the cast and the set. Oh, did I mention, Carrie Underwood is playing Maria? I definitely think this will be worth watching.¬†

Have a happy Monday, everyone! ūüôā

Lovin’ Your In-Laws

If you’ve ever watched a Chinese soap opera, you would know there is always a cross-generational battle going on between family members, more specifically between¬†the mother-in-law (MIL) and daughter-in-law (DIL) – and the poor son gets stuck in the middle. This story line is so popular probably because it’s based on reality and like they say, fact is sometimes stranger (and more entertaining) than fiction. I would venture to say that regardless of what culture or background you are from, you have experienced or heard of such conflicts occurring in your family, too.

With this in mind, I was having lunch with some fellow moms the other week and we happened upon the topic of in-laws. We were¬†actually¬†talking about our kids getting married (crazy I know, considering our kids are ages 7 and under!) and one day becoming a MIL ourselves. One mom said, “Yeah, that’s why I started praying that I would love her (her future DIL) more than I love him (her son).”

Image courtesy of 10incheslab/freedigitalphotos.net

What?!?!?!?! I had to pick my jaw off the floor for that one! I looked at her and saw that she was totally serious. And I was humbled. Wow. What a prayer to pray! She was basically asking God to help her NOT be one of those dreaded MIL’s on TV. More than that, she is already opening up her heart to accepting and treasuring her son’s future wife. She even wants to love her more than she loves her own flesh and blood!

Yes, it’s been weeks and I’m still trying to wrap my head around what she said.

Now, I have been blessed with a saint of a MIL. I can honestly say I feel like she loves me as much as she loves my hubby. She happily cooks for us twice¬†a week, cleans our bathroom and fridge when she stays over, and has never said a mean word about me to me or behind my back. So I know it’s possible to have a good MIL-DIL relationship. But even still, it’s hard for me to imagine getting to know some stranger that your son (or daughter) met and loves and inviting that person into your family and ultimately, your heart.

But I am willing to try. I want to break all the MIL stereotypes that society and the media (ever heard of the movie Monster-in-Law?) have ingrained in our minds. I want to make life easier for whoever marries my son and daughter Рcause marriage is already hard enough as it is! I want to pass on a legacy of love for my kids, grandkids and the generations to come.

Because if fact is stranger than fiction, I want to make our family’s reality, and my role as a MIL, mind-boggling – in a good way! ūüôā

P.S. The mama friend who blew my mind is 8 years younger than me – more proof that young’uns can really inspire us!

Here’s Carrie Underwood’s song, “Mama’s Song”,¬†to get you thinking about that big day in the future when you will gain a son or a daughter in law. (Get the tissues out!)

What are your hopes for your child and his/her future spouse?

Can One Person Make A Difference?

Can one person make a difference?

Yes, totally, absolutely, yes.

We have the ability, the opportunities, and even the power to make a difference for good in someone’s life. I know this to be true because my grandfather lived it.

Image courtesy of worradmu/freedigitalphotos.net

My Grandpa was not my grandpa by blood, but by love. He was a gentle man with a great big heart for helping people.

As a doctor, he would see patients for little to no money and sometimes would even pay for their taxi fares home.

As a foster father, he graciously took in two teenagers, my mom and her brother, after their parents had passed away to join his own family, which already included five young children.

As a grandfather, he offered genuine smiles and hugs to me each time I saw him. A young man at heart, he was the one who introduced me to pop music and gave me my first cassette tapes (Mariah Carey and Tiffany) which I still hold dear.

As a great grandfather, though frail and bedridden, he whispered in my Grandma’s ear to remind her to give red envelopes to the kids, which caused all of us to smile because it was such an untimely, yet predictable, request that he would make.

He was just one person, but he made all the difference in the world to so many people. Because of him, I knew the love of a grandfather and the warmth of a large extended family.

One person can make a difference! Whether it be offering a smile to a stranger or being a shoulder to lean on for a friend, you can make a difference in someone’s life.

Believe it and live it today. ūüôā

Here’s Carrie Underwood’s song, “Change“, about having the courage to believe you can change the world.

Who has made a difference for good in your life?