Category Archives: Poem Sundays

Happy Mother’s Day! 10 Things I Learned From My Mother


As I make my way through the adventure of parenting, I am often reminded that it is not meant to be figured out all on one’s own. There are several key players who will influence the way in which we parent. And since it’s Mother’s Day today, I want to take a moment to reflect on my mum. All the things I know as a mother, a wife, a friend, a colleague, are reflections of what my mother has taught me…by example, by persistence, and sometimes even by mistake. While we have very different personalities in many ways, we both share a love for helping others, a commitment to our family, and a desire for social justice. What I love most about my mother is her passion for lifting others into a higher vision of themselves.

While the following advice from my mom (aka “nana” to my girls), may or may not agree with you, here are the ones that come to the forefront in my mind and many of which have slowly niggled their way into my life and become some of my own beliefs.

Mama Nana’s 10 Rules for Success in Life:

On Being A Friend

There are good friends and bad ones. Take the time to get to know your good friends. Trust your instincts. If you don’t trust them, ask your mother. (She’ll tell you what she thinks. Over and over and over again.)

On Being A Partner

Your husband deserves your love and attention. Don’t take the love you share for granted. Go out once a week. The kids can stay overnight at nana’s. They can even stay for a week. Just go out!!!

On Caring for Yourself

Take care of yourself: drink lots of water, rest, eat well, make yourself feel pretty, get outside for 2-3 hours each day, and change the filters in your house and car to ensure you get clean, fresh air at all times. Treat yourself like a Rolls Royce and the rest will follow. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to drink lots of water. And did you open the windows in your home? Change those air filters!!

On Health

There are only three essentials aside from water, berries, vegetables, fish, rice porridge and lentil soup: apple cider vinegar, honey, and garlic. Do you have garlic? That will solve everything. Honey for your throat. Heart condition? Where’s your apple cider vinegar? Are you sick? Again? Belladonna will do the trick! Just had a baby? Boost your iron! Tired from work? You need Ginseng!! And take your Chinese herbal medicine and multivitamins to boost your energy!! Poor memory? Lecithin!!! Poor vision? You need lutein from your egg yolks!

Sad? Depressed? Eat chocolate!! Eat ice cream. Then stop feeling sorry for yourself. Get outside. Help others. Sit in the sun. Walk the dogs. And eat chocolate.

On Parenting

Your children are your most prized possession. Teach them, joke with them, sing to them, hug them, and always be there for them. The time you put in now when they are young will serve you and your children well for the future.

If you want to know what you should do, become a child again and remember what children do and like.

Children are born geniuses, don’t insult their intelligence. Go put that kid on the potty from birth just like the previous generations in China did with their kids. And use the organic cotton cloth diapers that I used to use that soak right through. I’m German but I like listening to old Chinese ladies’ advice. Rash anywhere on face or bum? Penaten!!

And remember: We are blessed with the children we are given. We do not own them, but are entrusted with their care.

On Education

You are your children’s best education. Nature provides the learning resources. Go outside, explore, observe, experience nature and learn. When they are ready for more formal education, and if homeschooling is not feasible, a Waldorf school presents a good, solid foundation from which to grow and learn how to appreciate one’s own abilities and work in harmony with one’s community and environment.

Don’t feel stuck to your studies. You are not a slave to previous decisions. Drop out of college if you need to. Drop out!! Start fresh. Know what really makes you passionate and do that instead. Go out and find what really makes you happy.

On Work

Being self-employed awards you opportunities that you may not otherwise have come across. Don’t follow the masses or become a victim of someone else. Be willing to take a leap of faith and take a chance. Work hard, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. We learn from these mistakes and also become much stronger in the end. Be your own success story.

On Investing

Don’t feel the pressure to buy a home. Don’t invest in banks. Invest in your kids. Invest in property you can enjoy. Cash good, Visa bad. Don’t trust the banks. Hide your money. Spend your money. Just don’t put it all in the bank.

On Keeping House

Clean when the kids are asleep. Or awake. Or never. You decide. The main thing is that you need to have a plan everyday for how to keep the house tidy and clean. But how much is it costing you for the cleaning lady? No more than $10 right? What? $100 you say? Are you insane! That’s far too much to spend on cleaning!

(On a sidenote, if you need some direction on cleaning and sorting schedules, I am a big fan of the Fly Lady http://www.flylady.net and also A Bowl Full of Lemons http://www.abowlfulloflemons.net)

Less is more. When possible, stick to the most natural cleaning products, and buy used and practical items.

On Faith

We are put on this earth for a reason. The most important thing is love. Religion in its healthiest state can provide a solid grounding from which one can go forth and meet life’s challenges. It doesn’t matter what religion you do or don’t subscribe to. Find the good in it and learn from those who have walked before you, and those that walk with you. If you are lost, find your faith. You are not alone.

Happy Mother’s Day! What are some of your favourite quotes from your mom?

Singing Our Way Through the Day


Hands up if you like to sing throughout the day (e.g. in the shower, in your car during your commute to or from work, school, etc.) If not, here let me get you started – Madonna’s ‘Material Girl’ has been playing on our XM radio 80′s station quite a bit lately and J, R, and I enjoy boppin’ to the beat of the tune in our car:

“Material Girl” – Madonna

Some boys kiss me, some boys hug me
I think they’re O.K.
If they don’t give me proper credit
I just walk away
They can beg and they can plead
But they can’t see the light, that’s right
‘Cause the boy with the cold hard cash
Is always Mister Right, ’cause we are
[Chorus:]
Living in a material world
And I am a material girl
You know that we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl…[continued]

Note: the lyrics leave much to be desired so feel free to pop another tune in your head!

Great!! And do you also have a song or rhyme for a special part of each day? Well, it seems one of my daughters has recently decided to make this a daily practice for our family. Not only will she insist on rhyming everyone’s names (e.g. Alex Balex, Rosie Posie, Silly Lily) but she delights in listening to all sorts of rhymes throughout the day that we manage to create (I will spare you these particular rhymes as they are probably only funny to us, potentially embarassing, and therefore best kept in the family).

I have to admit, singing and rhyming more regularly has been a pretty fun experience for us all. When J and R were just a toddler and infant respectively, I did come up with a few of my own made up rhymes or short songs just to giggle our way though transitions such as a diaper change, meal, bath, or attempt to get out the door. On days where I was less light-hearted and didn’t, things always seemed to be that much more challenging and my patience with the children would be lost that much faster. In fact, this is still the case even now!

At the end of the day, the girls will often request that I say a special verse, song and/or prayer (especially just after turning the lights out). A favourite verse is Star Light, Star Bright ever since we put up some glow in the dark stars just above their beds.

Star light, star bright, The first star I see tonight; I wish I may, I wish I might, Have the wish I wish tonight.

Comet Lovejoy

Photo credit courtesy of Jia Hao, TWAN

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/05/pictures/120515-best-earth-sky-pictures-2012-comet-milky-way-space/

For the different seasons and weather there are some great rhymes as well. We have a lovely resident robin who visits our front lawn each day and sings ever so sweetly at just a bit before 5am. This is naturally a time when most of the family should still be asleep, but I may or may not be (depending on how the pregnancy insomnia is going that night or on which kid decides to pile into our bed before sunrise).

Photo courtesy of: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Turdus-migratorius-002.jpg

So in honour of our friendly, little Robin (and courtesy of J’s wonderful teacher who reminded us of this song in her song and poetry reading book), here’s what we’ve been singing lately:

Robin in the rain,
Such a saucy fellow.
Robin in the rain,
Mind your socks of yellow.
Running in the garden on your nimble feet,
Digging for your dinner with your long strong beak.

Robin in the rain,
You don’t mind the weather
Showers always make you gay.
Bet the worms are wishing you would stay at home,
Robin on a rainy day — don’t get your feet wet,
Robin on a rainy day!

Lyrics can be found here as well: http://www.grandparents.com/gp/content/activitiesandevents/sing-alongs/article/robin-in-the-rain.html#ixzz20CANeDUz

What about songs inspired by what you do or see that day? On an expedition to the local bank machine the other day, we came across a bunch of cyclists riding bicycles built for two, which of course brought the following song Daisy Bell by Henry Dacre in 1892 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daisy_Bell) to mind:

Photo courtesy of: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Daisybell.jpg

Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do,
I’m half crazy all for the love of you.
It won’t be a stylish marriage –
I can’t afford a carriage,
But you’d look sweet upon the seat
Of a bicycle built for two.
-Henry Dacre, 1892

Singing and rhyming with your children throughout the day may not only provide you with laughter and enjoyment, but may actually improve your health and well-being according to this article by Alice Wignall:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2008/aug/26/healthandwellbeing.fitness

Singing can also increase your children’s language development, academic performance and emotional well being. According to an article by Amelia Hill published in the Guardian (May 08, 2011):

Singing traditional lullabies and nursery rhymes to babies and infants before they learn to speak, is “an essential precursor to later educational success and emotional wellbeing”, argues Blythe in a book. “Song is a special type of speech. Lullabies, songs and rhymes of every culture carry the ‘signature’ melodies and inflections of a mother tongue, preparing a child’s ear, voice and brain for language.” Blythe says in her book, The Genius of Natural Childhood, to be published by Hawthorn Press, that traditional songs aid a child’s ability to think in words. She also claims that listening to, and singing along with rhymes and songs uses and develops both sides of the brain. “Neuro-imaging has shown that music involves more than just centralised hotspots in the brain, occupying large swathes on both sides,” she said.

For the full article click here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/may/08/singing-children-development-language-skills?fb=native&CMP=FBCNETTXT9038

Here’s to more sing-song, and carrying on thoughout your day today!

ganbarō


speaking with words that carry across any distance, we commune with one another in this day of global remembrance.

that life so precious could so easily be taken away, we realize now wherein true power lies.

-Fay Meling

For more info on The Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011 ( a devastating earthquake that brought upon a horrific tsunami and nuclear disaster just one year ago today) as well as current life and culture in Japan, please visit this freshly pressed blog:

http://japanlifeandreligion.com/2012/03/08/japan-one-year-after-the-earthquake/

 

a poem for Sun Day


seeking truth at the very core

what was so effortlessly created at seed could with one dark and silent frosty breath, be wilting, retracting, writhing.

a new day.  

heavy rains come pouring down to offer needed drink

floods of light stream down to the Little One from a sun that warms unconditionally.

They have come to save what they helped create.

a rainbow – muted yet fully present in the greys and whites appears

new growth begin at the stems with hesitant unfolding

a thankful pause

and then a sudden delightful shoot appears

reaching ever further but always remaining grounded at the root, hands held up to the skies

so happy for this love.