Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Power of Praise

I have always been a journal-keeper. It started with a beautiful little red floral fabric book my mom bought me when I was about 7. Followed by a Strawberry Shortcake locking diary, and various notebooks with beautiful covers through high school and college. After graduating, I moved to blank books (instead of lined) because I was so inspired by the art journals of Teesha Moore. (She is such an amazing, creative genius! She deserves her own post- another day.)Sadly, I never loved my own art journal pages as much as I love Teesha's, but keeping an art journal is a lot cheaper than therapy. (And more fun, I should imagine.)
Now, since becoming a mother, I'm sad to say my journaling habit has really suffered. I still write, but my entries are in a dozen different places now: in a notebook, on the computer, on the back of a church bulletin, etc. I have vowed to myself that one of these days I WILL print/tear out/gather them all into one binder.
I find it rather ironic that the memories that will be the most precious to me in my old age(mothering my young children) are the ones that rarely are recorded. I have done some scrapbook-style memory keeping, but just haven't found time for it in the last two years.
So, this morning, I was looking for a certain Word file on the computer and came across this journal entry I typed well over a year ago during a few stolen moments. It spoke to me, and I thought it might speak to you.
Here it is:
October 4, 2006
As a teacher, I have always known about the power of praise to get kids to do what you want them to do. But I never considered its power in my own life. Lately, I have really felt the uplifting and encouraging power of a kind word spoken in my direction. Last week, a girl from my playgroup watched me interact with Sister at My Gym while toting Brother in the Baby Bjorn. After about 40 minutes she looked at me and remarked (with true admiration in her eyes), "Wow! You do such a great job with two of them!" I was startled and thrilled. I have not thought of myself as doing great with two- I have thought of myself as surviving with two. To hear her say that really encouraged my heart.
It happened again today at playgroup. A new mom, Kimberly, was asking me about how difficult it was with two. As we were talking, she kept making statements like, "I’m amazed that you can be so upbeat even though you’re still getting up with your baby in the night." and "Your daughter isn’t in preschool? You’re a tough woman! I’d be begging to drop one of them off somewhere!" She too was being genuine in her praise, and it felt so good to hear. Because I AM trying to be upbeat even though I’m tired, and I DID make a conscious decision that preschool isn’t right for Sister at this time even though it would be a lot easier for me.
So, I write this journal entry to remember these moments; not only because they uplift me but so that I never forget the power of a kind word in another person’s life. Moms work hard and are largely unrecognized for what we do. After all, it all seems so mundane. Change the diapers. Run errands. Prepare meals. Entertain our kids. Clean the house. At face value, it doesn’t seem all that worthy of praise. And yet, we deserve some recognition and appreciation for what we do- it’s of the upmost importance!
I’m going to mindfully practice praising my fellow mommies from now on. I know it will be as much a blessing in their lives as it was in mine.
I'm going to praise at least 3 mommies I know this week with a hand-written note. (One is my S-I-L, one is a woman who faithfully brings her 3 young kids to church every week by herself -Dad won't come, and one is just a friend who I also think is a great mom.) Can you think of a mommy in your life to encourage this week?

One more thing- a recipe for you that is so yummy on a cold day!
Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
(from the kitchen of the ultra-healthy Sister-In-Law)
Makes 6 servings
1 1/4 lb. Lean ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 ½ cups frozen corn kernels
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 (28 oz.) Can crushed tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) Can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (1.25 oz) package chili seasoning mix
½ tsp salt
Toppings: shredded cheese (Colby and Monterey Jack blend)
1. Cook first 3 ingredients in large skillet over medium high heat, stirring until turkey crumbles and is no longer pink. Spoon mixture into a slow cooker; stir in corn and next 7 ingredients until well blended. 2. Cook at high 4 to 5 hours or at low 6 to 8 hours. Serve with desired toppings. Yummy with tortilla or Frito chips!


Beck said...

I ONLY kept a journal in high school, which is possibly the most embarrasing time to keep one. They no longer exist.
Although now I do have the whole blaawg thing, don't I? Aw, well.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

I have journals ranging from elementary age to last year. Which gives me the authority to tell Beck that junior high journals are even more painful than high school journals, if that's possible.

And Susan, great post! I love the power of encouragement. You've certainly reminded me to get out there and intentionally encourage a few friends and my children this week.

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

Ooooo, I love me a good crockpot recipe.

I emailed Boo Momma and told her she should have a crockpot carnival - she said she would!!!