Dear Ladies (& Guys),
(This is -necessarily- LONG…don’t say I didn’t warn you!)
This post is actually pretty overdue. It is something that has been on my heart a lot since January. I know I’m not the only one who has faced this, so here it is! I have been paying attention to how easily gossip worms its way into a lot of conversations between friends, family, coworkers and even sometimes our significant others. Whether you have a powerful moral compass or not, as someone who cares, I am writing this to correct, censure, and encourage everyone- including myself!
A lot of times we confuse gossip with rumors. Just to clarify, gossip is anything that reveals personal or dramatic facts about others.
“Gossip needn’t be false to be evil—there’s a lot of truth that shouldn’t be passed around.” -Frank A. Clark
There have been many times in my life that I have been really, really hurt by things that others have gossiped about me. Even so, I have to admit that I have been guilty of it myself. I’m sure we all justify it very easily with statements like “I’m just concerned about…” “Wow, I had no idea that…” etc. Bottom line is, if you are talking about someone else in a way that is not uplifting or positive and you WOULDN’T say it if they were within ear shot, you shouldn’t say it at all. Again, if you don’t have convictions about this based on your belief system, the following points still apply.
Gossip destroys relationships.
Gossip builds resentment.
Gossip is ruins your reputation.
(1 Timothy 5:13)
Think about it. Gossip strains the relationship you have with the person you are talking about, the person you are talking to, and even the relationship between the person you are talking to and the person you are talking about.
The moment you open your mouth and say something totally negative about someone else you instantaneously cause more damage in your relationship with that person. You start thinking aloud and your thoughts are no longer held captive to…you. Your words web and before you know it something that may have been relatively insignificant has all this extra garbage attached to it. You plot, exaggerate, make assumptions, maybe you fume, you draw conclusions. That’s what happens, every time.
“Isn’t it kind of silly to think that tearing someone else down builds you up?” –Sean Covey
When you hear someone spilling some private or CRAZY detail at some point you gotta wonder if they do the same about you when you’re not around! From a young age I heard it said…’If you someone gossips TO YOU, chances are they gossip ABOUT YOU.’ So if you think the person you are telling is smart enough to keep it a secret then they are probably smart enough to wonder if you do the same thing behind their back. That’s been true for me, at least! Plus, what benefit is it to your relationship to spend that time talking about others?!
“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”-Eleanor Roosevelt
Lastly, whatever exaggerations or “extras” you may add plants a seed in the ear of the person listening. What are they to think the next time they see that person…or maybe the very first time they meet? It’s totally a disservice to the person you are talking about. They don’t even get a chance to explain themselves before the listener has drawn (likely inaccurate) conclusions about them! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been the listener and have already judged someone from what I’ve heard about them…so much so that I had already made up my mind that I don’t want to befriend them. They have no idea. How awful is that?!
Remember the Golden Rule…treat others the way you want to be treated.
Every time I have spoken poorly of another person I end up more irritated/mad at them. I have built my case and depending on the person I am speaking to, the feelings could intensify. When we gossip and complain to others we want them to understand, right? If they understand too much they end up adding ammunition and the end result is TWO people with ill feelings toward another. Maybe even resentment.
When you gossip it taints your reputation. Those that hear you will begin to think you are judgmental, negative, and maybe even arrogant. Nobody wants to be perceived in that light! With that in mind, if someone is gossiping TO you about someone else…don’t listen. As tempting as it may be, change the subject. Gossip has the power to pit us against one another in the worst possible of ways. Words are SO powerful. Our tongue is called a weapon. (James 3:5-7) We can manipulate things however we want with the help of our tongue. It tears people down, destroys trust, and always leaves a trail of regret.
Again, all of these things I confess to have participated in. Repeat offender.
Training our tongue is incredibly difficult. I have (intentionally) been at it a few months now and I still catch myself EVERY DAY. I think we just get so used to it we muddy what is considered gossip and what isn’t.
If I maintain my silence about my secret it is my prisoner… if I let it slip from my tongue, I am its prisoner. —Arthur Schopenhauer
I just can’t help but think what a better world this would be if we stopped talking ABOUT each other and focused on talking TO each other. And when we do “gossip” it is about how awesome that person is or how amazing that thing they did was. That my friends, is the kind of gossip we want to get back to us!
As a Christian, I have learned and re-learned and re-re-learned that “dumping” it on God never strains relationships. In fact, within minutes I feel better and my whole attitude about it changes. I’ve unloaded, decompressed, and can go on with my day without a single loose end.
When you talk, don’t say anything bad. But say the good things that people need—whatever will help them grow stronger. Then what you say will be a blessing to those who hear you. Ephesians 4:29
I have a few rules I’ve put in place for myself to keep me gossip-free:
Whatever I am about to say I should be able to say TO that person. Otherwise, let them tell their own story (sometimes that means it will play out in time).
Speak positively about whatever comes up. Always focus on speaking highly of the person involved. If I can’t find anything nice to say…don’t say anything at all!
If I slip up, I have to speak up. This usually means going to that person and speaking the truth in love. Depending on what it is, if that absolutely cannot be done I will reach out to the person I gossiped TO, explain, and ask for forgiveness.
Rule # 3 may seem rigid, but it’s great accountability. Besides, we are pretty quick to extend grace to ourselves but not others! And yes, I have gotten to #3 a couple times. Its super humbling but I have also learned that going to them is not as hard as it seems. There is honesty, truth, and growth.
This is my life verse (the verse I continually meditate on)
Brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8
Stop gossiping. Seriously. You will have closer relationships and more friends!
We just celebrated Easter, kind of. That’s pretty much how I feel every year after Easter. As a Christian I always feel bad about that, too.
Maybe it’s because of my new role as a mom but I looked at Easter totally different this year. In the past I usually set out to read one of the gospels in its entirety (then feel guilty when I don’t finish), reflect on what Jesus did, and often fast something I normally enjoy every day to help me remember the sacrifice that was made. I also think about how freaking awesome it is that Jesus DEFEATED death! I didn’t do any of that this year.
The weekend came and I began to wonder why we don’t make a bigger deal over something that is SUCH A BIG DEAL? Christmas is celebrating the birth of Jesus, that has its place-for sure. But man, as a believer, who BELIEVES that I am saved through Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection…I should have much more anticipation for THIS time of year. What Jesus did means I have LIFE: A richer, more meaningful life here and an amazing promise of eternal life afterward. I have a personal relationship with the Creator of THE UNIVERSE because of what He did!
Why do I make such a bigger deal about Christmas? I get so excited as the time approaches and am sad when it is over. Is it because everybody else does? Probably. So…what does that mean? I think having a time of year where people give gifts and have tradition is awesome. In fact, we should probably do it more often than once a year! So okay, Christmas is what it is and it’s not going to change. I only say that because as Christians we spend SO much energy trying to REMEMBER the “reason for the season” and try to set a good foundation for our kiddos that, “It’s not only about Santa and presents”. But let’s ANTICIPATE this time of year just as much or even MORE, my fellow believers.
Jordan and I talked about Easter season a lot and we are going to begin re-framing our way of thinking in the years to come for Christmas and this time of year, recognizing ALL that it means. We want to place the right amount of significance on the events we believe are truly significant…no longer simply doing what everybody else does.
That’s all I will say for now, just needed to share some thoughts on Easter. That’s what a blog is for after-all, right?
It’s a bit cliché but that’s the only thing that comes to mind on this awesomely sunny, breezy day.
This past week I have been peering out the front windows as I watch our sweet baby birch trees grow their very first full season of leaves. A little bit taller now, the trees bring promise of beautiful shade. That shade will be cast into our living room during the late afternoons. I love it!
I’ve also been “spring cleaning” this past month. It started with an obsession to de-clutter our kitchen counters. I didn’t want to see appliances anymore unless I used them! Plus, I wanted the counter space back so I can do whatever I want with it! During little bubs naps I pulled everything out of cabinets and drawers to reorganize. No easy feat as all the cabinets were full to start with. So, finding places to store GIGANTIC appliances takes a certain level of ingenuity. Luckily, I love, love, LOVE to organize. That’s part of my inner-nerd that’s been with me since childhood. My poor husband has been coming home to grab a glass and gets lost. It’s just the start of spring, so I’m still working out some of the details. And like anything, just because you LOVE to do something doesn’t mean you always have the time. That being said…don’t look at our desk right now ;).
Today I decided to make a flower arrangement for an elderly friend who is recovering from a very difficult surgery. Arranging flowers is a secret, new-found hobby of mine (not so secret anymore, I guess!). The flowers are super simple but I had extra. Along with the de-clutter bug, I got a little carried away. I decided flowers are nicer to look at than counters and cabinets. 🙂
* I even named them, scroll over the pictures to read the names 🙂 *
There’s one thing for sure that’s universal…babies! They are an incredibly easy way to start conversation. Moms also glean information from other moms. We really do need one another. 😉
The day that Judah and I ventured out to Starbucks a woman approached me about our diaper bag. She asked a golden question, “What kind is it?” followed by, “What do you like and not like about it?” If you know me, you know that I love to offer advice and insight from my own experiences. So, naturally, I’d already contemplated this, thoroughly! I got to share my insights and she was very thankful. Yay! Shortly after, a Barista was exchanging smiles with Judah from behind the counter. He asked how old he was and I told him 7 months. He said he and his wife have a 3 month old. Still all too familiar with the challenges at that age I wanted to offer encouragement but thought to make sure this baby was, in fact, his first. Well, it wasn’t Baby #3, which means he’s an old pro and could give me a tip…or 10! It reminded me though, that there are a few things I’ve learned since mothering a baby that I would have liked knowing ahead of time. I mentioned in a earlier post about possibly writing Survival Tips for Months 0-3…Well, I was a bit busy “surviving” myself, so I did not jot down any of the 1,000 tips I learned along the way!
I’m just going to bullet point tips I learned as they come to mind, in no particular order! Take it for what it’s worth.
-I will never buy NB socks again. Once you wash them they are almost too small for a doll! I think he wore them for like, a week? Baby socks are seriously a joke…that’s one of the things I would undo if I could. You are better off sticking to 6 months+. In fact, we have a pack of socks that claim to be for 2t-4t and our son’s feet could fit in them at 5 months.
-We had a lot of snap pajamas in the drawer before we knew what a pain they were. Changing a crying baby in the middle of the night is not exactly conducive to snaps. It doesn’t matter how adorable the pj’s are…we have a strict zipper-only or pants/shorts rule.
-Sleep. Babies need a TON of sleep. Our son was unnecessarily crabby, most of the time. After reading an extremely helpful book I learned just how much sleep our little guy WASN’T getting. Even by 6-9 months babies need AT LEAST 3 hours worth of naps during the day. Once we started to put our schedules/outings aside and focus on giving him more opportunities to sleep, he did. When he rubs his eyes (or has a specific fuss), we put him down. Our baby went from being an unpredictable crab-apple to a SUPER happy boy! We do feel we missed out on more happy moments because he was always so tired, but now we know for next time!
-If you are exclusively breastfeeding you have been that your baby needs vitamin D drops, everyday. I tried but it was a lot of work. I had a hard enough time keeping nails clipped every week! A recent study found that if the baby is nursing, mom’s can take a vitamin d-3 supplement of 5000 IU and that will provide the 400 IU that are recommended for the baby. 5000 IU is totally safe for you, it is actually very beneficial to add as a daily vitamin (particularly postpartum), plus WAY cheaper than the drops!
-Our midwives said that 6 weeks was a magical week. We were curious to see what they meant. The DAY after our boy turned 6 weeks old he began “cooing”. The only noises before that were crying, gulping, burping, and sneezing. It was MUSIC to our ears and gave us power for the course. Before I experienced it, I never realized that talking/vocalization just “magically” starts one day.
-Our midwives also said that 3 months was a magical month. They were right again! It was like he woke up one morning and acted as if to say, “Okay, this life outside the womb…I can dig it.” Up until that point it seemed he wanted nothing more but to be back inside that snug, warm, moist, white-noised, womb.
-Sometimes I used my pregnancy wedge to give him an elevated tummy time. He loved it because he could see more and felt like he was lifting himself up.
-Early on he loved baths but hated being laid down on changing pad to be diapered, dressed, etc. I learned that giving him a pacifier a couple minutes before laying him down really helped. As he was able to grasp things a designated changing-table-toy has helped easy his “changing crankies”, too!
-When Judah was 3 months old he started to develop a scaly patch on his leg. Like any new mom, it freaked me out and I silently wondered if it was some flesh-eating disease. I asked the pediatrician and was told it was eczema. I had never experienced eczema so needed guidance about how to treat it. Eczema is super common for babies. I’m pretty sure it’s because I started using laundry detergent and softener with fragrance. I only started doing that after I read a “Baby Center” update that said it was perfectly safe and not to believe all the hoopla about needing to use Dreft, etc. “Don’t believe everything you read on Baby Center.” is what the Doc told me, in a nutshell. Noted. Before long, it was all over his back. 😦 Well, I tried all the creams and ointments suggested…but they didn’t work. After reading a lot of mixed reviews on dozens of other (super expensive) products I found one about calendula. It was a certain brand, shipped from Canada, and (of course) super expensive. I pulled out the tube of calendula cream I already had in my cabinet and applied it, sparingly. The next day his rash had gone down A TON, so I reapplied. I only had to use it for about a week. Ever since I use fragrance-free detergent and softener and ALWAYS do an extra rinse cycle for his laundry. The eczema went away and NEVER came back. Calendula can be found in many forms (cream, ointment, lotion).
-Use calendula cream for diaper rashes or cracked breastfeeding nipples. I’ve since asked a pediatrician and it was confirmed that calendula is perfectly safe. She said moms have used it for cracked nipples with great success and it can be applied for any and all rashes on baby. Well, our baby had a pretty raw diaper rash that I could not get rid of. I had tried Desitin, Honest Co. Healing Balm, Western Botanicals Tissue Repair Ointment, Boudreaux’s Butt Paste. Nothing was healing his little bum. Pediatrician told me to give the calendula cream a try. 24 hours after regular application and it was 75% GONE.
-If your baby has colic or even just gas a good friend/savior told me about a product called Cocyntal by Hyland’s. You can even find it at Babies-R-Us. They come as single-use, liquid doses. I haven’t tried it myself, but I can say that our son does not mind the taste at all.
-I read somewhere to avoid bath toys that have holes where water can get in but can’t dry out. Apparently it’s the perfect environment for mold to grow and then your little ones are bathing in it, maybe even squirting the water into their little mouths. Eek! We had recently introduced “Rubber Ducks” into our baby boy’s tub so I tested the theory by cutting one open. Yup, BLACK mold inside. They had only been in the tub for a couple weeks. I’ve heard some have used a glue gun to close up the holes with success. For me, that’s too much work and I think squeaking the toys is most of the fun!
-Once the little guy started sitting up it didn’t take very long for the fetching-of-toys-that-fall-on-the-ground to begin. We have dogs=dog hair=doubly gross! Pick up, wipe off, pick up, wipe off. That gets old in a millisecond! Most trays have a lip on the outside edge. I open the ring of the “hanging” toy and attach it to the lip. I’ll even attach other toys to it. Hours of gravity-free fun, well-several minutes at least! 😉
-For the pacifier sucker. If you have one you already know about the crying baby in the middle of the night who lost his pacifier to the slats of the crib, “again”. Every night we spent a lot of time patting the floor with our outstretched arm under the crib to find that itty-bitty soother. Fun! To help our pacifier sucker and ourselves I found two heavy-weighted baby blankets (more like quilt material) as a solution to our problem. I lay the blankets over each side of the crib (lengthwise) and tucked the inside portion under the mattress so it was tight. The pacifiers could no longer fall but “collect” between the blanket and the mattress. I didn’t do this until I felt really confident that he would not pull on the blankets and get wrapped up in them, etc. This served a dual-purpose as he sleeps better without the light coming through, seeing the other distractions of the nursery room, or mommy quietly waiting for him to drift off to sleep. 🙂
*So far this has also (inadvertently) avoided him whacking his head asleep OR awake, limbs getting stuck in the slats, and the dreaded “gnawing on the crib”!
-After I learned that pacifiers harbor more bacteria than a kitchen sponge, I started buying a new 2-pack every time he turned another month older. I also learned that no amount of sterilizing helps. YUK! I would replace them (throwing away the older pair) for the first 5 months. I stopped throwing them away, though, when we reached a point where he could re-plug the pacifiers himself but couldn’t find them without help. I reason that they are in the crib almost exclusively, they can’t be too nasty. At the moment he has 8 (and counting!) he likes to play with them as he falls asleep and finds one quickly!
-I recently watched on one of those Dr shows that washing hands is MUCH more effective in killing germs than the hand sanitation route. The best way is to sing Happy Birthday 2x. We didn’t know this soon enough! Also, skip all those fancy disinfectant wipes. Apparently good ‘ol baby wipes work great. 🙂
-We would have loved one of those expensive video monitors but just couldn’t justify the price when we have such a tiny home. We weren’t going to get one at all but “splurged” on a regular one. We love having it after all: it allows me to do things out of earshot without any concerns. In retrospect, instead of those fancy video monitors, consider an IP webcam. They cost the same as regular monitors but you can view your baby from any web-device (smartphone, tablet, laptop). It has audio, too. Next time…next time!
-The diaper bag-The Petunia Pickle Bottom is the “trendy” diaper bag of today. I didn’t care about having THE diaper bag, then I stumbled upon a pattern I fell in love with. Even then, I wasn’t willing to pay the crazy amount of $ for it. My husband, Jordan, is my personal online, price shopper and review-reader. He’s amazing. He found it on Craigslist, in SF, for HALF price…the lady never even used it! Done. I love that it has the fold down diaper changing pad, with compartments wipes, diapers, etc. The only thing I hate about it is the Velcro. 1) It startled my NB every time I opened it (awake or asleep). 2) The sticky Velcro was on the part that folds down for changing…which means it sticks to anything you open it on (carpet, back of the car…) So, I took it off. Petunia Pickle Bottom: 1 word- MAGNETS. Why Velcro??
That’s all I have for now. Hope at least one thing was insightful to my fellow moms out there!
My son and I were bound to the house for 8 days straight, struck down with the nasty virus that has been flaunting its power throughout Roseville. The virus didn’t take long to claim Jordan as well. Being sick with a baby is a whole new “experience”. As first-time-parents we’ve become quite familiar with fighting off our selfishness, yet, it still revisits with every new event. We both have such empathy and compassion for our sick little nugget but it can be super exhausting. When we are sick we battle internally to do what we’ve done our entire lives; sleep, watch hours of daytime TV, stare at the wall, eat soup, maybe even be waited on. Nope. Those days are over, that season has passed, and it’s our turn to do what our parents did for us. It’s really an awesome thing because we are learning how to serve better, to be more like Christ, to put our own desires aside and care for him as much as needed.
Well, hoping we’d suffered beyond the “sharing stage”, with Jordan back to work, I declared it time to visit life outside the confines of our 956 sq foot home. We went from fever-fevers to cabin fever. For me, after being stuck at home for any more than 3 days-it no longer matters where I go…I JUST WANT OUT! I could tell Judah was needing a change of scenery, too. So, sniffles and tissue in tow, we went to Starbucks.
Judah and I shared a cup of coffee 😉 and simply absorbed the life going on around us. One thing is for sure; the little guy definitely attracts attention and gives us reason to talk to more people. In my dorky inner-world, I was actually GIDDY to be engaging with others!
We are not totally out of the woods yet but getting closer every day. For now, we celebrate the small victories like Judah sleeping for 6 hours in a row and knowing that having kicked this bug, his little immune system has more ammunition! And that deserves a karate chop-HIYA!
The other day our little family was in line at our local Babies R Us. As I held Judah in my arms he practiced his infamous “raspberry” blowing.
There was a woman and her 3-year-old daughter waiting in front of us. The little girl crossed her arms and said something to her mom that was too sweetly soft-spoken for us to understand. Sounding a tad bit defensive, the woman responded, “Mommy didn’t poot! It’s the baby!” Once the words escaped her lips, she started to laugh. But the little girl did not look convinced so her mother pointed Judah out as “proof”.
It’s a good thing the woman found humor in the moment because we totally shared in her laughter (x3)! Best moment of the day, for sure!
Little ones definitely keep you honest! There are countless stories of kids embarrassing their moms in public. There’s no avoiding it really. I’ll get my turn soon enough!
After thinking about it more, it’s ironic really. We invest so much time and energy encouraging our babies to talk and then in moments like that we will do ANYTHING to keep them quiet-especially when we DID in fact “poot”. Chuckle, chuckle.
Have a poot-in-public free day!