Chips, Salsa and Thermostats

iStock_000015089266XSmall-200x300My son called with the news that he had run out of gas.  We were supposed to meet for dinner so I turned around and went to rescue him in a parking lot.  His face showed the strain of homework projects and late nights as he sagged into the seat.  It was nothing that some chips and salsa and a pep talk from Mom couldn’t fix, but a thought occurred to me as we sat at the table, a passing thought of regret.
[break][/break]It was a thought of wishing I had taught my older children some of the lessons I am just now learning in this season of my life.  I’m not a fan of staying mired in regrets (although I am a fan of taking personal responsibility and seeking forgiveness where needed).  It’s also comforting to realize that I still have the opportunity to teach and mentor in the years ahead, so it’s not hopeless by any means.
[break][/break]It’s just that, like all parents, I want to equip them for life with all the healthy attitudes and thought patterns that I can. 
[break][/break]Another son recently faced a difficult challenge physically and mentally during some training.  I was so grateful to be able to share with him what I’ve been learning (which is motivation for any parent to continue on their own personal development journey).  Here are a few of those lessons:
[break][/break]You move towards what you think about.
[break][/break]Therefore, focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want.
[break][/break]Unsuccessful, unhappy people think and talk about what they don’t want most of the time.  (Brian Tracy)  Therefore, successful people think and talk about what they DO want most of the time. 
[break][/break]Instead of thinking “this is hard,” think “this is a challenge, but I’m up for it.”  Notice what a difference it makes in your energy and emotions.
[break][/break]It was gratifying to hear the change in his voice and attitude as we talked and analyzed his situation.  A few years ago I would have reacted differently and given different advice.  Maybe some sympathy and worry, with a bit of whining on top. 
[break][/break]It is amazing how our own personal growth and thoughts and character affect those around us.  Especially as mothers, we affect the temperature of the home.  We are the thermostat, the controller of warmth or coolness, and the keeper of the atmosphere.  It is no small matter if we choose to be controlled by emotions and think that the world revolves around our hormones.
[break][/break]Fortunately, we don’t have to be perfect.  When we realize we need to do some relationship repair or refocus our energy and thoughts and parental advice in the right direction, a conversation over chips and salsa could do the trick. 



  1. Anonymous says:

    Someone wrote and asked these good questions. Here they are (along with my answers):

    “First of all, I’m so surprised you would tell us: “It was nothing that some chips and salsa and a pep talk from Mom couldn’t fix”. That’s exactly the mentality that got me overweight! With my mom it was ice cream…but the same underlying message. (“have a little food and we’ll talk and it will be better” only she never did the talking-pep-talk part).

    The other thing I’d like to hear you talk about, speaking about “chips and salsa” as a solution, is how your relationship to food changed over the years. Mostly what I’m reading is about brushing and Tapping, but didn’t you make a major change in your relationship to food? Isn’t that a MAJOR part of your success? Or, can I continue to eat the way I do and still lose inches by just brushing and tapping?”

    My answers:

    Although food is fuel for our bodies, and not our friend, food is also a natural component of fellowship and relationships. You will notice I said we were meeting for dinner. We were both hungry. I knew that there is a very real physical effect of hunger and low blood sugar in discouragement and that eating would help my son regain perspective. I didn’t hand him a bag of chips and a jar of salsa to soothe his emotions. We shared one small dish of chips and a tiny cup of pico de gallo with our supper while we talked.

    And yes, my relationship with food did change. My heart changed. You can read more about this in these blog posts: and

    Hope this helps!

  2. Lostinayarn (Sabrina-TX) says:

    This post was a blessing from God. We ended up putting our beloved dog to sleep Monday because of an aggressive cancer and I’ve been struggling with both grief and the guilt of “what ifs” and “If I’d dones.” Regret and second guessing decisions being one of my personal spiritual and mental challenges. I pray God will finally teach me to not wallow in regret. I can see Him doing some teaching right now and your post is a part of that. I’ve seen more than ever how that not only hurts myself, but brings down those around me. I love what you said about moms being the thermostat and how our personal growths, thoughts, and characters affect others around us. That’s what I want during this time; to be a positive example and not succumb to the depression that also frequently plagues me (though very rarely when I’m being consistent with T-tapp and other exercise!).

    As for sayings and maxims in our house there are two I can think of right now. Having had lots of previous experience as a family with grief and loss the first is, “Life’s too short for…” As in “Life’s too short for bad ice and ugly underwear.” “Life’s too short for worrying about tomorrow.” “Life’s too short to hold grudges.” “Life’s too short for wallowing in regrets.” 🙂 The other is a question, “Will this really matter to me in 10 years?” If not then it’s not worth getting all upset over, because well “Life’s too short for that!” 😉

    Thanks again for your post. You’ve had ones before about controlling thoughts and the things you’ve learned that have blessed me too, and this was perfectly timed.

    Lostinayarn (Sabrina-Tx)

  3. This is not original to me (can’t remember who to credit though) but it’s been helpful to remember that “it’s what comes after the ‘but’ that matters.” For example, I am in this difficult situation and I know God is in control BUT I just feel like x,y and z– VERSUS– I am in this difficult situation and I feel like x,y, and z BUT I know that God is in control.

  4. Kelly Pendleton says:

    Thank you, Charlotte, for taking the time to share with us so often. Your emails are a real source of encouragement and always bring a smile to my face. My most often repeated “maxim” (in a house of 9 children between the ages of 17 and 2) is: “It is more important to DO right than it is to BE right!” This simple thought has garnered many looks of understanding from the oldest to the least! How true for us all!

  5. I just now found this as I was going back through missed posts. Thanks so much! I can totally agree with the thermostat. Augh!!! I appreciate the other maxims. I think I’ll get out my sticky pad and plant a few around the house. Speaking of planting, one of my favorite sayings that I can’t take credit for nor give credit to is “Don’t dig up in doubt what you once planted in faith.” So many times I second guess and if I don’t catch myself I can really get caught up in the self-pity-poor-me attitude.

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