Brain Dump

I am seriously dumping my brain into this blog post just because I don’t have anywhere else to get rid of the overload.

The second is that right now my brain IS a dump and I need to declutter it.  Man, I would really like to get rid of that theme in my life.

So here we go – I will attempt to make this somewhat organized so that I don’t totally scare off my 1 remaining reader, and so that when I revisit this post, I am able to make sense of it and see if I have progressed at all!

Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding And The Meaning of ...

Image by Earthworm via Flickr

Physical house clutter – well, I can’t say that it is any worse, but it is definitely  not any better!  I live in my dream house – there is nothing else in the house that I could honestly want.  There is way more space than a family of 4 needs.  It is structurally a very pretty house.  The house is filled with roomy closets and ample cabinets.   There is absolutely no reason why this house should be this cluttered!  If there were 7 people,  maybe.  But even if there were 7 people living in this house it is large enough that it should not be this cluttered and disorganized.  The only thing that I can complain about regarding this house is that the interior is not painted (waiting on $$$ to get that done).   The rest is completely a result of poor habits.  So I am back on the band wagon to get this house finally organized.  I was talking to someone the other day who put it into perspective for me.  We moved into the house 3 months after we adopted our 2nd daughter (adoption in January, move in March).  I had a hysterectomy in April.  That month was spent just getting things in place where my family could function while I was on major lifting restrictions from surgery.  From that time forward my family has lived from one “crisis” to another.  About the time that we would start to feel like we could move forward another would hit us.  They ranged from 3 occurrences of cancer in my father, my husband being laid off, a dear friend’s death, giving up some of my personal goals so my husband could be a small business owner, the economy crash hitting my husband’s business hard, knowing there was something wrong with my oldest but not being able to get anyone to listen to me and then finally finding an awesome occupational therapist to help us out.   Those were the major issues and don’t include all the little things that occur on a daily basis.   The result is that we never really moved into the house.  We never established systems that worked for the long term.  Those are the things that we now need to do.  Our lives are starting to calm down and hubby and I are once again working together instead of working on the parallel and never meeting! 

Emotionally I need to let go of a lot of things.  This is tied very closely with my spiritual life.    Throughout all of the things that I have listed above I could look back and see where God had worked in my life.  But I was unable to truly focus on and find Him during the events.   I am now consciously working on training my soul to search out God, to pray constantly,  and to praise Him even during the bad times.  I have a very long way to go, but I can see where I have grown.  I have taken the first step in signing up for a Bible Study at our church that takes place during Sunday Morning Religious Education for the girls.  DH is going to be going with me.  I look forward to sharing this experience with him and learning together.  My youngest will also make her First Holy Communion this upcoming spring.  It is a time to reflect on His gift of Himself to us.  While this will make for a very busy year with retreats and classes, it will make my journey towards peace much easier to follow since there will be a set path for me this year.  In the journey I need to find where God wants DH and I to be regarding family growth – are we to adopt another child?  What role am I to play in the lives of young people as my girls grow?  How do I let go of that desire to have “just one more child” in my home?  How do I let go of my anger and disappointment at not being able to be a stay at home mom?  How do I let go to dream of home-schooling my children?  How to I ensure that faith and morals are passed on to them in this fast paced, way too worldly world in which we live?

Physically I am a mess.  I am at my all time highest weight EVER! I have taken a giant leap in this arena and started taking Tae Kwon Do.  My oldest and DH have been taking it for a little over a year.  My youngest and I signed up last week.  I have been to 2 classes.  I was wringing wet by the time the class was over, but I really felt good.   As my body begins to become more accustomed to the increased activity, I will tackle my dietary habits and those of my family.  This will be a tough area for me.  So much of my physical challenges lay squarely in the lap of the whole reason I was unable to bear children.   It is a vicious cycle that is incredibly difficult to break and control.  But if I want to be around to see who my girls turn out to be, I need to become proactive.  So one step at a time.  I refuse to try and change to much at once regarding my physical self – but I WILL make the needed changes and be able to be a physical presence that does not embarrass my girls.  To hear that I am a hot mama from my DH would be nice, too!

Finances are finally starting to look up.  They will continue to be tight as we dig out of the hole incurred by the economy.  But we are slowly working away and will get there.  I need to take a more active role in conserving money and squeezing every drop of value from each penny.  I have started to coupon and watch sales.  It is a steep learning curve for me.  Over the last few years I was grateful just to have enough money to get food for the girls – we got necessities only.  Now that we can start spending a little more, I want to continue to be frugal and get as much value as possible.

My relationship with DH went through some rough patches over the last couple of years.  As the money canyon got more narrow, the emotional river ran faster and with many, many rapids.  We went on a World Wide Marriage Encounter this summer.  It was the perfect way for us to reconnect.  He put it perfectly – it was like we were both trying to reach each other, but we were on opposite sides of the Grand Canyon.  Over that weekend we finally met at the bottom of the Canyon.  There is a ranch down in the Canyon, along the Colorado River with a small, clear stream running through it.  It is called Phantom Ranch.  DH and I both felt that we finally reached the Ranch that weekend and were finally able to talk to each other without shouting across a gaping chasm.   We have a lot of re-tweeking to do on our communication, but we a finally on the same path, walking the same direction and holding hands while we travel.   I am so blessed to have him in my life as my partner.  After 21 years of marriage I still get butterflies when I see him.   He and my girls are what motivate me to become a better person, to live more fully, to laugh more, to move more, to be less weighted down with emotional/physical/house clutter.

So my journey starts with one step.  This first step is towards my bed to get adequate rest to be able to tackle my projects.  Catch you on the flip side of the clock!

Count Down

One thing that I need to do is get back to working on my interior Mayhem before I can start tackling the garbage that has started to take over the house again (I am beginning to feel like I am living an episode of Hoarders recently!).  August 1st I will be embarking on a 30 day self-improvement program.  It is being sponsored over at The Personal Excellence Blog and is entitled Be a Better Me in 30 Days” (30BBM).   

Here is a description from the site -

What is 30BBM About?

30BBM is an all-new challenge where we’ll be working on ourselves, our characters, our personalities – thereby creating a better us at the end of the 30 days.

So what exactly does it mean to “Be a Better Me“? It means…

  • To become a better person – One that we will be proud of. If I were to ask you to rate yourself on a scale of 1-10, what score would you give yourself? Would you rate it a 10? Why/Why not? No matter how good we are, there is always room to be a better person. Through 30BBM, we will do exactly that – be a better person.
    • Weed out the traits we do not like. Some of us may often complain about traits we’re not proud of. For example, procrastination. Laziness. Pessimism. Clumsiness. Carelessness. Forgetfulness. Tardiness. Impatience. Low self-confidence. Abrasiveness. Obsessiveness. Complaining. Self-victimizing. Etc. Does any of these sound familiar to you? During 30BBM, we will explore our negative traits and work to remove them.
    • Build new, desired traits. What traits do you want to cultivate? Compassion? Assertiveness? Responsibility? Resilience? Courage? Self-Belief? Sharpness? Wisdom? Wittiness? Femininity? Masculinity? Diligence? Through 30BBM, we’ll cultivate our ideal traits.
  • To develop our character. All of us develop a certain character based on our upbringing. When we don’t grow, don’t challenge ourselves, don’t explore new grounds, our character will atrophy into nothing. We become just another person in the crowd who goes with the flow, who sways with public opinion, who has no say/idea of his/her own. It is by taking on the right experiences and consciously growing where we build our character. By taking on 30BBM, you create the opportunity to develop your character in just 1 month, compared to if you don’t participate.
  • To (re-)discover ourselves. (Re-)Discovering who we are, on a whole new level. Connecting with our inner self. Knowing why we behave the way we do. Understanding the motivations behind our actions. Such self-reflection is needed for us to improve and become better. Many of the tasks in 30BBM will get us to reflect and rediscover ourselves.
  • To cultivate universal values. No matter who we are, there are universal values that connect us as humans. These values include Compassion, Gratitude, Love, Kindness, Truth, Authenticity, Generosity, Positivity, Growth, and more. Through the 30BBM tasks, we will reacquaint with these values and cultivate them in us.
There will be daily tasks to do.  I am looking forward to some structure.  This summer has sort of killed any type of structure I had in my life.  Everything I planned to do fell through, so I ended up being a sloth!   I figure it will also set an example for the girls.   They start back to school on August 11th, so when they sit down to do homework, I will be doing mine as well.
Anyone out there want to join me on this 30 day journey of self-discovery and growth?

Wacky Wednesday

I have several websites that I find fun to read as well as very informative.  One of those is Simple Mom.  I have found many of the articles may be aimed at one particular audience, yet I find them applicable to my life!  One article that I found very enlightening is…..now, before I tell you the name of this article, let me remind you that I am the mom of a 7 year old and a 9 year old.  I am a middle aged woman who is trying to gain control of my life.  Yet I find this article very appropriate for me and my family.  At the same time, I would recommend it for parents of new borns, parents of newly adopted children, or children who have taken on the care of elderly parents.  The article I am referencing is Seasons in Parenting: The Newborn Baby Months.

Tabitha addresses 5 topics.  Obviously her advice is aimed at new parents.  But as I read it, I saw some similarities to my own life.  I am not dealing with a new member in my family, but I am trying to rearrange routines and redefine our activities to reflect and deepen our values.  The words in bold type are quotes from Tabitha.

1. Try Not to Panic

As new parents, or anyone facing a change in their lives, we plan and we set certain expectations for ourselves and those around us.  She is suggesting that we let go of those expectations.  Things are going to unfold at their own pace and in their own way.  In my case, I need to not panic that yesterday my girls spent a huge amount of time in front of the TV during the day.  I could have spent the whole day railing at myself that I was letting my whole plan fall apart.  Instead I took her advice and did not panic – I sat down with my girls and learned about what they enjoyed watching, discussing the characters and the situations of the shows.  We giggled together, we snuggled under blankets, and we just enjoyed being together.

2. Forget Previous Expectations

Tabitha reminded me that the panic of she spoke of above is the result of having unrealistic expectations.  We have to let go of those expectations – it does not matter if we made them up in our own heads or if we are basing them on previous experience – expectations rarely reflect reality.  The only thing we need to do is love and try.  That is what my whole redo of how my family spends time is – my effort to show my love by giving my girls life experiences that reflect the values that Bear and I want them to be shown. 

 

3. Give Yourself Time

My goal is to have my family doing more physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy activities.   My impetus for those changes is that I have been seeing things in my girls and in their activities that are not what I want for them.  As a result I want to make those changes immediately.  But immediately is is not realistic.  It is not going to result in lasting change.  Within those changes I also have to change myself.  I need to carve out time to determine and implement ways to create healthy changes for me.  I need to be the one to set a good example for the rest of my family.  So I need to give all of us time to change.  Habits are created over time.  So I have to guide instead of control and allow good habits to form.

4. Ask for Help

This was so important that she said it with emphasis…Ask. For. Help.  This is super important.  I have enlisted the help of several friends to keep me on track.  One person helps keep me on track with my physical goal.  Another friend keeps track of my overall plan and helps me keep it in perspective.  I have many friends praying for me.  Then there is the help of my husband – without his support I could never do any of this.  There are friends from church who help me find appropriate activities for my girls.  There are my on-line friends who make fantastic suggestions that I have not even thought of!

5. Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself

Take it easy.  You’re not alone and people do understand, so try to go easy on yourself. Just know that being a parent is worth everything you can give, and so much more.  As I said before, the items in bold are direct quotes from Tabitha’s article.  This is something that I really need to pay attention to and insert into my plan.  When I get ready to start a project, in this case the lifestyle change for myself and my family, I go at it with everything in me.  Unfortunately, when all does not go my way, or when I mess up, I throw my hands up and say that I am CAN’T do what I set out to do.  I need to continually remind myself that this is a process, not a race.  Processes require constant evaluation, constant revision. 

 

So here is my Wacky Wednesday post – taking an article about adjusting to a new born baby and making it about life in general.  Yep, I guess that is pretty wacky.  But if it works, I will proudly be wacky!

The arm still works

Hi everyone -
I hope I have not lost all 4 of my readers! Sorry I disappeared for such a long time. I had surgery on my shoulder for a rotator cuff tear. I had no idea who limited I would be for such a long time. Life is slowly starting to return to normal, so I can now start to repost, though I won’t be posting daily quite yet. I spent a lot of time thinking about my life and my family during my forced down time. I also found out a lot about who really lives what they preach. Those are going to be the topics that I write about over the next few days. I hope you don’t mind my deviation from my “normal” routine. In fact, I hope you all are still there!

Motivation Monday

“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”

William A. Foster quotes 

There is a lot of talk about intentional living on blogs that I follow.  Me, being not quite as quick on the uptake as many people, took a long time to understand what they were talking about.  But when I finally understood, it was like flood light went off in my brain.

Some people make New Year resolutions, others set goals.  But I think the smartest thing I have heard is to pick a word for the year, and make decisions based on what that word means to them.

I have several words that I want to use this year – peace, thanksgiving, hope, faith, joy, growth, organization, simplicity….

When I review that list of words, I realized that all of them could be met through intentional living.  By choosing how to live my life, instead of living reactively, I can find peace, I can find things for which to give thanks, I can see the hope,  I will  be faithful, I will have the space to grow, my life and home will be more organized, and my life will be more simple.

So my word is officially -

INTENTIONAL

What is your word for the year?

Motivation Monday – Disagreement

Today’s quotes obtained from Book of Famous Quotes.

If you have learned how to disagree without being disagreeable, then you have discovered the secrete of getting along — whether it be business, family relations, or life itself.
Bernard Meltzer

When you run into someone who is disagreeable to others, you may be sure he is uncomfortable with himself; the amount of pain we inflict upon others is directly proportional to the amount we feel within us.
Sidney J. Harris

Boxing gloves

Image via Wikipedia

I understand that many times people do not have the same opinions that I do.   I recognize that opinions are difficult to express constructively, especially in writing.  Writing often lacks “tone”, which can make words appear to mean one thing when they are actually supposed to convey a totally different meaning.   I spend a lot of time reading and re-reading posts on several of the blogs I follow, just to make sure that I am not misunderstanding what people are saying.   I then hesitate, many times,  to make comments, for fear that what I am trying to convey will be lost or misinterpreted.

This month  is “National Adoption Awareness Month”.   As I understand it, the month was originally set aside to make the public aware of the many children whose first parents’ rights have been terminated and are in need of a stable,  permanent family life.  It has now taken on a life of its own and is used to advocate and glorify all adoption.   I am going to go out on a limb here and say that adoption can be a wonderful thing.   It can be a blessing for everyone involved.  That is not saying that adoption is not painful.  It is.  It is based on loss.  The loss of the very first relationship a human knows – the mother/child relationship.  Sometimes it is also created through the loss caused by infertility on the part of the adoptive parents.  For every family affected by adoption there is a different story.

Many of the blogs that I read are adoption related.  I read them for support – to hear that other people are going through some of the same things that I am going through.  I read them for education – how other families are coping with certain issues, how adult adoptees feel, how first mothers feel.  I read them just for the joy of reading about children.  But this month makes me tired.  This seems to be the month where everyone weighs in with their opinion of adoption.  But they don’t just weigh in, they attack.  They attack like bullies on the school playground.  Their very important messages get lost in the dust of name calling, accusations, and prejudices.  I have found even the most even toned blogs become rancid during this month.  It is not that I don’t think each person is entitled to their opinion.  It is how that opinion is presented.   These opinions do not foster dialogue, they do not provoke thought.  In fact, the people who write don’t even have the common decency to own their own opinions.  They state their opinions as fact.   And while the writers have knowledge about their personal stories, they don’t have any knowledge of my story, or of my daughters’ stories.  Yet they appear to  feel they have the right to speak for or make judgments on  everyone.  And for that reason, I pity them.  I used to try to understand.  But I can’t even do that anymore.  I pity them that they seem to carry so much pain that they can’t see anything else but their hurt.  I pity them that they present themselves as having been so stunted in their emotional growth that they can’t begin to constructively work towards change.  So many of them  scream and drown each other out, they don’t or can’t hear the whispers of those who want to create lasting change in the adoption system.

So here are my guidelines for blogging – they are the same rules my husband and I have used for 20 years to communicate.

  • Use “I” statements and be responsible for your own opinions and feelings.
  • Don’t drag up things from the past.  Talk about the present issue.
  • Don’t make generalizations – speak only about that which you have personal knowledge.
  • Don’t put words in someone’s mouth, and don’t assume what the other person is feeling/thinking.
  • Refrain from name calling of any type.
  • Stop talking long enough to listen.
  • Listen twice – once with your head and once with your heart.
  • Take a deep breath before starting to speak.  If unable to speak softly and gently take another breath.  Continue breathing until the words can whispered.  Volume does not improve the listener’s comprehension.
  • Remember that once the words are spoken/written, they are forever.
  • Choose battles wisely.
  • Remember that saying “I’m sorry” or “You are right” is a sign of strength, not of weakness.  Humbly accepting those words is as difficult as saying them.
  • Agreeing to disagree is not losing, it is acknowledging another person’s uniqueness and is an opportunity for honest dialogue without the competition of “winning”.

 

In this world of  “rights” and “freedom of speech”  it seems our society has forgotten how to be nice and play fair.   We have become a group of people who believe our individual rights take precedence over that of anyone else.  We no longer look for the common good.  What I see are people saying or doing “something for the good of others” as an excuse to say or do hurtful things.   What would happen if  everyone took a minute and thought about  what they would feel if what they wrote was directed back at themselves?  Somehow I think the blogosphere might be a little kinder, with a lot less garbage floating around in it.

 

 

Refreshed and Ready!

Well, I survived last week.  For me, that is gift enough.  It was a long week -

3 TaeKwonDo sessions, one of which was a graduation for Hubby and my oldest – they got their green belt.  1 surgery on hubby’s elbow.  I guess I was much more worried about it than I admitted to myself, because when it was all over it took me a couple of days to “recover”.  1 recovering hubby, who is not that pleasant when he does not feel good.  A 6 hour training session for a program that I will be facilitating at my church (more to come about that later).  I needed to find care for my girls during that training so hubby did not have to have total responsibility for them (thank goodness for Mrs. Sports who took my girls for the day!).  1 dinner with my cousins.  They are always able to make my day brighter!  Then today at church I got to see “my” baby boy and his big brother.  They both always make me smile.  Not only that, I was asked to watch them Tuesday evening!  So I get baby time and my girls get a playmate for a couple of hours!

So – what did I pull out of this chaos of a week?  A LOT of blessings -

1) My parents who watched the girls while hubby was in surgery

2) My girls have been wonderful this week – helping out and fussing over their daddy.  (that is not to say they did not have their moments, but their good moments by far overshadowed their bad!)

3) Hubby’s surgery was successful, they found exactly what they expected, and recovery has been relatively smooth so far.

4) My oldest was publicly praised  by her TKD instructor during graduation

5) I stepped out of my comfort zone to accept the challenge of facilitating this program at church and attended the training without knowing anyone else that was attending, and ended up  making a couple of new friends.

6) The sure knowledge that we are slowly but surely building a supportive group of friends at church.

7) BABY SNUGGLES!!!!!!!!

8) Priority focus – I will talk more about that this week, but I was so glad for it, even if it was provoked by fear.

9) The ability to pay the mortgage for another month.

10) The realization that I sincerely missed blogging, even if there are only about 5 people who read my meager writing!  Those people cheer me on and keep me accountable and focused.

So I am ready to hit this next week and the beginning of the holiday season with joy and hope.  Even the winter blues are not scaring me right now!

Life IS good!