Monthly Archives: October 2012

prepare my heart for GRATEFULNESS!

I cannot believe it is October 31st… not just because there is massive snow on the ground, but also because that just means another year has past through my fingers too quickly.  November starts tomorrow. The department stores have quickly pushed out Halloween to include Christmas decorations, completely leaving out Thanksgiving.  Samuel has started his Christmas list, snow is on the ground, holiday work schedule is released, and Black Friday ads are being discussed online.  This past year I have had the unusual pleasure, because I squeezed in a little time, to read some amazing books.  Earlier on this year I talked about One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp and did a blog about Thankfulness.  (https://sherisoulsearch.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=21&action=edit)  As the year is coming to an end, I realize that I have not been as thankful as I should/could be.  After all, I am so richly blessed and should/could easily list them everyday.  But, I have not, and sadly admit that days have past when I don’t even pause to say Thanks for the Giver of All Blessings.   A couple days I blogged about hypocrisy in my life, and this is just one more example!  I say I love my life, my family, my job, Christ – and I don’t pause to count them as blessings every single day!  I don’t pause to thank Christ, but have no problem to list my requests, concerns, and questions (of course when I am ready to and still don’t let them go). 

     As a parent, I try to instill in our children to be grateful and say “Thank You’ to people when they have done nice, encourage them to tell us thank you for things, and often have them examine their lives for all their blessings.  But, I do not always do the same thing.  I need to discover the child-like heart again.  I think of Sam’s excitement and thankfulness over a quarter for the gum ball machine.  Also, recently when Sam thanked the dentist for helping him, even though it hurt.  I not only fail to thank God daily, how often do I express my gratitude to my friends, my husband, my children, the cashier, the waitress, etc..   I take things for granted everyday.  Often because I am so busy seeing how much I can get done that I don’t pause to say thanks.  I do not pause to count my blessing because I am too busy.

    It is not just listing my blessings, but living a life of gratefulness.  A life of being grateful for small and big things.  Sometimes I realize my blessings when someone looses theirs – their home, job, loved one, etc…  I am always mesmerized by watching storm coverage.  Besides living the effects of Hurricaine Sanday, I watched the special on Channel 4.  The sights of the loss of lives, homes, property, cars, electricity, etc. was breath –taking.  I was especially proud to consider myself a nurse when I watched how they emptied the NY City hospital and bagged the people on ventilators and infants, etc… The sites of the ambulances lined up throughout the streets evacuating the hospital and staff carrying patients down more than 10 floors, even critically ill on ventilators.  I was proud to be married to a firefighter as I watched them rescue many lives.  Saddened to watch as many firefighters, who saved lives during 9-11, homes burned down.  Many people locally have been without electric, and we were saved except for a few hours this morning. 

     It would be so easy to be angry about the snow and the inconveniences. I briefly today thought what a pain in the butt to have to cook three meals for the last couple days when no one knew what they wanted to eat.  How pathetic – I have electric, food to fix, the ability to cook – while thousands on the east coast would be grateful for “that problem”

If I can think of nothing to be grateful for – which is sad – I can just read the paper/watch the news, read Facebook and just take the time to be grateful for everything that others do without.

    So, I prepare for wholehearted gratefulness for the month of November.  My blogs will be of the many gifts that make me richly blessed!  I will focus on the blessings and those who bless me.  I prepare my heart for gratefulness!

Psalm 69:30  I will praise the name of God with song, And shall magnify Him with thanksgiving.

 

Book One Thousand Gifts info: http://onethousandgifts.com/

prepare for WARNINGS

We heard the storm was coming.  We half hearted prepared.  We left our trip early to be home, Jim got the snow blower in the garage, we have some woods in the house just in case, got the lanterns charged and all the electronics (my has times changed), and figured we have enough food to get us by…BUT, we didn’t switch the parking spot of car and truck so getting the snow blower out was interesting. We could probably use wood on the porch at the looks of the snow we are supposed to still get.  I went to make grill cheese and had one slice of cheese (=  Dog food is very low so she will be spoiled with scraps.  Two of my flashlights had corroded batteries and now do not work.  My lighter is barely working and couldn’t’ find matches so used the lighting of spaghetti to light candles.  Unfortunately, that is how I normally function – do enough to just get by.   Of course, my constant state of procrastination doesn’t help. 

The blessing of this early storm is that is it can prep me of things I need to improve upon.  For instance, I love to make lists and have started one called future storms:  1. more wood, 2. lighters 3. batteries 4. new flashlights 5. stock up the pantry.  Oh, we need to get snow tires on both vehicles, especially so Jim can respond to issues safely.  I need to get the winter clothes gathered (and looking like I need to buy some new snow pants for Sam).  I often learn things when Jim is home for a few days too.  I also sit and think of all the projects I need to do before the “real winter” hits and projects that can happen during the “real winter”.  For instance, laundry is touch because with snows like this bury our dryer vent.  I realize the garage needs some work, but will need a little warmer weather and figure out what MUST get done. 

I remember these storms in childhood – we would build huge snow forts with old lunch boxes, hang out in the basement with the wood burner when the electric went out, had grilled cheese and soup, ride snowmobiles, play games, etc… My parents were always prepared.  Now, I worry that all my electronics are fully charged, stay inside where it is warm, etc.  Sam likes the snow, but Mary not so much.  I remember weeks without electric and now I panic over a couple days.  Probably because I so rely on electronics and so do our children

But what other lessons can be learned from this storm. As a procrastinator, I often wait till tomorrow.  There are tons of warnings in life – some I think have happened because we don’t use common sense (like the low fuel light in the car – we use to look at the gas gauge and now we have a warning light for it.)

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Storm warnings so you can be prepared – but many, including myself truly prepare.
  • Knowing the Christmas list for your child – but waiting till the last minute to shop
  • Caution / warning signs posted (Danger, stay out) – but we still think it won’t happen to us so may cross the line (think about all the warnings at OhiopylePark / Falls)
  • Speed limit signs – but I may test another 5mph or more if running late.
  • Bad economy and possible loss of job – but don’t have back-up plan or savings
  • Low fuel light – one of my preparations I try to live by is always having enough gas in my car to get me to the closest hospital – I would feel horrible if a loved one had to go emergently and I didn’t have enough gas to get there without stopping!

HEALTH

  • If you smoke – warnings on the package – but assume the consequences won’t happen to them. As a cancer nurse, I am sure many did not think they would get lung cancer.
  • If you drink (and especially drink and drive) – assume you are okay to drive and cause injury/death by doing so.
  • Importance of prevention of disease / obesity / etc… – but I still don’t keep my health at a premium
  • Importance of cancer screenings – but dread making / going to appointments

RELATIONSHIPS

  • Warning signs that we have relationship / marriage issues – but act like they don’t exist, and then do nothing about them until too late.
  • Friendship issues – but can’t be open and honest with each other to resolve it, so continue in a dysfunctional relationship
  • Death of everyone is guaranteed – but don’t have all of our affairs in order – wills, estates, etc… but especially spiritual affairs in line.

I think about Bible stories and how they would have been so different if they would have been like me… Noah would have been trying to build an ark and collecting the animals the day before the storm.  There are so many other stories that I am thankful they were not procrastinators like me.

Weather warnings are easy to prepare for – we know they are coming, if we heed the warnings. Actually most of the warnings are easy to follow and prepare for, while others take a little more action on my part.  The easiest thing is not putting them off until tomorrow. Learning from them as they happen, and do better next time.  And truly preparing for the worst and praying for the best.

prepare to end my HYPOCRISY

I hear talk about not going to church because it is full of hypocrites.  Well, if you go to church with me, you are right – I am a hypocrite.   By definition, a hypocrite is “person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings”.  Yes, that describes me. I continually say one thing but my actions show so much more…

I SAY… BUT MY ACTIONS ARE…
I want to be closer to Christ  my commitment to reading and studying His word is limited.  When you love someone, you want to do things for them, you want to learn more about them, you want to get closer, you make time…
I love my children I don’t take care of myself – physically, mentally, and emotionally.  I don’t consistently participate in activities they love.  I make excuses. I do not promote a routine that may benefit them.
I love my husband  I do not take care of myself, our home, or attempt to make sure he hears it and feels it in our life together everyday.  I do not always lift him up with kind words in public or at home.
I am a Christian  not all the words that come from my mouth or felt in my heart and mind would show that (home, work, public, private). I don’t give as I should. I don’t serve as I should.
I love to read  I don’t make time to read the books I love that feed my spirit, my mind…
I want to do 5 Ks or more (especially Autism awareness events) I do nothing to prepare for it. I am envious when I see things posted on facebook of people doing races…
I want to be healthier  I do not commit to a lifestyle of healthy eating, exercise, and a good sleep schedule. I do not even do the one exercise I enjoy – Zumba (even though I bought the DVDs).  I need to step up my diabetes control.
I want financial peace of mind I do not always spend wisely, give wisely, balance wisely, and plan wisely.
I value education Do not participate in ongoing education that I could/should.  Could improve on educational savings for kids. Could utilize the hospitals education reimbursement and go back for my masters.
I trust Christ.. I have faith… I always have plan A, plan B, plan C and often/rarely hand over problems to Him, because I just can’t let go.  At times, I get really down and discouraged when I know He always helps me through everything.  Instead of going to the Master, I go to friends for advice, facebook for advice, and sometimes just to complain and worry.
I want to be a great friend (not just a good one) I do not always reach out to people that need to be reached to.  I sometimes get busy and do not devote the times my friends may need. 

In the past year on my blog journey I have made significant changes in my life.  However, in my heart, I know that I can do more, should do more, and want to do more.  I have read some amazing books this year that have changed my thinking and therefore my life.  I know some will post how great they think I already am – and though I love people for believing in me as a person- I know in my heart that God has more in store for me and I often/consistently do not steer my “free will” towards His will and my words/beliefs!  I must PREPARE to end my hypocrisy and ensure my actions match my words! Admitting is the first step…

“If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” – 1 John 4:20 ESV

prepare for the EXPERIENCE

What an amazing night (will be last night by the time I post) – my first real concert with Mary.  We went to Newsboys, Luminate, and Building 429 in Morgantown.   For the last two years, Mary has gone to RUSH concerts with her dad because she 1. loves her dad, 2. loves concerts 3. loves going to concerts with her dad, and 4. loves loud rock music.  I should also explain that when she is in the car with me, it is always her music we listen to, which is everything from Country to Broadway to Rock.  I on the other hand, am a devoted listener to Christian Music – generally Contemporary Christian, but also love Southern Gospel, Hymns, etc… I listen to KLOVE and now The Message (on Sirus Radio).  Mary generally dismissed my music because it wasn’t “hard enough” rock.  Tonight, the concert turned a new leaf.  When she heard and saw the artists, she was hooked.

The awesome thing about the groups is they were very diverse in appearance, music style different from each other, but the solid thing was their LOVE and passion for Christ.  We sat in the 4th row from the stage, and let’s just say, it was LOUD.  However, the beautiful thing was that is was loud for Mary – just how she loves it! It was awesome sitting behind her and three other youth getting engrossed and feeling the music.  That was worth the loudness.  Mary always says – “I was just listening to the music – not the words.”  There is some music that Mary listens to that I have paused to hear the words and think (and say) – “it didn’t just say that!”   So tonight, she discovered incredible music/bands with great drummers that said words that lifted your soul.  Now when she listens to this music, the words can also sink in and lift her spirit.  They are songs filled with HOPE in this crazy world that often pulls the rug out from underneath a teenage girl (everyone for that matter). 

Tonight, they also talked about a Project they support – Compassion International.  You sponsor a child monthly from another country (you can visit their website at  www.Compassion.com).  Well, thanks to awesome youth leaders at our church, Mary has a heart for missions. She looked at me and asked if we could sponsor a child, instead of receiving Christmas gifts.  She has been saying this for several months that she wants things done for others because she has enough.  As a parent, it is humbling to have a child who truly believes that.  I told her that if she wanted to, as a family, we would definitely support a child, but she had to raise her hand to accept the envelope.  Another boy from our youth also requested to support a child.  Then the other two said, how about as a youth group, we support these two children.  They are excited… 

Tonight one of the groups talked about They will know we are Christians by our Love. They talked about how love is not just an emotion but a VERB which means action.  It isn’t enough to say it – you have to live it and prove it.  I am a Christian, but can my friends and family tell by my love to them… do I show love to others, to strangers, to co-workers, etc..?    Can our children look at my life and say she shows love?  There were a few instances this week that flashed through my mind (blog for later – still too raw emotions) where the words from my mouth did NOT show love to strangers!   Sometimes as a mom and wife, I struggle (as tears flow from my eyes right now) – it isn’t that I don’t love my family, but times I get frustrated or overwhelmed or so busy multi-tasking that I am short with them.  The craziness of life takes over and sucks up all my patience.  I may not say a word, but silence can cut like a knife too!  I know that there are/have been struggles with relationships and friendships because it is hard work to keep opening our hearts to get stomped on.  But LOVE grows – when you have more than one child you still have enough for more.  But, I know I struggle at times letting it grow.  Feeling like I already gave you a “cup” of my love and didn’t get the “cup” back, so I am done!    It is learning to keep letting the cup overflow even when there is nothing given back.  It is a blessing when the action of LOVE flows both ways, but my only job is to be sure that I am giving and showing love with NO EXPECTATION of love in return.

So where am I going with this… tonight I believe was life changing for Mary and for me. 

  • A song is more than the music – it is the lyrics and even though you Mary said she only listened to it for the “music” the words can seep into your soul!  They are little subliminal messages!
  • Music is powerful – it can control the emotion of making you feel alone and down OR lift you up and fill you with hope.  We talked about the songs and how they made her feel – they changed her!  She made some resolutions and realizations that I could have never taught her otherwise! (because of course parents have NO idea)
  • As a parent, I feel it is my job to provide the opportunity to have the heart filled with hope.  I have to listen to what helps fulfill that in each child and make it happen.  For Mary, music is her lifeline, and I am thankful that we went (when my body just wanted to stay home). 
  • There is nothing more powerful than hearing your child want to give – to show love to complete strangers!  When we got our packets I asked if she wanted to change them with other packets and she said NO, these are the ones God gave us.  Enough said, 
  • We are so blessed to have youth leaders that planted the first mission seed in our child’s heart! Now as a parent I must water that seed.  I must give her the chance to show action!

So I guess it could be called prepare for the EXPERIENCE… because one experience can change a life!  And when the life changed is your childs… no words could describe it!

prepare to SEE and HEAR – my CHALLENGE

I mentioned in one of my “list” post that one of my favorite phrases from Parenthood was “I hear you. I see you.”  If Samuel watched the show he could tell you the season # and the episode # – LOL!  The mother and father of all the children of the show had started marital counseling.  After his wife said something he started to say something and instead paused to say “I hear you, I see you.”  The children were stunned to hear that from their father’s mouth and at the time I too just thought about it in context of the show.  And one day, it really hit me the value of applying that phrase to my life.  Do I always do it – absolutely not, but it definitely is a nerve spot for me.

Samuel is Mr. Observant in our family.  He remembers details when I can’t even remember being there.  He loves to build elaborate train tracks, lego creations, etc.. He also loves to watch movies.  Often he will say look at this and go on a lengthy conversation.  Or when homeschooling, a topic will come up and he will give you details beyond what you could imagine.  At the end of a long day or when my mind is rolling the continual to-do list, I can easily be distracted and though I look at him – I don’t really SEE him.  I can listen, but I don’t really HEAR him. So now I try to pause when he says look at this or goes on an explanation conversation to “hear him and see him”.  The times I remember this, changes his conversation from the noise I would hear in the Charlie Brown Teacher scenes to opening my eyes and heart to Sam.  It gives me a chance to enter his world, what a precious gift.

Mary can be Miss Intellectual, Miss Conversational, and in the car often Miss Entertainer.  She is also very big on family quality time.  So, we have learned to put away our cell phones when eating.  It is a way of saying I SEE you, I HEAR you.  In the car she loves to put on her playlist and though it isn’t always what I want to hear, it is important to hear.  Her songs of the day definitely give me a sign of her feelings for the day because music is such a huge part of her life! In addition, I get to hear her beautiful voice.  I rarely talk on the phone if they are with me in the car.  It is a chance for me to have a limited interruption experience.  Sometimes we talk and sometimes it is just her singing.  We recently did a research study at WVU for parent/teen interactions.  They gave us a list of topics and asked us to talk about them each for about 5-7 minutes.   Our response was “is that all”.  The other awesome thing was they were topics we talk about routinely.  

It is not always easy or convenient to pause everything, but it is so worth it.  As they grow, I realize that if I don’t meet this basic need for them to pause and give 100% attention for the moment, someone else can come along and do that for them.  Before I would have kept doing what I was doing and give a half-second look or half-hearted listen, because of my continual non-stop multi-tasking mind.  But there are studies after studies out there about how multi-tasking is less effective (see below). 

As a wife, I know the frustration when I tell Jim things for the week and he doesn’t register them.  Or as an employee, you make a comment and it is as though nothing came out of your mouth.  I have become a BIG fan of emails/text because no one can dispute the written word.  I at least feel like I am heard or can defend myself that I did tell them.

However, that brings me to another hot topic.  PHONES in general – there was an article in the paper of some restaurants considering banning phones. There is not much more annoying than hearing the conversation at the next table as they talk on the phone. I see it in grocery check outs where people don’t even acknowledge the clerk because they are on the phone.  My smile may be the only one they see and they also deserve my respect as a fellow-human.  Then there are those who insist on talking while walking – across pedestrian cross walks, out in front of vehicles, with the Bluetooth in their ear so the whole store can hear them (and you think at first they are talking to themselves).  It has gotten crazy!  As a society, the person on the phone always seems more important than the one(s) you are with! I told you in a blog about observing the family in the restaurant and they looked at their phones but never at each other or their children.  I can’t also forget that when you hit send, your tone may not be the tone that is interpreted on the other end.  Enough of my soapbox – the people I am with deserve to know I HEAR you, I SEE you without competing with the lists in my head, the phone in my hand, the computer screen, the dishes, the laundry, etc… 

How much time is wasted in non-productivity by multi-tasking? How much time is wasted in asking someone to repeat what they said because I didn’t really hear them the first time?  How much mis-communication happens in families because I didn’t listen/register what my love one told me?  How many times have people felt disrespected? How many times have I missed an opportunity to hear/see what is in the hearts of the ones I love? How will my children learn this principle if I don’t show them?

So, I am challenging myself this week to really step it up.  To say I HEAR you, I SEE you more often.  If I am afraid to forget the thought I placed a tablet on my fridge for when I am home.  If I am out, I always have a tablet with me.  So I can say, one second – write the thought down and say I HEAR you, I SEE you.  If someone calls and it isn’t a good time, I need to say can I call you back.  When I call someone I need to ask is now a good time, instead of assuming it is and putting them in the position to make that comment.  I want people

  • to see a smile I have for them (and not my conversation with the person on the phone). 
  • to know I respect them – whether they are cashiers, waitress, co-worker, family, etc.. by giving them the time they ask for
  • to know that if I am talking to them they have my undivided attention (not get a half-listening ear while I do other things. 
  • to know/feel they are more important than the things/to-do lists in my life.
  • to know that what they say or have to show me is important to me because it is important to them
  • to be treated as I want to be treated – I too want to be HEARD and SEEN.

So I prepare to HEAR you and SEE you – it triggers my brain to stop and do what I just said and lets the person know they have my undivided attention.  It is definitely something I could also use in a sincere prayer life.  Christ I hear what you are saying and I see you in the faces of our children, the beautiful fall leaves, etc…  It is also something to consider in my Christian life – do they HEAR and SEE Christ in me??  Now that is a challenge!

 

Another challenging site for me is http://www.handsfreemama.com/Topics/the-hands-free-revolution/ (Shared by a friend Carletta Peters on Facebook this summer – https://www.facebook.com/TheHandsFreeRevolution)

http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/why-multitasking-isnt-efficient

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/13/multitasking-is-bad-for-you_n_925958.html

 

prepare to HAND IT OVER

I have so wanted to write… but my heart needed to silent, I guess.  I just needed to think, but thinking to be dangerous.  Sometimes I have a bad habit of looking at a BIG picture instead of the little strokes (actions) that creates the picture.  I am sure if Michelangelo would have only thought of the big picture of the Sistine Chapel ceiling, he may never taken the four years to complete it.  Instead, I am sure he thought I have the big picture, but I can make all these small strokes to create it.  Well, for some reason (probably a hormone imbalance) I really could just sit and cry, and not a little cry, but a “big baby sobbing” cry.  The sad/scary thing is I can’t think of one thing that makes me feel this way, so it must be the big picture. 

I am starting a woman’s Bible Study at our church, not that I necessarily feel qualified, but definitely feel led.  I am thinking Christ used ordinary men to be his disciples.  I am an ordinary woman with a heart being tugged consistently by Christ to do this!  I debated what I should do the study on and this week, I knew – UNGLUED by Lysa Terkeurst.  That is so how I feel on many days – UNGLUED.  Like a bunch of little broken pieces needed glued back together.  My reactions can be unglued.  My emotions can be unglued.  My feelings can be unglued.  Reality can become unglued. 

So much has happen in the past week.  A wife/mother/leader lost her job and left me speechless.  My heart breaks for her loss, for my loss, for her uncertainty, for my uncertainty.  I saw the empty office and it was like a kick in the gut and I still think about it.  That could be me – I could loose a job.  That is many who have lost jobs.  It takes a piece of who you are and leaves you broken – unglued!  So what do I have to do, pick up the pieces of the loss and move forward.  It is really the only direction to go – forward. But, I can also offer to help pick up their pieces too, by reaching out my hand to those hurt and also to help others move forward…

Homeschooling has been a blessing to experience the “lightbulb” moments when our children get things.  However, it isn’t easy.  Sam mentioned last week he missed school and I felt that same kick in the gut as I felt hearing the loss of a job.  Was I not enough? What was he missing?  So I asked, to discover, it wasn’t the classroom setting but the recess, the lunch, and gym.  But in the next breath, a second kick, when he said except for not being able to swing because some kids laughed because he couldn’t, except for the times people dumped my lunch and I didn’t want them to, and except for the times I couldn’t keep up in gym with everyone else.  It was then I knew – right decision to homeschool, but also, must look at a solution for his loss.  So, Sam and I talked about what he wanted to be different, and I have some other ideas on the horizon too.  Mary and I have also had some indepth emotional conversations.  Those are tough, because I never say the right things at the right time.  I have a habit of saying “I understand” and even worse offer suggestions on how to make things better.  What am I thinking?  I am a mom, I do not know anything, do no understand anything, and have never been in that situation.  So I try to be silent, but that is also the wrong answer!  As a mom, I continually try to pick up the pieces of our children that have come unglued.  Sometimes I can help put them together, and other times, I just need to learn to hold them close until they are ready to put them together themselves… (and at times a paid professional is the answer – lol).

I have an awesome husband and I am sure you are tired of hearing that in the blogs – lol.  But, as a wife, sometimes I feel like I have to pick up all his pieces too.  However, I really do feel like I fall short often and let the pieces just lay on the ground.  I know there are things that irritate him, and things he would change if he could.  But, I don’t ask, because I don’t want to hear the answers.  I don’t like that about me.  But, I don’t know if I can handle the answer the way I want to.  There would have been a day I could have handled the truth, and now, I think I would cry or worse just become angry.  I secretly know the answers but still leave the pieces lay there.

Well then there is ME.  So many times I am juggling everyone else’s pieces that I have no room to take care of mine.  I read over and over again how you have to wear your own oxygen mask first on a plane before you can help someone else.  That if you take care of you, you will take better care of your family.  I have heard it – I believe it… BUT, I have somewhere along the line swept all my pieces under the rug. But I have learned in the past week, from another’s experience, that sweeping pieces under a rug will eventually be discovered.  The cumulative small pieces can build into a big mess… 

So, where do I go from here – I let Christ see my every tear I have shed or want to shed as silent prayers.  I take the pieces of my life and lay them gently at his feet and watch in amazement as He puts them all back together.  I can leave the pieces of everyone else I carry with me and know too that He can create them into a beautiful masterpiece as well.  In the midst of my unglued moments, unglued pieces, I prepare to hand them over because He holds the SUPER GLUE…

 I read this blog the other day – loved it – printed it and put it in my calendar to reread when I feel like this. http://www.incourage.me/2012/10/gods-invitation-in-the-midst-of-the-storm.html

prepare for an EYE EXAM

There are times, like the past few weeks, when life just seems to be consuming.  In fact, I remember the very moment it slapped me in the face – Jim and I were on our little trip and on Sunday, he got out of class later than expected, I had to work when the original plan was to have off, had to work the next morning too, homeschool preparation was delayed with the trip, etc.. Yep – that was the moment reality struck, because though I could escape for a few days, reality check always comes back.  There are not enough hours in the day.  Everything is piling up and nothing is getting done about it.  I haven’t had enough sleep which only creates a magnifying glass for problems.  Everything is worse without sleep.  I feel like the dog “Dug” on the movie Up where I am in mid-sentence and say “squirrel”.  Multi-tasking is failing me.  I can’t focus to even get my to do list written let alone completed.  If I wrote the list I don’t which would be the #1, #2, #3 things on my list.  I would likely loose my list because unlike my usual knack for knowing where something is if I touch it, that is not the case.   Last night, I thought about trying to do a list of things I am grateful for, and though they should be rolling off my tongue / out my fingers to the keyboard, I find myself speechless… 

Now Samuel has the toothache.  This is a HUGE deal!  I am the only one to ever take him to the dentist and I just know how HUGE this is.  He gets hysterical as they overwhelm every sense – touch, taste, sound, sight, and smell.  It absolutely breaks my heart that he is in pain… that he has to go to the dentist… that he has so much going on his mind that he can’t say about the pain (except to cry and scream off and on) and knowing he has to go to the dentist.  He told me he knows he needs to go but he is so scared.  I call today and told initially they can’t see him till November!  Thankfully Kim called me back knowing Sam’s issues and we go on Friday.

Then there was some other unexpected news today that made me kick my mind into overdrive.    My mind wonders to the worst case scenario and the impact it will have on some very important lives!  I also think about the fact I haven’t heard from my mammogram and those results may change my life too (we walked down that road in 2006 with my first mammogram). 

In the midst of this homeschooling/cyberschooling continues and I think about how I thought it would be.  That I would have it all together and it would be smooth sailing. They both have adjusted very well to the flexible learning schedule.  It is me that’s the problem.  I am not sure I am as organized as I should be.  I have a vision of all the neat things I want to do with them.  But the dreams in my mind have not yet conformed to paper, materials, action, etc… I beat myself up, try to regroup, and know in my heart we still made the right/best decision for our kids.

Isn’t it always when everything else seems to be falling apart that everything else looks worse.. even the stupid little things like too much laundry, dishes, the temperature outside, the temperature inside, the dust, the vacuuming, the daily chores, the bills to pay… It can become a downward spiral very quickly.  I need to prepare to have an eye exam so they can focus on the blessings… so here is goes….

 

Instead of being speechless.. I need to focus my eyes and examine the blessings in every moment, even if it seems hopeless..

Thankful for

  • chance to get away for the weekend with my amazing husband
  • two beautiful and unique children despite being told we never would
  • very incredible son with special quirks that helps us look at life differently
  • incredible daughter that can keep herself organized with school when I can’t
  • God answering prayers even in the small things if we just ask
  • my reality in comparison to others is a wonderful life
  • house to live in that needs cleaned
  • clothes for our bodies that need washed/put away
  • dirty dishes in the sink because that means we have food to eat
  • food to eat that makes dirty dishes
  • crazy lovable dog even though her shedding makes vacuuming essential
  • our new furnace / heat pump  to adjust to the temperatures outside
  • house for shelter from the cold and not a cardboard box on the streets
  • bills to pay because that means he has provided luxuries for us
  • news that makes you refocus your priorities
  • unexpected news that gives you a second chance before its too late
  • option to home/cyber school kids who didn’t fit into the public school system
  • children being able to adapt to new learning opportunities
  • modern technology that can test for cancer and catch it early
  • great jobs that allow me to be a mom first
  • facebook to put requests for prayers out there
  • facebook friends who will pray for you when you ask
  • my kindle so I can download books I need to learn about quickly
  • amazon and being a prime member to get things quickly that I need
  • family that I can call and ask for favors when my schedule changes
  • being able to be back in church next Sunday as a family
  • hope when I am at the end of my rope as God always holds the other end
  • faith that God is bigger than any problem I could ever encounter
  • forgiveness granted to me and forgiveness that I can grant to others

That is a much better way to look at life than my downward spiral…

 Gratitude is an art of painting an adversity into a lovely picture.  ~Kak Sri

Gratitude is an opener of locked-up blessings.  ~Marianne Williamson