Category Archives: Daily Living

ACT by recharging

This blog has drug out and around every turn the message comes up again! It all started before our vacation to Florida. I was assembling all of the electronic devices. (No judgment). The one is my Kindle that I take mostly on trips because it has many books I want to read. I opened it and found a message that read “EMPTY BATTERY. Connect your Kindle to a power source and charge it until this screen disappears….. “

I am here to tell you, my Kindle is not the only thing in my life with an EMPTY BATTERY. I am pretty sure if I had a electronic scrolling sign that was on my forehead, it would say EMPTY BATTERY – Connect to power source! Sometimes I charge myself “just enough” to eliminate the warning. I might get a cat nap, or even a whole 4 hours sleep at night, eat a meal that is sort of healthy (potato chips are made from a vegetable), exercise a little (carrying groceries in or laundry up a flight of stairs), or maybe read a page or two before falling asleep.   I know the warning signs without the message scrolling across my forehead telling me to plug in to power source.   I get a little more (a lot) more snippy, headaches, fall asleep while typing emails (and wake up to a lot of a single letter across the page), a little more (ok a lot more) emotional, the desire to run away but don’t even have the energy to do it, and usually my back informs me as my muscle tense and I sleep in the tub. I even had a recent overnight hospital stay to rule out cardiac issues – talk about an empty battery!

After the message, I couldn’t help thinking about the warning.   The great part was I was going on vacation – the one time I usually charge my battery, reconnect with my family, limit electronic devices, squeeze chapters of books, and not have to cook or clean.

But my vacation start did not come without glitches… which probably were smaller than I made them out to be, but remember I was empty…

  • I had to ask for HELP! That is so outside of my comfort zone. I would prefer to deplete my own battery before asking. However, my friend agreed to take care of crazy dog, and I didn’t even die asking for help. (NOTE to self – when battery is running low it is wise to ask for help)!
  • I ordered a new paperwhite Kindle for the trip (my Kindle with low battery was having more issues and books are essential to me). It came in time for the trip, but wouldn’t connect to download my books, so I came up with a plan B to download them and reset it. (NOTE to self – when battery is running low, retail therapy can help (lol) and/or push the RESET button on button – go back to the basics).
  • We were supposed to leave at 1am, but were greeted with SNOW and slush and a mess. I had to speed up my plan and skip some things I do before I leave (clean out fridge, run dishwasher, vacuum, etc…). I usually roll with the punches and tried my best, but I felt rushed and fearful I was forgetting something (despite my packing list). (NOTE to self – when battery is low, eliminate the unessentials – did it matter that I wouldn’t come back to a clean house? Focus on the important – we had the essentials for a perfect vacation – the 4 traveling in the car and clothes on our backs!)
  • The roads were pretty slick for awhile and we were taking the car! We had snow off/on all the way to South Carolina. My battery was empty…. I hadn’t gotten far enough into the trip to recharge… it was a struggle not to say just turn around! We are blessed with great traveling kids who slept and entertained themselves or I may have thrown up the white flag of surrender. (NOTE to self – when battery is low, sometimes I need to just keep going thru the muck as the recharge lies ahead. The drain was temporary and vacation could recharge me.)
  • The trip continued to put my judgment at question… my battery was still empty from only napping in the car (you know the nap with the bobbing head). We had the WORST McDonald’s experience ever (so I wrote to corporate – I would normally ignore it). They messes with me when my battery was not charged (after traveling all day how hard would it be to get a correct order?). Then we went to a Walmart for Sam approved food (Baby carrots, fruit, pasta, popcorn). OH MY WORD! I am not exaggerating when I said we were afraid. Afraid Jim would get arrested. We couldn’t understand about 90% of the people. People were rude and pushy and scary. We escaped as quickly as possible even though they were out of most things we needed. (NOTE to self- avoid strange places and fast food joints when my battery is empty and not prepared to handle potential rude people and bad customer service).

The next day things changed.

  • That night we all got a good nights sleep (NOTE TO SELF – to recharge – sleep is essential).
  • The weather was beautiful, warm sun, green grass, flowers, etc. (NOTE TO SELF – soaking in nature is a great way to recharge. When I sit behind a desk all day, I may need to break for a trip outside!)
  • We reconnected as a family on the trip. We learned some very valuable lessons on the trip about working together and compromising. (NOTE TO SELF – family connection is imperative for recharging. They are my life line, unfortunately they are also the ones who pay most for my empty battery – I snap, I’m tired, etc.)
  • We did several spur of the moment decisions, which is way outside of our typical functioning comfort zone. The last day we went to a water park and I EVEN GOT IN THE WATER! That is a miracle. I am the observer and bag watcher – lol. I usually have a list of other excuses. It was the last day of our family vacation. (NOTE TO SELF – go outside the comfort zone, the result can be amazing!)

We had gotten recharged as a family – no more empty battery warning as a family. We were ready to come home to sameness (there is truly no place like home for us). We had some good conversations in the car on the way home – projects to complete, and even future vacations to keep our battery charged.

I can tell you though it didn’t take long to start losing my recharge on my battery. We ran into rain and more rain and more rain. The green slowly faded on our drive turning to brown and greys. We got home late eve and I had to work the next morning at 6am.   When we return home, there are no groceries (milk, bread, eggs) and I had to go grocery shopping after work. I also needed to pick up Easter Basket items. On Sunday, I missed church for the first time in years on my favorite Holiday. I missed being with my church family. Then I had a rough Easter morning over a broken heart of a child (another blog). I read facebook and looked at beautiful Easter pictures by others (honestly jealous!)….. and my battery was draining fast!!! I worked a four day stretch. We returned back to school. Therapy resumes…. and my once full battery is draining quick.

I am pretty sure I am not alone when I read Facebook posts.

  • I notice when I get in that empty battery, my gratitude lists disappear because I stop looking at life through gratefulness. I look at it through exhaustion and it just gets more empty, and the vicious cycle continues. NOTE TO SELF – to charge battery must look at positive!
  • When my battery is empty, I don’t take care of anyone well, not even those I love the most! NOTE TO SELF – to charge my battery, I have to learn true self-care. The self-care where I put my own oxygen mask on first, so I can truly be there for others!
  • When my battery is empty I disconnect from my friends. I think of them, but never reach out to them. My text are short and days between. I see sadness on Facebook and I like to try to send a note, but that seems to take too much energy or I forget. NOTE TO SELF – to charge battery connect to friendship power sources!
  • I really know my battery is empty when I forget to even look at my calendar. I forget big and little details, or overschedule because I don’t have the big picture in front of me. NOTE TO SELF – to recharge, reconnect to priorities, keep list simple, and don’t add more!
  • Why do I feel I am so exempt from recharging, when Jesus even took the time from His busy schedule of saving people to recharge – He withdrew from the crowds and the business.  NOTE TO SELF – make time to retreat and talk to the ONE who matters most!
  • When my battery is empty I forget the things that feed my soul. I always watch Elevation Network church on weekends. I try to choose spiritual things to fill the background, but I failed to even play these. So I started listening to them. One sermon even mentioned how we worry about our low battery on our phone, but not the low battery on our soul! OUCH!!! That is so me…  NOTE TO SELF – care about my low battery on my soul as much as I do my iPhone!

The key I am learning is to NOT WAIT for the warnings. It requires daily recharging. For me, it is holding onto the reminder in Lamentations 3:23 (one of my favorites). “His mercies are new every morning”. I have to remember to pause and collect them for daily deposit!!  I need to connect to my main power source – CHRIST – everyday!

OVERCOME RESTLESSNESS

As my (once) favorite season settles in, I am finding to be off-season, off-my-game, and restless. It is so crazy because once I would have loved fall, but this year feels different. I do love the beauty and the leaves. Right now I LOVE not even looking at the weather because the worst thing will be rain. I do not have to calculate if I can get to an appointment or to work. I am not liking the restless feeling…

Restless because winter is just around the corner. I am just not mentally or physically ready for that season. People are mentioning flurries this weekend and I will not lie I could throw up!!! I use to be invincible and drive in anything. That of course was 1. when I had 4wd and 2. I didn’t have children. It is ironic because I have never wrecked in the winter, but the possibility consumes me. Now that I have great car 9 months out of the year, it changes my opinion of snow… and it doesn’t help that our road maintenance has become worse over the years.

Restless because of school for Mary. It is the end of the 9 weeks and well, I know how that works, and so does she… so we will likely butt heads… I will try to help but it will just make things worse… there will be tears shed by both of us… I will get frustrated and so will she… I try to offer guidance, but it’s not what she wants/needs to hear (just like her mom!). We both need something, that neither of us can offer each other, the creation of more time!

Restless because of school for Sam. I had Sam’s I.E.P. meeting and wrote a blog because I just needed to pour my heart out after feeling defeated (but didn’t share as a link on facebook because I wasn’t seeking sympathy – OVERCOMING Mama Defeat – https://sherisoulsearch.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/overcome-mama-defeat/). When as a mom you fail to find your child’s “niche” to learning it hurts. Though the cyber school is very helpful and accommodate as much as they are allowed, the system still tries to put our son in the same category as everyone else and makes him BELOW AVERAGE, when in reality he truly is so unique that the current school systems just don’t know how to rate him.  He is so much more than “average”. I feel defeated because I need to do more for him.

Restless because I know there are relationships in my life that I have not been fostering and mentoring the way I want. I so love to be an encourager, and lately I haven’t had / made the time for that. And to be completely honest, I have not even had the energy for. I think I am emotionally spent and that leaves me empty for the ones I want to make deposits into their lives. Honestly, I am a little restless over some people that have really disappointed me, and the energy I allow them to drain from me instead of just letting go.

Restless because projects have gone undone that I had thought I would have completed. Simple things like a couple small Bible studies online. I have even fallen behind in the few simple chapters to read, and I really wanted to stay caught up – UGH!!! Actually I have many books just waiting to be read, but that doesn’t fall onto the radar. I have bigger projects, but honestly, I am so restless that I have even fallen behind on my calendar (ask Mary, she will tell you how bad that is!). My to do list is a series of post-it notes stapled to sheets of paper. I am in the firefighter mode of putting the fires out one day at a time.

Restless because I have let my health take a back burner, and that is truly a problem. It is preventing me from the energy I need.  It caught up with me getting pneumonia. The ironic thing, with my new work schedule, I am actually getting real sleep, so I am still not sure how/why. If I forget how my health is, I am gently reminded because it is insurance renewal time and my labs and weight and BMI are written several places. I said to someone that this past Sunday was going to be the start of Operation take care of Sheri. Which means compliance with my diabetic monitoring (which I stink at), my medications (I struggle to even remember to take the antibiotic they gave me), and with rest and meals. A few days late, but I did pretty good today with meals, meds and glucose monitoring. But I didn’t like what I saw. I think I live often in “if I don’t see it / don’t look” it won’t really exist. Unfortunately, I seem to have that mentality with several areas – I guess that is called DENIAL. My constant state of residency – the State of Denial!

Restless over some decisions I feel I need to make. However, to make them I need to get my ducks in a row – or at least all the notes off of napkins, post it notes, back of receipts. It means I need to focus and stop throwing the things in the air to juggle and figure out what happens when they all land. Again DENIAL that plates won’t eventually break when they start landing on their own.

Granted there have been several things that have added to the restlessness…. Changes in my work hours and responsibilities, my recent bout of pneumonia, and some changes in my personal schedule I didn’t anticipate/ dictate (school, meetings, etc…).

I have heard from friends who are feeling similar. So what’s a girl to do? OVERCOME! I need to find the positives in the middle of my restlessness and focus on those things – Phillipians 4:8 is a great list to focus on: 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.

Pour into myself, so I can pour into others. Read the books.. listen to my online sermons and podcasts… create a great playlist… spend the time sorting my post-it notes… talk a walk and enjoy the beauty (and stop focusing on what comes next – SNOW it is a four letter word anyway – LOL).  Make the one project I have been pondering over!

Start my day positively – go straight to the verse of the day instead of the facebook posts overnight – well, except for pictures of Gracie, because she is just a positive start no matter what!!! Get back into my morning moments, because they really helped to set my tone.

Get out of denial, face my lists, and prioritize people over things.  Help to renew other spirits. The great thing about winter, is decreased work and decreased running.  May I prepare now to be ready for the hard season.

I was going to post this blog this morning, but then things got a little crazy, Sam got the flu, etc… and then I read the PERFECT VERSE on Nicki Koziarz (of Proverbs 31 ministries) Facebook page… Psalm 37:7 “BE STILL and REST in the LORD; Wait for HIM and patiently lean yourself upon HIM; Fret not….

 I am most likely restless because I am NOT resting in HIM!!!

 

I also must mention that exactly a month ago my blog was about overcoming discontentment. Looks like I have more learning to do!

OVERCOME discontentment

I have a million things to do, but God has blessed me with some sinus issue that requires rest! Plus, I just really needed to write. Yesterday was a hard day in church as I announced we would be leaving Sunday mornings because of a mandatory change in my work schedule. I do believe it is so true you don’t miss something until it is gone, or is going to be gone.   It will impact the whole family, because after all we are a den ( = We miss off/on, but we always knew we could return the next Sunday, and that will no longer be the case, which makes it more permanent. I had already told a couple of close friends. The one came to me after my announcement and gave me a big squeeze. Then after church another friend had already been thinking of solutions to keep us in touch (face to face not just facebook). It is the PEOPLE I will miss seeing every day to start my crazy week. Walking through the church doors and feeling unconditional love by some amazing families. Families who want to love on our family – the whole den!!! Sure, there is Facebook, but there is nothing like seeing a face, a smile, a hug, a handshake, and feeling the love!

Last night, once I was alone at work, I listened to a new podcast I discovered. The topic turned was about when live is hard that we don’t always have to be happy, but we can still be content! It was a podcast for moms, not a Biblical based one, but it sparked the verse in scripture about being content. Philippians 4:11b-12b “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need and to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. “ . The guest was speaking about a really difficult and disappointing turn her families’ life had taken. She said one day as everything fell apart, she didn’t have to be happy, but needed to learn to be content for herself and as an example to her children. It was as though the Heavens opened up and He placed that podcast on my phone. I was also so thankful for growing up in a Christian home and church that sparked remembering the scriptures planted on my heart to pull from.

Yesterday, also as I was leaving church, another friend reminded me that I always say that church is not those four walls, but the people inside. And that reminder was also needed, because that is so true. Yesterday was full of things that pointed to contentment. We sang “As the deer pants for the water, So my soul longs after You. You alone are my heart’s desire. And I long to worship You !” Psalms 42:1b. But does it really? Because if that was the only thing I longed for was Christ I would be content! I think the podcast hit the nail on the head was I have been searching for happiness (and control).

­When we go anywhere, Sam loves to say “he wants that house” (especially the one in Heritage Hills with the built in swimming pool!) He also will let his imagination go crazy and he is going to build a HUGE mall with a house attached. The mall will have ToyRUs, Red Lobster, Target, and a few stores just for Mary. It will be open 24/7 and I will never have to cook ( = I love his thinking, but he definitely has not learned content with what we have, because toys and red lobster = happiness. Contentment would not wanting more toys than he already has. I am sure, I do not help him learn contentment as I continue to carry in more Target bags, talk about wanting new things, grumble about what I don’t have.

There are days I am just like him, wanting more to make me happy (not to make me content). It seems universal that HAPPINESS is encouraged in society. I do enjoy reading about happiness (The Happiness Project by Rachel Rubin and her second book The Happier at Home). Over time I have really worked on GRATITUDE despite the circumstances… and now I think I need to LEARN CONTENTMENT!

It is really ironic how Paul, the author of Philippians was imprisoned and was still content. The speaker of the podcast was enduring things, but realized when she took her focus off of happiness and placed it on contentment; it made a huge impact on her life – one example she gave: she didn’t have a perfect living situation, but learned to be content she had a place to live.   I also LOVED that Paul said it he had to LEARN IT, which takes a process. He also had some HARD LESSONS that added to his learning contentment! I really would like to avoid prison (lol) – but if I was placed in prison, would I find contentment (praise God and thank Him for safety, for food, for a roof of my head)? Or would I grumble and groan over the horrible living environment, the nasty food, and him allowing me to get caught! What difference contentment can make it how he spent his days in prison. What difference contentment can make when I face daily life. Do I really need to go through prison to learn contentment? I do believe God gives me things to help us LEARN CONTENTMENT, and sometimes it is hard stuff (probably because I missed the lessons from the easy stuff!). I guess it hindsight it is not a coincidence that I didn’t “get to” my gratitude list. I was focusing on being happy – NOT being GRATEFUL and definitely NOT looking to CONTENTMENT.

Gratefulness is a little easier for me because I can usually find the silver lining in even a bad situation. One day, I would have thought being gratefulness was also equal to contentment. However, I realize it is not and I have a distance to go for CONTENTMENT. Being grateful for what I have helps me to focus on contentment. I also believe God wants me to do the maximum with my life. He does want me to be happy and not miserable. However, He really calls me to learn to be content in HIM! That HE is enough and I am truly okay where I am and with what I have despite the circumstances, including, when things do not go my way!

TODAY I was handed another new serving of mercies (Lamentations 3:23), and I choose to renew my GRATITUDE and work on my lesson in CONTENTMENT (a great possible word for 2015)! Am I happy about the change in my personal life that I had no control over – NO! But I can be choose to be content!

p.s. I googled for quotes on “choose to be content” and Happiness quotes came up – I think it supports that as a society we think happiness = contentment… and of course for many happiness comes from things and gaining more things which is NOT CONTENTMENT. Contentment is being okay where I am without another thing added, and if something is removed, LEARNING to be content again! Contentment is needing nothing more….

p.s.s. I have a long way to go… but every journey begins with a single step (A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. –Lao-tzu)

OVERCOME the BATTLES

Re-write # 3 of this blog topic. I think it is because I have been really struggling with some battles in my life. Some were chosen by others and some small ones I brought on (because I took my focus off positive things and focused on negative).
The big battles have caused impact to my family, and well, a mama in the battle for her family is intense. I felt guilty for a while when I considered them battles, because there are many others facing life/death battles. But I was reminded of a conversation I had a long time ago (and believe even wrote about), that God cares about all things of our lives. Big things and little things. I shouldn’t compare my battles with someone else’s battle AND I serve an amazing God that can handle every single one!
I have read through some scriptures for answers – after of course, I worried and tried to face it all on my own. Because, you know, God has too much to do to worry about my little battles. Not to mention, I surely know what I need more from my small little view than God’s view (LOL!).
So, as I went in to face my second battle in the same week, I said a little prayer – actually a little request of a prayer…. I only had a small window of time and really needed a parking spot so I could run into my meeting. And sure enough, I pulled in and found a very close parking spot. It was a little sign that spoke LARGE VOLUME to my soul, that I was not going into the battle alone. He was going before me! I didn’t win the battle, but I did win some compromise.
I was so distraught, because I still had to deal with the outcome. I also had another battle brewing also affecting our family. I can’t even describe my inward turmoil. I cried… couldn’t eat… over ate junk… got sick to my stomach (literally)… lost even more of my limited sleep…

So I eventually searched scriptures (which is what I should have done BEFORE the meeting)
2 Chronicles 20
Vs 2. There was a vast army coming against them – that is exactly how I was feeling. I was feeling attacks from various battles.
Vs 14 – The Spirit of the Lord came…
Vs 15 – This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. How many times do I worry, fear, become discouraged instead of repeating – even better repenting – God this is YOUR Battle!
16 Tomorrow march down against them. (and the spirit even said how they would be attacked – and they listened….) Do I listen when God sends His Spirit to tell me where the battles will come. Or am I so busy in making MY plan and stressing I can’t hear Him.
17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.’” – He tells me I just have to show up! Show up, stand firm, and trust Him and watch HIM DELIVER. I am also a little amused that they also had to have repeated instructions to Not be afraid or discouraged!
18 Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the LORD. What is their reaction to the battle  that is coming the very next day? They fell down in WORSHIP! What was my reaction leading up to my battles?– worry, stress, loss of sleep, eating, crying, vomiting!!! It was NOT WORSHIP!
19 Then some stood up and praised the LORD with a very loud voice. Did they do it quietly in their home? NO THEY STOOD UP and with LOUD VOICE they PRAISED Him! They would have blasted it all over facebook!  They were seen (by standing) and heard (by loud praise).
20 Early in the morning they left – they set out, Jehoshaphat (the leader) stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” – They  got up early instead of hiding under the covers.  They didn’t moan and groan it wasn’t fair.  They set out.  They are reminded right before a battle that could cost lives! HAVE FAITH and you will be UPHELD. So it is when my faith wavers that is when I FALL. If I keep faith I am upheld!
21 appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever.” Again THEY SANG and PRAISED HIM!
22 As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men who were invading Judah, and they were defeated – they showed up, worshipped Him even as they were being invaded. They stood firm, they kept their faith, and GOD DELIVERED!

What an amazing example and reminder – 1. Be still so I can hear the spirit directing me, letting me know a battle is coming, and the assurance that God has this battle. 2 Praise and worship God loudly in ADVANCE of the battle in full confidence it is HIS battle. (So much easier to worship and praise when the battle is over and I win!) 3. SHOW UP with truth, righteousness, readiness, faith (The Armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-18). 4. Just keep PRAISING and keeping my faith!

I have some choices to make after the battles I face/am facing. I must keep praising and keep my faith (regardless if I win / loose the battle). I still have a few battles raging. I love this verse too – Exodus 14:14 “ The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Stillness is not my typical response, and neither is praise.

I do pray for wisdom for the aftermath of the battle(s).
1. Do I let the battle keep me knocked down and feeling defeated and sorry for myself?
2. Do I get back up, brush myself off and move forward?
3. Do I look at the battle as a blessing and figure out a good outcome?
4. Do I choose to stay with the same leader, or do I change?
5. How do I share the outcome of the battle – do I destroy my opposition with words, do I praise Him for the outcome, do I praise Him regardless of outcome?

Not only is God watching and wanting my praise. But others will WATCH my reaction to battle. I am human and thankfully God is loving and forgiving. The example above, the leader was an apparently well trusted leader, to convince all of his followers to also break out into songs and praise! I want to be under that type of leader – HE LED by example! He didn’t send everyone else into battle as he hid.  He listened for / heard the spirit and obeyed. He united everyone and led them. They trusted him. He didn’t waiver – didn’t become discouraged and worry. Again, I want to be under that type of leader.

I pray that when I lead/follow in small and large battles, I am that kind of leader or follower. Even in my own home. Do my children see me listening for GOD’s guidance (not just guidance from friends), breaking out in song and praise as I face battles (I can assure that is NOT what they saw)?  Not only does the world watch me, but more importantly my children watch how I fight, how I lead (if I am the leader), how I follow, what I stand for, how I handle the battles outcome (win/loose/compromise).  I can say at first I couldn’t see the good in the compromise and I spouted at home and to others.  I now can look at the one battle and see the positive… I can see how God was there from the parking space and beyond.  I know I have some more praising to do… as more battles approach.

OVERCOME Perfection

This was not my intended blog today, actually I didn’t plan on writing until a friend today posted a blog that struck a cord, the days before a friend gave me a little gift that struck a cord, and the day before a friend posted a blog that struck a cord (about a woman who posted a picture in her kitchen and she was flooded with comments of what she could do to update her home). Today my friend posted a blog from Proverbs 31 Ministries about perfectionism. I started to type a comment and realized it was entirely too long of a comment, because it is an ISSUE with me. PERFECTIONISM is an issue with me! I want people to see me as the one who has it all together – juggling jobs, home schooling, a mom, a wife, etc…
So which area do I address that has caused my “perfect” world to crumble.
Mary – oh we have a beautiful intelligent daughter. She is smart, talented, respectful, caring, etc… yep the PERFECT daughter. I think of the areas that I have unraveled when perfection didn’t happen. When we did public school, and she would run late, I would turn into an ugly monster. I would YELL about being late for school and she was making me late for work, etc.. She would walk into school already defeated and I would drive to work mad and honestly probably my driving reflected that. As my day would pass I would feel horrible and when I picked her up her day was horrible. I want to think it didn’t take long for me to catch on, and I never did it again, but I know I did. However, I eventually I woke up. I worried that people would think I didn’t have it all together – her lateness made me look imperfect. One day I just said I wasn’t going to be the crazy yelling mom in the mornings that had her starting her day horribly and dealt with it differently. I even got to the point on a few school days that I wrote the reason for lateness it was “just one of those mornings”. Unfortunately before I caught it, my perfectionism (or worry that people thought I was perfect) cost us many bad mommy/daughter days and ate away at our relationship.
Sam – oh we had the perfect family. A daughter and a happy healthy son. Then there was the doctor visit that said they didn’t think he was perfect and had Aspergers. I thought she was crazy and when I got the paperwork to fil out for an evaluation, I felt every child could fit in the category. Our son was perfect. He was happy, healthy, and loving. Well, long story short, the string the doctor pulled eventually unraveled and I can close my eyes sitting in the office as they told me what I already knew. (and yet I still cry when I remember that day). So, I had to choose, which I had done some before then, that “a label / a diagnosis” was not going to define him. I remember the first I.E.P. meeting when they laid out all of his weaknesses and I wanted to throw up, crawl in the corner, and let them keep kicking me. I remember the second I.E.P. meeting where I took the I.E.P. and highlighted it with how what his strengths were and how they were trying to define my child was not who my child was. Sam is the perfect Sam. At the beginning of every year, you often get a little piece of paper with a few available lines to tell about your child. Well I would attach a detailed letter of how our Sam was the perfect Sam. I have had lengthy conversations with people / teachers / professionals over his ability not his weaknesses. How the system is broken, not my son. He doesn’t fit into the “perfect school system” and “perfect standardized testing”, not because of Sam, but because of their testing! I am no longer the mama wolfe cowering in the corner because my son didn’t fit the perfect classroom/ system. Unfortunately, I wasted time trying to make him fit, before I realized he was never meant to!

My house – so, I want the “perfect house”, but my house is not it. I would say it was only close to being perfect the first 3 years of marriage and then I broke 3 vertebras in my back, my mom and grandma passed away, I had two high risk pregnancies with strict bedrest, have worked full time, have had 2 nephews move in / out, had 2 children we were told we would never have, etc… Yep life has happened. For YEARS I would have never let people in our home. It would ruin the vision of me. I have had on rare occasion people call and say they were coming and I would do a mad dash to get things on the surface cleaned. If it is the holidays, there will be 2 rooms reasonably cleaned and things hidden (only to try to remember where I placed them). For years, I have worried about what others think of my house and it has caused anger when people point out the many flaws. I want to scream my house is not your house. Granted my house doesn’t quite fit my vision, but I have made huge strides and have some great goals and plans in place. At the end, will it still need work – YEP, but I just ask for grace until complete. So slowly, I have allowed Mary to have friends over and say please warn them the house does not define who we are. We live in crazy but tons of love. It is a work in progress, but I want our house to be a house that people / teens can come to and feel love and fun. We have had a youth meeting and Mary had a group over this past weekend. My goal for perfection has cost me many times the laughter of people filling our home! The teens gathered around my imperfect table (chewed by our dog who was a puppy) with the orange carpeting (yes orange carpeting), dishes in the sink, tacos on the stove, mismatched plates, and all I noticed was the laughter. Sam and Jim did a nerf war in the house and I never once worried about anything that might break in the battle. Sure, the teens may think our house is crazy, and go home and tell their parents, but I think they left feeling love, laughter, and friendship and not worried about the orange carpet. I think about the time I left a friend sit outside while we talked because she was a newer friend and I didn’t want her to think less of me. It was Ellen – and for those who know Ellen, she loves unconditional! My desire for perfectionism has caused me anger toward people who criticize me/our house. Cost me years of not letting people in, when in fact those people should love me for me, not for my home. Does it mean I should leave it at this state of crazy – nope, but I am working on that progress. Until then, I hope to fill the places not filled with furniture and toys and stuff with laughter and love and acceptance. My friend gave me a plague that read “Good moms have sticky floors, dirty ovens, and happy kids.”
I may need to do a part two on my marriage, my body, my childhood, etc. (LOL).
Yesterday I made a apple pie, and it has bee YEARS probably over 10 years!!! As I rolled out the crust it was far from perfect but hey the bottom crust no one will see. The top crust a little better, but still not perfect. There would have been a day I would have thrown the crusts away and started over. But yesterday, I thought of the verse in I Samuel 16:7b “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” My family would not look at the crust and say I won’t eat the pie because the crust doesn’t look perfect. My real friends will not look at my home and think less of me for it (and if they do it is time to reevaluate friendships). People who really know me don’t look at my imperfect body and think anything less of my heart. Oh the price of perfection, but it is just judging on the outside and worrying about what others will think. May I always pause and look deeper!
p.s. for those thinking this is an open invitation to come to our home, it is; however, in order to still prevent cardiac arrest, a little notice is appreciated (I am an imperfect work in progress).

45 by 45 – Challenging myself to OVERCOME

I was inspired by many things to do this list. As a nurse I have seen many lives end before I felt their living was done. In our local community that has been so true as well. My cousin in Washington did a 40 by 40 list with little and big things. I am so great at filling my time with things but do not squeeze out every bit of life in the days given to me as gifts from my Heavenly Father. My days are often full of things, but not always of living. Some days I waste moments by procrastinating, doing nothing (and regretting that), or saying yes to things that don’t add to the joy of my life (instead drain me). Many days I just go through the motion, but don’t live out the vision of what I want my life to look like. Who is stopping me? The person in the mirror – full of excuses and regret. I have been so richly blessed with a wonderful husband, 2 awesome children (I was never suppose to have) , a great career, a roof over out heads, Christian families, an amazing church family, and incredible friendships. But I let time pass without truly savoring life. I fill it with worry, carry baggage of regret, and forget to take action in my own life. I don’t pause often enough to see hurting people, needs of others, or savor the small moments. I have come a long way as a result of my daily gratitude list, but there is so many things on my to-do list that get shuffled from day to day… saved for someday. You may see the reference – just in case – of note, I do not currently have any illness, etc.. BUT there is no guarantees in life. It is important I leave my imprint now, in the event those I love need something to hold onto. So here is 45 in 45 – some will have explanation, others not necessary. Many are to address issues that drive me consistently crazy. Many will require me to OVERCOME bad habits and procrastination, and most will require me to be more intentional with how I fill my days.

All of that to say here is my 45 by 45 – it addresses
1. Memorize 45 scriptures. I am instructed to hide His word in my heart.
2. Walk to Jumonsville Cross
3. Plant flower bed like Grandma Frazees (plus Black-eyed Susans)
4. Grow my fingernails (I will confess I am a nail-biter)
5. Bike the whole trail ohiopyle to confluence and back
6. Read 45 books (will cheat and count a few I have read recently)
7. Participate in Breast Cancer 5k (hopefully with friend Lynn)
8. Get on Bone Marrow Donation registry (in honor of Joe)
9. Learn to shoot a gun
10. Learn digital photo books (and make)
12. Weight loss of 45% from my highest weight
13. Try a recipe weekly for supper
14. face to face meetup with friends
15. Decorate for the holidays for Sam
16. Attend a concert of Mary’s choice
17. Girls night out at a show with the Wolfe girls (use to be so frequent and now it has been years)
18. Camping in tent (even if in our yard)
19. Write letters to my children so they know my love, just in case (thanks Lynn for the idea)
20. WEEKLY family fun (we often say it but rarely do it)
21. Become a blood donor
22. Horse back trail with Jim in Gettysburg (he talks about it EVERY time we go)
23. Intentional (at least) monthly time with parents (if I don’t plan it time will pass as it has lately)
24. Weekly random act of kindness
25. Play the piano weekly, at least once
26. Rent a cabin for the weekend – maybe just me, maybe with a friend, maybe as a family
27. Hershey Park Spa for Whipped Cocoa Bath (http://www.chocolatespa.com/treatments/classic_spa_experience.
28. Learn to use the wii
29. Be continually / daily involved in God’s word – Bible Study, online, in person, on DVD, reading
30. Blog biweekly (my daughter loves them and it is important for me to share my heart with her – I always said, if your child wants to hear/read what you have to say – I need to be saying it)
31. Meals at the table at least 2 days a week
32. Monthly date with my husband
33. Create a biweekly menu/schedule (huge issue for me)
34. Retrieve all my grateful lists from Facebook to have for my children
35. Organize family memories (old pictures) and visit cousin in New York to go over them
36. Face to face meeting with my long lost friend Tammy
37. Complete a personal financial goal (I have several)
38. Participate in volunteer project at least 4 times
39. Develop intentional prayer life (challenge from book by Candace Cameron Bure – Balancing it All)
40. Try to kayak (after #28) (challenge from cousin)
41. My calendar will reflect my priorities in life 80% of the time – which includes leaving whitespace for opportunities that come up to serve/give/praise – (this one will be tough!!!)
42. Consistently remember people beyond social media
43. Healthy choices for my children (will require planning!)
44. Deepen relationships with families in our church
45. Plan a weekly day of rest (inspired by book 24/6: A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life by Matthew Sleeth and Eugene H. Peterson) (p.s. I may have to start with a 1/2 day – lol)
46. (one to grow on) – Create the “material” home I have envisioned in my head.

I know these are MY plans… Proverbs 16:9 (NLT) “We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.”
But I know He wants me to live bigger than I do… to enjoy the gift of EVERY day!!!

OVERCOME my negativity…

I love Christian/Worship music and almost always listen to KLove in my car, but there are spots that there is nothing but static.  Static drives me crazy!  I also really enjoy silence in my car; however, there are times I need to block out my thoughts!  I figured out how to download podcasts on my iPhone because I like to feed my mind with things that make me think.  However, I did not know that podcasts would automatically start when I plugged my phone in to charge and over my radio.  The first one was about Breathing Room by Andy Stanley.  I wanted to turn it off, but felt like I was meant to listen to it, but it made me think deeper than I wanted too.  Sometimes I just want to escape “lessons”.  The second one was by Joyce Myer and about the Power of Words.  One of the first thing she said was about the power of negative words.  Words that come out are because of what our heart is focused on.  OUCH!  So, when I am ugly, it is a result of what has been festering in my heart and mind – OUCH!  She is right my ugly words are not just about a new moment, but things I have been festering.

The first area is about people.  Over time, my tolerance of people has shortened.  I just started to type a list of negative people and people who drive me absolutely crazy and I realized as I typed the list of people I could place specific names, situations, etc..  I honestly had no idea how bad it was until my list was growing and festering in my heart.   Though I try to control my words, I know they spill out of my mouth, and now I know why.  I have allowed them to take up valuable space that can be filled with positive thoughts.  Specific example that I did OVERCOME fairly recently was in regards of my children and their speeds.

  • First Sam – he has one speed – his!  I learned much earlier with him to not let his speed drive me crazy.  When I do find myself faltering in that area, I realize it is usually my fault because I got us up late, didn’t have him get things ready the night before, etc… So I offer him grace for my mistakes and know that no matter how many times I say I hurry up, the speed stays the same – his! It just leaves me frustrated, so I now just focus on the blessing of a little boy with an incredible imagination that has to leave the house with the exact right thing.  Also, if I hurry him and he forgets something the day will just go downhill. I also just remind myself how blessed I am to have him in my life!
  • Mary has her own speed as well.  There are the days I miss that I could say let’s go and she could be ready in 5 minutes and out the door.  Those were the days the clothes didn’t matter and neither did her hair, her face, etc…  But, now she likes to look nice in her own style (which thankfully includes multiple layers – lol), have her hair fixed (which can take awhile with her long curly hair – which I have to remember), and her makeup on.  Again, no matter how many times I say hurry up, it doesn’t speed the system.  We both just get frustrated.  So now I try to warn the night before and offer more grace when its last minute plans.  I learned when I use to take her to school not to get in an argument about being late or time issues or her forgetting things because it ruins both of our days.  I still practice that principle as much as possible.  I also count my blessing that she cares enough about her self enough to care what she looks like when she goes out of the house.   I am especially blessed when I go to places like Walmart, etc and see how kids/teen/adults dress and look!  Blessed to have a beautiful daughter from the inside out!

So, now to learn to offer the same grace to the other annoying people.  A friend of mine who chooses a word each year wanted to have her young sons choose a word.  A word that describes overlooking things done by their brother, etc.  We came up with Grace.  The power of learning that word in early childhood, but if they can learn it, surely I can too.  Where do I start to OVERCOME negativity?

  • I have already hidden certain people from my FaceBook.  If I continually see their posts and they continually drive me crazy they will continue to plant seeds in my heart of annoyance.  And if  keep building the seeds the negative will also likely flow from my mouth.
  • The next thing I need to do is to think of one positive to say in my head when I see them.   My hope is that I can replace the negative things I feel about the things they do/don’t do, the thing they say, etc.  with a positive affirmation.
  • Stop keeping record of wrong.  I can be great about keeping a tally in my head of all the things that people have done that annoy me.  I can then easily pull them out of that brain file and shove more stuff in as it happens.  I then put the file back into my memory to retrieve and add to the next time.  I am just being completely honest.  My prayer is that I can pull the files out when I see that person and just empty it and stamp FORGIVEN, just as Christ did for me.  How liberating.
  • Some situations may require me to have an honest conversation and clear the air.  This will definitely require me to have a gentle heart and a sincere reason to heal the relationship.  It can’t be to make me feel better or to just dump out the file.  I have to remember if I can’t talk to the individual, I shouldn’t be having a conversation with someone else about them.
  • My thoughts and words affect my attitude toward people.  I will blame some of this on age and I believe a hormonal switch taking place.  I can walk into a room or just read a facebook post and I can feel an instant attitude change.  Here is a thought maybe it is me with the problem and not the other people!
  • Another point Joyce mentioned was the importance of blessing people.  I think I need to start blessing and not cursing. A great prayer to say over everyone.  Numbers 6:24-26 “The LORD bless you, and keep you; 25The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; 26The LORD lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.’…

I truly believe that my negative words – whether spoken out loud or to myself – have been sucking some serious energy out of me.  I am literally letting people drive me crazy – or I should say MY THOUGHTS about other people drive myself crazy!  I can OVERCOME my thoughts… after all they belong to ME!