Successes…

I haven’t posted in some time as I have been processing the stages of grief and I have been consciously aware that my emotions could have gotten the best of me if I let them control my writing. Each week at church I have been contemplating what I would write, but I could not focus on writing a new topic because my thoughts were preoccupied. Until the past few weeks anyway.

Right now has been a several week series titled Home Run Life, where baseball has been a metaphor for scoring in life. Start at home plate, win with God; run to first, win within; run to second, win with others; run to third, success; and score at home, again win with God. We have only gotten to 2nd base as of now reflecting on how we must first win with God and win within ourselves before we can win with others and have success. As I have been reflecting I can say that I have been seeing this play out. This has not been a short journey for me.

I recently received a compliment that I have seemed happy lately. That I am for sure of, it is true; but I of course still contemplated and wondered…what am I putting out there that is different, what are other people seeing that is different from a year, two, three years ago.  I wondered, could it be that I have been focused on my health and exercise; which had really raised my self-esteem? Then I heard the first sermon on Home Run Life, and I went, uh duh, light bulb moment…. I have been back at church for the past year. While God was never absent from my life, this past year I have been “winning with God” and truly focused on myself so that I can have the capacity to love others. To really be the way I want to be with my husband, kids, friends, family. And I can say it has been a progressively great year and it is getting better. Full of promises and the potential to be living the life we really want to have, more simple, secure, family oriented and fun filled. I will admit this reference to a home run life is just one example where I have seen or am seeing this play out, and it is a slightly more materialistic of an example as it does revolve around career success and a little more financial stability. I can truly say though I am at a point in my life that it will not be squandered, underappreciated or taken for granted. I want what to me, seems like basic things to come from financial stability, to not stress over monthly bills, get my kids a college education and give them experiences in different cultures. I want a smaller house not a bigger house, I want less expenses and more of a God filled life, filled with family and friends. To me that is SUCCESS!!

Do you sink in your failures?

Two weeks I ago I sat down at church and during the first prayer I was flooded with blessed emotions. The prayer was reflecting “living like Jesus.”My flood of positive emotions was contentment, joy, humbleness, that I feel I am living like Jesus. Of course not perfectly, but my goal this year has to been to radiate. I can say I feel this working through me, I am happy on the path I am on and I continue to focus on radiating each day. 

The sermon focused on “it’s not fair.” Pastor R challenged us by asking “do you sink in your failures?” I am blanking thinking on this, I do not know what I would even consider failures. To me I don’t feel that I set myself up for failure, I don’t put myself in situations for failure. So maybe that means I don’t take enough risks, maybe it means I play to safe, or maybe it’s that I look at all situations on a constant changing path, with twists and turns, learning moments, but no failures, maybe I have faith that God will lead me where I need to go and without a few falls my path wouldn’t change. I’m thinking it’s most likely the later; actually I know it is.  Even in my past I don’t look at things with regret, I embrace things and how they have made me who I am. They are a part of my journey, my journey of following Jesus. Which means I may be tried, challenged, let down, I may make mistakes, struggle with moving forward at times, but all of those moments are experiences I have had, they affect how I percieve the world, they create empathy for others, they allow me to cherish what I have. So I am confident I can answer no, I don’t think that I sink in my failures, at least not for the significant life events I can think of. But, who knows what the future may hold; hopefully if I find myself sinking, this sermon will flood my memory and lift me up. 

A big part of avoiding the “it’s not fair”trap is accepting our situation, accepting what we can and cannot control and keep our eyes focused on our greater purpose. Pastor R said “what does what somebody else have, have to do with us, we follow Jesus.” Exactly!!! I know that this mentality, belief, perspective, that it may not be easy. It may be easier said than done; in order to live this we may need to reflect on who we are, why we feel and react to things the way we do, we may need some therapy to figure these things out, a friend to bounce ideas off of, a shoulder to cry on. But I cannot stress enough how important it is to get to the place in life that we just don’t care about what others have. I have learned to embrace what I have, cherish it, and to be present in each moment, with my kids, husband, family, friends.

Quality of life with ADD/ADHD

My family is one that takes a lot of energy, which thankfully we have a lot of. My husband has ADHD and as our boys started school it seemed inevitable, and it was for our two older boys, now 9 and 8. As a mom trying to function with hyperactive, impulsive, easily bored, strong willed, very busy boys, I read and studied everything on ADHD, everything relating to BOYS! It wasn’t even until sometime this past year that I read an article on what it looks like in women, starting from childhood. 

This article nailed my childhood to a tee. The more I learned, I will say I have self diagnosed myself also with some form of ADD/ADHD. This was a realization that my whole family is filled with a challenge. To me though it is a gift, yes there are so many struggles that come with it, but so many strengths also. 

At one point in time I can say our quality of family life sucked, it was horrible, miserable. Everything was frustrating, keeping up on things was a nightmare because the moment I caught up to one thing my kids had demolished another within seconds. Add to that constant boredom, leading to impulsive misbehavior and impulsive verbal reactions with 3 boys that feed off each other….. constant fighting, yelling and refusal to cooperate…. yup, quality of life was surviving. Constant survival mode.

I look back on those days and realize how my every action was to survive; of course there were great moments, love, snuggles and hugs, but overall the stress outweighed the positive. I am now a parent who is proud to say our house thrives on medications, I see many articles that praise medication, judge it, question it. And the decision to have medication be a part of my children’s treatment was not easy, but it got to a point that I realized my kids’ quality of life was not great. They were always in trouble and for what? For being impulsive! I can say it is a blessing, it has not solved all things, it takes a lot of work to parent my children, a lot of patience, love, kindness and respect. But I have realized lately how many amazing moments I have in my home, I realize how pleasant my house is, the boys are respectful, they can focus, they play together and I have “me” time that I cherish daily. 

Medications do not solve everything, they are not magical pills that create perfectly functioning children; but in my experience they allow my children the ability to learn, to be guided and to have the opportunity to thrive in school and ponder their actions before it’s too late. For my husband and myself we have learned our strengths and weaknesses and have learned how to use them to our benefit. We do not use medications ourselves, but I know the option would never be off the table. I have come to find yoga and mindfulness to be very beneficial. Which is ironic because mastering mindfulness when I am inattentive, well, let’s just say they do not go hand in hand. It was a lot of hard work, but it has really paid off. 
I was recently complimented on my ability to multitask, I believe the words were along the line of “she is a superhero, she will make you feel lazy.” Which was a reference to how much I can accomplish with my time. And I do take pride in my ability to be a mom, attentive wife and love my career. I have found that organization is key and to not have more things in my home than necessary. I love to clean which uses up my plentiful amounts of energy in a postive way and I take time to myself to not get caught up in becoming anxious by the constant go, go, go. I am truly blessed to have found balance in my family with ADHD. I see other families struggle so much, and of course all people are different in their experiences and how they handle things, but I hope that my family scenario can offer many hope that families can thrive with ADHD.  

#myoneword

Kicking off the New Year my church focused its first service on resolutions. At one point in my life I thought resolutions were dumb, why wait until the new year to change, if I can’t change without a significant date what would make it any different to declare on New Year’s Eve. I have enjoyed the New Year’s festivities more the past few years and have also jumped in with resolutions. This year they were pretty simple and easy to manage; maintain my healthy eating and fitness that I have been consistently doing for 10 months and tackle credit card debt. Both I know for certain will happen. The one that will be challenging is my one word that I am commiting to, to reflect through and grow my relationship with God….

Radiate!!

“Words create movement!” “Change is possible, but focus is required.” Both quotes I cannot take credit for. Both quotes were strongly emphasized during service last week. Then I was asked “how do I really want to be?” That for me was not hard, I know how I really want to be…. Always put together, happy, energetic to tackle working full time while being a mother of three boys, fit, healthy, super social, to have time for my friends, I would have a pefect home, always clean with ample time to play with my kids.  Yup, that is easy.   Oh my goodness I wish that was easy, of course it is not easy; but sometimes it is an easy face to put on to hide all the stress and tears that come with the feelings of failure or doubt when it does not all come together. Most days basically. 

But, how do I make it possible to be “how I really want to be?” God, faith in God, love for God, his love for me, prayer, forgiveness, lots of forgiveness, trust, hope…. These things I know are necessary, they are things I have. I was asked though to come up with just one word that will get me from where my relationship is with God and where I want it to be. My one word, “radiate” was instant, I knew what my word was, since the first service I attended at this church I now call home that has been my word. That first service I attended it was proposed to change the church name to reflect radiating the word and love of God to the community, it hit home, exactly what I had been looking for. No questions asked, I was drawn in. But now I am thinking of what that word will mean for me throughout 2017. It means that I am asking and praying that God will radiate his love through me, use me, to reach others, my children, husband, friends, the community. That my actions, words, thoughts and feelings will Radiate God’s love and that my faith in him will Radiate to him. 

Already, one week in and I noticed that by service this morning I was ready for the reminder to “radiate” in all of my actions, thoughts and words. I have thought about it a lot this week, but I am still on holiday and not back to crazy, busy life yet. I am sure I will need reminded more often. I know reminding myself that “words create movement” and “change is possible, but focus is required” will be keys to improving my relationship with God. While I am focusing on my one word, I know it will take more than just kowing what my word is for it to make a difference. I already have a new Journal Bible in my Amazon cart ready for sermon notes that will arive 48 hours after I click submit, I have coffee with a wonderful friend each Monday that most often turns into reflections of our lives and actions which seems to most often lead to Bible discussions and now I am commiting to reflecting on sermons throughout the week here. 

Already, I am many steps ahead of where I was this time last year when I felt an emptiness as I spent the holidays not attending church, I didnt have a church that felt at home. I managed without church to keep my relationship with God alive, in fact I think it was stronger than it had been for a while; which, is why I am so amazed now. I thought I was doing great even without attending church, oh my goodness…. with this new home I have found, I am amazed, I am radiating and I am feeling at peace, but at the same time so anxious to keep growing and radiating my relationship with God in all of my actions. I have also challenged my children to work on this along with me, they found their “one words” I think quite easy and I was very proud. All of them were able to think of words that they can focus on that reflect areas they know they can improve in. Seriously, such a proud moment, their words are “calm, love, kind.” This will be an ongoing challenge and one that I am ready to tackle throughout 2017. 

Why warm gray?

Why warm gray?

I realized today, that I do in fact have a favorite color. For the longest time, maybe a few years, I haven’t been able to answer the question “what is your favorite color?”How could I pick just one? It can represent so many things, something personal about me, something I enjoy to look at, or just because it sparks my interest. To me though, answering that question represents something about me, maybe my personality, my goal to live simple and content while always striving to do and learn more, what sooths me? What a complex question….

Today, I wondered why is this so complex and I realized its because each day I continue to learn who I am and what I really want to be and want out of life. I think it was always hard to identify because people always give bold colors as options and I am not always bold, some days are duller than other, some days I’m sad, some are energetic; each day is different and different colors radiate and reflect different feelings. At church today, during the sharing of somebody elses personal story, it hit me, “warm gray.” That is my favorite color. It is a blank canvas, you can add any accent color and instantly change the mood and make a very bold statement. I also find it warm and soothing. 

This realization is comforting, I have a favorite color. This discovery, while it can seem minimal, simple, maybe not a big deal to some, is one of the many things I learn about myself through worshiping God. I grew up in church, it has always been a foundation of me, a root of who I am. The past few years I have struggled with what that means in my life, what is my role in God, in my faith, what is that role to my children (I have 3 boys by the way), in my work and with my friends? After thorough research and struggling with different beliefs in different churches, two years later I have finally found a new “home”for my family. Each week all of the questions I had are finding new meaning. Each week I am filled with emotions and find much comfort being at church and he (God) is radiating through me, I hope to my kids, my husband, friends and in more of my actions. 

Each week I relate to the topic and it finds a place in me. That is what, at least for the for the foreseeable future, “Warm Gray Ramblings” will be about. Putting this intro blog into action, the words to..well computer, has even been difficult as I easily side track and “ramble”if you will. It will be my reflections of what I have learned in the process of turning 30, discovering myself and really how I am learning, absorbing God into my life as an adult. I am also sure I will have many thoughts to put to words on the trials of parenting as I have a pluther of struggles and joys that come with that. My hope, through my blogs though, is that, maybe another person will find comfort in the fact that I struggle with life, some days more than others, I have many obstacles, mostly emotional; however, ultimatley I handle it well, that doesn’t mean it is easy, but I have learned postive ways to stay “sane” and flourish. Maybe some will find humor in my fantastic, outgoing boys, that never leave a dull moment in my house, they are hilarous, fill me with laughter, tears, joy, comfort and worry. 

For years I have wanted to write, for me, I love it. But, until now it has always been trapped in my head, usually due to lack of follow through in writing and due to having such a busy life I haven’t had the time. It feels relieving to make it a reality.