Know thyself…..

11 02 2015

” The unexamined life is not worth living” Socrates

No question here, for those that follow Heavenly Father, He is a distinct individual. His distinctiveness is shown throughout the whole bible in the form of what he abhors (sin) and what he finds good (love). He sets himself apart from us through his distinctiveness. As we become closer to him, though prayer and time with His Holy Spirit, we develop our own distinctiveness but with His worldview.

The defining of himself, is how he sets boundaries.  He is the example. As we walk this journey with him, we learn through Him the importance of defining our own distinctiveness.

Distinctiveness. Boundaries. Knowing thyself.

So what do I really know about me?  What have I taken the time to ponder and reflect on about me?

Have I engaged myself and examined my behavior? Do we as individuals take the time to do this any more?

Ponder. Contemplate. Think……

At this point in my life, I learned a few things.

I place a high value on communication in my relationships.

For years, my thoughts and ideas were synonymous with my parents.  In order to survive my house, they had to be. I had no idea of  “self” but through them. Research shows that children of abusive parents barely have any idea what boundaries are because those parents never knew them or taught them.  Those same children have a hard time also expressing an independent thought. Experiencing a double edge sword; they have no idea how to positively, effectively communicate in the midst of being unable to set up their own boundaries.

Through recent experiences, I learned people who have a difficult time communicating and placing the art of  it on a low list of  priorities are not people I wish to engage.  Harsh. Yes. But, relationships are built and strengthened with shared experiences. Just like our relationship with Him is through prayer and shared Holy moments. The Holy Spirit does not live in church alone. He is everywhere.  Taking the time to dwell with our friends bonds us together whether it is positive or negative. We need people to walk the trenches with us. We need others to teach us. How else do we see Heavenly Father? Communication goes a long way in creating boundaries and setting limits. Communication teaches us. Molds us. Defines us. Gives us Distinction.

Conflict avoidance is not a part of my genetic makeup.

This goes hand in hand with communication. People have come and gone in my life who avoid their responsibility in conflict resolution.  It is a part of my genetic markup to resolve conflict. Ask Heavenly Father. It is in His book!

Conflict is a part of every day life. We are all different and will inevitably have conflict that needs resolving. Avoiding it, hurts all parties involved and goes against the very nature of Heavenly Father.  It is His wish and desire that we embrace our differences, get in the trenches and work out our conflicts. We do have them  even with Him!!!

Have you ever prayed in earnest for something and heard, “No.” ?

 

Heavenly Father gave us a plan  for conflict resolution (MATT 18:15-20).  As we been a knee and pray each day, we are expected to take the time to discuss (with Love and Truth) any concerns we have with our brother or sister in Christ. Typically those that avoid conflict in one area of their lives, avoid it in all areas.

Sit back and observe those that do……

You can see conflict avoidance in the parent /child relationship, with their spouse and in their work environment. Not in my house. Not with my spouse. Not with my children. Not with my family.

This is another boundary for our family and my friendships. If we befriend someone who has a hard time telling their children no, we will not continue that friendship. “No”, sets limits. Heavenly Father sets limits. MATT 5:37 states,”Let your Yes be Yes and let your No be No; Anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” Set limits. Say No.  

Honest Vulnerability entangled in Loving truth.

Honesty. Vulnerability. Loving Truth. Each one has its own distinctive quality. Honesty is synonymous with morality, integrity and righteousness. Heavenly Father loves us and allows us the opportunity to repent of our sins and seek forgiveness. He allows others the same. He is honest with us as we embrace His Holy Spirit. He honestly deals with our transgressions whether we are ready to hear it or not. Is this not what friendships should do too?

Vulnerability refers to a child like faith. It says, ” I will allow you to hurt me, to show you His light.” Take a leap of faith with someone.

Loving Truth gives us the tool to say. ” I love you but this behavior is not acceptable for our family/ for our friendship/ for my work environment.”  Be loving in your truth,  no matter what it entails.  Be receptive to the words from Him whether from him or through others. Be willing to teach and  to be will to be taught. This is the foundation for boundaries.

Let your yes be yes, and your no be no. Define yourself though His Spirit and Word.  Take a leap of faith.  Learn about you, through Him. Allow others to help you learn. Be receptive. 

Know thyself…...

These are things I have learned about me. The execution is not always glamorous, but growth inevitably occurs.

What have you learned about you?

Blessings,

~m

 

 

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30 Day Challenge

5 02 2015

We are back here again. Sighs…

Glued to the Television. Sickness claimed our lives for a few weeks, and as usual we became accustomed to sitting in front of the Tele- wasting time. No more. No more!!!

We are over all the sickness now. We should be able to get right off the couch and carry on, but it is never that easy.  We all have some form of ADHD in our house and TV is ADDICTING!! When we are done with our daily routine of schools work and chores the first thing we want to do plop and play! No more! NO MORE!

I played with this idea a few years ago when we started homeschooling. I actually took the TV to Goodwill and gave it away. My children were traumatized and crying as the volunteer timidly backed away from the rear of the car. I felt like a horrible mother.   Things will be a bit different this time.  I don’t feel horrible. I won’t be giving this one away. We are going to leave it right in front of us. We are going to break this habit and find some more positives ones, like reading, playing games and getting outside. There are just too many other things we would be doing instead of sitting in front of a box watching other people’s lives go by; fictitious people at that.

I am the first to admit I have very little discipline, especially in regard to this particular vice. Most of this is about me, but some of  it is also about teaching my children how to discipline themselves. If my hubby and I don’t model how to do this, who will teach them? I want them to be able to recognize when they need to pull back if they are too involved in an activity.  I want them to not only recognize they need to limit themselves but I want them to have the confidence to do it as well.

Panic. Deep breath.

Anxiety is starting to creep in. I feel pretty jittery just thinking about cutting the cord to the TV.  I love my Downton Abby, Once Upon a Time, Modern Family and Supernatural. I have watched Law & Order SUV for 15 years too.  Deep Breath.  I can do this… I CAN DO THIS! I can show them that it does not need to run their lives!!!

I am not sure they will get all that from one 30 day challenge, but I am going to try. After all Rome wasn’t built-in a day and neither are life lessons.

~m

 





Columbia: Our home.

13 08 2014

We love the military life.  One of the downfalls of this lifestyle the moving.  PCSing, which is short for Permanent Change of Station, brings about many challenges.  So often we find ourselves alone in our new surroundings because we move all over the world.  Family is typically too far to help and it is in our best interest to make friends quickly.  Friendships usually come last because we are so busy.  I know many families come and go to Fort Jackson so I thought I would help out a bit by sharing some of the places we have utilized at one time or another.  Maybe this will help you explore the area we currently call home. Here are my top 5.

1.) The all important Hair cut.  I know you are itching to get one too. I bet you have not had one since your last duty station either.   I bet you are ready to cut it yourself!  DON’T DO IT!  The list of what we have to do is HUGE when we move.  I know you have been busy girlfriend.  I know how you feel…… So here is a big heads up!  Go see Chrissy Lupina at Salon Bella.  It is right outside the main gate on Forest Drive; 10 minutes on a bad day of traffic.  Seven years ago, another military spouse passed her name along and I have not looked back since!  I know a hairstylist is an extremely personal thing.  I know we have all kinds of crazy emotions when it comes to a stylist.  Chrissy will not only give a 20% discount for being military, she will also not do anything crazy unless you tell her to.  She is cautious and a great girl to talk to.  Her daughter works there too and if you want wild and crazy hair… like my daughter.. she will help with something crazy!  Remember the movie Steel Magnolias?  Well stepping into her parlor with all the ladies feels a bit like that.  She loves you, dotes on you, and if you need to bring your kids, she will gladly allow them in the salon!  Can I get an amen?!?

My hubby was deployed twice in between assignments at Jackson and we home school as well.  So when I  head to the salon, my whole crew comes in tow. Debbie also trims eyebrows and other things. I like her tool! Enjoy!!

Here is Link to her website: http://salonbellasalon.com

2.) Dentists.  Not our favorite place to go, but a necessity nonetheless.  We always have trouble finding a good one when we move.  So I have two recommendations for you.  One for the children, and one for you. Forest Drive Dental, who is our new dentist for our kids, can do both mom and kids if you prefer.  Dr. Dover is once again located right outside the main gate down Forest Drive, located directly across from Shandon Baptist Church, so you can check that out too.  Many people are patients of a few of the larger dentists in the area  and we have tried some of them.  Not only is Dr. Drover cheaper than many others, but she does believe in utilizing alternate therapies.  My younger son Larkin needed 10 cavities filled and it cost me about $250 less than any other dentist.  She also did not do the 3 “recommended” root canals on baby teeth!  Dr. Staci Gaffos is another great dentist located of I-77 and Two Notch Road.  I prefer him because of his patient staff.  They are willing to jump through the hoops I needed in order to get my bit splints.  I grind my teeth and they help with that process.  Tricare will pay for them, you just have to know the process and have people dedicated to make that happen.  He does!  His number is 803-788-360. Call an make an appointment today.

 

3.) Therapy.  With the state of our military and the expectations as well as burdens placed on families, this is a must.  Lake Psychological Services is just another hop, skip, and jump out of the main gate again..  Take I-77 to Two Notch, which is the gateway to the North east of Columbia.  It is a half mile off the freeway.  If you are having problems in your marriage, this is a way you can get your spouse in without their command knowing.  Take them into the session with you.  She also runs a Bioneurofeedback clinic.  It is an alternative therapy to medicine for depression, mild autism, ADHD, epilepsy and anxiety.  The Neurofeedback clinic is not covered under Tricare, but it is worth every bit of the out-of-pocket expense.  Coupled with talk therapy, which is covered under Tricare, great strides can be made in these treatments.  I am living proof of its benefits as are both of my boys. There are plenty of therapists in her office besides Dr. Lake.  My hubby, who is the active duty spouse, has seen Wendy Davis as well.  They also have a psychiatrist on staff.  Many a military spouse have received help from this office.  I have yet to hear anything negative.  Call Sam, who is the office manager, he will walk you through the authorization process.

The link to their office is as follows: http:://lakepsych.com

 

4.) Chances are if you are heading to a therapy office, you should pop in the EFMP office on Fort Jackson too.  It is located right off Strom Thurman Boulevard on post.  Mrs. Cheryl Jackson is a godsend.  In charge of the Exceptional Family Member Program, she will do every thing in her power to obtain the services you need for yourself and/or your family members.  My family and I have benefited immensely from the love of her and her supporting staff.  Go to the Fort Jackson main website page and scroll on the tab marked Garrison, then scroll on the “Exceptional Family Member” link.  Once you get there, they will have a EFMP resource link on the left corner.  In the guide contains links to all the support organizations in Columbia.  The EFMP Resource guide was the brain child of another former military spouse.  She understood what it was like to move from installation to installation and not have any idea what was offered in lieu of support services for families with special needs.

Here is the Fort Jackson website: http:://fortjacksonmwr.com

 

5.) This last little tidbit is for those who have little ones at home.  Head over to Northeast United Methodist Church in north-east Columbia.   The drive will take about 20 minutes from Fort Jackson.  One of our ministries of our home church is a military MOPS chapter that meets twice a month.  Mothers of Preschoolers is a national support group for mothers with young ones.  Grab your little ones and head on over.  There is a large group of military spouses there willing to guide you in pretty much any aspect of motherhood.  Plus you get two hours of alone time from the kiddos!  The other two weeks a month the church has a mother focused bible study.  There is child care for this as well; it is the same day and time as MOPS (just the alternating weeks).  Lastly, on the first Friday of each month (during school months), the church has a First Friday movie night for kids.  It is two hours alone with hubby, or by yourself too.  The cost $2 per child with a $5 family cap.  Head right down the road to Sandhills Mall and enjoy some window shopping, desert or even a quick dinner.

Here is the link to the churches website: http:://www.neumc.com

Get your engines started and enjoy exploring Columbia. There are a few other aspects I will be writing about additionally in some following blogs. Public schooling, private schooling and homeschooling are big concerns for military families.  Many families in the military prefer to home school and I will discuss that too. Many businesses offer discounts to military families and I can let you know what we have found. Churches will be the next focus. Columbia has pretty much any denomination for being a small southern city.

Blessings!

Michele

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Mindfully spending time…

21 07 2014

image

 

Recently our family ticker has focused on the theme of mindful parenting. For myself, it started a year ago with Heavenly Fathers insistence I become more mindful of who and what I spend my time on. For those of you who are unaware, homeschooling is not all about eating bons-bons throughout the day.  It can be a logistical nightmare if you do not learn how to effectively juggle.  You learn, and I might add very quickly, to juggle housework, schooling, spouse time, and the ever important personal  time to prohibit crazy mom syndrome from appearing,  all while juggling activities for  each childs’ individual needs.  It is not an easy feat.  Through this process, I became extremely  mindful about what we did as a family and as a school.   These lessons came crashing down pretty hard on my hubby all at once when Larkin needed him the other night.

Homeschooling is still new to him as he was on his 4th deployment when we experienced our first year. He missed so many things. During this past week off work, our son Larkin, who is shown in the above picture, broke out into another rash.  So often I submit my tired body to the cause of motherhood and whenever nurturing is needed, I jump in head first. Natural instincts kick in during times of stress. This time was different. My son requested his father’s presence until the medicine kicked in for the hives. He wanted Jeff to sleep with him and snuggle with him. This was new territory for both of us.

My hubby and I were never ones for co-sleeping with our children. I changed when we had Darbylynne.  It went into over drive when Jeff deployed.   I needed her with me because I missed him immensely. She was still small and I was lonely.  Additionally, the kids and I started weekly slumber parties.  Sometimes we would read or play games. Sometimes we would invent stories and often times we would pray together.   Now we are constantly asked if they can sleep with us. We even take turns snuggling with them and sleeping with them  in our bed or theirs.

After Jeff and Larkin’s boys night,  my hubby realized  how much the boys needed him. He felt it in his heart.  Keep in mind, I have been praying for this realization for Jeff for two years. I have told him repeatedly how much they need him.  He never felt it until now. It never really sunk in how much they loved him and looked up to him until Larkin expressed a need to be with him.  Over the last few days and series of conversations, this realization has evolved into the idea that what we give our children and what they need are two very different things. Sound familiar?

Three years ago we were paying for the best local private school in the area. I was volunteering and doing all the right things for our children; things that we perceived they needed in order to be successful in this world. The one thing we were not doing though, was spending quality time with them. Rushing from activity to activity was keeping us busy, and we were not mindful of what they really needed, which was our time.  By our actions we were telling our children that the things we do were more important than time we spent with them. Homeschooling forced us to be more mindful of whom we associated with; it forced us to examine what morals we wanted installed in their character. It forced us to reexamine every aspect of our parenting. Character become one of two focal points in our homeschooling education program; mindfulness of Heavenly Father was the other.

We are asked to spend time with Heavenly Father daily and weekly in prayer. We are asked to cultivate a relationship with him. Relationships take effort and time.  Doing things for our children is not the same as spending time with them.  It is in spending time with them, we learn about their personalities and we are able to guide them through their lives. Children need guidance from their parents. They need to be shown how to be Christian men and women in a fallen world and that takes effort and mindfulness on the parents part.

So many parents do the right things and forget to spend time. Society suffers because of this. Prison population is on the rise. Gang membership is on the rise. Teen pregnancy is on the rise as well.   So many parents do not have balance within their own lives to even notice the children they have given birth too. They are too worried about paying the bills and doing their job to even realize the gems they have right in front of them. They leave it to the schools, the neighborhood and the church to raise their children. Trickle down economics does not equate with raising children.

I am not boasting that our family way is the best way to accomplish mindful parenting and I certainly not saying that our way is the correct way. But what I want to challenge you to consider  are you spending enough down time outside TV, play dates, schoolwork, doctors appointments, activities and life in general with your children?  My husband had a great father, but he has no memories of spending quality time with him. He has no memories of sharing intimate thoughts or emotions with him either. He was expected to understand what manhood is without intimate guidance from his father, as was I when it came to motherhood.

I do not want this for my children. I don’t want to wake up one day and realize that I do not know them intimately, know their quirks, their fears or even what makes them laugh. Heavenly Father expects us to be transparent in our relationship with him as well as intimate too. You can’t be intimate with your children if you do not spend time with them, just like you can’t be intimate with Heavenly Father if you do not make time for Him either.

I really close friend of mine is about to lose  her father in law. In talking  with her yesterday and sharing her story with my hubby, all three of us came to some pretty deep conclusions. Our hearts ache for this situation.  This  man, who will be leaving  this world, knew  he fell short with his children. He was given the gift of more time with a  dilapidating disease.  He did nothing with it though. He never moved into a more intimate relationship with either of his sons.  So as his sons go to see him off, he leaves this world knowing he failed them and this causes baggage. Baggage that could potentially keep him from a beautiful life with Heavenly Father; his soul is in pain when it should be a beautiful time to rejoice. My soul grieves for all the loved ones involved here. I am not sure about you, but when I go see my Heavenly Father I would prefer to not leave behind any unfinished business.

My prayer for you today is you become more mindful of your time and who you are spending it with. I pray you find balance in your own life not only as a parent but also with your spouse.  I pray you are more mindful with how you spend time with your children. Lastly,  I pray they become the focus of your life after Heavenly Father.

Be at peace,

~m

 





Homeschooling, swimming up stream and ADHD.

16 09 2012

Do you rock the boat?  Do you question authority?  Do you discuss pink elephants? Do you swim upstream?

I pondered these questions for some time before I started this journey. For 37 years, I wondered what was wrong with me.  Why could I just not fit in. Then, I tweaked my perspective.

My children helped me see the light. It wasn’t until a year and 3 weeks later, that I realized how much they needed to be home-schooled.  They attended a local private school;one of the best in the state.  I felt a kinship to the author of “Waiting for Superman” each day, as I drove them to school. When I finally counted, we passed 12 schools just to get there. This school had a local artist running their art program. They had a well known choir, athletic department and a music department. Each and every graduate from their school earned a scholarship. Their graduating class historically garnered over a million each year in scholarships from universities. The alumni granted over a million in scholarships each year to children like mine to attend their school.  Not to mention the local botanist on staff and the country of study each year.  The school itself averaged 990 kids with a class size of 14 in each grade. I did my research. All this for $26k for both boys per year. Who could ask for more?  But my children were sinking. I did not realize how much until this past year.

Like my children, I struggled with depression, anxiety, an ability to focus, an inability to complete a task and low self esteem. Like my children, I knew I was different.  Often growing up, I spoke without thinking, I acted without thinking. Socially this can be a killer for a kid and even more so when middle school and high school are on the horizon. ADHD children and adults know they are different in every way. We see the world very differently. Colors, noise, music, even the weather can affect our mood. We live our life with much passion, our heart on our sleeves. Our desire to passionately express ourselves can sometimes limit our ideas.   We feel intense, big emotions on just about everything. Like my children, I tried medicine. But as time went by, those things that made me unique and blessed were toned down so much; I became a zombie in order to function within societies “normal” limits. So I am led to ask what on earth is normal?

For years, I spent time in therapy learning how to cope with my ADHD in a natural way. I created my own set of coping strategies. My OCD was off the charts at times. My poor hubby, I am not sure he could survive much more. For those of you unaware of this, ADHD people resent change. It is so not a part of our genetic makeup! There is an immense amount of comfort in structure.  It was through my current doctor, I learned about a new treatment called Neurofeedback. For a year and half, I went twice a week and played focus games. At times, I would end up emotionally exhausted and physically beat after a session.  Then all the sudden, it clicked!  One day, my anxiety was gone, my mood and energy were even keeled, my passion was still there as was my heart, but I could focus. And focus I did!  My self esteem  went up and it was here, with the help of some friends, I realized that I could finally do things I never could. I tried new projects, spent more quiet time with friends.  I went back to school.  My first year of graduate school, I earned a 4.0 pt while remaining on the Dean’s list! Through all of this,  I realized something very important. I realized that if I could do this… so could my boys. They started on their journey over a year ago. They are still doing it as well. 2 boys that once were on 27mg of Concerta , and 30 mg of Adderral respectively are dramatically different in one year. Two boys who could not sit still for nothing, could not focus, and were emotionally beat up from a system of “normal” are now actually thriving!

This path I meandered on saved three people! The epiphany, that I could help them, changed the course of an entire family.  I spent several years teaching in both public and private schools and I missed it immensely. I loved teaching children with special needs. Every exercise in my educational journey was shaped and molded by own personal experiences in the public school system.  I thrived on changed and being different! Like a ton of bricks, I realized I could change my world and my children by teaching them. I just needed to swim up stream, break free of the mold of what “should be”.

Fear and anxiety consumed my thoughts for some days prior to the onset of homeschooling.  I was not sure I was up for it. I had to believe I could do it. AS I mentioned before, self esteem and change are not my good buddies.  But if I could make a difference in the life of a child outside my family, what could I do with my own children? I could show them they are not abnormal. They are uniquely gifted; that they offer  a perspective that they should  share with others. They deserve the best gifts I have to offer. I know their walk uniquely and I am willing to stand by their side on this journey; to guide them. Unlike my parents, I will be next to them supporting them. I love them for who they are not what I think they should be.

One of my favorite quotes from Fred Rogers, inspired and encouraged my heart on this journey.

He states in Amy Hollingsworth’s book , The Simple Faith Of Mr. Rogers, “I think one of the greatest gifts that we can give anybody is the gift of one more honest adult in that persons life-whether (the recipient) be a child or an adult.”

I will give my honest self to my children. Fear and anxiety will not hold me back. They are tools of the enemy and have no place in our family.

For those of you that don’t know me, I do rock the boat. I value confrontation and want to share  in the beautiful friendships that result from two individuals growing together. As Amy Hollingsworth quotes Fred Rogers again, ” What is offered by faith by one person can be translated by the Holy Spirit into what the other person needs to hear and see. The space between them is holy ground, and the Holy Spirit uses that space in ways that not only translate, but transcend”.  ADHD is on the autism spectrum and ADHD  can grossly affect a child or adults social life. To be used by the Holy Spirit to grow is something we desperately need when our social interactions are minimal. I want my children to value social interactions  as well;to find strength in our differences, not weaknesses.  I have questioned authority from  time to time too. It is in my very nature. So much so, it saddened my parents that I did not seek a law degree. Pink elephants have no place in our home either.  They are too big and just take up much needed space in the all ready small space we occupy as a family. And lastly, I refuse to swim with the current. When you swim up stream, you gain more muscle and you know what is behind you. Knowing what is behind you can give you a perspective that allows you to embrace change;not run from it.

~m

The Shearin Academy.