Practice Gratitude

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Today I am trying to focus on the good things I often take for granted. I cheered as I approached a green light on the way to dropping off my son at school this morning. I could get aggravated that 8 were red or I could celebrate that one was green. It all comes down to refocusing the mind to shed things in a positive light. It doesn’t happen over night and it certainly doesn’t happen without practice and consistent effort. Notice one thing to be grateful for that you may have missed every other day and don’t forget to come back and leave a comment to let us know what it is. Have a great day today!

What CAN I Do?

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So often we feel like we are stuck in a rut. We focus on how awful it feels to be in this place of stagnation and slowly but surely we start to feel helpless and even worse, hopeless. We don’t mean to have a pity party for ourselves in that dark little place but in a weird way, it gives a sense of comfort that does nothing but super glue us in a place we never wanted to be in the first place.

It’s true, there is so much around us we cannot change. Sometimes it’s just not possible to change jobs or escape dealing with some of the difficult people around us. So we sit and sit until we start to believe that is our only chair.

Recently I’ve started asking myself a simple question that has led to small, subtle changes. What can I do? What can I do to help myself get out of this mess? What CAN I do to enhance my interactions with the people I’d rather not be around?

When you switch your focus from I can’t seem to do anything to help myself to what I actually can do to help myself, one very important thing changes…your attitude. Just coming back into the light of hope can make all the difference. When you actually feel like you have a plan, anything seems possible. Next time you are feeling stuck, don’t focus on what you can’t do, focus on what you can.

Putting Life Back In My Years

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I’m missing it. Life. It’s passing me by. 

There are subtle signs gently guiding me along, nudging me to pay attention to whatever I am doing. Today, I felt the nudge and I am grateful I was paying attention.

Attention is so important. I realize that now. Often times I hear my daughter say, “Mom, I told you that yesterday.” Where do I go when she is trying to tell me about her day? Why don’t I seem to hear her the first time?

Just today, I caught myself in the act of speeding through the work zone. Again! This construction has been going on for months now. There are giant orange cones and bulldozers and men working all over the place. Yet every single time I drive that road I forget the speedlimit has changed to 40mph. I am such a creature of habit that I go through the motions not paying attention at all. That’s how my life has felt lately. Dull, monotonous and filled with hours of the same routine. Hours turn to days that turn into months and before I know it I’ve missed a year.

I went to the mall today and I actually looked around. I slowed my pace and actually focused on being present. I was amazed at how many people were drawn to me and found myself having some lengthy conversations with total strangers. I even looked at them with enough focus that I am sure I would recognize them again. I was coming back to life one minute at a time and boy did it feel good. On the way home I grabbed at hamburger and I took my time eating it enjoying every single bite instead of scarfing it down.

Pay attention. Time fades away like the last seconds of light at the end of the day. Work at it. Set an alarm on your phone a few times a day as a reminder to check in until the practice of being present comes naturally. The biggest travesty of all is not realizing you are everywhere except where you really are. Here’s your wake up call. Will you answer the phone?

Start Simple

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Do you ever ask yourself, could this day be any worse? Remember, the answer is always yes. As hard as it may seem, it’s so important to focus on as many good things as you can as you go through the day. Some days you may have to stretch your thinking especially if your thoughts are in a dark, dismal place. Find one thing to be grateful about today and do your best to focus on that. 

When Life is Out of Focus

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Focus, focus, focus, please focus. I find myself saying this over and over a million times a day. I know many people do not believe in ADD but I can tell you this, whatever name you want to call it, there exists a condition in which someone finds it extremely difficult to concentrate attention on just one thing. The result is devastating.

This year is particularly hard for my son. I feel like he is back in 5th grade when he couldn’t complete a thing in class. We would help him with hours and hours of homework and there was never time for anything else. This year is a repeat. The work load in 8th grade is so much greater than any other year. He completes quite a bit in class now but the amount of time it takes him to study and complete homework is affecting us all. We reach a level of frustration that is hard to overcome. I try my best not to get frustrated with him but time after time I fail. My daughter is starting to resent him because he takes up so much of our time. “Let him fail.” That’s what she says and every time I hear it I am more determined to make sure that never happens. I grit my teeth and do whatever it takes. He did much better on the medication but he didn’t like the way it made him feel. His loss of personality was the most difficult side effect for everyone. So, last January, we made the choice to take him off of it.

Sometimes I Just want to cry. I want to cry for him and how difficult it is for him to keep up. I want to cry for the free time he never has because there is always something else to do.  I want to cry for my frustration and inability to show him patience when the clock turns none-thirty at night and there is still work to do. I want to cry because I need a break too and it is no kind of life for any of us when it’s always work, work, work, aggravation and no play. The clock does not exist for someone with ADD, they can only move at one pace.

 He is so smart. I think that’s the hardest part to understand. I tested him over and over on his Spanish words last night. He just couldn’t remember them. He finally starts to get something and then his brain overheats and everything melts away. He needs breaks. Hours of work at a time is not good for someone who has difficulty concentrating. The misconception about ADD is that there is a lack of attention span. That couldn’t be more untrue. Their  focus is just divided up among several different things at once. It’s hard to channel it on one particular thing. He is listening to me, climbing under the cushions on the couch and petting the dog at the same time. I can feel my blood start to boil as I say, go and take a 15 minute break. Like it or not, those breaks are necessary but that also means me will finish 15 minutes later than we should.

I don’t have any answers. I do my best to educate everyone about how difficult this is for families as a whole. Add that to the belief that this condition is made up and the result is not receiving any support. I dread evenings now because I know what they bring. He dreads them too. My daughter resents them and I’m sure my husband wishes my mood wasn’t so affected when home should be a happy place. He is just a kid who wants to go outside after school and ride his dirt bike. I want that for him too. 

Help Me Hang In There

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We are a couple weeks into school now and my old familiar anxiety is starting to creep back in. My son has ADD and his lack of focus and organization has been an on going challenge. We decided to take him off his medication last Christmas and found out with our constant nagging, the teachers staying on top of things and Chases determination to do this on his own, he will get there one day at a time. It’s a big responsibility for me to oversee his work. Trying to maintain the right balance between schools expectations and his struggle to do the work leaves me in a tough place. He is very smart. Everyday, he surprises me more and more. Sometimes though, when I start to relax a little too much, disaster strikes in a moments notice. I checked Parent Portal this weekend to find Chase is missing 4 math assignments. We have a 504 that is similar to an IEP that requires teachers to contact me at the first sign of missing work or when he is falling behind. This is what happens when I don’t check and they don’t let me know. It turns into a massive stress fest at home and my husband and I feel the brunt of it. He spent all weekend trying to re-do the work he seemed to misplace. The fact that his writing wrist is broken does not contribute to the cause in a helpful way. Every year, the transition of getting used to new teachers in addition to the time lapse of them discovering his 504 seems to take longer and longer. On a good note, we try our best to work as partners so Chase can be as successful as possible. High school starts next year so this is a big transitional year. He is in 3 classes now that will give him high school credit and I am confident he can handle them IF he keeps up with the work. There’s always that one class he slacks off to make up for the amount of work in other classes. I hope this will be the year he finds his balance and I lose some of this worry and anxiety. I am looking forward to the day he gets his cast off and can get more of his work done in class. Two more weeks, hold on, almost there.

Yes, I heard You!

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Yes, you heard my voice but you didn’t hear a single word I said. Am I the only one who feels this way? Have you ever found yourself in a conversation with someone who is not entirely present? You know the person I am talking about, the light is on but nobody’s home. I don’t know if it’s because people jump ahead in their thinking that they lose focus on the actual words or because they are so confident they are hearing something particular that they assume their assumption is the truth. Often times I long for someone to give me the time and attention it takes to really connect and understand me on a deeper level. It’s hard for me to continue to converse with the ones who jump ahead and come to a conclusion that is quite opposite of what I’m trying to convey. So someone please tell me? How do I stop myself from becoming so exasperated while nicely trying to explain myself in a way someone will hear and understand? You can’t only hear what you want to hear. You can’t twist someone’s words into a preconceived notion of what you think they believe. You must find a way to listen through the distractions in your own head and the external ones all around you. Can anybody hear me? Oh never mind. 

Give It A Try

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Getting by in this busy world has always led me to believe making time for the people I love should be at the top of my priority chart. Lately though, I’ve discovered that spending time together does not necessarily mean spending time together. If one of us is watching tv, one is on a computer and one is on the ipad then we really aren’t interacting at all. It’s hard to focus in on people these days. There are so many distractions and so many alarms and notifications that it would be a real challenge to give someone my full attention. I challenge everyone who reads this to look someone straight in the eyes when they talk to you today. Put down your phone or computer, turn off the tv and give them the most precious gift you can….your full attention. See if you can do it and let me know. I’d love to hear about your experience.

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Have You Checked Your Vision Lately?

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There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept- Ansel Adams

Wow! These words really jumped out at me today. It is amazing actually how a few words put together in a particular order can make such a profound point. This describes my point exactly. I believe this is the downfall for many people. It is clear to me lately, every direction I look, how fuzzy everything has become. Rules, laws, policy’s, procedures, follow through, leadership, the lines of right and wrong of expectation and action of discipline and follow through. Everything has become so fuzzy that the line is clearly and completely fading away. For a while, although fuzzy, we knew it was still there but today? I can’t even seem to get a clear answer to a simple question anymore. Everything is calculated and manipulated and distorted so much that words don’t seem to hold their value. Be careful you are not losing sight of the whole picture. Don’t be caught in this new pattern of washy washy that allows us to get away with just about anything because of the fuzziness that distorts our vision of what we know to be true. There is clarity in the fuzzy if you choose to look close enough. Will you take a closer looK?