Gratitude A, B, C’s

Here’s something different and fun: make a list of things you’re grateful for, using a letter of the alphabet for each.  (Who can’t use another good way to improve their outlook?!) 

 Here’s my list; please make your own list in the comments! 

 – Animals – I know I’m not the only one who trusts them more than humans. 

B – Benjamin (my eldest) 

C – Coloring – soothing after a hectic day.

D – Divorce. 

E – Elijah (the younger of my boys)

F – Furbabies, of which I have 3, at the moment.

G – God’s Grace!

H – Husband (he’s perfect for me!)

I – Ice cream – DUH.

J – Just chillin. 

K – Kaleidoscopes

 
Learning about Love (it’s SO not what I thought it was)

M – Mom – She’s great. And beautiful. 

N – New Comers to Recovery

O – Options (Recovering from addiction and mental illness has given me unlimited options.) 

P – Puppy breath

Q – Quarterly bonuses

R – Reduce, Recycle, Reuse

S – Sandy, white beaches

 T – Tax returns, even when they’re about half of what we’re due. 

U – Unusual places

V –  Vitamins  

 – Wonder

X – ?? 

Y – Yoo Hoo

– Zippers! 

So, what are you grateful for, my friend?

Life on God’s Terms

I am not, by nature, a patient person. Never have been. The evidence of my having grown some small semblance of patience is seen in my children: still alive, not maimed…

It’s interesting how patient I have learned to be in certain instances. For example, our neighbor has a roaming hen named Goldie. (I haven’t met a mammal yet that I didn’t love. Sure, some were easier to love than others, but overall, I love being with animals.)

Goldie is semi-tame, I guess, in that she will come close enough to take cat food from my hand, but she won’t let me touch her. I have positioned my hand in such a way that my fingers graze her breast feathers when she’s taking the food from me, and they’re so soft. As it gets colder outside, and  she is noticeably cold, I wish I could hold her and get her warm, but so far, she’s not ready. So far.

 In the case of winning over an animal’s trust, wild or just skittish, I have deep wells of patience.  I think it’s because of my own difficulties in trusting people. Heck, when I was just 9 or 10, I set out to win over several feral kittens. It took a little while, but not too long. And it was very gratifying when they finally allowed me to pet them. 

So, why does it come so easy to me to wait for a positive response from a chicken, yet waiting for God to move…not so much. 

I think the difference may be in KNOWING the desired outcome versus NOT knowing much about what the goal is actually going to look like, when it’s met. I know that I can very likely get Goldie to trust me. She’s already come close to hopping up the steps into the house! But, while I am convinced that God has my best in mind, it’s hard for me to know whether I will recognize His best when I get there. 

I’m thinking about currently waiting to be moved into a place (career) where I can put down roots and flourish. There are a couple of different things I am skilled at, but I guess my problem is WAITING for God to move everything/me into the BEST position. 

I have had 3 different employers in 2016, and I am longing to work somewhere that I can put my skills and experience to the best use. I have seen in my life proof of the verse that says that if I delight myself in the Lord, He will give me the desires of my heart. Yes, this is a thing I know. 
I just hate waiting. I’m sitting at the starting late revving my engine…and sitting…and sitting. 

The good news is, my trust is in the Lord. I wish He would  work in MY time frame more often, but none the less, I know that if I  don’t die from the an-tici—-pation, it will turn out to be perfect. 

And the fact of the matter is that His timing has always been perfect. 

Why Do We Procrastinate The Things We Want Most?

Hey, gang, it’s time for another WONDERFUL Guest Blogger! As you know, I only share the best writers with you all, and this girl is no exception. Without further adeau, I give you Christine Hill

Why Do We Procrastinate the Things We Want Most?

By Christine Hill

I think one of the most useful skills that I learned in college was how to write a 10-page paper in one night.

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That’s right. I was one of those students. The major pity is that I kept getting away with it, so I really didn’t have much incentive to change my ways. Now that I’m an adult and there are certain things that simply CANNOT be put off (like the rent check) I’ve learned a little bit more self-regulation. But procrastination is still something I struggle with.

20% of the population considers themselves “chronic procrastinators.” And because it has such a major impact on job performance, tapping into our potential, and creative power, it’s the subject of an awful lot of research. For business start-ups and managers, especially, it can be difficult to decide when to “pull the trigger” and just put an idea into action. Amidst all the research, I think the most effective insights into procrastination are detailed by Tim Urban, author of Wait but Why.

A vivid dramatization of the procrastinator’s struggle is the subject, both on his website, and in his TED talk. Check it out below. It will strike a dramatic chord with anyone who has found themselves panicking the day before a major essay is due.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arj7oStGLkU

Because so many people tend to procrastinate, it can be hard to share a one-size-fits all solution. Instead, I’m going to share a few different ways to look at it, and you can decide which one strikes a chord for you:

Connect with the Future Self

One study at Stanford monitored the neural pathways of subjects when they were asked to envision themselves, a stranger, and their future self. For some students, envisioning their future self was much closer to envisioning a stranger than to envisioning their current selves. Others felt a closer kinship and continuity with the future self. Can you guess which group held the worst procrastinators?

Many behavioral theorists believe that procrastination is caused by a disconnect between the current and future self. We prioritize immediate gratification over long-term rewards. There are a few ways that you can trick yourself out of this mindset, though. A study at USC found that when people phrase future plans and deadlines in terms of days rather than months or years, they’re more likely to take action quickly. For example, 3 months away feels a lot farther than 90 days or less. So, in order to connect with your future self, or overcome the divide:

  • Think in terms of days, or even hours.
  • Be realistic about your future expectations.
  • Make a habit of visualizing your future self and the consequences you’ll need to deal with.

Focus on One Step at a Time

Another study on procrastination observed that students procrastinated less if the deadlines were closer and the projects were smaller. In other words, dividing a big task into a lot of little tasks can motivate you to get a project done better. This might sound really obvious, but the science–and the actual implementation of it–is always more complicated than it seems at first.

Breaking down a large task into numerous small ones takes advantage of our natural tendency to value immediate gratification over long-term results. After all, it’s hard to look forward to the reward of working out every day when it could take months for you to start seeing results. However, if you start anticipating a reward that you get with every workout, it can be a lot easier to motivate yourself. Even the rush of completing a task can activate our brain’s reward center. So, in order to use your natural instincts to your own advantage, try breaking down large tasks into small ones with lots of deadlines. Instead of getting overwhelmed with a colossal task, take it one step at a time.

Confronting Fear

I saved this approach for last because for me, it’s the most striking and motivating. It boils down to one cold hard fact: we procrastinate to avoid pain. To be completely blunt, procrastinators let their life be ruled by fear. Look back at the Wait but Why illustration. Only when the fear of turning in nothing overwhelms the fear of turning in something crappy (i.e. the Panic Monster kicks into high gear) does anything get done.

Phil Stutz and Barry Michels shared an excellent parallel to help procrastinators overcome the habit. They theorize that every procrastinator procrastinates simply in order to avoid pain for as long as possible. Think about the things you put off; they’re unpleasant things that you don’t want to face. It’s a social situation that could be awkward, a time that you risk rejection, something that will require effort and sweat from you. Phil came to know the star runner on the High School football team and came to learn something profound. This boy wasn’t the star runner because he was better at running. He wasn’t stronger or faster than anyone else. He was the best because he ran toward pain instead of trying to avoid it.

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He knew that when he tackled someone, it would hurt for a minute, but afterward, he would feel on top of the world! So he learned to run toward pain because on the other side was his actual goal.

Megan Mcardle posits an interesting theory in her article “Why Writers Are the Worst Procrastinators.” She points out that kids who were good at English class tend to have a “fixed mind-set” instead of a “growth mind-set” and believe that tests and challenges aren’t a way to learn new things, but rather it’s a way to sift people into their fixed values. Therefore, the true fear behind procrastination is that ultimately, we’re not enough, and now it will be proven to everyone.

Therefore, when you’re tempted to procrastinate, you need to ask yourself one simple question: are you going to be ruled by fear?

Christine is a professional writer and an avid reader who’s passionate about storytelling in all its forms. At any given moment, she’s in the middle of at least three books on anything from human psychology to ninjas. Although she’s a marathon swimmer and enjoys camping in the mountains, she believes there’s nothing better than a carton of ice cream and a Dawson’s Creek marathon.

I need to tell you all, that during the time I was trying to get this post up, the biggest problem I encountered was, you guessed it, procrastination. (Thanks, God!) I guess this is a timely message for all of us. And P. S., Christine, I am a firm believer in the power of a pint of ice cream to make all things better. 🙂



Understand

I don’t. 

The Democracy thing is set up so that the majority vote decides, right? Has everyone gone mad? 

In my understanding, as a Christ-follower, I am to pray for our leadership, and remember that God is sovereign. 

Throwing temper tantrums never worked for me as a child, but I guess many folks were raised with a very different experience. 

I used to take people’s words at face value. Then I realised that unless the actions line up with the words, it’s foolish for me to take people’s words as truth. 

I’ve been quiet lately because I watch and see what transpires. So far, I’m embarrassed to be connected to the folks who are acting like savages. That is all.
…from my shack in the forest.

It’s a new day…

God only knows what’s in store for  “we the people”, but I’m excited. I’m so ready to stop the…sadness, sickness, anger…among other things that can be helped with just a bit of effort.

I am grateful for the liberties that this country affords us as it’s citizens. There are many countries in which people are being slaughtered for the crime of owning a holy book. Literally. Women and men made to watch their children’s suffering before they become the object of tormenting, the likes of which you can see on Criminal Minds.
I am grateful to be able to wear what I like and travel alone without being questioned or worse. 

I thank God for His never-ending mercies. He is a just God, but He prefers to show mercy to repentant hearts. 

I am grateful to be able to show affection to those I love and care about. 

I’m grateful for a husband who’s encouraging,  a hard worker, funny, quick to forgive, gentle when necessary and an ex-Navy Seal. Never have I felt safer in every way. He’s just one more example of my God’s compassion. 

So happy together

I am grateful for friends who agree with me as well as friends who don’t. 
I’ve lived long enough to know that things aren’t always what they seem, and sometimes that’s a GOOD thing. 

I’m grateful for being freed from the bondage of self, the chains of addiction, and from being a slave to sin. 

Thank you for reading, and for praying for peace. Let’s try to be kind to one another. 🌷

From my cabin in them thar hills. 

Depression? PTSD? Whatevs.

I went to my Mental Health Dr. yesterday. I like him. Of all the men I have been in a room alone with, I think I’m the least uncomfortable with him. I don’t know how much of that is him, and how much is me, but regardless, I’m truly grateful. 

Several weeks ago, Dr. G added a medication to the one I have been taking for a while, with the intention of eventually dropping the first. My (dream?) is to stop taking the other, as well, but that may or may not be realistic. But, I trust him to make the call.

Here’s the part that stands out to me about yesterday’s appointment:

He said he doesn’t think I am depressed- clarified with the word “remission” – but that we’re just dealing with PTSD, now. I told him I can see that being the case, as the trauma began pretty young. I had a Dr. tell me years ago that I’d likely been depressed since I was 7-8. In the context of yesterday’s conversation, I wonder if I’ve not been wrestling with PTSD for that long? I know that many of the symptoms, for me, have been similar. Or maybe they just overlapped. Either way, I will gladly accept that the (not “my”, I refuse to claim ownership) depression has been arrested. There’s no question that there are occasionally triggers for PTSD that pop up. After so many years, God has allowed me to talk myself through them for the most part. 

I feel a return of hopefulness and a reduction in despair. I see the beauty around me a bit more clearly. 

Ah, Recovery, you give me gifts that I’d never have imagined. 

Have a groovy Friday y’all. Or at least, if ya don’t, find someone to talk with about it. Even if it’s your Cat.

Thanks a lot, Buzzkill!

So, I was driving home from yet another mind-numbing trip to Malwart, listening to the most recent (long awaited, even!) edition of the Buzzkill Podcast, and at the end of it, our fearless host asked this question:
“Describe your first 30 days of recovery?”
So, as I’d been tossing around thoughts of what I might write about today, I latched onto this. I happened to have printed out a couple pages worth of feeling words not long ago, to help me better express myself to you, my lovely readers. Yes, even after all this time, I’m still not completely fluent in Emotions.

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Here are the words that initially came to me:
frustrated                                                                   over-whelmed
isolated
desperate                                                                          confused
fear-filled
Yeah. I think that with a few less intense emotions floating around, and maybe a couple of thoughts that weren’t feelings, those words pretty well cover it.
I thought about how the adjectives that came immediately to my mind were all really strong feeling words, and you know, it makes sense.
After so many years of doing EVERYTHING in my power to avoid feeling anything, in the first 30 days, OF COURSE the feelings that arrived came in like a flood of Noah-like proportions. I was almost instantly more self-conscious than I’d ever remembered being, and I felt like I’d just been dropped down onto a really scary planet. Actually, I used to tell people that reality was BY FAR the biggest trip I’d ever experienced. It stayed that way for quite a long time.
Today, if you asked me what how I would describe the last 30 days, I’d use very different words. Words like

intentional                                       prayerful
free                                                 awkward
spiritual                                            emotional
hope-filled
It’s taken every event and every moment between the first month and today to get to this place: I feel things but my feelings don’t dictate my actions. I credit the desperation that made me willing to CHOOSE to trust again. Willing to follow directions, in hopes that these people were telling me the truth.
So, there you have it. If you’d like to know more about my first 180 days or so, you can go check it out here, where I was honored to tell some of my story recently on Recovery Rockstars.
So, how about you? Do any of those adjectives sound familiar? How would you describe your first 30 days?