Hi; It’s me!
Yeah, it’s been a while, and I’ve been trying to put words to why that is, but the words aren’t coming. Yet, I must write.
So far, 2017 hasn’t been a lot different from 2016. Hubby’s still employed, I’m working (2 part-time jobs), and the boy hates school. Nothing much has changed…and yet, some things have.
I’ve been wanting to work on getting off of the antidepressants for a while, and apparently that time hasn’t arrived. As I sit here I think I am probably due for an increase.
I haven’t gotten to get to any meetings to speak of, since I work so much on the weekend that by the time I get off (MAYBE) in time for Celebrate Recovery, I just want to get home and eat and then to bed. However, there are moments, too, when I think I’m squarely where I’m supposed to be, for now, even without gettign to church or meetings FOR NOW.
I mean, I’m working at a “Home Improvement” store in the outside garden area on the weekends, and this week I begin my other part-time gig at the newly expanded Detox in a large town nearby. For the last 3 weeks, I’ve been in training M-Th, and the last 2 were spent earning a certificate that says I’ve been trained as a Peer Recovery Specialist! I’m only going to get 15 hours there, at the moment, but I am hopeful that it will turn into fulltime soon.
I’ve been thinking about the impermanence in my life, lately, too… Why am I so used to letting go, of people, places, things, jobs, pets…? I don’t expect much of anything to last, really. It seems like that’s a symptom of PTSD, but I’m not sure. I notice the difference when I interact with folks who are more or less my age, and they’ve always lived within 100 miles of where they were born. They married once and now, 20-30 years later, they have a family and are still happily wed. When someone talks about working in the same place for over 5 years, I get kind of lost. When they say 15-20-30 years, and they’re MY AGE, I just can’t wrap my head around it.
Anyway, I’m enjoying the people I work with at the Home Improvement store, and the customers are nice, too. The only real downside is that the lifting and loading of 20-50 pound bags of mulch, patio stones, and etc is making it difficult to ignore the scoliosis and the pain in my back. Being outside most of the day is good for me, I’m sure. I can’t remember the last time I was outside as much as I am there, and I like it! The flowers are all in bloom and the nursery is FULL, and I love seeing the incredible array of colors and shapes. The flowers range from the size of a pencil eraser to as big around as a softball, and the scent is almost intoxicatingly beautiful. Then there are the birds. 🙂
So, I think the problem I’ve had recently, which honestly began months ago, is that my insecurities about myself lead me to (or are caused by?) compare myself to others, and guess what? Yes, you’re right. They ALWAYS come out better than me.
I have loved to people-watch since I was a teenager. Now I watch people to see how things are “supposed” to be done, like hair, clothes, makeup, social cues. I think it goes back to the idea of being a Pilgrim in this world that influences me to not get attached to trends, or celebrities, or…what have you. Does that make any sense?
I’ve only begun trying to wear make-up again for the last yearr or so, after about a 25-year hiatus. Geez, the last time I looked in the mirror that often, there were NONE of the lines & wrinkles I see now. I am grateful to have lived this long, but I don’t know how I feel about AGING.
So. That’s a lot of why I have been quiet of late. I don’t feel like I have anything encouraging or positive to say, so I stay quiet. Is that another result of the Social Media world – only showing our happy, and “UP” side? I know if I looked at most everyone’s Facebook pictures, I’d swear noone else has ever been depressed. I know that’s not the truth. Maybe a hiatus from FB/Twitter would do me good. I expect I’ll have some things to write about in the coming weeks…but for now, I’m just gonna keep on “working out my own salvation”, and see where He leads me next.
I hope your Spring is bright and sunny. Here’s a picture of something from the Garden Center.
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
X – ??
Y – Yoo Hoo
So, what are you grateful for, my friend?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 🙂
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.
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.
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.