Know when to push through, and when to rest…

Hello friends, I miss writing and interacting with all of you. I wish I could be on here more, but between health struggles and working crazy hours, I don’t get on the computer too much, and I detest typing on my kindle. Here is some insight into my days…

Today is one of the bad days. I have been struggling all week, but just kept pushing through. Now, today my body says: “No More!”

Is it my thyroid? Is it my depression? Is it my insomnia?  Is it just my sinuses acting up, which is causing this horrible headache and exhaustion? Maybe it is a combination, or none of them at all. I never really know. I just use my natural remedies, paired with medicine, and hope for the best. Unfortunately, it has been over two hours since I took the last of my “please make me feel better” pills, and yet I feel no better.

My children are disappointed, because we will not make our co-op gathering today. I am angry and sad, because at 40 years old, I should be able to function on a daily basis, without all this pain and grogginess.

It feels like I have been sick forever, but in reality my symptoms only got to this level in the past year. They have been especially bad the past 6 months, since I started working overnights. Beth has declared that when I am better, she wants to use all her dollars to take us out to celebrate mom being healthy again. While, this is beyond sweet, it also tells me how much my illness affects my babies.

Tomorrow it is back to work. I will have 3 twelve hours shifts, walking 20 miles each night, only getting 4 – 6 hours of sleep in between shifts (if I am lucky). I will have to push through those days, because my job supplies our insurance and helps pay the bills. So, today I will rest as much as possible. The laundry I didn’t get done yesterday, because I used too much of my energy on cooking and cleaning, will have to be done at some point, but it will be done slowly. It will be a light school day, and we will play a lot of games, while I sit.

At some point, I pray that I will be more functional, but for now, we will make the best of a bad situation. We take it one day at a time in this family, and some days it is one hour at a time. Today may even be a one minute at a time day.

Thank you for listening, I hope to see you soon. Love and peace friends.

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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Five Years of a Blessed Commitment

♥ Today marks my FIVE year anniversary, being committed to Al-Anon. ♥

I walked into my first Al-Anon meeting on May 16, 2010 and instantly felt like I was home. I started attending meetings regularly and could feel myself healing from many of my emotional wounds. Then I got pregnant again, and our world slowed to a crawl due a very difficult pregnancy. I still read my literature and tried to practice the principals, but no longer attended meetings on a regular basis, if at all.

On January 3, 2012,  I went to what would become my home group meeting for the next few years. Instantly there was peace in the center of my mental storm. I committed to my program that day, because I wanted to be better for my girls. I wanted them to have a different life, and sense of self, than I had. I wanted to break the cycle of self-loathing and self-destruction. I went for them, but I stayed for me.

It’s been almost 7 years since my first meeting, and 5 years since I committed to this amazing program, and today I can say that I am a different person. I look at the “pre-Al-Anon” me, and cannot even believe that I still have friends from that time, I was so horrible. I thank God every day for the people who loved me enough to stay, even when I could not stand to be around myself. Today, I love myself and I am proud of the progress I have made. I am not perfect, nor would I ever wish to be, because God created me to be human with all my imperfections as tools to build a better me.

Daily I pray only for the willingness and strength to carry out His will, and not force mine. An example of His will versus mine is that yesterday I visited my grandmother, for the first time in over 10 years. I honestly had no intention of seeing her anytime soon, I had given thought to seeing her when I reached Step 9, but God had other plans.  I followed His message and did as He asked. It was a nice visit. We sat down like old friends, talked about current life and reminisced about the old days. Then when we were leaving, we hugged and agreed that we did not want to rehash the ugliness of the past, but start with a clean slate going forward. This visit brought me some peace, and gifted my father and grandmother with much happiness. I am not sure what the future will hold, but I know God has a plan, and my job is to follow the path He lays in front of me.

Thank you Al-Anon for helping me build a loving relationship with my Higher Power, whom I call God. Thank you God for loving me and blessing me with your grace.

ss-serenity-prayer

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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World Autism Day 2016 ~ I Can’t. She Can. I Think I’ll Let Her.

In Al-Anon the first three steps (from the 12 steps) are the foundation of our program. We tend to shorten those steps to: “I can’t. He can. I think I’ll let Him.” The actual steps read as:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

I look at it like this… I am powerless over people, places and things. My Higher Power, whom I call God, will help them on their path, just as He is always with me on my journey. The only person I have control over is myself, and I must use that control to always conduct myself like the woman God knows I can be.

Today as I prepare for another April, where I inevitably spend most of my time cringing at many of the posts, I am seeing the world through my program eyes. I understand that I cannot control what other people believe, or what they choose to share. I accept that we are all just trying to do the best we can for our families, and we don’t have to agree to treat each other with respect and kindness. I am praying for Autistics everywhere to know that their value is not tied to the opinions of others, but is rooted in themselves. I am praying for a better world, where everyone treats each other with Love and Respect, while celebrating and embracing diversity.

My “Three Steps” for treating my daughter with the respect she deserves:

  1. I Can’t…

I can’t live life for Beth, because I can never fully understand what occurs in her beautiful mind/body from day to day. I must always respect her boundaries and space, because I do not experience the world in the same way she does. My job as her parent is to support her in any way possible, but I should NEVER try to control her.  I can’t think for her, and therefore should not speak for her either.

      1. She Can…

She can, and does, live a pretty awesome life. As she learns to navigate this overwhelming world, she tries to share her experiences with us. She can tell (or show) us what she feels, and how certain things affect her. All we need to do is “listen” with our ears, eyes and most importantly our hearts. She can speak for herself, and reminds us of that when we forget.

        1. I Think I’ll Let Her…

I think I’ll let her live life on her terms. She is constantly helping us see the world in a different way. She helps us, and people who meet her, see the struggles and blessings of Autism. She has an amazing voice, which she uses to spread love and light everywhere she ventures. By letting her share her message, how she chooses, we are changing the world for the better, one person at a time.

World Autism Day 3 Steps

Today is World Autism Day; this month is Autism Awareness/Acceptance Month. By the end of April, you will see a LOT of information shared in various forms. You may find yourself with more questions than answers. If you have questions about Autism, the best place to go is an Autistic person. As a parent, I cannot express the level of my gratitude for the Autistic Adults, who are willing to share their journey in order to help the next generation. There are many wonderful pages/sites that can address your questions, and help you see Autism for what it is… A neurological difference; It is NOT less, neither is it more, it is simply a different way of processing the world.

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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Stress and Praise

Hello friends, I hope you are all doing well. I know I have been missing-in-action for many months, but life has been a bit more chaotic then usual. I cannot seem to find the time to devote to blogging, and I suppose it is because so many other things in life are simply more of a priority at this time. I keep searching for the secret that will leave me some energy at the end of the night, so I can start writing again, but so far it has not materialized. We all know that Life is One Day At A Time, and I have faith that soon there will be a better balance in my life.

As I have been searching for that balance, one thing stands out to me… the repetitive pattern of problem and solution. The majority of my problems come from stress, which is a result of me trying to control everything. Most of my solutions come from prayer, which is putting my faith in my Higher Power, whom I call God. When I stress, and allow my worse-case-scenario imagination to run rampant, I end up exhausted and sick. When I praise God, and thank Him (and His angels) for being with me always, I am peaceful and strong. It really comes down to putting my pesky ego in it’s place, and accepting that through God all things are possible, if I am willing to get out of my own way and let Him work.  As we say in program: “I can’t. He can. I think I’ll let Him.”

 

Stress and Praise

 

 

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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Dorothy

Do you believe in Spirit Guides, or perhaps Guardian Angels? Do you ever put a name to that inner voice that whispers to you? I have always believed in both, but until recently I did not have the name of my Muse. Now, I know her name is Dorothy, and is it wonderful to be able to put a name to the voice.

My husband and I recently visited a lovely shop in Paducah (Kentucky), called Wildhair Studios’ Rock Shop. As soon as I walked into the shop, I was drawn to the rack of pendulums. My friend, who does Healing Touch uses one, and although I did not know what I (personally) would use one for, I knew I wanted (or perhaps needed) one. There were so many beautiful pendulums, it was hard to decide which to purchase. I picked up one, which I thought particularly dainty and pretty. It began to spin counter-clockwise. I read the information posted next to the stand, and realized that meant “No.” I asked my husband to hold it, and it spun clockwise, which meant “Yes.” I told one of the employees that the pendulum appeared to not like me, so he offered advice on how to center myself and suggestions I try again. This time, it practically screamed: “NO!” I tried a few other pendulums, and all had the same answer of “No.” Finally, I picked up one that began spinning immediately, shouting: “YES!” Of course I bought it, and tucked it away in my purse. In all honesty, I do not know much about pendulums, but I look forward to learning.

Upon returning home, I had a “Getting to know your pendulum” session. I still don’t know why, but  I asked if it had a name, even though that was not suggested in any of the readings I did.  A few minutes into our session, the question came out of my mouth:  “Do you have a name?” The answer was: “Yes.” So then I started asking: “Is ______ your name?”  It took several names before I found the right one. The only name, I received a “Yes” to was Dorothy. When I chose my pen-name to write under, I always thought it was in honor of my great-grandmother, and in some ways it was; however, now I realize that it was also my Inner Voice (aka Spirit Guide/Angel/Muse) wanting to be heard.

I love that I found my pendulum, and have a new tool to use on my spiritual journey. I love that we have fluid conversations (my talking, her moving), which often include spiritual messages I need to hear (whether I want to or not). I REALLY love that I have a name to use when talking to my friend. This is Dorothy, isn’t she beautiful?

Dorothy

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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Stronglove Family Garden

Have I mentioned just how AWESOME Beth’s Occupational Therapist (OT) is? Well, in case I have not, she is beyond awesome! Ms. S has been with us since Beth was 2.5years old, and has become part of the family. She has been such a blessing to our family, but this year she gave us a special gift, she gave us part of her gardening space to use.

For the first time ever, our family has a garden! Beth is VERY excited about having a garden, and getting to visit Ms. S (and her family) a LOT this summer. I am praying that Ms. S is not tired of us come August, because my girls never want to leave.

We planted our garden yesterday, and only had one rain delay during the process. Unfortunately, my back is acting up, so I did not get to plant, but I did get to take pictures of the girls working with Henry. I am so thankful to have a husband that doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty. He knows a lot about gardens, even though he has never had one, because he talked to the horticulture teacher at his school quite a bit. During the weeding and planting, he tried to teach the girls things, but there was too much excitement and too little focus.

I am greatly looking forward to the coming weeks, as our garden becomes a large portion of our school day. This quote, by Helen Mirren, says it all: “Gardening is learning, learning, learning. That’s the fun of them. You’re always learning.While, I do have trouble “thinking outside box” when it comes to education, I know for sure the garden will be (at the very least) science and math; I am thinking I can also get some language arts in there too. For those of you more creative than myself, what else could I teach my girls (4 and 6) using our garden?

Here is a picture of the Stronglove Family Garden, which consists of 3 different Tomato plants (4th of July, Early Girls, and Super Steak Hybrid), 3 Sweet Pepper hybrid plants and lots of Cucumber plants (because I thought I was buying 2, but there were at least 4 in each tray).  I am praying that my “black thumb” does not ruin this wonderful experience for us, but even if it does cause trouble, we will have a wonderful summer filled with learning fun. ❤

Stronglove Family Garden

 

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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Sad, Not Mad

The girls learned (or more accurately relearned) a tough lesson today. They learned that Mommy follows through on her promises.

I have been very disturbed by the recent lack of respect, and diminishing kindness, with which they treat each other. The root of almost all of their issues are toys, books, dress-up clothes, etc.. The fact that my children cannot treat each other with respect and kindness because of material things, is extremely upsetting to me.

They have also started to speak to me with words and tones that are unacceptable. To be honest, they are often using the words or tone I previously used with them, and that is a BIG problem.  Often times my reaction is based on my expectations, not their actions. As we say in program: “Expectations are predetermined resentments.” Regardless of the situation, it is NEVER okay for me to talk to them without respect, and I know I have been remiss in this area; hence their new-found level of disrespect.

I sat them down the other day, and explained that yelling makes me sad. That I do NOT want to be a Mommy who has to yell, in order for them to listen, and behave with respect. I reminded them that we homeschool, so they are not bullied, but treated with kindness. I told them that since they are always fighting over objects, that any object they cannot share, will go in the garbage. I further explained that any object that seemed to be the root of any disrespect, or lack of kindness, would also go in the garbage. I reminded them that we must always use RESPECT and KINDNESS with our words, hands and actions.

Today, while down in the laundry room, I heard the screams and crying up here. I came up to find Anne sobbing and Beth very upset. I ordered them both to the table, where they had to put their heads down until they calmed down. Once they calmed down, I asked what happened, and why they were fighting instead of cleaning the room. The answer was basically that they were fighting over toys; Anne was teasing Beth, and she put her hands on Anne. They remained at the table (crying and screaming), while I “cleaned” their room.

I threw out almost a full garbage bag of items from the bins in their room. I chose things they no longer played with, things that were not working right, etc… I did not throw away any of their favorite items, but the point was made. After I went outside and put the bag in the dumpster, I came upstairs and cried with them. I now FULLY understand all those times my father told me he was sad (or disappointed) and not mad.

Although the rest of the day went very well, we rehashed the incident MANY times. Anne wanted me to promise not to throw out anymore dresses. Beth wanted to talk about the kids who don’t have food or toys. I explained to Anne that I could not promise her anything in regards to the dresses, because whether they stayed or went, was up to her and her sister. I explained to Beth that there are many children that can only dream of having what they have. I told her that countless children go to bed hungry and have no toys to play with. I told her that she and her sister need to start being more grateful for what they have, and acting the way God knows they can.

I felt horrible most of the day, in all honesty I still feel bad. THIS is not the mom I want to be either. I want to be a mom who inspires her children to act with respect and kindness, because they are following my example. I find that I am repeating patterns, which I had thought I was breaking. As I work my Fourth Step, I see deeper inside myself, and KNOW that I can do better (MUCH better).

Tomorrow is a new day, and although today was FAR from perfection, there was a bit of progress, and that is how the girls and I will continue to grow into the women God knows we can be.

 

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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