More than I am asked?

 

The question, I was asked today is:  Am I trying to do more than God has asked me to?

 

Is that why some days, I’m exhausted physically, mentally, and emotionally?

 

That is a really good question.

 

The blah, blah, blah about “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”   Is just that blah, blah, blah.  That is NOT what they Bible says.  It say:

 

“God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted , He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

1 Corinthians 10:13

 

So, yes, you might be “given” more than you can handle, but God will help you/provide you a way to survive it.

Image result for God wont' give you more than you can handle.

Still doesn’t address my initial question, am I deliberately doing more than God has asked me to?  Is it my own pride that takes on things because it is the “right thing to do?”

 

For example, my mother…. did God actually want me to take on that task?  Or did I do it because it was expected and the right thing to do?    Some days, she is definitely “more than I can handle.”

Regardless of why I have that task, I do.   There are days where I feel like I am alone and have no help.   Am I learning something from this challenge in my life?  I probably am.  I am learning that I’m even less patient that I already knew I was.   I am reinforcing the knowledge that I’m great at physical care of human beings, but suck at mental/emotional care.   I am hoping and praying, that when I am in this situation, my children do better than I at caring for me.   Because some days, I feel like I am totally failing at caring for my mother.

 

In reality, I do not think that I am currently taking on more than God is asking me to.   I used to have wonderful roles in the church – leading children’s musicals and children’s church.   I used to be active in the church choir and other things.  At this point in my life, I am not doing any of that.   I am sitting back and letting others do those things.  Do I feel discouraged by this?  Yes, I do.  I loved doing those things.   The people leading those things do a good enough job… I know I could do better, but I’m keeping my mouth shut and letting others minister that way now.

 

I am still leading a Girl Scout troop… I only have 1 now.  Remember the time I had 4 different troops??  GOOD TIMES!!!  So, I don’t think that is an overwhelming task.

 

Back to the question:  Am I doing more than God has asked me to do?     If we say that God has asked me to care for my mother, then no, I don’t think so.   The days that I feel overwhelmed with life, are the days that my mother is in her full “Belligerent Bessie” and “Anxiety Jane” modes.

 

I still have a lot on my plate… like:

finishing the updating and clearing of mom’s house to get it on the market

finishing the final touches of my own remodel

cleaning /sorting and clearing the garage and storage unit

keeping track of all of my mother’s meds, appointments, schedule

keeping track of Esther’s appointments, schedules, and getting her through High School

keeping tabs on the other 3 kids… as much as I need to… not too much for them, these days

 

The yarn projects I take on, are a creative outlet for me.   I need that.  I need the ability to be creative.  Someday, my kids will look at the stack of afghans and question why I kept making them.   Just like I look at the stack of quilts of my mother’s.   It is because we had/have a need to be creative!  AND we are (were) good at it!!

 

Do you think you are taking on more than God is asking?  Only you can know the answer to that question?   Think about it.   Step back, if need be.    If you have time for taking on more things… I have a garage that needs sorted!  Come be my motivation and helper!  🙂

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What are you good at?

Everyone has something they are good at.  You just need to find it… or maybe accept it…

 

Sure, we might not all be award winning musicians… or gold medal winning ice skaters…  we might not have the athletic prowess of a hall of famer… or sing opera…

But there is something in all of us.  Everyone has talents.  Everyone is good at something.   Identifying what that is may be the hard part.

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What are you good at? 

Are you a good listener?  Do people open up to you and share their joys and sorrows with you?

Do you know the right things to say and encourage others?

Can you cook a gourmet meal?  Can you make the best mac n cheese this side of the Mississippi?  Can you make a great cup of tea?

Do you know the names of all the constellations?   Can you find the Big Dipper on any given night quickly?

Can you build a house?  What about a deck?  What about a wonderful popsicle stick craft for the Scouts or Sunday School?

Can you sew costumes for a theater production?  Can you sew halloween costumes for your kids that they will love?  Can you sew a button on?

Can you knit/crochet an afghan?  Can you knit/crochet a potholder?  Can you roll yarn into wonderful tight balls?

Can you train a dog to do all kinds of tricks and/or be a service animal?  Can you  train your dog to poop outside and not chew your shoes?

Can you write a novel that becomes a best seller?  Can you write a letter to someone to encourage them?  Can you write a grocery list that is legible?

 

Do you see what I’m getting at?   You don’t have to be the best in the world at something.  You just have to the be the best in YOUR world at some thing.

Sure, being super wonderful at something would feel great.  However, in all seriousness, how many of us will ever attain that kind of greatness?  We just need to recognize that we are good at some things.   Even the littlest things can mean the most to the people in your world.

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What am I good at?

I am good at lots of things… at least I like to think I am.  I’m sure there are things my family would say that I’m not good at.  But, today, let’s focus on recognizing we are good at things!

I’m not the best cook in the world, but my family is well fed and healthy.  I do have a few recipes that are amazing:  Chex Mix, Purple Yogurt Beef, Parmesan Chicken…

I’m not the best athlete in the world, but my family is mostly physically fit.  The kids all were on the swimteam, my mother goes to senior exercise at the Y, I can still out hike the scouts on most camping trips (and the younger moms)!

I am really, really creative!  I will own that one.

I am not the best housekeeper.  However, we are rarely sick.  Most of the time we can find what we are looking for.  Daughter #3 comes home and organizes for us.

I am marginally musically inclined.  I can play the piano moderately (should have practiced more).  I can play the flute moderately (same excuse).  All of the members of my family can play an instrument and sing fairly well.  Daughter #1 even took voice lessons in college.  Daughter #4 is considering being in the marching band in college.  Music is important in our family.

I can build things!  OK… I couldn’t build the house addition, but I did help.  I DID build the play set and the castle!

 

 

Today, think about something you ARE good at!!  Pat yourself on the back and tell me what it is (either here or on Facebook).    I want to hear it!!   Even if it is just that the dog pooped outside today and you are the one that trained her/him.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Purpose

How many times have I asked, “why?’   And people have said things like:

 

God has a purpose for this.

In time you will see the purpose.

All things in God’s timing.

God must have better things in store for you.

When God opens a window…. (blah, blah, blah)

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When do we ever know the purpose in some event/tragedy?  Do we ever know?  Yes, in heaven we are told we will know.  But if/when we get to heaven, are we really gonna care at that point?  Hindsight can give us a rough idea of the purpose.

 

Let me give you a few examples of the over 30 years of “whys” I’ve questioned.

 

  1.   Why did my father have to get sick and then die when I was pregnant with my firstborn.

OH SORRY!  That is one that I still don’t understand why!  Still seems unfair and not something a loving God would do.

 

Try again:

 

  1.  When we were moved from Cambridge, in my heart I wanted one more year.  I want daughter #2 to get one more year at a wonderful preschool.
  • that didn’t happen.   We moved to Carrollton.  It really was an OK move.  We met some wonderful people that I’m proud to call friends.   Daughter #1 made some fabulous friends and excelled in elementary school.   We increased the size of our family.
  • would all of that have happened if we hadn’t moved?  Sure, probably.  We had/have great friends from Cambridge too.
  • So… why did it have to happen then?  No real answer, but in hindsight it wasn’t the worst thing either.

2.  When we were moved from Carrollton to Westfield.   Again, in my heart, I wanted one more year.  I wanted one more year for daughter #3 to attend a great K-4 program.  I believe it could have nipped the Selective Mutism in the bud and possibly set her on the right track for less stress and anxiety.

  • That didn’t happen.  We moved.  It was a good time for the older girls to move.  They did great.  They made some great friends.  I’m sure for daughter #1, that location probably feels most like “home.”
  • it was a struggle for daughter #3 but she was able to succeed in school.  She was surrounded by a wonderful group of friends.  She received the gifted and talented services she needed.  She has some great teachers that worked with her and supported her and encouraged her through her Selective Mutism.
  • we made some wonderful memories there and some great friends as well.

 

3.  When we were moved from Westfield to Canton.  This was the biggest issue.  This time we questioned out loud!  Daughter #1 had one more year of high school.  This was not a good time to move.

  • however, move we did.  In hindsight, while the timing was terrible and daughter #1 was “left behind” to finish school.  It worked out.  It was a good time to move for the others.  They jumped right into the new school system and again made some amazing friends.  Despite the hassles we had with a few teachers over the Selective Mutism, the school system was mostly supportive of daughter #3’s needs.
  • additionally, it provided us the opportunity to purchase our own home.  Something we had been thinking about.  Had we not purchased our own home, further events would have put us on the streets – homeless, or living in my mother’s attic.
  • It also meant that we now lived closer to my mother and given the events of the past 3 years, that has been a good thing, since I have now become her 1º care giver.

 

4.  When jobs were lost again and again.  That is still a why, we grapple with.   There is no reasoning behind that one.  Are we seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, yes, of course.  Do we yet see a reason behind that tragedy?   No.  We do not.

 

Yes, given time and separation, I can see a purpose in many of the disappointments/trouble in my life.  As time goes on, hopefully, I will see even more.

 

It is hard though, isn’t it.  Hindsight is great.  I can look back now and see… yes, it was OK/good to move when we did because of this or that.  In the midst of the trouble/tragedy that vision is not so clear.  Emotions take over and blind us to any possibility of purpose.

 

All those “trite” sayings about God having a purpose… opening a window… I suppose they are true.  However, I still don’t like to hear them.  They do seem flippant and trite to me.  What would have been more helpful to me in those situations would have been words like:

This is awful, I’m so sorry you are going through this.

Let me help you move.  Let me help you clean.  Let me help you.

I’m here if you need to talk.  I will listen.

 

Those kinds of things are encouraging.   Telling me to trust God because he is fulfilling a purpose in me, does not help me when the tragedy is upon me.   I really try not to say those things to other.   I could.  I have friends who are going through rough times right now.  I know that deep down, they know those God things… but what they need right now, is a HUMAN presence in their lives.   They need someone walking beside them and helping them.   That is what I try to do.  That is what I wish more had done with me.

 

I know it is hard.  I know that when you are Christian/Religious person, it is easy to just spout those God words.  It is better if you don’t say them but put into action your love and care for others.  There may be a purpose/window opening for the disappointment/tragedy but getting to the place where one can see it takes time.  During that time, be the friend, be the encourager, be the tear wiper, the spider killer, the box packer, the ice cream server, the physical presence of God in their lives.

How Do You Count Your Blessings?

How do you count your blessings?

 

Are you a person that opens your eyes in the morning and says:  “Good Morning, Lord!”  And then proceeds to only look for the positive and count your blessings all day long?

 

Are you a person that publicly (FB) lists blessings everyday for the month of November?

 

Are you someone that prays daily and starts off with a list of blessings.

 

Are you someone that has a list by your computer or in your bible, or by your recliner and you look at it often and add things to it as they come to mind?

 

Are you someone that knows you are blessed but tends towards realism and pessimism and thus doesn’t focus on the blessings, but know they are there deep inside your heart?

 

Seriously, we can all list things many people call blessings:

foodImage result for blessing

shelter

breathing

decent health

family

friends

pets

transportation

heat

electricity

clean clothes

clean water

All those standards of life.  Sure, they are blessings, I guess.  But are they not also the norm?  Wouldn’t you think a blessing could be construed as something above and beyond the regular, normal things of life?

So, what would be a blessing?

an unexpected gift

a call/visit from a friend

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a rainbow on a cloudy day

finding a missing item

good news

cooperation from co-workers/family members

a clearance sale on something you’ve been wanting

 

I am not a good blessing lister.  I have tried the listing them in November thing… I have tried the blessing people with notes thing…

 

I am a realist.

Realist:  a person who accepts a situation as it is and is prepared to deal with it accordingly.

I go through  life accepting things as they come and dealing with them – sometimes I don’t deal with them well, but I keep moving on through life.   I am not very optimistic in most situations and yet, I don’t think I’m fully pessimistic either.

 

And then there is “spiritual blessings.” What the heck would those be?   The Lord is going to bless us with spiritual blessings ( Ephesians 1:3).   I’m not sure I even know what those would be and I’m not delving in to that today.   I would just like a few more “earthly blessings” in my life.

 

Today has not been a good day, thus far.  I’m waiting on a blessing.

 

 

 

Who helps the helper?

Who helps the helper?  That is a great question.

As a Primary (1º) caregiver and a mom and a wife, I take care of up to 6 people a day – depending on who is home.   Add to that 5 cats and dog that are primarily under my care as well.

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Being a “helper” or caregiver is exhausting.   Just on a normal day, I have to deal with an adult who is more like a 6 year old – prompt her to do just about everything.   I cook 3 meals a day, dole out medicine, be sure there is food for the critters, keep track of doctors appointments, go to swim meets or band concerts or choir concerts, take care of what minimal house cleaning that gets done, wash dirty clothes, help the grown children find things they left here …. the list can go on and on.

 

Women were created to be helpers.   Most women are wired to be helpers.  Even in this world of “equality” the woman still does the majority of the helping/caregiving.   I have been fortunate enough to be able to stay home to raise the children.  And yes, fortunate enough that I am able to care for my mother in my home instead of shoving her in a nursing home.   Honestly, I don’t mind most of the work.   However…

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There are times when the pressure of being squashed between teenagers and dementia gets very overwhelming.  So… who is helping me?

 

Now… there are some of you that would say and/or quote Psalm 28:7 to me:  “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.”   Yeah… maybe… but let’s remember that I struggle with that because that does not actually provide me physical help.   I suppose the Lord might send me peace of mind or something to “help” me.

 

There are many days, when I struggle with the weight of the responsibilities I have.

 

However, please know that I do have some help.   I really do.   When my children are in town (3 are either in college or don’t live here) they do/can help with things around the house, or at least take a turn granny-sitting.   Even the high school student has been known to granny-sit.  Though she prefers it when it is nap time and she just has to be in the house in case Grandma wakes up.

 

I also have a husband who is working 2 jobs and does try to help when he can.  He is much more patient with my mom, so when I am totally fed up with her, he sometimes takes her on errands or just to the other room to give us some space.   Additionally, I have mentioned this before, but… I have not washed dishes on a regular basis since 1987.    I also don’t generally have to fold laundry nor put it away.  Divisions of labor that have been in place for 3 decades.

 

However, even with the family helpers, I am responsible for so much that isn’t even on a list that I could generate.  Things that only my mind knows I need to do, so I just do it.

 

In fact, I’m not even sure what kind of helper I would want.   I find that I can get just as frustrated if someone else does something I usually do and they do it differently or wrong.  It is just easier to do it myself.   That sounds like something my bossy/leader first born said when she was 4:  “Do it myself.”

 

I think that the kind of helpers I want/need would be ones that just support me and encourage me.  Ones that might come visit on occasion and sit a spell.  Someone that would just be a friend and understand how overwhelming life can be at times but find little ways to make me smile.

 

For the few friends that I have, I tried to be that kind of helper.   Loving, encouraging, supporting, laughing, ice cream bringing, spider killing, game playing, craft making… that kind of helper/friend!  ❤

Discipline

Every year people around the world make New Years Resolutions… to lose weight, to be kinder, to be more patient, to stop swearing, to stop drinking, to stop smoking, to go to church, to read their bible… etc.

 

I have never been one to do well with that.  I rarely, if ever, make them in all seriousness.

 

Of course, I would love to lose 30 pounds.   Maybe this will be the year I actually work on it.  Or be more patient… yeah… would be nice if that happened….

 

All good goals.

 

Setting any kind of goal and following through takes discipline.

 

Not discipline  – the act of punishing someone

Not discipline – the field of study/branch of knowledge

Not discipline – the teaching of rules and conduct and self-control

 

More like disciple – the conduct and practice to improve yourself, your strength or self-control.

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We easily follow through on the daily things we have to do:  feed the family, do the dishes/laundry, go/take to school, go to work, take medicine… blah, blah, blah

 

But what about when we need to focus that discipline on ourselves to improve something (like those NY resolutions are)?  We might do it for a day or week or maybe even a month… but by March (at the latest) we have pretty much given up.

 

Maybe the goal was too big.   Maybe the discipline required to meet the goal was too hard.  Maybe we didn’t have encouragement from our family and friends.

 

So… what is the solution?  Is there a solution?  What would help you have the discipline to follow through with something?

 

I have the discipline to finish 17 afghans in one year… but do I have the discipline to lose 17 pounds?  If I had, I would be thinner and healthier and maybe happier.

 

I think part of the solution lies in how big you make your goal.  DON’T make giant goals.  I didn’t make a goal last January to make 17 afghans, it just happened.  As I finished one, I started the next.   Make small goals.   Goals that are reasonably attainable and that you can have the discipline to follow through on.  That way you will feel like you have accomplished something!   If you are on Facebook, you already know that I listed 9 afghans on my list for the year.   To some of you that would seem overwhelming, to me, because I know my capabilities and skills, that will be an easy goal.  Maybe for you it would be to make one knit/crochet dishcloth.    Instead of saying, I want to lose 40 pounds before June.  Maybe go with 10 pounds by Valentine’s Day.   Seems reasonably attainable.   Once you reach that goal, set the next one.

 

Another helpful thing, would be to have someone either as an accountability partner (not my thing, but I know others like that) or someone to go through it with you.   Someone who you can encourage and can encourage you.  Someone that will walk the track with you so you reach your 6,000 steps a day goal for January even if it is cold outside and dark.   Someone that will text you at 10pm telling you that they really want to eat all the bagels/chocolate/chips in the house and know you probably want to as well, but will text/chat with you instead.

 

If you want to do something and have the discipline to complete it, you really have to want to.  There has to be good motivation.   What is your reward, once you reach that goal?   I didn’t set a goal for 17 afghans, but surely I should get some sort of reward for that!   If you lose the 10 pounds by Valentine’s day maybe you can reward yourself with some new earrings… or a new shirt… or some flowers… or some yarn.  🙂

 

Here is my first set of personal goals.

  1.  lose those pesky 10 pounds by Valentine’s day.  That will be very, very hard because I am an emotional eater… stress eater… and my life is pretty darn stressful!!
  2.  up my steps to 5000-6000 per day.  I’m currently set at 4500 and do pretty good with that most day, expect Sundays.
  3.  try to blog at least once a week… twice would be even better.

 

It will take discipline to do those things because the TV, yarn, and couch call my name very loudly!    If you need a 10pm text from someone to stop you from eating… I’m your gal.   I would be happy to text with you!

 

Happy New Year!

November

November

  • falling leavesImage result for autumn
  • falling temperatures
  • pine needles filling the gutters
  • more hours of darkness
  • sweat shirts and sweaters (if you like that, I don’t)
  • bonfires that feel good
  • fireplace for ambiance and warmth
  • homemade soups
  • swim season
  • blooms on the Christmas cactus
  • pouring over photos to find the perfect one for a Christmas card

 

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Along with many other things…

  • still wondering when I will get the siding done on the house
  • still living with some minor finishing touches needed completing
  • still don’t have all the flooring down at my mom’s
  • still need to finish taking stuff to resale after the garage sale
  • too many dirty clothes and no desire to wash them
  • starting to think about an open house and the cleaning & preparing seems overwhelming
  • disagreeing over the thermostat constantly
  • time to locate the ice scrapers for the cars
  • maybe should think about Thanksgiving and who to invite

 

What I really want to do though…Image result for yarn crafts

  • work on Esther’s afghan
  • finish the Nativity Set
  • play with yarn for other projects
  • watch Hallmark Movies
  • eat 70% off Halloween candy
  • play on the computer
  • have peace and quiet

 

This blog post really has no express purpose… just thinking about everything that needs to get done and not doing it.  🙂