I started reading Unglued Devotional: 60 Days of Imperfect Progress over again. I never completed it back in the fall when I started it and published several blog posts on the topic –

But that’s the whole premise of Lysa Terkeurst’s message in her book, Unglued, and the devotional. It’s okay that life is messy sometimes and it’s okay that I don’t necessarily finish something I set out to do when I intend to finish it. The goal is progress. And progress is what I’ve made.
So while I didn’t finish the devotional – okay, I’ll admit I didn’t even make it a third of the way – nor have I finished the video I bought to watch that goes coincides with the book (Unglued) – what I have done is kept her words and concepts in my mind and heart and made progress with it. I have kept her words (and yes, the Word of the Lord) in my mind during conflict much, much more than I ever have before. And that has kept me from becoming Unglued in moments where I know, before, would have set me off in the past. I am less loud less often. That is progress, no matter how imperfect it may be.

I am trying hard to remember what Lysa teaches. I do not have to be perfect in making my changes to call it progress. My past does not define me. Our history is not what our future must hold. We are all capable of imperfect progress.

So I will continue. I will work to learn how to react better to stress that surrounds me just as it surrounds most of us. I will work to learn to relax and not worry so much. I will continue to make progress in responding more and reacting less. Reading the devotional (and God’s word) is just part of this.

What do you do to keep yourself on your journey of Imperfect Progress?

2

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I woke up at 4:30 this morning.

Panicked.

Yikes.

There's only 9 Days Left?? Seriously?

Well, what I told myself would be my stress-free year of the hustle and bustle of December (okay, I admit it- I always shoot for that goal...) is probably the worst year ever for serious planning and doing it all (shopping, meal plans, etc. )stress free.  I have 9 days left to buy presents for my family & friends and figure out all of our plans, etc. and still somehow hold onto that holiday spirit and keep focused on the reason.

2014-12-16 06.16.36

So as I sit and write this post, I tell myself:  I will NOT come UNGLUED.  I will NOT come UNGLUED.

I realize I need to not only get busy online and order some things to put under our tree and give to others we love,  I also need to relish that part of the reason this month hasn't been all that organized is that I have taken some time to relax.  I've had some extra family time, time with my husband, time to travel and bring my daughter home from college and time to write some pretty good posts at the beginning of the month.  So these  past two weeks were productive - just not in getting my holiday plans and shopping done.

But now that the season is upon us with just 9 days left and trying not to panic, I need to figure out how to still get all that shopping done (under deadlines to get it all here on time since most of my shopping is done online as I can never find what I really want in the malls of Williamsport and it's just so much less time consuming to do it online anyway), plan our family time, travel time and yes, meal and yummy food planning and everything else that comes up ( a funeral, grocery shopping, household tasks and so on and still stay focused on the reason.

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So some things need to go.  🙁

It looks like the writing is the thing-

I've already not been able to work on the great ideas for posts I had for this December - guess I'll write those ideas down in a notebook for next year- but it is what it is. So please excuse me while I try to stay sane for the next two weeks and may not get around to posting much, or writing much at all.  It's disheartening really- after all the motivation I got from PiBoIdMo to not have had ANY time the last couple of weeks to even pick up a manuscript or even write down a single idea since December 1.   But I will try to stay upbeat about the great idea list I have written down from November and will do everything I can to get back on track for the new year -  which means I really should at least look over that resolution list and goal list I developed last year and truly think about what my priorities are to get me back on track.

In the meantime-

I hope YOU are staying focused on the REAL REASON for this holiday season.

What do YOU do, in the midst of panic and time crunches,  to stay focused on the reason?

2

Wrapping It Up

November was a good month for me....possibly not for these turkeys...but good for me!  It wasn't quite as full as October, but it was certainly productive.

 

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My Writing World:  My month was consumed with PiBoIdMo-  and that was not a good thing-  it was a GREAT THING!  The last week hasn't been as successful, but the first three were excellent.  I read a great post last night as I was reading through several days worth of posts I had to catch up on.  Ruth McNally Barshaw convinced me I need to give myself permission to be imperfect with my goals and that it was okay to not do so well this week.  It certainly didn't hinder from me from obtaining my 30 ideas.... I already have a total of 36 and I still have today and tomorrow to add to that!

I also had about 20 posts here on the blog this month...pretty good, I'd say though this week was quite slow.  Sorry about that.  The most read post this month was on Picture Book Month and the Giveaway, but my favorite was Answer The Phone Please.  Go check them out if you haven't read them yet!  Hopefully I'll get tomorrow's Peaceful Reflections done and hopefully I'll get an announcement made for Monday for the winner of the Giveaway!
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My Book World: My book world sort of slowed down, mostly because my writing picked up but also because I think I'm finally learning to focus on just a few books at a time instead of the incredibly large stack by my bed and all the other places I have stacks around my house.  This month my focus was on The Emotionally Healthy Woman: Eight Things You Have to Quit to Change Your Life as I'm participating in a book club using that book and the workbook that comes with it.  I still picked up Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst here and there and read a few chapters of A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections to the Gentle Art of Learning.

I did pick up one more book, at the high recommendations I heard about it at the book club I mentioned above.  I'll tell you more about it after I've read some more of Love and Respect:  The Love She Desires and the Respect He Desperately Needs .  I bought the workbook for this one too and it looks like it's an awesome set!

Our Homeschool World: Pennsylvania got some wonderful news for its homeschool law as I reported in a post earlier this month!  I am thrilled!

Regretfully, our football season ended at the District Championship game.  While I was looking forward to not having so much running to do (back and forth to practices and games), I found myself in tears when my son's team was beaten for the first time all year with a score of 2-6.  I truly felt depressed all week when the clock would strike three and I couldn't take him to practice.  Still, I think after a few days of experiencing the deep disappointment, he was able to focus on all he learned and realize he did, indeed, have an AWESOME year and is already looking forward to the year ahead.  And now....to get caught up with academics.  He'll do it.  I have every bit of confidence in him.

My youngest son is reading beyond my dreams.  And WRITING!  He has taken it upon himself to join me at my desk while I write.  He brings his stacks of colored papers and pencils and sits and writes, and writes, and writes while I type away or write in my PiBoIdMo notebook.  Sometimes he pretends one of those brightly colored bits of paper is his laptop and begins to type!  The astounding thing is, he really is writing REAL words (among some not quite so real words....or at least not English words....) including Mom, Do Not Entr (he's four, so what if he spells enter wrong! LOL), is, go, dog, cat, and so many others!  It's so much fun!  Creative Fun Writing, then, has been our focus this month. But we've done a few lessons in Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, made a lot of words with Delightful Reading by Simply Charlotte Mason, played in the snow (well, he has....I'll try to do better next month), drawing and listening to various types of music.

Our Food/Health World

I haven't been doing much writing about this on the blog.  Other topics have taken up the majority of my posts.  I did however do some more research and one post on the Elderberry!  I'm glad I did.  I woke up one morning with a touch of a sore throat and some mouth sores that are usually indicative of a major cold virus....  I started taking extra Elderberry (I used the drops since the store was out of the syrup!) and in just two days those symptoms decreased dramatically and never got any worse.  I'm convinced!  Hopefully, I'll get back to some more food and natural health posts soon.  Remember, let me know if there's something in particular you'd like me to write about- you never know- your suggestion just may be something I've been meaning to research!

Other Parts of Life

  • We celebrated the Feast of Entry of the Theotokos into the Temple.  It is one of the 12 Great Feast Days of the year celebrated by the Orthodox Church.  You can read my very short post about it here and you can read a past post I wrote about Mary last year here.
  • I began using my alarm on my phone to remind me to pray throughout the day.  It's something I did for awhile a year or two ago and got out of the habit of.  Rather than taking a full half hour or more in the morning for devotion time when I am sleepy and not entirely focused, I only do about ten minutes now, and several other 5-10 minute sessions throughout the day.  I find it to be more soothing and keeps me more mindful of our Lord this way.
  • We were very happy to have my daughter home for Thanksgiving.  She's been here for about a week and I'll probably be driving her back to school tomorrow.
  • I started working on my Christmas cards yesterday.  I made up a very small letter with a few photos to announce our new address.  I figure there's less chance in getting cards sent to us lost if everyone has our new address early on.
  • We have a new addition to our 'family'!!   Maggie is an early birthday present from my husband- he does know how to melt my heart, doesn't he?- though I believe the convincing came from my children.  Many hours were spent on determining her name.I'mfairly sure this is the name that stays....
    This is Maggie.  :)   She is a bit frisky and adventurous when not sleeping!
    This is Maggie. 🙂 She is a bit frisky and adventurous when not sleeping!

     

     How was your November?

 

 

 

2

I've realized over the past few weeks of reading, self-observation and observation of others, that there is certainly more than one way to experience being "unglued".  I think when I read the book the first time, I only considered my, well - full tilt 'explosions' so to speak.... the yelling & screaming moments.  Or the tearful moments (um, usually accompanied by the yelling).

But really, there's a lot of ways that we experience or display 'becoming unglued' isn't there?

  • yelling
  • screaming
  • cursing
  • crying
  • slamming doors
  • throwing objects
  • grumpy  or snarky responses to others
  • shutting down and not doing ANYTHING
  • overeating/stress eating
  • quietly (but angrily) withdrawing from others
  • blaming
  • etc.

Really, this IS  covered in Lysa Terkeurst's  book.  But I think I sort of glossed over the other things the first time because I so heavily associated myself with the 'exploder', it was really the only part I focused on.  The only thing I worked on.  Now I realize I need to look at it all.  Because all of those other things precede the explosion.

Lysa specifies 4 categories of unglued reactions -

  • The Exploders who Shame Themselves -  (my book has a LOT of underlined and highlighted lines and comments in the margins in the chapter covering this one - another sign that I so closely identified with this the most)
  • The Exploders who Blame Others
  • The Stuffers who Build Barriers
  • The Stuffers who Collect Retaliation Rocks

I remembered that there were various categories and that I had identified with all of them but it was the first one that really stuck.  But really I'm getting ahead of myself.  I haven't even re-read all of chapter 2 yet, let alone chapter 3 where she discusses these categories.  But in rereading chapter 1 and 3, watching the videos and making observations of myself and those around me, I found myself looking ahead at my old notes and thinking, "Oh yes, now it's all coming together...I can see clearly now".   And now what I need to do is stay focused on making it better and asking for and accepting God's mercy and grace in doing that.  And accepting imperfect progress. That's the hard part.

But I AM MAKING PROGRESS.

I'm recognizing again the signals in my body and the circumstances that bring it about. I recognize the tightness in my chest and muscles, the agitation growing within and my breathing patterns.

And I know, after completing session one on the video and the workbook, what my absolute biggest triggers are. They weren't surprises, but they reconfirmed what I need to do  to avoid the triggers and that I need to speak up for myself in trying to make those closest to me understand these needs. NOT that I feel others are responsible for whether my triggers occur - but if they understand, it has the potential to help.  So here they are:

  • SLEEP  - I can say with absolute assurity that my biggest explosions are closely associated with the amount of sleep I've had.  This is better than it used to be, but there are still nights I have insomnia for one reason or another, and it really has an effect on my mood and ability to handle stress.
  • HUNGER -  I can say with just as much assurity that hunger is equal to sleep in relation to my explosions. Now that we primarily use the paleo diet, I do so much better with this issue. While  I can now usually (not always)  go for longer periods of time without eating and don't always have to have major meals by a certain time,  I do know that eating well-balanced meals in a timely fashion really do affect my ability to handle day-to-day life stuff well.
  • NOISE - I like the quiet. I really do.  And soothing sounds like the breeze, songbirds, ocean waves, and low volume soft music.  Put me in a loud situation and I'm stressed.  Does that always make me unglued? No.  I can handle football games, loud rock music coming from my daughter's bedroom, a concert - but mix it with the other factors that I've mentioned or in a stressful time or event?  yeah, not so much.
  • TOO MUCH GOING ON AT ONCE - The mornings are bad....  I'm usually hungry and trying to keep up with my morning routine to get the day off smoothly and I panic if I'm behind.  Add an unexpected phone call, the dog getting sick, my child not being able to find shoes and needing to get somewhere that's on my list of things to do that day and it gets hairy.  Throw in someone asking me to do something extra  or having a computer or some other technology problem and well, I'm not always the most patient. Mornings of course, aren't the only time for this.  The week we moved was crazy.... unexpected problem after unexpected problem on top of needing to cook in a unpacked disorganized kitchen, handling phone calls on top of phone calls, meeting the needs of my youngest and older son, finding things for everyone  - well, there was a lot going on and it's a miracle I still have hair. It's a miracle there's any glue left.
  • INTERRUPTIONS - This is less likely to be a trigger if the other ones aren't occurring, but one I really need to stay aware of and work on. It can be the smallest thing for me too.  Example:

I'm here at the computer, in the middle of a great train of thought, really getting the words out and, "Mommy I need to go potty."  (He's 4, why is he telling me this?)

"Okay dear, go ahead." I go back to the keyboard.

"Which one should I go to?" (We have three bathrooms and he's in this phase where he seems to need me to tell him which one to use)

"Uh, it doesn't matter. Just pick one."

"Tell me which one!" he yells, which I find annoying when I'm trying to get something done, you know?  Actually I find it annoying anytime.

"Yours." I answer in a huffy voice.  "Go use yours."  (It's not his, but he identifies it as his as it's the main bathroom that he uses most often and where the bathtub is that he uses.

"No- K_____ is there!"  (his brother).  Ugh.  I rub my temple.  The tension is building within me.

"Just use the middle bathroom then."

"Ok."

But  now my focus is gone. Did I scream?  No.  But inside I am unglued and I have let this interruption ruin my focus and my mood is on edge for several minutes, sometimes longer paving the way for another interruption to totally set me off.  I really need to find a better way to handle little interruptions.  I really need to learn to call upon God even in these small situations.  I need to learn to call upon God in all situations.

So these are the main things I have learned thus far in my journey of raw emotions and making wise choices while going through them. I have recognized my biggest triggers and in what ways (there are many - my list above only scratches the surface really) I become unglued.

And I've realized I've left God out of these situations.  Rarely do I call upon Him until the situation is so totally blown out of proportion that I see no way to crawl out of the hole. Then I cry out to Him.  THEN I get down on bended knee and ask Him for His hand. Why do I wait until then???  Why, when I first feel those physical changes in my body, or when I realize the triggers ar occurring,don't I reach out to Him then?  That, I believe, will be my first biggest step for true progress.

I believe He has led me to this journey.  The books that I've chosen (see my first original post on this subject) and others I have recently stumbled upon are seeming to be gifts of grace sent by Him.  I must listen and follow.

Please join me.   Share your own thoughts.

How do you experience being "Unglued"?

What are your TRIGGERS?

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing came UNGLUED in Vegas.

I somehow, once aboard a plane that took me 2349 miles away from home,  became the girl I used to be.  Relaxed, carefree, spontaneous, fun and, most of all, NOT WORRIED and NOT UNGLUED.

Where did she come from?  It was like peeling off layers of heavy wool, weight-bearing, fur covered, winter clothing and standing in a light cotton strapless sundress -  actually I peeled off the sweatshirt at the car, the sweater in the plane and I was left in capris and a flowing sleeveless blouse.....but you get the point.

I wasn't bearing the weight of stress on my shoulders.  I was able to LET GO.

My husband and I held hands, smiled, laughed and enjoyed our time together tremendously.  We were spontaneous and  daring - trying things we normally

My husband fulfilled a dream of mine - seeing Donny and Marie Osmond perform LIVE!!  Their show has actually been voted as #1 in Vegas for 3 years.  I've wanted to see them since age 7 - I attribute watching their show on TV at that age as instilling the love I music in me that I have today.  The picture in enter of my new t-shirt is the same picture that was on one I had around age 9 - the one my mom somehow turned green in the washer!  I wonder if I'll be brave enough to wash this one ;)
My husband fulfilled a dream of mine - seeing Donny and Marie Osmond perform LIVE!! Their show has actually been voted as #1 in Vegas for 3 years. I've wanted to see them since age 7 - I attribute watching their show on TV at that age as instilling the love for music in me that I have today. The picture in the center of my new t-shirt is the same picture that was on one I had around age 9 - the one my mom somehow turned green in the washer! I wonder if I'll be brave enough to wash this one 😉

wouldn't - Extraordinarily expensive meals that had our taste buds dancing, oysters (not necessary to repeat that one), the High Roller ( world's tallest ferris wheel - a certain feat for me with my fear of heights), several shows, and a glass of wine with a little lunchtime gambling IN the swimming pool - just to name some of the highlights!  We just focused on each other and HAD FUN!

It's certainly time our marriage needed.  I have forgotten what it felt like to be THAT GIRL - it makes me reminiscent of a talk given by Heidi St. John at the CHAP convention earlier this year. She spoke often during her talk and in one of her books about That Girl... you know, the girl you were when you fell in love- before the responsibilities of work and marriage and CHILDREN!

Oh, don't get me wrong - I LOVE my children!  But I know full well part of what happened as I boarded that plane is that somehow - knowing I was going over 2,000 miles away helped me shed 'Mommy Mode' - something I am very rarely able to do.  I shed "Mommy" and 'stress mode'!

I am so envious sometimes of my husband - who seems able to do this whenever he wants to.  He's able to sit down in front of a football game and turn off ALL sensibility to the world around him.  He can, at a moments notice, decide to go spend the day hunting, watching sports, or some other leisurely activity and not seem to know that work is piling up and that he may be needed elsewhere!  ***PLEASE NOTE - I'm NOT KNOCKING my husband here - I'm saying I WISH I COULD DO IT TOO!!!!!!

But it's like we women have this knob that gets turned to 'mommy mode' and It Gets Stuck!!

But Can I really avoid that mode?

I already felt it early Wednesday morning.... the day before we got on the plane to come back home.  It was that familiar panic when waking in the morning....  knowing that this was the 'last day' of total relaxation - just doing for me - for US .  It was that tension of remembering all that we'd have to do the next day and preparing for facing reality that life can't be a Vegas trip every day.  I needed to remind myself we still had a day to just ENJOY and that life didn't have to go back to full mode stress just because the trip was going to end.

What Can It Be?

I think this trip has proven that That Girl is still alive and breathing!  In fact, she's kicking to get out of  that mode more often.  But - OBVIOUSLY - I can't board a plane for Vegas every week - so what can I do to balance Mommy Mode with That Girl??

That's a question I don't have an answer for immediately - and I don't think there is a clear-cut answer (though boarding a plane is tempting... it's unrealistic).

However, I do have some ideas that may help me (and you) get started:

First and foremost - I need to remember to put God and my marriage first.  Yes - my marriage has to come before the kids.  That's a hard one for us moms.  But reality is, our strong marriages make our kids strong.  It makes us better Moms (and Dads).

Secondly, I need me time.  I need to NOT feel selfish about spending some time doing things that are important to me (reading and writing).  I don't mean it should consume me and prevent me from doing my motherly duties and providing my children with love and attention.  But if I give myself love and attention, I'll be better able to give of myself to others - and feel like me (you know, That Girl) - instead of 'just a servant' - which, without the 'me time' and the time with God and my husband, is easy to feel .

Third, I'm continuing my quest for ways to reduce stress and stay Unglued. It won't be an easy change - and it won't happen overnight.  But that's okay - because I think I'm finally accepting that gradual change leading to imperfect progress IS OKAY.  And I can forgive myself for those little (sometimes Big) setbacks.  It won't be easy.  But I can do it.

Who's With Me?

 

 

 

 

SO ....

Yesterday I opened up a bit about my raw emotion.

I'm using Lysa Terkurst's books and companion materials "Unglued".

 

My latest materials for Devotion Time.
My latest materials for Devotion Time.

And I'm sitting here feeling a little unglued to tell you the truth.  Last night I read through part of the personal study portion for the first session.  In it I need to keep written observations of my 'unglued' raw emotional moments over the upcoming week.  I must observe what happens before the moment (physical and emotional state), what happened to prompt it and how did I react?

Well - right now I can identify the main trigger.  It's the most obvious one for me.  Hunger.  I really need to watch I eat (and drink ) appropriately.  Since going on the Paleo diet (there's other posts about this - I won't go into it here) this happens BY FAR less than it used to.  My body seems to be able to handle longer periods of time without eating but I've also realized the importance of balancing my proteins, fats and veggies.  And I really MUST eat within an hour of waking in the morning.  Weekends are usually a fail for this.  I should probably keep something in my bedside drawer since I know this pattern.  And once I've gone too long, even after eating it takes awhile for my system to readjust.  So then I really REALLY need to work even harder at keeping my inner raw emotions at bay.

So right now I'm hiding from the world.  Seriously. So I don't make it worse.

Here at my computer.

In the dark room.

Eating.

And sharing with you.

I'm hoping (and praying) the feelings pass and that I can go on to having a better day.

I'll finish the food in my dish, post this for the day and move on.  AFTER I write down my observations.  And AFTER I ponder over some scripture verses that I've been trying to keep as my focus the last few days:

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be always pleasing before you O Lord, my helper and my redeemer. ~ Psalm 18:15

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.   Isaiah 41:13

and of course - my favorite 'Orthodox' prayer -

Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

 

 

5

 Raw Emotion.

I experience it often.

Do you?

(come on, be honest........)

Last year I wrote just a bit about reading the book Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst.  I really only touched upon it ever so lightly in various posts such as this one, this one and a great thought from the book I shared in this one.  I didn't even do a book review though I should have.  But I was being, well...... private.  I've come to the conclusion, though, that I need to reach out.  Because after reading Lisa's book and, now, viewing her video, I've FINALLY come to terms that I am human and there's a whole lot more humans out there experiencing the same thing and it's nothing to be ashamed of.  Something to change, yes.  But nothing to feel ashamed of.

And to really face something head on....to really really take the bull by the horns, to really try to change...I've decided to share it with you.

I become emotionally unglued.  Sometimes often.  Sometimes it's ugly.  Most times it's hidden from the 'public' and comes out in moments of stress and chaos around those I love the most - my kids and my husband.  I suppose I've hurt their feelings quite a bit.  Isuppose I've overreacted and taken what was a seemingly small problem in their eyes, if a problem at all, and blown it up into a war zone.  And the war zone intensifies when I realize what I've done and am too ashamed to admit it.  I'm not the calm got-it-all-together superwife/supermom I want to be.  And realizing that in the heat of the moment unglued me even more.

I become engulfed...like a ship tossed about on the rocks in a stormy sea.
I become engulfed...like a ship tossed about on the rocks in a stormy sea.

It's those high expectations I guess.  I expect myself to be PERFECT.

Do you do that?  Do you hold yourself to standards that are just too high?  Do you expect yourself (and maybe everyone around you) to be perfect???

I'm afraid I do....especially myself. And I expect everything that I've planned to go perfectly - otherwise, well....  I become unglued.  I'm not so patient.  I'm not calm.  I'm not stress-free.  I truly become unraveled.

And then I suddenly see myself.  Or hear myself...yelling..sobbing..being rude...being stubborn and selfish.

Oh, the agony.

I read the book last year.  Honestly I felt I needed it and honestly I did.  I wouldn't have known about the book if a friend hadn't posted about doing the study group on Facebook one day.  I didn't have a group.  So I just bought the book, hesitatingly....I usually don't purchase books that are in any way 'spiritual' if they are not written by an Orthodox author. But I was desperate to change a life long habit of....well....becoming unglued.....becoming overly emotional and , well,  a bit loud, maybe when frustrated, hurt, angry.... you know...  don't you?  So I bought the book....thinking it might help a little. It helped a lot.

It helped me identify what kind of reactor I am ( a bit of all four types really) and helped me identify what I was doing when I was doing it, which in itself is a huge step to changing.  And mostly, it helped me realize that I CAN change.... but that I also need to be kind to myself.  I need to not expect PERFECT overnight CHANGE.  Lysa calls it imperfect progress.  And she does a really good job at guiding you(me) through it in her book.

But a year has passed and, as I've written in past posts, I'm under quite a bit of stress.  I find myself sinking fast into those holes of darkness where I unravel quickly and feel almost claustrophobic from the tension within.  So I need to climb back out of the darkness and set myself right(with the help of the book and most of all...GOD).

I decided to reach for that book again.

But then I wondered.

Last year, my friend had posted about the video that came with a study guide.  So I looked it up....then I placed it in my cart, but before I did that I checked with my friend.  She definitely  recommended it. She said it really helped her put things into practice on a day-to-day basis.  Just what I was craving.  So I pushed the purchase button and got the devotional as well!  So here I am on yet another challenge.... to remain glued.  To keep myself together....at least more so than I have been.  I'm aiming for the imperfect progress that Lysa talks about.   I want to find peace in my relationships.  I want to improve my communication skills.  I want to be able to respond to situations without that lifetime habit of stuffing or exploding.  I want to be more calm.  More laid back.  More God centered.

And He is the key, isn't He?  I can't achieve change without Him.

I'm sure that's why I'm off-center.   I've let my time with Him slide.  I've let myself get wrapped up in those worldly 'needs' and stresses and haven't let Him in.  Oh sure, I've gone to Liturgy (though even that has been skipped a few times over the last couple of months due to being out of town, illness and yes, even once because I allowed myself to believe I just needed a morning in bed) but I haven't really focused on Him.

I have, though, finally in the last two weeks gotten back to my morning time.  I force myself out of bed at 5:30 to get a half hour with Him before I work on my writing (the blog and my writing on children's books).  And I make sure that I'm focusing on studies that will guide me in this challenge.  While I was waiting to decide on rereading Lysa's book, I started a bible study on 1 Corinthians 13.  When one is focused on loving others, it does help one to stay patient and calm...not perfectly, but it helps.  And now I have not only Lysa's book in hand, but the video, the participant's guide and the devotional.  Overkill?  maybe.   But I'm really really dedicated to doing this.

It won't happen overnight.

I will fall.

But I will let Him pick me up again and set me back on course.

And I will forgive myself.  Because after all, if He does....  so who am I to judge harshly against what God does not?

So along with my reading on Stress Management and Relaxation, I've added God to the mix....pretty good call, don't you think?  So my plan is to keep posting about this.  To share the tidbits on the tools I'm using to face my inner world of chaos in which I unravel upon those I love and start changing to a world of peace filled with His love.

Care to join me?

"Lord Save Me!"

 

 

5

I've done some more reading over the week.  My favorite thus far is The One and Only Ivan (winner of the 2013 Newberry Award).

Ivan is amazing to say the least! I was taken in by the first few pages.  How did Katherine Applegate come through with such vivid thoughts to portray the mind of a gorilla? The story is fictional, of course, but is based on a true story.  There is a real gorilla named Ivan (living at Zoo Atlanta).  Ivan really did live for twenty-seven years alone in a cage. And there really was a public outcry from children that gave Ivan the opportunity to live more contentedly at Zoo Atlanta.  The majority of the rest of the story is imaginative fiction but an absolutely spellbinding tale.   The recommended ages for this book are 8-12  but I think there are lots of 6-7 year olds who would love the tale being read aloud to them and plenty of animal loving kids and adults older than twelve who would thoroughly enjoy the tale.  I certainly did!

In picture books, my favorite was everything I read by Margaret Wise Brown (Big Red Barn was adorable and my son leaned in intently to see that baby mouse and count the chicken eggs!) and A Pet For Petunia by Paul Schmid.  I could really imagine a real child going through the same experience and I wonder to myself...what fantastically funny incident led Paul to write this book?! It left me eager to read his other books as well. I believe there is one featuring a porcupine...

I've also finished Unglued (great timing, by the way, as I was truly challenged at every corner this past Monday or so it seemed..and I kept muttering this mantra in my head, "I will not become unglued... I DO have a choice... coming unglued will not change anything... I Do have a choice.... help me here God.. don't let me come undone."  It worked.  At least for that day.  And that's a BIG step in the right direction.  That book will go on the READ AGAIN pile!

So since it is still the month of PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) my mind constantly races for ideas.... whether it be a title or a concept of a picture book I may write one day... and sometimes messing with titles is fun.  So what do you think?  Maybe someone should write The One and Only Ivan: Unglued in the Big Red Barn with Petunia.  I think it would make a smashing hit!  🙂  But I have other tales to tell so I'll leave that one to someone else and get back to working on my own....

Have an amazing day and, if  you have time, pick up a cute picture book to read and put a smile on your face  🙂

6

"A Rhyme is something without which I would probably be in the dry-cleaning business."  ~ Theodor Geisel

Indeed, one wonders if we didn't have the talents that God gave to us, where would we be?

Maybe I should have saved this post for March.  That is, after all, the birthdate of this brilliant man.  Have you heard of the name Theodor Geisel?  How about Theo Lesieg?  If you don't know him by those two names, then perhaps Rosetta Stone or perhaps the name  Dr. Theophrastus Seuss which he used in college may at least ring a bell... for  surely you know him by his most popular pen name, Dr. Seuss.  If you haven't heard of Dr. Seuss....well... you need to go buy some books!

Dr. Seuss published 46 children's books for which he is well-known for.  His first published book was actually And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street though he is probably best known for The Cat in the Hat, a book that he wrote when given a list of 348 words that every six-year-old should know. The book contains 236 of the words from that list... this was no small feat. This accomplishment took talent....and several ideas which he ended up scraping!  This book is a wonderful beginner book - a book that I used myself in my classroom as a teaching tool for learning support children when I taught in the public schools and will no doubt use with my toddler one day soon!  He already loves the story!

Ruth K MacDonald, an author,  claims that without The Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss would not have been the acclaimed, well-known author that he is today.  Perhaps, but I sort of doubt that.  My personal opinion is that yes, The Cat in the Hat does seem to be his most popular book, but Dr. Seuss  has many, many popular books.  Theodore Geisel wrote most of his books in a poetic meter termed anapestic tetrameter which was used by many poets and is often suggested as one of the main reasons Geisel's writing was so well embraced by children and their parents.  Indeed, in the quote above, Geisel knew how much he relied on his ability to use rhyme!

Rhyme was truly a talent of his...as was his vivid imagination.  And vivid imaginations is important for any writer.  without imagination, we have no business even attempting the field!  One does need a skill or talent in any area one decides to perform or take part in.

My dear daughter is majoring in criminology.  Whether she sticks with the major or not is to be determined... so far so good!  It is a major that fits her.  She has always had the curious mind to know what makes things tick.  What makes people do the things they do?  Why do people stray from the rules?  In her elementary years in the public school, she often got into trouble for reporting on what others were doing which was not according to the rule book!  I wonder what her teacher, Mrs. Wilson, would say to know that she is now a criminology major?  My point is, whether your talent is rhyme, observing others and details, math, environmental awareness, cooking or educating, then that is what should lead you in life.  That is the skill God gave you to make use of.  Your choice in life should lead you to say.  "Without this ___________, where would I be?"

Dr. Seuss said he'd be in the dry-cleaning business.  Something he would obviously find dull and not as uplifting.  Where are you today?  Immersed in the rhyme of a field that uplifts you?  Or are you stuck doing someone else's dry cleaning?  Everyone's story is different.... but if you are finding yourself stuck... is there a way out?  There usually is, though harder for some than others.  But why do dry-cleaning just because it puts dinner on the table if you can do the same thing and use the talents that God gave you?  Just some thoughts for this Saturday....  and here's a few more;)

Random Thoughts For Saturday:

  • A person is a person no matter how small.  ~ Dr. Seuss in Horton Hears A Who
  • Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.  ~ Abraham Lincoln
  • Snow is cold.      I know - you already knew that.
  • Getting daily sunshine is more important than most people realize. 10-20 minutes out in the natural sunshine without sunblock should be part of your daily routine (I'm trying to work on that one myself...)
  • I believe blocks, or any type of building toys,  are the most brilliantly creative toy a child can possess-  it is amazing what a creative mind can do with blocks!
  • Students who read widely and frequently are higher achievers than students who read rarely and narrowly.
  • Ketchup is supposed to be a condiment, not the main course.
  • Those moments of challenge that we are offered whereby we do NOT become unglued are moments of grace offered to us by our Lord to show us that we CAN choice to be merciful and calm... Becoming unglued is something we CAN overcome.
  • Rhyme is awesome!

4

I'm trying desperately to cut back on my Goodreads current books I'm reading list. I'm trying to cut back on this list so I can feel better about adding more to it!!  I now have 6.  That's better than last weeks list of 8.  I forced myself to finish two this past week. (Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives by Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica as well as The Dance of Anger by Harriet Lerner).  Well, I didn't really have to force myself to finish the first.  I loved that book and it will probably continuously stay on my reading pile as one can just read little bits here and there and it will never get old.  It's great for devotion time. The second was a good book... it just didn't grab me and give me as much as the first.

So now I'm down to these 6:     Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst, Open Door by Frederica Matthewes Green, Inner River: A Pilgrimage to the Heart of Christianity by Kyriacos C. Markides, The Faith: Understanding Orthodox Christianity by Clark Carlton, The Coconut Oil Miracle by Bruce Fife, and Eats Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynn Truss.

I really try to read too many books at one time!  It's just that I never know what mood may strike me when I actually find the time to sit down and read something. I've realized that makes 3 out of 6 that are about Orthodox Christianity.   So maybe I'll make myself pick just one of those to focus on at a time.  I am really into Unglued.  I saw the title of it posted on Facebook by a friend of mine and, as usual when I see a book title, I immediately went to Amazon or Goodreads to read a synopsis.  I was very intrigued.  I'm not sure what woman wouldn't be.  I think the vast majority of us have trouble staying calm in the midst of raw emotions...some occasions more than others of course.  So that's the one at my beside right now.  And I just ordered Primal Blueprint from Amazon... not the thing I want to grab and spend hours with right now but I really want to compare the Paleo diet to the Primal and get a feel for both and how they compare to one another... so I may read a page here and there... maybe that's a book for the car for when I am actually the passenger and not checking my WordPress reader.

I've also realized that none of the above books are actually fiction or 'just to relax and enjoy a good story' books that sometimes rejuvenates my 'soul'  more than chocolate. (whoa.....  ok...maybe I crossed the line with chocolate... more than a cup of tea...there...that's better)   There is, of course,  the pile of books brought home from the library for 'my son'.  Or so I tell everyone.  (Shhhhhh.... they are really for me....  lol)  I usually help him pick out a variety of picture books and a few early readers.  We always make sure one is about a real animal (getting the science in already!) and of course, he's a boy, one must be about some sort of construction vehicle.  I think our next run will be involving several of those Margaret Wise Brown books that I have missed as I mentioned in a previous post! In addition, I'll be looking for the books written by the authors featured this month for PiBoIdMo. ( I have several ideas written down this month already!)  If there are any others you want to suggest, in case my son and I have missed them, please do!

In addition to picture books, there are several YA's I've seen mentioned recently. The one I am most excited about right now is Glimpse, the debut novel by Kendra Leighton, because it was inspired by the poem, 'The Highwayman", by Alfred Noyes but it is not due out until Autumn 2014!  🙁 boo.....      Well, there is much to read in the meantime.  I always love a good YA by Laurie Halse Anderson or Jo Knowles.  I especially want to read Wintergirls and Living with Jackie Chan.  Any other good YA's you'd recommend as really good ones to catch up with what's quality YA lit for the last couple of years?

And a friend of mine just started a book club.  I'm eager to see what book they will pick next....the current one is a vampire story and vampires just aren't my thing. Well, I would probably read Salem's Lot by Stephen King over again but that's my vampire limit! So there is lots of good reading in my future!   How about yours?