My AIP journey – Week 5

​Just a little background before I begin. Every year I participate in the Daniel Fast for the first twenty one days of the year as a first fruit offering to God for my new year. It’s been my practice for 13 years & I look forward to it. Not only does it give me clarity for important decisions & direction about things God wants for my life,  but it forces me to exercise healthy eating discipline. This year I also participated in a weight loss challenge at work. I’ve purposely resisted the last three challenges, but decided it was time. Once my twenty one days of DF were completed,  I chose to attempt the Autoimmune Protocol diet, or commonly known as AIP. This discipline was more toward eliminating constant neuromuscular pain rather than weight loss, but if that was a side effect,  hey…. I wouldn’t mind. I determined two weeks would be enough & began the journey. The biggest hurdle was not to focus on what I couldn’t eat, but rather the lonnnnnng list of things I could have. I realize some foods trigger intestinal problems & that clearly wasn’t my problem, but nevertheless….. I was all in. Once I got past the first week, I decided two weeks wouldn’t nearly do my body justice.  It’s like the book, Slight Edge says about the one donut not causing long term problems, but a donut a day over time would. I didn’t eat a donut a day or per week or month for that matter, but the foods I was ingesting, over time, led to the current problems I was having. Some, I felt, weren’t relative, but I was so wrong. Two weeks couldn’t begin to help in the measure I needed. 

Yesterday I was talking with a coworker about how much better my body feels since being on AIP. I’ve just completed week five & will continue toward the suggested three month cycle. 

How does this make me feel better?? Primarily I was in constant & continual neuromuscular or fibromyalgia type pain completely unrelieved by up to 2500 mg. of Naproxen Sodium daily. I say ”type pain” because I’ve never been clinically diagnosed,  but as a nurse, I’ve treated hundreds of patients exhibiting fibro symptoms,  so…. I know. The pain was so debilitating, I was to the point of asking my doctor to run tests & put me on meds. Those who know me know this was obviously affecting more than my muscles. It had affected my brain & thought processes because I’m the antichrist of Big Pharma & prefer natural alternative medicine.  

My daily activities, primarily on weekends, were geared around how much walking or standing I would have to do. Shopping was virtually out of the question.  My visits with my family were so anticipated because I miss them dearly, yet I had to psychologically prepare myself to endure the pain. How horrible!  This constant pain began limiting my desire to do anything but stay at home, binge watch TV & that only made things worse. Inactivity only accentuated stiffness & pain, so it was a freaking vicious cycle.  Yet…. my recliner won. Those who know me know I’m not a sloth!  

Also…. I had developed this wheeze that only occurred when I reclined or went to bed. Again….being a nurse…..I was in the process of diagnosing this.  I simply blamed it on being morbidly obese. That’s how the BMI chart defined my weight category. Well… last night I actually noticed it was completely gone. The only pain I have is caused from osteoarthritis, specifically in bilateral knees. The neuromuscular pain has been eliminated.  I won the weight loss challenge in the most pounds lost category & am never hungry. Seriously I am satisfied by sticking to the allowed foods. I must confess I never gave up coffee & the only dairy product I allow is a reduced amount of half & half used in my coffee. I’ve mixed coconut cream with that, so technically I’m not ingesting the normal amounts I typically did. Trust me when I say my psyche had a fit with that adjustment because my coffee had to be a certain cream to coffee color, so…. it’s an ever bigger sacrifice than I expected.  So worth it!  

I am 56. I am even more consciously aware of the natural deterioration of the human body.  I am also more consciously aware of mortality. Constant pain robs me of my zeal for life. I had to overcome the root cause. Even though I ate relatively healthy, some of those foods were greatly exacerbating my pain. I used to love the saying, ”nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” Today I can say that’s only half true. Nothing tastes as good as feeling good feels. I can’t wait to see how I feel after completing the third month. 

If you’re struggling with any type of ailment,  I strongly recommend AIP. Three months of my life to identify & eliminate triggers that cause me to feel absolutely horrible has been the greatest gift I’ve given myself.  It’s totally not giving up anything,  but gaining control & feeling better! 

Blessings, 

g

So far

One of my friends, lovingly known as The Goddess, posted this & I wanted to share. It is simple when you think of it, yet very profound. There are seeds of greatness in all of us.  The choice of what we do with those seeds has been & always will be up to us alone.  emerging butterflies

The caterpillar lives its entire life span instinctively knowing it will soon become a butterfly. This metamorphosis dictates every decision the caterpillar makes. From each morsel of food it eats to where it will finally attach its chrysalis.   Could we, perhaps, determine the passion that stirs our soul being worthy of such pursuit?

Her words below……….

Enjoy the journey,

g

rose buds

I’ve come to realize that there is no “becoming”.

A bud doesn’t “become” a rose.
It already IS a rose.
Always has been.
What you can see is the result of the journey, so far.

Just as an acorn holds an entire forest within it, you have within you all the greatness you’ve been seeking.

It’s there.
Always has been.
What you can see is the result of the journey, so far.

The decision for each of us is what to do with our greatness.
Let it ride, or let it rise?
The choice is ours.
Always has been.
And at the end of this day, this year, this life,
What you see will be the result of the journey, so far.

*The “so far” bit is key.

Jacqueline Gates

2015 Expectations

As I contemplate the ending of 2014 (which I feel I just got used to writing) & face 2015,  I want to embrace new journies.
In retrospect of accomplishments to goals set this year I’ve:
(1)become debt free
(2)lost a clothing size  & am embracing an even more health consciousness lifestyle
(3)become a minimalist by creating most of my own health & beauty products using Essential Oils
(4)moved into a fabulous new neighborhood
(5)set a course for new personal business endeavors

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This leads to what new goals to set!
I want to begin with things like  updating my passport, organizing the chapters of my book, maybe even taking some courses in things that interest me like concealed handguns, join a gun range club or etc. Yes….. I have a gun & used to love target practice!!

I ran across this list from something I read today by John Maxwell & want to share it as it has many attributes one could adapt resolutions from.

I will choose and display the right attitudes.
I will determine and act upon important priorities.
I will know and follow healthy guidelines.
I will communicate with and care for my family.
I will practice and develop good thinking.
I will make and keep proper commitments.
I will earn and properly manage finances.
I will deepen and live out my faith.
I will accept and show responsibility.
I will initiate and invest in solid relationships.
I will plan for and model generosity.
I will embrace and practice good values.
I will seek and experience improvements.

I pray 2015 brings a beginning of peace, joy, comfort, love & opposition as without that, we often neglect to respect the first few!!
Blessings,
g

Unforgiveness

Forgiveness is the economy of the heart… forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, the waste of spirits.
― Hannah More

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Unforgiveness can be very costly as it’s like a cancer. It can quickly replicate itself causing physical ailments. I’ve literally seen people have to be on high blood pressure meds because the anger & resentment they harbor against someone causes physical symptoms. This can further lead to other debilitating diagnoses. What about anti-anxiety meds? How many people do you know that take prescription anti-depressants or mood altering drugs because they blame someone for a life event & refuse to surrender it??
Hey! Won’t you play another somebody done somebody wrong song!! Besides big pharma, every outlet of media feeds off of it, yet it’s primarily costing you invaluable quality of life. We’ve heard it said, “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison & expecting the other person to die.” It destroys us, because chances are, the person we’re captive to doesn’t think about us at all.

It isn’t worth the cost. As the quote eludes, the economy of the heart shouldn’t be depleted because of an emotion. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to become besties & you may never feel you’ve crossed over. It isn’t a feeling, but a decision. It means you can finally stop rehearsing the wrong, release it & not give that person permission to hold you captive any longer

Human trafficking is a sick, twisted, social disease that should never be permitted to occur or continue. The bondages we repeatedly function in, because of unforgiveness, are no different. We sell our souls; perform unhealthy acts of conduct & remain slaves to a thought, idea, or circumstance. It isn’t worth it. However, you; your well being; psychological & physical health is.

Freedom from unhealthy side effects, bitterness or hate is within your control. Be honest & open with yourself. Determine this day is the day for the madness to stop.
Let go & live.
Blessings,
g

Be, Do, Become

I purpose daily to read several leadership blogs & intentionally post positive quotes.  This morning my chosen quote stirred my thoughts. This is actually the purpose.  Too many times we try to tell people what to think instead of inspiring or empowering them to think on their own.  Here’s the quote:

ImageBeing angry at the mirror won’t change what it is reflecting.
If you want to SEE something different you have to BE something different. – Steve Maraboli

 

A few years ago I learned about three little words that have the potential to create a catalyst for change.  Be, Do, Become.  These can be practically applied in any area in which we desire change. The process is relatively easy.  Begin with a choice of what you want to change or who you would like to be. Now let’s not get crazy & want to become another human!  Perhaps there is someone who is a role model to you.  What is it about them that you want to emulate?  Do they speak well in front of others?  Are they kind, generous & thoughtful?  Are they known for how they serve others?  Do they exude a healthy lifestyle? Are they physically active? Are they disciplined in certain areas of their life that challenges you to raise the standard in your own life?  Are they a great parent? Whatever it is, choose to glean specific info from an area.  This focus will include reading specific subject matter from credible sources.  Exercise discipline regarding this change by putting it into daily or even more incremental practices.  A book that has changed my life in so many areas, The Slight Edge, provides tremendous wisdom in how to implement & enforce this. During your waking hours, purposely think about this change.  One of my favorite Bible scriptures instructs us to call those things that be not as though they were.  I like to refer to it as the Speckled & Spotted Principle!  One of my favorite books, the ant & the ELEPHANT teaches us about the power of the conscious vs the subconscious mind. You have probably read how many world renown athletes see themselves batting that home run, or shooting that winning hoop, etc.  There is something powerful about visualization.

The second step is to Do what it is that you want to change.  If you are following a mentor or role model, do what they’ve done to accomplish their success.  This can start as small as setting the microwave for 5 minutes, look at yourself in the mirror & give a speech. Said speech can be just telling the person in the mirror how wonderful they are!  What if it’s writing a book?  Begin a blog. Becoming healthy?  Cut out fast food except for one day/week.  A marathon?  Start running at the local high school track or park that has a trail. How about a treadmill?  A simple way to begin running if you’ve never done it is to walk 5-10 steps, then run 5-10 steps & increase this, yes, incrementally, until you are running.  There are, of course, amazing apps to help you too.   Whatever it is….DO something!

Finally…..look in the mirror.  Who do you see?  Better still, who have you become?  Confident?  Happy? Healthy?  Competent? Courageous?  Empowered?  Free?  In the process, I can’t promise easy, but I can promise it’s totally worth it.

Blessings,

g

2 simple words….

Happy Valentines Day to YOU!  Reading all the amazing notes revolving around this beautiful day has been so sweet!  I love to see the variety of gifts given as expressions of love & adoration.  During our DivorceCare Connect Group last night I specifically addressed this day with our participants. It can be a painful reminder of what you don’t have, rejection, blame, self-loathing, & even depression.  For many years I would confess, “I’m getting roses this year!”  I’ve only received roses one time in my entire life & that was when my son, Bryce, was born.  Nevertheless, after my divorce, I would say this consistently every year as I worked at the hospital.  On Valentines Day, 1995, I did the same thing.  To my surprise I received a cute basket of mixed flowers from an anonymous admirer!  Who were they from?  Could it be?  There was, Earl, a physical therapist I had grown very close to.  We developed an excellent professional relationship & became friends.  I would have enjoyed going out with him, but at that time, I wouldn’t have dared asked him to join me for coffee!  When I received the flowers his reaction was jealousy, but not to the point of asking me out!  Darn it!  Who then were the flowers from?  Here’s my theory!  I had the best co-workers ever & I believe they pitched in out of pity & respect, mostly pity & purchased them!  I was so excited & appreciated the gesture.   In preparation for today I looked in the eyes of each person in my group last night & told them this.

Happy Valentine’s Day!! 
Please remember……You are so beautiful! You are loved very deeply. 
The Lord, your maker, is your husband & He is an amazing companion, YOU are the apple of His eye & He thinks about you continuously! He loves you beyond words & wrote a book filled with loving thoughts & encouragement for you. He is the lover of your soul!!

valentines day love

Even through reading all the mushy-gushy social media posts, for some reason there have been 2 specific words that have resonated over & over in my heart.  Not sure as to why they are captivating my attention, but in light of seeing all the beautiful relationships being affirmed, I know there are just as many, if not more, that aren’t.  BTW…if you’re an English major, please apply grace to my use of commas!  Here are the 2 words & their meaning:

com·pla·cen·cy – noun \kəm-ˈplā-sən(t)-sē\

a feeling of being satisfied with how things are and not wanting to try to make them better : a complacent feeling or condition;  self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies

ap·a·thy – noun \ˈa-pə-thē\

Apathy is most commonly defined as a lack of feeling, emotion, interest, or concern. It is a state of indifference, lethargy, or the suppression of emotions such as concern, excitement, motivation and/or passion.

An apathetic individual has an absence of interest in or concern about emotional, social, spiritual, philosophical and/or physical life and the world.

In mentoring single adults, primarily separated or divorced, these words are very applicable.  We sabotage our relationships with actions of any/all of the words above & wonder what went wrong.  My heart is grieved to see this.  One of my favorite sayings is, “What it took to get her/him is what it will take to keep her/him.”  Once the relationship is solidified is not the time to drop our guard, but rather to ramp up & grow in every area possible.  I knew certain skills when I graduated from nursing school & was even licensed to do so.  After 25 years in the field, I gained tremendous wisdom that could never have been taught/learned during the education process.    Learning is a lifetime commitment & should be expected / practiced daily.   If we’re not learning, we’re regressing.  The results gained are worth the investment.

I’m an advocate of performing regular self evaluations.  I encourage you to read the definitions above, search every area of your life & determine if they exist.  IF they do…..please seek guidance in how to flip the coin to become a compassionate, concerned, involved, motivated,  person interested in the well being of others & aware of current situations / circumstances.

I can’t imagine going through life without aspirations, goals, dreams or expectations & you shouldn’t either!!! YOU are a one of a kind masterpiece & deserve to enjoy your life to the fullest. Think of how many others you can help direct along the correct path!  The ripple would be non-existent without the stone!

Happy Valentines Day Blessings,

g

2.17.14 PS….I have to add something!  I received roses!  Well…sort of!  I cooked gumbo during our one day snow blitz last week.  Being from Louisiana, I cook real, authentic Cajun gumbo & usually only cook it traditionally for our family Christmas.  It’s truly a labor of love! Around that time an older gentleman that my daughter, Summer, works with had mentioned the next time I cook gumbo, he would like some.    When it snowed again, I wanted it!  I sent gumbo & rice in my recycled LouAna Coconut Oil & Dukes Mayo jars!  This is what he reciprocated in return!  Such a sweet, pleasant gesture!  Maybe I should upgrade to glass jars next time!  LOLOLOL!

Roses for gumbo!

Roses for gumbo!

The 7 Experiment

Sunday began our new Connect Group Semester & honestly I can’t remember when I’ve been challenged this extensively.  I was feeling guilty/convicted for not doing the Daniel fast for the 12th year. Despite receiving phenomenal, clear-cut, precise directions from God every year, I can’t help but wonder if it had become ritualistic??  This is the fast I also use during the year when I need to make important decisions.  I firmly believe the Elevate Church Girlfriends book study of  “7 : An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess” will stretch me beyond my limits & empower me to become who I need to transition into. Initially I just wanted to read the book & not commit to the group. I’m very selfish about my Sunday evenings & wasn’t willing to give them up. I decided at the last-minute on Saturday to do this.  I can already tell relinquishing my next several Sundays will yield an unbelievable reward. The book doesn’t promote the age-old belief that the church needs to operate substandard or in poverty.  It promotes developing a relationship with God that is second to none.  He alone, not our things, will have priority in our lives.  

7What an amazing group we had  & it was only the first night!! Listening to everyone blessed me tremendously!! The study explores  7 areas  & each  requires a fast. Next week we begin the fast involving food. We have to choose 7 single foods & eat only those particular foods for 7 days. We all think we eat the same food over & over until it comes to actually doing so!  What would you choose??  Salt, pepper & olive oil are free!  So far I’m thinking chicken, eggs, spinach, grapefruit, rice, & honey. I’m stuck on #7.  I entertained using bacon for seasoning.  I LOVE bacon & have found some awesome nitrate & preservative free, uncured bacon, but I don’t eat it on a regular basis.  To add this for flavor would almost defeat the purpose of a fast!   I could switch grapefruit for a banana & peanut butter!  I’ve seen some cool recipes for pancakes using bananas & eggs.  Or I could make that Paleo multigrain bread I’ve recently gotten the recipe for &  skip the rice.  Like bacon, I don’t eat bread or rice on a regular basis either!  I can do this!! I’ve done the lemonade fast 3 times!! Decisions!! Decisions!  If these are the type of negotiations I’ll be making with myself over food, can you imagine the clothes fast?  The best part is, within the past several years, I’ve began practicing similar ideas & believe this study will solidify Biblical principles equipping me to more effectively mentor others.

I anticipate the results achieved by a determined group of women intentionally dedicating their minds, bodies, & possessions will be a force to be reckoned with!!

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.-Margaret Mead

This experiment, for me as a leader, is to reach the next level of responsibilities.  One of my fav scriptures comes to mind, “To whom much is given, much is required.” As I step into a new role, I believe God is stirring me to sharpen my skills.  I encourage you to read this book & if you conduct small groups, consider using it as a guide.  You will definitely not be disappointed.

Blessings
g

I think myself happy!

I recently enjoyed a conversation with a beautiful, brilliant, newly divorced friend.  We discussed many things, but the most significant conversation concerned  life & how it seems to be passing by without any joy, satisfaction or making memories.  Mere existence is simply not in my vocabulary!  I am a strong believer that life is what you make it. Granted, I can’t control whether someone runs a red light & crashes into me or a disease process takes it toll on my body.  I can, however, make sure I exercise wisdom, caution, & keen observation while driving.  I can also take care of my body including diet & exercise.

When mentoring, my opinion is humble & although it may not be taken seriously, I attempt to steer clear of it.  In doing so, I generally point to the Bible as my primary point of reference.  If I know a great historical example, I utilize them too.  During the above conversation I was immediately reminded of one of my favorite stories.  The Apostle Paul is one of my heroes next to David, Esther & of course, Jesus.  In this story Paul was captured, chained & tossed in prison.  The day came to stand before the King & what Paul said was profound.  Going back in history, it was prophesied that Paul would stand before Kings.  It didn’t allude to how he would be standing, but God would be glorified.  His statement in Acts 26:2 to King Agrippa was, “I think myself happy, King Agrippa, because today I shall answer for myself before you concerning all the things of which I am accused by the Jews.”  Regardless of his circumstances, Paul took responsibility & when the opportunity arose, he chose to think himself happy.

In our lives, we face circumstances that can steal our joy; render us paralyzed with fear;  & create anxiety by consuming our thoughts whereby dominating such emotions.  I could be wrong, but I haven’t seen anyone literally bound with chains & shackles.  Oh wait……I forgot!  This is exactly what our thoughts become.  See….it isn’t the circumstance that instills fear, but our reaction to the circumstance.  We have a choice.  Here is a simple example.  For years I volunteered as camp nurse at our state campground for  youth retreats or summer camps.  I loved this time &  there were always exciting challenges.  When my son, Bryce, was around two years old he discovered something fun.  Rhino Beetles.  I, on the other hand, was extremely afraid of them.  They were huge, ugly & I had absolutely no idea what their capacity was, but I knew I wanted nothing to do with them.  One day Bryce wanted to show me his catch.  When I saw he was carrying a Rhino Beetle, I immediately wanted to scream & run.  I knew my son well enough that if I showed this type of reaction, I would have Rhino Beetles in my bed!  Regardless of my fear & anxiety, my response, not my reaction,  was cool, calm & collected.  I shuddered after he left!   The beetles, my circumstance, had no idea I was freaking out.  We can respond appropriately or react in fear, anger or anxiety.  Paul had many valid reasons on numerous occasions to forsake his mission, yet he was a man with a determined purpose.

choosing to be happy is healthyEach choice we make requires energy.  We can expend our negative energy on fear, anger, or anxiety OR……we could devote the same amount of positive energy on faith, prayer, gratitude, confidence, hope & belief. Today I used an example from something the Apostle Paul did.  His choices became his legacy & continue to direct people on a daily basis.  YOU are just as valuable & capable of making significant choices.  The mind is the greatest battlefield.  Thoughts can be held captive or left to sabotage our lives. Either way we can direct the battleground. 

 It’s a choice.  In the end….I pray above all things that you think &  choose wisely! 

Blessings,

g

Kids & Self-Entitlement

After Christmas I began seeing quite a few blogs regarding the way we raise our children without creating brats or little humans displaying self-entitlement mentalities.  I found them very interesting & agreed with quite a few suggestions.

I have successfully raised two wonderful kids ages 25 & 36, both of which have children of their own.  When they were young I probably paid them for chores until I realized chores were a part of being a family. Everyone is responsible, pitches in & does their fair share or at least age appropriate fairness!  If there was a particular situation where they needed money for a project such as camp, I would suggest “working” for someone else or I would assign special chores in which I paid them for doing. I divorced when Summer was a senior in High School & Bryce was in first grade.  It was vital  to institute a plan that worked for everyone.   I will never forget when Bryce wanted to make money for something he deemed important & he created his own list.  Each contribution to daily chores were carefully calculated in cent values.  It was priceless!

When it came to gifts, I encouraged my kids to buy for parents, friends, etc.  When Summer was young, many of our gifts were handmade as we were very creative.  Bryce had the luxury of being raised as an only child after Summer married & had privy to all my spare change throughout the year.  He saved diligently & purchased gifts Christmas for friends / family.  Hearing his description of how good it felt to give to others is forever etched in my memories.

We were very involved in church & had many opportunities to sow into the lives of others.  These type of activities didn’t always include monetary donations, but rather time.  At one time, Summer & I were both enrolled in Bible School.  After my graduation I went on staff as the assistant administrator of the Bible School.  One of my duties included being the program director for community outreach & Saturday Sunday School was one of our largest ministries. On Saturday mornings, throughout the city, several student groups would host meetings with children of all ages.  We had praise & worship, played games, performed skits, offered time for them to ask for prayers & salvation.  We fed them lunch & left with indescribable feelings of love & gratitude for having the opportunity to serve such precious kids. I was a clown!  Of course I was! It was the greatest, most uninhibited freedom ever!  Summer was responsible for a group of her own. Every other weekend Bryce accompanied me & participated in every activity.  In addition to Saturday Sunday School, Bryce & I accompanied a group that visited a local Boys & Girls Clubs each week.  Our time was consumed with being others focused. One Saturday we blitzed a neighborhood where we would begin a new group.  Our conversation afterwards, describing his observance of the people we talked to that day, is another etched memory.  You see……we must give our children the chance  to understand how they can make a difference & in doing so they become extremely grateful for what they have.  

The Bible compares our children to arrows in the hands of mighty warriors.  Why do we feel like we are not giving them enough & continue to stress over it?  Arrows pierce.  Our children can & should be the greatest force in the world around them armed with confidence, validation, courage & purpose. Instead…..we allow the world to pierce or wound their little spirits.   ALL THE TIME I hear how people want to give their children things they never had.  Let me ask you some questions?

  • What kind of adult are you?  Responsible?  Irresponsible?  Complacent?
  • Do you work & provide for your family?  Do they have the basic needs – food, clothing & shelter?
  • Are you concerned about their well-being?
  • Are you protective of their associations?

As you ponder these, please think about what was so horrible as a child & what you didn’t have that fuels this drive to over produce for your children.  Going without “things” often creates a sense of determination to succeed & easily recognize the needs of others. Not having adequate supervision often creates a sense of responsibility & concern or protection for others.  The struggles you feel you had as a child could have affected the adult you are now.  I was raised on a farm & we pretty much had to be self-sufficient.  I worked during the summer helping my daddy with the crops.  I couldn’t do any activities until I completed my responsibilities.  My mom sewed our clothes, canned/preserved food for the winter, & we raised our own animals for meat / dairy consumption. When friends stayed over, they helped too.  Please evaluate what was so terrible about your childhood?  Chances are you are extraordinary & I’m confused as to why you won’t allow your children to develop the same amazing qualities.  In providing a hand out to our children instead of a hand up, we alter their ability to discover who they really are & what they’re capable of accomplishing. The result of producing clones mimicking the world around us is very frustrating. How many times have you told your children how ungrateful they are?  Why are they? Don’t get me wrong. I have seen some children who have been given every opportunity to show gratitude & simply won’t.  I was determined to help my kids discover & practice gratitude. Here’s a story!  Once we pulled in a drive through window at Burger King & as soon as Bryce got his kid’s meal he pitched a fit.  Not over the food!  He was mad because he already had the toy he just received in his meal.   At that moment I reminded him his behavior of being ungrateful was unacceptable & has just cost him the privilege of getting kids meals for quite a while.  When I finally allowed him to order them again, he never once pitched another fit!  We created a basket to collect duplicate toys & donated them to toy drives.  Again…..giving to others.

We, as adults, have self entitlement attitudes in in-quantifiable magnitudes.  Remember…..from the second we enter the world as an infant it’s all about us.  We’re hungry & we cry.  We’re wet/dirty & we let the world know.  The world revolves around us because our nature dictates so.  As we grow, we develop a learned behavior that quite possibly there are others who have needs as well.  This is a hard revelation for some!  I won’t begin to list the growing number of adults in our nation who continue to believe the world revolves around them & demand everything. We have a tendency to scold our children for being ungrateful or unappreciative, but in reality……they could be mirror images of who we are.

ImageI encourage you to chart a new course for 2014.  Find community opportunities that will allow you & your children to participate in serving others together.  Before getting new toys, have them give toys away to others. Instead of you throwing them in a trash bag & dropping them in a donation station, have them sort, pack & actively give them away.   Involve them in local seasonal activities such as Angel Tree gifts, back to school, Easter, etc.  Allow them to help you prepare meals.  They learn to appreciate the time & effort spent on your behalf to provide something for them to eat.  Suggest making meals for shut-ins & allow them to help you prepare it & accompany you with the delivery.  They can create the artwork for get well / thank you cards & have them write letters or cards to our military serving away from home.  Perhaps you could participate in a group clothing swap.  Instead of you spending time purchasing teachers gifts, involve them in making gifts from the heart!  When you financially prepare for sending your children to summer camp, provide a scholarship on behalf your child to assist with tuition for another child to go. Be sure to involve you child in making the money to do so!  I’m sure there are unknown hundreds of ways to accomplish your new course. Please feel free to share ideas, projects or technics you practice with your children.

Our children are only in our care for a few short years & the cycle they continue is critical. My childhood responsibilities on the farm has made me very independent & appreciative of my ability to embrace the natural basics of life with minimal transition.  I used to tell Bryce I wasn’t raising just him, but I was raising a father & a husband.  What I did may not have made sense to him at that time, but prayerfully it would later!  Today, I am so very proud that he is an extremely responsible father & husband!  The creativity I used to involve Summer in has paid off with undeniable dividends!  Over the years we have done some unbelievable projects & just spent New Years Eve creating our own whipped body butters, toothpaste, day/night creams, room sprays, shampoo & etc.  She is one of the most giving, talented & resourceful women I know.  As a single mom, I never felt I did enough & I certainly wasn’t a perfect mom.  I felt like a failure on so many levels I can’t even describe them. Somehow….my kids were resilient & are amazing!

At this point in my life, I feel beyond accomplished.  You can’t measure it materialistically, but that isn’t always what counts.  There is one thing you & your children are entitled to…. this feeling & living a life dedicated to serving humanity!

Blessings,

g

Regarding your children. The days might be long, but the years are short. – Andy Stanley