Copyright

Please note that all posts are copyright. Do not reprint in whole or in part without permission of the author. You may refer to one of my posts in your own writing; simply include the link(s) so readers can be taken directly to my work. Thank you, and enjoy! ~Susan

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Weekly Weigh-In

So I'm having trouble following the naturopath's regimen. There's not a lot he asked me to change (probably realizing it's best to make just a few small changes and add others in increments), but still...

Here's what he wants from me: 

1) add one tablespoon of healthy fat to each meal (e.g. coconut oil, flax seed oil, hemp oil, avocado oil, olive oil)  

2) add two tablespoons of flax seed or hemp seed to each meal

3) ensure that I'm getting protein at each meal 

4) before lunch and dinner take two pills to address a particular issue I'm having

5) continue taking my multi-vitamin and vitamin D supplements

In addition to being "good for you," the oil is supposed to help fill you up so you can go without eating between meals. When I've remembered to do it, it works pretty well. Protein also works to that end, though I often don't get much protein at breakfast unless I'm having oatmeal.

Anyway, my weight remains steady. No changes there. Two weeks to go before I see the naturopath again.

How are you doing with healthy eating/weight loss? Any specific things that are proving helpful?

Friday, 19 May 2017

#FridayFive

An attitude of thankfulness is said to increase positivity and happiness. I would add 'joy'. Here's the list of things I'm thankful for this week:

1. My mom and I had an awesome Mother's Day weekend together. I took her to Niagara-on-the-Lake to see 'Me and My Girl' at the Shaw Theatre. It had been years since either of us had been and we found ourselves wondering why. The performance was amazing - great cast, high energy singing and dancing, awesome plot. I'm sure it won't be so long between visits next time!

2. We had a nice lunch at the Sunset Grill. I always enjoy their light breakfast, but ordered the tuna salad plate this time. I wish I'd taken a picture so I could share it here. The food was excellent, the service very good. Great experience overall.

3. We had an enjoyable visit with my mom's sister as well as my cousin's family. We don't see them very often, and it's always great to reconnect and catch up.

4. My daughter made a belated Mother's Day supper for me on Monday. I appreciated not having to cook when I got home from work and for dessert we enjoyed the birthday cake my mom had sent home with me. Happy bellies all around. 

5. Last but not least, my husband was hard at work while I was away last weekend. The toilet, vanity and sink were all installed and operational by the time I got home. Monday we bought the backer board for the tub/shower space. As soon as he gets that up, the tiling can be done. Hurray! Things are taking shape! 
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Join us here for #FridayFive

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. May 17th is National Pack Rat Day. Sidebar-should we be celebrating this? Hmmm...

Are you a pack rat? Even if you're not a full-fledged pack rat, most people have one thing or another they struggle to part with. Tell us what's yours.

We should NOT be celebrating this 'holiday.' I'm a bit of a pack rat, so I can say that, don't you think? I've definitely gotten better at decluttering, but I still have a long way to go before I can enjoy the simple life I long for. Paper is a big problem for me, but it's not the only one.
 
2. What are two things you know you should know how to do, but you don't?

This is a toughie. There are definitely things I don't know how to do, but should I know? That is the question. I would like to know how to knit and crochet, but by the same token I'm not sure I'm willing to invest the time in learning and being frustrated...

3. Do you crave sugar? Do you add sugar to your coffee and/or tea? Do you use artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes? When dining out is dessert a given? Are you someone who has slain the sugar dragon, and if so tell us how you did it.


I wouldn't say I crave sugar. If you asked me about chocolate, I might admit to the odd craving in that direction. I never add sweetener to tea, but I can't drink coffee without something. In the last couple of months I've made the switch from sugar to maple syrup. I tried coconut sugar first, then Sucanat, after learning that there are negative aspects to using Stevia. Now it's maple syrup all the way. My daughter thinks it's gross but my son says, "Hey, we're Canadian. We put maple syrup on everything."
Dessert is not a given when dining out. Usually I'm already satisfied by the time dessert rolls around. But when my hubby and I went out to the buffet Friday night, I did have a small piece of custard pie and half of a chocolate chip cookie.

4. What's a trend it took a while for you to come round to, but now you can't imagine living without?

Texting!

5. What's a song that reminds you of a specific incident in your life? Please elaborate.

Whenever I hear 'Happy Together,' it reminds me of when my husband and I were dating. And no, we weren't dating in the era the song was released!!
For some reason it became 'our song' during a hike through a conservation area, back in the day. I guess because we were 'happy together.' Still are!

6. Insert your own random thought here. 


It's very easy to let other people rent space in your head, but doing so only makes you feel miserable. Don't be infected by someone else's bad mood. Do your best to stay calm, cool and collected in the situation and let it pass over you like water off a duck's back. 
Yesterday I had a customer who was unhappy with his experience at the previous service counter. He kept griping to me about it and I did my best to make him feel that his complaint was being heard. I offered him the possibility of speaking to a supervisor as well. When he left, he made the statement that if the woman who'd "helped" him before I did didn't want her job, he would take it. I made the mistake of smiling (his comment sounded like a joke to me, but obviously he was too wound up to find it humorous) and was informed that he didn't need my smiles. I wonder if he allowed the rest of his day to be poisoned... I chose to redeem mine.
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Please join us for the Wednesday Hodgepodge by clicking here!

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Book Review

Title: The Little Things: Why You Really SHOULD Sweat the Small Stuff
Author: Andy Andrews
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers, 2017
Genre: Non-fiction, Inspirational, Self-help  

First Lines:

(From the Introduction)
Soon you will come to understand how and why a simple adjustment in perspective can produce personal and career results far beyond what most people ever imagine.
 Interested?
First, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Andy Andrews. I am a Noticer.
It is entirely possible that I am the first professional Noticer you've ever met...
Goodreads Description:

Have you ever wondered why we spend so much time and energy thinking about the big challenges in our lives when all the evidence proves it’s actually the little things that change everything?  That’s right…  Absolutely everything.

New York Times bestselling author Andy Andrews is known for his strong storytelling and unequaled perspective on principles that empower the human mind and spirit. The Little Things embodies his own approach to life and work, detailing for the first time some of the exclusive material that he uses to teach and coach some of the most successful corporations, teams, and individuals around the world. In his unique humorous style, Andy shows how people succeed by actually going against the modern adage, “don’t sweat the small stuff”.  By contrast, Andy proves that it is in concentrating on the smaller things that we add value and margin.


“In a world where so many feel powerless, wouldn’t it be great to feel in control? Then know this. Perspective can be more important than basic answers.

“I am more passionate than ever about my search to notice that one thing . . . that one tiny thing that, when understood and harnessed, allows us to create a life of extraordinary purpose and powerful results. It’s less about drive and will power than it is about understanding certain principles and why they work . . . every time.

Andrews provides common-sense perspective and a game plan for meeting various challenges, such as:

  • Managing life in a society that seems to be constantly offended by something or someone
  • Creating change that is permanent and not short term
  • Dramatically increasing results by harnessing the fraction of margin between second place and first
  • Understanding our spiritual connection with God and how that affects planning and outcome
  • Identifying the very moment when asking the question why? multiplies the success of an endeavor
  • Recognizing the smallest details that ensure the greatest success
My Review:

I'm a big fan of Andy Andrews' writing and perspective. He has a way of looking at things that is fresh and different - of making the reader say, "Hmm, I never thought of it like that before. That makes sense!" His style is conversational, as if you are chatting over coffee or tea in a tidy, comfortable setting. 

In fifteen relatively short chapters, Andy addresses a variety of "little things" people SHOULD sweat over - things like taking offense, quitting, change. "Wait a minute," you say - "those aren't little things!" See, you do need to read this book, if only to find out why these ideas are included.

My favourite chapter is on change and the myths Andy refutes: 1) It takes time to change. 2) A person must want to change, and 3) A person won't change until he hits rock bottom. "What? Susan, these aren't myths!" you argue. Really? Are you sure? Again, you need to read this book.

You will definitely learn something new, and it may just improve your life. If you do read it, let me know what you think or what impact it has.

This makes a great gift book too! 

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Monday, 15 May 2017

A Few Words About Mothers

Belatedly, in honour of Mother's Day:


If you have a mom, there is nowhere you are likely to go where a prayer has not already been. ~Robert Brault




The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness. ~Honoré de Balzac




A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts. ~Washington Irving




A mom’s hug lasts long after she lets go. ~Author Unknown




And finally, a very important question:


If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands? ~Milton Berle



Saturday, 13 May 2017

Weekly Weigh-In

After my birthday yesterday, I wasn't going to get on the scale this morning. We went out for a buffet dinner last night and I was quite full when we finished, even though I didn't go wild. Still, I'd forgotten to weigh myself Friday, and I like to do that on May 12 every year, so...

Not surprisingly, no positive change in my weight this week. And this weekend I'll be eating out a fair bit with my mom as we celebrate my birthday and Mother's Day. 

I met with a naturopath on Tuesday this past week and Monday I'm going to start the plan he set out for me. It should help with a few things including weight. He's not a fan of the no-fat or low-fat diet, but a believer in 'good'/healthy fats (unlike the Seven-Day Rescue plan I did in February, which was of the no-fat variety). Should be interesting. I meet up with him again in three weeks. I'll let you know how it goes.

Based on your own reading/research, what do you think of dietary fat?

Friday, 12 May 2017

#Friday Five

http://millysguide.com/category/fridayfive/
An attitude of thankfulness is said to increase positivity and happiness. I might even add 'joy'.
 
Here's the list of things I'm thankful for this week, i.e. my Friday five. Actually, I'm going to make it six because - why not?!

1. Today is my birthday. Thankful to have lived another year and to have had the experiences I've had, even though some have challenged me more than I wanted to be pushed. I'm grateful for all this last year has taught me. Lots to celebrate!

2. I appreciate my husband's hard work. He has always supported my dreams and encouraged me to pursue them. He is very handy around the house, which saves us big-time on labour costs when anything needs to be done. He provides well for our family and loves me and our children. This morning he couldn't wait to give me my new Tim Hortons ceramic travel mug, which I look forward to using!

3. Thankful for the BIG spontaneous hug my son gave me yesterday. Not sure if it was inspired by something I'm not aware of, but I sure enjoyed it.

4. Thankful that my daughter has a part-time summer job now and that she's really enjoying her new responsibilities. She is detailing limousines and everyone in the family now has high expectations of her taking care of our vehicles, LOL.

5. My friend had her appointment with the oncologist Wednesday and has been declared cancer-free. Surgery did the trick and no chemotherapy or radiation are required. Praise God!

6. Heading into Mother's Day, I have to say I am very thankful for my Mom. She brought me up by herself with her parents' support, sacrificed much, and always loved and encouraged me. I'm looking forward to spoiling her this weekend and hope she enjoys everything I have planned. Listening to her guesswork is half the fun.

What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge


It's been a while since I participated in the Wednesday Hodgepodge. To be honest, I found there were too many questions to respond to and it was taking up too much of my time. But Joyce, the Hodgepodge founder and coordinator, has decided to cut back on the number of questions and I will give it another try. If all goes well, this will mean a shift in the day I post my Right Now entries.

Here goes:

1. Share a favorite memory of your mother or share a favorite something from your own life as a mother. If you're a mother (or stepmom) tell us how your experience as a mom differs from your own mother's experience.

My mom can be slapstick at times and we often thought she could have her own version of The Carol Burnett Show. Some of my best memories of my mom as I grew up were those times she was just being silly or telling funny stories. I'm a mom myself now and my young adult children definitely appreciate my sense of humour (even if they do roll their eyes, they're still smiling!). My experience as a mom is different from my mother's in that I have a boy and a girl (she had two girls but lost one to cancer) and the challenges we face in the 21st century require different parenting skills and approaches. 

 2. In May we celebrate teachers (May 9) and nurses (May 6) both. Most every family has at least one in their midst, so tell us something (or a few things) you appreciate about the teacher or nurse on your family tree.


My mom got her university and teaching degrees as a very mature adult. She didn't get to use her teaching degree for long and taught computer keyboarding and office-type software to adult students, but her willingness to persevere and go back to school for something she always wanted are certainly inspirational. If you want something badly enough, you shouldn't let any artificial obstacles (such as age) stand in your way!

 3. Chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad...which would you go for if all three were on the menu? On bread or a bed of lettuce? If you answered bread, what kind of bread would make it the perfect sandwich?


I'd go for the tuna. I rarely eat poultry these days and I'm particular about how I like my eggs, even in a sandwich. I'd have my tuna on whole wheat bread with lettuce or spinach.

 4. Do you have a desk? Is it organized? If so, share your secret to keeping it that way. If you don't have a desk, where in your home do you take care of family paperwork and business? Where do you normally sit to blog?


I have a desk but it isn't terribly organized at the moment. Something I need to work on. My desktop is on my desk and that is where I normally blog. Today I am blogging from a computer at work while I'm on my lunch hour.

 



5. When I was nine years old....

It seems to me that everything happened when I was nine years old. My parents divorced that year, my cousin came to live with us for several months and introduced me to ice cream as a comfort food, I gained weight and became 'chubby'. I'm sure I could think of other things if I had more time...

 6. Insert your own random thought here.


I've just finished reading Andy Andrews' book 'The Little Things: Why You Really SHOULD Sweat the Small Stuff.' He has a way of turning everything you've accepted as true on its head. Stay tuned for my book review, coming Tuesday.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Book Review

Title: Spirit Rising: Tapping into the Power of the Holy Spirit
Author: Jim Cymbala
Publisher: Zondervan, 2012
Genre: Non-fiction, Christian Living 

First Lines:
I wasn't expecting the Holy Spirit to join me for lunch, yet that's exactly what happened.
My wife, Carol, was out of town, so I went to a little cafe that I like on Long Island. I found a quiet table against the wall, ordered my usual salad, and while I was enjoying my healthy food, I caught up on some reading...
Goodreads Decription:

For some of us being a Christian is harder than it should be. Discouraged, anxious, worn down, we wonder what happened to the power and the joy that Jesus promised.

Jim Cymbala believes that many of us are missing something vital. Christianity, he says, for even the best-intentioned person or church, is impossible without the Holy Spirit. You can have regular devotions, great preaching, a strong emphasis on the Bible, a great worship team, and a congregation that is trying, but if you aren’t vitally in touch with God’s Spirit, you are missing out on the life God has for you.

The Holy Spirit, he points out, is God’s agent on earth. Yet he is the least understood, least preached about, and least discussed member of the Trinity. That is sad, because without him, our spiritual lives will always become dry, mechanical, and a struggle.

Too often, the body of Christ is divided into two sides. One side stresses the Word of God, separating itself from what it views as the emotional fanaticism often linked to those emphasizing the Holy Spirit. The other side is sometimes known for drifting into unbiblical manifestations and unorthodox teaching while attributing it all to the Spirit of God. But the Christianity we see in Scripture is both grounded in the Word and full of the Spirit.

With stunning stories of how God is working in the lives of people and churches today and biblical teaching about the Holy Spirit, Jim Cymbala invites you to experience God in a fresh and vital way. Nothing else will change our prayer life, our study of God’s word, and our worship more than opening our hearts to the Spirit. If we want power, confidence, joy, peace, and more love in our lives, then we need a better understanding of how and why the Spirit moves so we can join him there.


My Review:

I'm a huge fan of Jim Cymbala's body of work and have read several of his books, including Fresh Faith, Fresh Power, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, and The Life God Blesses. Several others are still on my to-read list. Cymbala writes in a conversational style that is engaging and relatable. While he never went to Bible college or seminary, he has been taught by the greatest authority (the Holy Spirit through His Word) and read secondary sources by the most cogent and spiritually-reliable theologians. 

It doesn't take much for Cymbala to convince the reader that the Holy Spirit is lacking in Christians and in Christian circles today. The evidence is all around us if we look. And if we know our Bibles at all, we'll know that the Holy Spirit is the essential component of effective Christian living and discipleship. Cymbala gives story after story of the change(s) people experience once the Holy Spirit becomes active in their lives. These were some of the best parts of the book for me because it's one thing to know a fact intellectually, and another to see it enacted in real life. 

If you're a Christian, this book has the information you need to change your life. As always, it's in the implementation. Spirit Rising is a book I'll return to again and again as I seek the Holy Spirit's presence and power in my own life. What can I say? In this area at least, I'm a slow learner...
 
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Monday, 8 May 2017

A to Z Challenge Reflections Post

This year's A to Z Blogging Challenge wrapped up a week ago and participants have been asked to provide feedback on how things went.

I've done the challenge several times now, but this year was a little different as the organizers dispensed with the linky sign-up list in favour of a daily check-in when your post went live. You were then encouraged to visit the bloggers who'd commented immediately before you.

This system worked very well for me, even though it meant a daily commitment to check in. Everyone listed had a relevant post for that day's letter and you pretty well knew what to expect (in terms of topic) when you got there.

One thing that didn't work so well for me was creating "clickable links." These were what we were supposed to use when "commenting" on the A to Z website. While initially the system worked for me, something went sideways at some point (I didn't know until it was pointed out to me at letter W). A note to myself is that if I use this next year, I should test my clickable link to make sure it's functioning properly.

Sometimes I visited blogs and couldn't think of anything to say. In those cases I didn't leave a comment. On other occasions I visited blogs that made it difficult to comment - you had to sign up for a particular commenting system. Some bloggers kept comment moderation in place. 



I added a couple of new blogs to my "Please visit my friends!" sidebar: 

Girl Who Reads - really, can you ever read too many book reviews?

Tamara Narayan, who I remember from my Notes from Innisfree days. Her conspiracy posts were fascinating!

I also joined #FridayFive after visiting Lauren at Milly's Guide.

There are several blogs I want to go back and finish reading, including Milly's Guide. And other bloggers I still want to visit, or visit again. Time was a precious commodity during the challenge, partly because I didn't pre-write my posts and partly because... life.

I've never participated in the Facebook or Twitter sides of A to Z due to time constraints and I don't know if I ever will. But the challenge is definitely something I look forward to year after year, and I already have a good idea of what my theme will be in 2018.

Were you an A-Z Blogger? Are you planning to join the challenge next year?

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Weekly Weigh-In

It's been a while since I posted a weekly weigh-in, and I haven't really had anything new to report anyway. However, I did weigh myself this morning and I'm down five pounds since the beginning of February. I also took my measurements and am down in a few areas: an inch on the bust, half an inch on the waist, a quarter inch on one thigh and half an inch on one bicep. It's hard to be sure the bicep measurements are accurate since they're awkward to take myself, and I'm not sure my husband puts the tape around the same spot each time. Do I need a tattoo line to mark it?

In the next few months I want to lose another 4-5 pounds. Now that I'm going on a bus tour and I know how they eat down east, I want to be at the lowest end of my weight range starting off. I will still try my best to make the healthiest food choices, but know that chances are against eating as well as I do at home.

I'm seeing a naturopath on Tuesday morning, so it will be interesting to hear what he has to say, not only about diet but other areas I can improve on. My friend had mind-blowing success on the plan he created for her so I have high hopes!

How are you doing with your weight and health goals? It's been a while - let's catch up!

Friday, 5 May 2017

Practicing Gratitude #Friday Five

I've decided to add Practicing Gratitude to my blog schedule and join with Lauren, whom I met during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Each Friday I'll post five things for which I'm grateful. An attitude of thankfulness is said to increase positivity and happiness. I might even add 'joy'.

Here's the list of things I'm thankful for this week:

1) My daughter is back from college residence and has been very helpful with meal preparation and kitchen clean-up. With my busy schedule this week, that has been a huge blessing!

2) Although it's due to someone requiring a medical leave, I'm thankful for the additional hours at work. Bathroom renovations are expensive!

3) Because of our renovations, we hadn't planned on traveling anywhere this year. But courtesy of a travel subsidy from my mom, I'm going to be able to cross off a bucket list item this year. Gros Morne and L'Anse aux Meadows, here I come! The former I've been to once previously, the latter not at all. And we'll be crossing into Labrador, which I've also never seen!

4) I'm part of an awesome life group through my church. Love having people with whom to do life and with whom to be real.

5) Prayer is powerful, especially where two or three are gathered. Thankful for corporate prayer opportunities as well as for a God who hears and answers prayer. Not always the way we expect or would like, but always with the big picture in mind - a picture to which we aren't privy but will someday understand.

 What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Right Now

Now that the A to Z Blogging Challenge is over, we are "back to regular programming." Have you missed my Right Now posts? If so, dig in!

Right now I am:

Drinking: Van Houtte medium coffee - my daughter's leftovers from residence. She's given up coffee and passed the package to her brother who is the biggest coffee drinker in our house. Since he would otherwise be drinking our coffee, he doesn't mind sharing. But if it were up to me, it would be the mild blend. Beggars can't be choosers.

Eating: Love Grown Comet Crispies (they were on sale for 99 cents at our local grocery store). They're made mostly from beans and I'd have bought more if I'd known they would be so good. The store is now sold out, at least at that price. And because my daughter is back from residence with leftover cereal, and we have unopened boxes in our pantry, we don't need more anyway.

Reading: Andy Andrews' book, The Little Things: Why You Really SHOULD Sweat the Small Stuff. It's overdue from the library and I want to finish it up. I like Andy Andrews' writing style. It's gentle but pointed. He first came to my attention with his inspirational fiction in The Noticer.

Watching: Last Man Standing, Season 4. Two more episodes to go. We'll finish it tonight.

Listening: The Message on Sirius XM.

Creating: Not as much as I'd like. I haven't worked on my novel revisions for about a week. My writing time was taken up with A to Z because I hadn't pre-written my posts, I've been working more, running around looking at bathroom essentials, etc. Yes, that project is still on-going. You haven't missed much!

Buying: We bought a new toilet just a couple of days ago, but it looks ginormous in our space. My husband hasn't hooked it up yet, so we can still take it back and get another. Any suggestions for a one-piece elongated with concealed trapway?

Anticipating: An end to this bathroom job! The tub went in yesterday, the vanity is in its spot (minus sink and countertop), we've chosen (but not ordered) our tile for the shower and tub area, and we still need to get Kerdi- or wedi-board, grab bars, new towel bars and a toilet paper holder. We also need to decide on the toilet and paint and the mirror needs to be hung above the vanity. Am I missing anything?

Questions for You: Are you a coffee or tea drinker? Do you prefer a mild, medium or bold blend? Ever tried cereal made from beans? Read anything by Andy Andrews? Gone through a bathroom renovation? Please share in the comments below!

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Book Review

Title: Boy Meets Depression: or Life Sucks and Then You Die Live
Author: Kevin Breel
Publisher: Harmony Books, 2015
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Inspirational

First Lines:
Memoirs are an interesting, imperfect sort of thing. I always used to wonder who these people were who wrote about themselves, and why they would ever want to do such a thing. From the outside, it looks impossibly selfish. Yet from the inside, it's a bit like pulling your heart out of your chest and gluing it to paper. Plus, when you grab the shovel to start digging up yesterday, you notice that maybe the weirdest part about life is how little of it we actually remember or remember clearly. ~From the Introduction
Goodreads Description:

Kevin Breel burst into the public's awareness when at 19 his TED talk became a worldwide phenomenon. Star athlete, ace student, and life of the party: in short, he was every parent’s dream. From the outside his life looked perfect. On the inside, though, the pain and shame of depression were killing him. Now, in his first book, he smashes the silence surrounding what it’s like to be young, male, and depressed in a culture that has no place for that. Through the lens of his own near suicide, he shows other sufferers that the real miracle of life isn't found in perfection, it's in our ability to heal and accept the dark parts of ourselves.

My Review:

Breel is an excellent writer (and he was only 21 at the time this book was published!). Here he shares his personal story, from his childhood to the onset of depression and through the other side. From pages 120 onward, the reader gets a better understanding of what depression is like from an insider's perspective and what helped him survive it. He encourages depressed individuals to seek help and inspires with his own survival. Those who are not depressed will develop more compassion for others who struggle with mental illness and issues.


Though he can be a bit crass at times, you know Breel is the real deal, always.

A Few Favourite Quotes:

Good advice is hard to find and even harder to accept. Accept it anyway. One day, you’ll wake up and wish you had done it sooner.
The thing about people though, I think, is that our hearts tend to do a great job holding on to the horrible stuff and a horrible job holding on to the good. Or at least we're like that until we learn how to not be like that.
The thing that finally gave me freedom, and took me forever to figure out, is you need to separate your issues from your identity. Your pain is not your personality. Your struggle is not a summation of your soul. 
 My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Monday, 1 May 2017

Zip It

Saturday I talked about yelling; today I'm going to talk about its counterpart - staying quiet. Sometimes you just have to zip it. In other words, shut your mouth, close your trap, remain silent, hold your tongue, and any other variation on the same theme.

At the risk of stereotyping, teenagers and young adult children often think they know it all and have the answers. They think their parents have suddenly become stupid and can't believe they ever thought us all-wise. Alas, how far we have fallen in their esteem. 

Don't worry; it'll all change in a few (or several) years. 

There's no advantage to be gained in arguing, debating, presenting facts, to someone who has his mind made up and doesn't want to listen. Someone who doesn't think you have anything of value to say. Instead, bite your tongue and save your breath. Hang on to what you know to be true and let your young adult children learn from experience. It is, after all, a most effective teacher.

No doubt your children have a pretty good idea by now of your beliefs, values and understanding of the world. If you are wrong about anything, you can watch and learn as your offspring set out to prove you so. If you are right, you may well hear so sometime down the road. And you will have the satisfaction of having kept your thoughts to yourself so they could discover truth first-hand.

Whatever you do at that time, don't say "I told you so" or "I could have told you." No one likes to hear that. And besides, they'll already know that. 

  ________________
The letter Z is brought to you by the A to Z Blogging Challenge that takes place each April. Today's is the last post for 2017. Thank you for visiting and if you missed any of my posts on parenting young adults, just go to the 'Blog Archive' sidebar and click on any subject that interests you.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Yell

Of course I'm not advocating that you yell at your child, even though that may sometimes happen. It's not easy to hold it together all the time whether you're a parent or just a human being living on this planet. 

Yelling (or screaming) into a pillow is perfectly okay, and no one needs to know. Or maybe you just need to vent to your spouse/partner or a trusted friend. That's okay too, as long as the other party understands what's expected. Are you looking for advice, brainstorming/ problem-solving, or just to be heard? Lay it out to avoid frustration on either side. 

If venting to another person sounds too much like complaining or whining, try writing things down in a journal (print or digitized). Sometimes sharing your thoughts with someone, even if it's just yourself, is all you need to process what's happening in your life and to get a new perspective on things.

Yell. If nothing else, it's good for your lungs. 

What do goats have to do with yelling, you ask? Click and listen:

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The letter Y is brought to you by the A to Z Blogging Challenge that takes place each April. Join us anytime you like!

Friday, 28 April 2017

eXercise

X is often a challenge during the A-Z Blogging Challenge and bloggers often "cheat," as I have here. 

I talked a bit about self-care earlier in the month (letter L). Today I suggest one particular way parents can take care of themselves, and that is through exercise. The options are as diverse as each person and no matter how averse you may be to the idea of moving, there's an activity to meet your needs. Our bodies are made up of muscles and we were made for motion. Unless you have a muscular disease or condition that prevents you from engaging in physical activity, get off the couch and do something. You will feel better for it! (If you don't feel better right away, give it some time. Everything worthwhile takes time and effort).


Kick-boxing
I will never be a runner, but I enjoy a brisk walk - alone, with my dog, or at home with a DVD (Leslie Sansone is my personal favourite; my son says she's a "meme" at our house). Others may prefer Pilates, a dance class, cycling, or swimming. 

Physical exercise is a way to show your body that you care about it, and also has benefits for the mind. Just twenty minutes can boost mood for four hours. 

Parenting takes a lot of physical and mental/emotional energy, no matter where your child falls on the age/ development spectrum. An investment in your personal health and well-being is wise indeed. You can't take care of anyone else if you're neglecting yourself.


A great song to rock out to
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The letter X is brought to you by the A to Z Blogging Challenge that takes place each April. Join us anytime you like! 

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Welcome


Welcome your children home. Create a welcome environment for them to come home to.

These days young adult children (and adult children) are returning home and living there longer than in previous generations. This can happen for many reasons: student debt, failure to find employment, inadequate wages, desire to save for their own home/future, addiction, mental illness, laziness.

While we don't want to support a lazy child (this person needs tough love and firm boundaries), and we may not be able to support an addicted one (if she is wreaking havoc, stealing from you, etc.), those with addictions or mental illness do need help. And no one loves them like we do. 

That being said, these are huge challenges to live with and even as you try to get your child the help he needs, you may need counseling for yourself.

But back to welcoming your child: unless s/he is lazy, s/he should feel that "home" is easy to return to. The prodigal son was willing to work as his father's servant, but how much more joyful his reunion when he found his father watching for him, running to meet him, and ready to throw a party.

No, you don't have to have a party. But you do have to treat your child like the adult s/he now is. A welcoming environment includes privacy and respect. While you may charge a nominal amount for room and board (food, water, electricity cost money) or charge rent, s/he should do his/her own housekeeping and laundry.

While we may be happy as empty-nesters and desire our children to launch, we shouldn't make it hard for them to come home. Sometimes it's the best place for them to be as they sort out their lives with our support and encouragement. They may not always listen to us, but we can still play an influential role in their lives. And as their pre-frontal cortices develop,  they may discover that our words and thoughts actually do have merit. How welcome is that?!  
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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Value

Value your children. Treasure them. Remember that Psalm 127:3-5 says
Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior's hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.

When it's difficult to remember that your children are a blessing (we all have those days!), think about how much you wanted them (hopefully you did), and mine your memory for pictures of joyful times, occasions when they made you proud or made you laugh. Go through your photo albums (physical or digitized). Ask them about their happiest moments as a child or what they liked best about growing up in your family. 

This web page talks about how to make a child feel valued.  While the images are geared to younger children, the ideas apply to all ages. We all have room to improve our relationships. The most important place to begin is at home.

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Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Understand

I don't pretend to know everything or to remember 100% what it was like to enter young adulthood. Of course, the world our young people are entering today is quite different from that of yesteryear, and that no doubt impacts them.

Still, I think there are a few things we can, or should, understand:

1. Our children are at the point in their lives where they want their independence. They still need us to some degree, but their may be some resentment around that, and some push-back.

2. They want to be seen as individuals, not mere extensions of us. They are trying new things, testing new ideas, making new friends. They are in post-secondary education, away from home, in the work force, exploring the world. They are forging their own path and you may or may not like it. In fact, they may not care whether you do.

3.  It's largely (or all) about them. While they may try to make some things all about you (why his or her life sucks, for example), don't take it personally. As previously mentioned (here), their pre-frontal cortices are not fully developed yet, they typically don't have big-picture perspective, and they certainly don't have the understanding that comes from years of experience. Don't engage in a losing battle that stems from a flawed comprehension.

4. While you can try to explain why they need to think of others at times, don't expect them to change (at least not right away).

5. This is the time for excellent, deep conversations about things that matter - faith, politics, the state of the world, etc. As long as you're willing to discuss and not lecture/harangue/ moralize, conversations on less "personal" topics can be quite fun and enriching. You might even learn something worth investigating further!

6. Eventually, your children will become less self-absorbed. It may take a few years and you may have a bit less hair or a few more worry lines, but once they've figured things out and decided who they are (or who they are going to be),  the emotional road will be less rocky. They may still make choices you don't like or agree with, but ask yourself: did your parents agree with all of your decisions? Did you all survive? Are you able to spend time in their company today? Be encouraged that the relationship with your children will also even out. Who knows? You might actually like them again! (And they might like you!)

Key thought: don't take personally your child's growing up process or emotional distance. This too shall pass!
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