Friday, May 24, 2013

What's Your Job?

Most generally when you meet someone for the first time they ask "What do you do for an occupation?"  A persons job usually tells a lot about what kind of person you are.  I use to respond with "I'm a stay at home mom."  The conversations tend to be rather dull after that or end very quickly.  A stay at home mom to some people seems very boring.  I started feeling like my job wasn't important enough to others.  I switched it up a bit with "I'm a stay at home mom, but I use to work at a hospital for 13 years." I would resort back to my old job.  That sounds way more important right?  It always lead to much more exciting conversations as well. 
 I think I will start responding with, I have a ton of jobs.  I'm a nurse, chauffeur, chef, teacher, playmate, housekeeper, laundry attendant, volunteer, accountant, and a babysitter.  Now, that is way more interesting for people to hear. 
It has taken me several years now to be proud of what I do.  Even if to some it's boring, not important, and I don't get paid.  I have come to the realization that to some it doesn't sound like a "job."  However, it is the most fortunate and unselfish job there is.  I wouldn't trade being able to stay at home for any amount of money.  I have decided I don't really care what peoples first impression of me staying at home is anymore.  I know why I do it and I know that it is the most important thing I can do right now. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

What Makes Us Happy?

What happens when we live for material things?  Material things seem to have so much power over oneself.  Material things bring comfort, brief happiness, and a sense of power.  We live in a world where we feel the more things we possess the happier we are.  The more money we make the happier we are. 
Just a small example of how material items have controlled my life, I spent an entire day cleaning out closets full of material items.  Every item made me or someone in my family happy at some point in time.  The happiness of each one of the items I purged had faded away.  As I was purging it was very depressing actually.  The amount of money wasted on items to make everyone happy.  Not to mention the addiction to keep buying and replacing each item for the rush of happiness one gets with each new item.  And what about the lack of appreciation?  The more you own the less you appreciate or take for granted.  Or what about taking control of your life and not allowing all the material things take over?
As I was purging items I was thinking what really makes me happy?  I know the deep sense of simply being alive makes me happy.  The people in my life make me happy.  My relationship with God alone is happiness. 
For True Happiness I need to fundamentally change my way of being in the world and change the way I live my life.  God's will for all is to live a life of happiness.  After all he created and saved us.  He is the divine manufacturer. He made us and knows how we work. He knows that certain actions will lead us to happiness while other acts will end only in frustration and emptiness for ourselves and others. The moral law is like God's instruction manual for our lives.  When we reject God's moral law for our own preferences, we are ultimately rejecting the Father's loving care for us.
I know being a slave of possessions will not make me happy.  I know thinking the more I have the happier I will be is only a set up for disappointment.   I am going to put forth the best effort in living in moderation, present in every moment of my life, and clearly distinguish between the necessities and unnecessary luxuries in life.  I  think asking the simple question of  "Do I really need this and will I be happy without it?"
We should all open our hearts a little more to the wonders of the world and stop being mindless consumers. When we are moderate you stop concentrating on “the more, the better”  and are able to see this spirit in everything around us.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal.  But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be. (Mt 6:19-21)


Friday, May 17, 2013

Misconception About STAY Home Moms

The four laundry baskets are full, dishes are piled up, and toys are everywhere!!!  I am a stay at home Mom!  This house is a wreck!!! 
I have always worked up until my last child which is two.  My house was always in order when I worked.  Now that I am home I can't seem to manage it.  I don't know if it was because nobody was here to mess it up or what.  I was working and my oldest was in daycare.  I am definitely not a "June Cleaver." 
I know many mothers would do anything to stay home with their kids rather than work.  I am more than blessed to be able to.  We have actually given up a lot in order for me to do so....budget, budget, budget!  Something I'm still trying to figure out.
 I definitely had a misconception of stay at home moms.  I thought it would be all smiles, cookies baking in the oven (in fact I am a good baker when I find time to), organized, and spotless.  This house looks like a tornado has went right through it!  I have not quite mastered managing my time here.  In fact I am not even managing myself well.  I did a blog a few days ago about self improvement.  It is a must!  At the end of most days if I were to look in the mirror I would find a very tired mom, hair in a ponytail, pj pants on, and mis matched socks!  How did I manage before...It was nothing for me to work 10 hours a day, look professional, come home cook, homework, bath time, and clean up the mess before bed time.  Now I am home I can't manage to cook and clean up the messes.  Being a mom is much harder than a working professional.  I know I can do this but how?
On most days when my husband is working I watch the clock.  Come on 6:18....waiting for my break time and adult conversation time too!  Two year old talk all day long can be very tiresome! 
Like right now, I feel horribly bad that I am even typing this blog.  I should be thankful and not complaining that I am a stay at home mom.  I know tons who wish they were.  In fact with my first born I felt extremely guilty that I was spending more time at work than with her. 
I have know doubt that I will master this. I may not be June Cleaver however, I will figure this out!  It is a must that I get it together around here. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Childs Sense of Abandonment

When a father leaves a child's life it is very devastating.  What if the child never really know their father?  Do they still have abandonment issues as they grow up? 
I was a single mom once.  This wasn't something I had planned.  It never even crossed my mind that I would be raising my child alone.  Til the day she was born and I held her in my arms.  That was the moment I knew it was going to Be her and I alone on a journey. 
When Audrey and I came home from the hospital we  were living in a house in Terre Haute with her dad.  we spent a lot of time in the bedroom with the door closed.  I did not want to expose her to what was going on, on the other side of the door.  There was usually a lot of people in and out and I usually didn't know who.  I could just tell by the sound of the front door opening and closing. 
I remember that Sunday morning very clearly.  I woke up to feed Audrey and the house was quiet.  This was a rare occasion,  I know I didn't have much time but I knew if I was leaving it had to be now.  I looked out the bedroom window and my car was gone.  So I did what I had to do.  I loaded her up in her stroller, packed a diaper bag full of bottles, food, diapers and clothes for her.  I grabbed her baby book and out the door we went.  I just started walking as fast as I could.  After walking two blocks I realized I hadn't even changed my clothes...I was still in pj shorts and a t-shirt.  After walking several miles stopped at the laundry mat to use the payphone.  Yes, didn't have a cellphone than.  I called my best friend to come and get us.  She picked us up and drove me to my parents house in Brazil.  Within hours my parents and friends had loaded up everything in the house and moved me home.  It was such a relief to be there.  We lived with my parents til Audrey was two and than we bought a new home. 
Over the next two years her dad made several attempts to come and visit her but sadly he could never do it sober.  I had made it very clear....he could come and visit anytime he wanted but it would always be in my presence.  She would not be leaving alone with him.  This was not because I was trying to be difficult it was purely for the safety of Audrey.  He was never in a good state of mind that he could care for a toddler.  He made very irrational decisions and I was not about to allow those drug induced decisions be made for her. He was not happy about this so we ended up in the court system.  Again, the judge agreed and ruled with supervised visitation at a minimum.  His parents were the supervisors in there home and  It only lasted a few visits here and there.  They were usually a no show.  Nothing is more heartbreaking than watching your child watch out the window just waiting for her dad to show and after hours nothing.  She loved her dad.  She didn't know anything other than that's my dad.  The visits became random stop buys every six months to sometimes a few years.  This was usually because he was either in jail or the addiction to meth had totally taken over his life and he had no concept of time.  He had no idea how much time was going by between each visit. In fact as Audrey was getting older after he would leave from a random visit she would ask tons of questions.  Mom, what was wrong with him?  He acts so weird!  Did you see his eyes...they are scary! 
Of course now that Audrey is old enough and knows what was going on all those years she wants nothing to do with him.  He will still randomly contact me blaming me from keeping Audrey from him.  He still believes it was all my fault not his.  It was pretty simple when your sober you can spend time with her.  He made that choice not me.  No mother wants to see their child suffer from the absence of another parent.  I will take 100% credit for giving him ultimatums for the safety of her. 
I know This estranged relationship between her and her dad is painful.  She never mentions him ever.  It's something she holds in.  She doesn't know him.  She has only ever seen him under the influence of drugs.  He doesn't even know himself.  I know there is some sense of abandonment she feels but I also think she knows I would never disappoint her or abandon her which gives her  a sense of safety.
There are so many kids in this same situation.  Abandoned by a parent because of the absent parents own selfishness, because of their addiction, and lifestyles.  How will these children grow up and turn out to be?  Will they follow in the same path?  Will they suffer from pshychological disorders, and experience learning disabilities because they are unable to focus because of  abandonment issues?  Will they experience low self-esteem, the ability to bond, trust, and love ones self and others?  Will there always be that emptiness inside invading them?  Even with the support of loving family members trying to feel that void.  Will some overcome this and become better people because of the abandonment?  Will they learn to heal and forget? 
I am a mother that loves you, holds you, embraces you with love, and never leaves.  A mother that will stand up for you, lead the way by his example, shelter you from storms, give you wisdom, make you laugh, and listen to you.  I will hold your hand, and hug you, and tell you how much I love you.  Encourage you to succeed in all your hopes and dreams.  I will walk with you and teach you how to live life.  I will do my best to feel the void and comfort you. 

Lord, look upon my child with eyes of mercy, may your healing hand rest upon her, may your life giving powers flow into every cell of her body and into the depths of her soul, cleansing, purifying, restoring her to wholeness and strength for service in your Kingdom.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Graphs are Believable Right?

Interesting how easily someone can be deceived by political information or any information at that.  Most generally if someone is using numbers or graphs to most people it's believable. 
This was my job for many years at a hospital I worked at.  Collect data from different systems and combine all the info into really pretty believable graphs.  Very quickly I became what most people would call a "computer geek".  Or I was often called the "number lady". One thing about my job was to make sure it was totally accurate.  I ran at times hundreds of data reports to double check numbers with each system, Once all my data was collected and a graph supported the info I had to list all my sources and show the raw data.  I also know that very easily I could have manipulated any graph to look any way I wanted it to.  Easiest way would be to manipulate the numbers however if your showing your raw data and sources that can be a little tricky.  However just by changing your vertical value on a graph can change the total appearance of how you look at a graph.  It can either make columns smaller or larger even with the correct data which is very deceiving to the eye.  Most people do not read the small print on a graph.  Most generally they evaluate the picture. 

Here is a really good example of manipulation.


Several things are wrong with this graph.  One look at the vertical value it's in 50% increments which is very deceiving to the eye.  Second, it is labeled as percent increase in public debt. When in fact the data used is gross federal debt not public debt.  Third, each president served a different amount of terms and the percentage is a total for all the terms.  This chart was made in 2011 with Obama only having served a half of a term compared to the other presidents whom served several terms.  It does support that information under each column but again who's reading the small print.   Most importantly look at the source where the data came from, Office of the Democratic Leader and the year the data was collected.  Notice its not in enlarged print as the title Who Increased The Debt.  To most people there eyes are drawn to the large print and the pictures.

So now let's compare....
   Notice this graph is in 10% increments and is including different terms for each president rather than all together.  It also tells you that Obama's percentage is a projected amount.  Most importantly look at the sources.  There is more than one and they are not a one party source.

This is only one small example of how manipulating articles can be.  So next time when you see a pretty graph with pictures and big bold titles don't always believe.  Read the small print and research the sources if you are looking for accurate information.  This was my random thought for the evening after reading an article :-) 

Self Improvement

Make it a point to do something every day that you don't want to do. This is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain.                     Mark Twain

There is always room for self improvement.   I have got to be one of the biggest procrastinators there is.  So setting some new goals for myself in self improvement.  I believe that kindness, reading, and being involved in organizations are always self improving.  What about doing things out of the norm.  Things that might make you uncomfortable but yet will help you improve your self.   
Waking up early-  How would this be self improving?  I would think this would make me a little more grouchy.  On a positive note....I could get so much more done in a days time, a little bit of alone time, and I think this will help my mind set.

Exercise routine-  Ha Ha my exercise is chasing a two year old.  Again, more room for self improvement.  Being real, it wears me out chasing the two year old....guess that's why I should be in a better physical state.  Even if it's only 3 times a week and 30 minute workouts would definitely be self improvement.

To Do Lists-  Actually any kinds of list...including grocery lists.  I waste a lot of time being forgetful.  Yes, I'm one that goes to the grocery store three times in one day.  Only because I forget everything that I was supposed to get at the store.  And who likes to clean house?  Not this mom!  I usually allow myself to be easily distracted during cleaning time.    For instance if I set a goal to clean out the closet I usually find myself sitting for hours going through pictures I found in the closet.  So a to do list could be self improvement keeping me focused on task.

A new hobby-  I usually like routine and don't stray away to try new things.  So trying to knit or crochet would definitely be out of the norm.  I might even enjoy it!!!

Watching way to much TV-  Yep that's me!  I don't have much time throughout the day to sit and watch TV and rarely watch of an evening time.  However, there is DVR.  I stay up after everyone is in bed way to late watching all the shows I have on DVR.  It's obsessive!  I sure don't want to miss a episode of Dance Moms, Survivor, Days of Our Lives, The Voice, O'Reilly, and oh my the list goes on and on.  No wonder we like to sleep in around here.  It's so obsessive that I have to check the DVR before we leave the house to make sure my shows are set up to record.  Although I do read A LOT this is time away from reading at night and keeping me from being able to start an early day.  Much needed self improvement!

I believe this is a good start to self improvement!  Now if I can get myself on task I will be on a good path to improvement :-)


A Day in a Life of a Child with O.D.D

Oppositional Defiant Disorder is a series of daily battles.  It often starts at wake up call.  It doesn't matter if it is 7am or noon unless wakes up on own terms.  If the alarm or I wake her up it is immediate irritation of why do I have to get up or I don't want to get  up.  More as in if you want me to get up , I'm not doing it.  Children who suffer from O.D.D are easily annoyed, frustrated, resentful, hostile with adults, bossy, and pushy with other kids.  They do not take responsibility for any of their actions and make excuses and lies often.
Most children are defiant when tired, hungry, or even stressed.  An O.D.D child it's ongoing daily.  Excessive arguing, questions every rule, mean and hateful, and quite an attitude. 
Most of the time it is very difficult as a parent to control the situation.  It is a constant power struggle between parent and child.  O.D.D. children posses a strong need to control their environment and every situation.  I often must surrender my authority in order to keep the situation under control.  I have learned over the past 13 years that I must pick and choose my battles.  It's also important to have strategies for avoiding conflict.  As a parent it is very frustrating and extremely tiresome.  However, I always have to remember this is not about me.  If I'm tired, wore down, and stressed how must she feel.  She is the one struggling daily to find her place in this crazy world and trying to fit in while experiencing such an evil disorder.  It often triggers anxiety, which causes her physical pain as well.  At any given time depending on the situation at hand she experiences mood swings, stomach pain, head aches, insomnia, and fatigue. 
Her surrounding evnvironment is very important to her behavior.  After many years of working with teachers, psychologist, and guidance counselors it is important to keep her social life at a minimum at school.  Modified days and small class rooms seem to help control the situation.  At any given time she can have a disturbing outburst depending on what someone may say to her.  Especially if it is from an authority figure. 
She struggles a lot more than most children or teenager.  However, I am optimistic.  I know her better than anyone and I know she will get through this difficult time in her life.  As she grows older and continues with therapy she will find ways to come out ahead.  Audrey is going to do great things some day.  She is very loving, talented, and a very hard worker once she gets through her daily struggles.  I have no doubt she will be an awesome 30 year old with the amount of determination she has inside her. 
As for me, I will be ok.   Sleep is over rated.  I can handle the critism from other parents.  When others say "I don't know how you deal everyday."  My new response will be.  It's simple she's my child whom I love unconditionally and I am fine.  Please pray for her to cope not me :-)

Random Acts of Kindness

 Random Acts of kindness to do this year

  1. Organize a drive for families in need in the community.
  2. Donate food to a food pantry
  3. Send a thank you card to someone who has made a difference in your life.
  4. Take something or visit someone in a nursing home.
  5. Donate clothes to an organization.
  6. Pay for the person behind me in line
  7. Donate blood
  8. Donate to the animal shelter
  9. Let someone go ahead of me at grocery store.
  10. Volunteer my time for an event
  11. Say Thank you more than 3 times a day
  12. Bake cookies for my neighbors at Christmas time
  13. Donate school supplies
  14. Bake something for the fire department
"How lovely to think that no one need wait a moment.  We can start now, start slowly, changing the world.  How lovely that everyone, great and small, can make a contribution toward introducing justice straightaway.  And you can always, always give something, even if it is only kindness!"
Anne Frank

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Converting to Catholicism

I never had the courage or the strength throughout my childhood or part of my adulthood to come to a realization that I needed God in my life.  I was always the person who thought I had total control of my life not the man upstairs.  Even at my darkest moments I was not a believer.  After the birth of my second child I had a thought....maybe I should let God in our lives for the sake of my children (not really thinking of myself) what could it hurt.  So I did what I never thought I would ever do.  I went to the Catholic church by myself one evening just to see if it was something I would like to introduce to my children...again not myself.  Being very honest here, the only reason I went to the Catholic church was because this is where my grandma and aunt and uncle had went....was looking for something familiar and comfortable.  I found my way in and slid into the pew closest to the entrance of the church.  I'm not sure if this was because I thought I may change my mind and wanted closest to the exit or if I thought by being in the back nobody would notice my presence.   If you have never been to a mass the traditions that take place seem very odd especially when you don't know why certain things are taking place and why.  Curiosity got the best of me....I wanted to know more so I continued to go.  After several weeks of going I wanted to know more so I was literally glued to my computer researching everything I needed to know about Catholicism.  I had even called the church I was signing up for RCIA classes to become a member of the church.  When I shared with friends or family my new adventure I always got the "what made you decide to do that?"  I still stuck with I'm doing this for my kids.  Strangely I had not yet taken either of my children to church with me and was still on this journey alone.  Until I had the Sunday morning mass while I was there (alone) the organ was playing and the parish members were chanting (singing) the entrance hymn, the sun was beaming through the beautiful stained glass behind the alter, and I stood there with tears rolling down my face.  Something I cannot even explain had come over me.  It was a ton of different emotions from happy I was there to experience what was taking place yet sadness that I had never experienced this feeling before.  It was my moment my reality check of God needs to be in my life not just my children's life.  I had always longed for something more in my life and this was it.  My key to happiness.  It seemed so easy, so easy that it made me angry.  Why had I not thought of this along time ago or why was this never introduced into my life as a child.  I became very thirsty for more.  The RCIA process had started and we had our first meeting.  We were asked by Father Hollowell to read the Catholic Catechism for Adults.  I had it read in two weeks.  Every spare moment I was turning page after page.  Everything made so much since and the truth was all right there in front of my eyes.  I even had a few moments that brought me to tears reading. 
"The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God (CCC, no. 1035).  It is impossible for us to be united with God if we refuse to love him.  When we sin seriously against God, neighbor, or self, we have failed to love God.  Persistence in a state of serious sin reflects a choice to reject God's love and an intention to separate ourselves from him.  Freely chosen eternal separation from communion with God is called hell.  While images of fire have been used traditionally to picture hell, for example in the Scriptures, the reality exceeds our ability to describe pain of isolation that come from rejecting God's love. 
I continued taking the RCIA class every Wednesday evening for about 6 months.  In this time period my faith grew stronger and stronger.  Not only was I able to get answers to questions but got to spend the evening with friends on the same path as I was.  I couldn't have asked for a more patient, humble, and kind teacher, Fr. Hollowell.  For him I will forever be greatful in guiding me on my journey. 
Easter weekend of this year was the exciting moment of confirmation.  On that Friday Father left the church doors open over night for anyone who wanted to spend time with God.  I most definitely took advantage of this.  I was experiencing a lot of emotions knowing that Saturday night was it "confirmation".  I couldn't sleep Friday night because my mind was racing.  I found myself at church that night at midnight.  I was there asking God if I was worthy enough for what I was about to experience the next evening at confirmation and for the rest of my life.  I prayed the rosary and asked Mary for her intercession.  I once again experienced what I had experienced that one Sunday in mass.  Only this time I knew what the tears were.  A sense of peace had come over me.
  I awoke on Saturday morning with a message from Father that it was time for confession.  Oh boy, I was scared to death!  The drive to church that morning (mind you I only live three blocks away) was the longest drive ever! I had 35 years worth of sin to confess. How in the world had I functioned with all that sin for so many years.  Actually, I wasn't functioning very well I just thought I was.  Once I left the confessional I was more than ready for confirmation that evening. I was at peace and  my soul had been cleansed of all those years of sin that were just waiting to come out.   With everything I had experienced in those two days was just a confirmation to me that I was more than worthy to have God in my life.
Saturday evening at Easter Vigil, myself and four others were confirmed.  It was the most beautiful mass I had ever been too and it was my time. I took in every moment possible and I know my grandma was there with me in spirit.  She was probably the most proud.  Every member in the church held a lit candle for the mass.  I couldn't have been more happy for myself and the others receiving communion for the first time in the Catholic church.  All the parish members couldn't be more welcoming and I am proud to say I have found my home.  She is the most beautiful home I have ever been in. 
I am so proud of the journey I have been through and the journey ahead of me.  It is very clear to me that Catholicism was always there waiting on me to explore.  However, God new that now was my time in order for me to embrace it the way he always wanted me to.  So here you have it...I can answer the question without using the excuse of my children.... I don't want to go to hell!!!  When my time comes for my last judgement I want to be the sheep not the goat.  I want to live my life to the fullest.  I want to be happy.  I want to love and be loved.  I thought this was what everyone wanted and I thought this was what I had all along.  Now I know what the true meaning of love and happiness is.  Thanks be to God!  I now have a loving relationship with God and this was truly the key to my happiness

Jesus Christ, my God, I adore You and thank you for all the graces You have given me this day.
I offer You my sleep and all the moments of this night, and I beg of you to keep me without sin.
Therefore, I put myself within Your sacred side and under the mantle of Our Lady, my Mother.
Let Your holy angels stand about me and keep me in peace; and let your blessing be upon me.