Friday, November 30, 2012

Always Feel Like Somebody's Watching Me

I know I've blogged it before: Song lyrics constantly pop in my head when someone says something or when I think about certain things. Well, this is no different.
 
The lyrics "I always feel like somebody's watching me" by Michael Jackson came popped right into my head the minute I saw this box:
 
I'm having to wear a heart monitor 24/7 (except when bathing/showering) for the next 30 days. So no one is really "watching" me...but my heart is being monitored.
 
A little back story: when I was in Junior High School, I had problems passing out when I would run track. Some test were run, it was discovered I was having just a little tachycardia, & I was told to stop running track & it would probably never happen again. So I quit track & had no more problems.
 
Well, until back in September, I had what I was referring to as an episode: my heart went from beating normally to RACING & feeling like it was going to beat out of my chest & I felt like I was going to pass out. This lasted for 45 seconds to 1 minute. I have NO CLUE what triggered it cause I was literally standing still. Then it regulated & I felt extreme fatigue & my chest was aching like I had run a TON as fast as I could (a tight feeling). I needed to go for an annual check-up anyway, so I scheduled to see my Primary Care Physician (PCP). Other than being Vitamin D deficient (taking some over-the-counter for this), everything in my check-up was great. My PCP said we would just wait to see if my episode was a one-time occurrence, or if it was going to start happening more often. He told me to call him if it happened again & he would get me an appointment with a cardiologist.
 
I went all of October & the beginning of November without having another episode. But I had another one on Saturday, November 10. I was doing stuff around the house, so I figured I just over did it a little. But I still called my PCP on Monday & I had an appointment with a cardiologist for that Friday.
 
My cardiologist was REALLY nice. After checking my records, asking me questions, & running some tests, she told me I have Superventricular Tachycardia. And then she put it in Tasha terms (without me even having to ask): almost everyone is born with an extra valve in the electrical system of their heart, but not everyone's decides to activate (apparently, mine got bored). So she wants to monitor my heart. And the best long-term option to take care of this is to have a very simple, non-invasive, out-patient procedure called a cardiac ablation...Tasha Terms: they go in through veins in my legs up to my heart & freeze my extra valve. There is a 95% success rate that I will never have another episode again once the procedure is done.
 
With last week being Thanksgiving week, I did not get my monitor. But while I was waiting, I had another episode (or what I sometimes now refer to as my extra wire activating). I was sitting in the floor of Jamie's room, folding a shirt, so I have NO CLUE why it did it that time.
 
Let me show you the goods from the box:
I got a box, inside my box.
 
And this is what was in that box when I opened it. The monitor....
 
...with extra supplies under it.
 
This is what I look like wearing it....you can't even see it cause it's all under my shirt. I'm holding my little "remote" that I have to fiddle with to record things.
 
My little remote even sends me messages. Okay, so CardioNet (the monitoring company) actually sends me the messages. This little remote is what sends my heart information to CardioNet so they can monitor/"watch" me.
 
This is what it looks like when everything is running smoothly. But if I have an episode, I am to hit the record button. My cardiologist said my extra wire would probably get lazy & not activate while I was being monitor because they tend to get hard headed when we actually want to see what's going on. But guess what, mine decided to act a fool about an hour after I activated it. Yep, you guessed it, I've already hit my Record button.
 
They call it an event & this is the screen I get when I hit record. It wants to make sure I am REALLY sure I want to record an event.
 
I get to select a symptom or symptoms (there are 2 pages). I am to select whatever symptoms I'm having.
 
Then I select my activity Level & press Done.
 
And then it tells me this.
 
And let me tell you, when this is on the screen:
it makes an annoying noise! I tried reconnecting the leads I had on (I have a 3-lead monitor) & even called CardioNet (who I have access to 24/7), but that didn't work so I had to change out the sticky lead pad (which I am to change out every other day anyway).
 
My thoughts on the monitor itself: I feel like I'm being watched. I am going to be "over" this thing after 30 days. I'm not looking forward to sleeping in it, cause I'm a stomach sleeper...there's a little box (the size of my iPhone) that is connected to my 3 leads that collects the information. I wear it around my neck like a necklace. I'm going to have to learn to sleep on my side for the next 30 days. But I DO want them to figure out exactly what's going on & the very best way to fix it...so I will endure it.


Keep the Peace

Today's Unglued Blog Update
Another one of mostly my rewording & adding some of my own to what Lysa said. I just think she hits the nail right on the head!
 
Are you excited we are moving on from the exploders to the stuffers? I am cause like I've said, I do both!
 
My new memory verse:
Do not repay evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live in peace with everyone. ~Romans 12:17-18
 
 
Lysa suggested there are several reasons why I stuff...I stuff because:
I don't feel safe enough to confront the person.
I don't have the energy or the time to get into a conflict right now.
I don't know how to address the issue.
I don't want to seem hypersensitive.
I don't want to get rejected.
I don't want to lose control.
I don't want to make things worse, so I convince myself I can just let it go.
 
But Lysa also suggests, as a Christian woman I also sometimes stuff because it feels more godly. Verses like Proverbs 10:19 prompt: "Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut." And it's planted in my brain, "It's godly to hold back my words." Then reinforced with a verse like Proverbs 15:18: "A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel."
 
I want to keep the peace. I want to be gentle, not confrontational. And these are good things --IF I can do them without harboring bitterness. That's called healthy processing. But there's a big difference between healthy processing & stuffing.
 
Engaging in healthy processing occurs when I work through the issue & diffuse the hurt....maybe through prayer, studying my Bible, and/or talking to a counselor or mentor or Christ-centered friend. But here's the key: The end result is that the hard feelings dissipate. If they don't, they get stuffed. And that's the trouble.
 
The 2 ways stuffers react are either to build barriers or to collect retaliation rocks. And neither of these reactions leads to conflict restoration, but instead to relational decimation & conflict escalation.
 
Stay tuned for my next Unglued blog update about The Stuffer Who Builds Barriers.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Combining the Two & It Works for Us

I've been SOOOO torn about posting this for a couple of reasons:
1. People are going to say I'm mean
2. People don't like talking about potty training
3. People are going to be like "you shouldn't give rewards for pottying"
4. People are going to say things like "if you're going to reward for pottying, it doesn't need to be with candy"
5. People are going to say we are "forcing" her out of her childhood
 
Well, guess what....it's my blog & this is my family, so we do what works for us. Here goes.....
 
I don't buy candy for our house. The reason why I don't is because if it's there, I will eat it. I am weak & do not have much will power when my favorite candies are in the house. I also don't let the girls have much candy. They get to have it for snack some days, but not every day. So when we have holidays where candy is typically given (Halloween, Easter, etc), it lasts A WHILE at our house.
 
I FORCED Kayla with her potty training. The minute she started expressing ANY interest, I started the "training" process & put her in pull-ups. Well, I didn't "listen" to others' advice: kids will potty train when they are ready. I listen to the advice of others saying: she's shown interest, she is ready now & should potty train quickly. We tried EVERYTHING that would interest her to get potty trained....& it still took almost 2 full years.
 
So when Jamie came along, I was VERY adamant that we let her do it at her own pace. And guess what, she has mostly trained herself in a couple of months. But she is a toddler & works well for rewards that are immediate AND ones that are more long-term. This child LOVES candy; so we have "potty candy" in the bathroom that she can earn for going. That's her short-term reward & we have had VERY FEW accidents.
 
She gets a choice between Skittles & M&Ms (I obviously need to stock up on some M&Ms).
 
Now, I do realize she is only a little over 2 1/2-years-old. But we are having a little trouble with her remember/recognizing her colors. She wants to be so much a big girl like Kayla & tries to tell you the color of things. But she gets more wrong than right.
 
We also have a special event that happens at our house: Daddy Daughter Dates. Greg takes the girls on individual dates so they see how they are "supposed" to be treated by a guy (plus I get a little individual time with the one who doesn't go). It's usually dinner & a movie. Kayla has LOVED these times with her Daddy (they haven't had one in a while & need to do another one, SOON). And they have been plotting when/what their next one will be.
 
Well, Little Miss Jamie is starting to realize that she is missing out on these; so we decided that when she can successful name/recognize her colors, she can have her 1st Daddy Daughter Date. This is a long-term goal & she is very excited about it.
 
Now you are probably thinking "what in the world is the point here & why is she talking about both of these in the same blog post". Jamie is potty trained (we haven't had an accident is 2 weeks, so I count it as done; knowing accidents are still possible). But she is STILL very much interested in eating some candy (remember, her & Kayla don't get it often), so we've decided to combine these two. After she goes, she can have either Skittles or M&Ms (& have 5-6) AS LONG AS she can successfully identify the color. She always gets at least one right, so she doesn't go unrewarded for pottying. But we are trying to make sure she has a good incentive for learning those colors (candy as her short-term) so she can go on her 1st Daddy Daughter Date (long-term goal of learning her colors).
 
We've only been doing this a couple of days. It REALLY hit home with her when she started not getting more than one piece cause she LOVES candy. She is trying REALLY hard & will tell you "Let me think bout it" before giving you an answer. It is starting to spill over cause she will tell me "Mommy you have on a pick jacket or blue shirt". I'm sure you'll get another update once the date happens. If/when you see Jamie out & about, feel free to visit with her & then ask her what color something is....this girl is too cute with what she will say sometimes.

Finding the Quiet....ANYWHERE

Today's Unglued Blog Update
Another one of mostly my rewording & adding some of my own to what Lysa said. I just think she hits the nail right on the head!

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. ~1 Peter 5:8
 
So, I must remember my goal--whether I am exploding & shaming myself or exploding & blaming others--is imperfect progress. When I have exploded, I feel a lot more imperfect thank I do progress. But I'm dealing with emotions & relationships, both of these can be like...
...trying to nail Jell-O to the wall. It can be complicated, mess, & unpredictable progress....as long as I'm making progress. Sometimes I get worn out & wonder if I am every going to stop exploding & feel like I've reached my breaking point & I'm ready to give up. But before I give up, I must learn to hush, hit the pause button, & find a quiet place somewhere.....ANYWHERE! Which means I might even have to slip...
...into a bathroom stall (they can make great prayer closets). The point is that the only way to see what God is doing & attend to what He reveals is to get quiet with Him.
 
There are five things that are balm for the raw edges of a soul on the precipice of exploding:
  1. In the quiet, I can feel safe enough to humble myself. The quiet is what enables me to "humble [ourselves], therefore, under God's mighty hand" (1 Peter 5:6).
  2. In the quiet, God can lift me up to a more rational place. The only way out of the pit is to make the choice to stop digging deeper & turn to God for a solution, so "that [God] may lift you up in due time" (1 Peter 5:6).
  3. In the quiet, my anxiety can give way to progress. I claim the promise that says, "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7).
  4. In the quiet, I can acknowledge that my real enemy isn't the other person. The wisdom of Scripture says, "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith" (1 Peter 5:8-9).
  5. In the quiet, I can rest assured God will use this conflict for good--no matter how it turns out. God's Word promises that "the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast" (1 Peter 5:10).
Lysa suggests I add this to my own list as I discover my own benefits for intentionally getting quiet when all I really want to do is explode. She even provides a good prayer: Oh God, help me. I want to be a passionate woman reined in by You and Your grace...not an exploder who shames herself or blames others. I want to sip the shame so I won't have to guzzle the regret. I want to be the one who holds her tongue and keeps the Holy Spirit's power working in me. I want these truths to sink in and become part of who I am and how I live.
 
I am SO headed toward this goal of imperfect progress....I've just gotta keep working on it!
 
Stay tuned for my next Unglued Blog Update....I'll move on to The Stuffers.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Imploded vs Done

Today's Unglued Blog Update
Another one of mostly my rewording & adding some of my own to what Lysa said. I just think she hits the nail right on the head!

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. ~1 Peter 5:8

Quoting God's Word in the present tense infuses my heart with holy restraint & diffuses my reaction so I don't spew. There is a difference between self-control & holy restraint.

Self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. It's the external expression of my relationship with God. Self-control looks pretty on the outside. It's like this, I can keep a smile on my face & say a few verses & have the appropriate behavior in front of others as long as everyone is doing/saying what they are supposed to. But when I am pushed just a little (or touched in referring to the cake), I am just like a cake that has not finished baking all the way....

...I explode (implode) onto anyone who has pushed me.

Holy restraint is the seed of this fruit (self-control). It's the internal experience of living with Christ & really applying His truths in my life. Back to my cake example (because I love food): No matter how someone treats me or what they say to me, holy restraint is like a cake that has finished baking all the way through & through.
No matter how many people try to take a bite out of me, or who tries to take a bite out of me, I keep it all together on the outside and the inside.

It's deciding I'm going not just going to ingest His truths by taking them in & feeling good about them for a few minutes. I'm going to digest His truths by making them part of who I am & how I live. There's a big difference between ingesting truth & digesting it.

I must spend time with God, letting His truths become part of who I am & how I live. That's what it means to have an internal experience with Him. Only then will I develop holy restraint. This holy restraint will hold me back when I want to aggressively charge ahead. It will help me hold my tongue when I want to cut loose instantly with the yelling. It will help me pause before blasting someone in an emotional tirade.

Once I develop that holy restraint from an internal experience with God, I can have external expressions that honor God. I must remember, holy restraint is the seed that produces the fruit of self-control. This self-control is the external experience--the evidence--of a well-done center that helps me to respond in more godly ways (thinking back to that pretty cake when those two precious girls try to take bite out of me...pushing their limits as they learn).

So....God's Word--His divine communication at work in me internally--really can help me externally when I'm tempted to be an exploder who blames.

Stay tuned for my next Unglued blog update about Finding the Quiet.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Busy, Lazy, Scared, & Cold

AKA: Almost 6 Full Days of Celebrating 2 Birthdays, Thanksgiving, & Temps Dropped
 
I'm just as shocked this evening as I was this morning that I have not posted a Blog Update! Why this is surprising me, I have NO CLUE cause we have been some busy people. If you are my friend on FB, then you have noticed this given all of my statuses, check-ins, & pictures. I won't repost ALL the pictures, but I'll give ya some highlights.
 
Greg & I both celebrate our birthdays in November, 4 days apart. It turns into A LOT of celebrating! The Friday before Thanksgiving, Greg's parents were going to take us to Texas de Brazil to eat before taking us to the Memphis Grizzlies game. However, my father-in-law works at a corporation that was involved in union contract negotiations. These things were ALL WEEK LONG & we didn't even know if he was going to get to join us at all that night. So instead of him missing out on a GREAT all-you-can-eat meat dinner, we went to
It was my first time there & I LOVED it....SOOOO YUMMY! We then went to the game. The undefeated Memphis Grizzlies beat the undefeated Knicks! It was EXCITING to say the least.
 
Saturday was Greg's actual birthday; so the girls & I baked Greg a cake for his birthday.
They did everything except crack the eggs, put the cake in the oven, & take it out. It was a Golden Butter Recipe 2-Layered Round Cake with Cream Cheese Icing between layers & Chocolate Fudge Icing on the outside. It was my 1st attempt at this type of cake & it turned out pretty good. Greg wanted Chili Verde, but didn't want to cook. So he trusted me (this took A LOT on his part since he's the cook in this house) to follow the recipe.
This also turned out pretty yummy! I like to add cheese & sour cream to my personal bowl & eat it with scoops chips.
 
Sunday we let the girls pick where they would take Greg out for his birthday. They picked Huey's!
I love my booth buddy! Of course it was yummy!
 
Monday night Greg & I went out for my birthday dinner to
It was DEFINITELY yummy! Afterwards I got to see the new Breaking Dawn Part 2 with my friend & her family while Greg went to go see Taken 2 (I haven't seen the 1st one so I would have been TOTALLY lost trying to watch it).
 
I don't remember what we did on Tuesday....that's why I said almost 6 full days of celebrating 2 birthdays.
 
Wednesday was my actual birthday, so after taking the girls to get their picture made with Santa Claus, we went to eat at one of our FAVORITE places to go as a family: Hooters!
I KNOW this is a place where the waitresses do not have the best outfits (my guy friends would probably disagree)....but I LOVE their food! I didn't want ANYTHING as a dessert for my birthday since we STILL had cake left over AND I knew there would be desserts for Thanksgiving, but I got one anyway
 
 
Thursday was OF COURSE Thanksgiving! With all of these great cooks....
...we had some GREAT food! We had fried turkey, smoked pulled turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, baked beans, sweet potato casserole, homemade cranberry sauce, yeast rolls (that didn't rise, but I'll fix that SOON), lemon pie, & caramel apple cobbler. I was DEFINITELY full after all of that.
 
Friday we decorated for Christmas!
 
Saturday & Sunday we had some days of relaxing cause Kayla had started developing stuffiness & fever in the middle of all of that. I DID worked on some cleaning/organizing projects around the house. By Sunday night, Kayla had been battling a fever, that came only in the evenings, for the 6th night in a row. So Monday, I took Jamie to Preschool & then Kayla to the doctor's office. She was diagnosed with a real bad sinus infection & red ear (borderline ear infection) & prescribed an antibiotic.
 
Today (Tuesday) is the first day I had been at work since LAST Monday....yea, the one before Thanksgiving. So I was a little behind, to say the least. We were also VERY busy! I am worn out & during dinner, we were greeted with a fever from Jamie. She has been a little stuffy during this (& gave me some nice, thick, green-tinted junk from her nose). So I'm not completely shocked by the fever showing up. I am just EXTREMELY thankful that neither girl has acted like they have felt bad with the fevers. She'll be getting an antibiotic tomorrow (there are a couple of perks to her having a Daddy who can write prescriptions....IF she were complaining of ANYTHING not feeling good, we would take her to the doctor; but she says she feels fine). My gift coming from her nose that appeared this morning was gone by lunch time.
 
So through all of this, I have been lazy with my blogging....and lazy with my working out. So I'm a little scared of what the scale is going to say when I weigh-in on Friday morning. I did okish with my portion control during all of this, but not great. I will be happy as long as I did not gain more than 5 lbs. I had planned on doing some working out tonight, but I am cold & can't seem to get warm. I know, you're all thinking "if you would work out it would help you warm up". But I'm lazy, worn out, & cold so I'm going to stay wrapped up in my blanket. I'll have to resume work outs another day.


I Have a Choice!

I CANNOT believe it has been 11 days since I posted ANYTHING about life OR Unglued. I'll do a little recap later of what's been going on. But until then, here is
Today's Unglued Blog Update
(You may want to do a little review of my last one cause I'm just doing a continuum)
Another one of mostly my rewording & adding some of my own to what Lysa said. I just think she hits the nail right on the head!

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. ~1 Peter 5:8
 

And sometimes, it's good to say "I have a choice!" (out loud) in the midst of the angry moment to hold me back from exploding. My choice is whether or not to give the other person the power to control my emotions. The one who holds their tongue is the one who holds the power. When I react by yelling, flying off the handle, or making a snappy comment (those head-spinning Momma moments), I basically transfer my power to the other person. In the case of my girls, that means I am giving my power to one of two preschoolers....YIKES!

When I consider my response from this perspective, I quickly realize I don't want to freely hand over my power to someone not in a position to handle it or be more immature than my preschoolers -- or anyone else. When I am void of power, I am void of self-control. So if I'm going to remain self-controlled, I have to keep my power.
 
Now I'm not talking about super powers here (I mean, I know I'm a mom so I have some & all). I'm referring to God's power working in me. When I react according to God's Word, I feel that power. When I react contrary to God's Word, I feel powerless. God offers a good reminder of how we can tap into His power no matter our situation in Isaiah 55:10-11:
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
 
I caught a very important part there: God's Word will not return empty! The answer to keeping God's power with me & working in me to produce self-control is letting God's Word get inside me. His Word seeping into my mind & my heart will accomplish things (good things, powerful things, things that help me display self-control). That's how I access God's power!
 
I need to memorize more scriptures & try this: When I'm facing a situation in which someone is getting on my last good nerve, I'm going to start quoting God's Word in the present tense, either in my head or out loud (which may require me to excuse myself so I can answer or call or text a response later), depending on the situation. For example, if one of my sweet baby girls starts acting not so sweet I might call to mind 1 Peter 5:6-8 & at least think before responding: "In this moment I'm choosing to be self-controlled and alert. Your actions are begging me to yell and lose control. But I realize I have an enemy, and that enemy is not you. The devil is prowling and roaring and looking to devour me through my own lack of control right now, but I am God's girl. That's right, I am. I am going to humbly and quietly let God have His way in me. And when I do, God will lift up me and my frayed nerves from this situation and fill me with a much better reaction than what I can give you at this moment. Give me just a few minutes and then we'll talk calmly about this."
 
It seems that processing things scripturally in the present tense may keep my heart in a much better place. But what about a girl like me who barely knows John 3:16? Lysa address this too! She says this actually isn't an exercise in memorizing as much as it is in application. I just need to keep verses handy to use (record a few in the notes app of my phone, or put them on sticky notes or index cards). And the cool thing is: The more I use them, the more likely I will be to memorize them! This is important because when I operate according to God's Word, I operate according to God's Will. Even Lysa (who blogs & speaks & teaches on this principle) has to have some verses on index cards so they are in her face, she can speak them in the present tense, & refrain from exploding.
 
God is the perfect match & divine communication with Him is what's needed. Sometimes the quickest way to receive it is by going straight to His Word. Why divine communication? I need God to help me hold back the explosions.....hold back the blame....hold back the shaming. Proverbs 29:18 --"Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint"-- is a good reminder that only revelation or the truth of God's Word can help restrain me the right way. The Hebrew word for "revelation" in this verse means divine communication. In other words, "Without divine communication people cast off restraint." This is so interesting to me! Is it to you?
 
Stay tuned for my next Unglued blog update....it's about Holy Restraint.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Richter Scale

Today's Unglued Blog Update: The Exploder Who Blames Others
Another one of mostly my rewording & adding some of my own to what Lysa said. I just think she hits the nail right on the head!

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. ~1 Peter 5:8
 
Did you know that there are two types of moms? Some moms are equipped by the hand of God to be "that mom." They have been formed with the three-C gene--Cooking, Crafting, & Cleaning come easily & naturally to them. Others of us have been delightfully chosen to provide the comic relief necessary to keep this world entertained (& keep future therapists in business). This could be applied to dads too (being handy/Mr. Fix It vs. comic relief); but since I'm a mom, that's where I place my focus.

You know those times I've mentioned that I have.....you know, the head-spinning Momma Moments. Well, those tend to happen when I am trying to be "that mom" with the three-C gene. My internal good mom/bad mom dialogue torments me (just as it does Lysa) of good moms do this (something better than I was doing) & bad moms do this (exactly what I was doing). Lysa's example was about a science experiment of growing sea monkeys gone wrong. I'll put it hear just so you can see how this dialogue goes:
Good moms grow sea monkeys. Bad moms grown nasty flies.
Wait! Good moms don't even buy sea monkey kits at a book sale. Bad moms struggle to tell their kids no and give in too easily.
Good moms get on the Internet and figure out how to turn a fly debacle into an enriching science lesson for their kids. Bad moms kill the stupid flies and hide all evidence from their kids.

And sometimes this dialogue can go on & on. With each reassurance that I was a bad mom, my emotions ratchet higher & higher. On the stress scale (like a Richter Scale for earthquakes)...
 
...I could have been hovering around a potential hazard of 4, but this conversation in my head easily pushed me to 7. Add to that a preschool squabble about who's turn it is to pick the 1st TV show of the morning & the fact that I can't find my cell phone, & I am all the way up to 9.8. Throw in a comment from one of said preschoolers about somebody doing something different, & I'm ready to explode & blame anyone & everyone who has the misfortune to be nearby....and that's when I would typically throw out: I am a horrible mother! Why don't you just go let [insert the name of any grandparent or friend's parent] be your mother since they do it so much better than I do.

It's during those I tend to feel angry (for whatever reason). And that's when I really need self-control the most. The Bible includes many verses about the subject of self-control:
Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control. ~Proverbs 25:28
gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. ~Galatians 5:23
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. ~1 Peter 5:8

But it's hard to display self-control when someone else does things out of my control that yank my emotions into a bad place. When someone else's actions or statements threaten to pull me into a bad place, I DO have a choice! It may not feel like it. In fact, it may feel like I am a slave to my feelings -- but I'm not. I must remember: feelings are indicators, not dictators. They can indicate there is a situation I need to deal with, but they shouldn't dictate how I react. I have a choice.

Stay tuned for my next Unglued blog update to learn more.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wow....Long & Fun Weekend Spills Over

Wow....I can't believe I haven't updated about our weekend yet!
 
 I was off on Friday, so technically my weekend started Thursday evening. My Mom (aka: Nonnie) had come over from Arkansas cause we were taking the girls to a fun event (more on that to come).
I had some running around in Memphis to do, so we went & got that done. We made a trip to Hobby Lobby to make a wreath for my grandfather's grave (more on that to come). Then we hit up Target for some pants & long-sleeve shirts for Kayla (I also splurged & bought PS...I Love You cause I'm obsessed with this movie). And our final store stop was Toys R Us for gifts for birthday presents, shoes, & crowns for a birthday party (more on that to come). We hit up Arby's for dinner (cause I'm addicted to Arby's).
 
Since I was off on Friday morning, we got to attend a House Party at my friends house. BONUS: this is the SAME house that Kayla & Jamie's friend Lorelei lives at!!!! The girls LOVE her!
Dawn & I often get tickled though cause Lorelei & Jamie are SO MUCH alike! This makes for a GREAT friendship, but also a few heated moments when each girl has her mind set on something. But the relationship these 3 girls have AMAZES me & I cherish the moments I get to see them together. While the girls played with some other friends, the grown ups got to product test some YUMMY bread! This bread mix is sold in the stores (Kroger & Oakland in Walmart) & cost less $3.00 a box (BONUS: for coming to Dawn's party, we got a $0.75 coupon). It is Fleischmann's Simply Homemade Bread Mix. It comes in 4 different flavors & their website provides TONS of recipes for add-ins to make them into appetizers, main dishes, side dishes, & desserts. Dawn premade 2 with mix-ins of pepperoni & cheese in one & chocolate in another (plus icing on top). While we were there she made another one without add-ins to show us how EASY it was to get homemade bread in UNDER an hour.
 
We went home for some nap/rest time & then got up for the fun event: Disney Live! I've already posted ALL the pictures I took on Facebook, so I won't bore you with them again. But here are a few:
Our Souvenir Photo

Yes, I AM a sucker for those sweet faces & they EACH got a new toy. Jamie picked Minnie Mouse (which she asked EVERY TIME she was not on the stage: Where is Minnie the Mouse--just like Pete on Mickey Mouse Club House says it). Kayla got Lotso the Bear (he's in Toy Story 3 & REALLY smells like strawberries as mentioned in the movie).

The girls had a BLAST dancing!

It was a GREAT show with characters from some of our FAVORITE Disney movies.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to share this experience with my Mom & the girls. Since she lives in Arkansas, she doesn't always get to enjoy things the girls do.
 
When we got up on Saturday, I worked on my organizing project some more. Momma & the girls put together a heart-shaped wreath to put on my grandfather's grave (Mom's Dad) in honor of his birthday on Sunday (Mom said that Granny --Poppaw's wife-- LOVED the wreath).
 
Then Nonnie had time for a couple of games before she had to head back. 
Jamie is REALLY starting to get into being the Hat Master with the Cat in the Hat game.

Of course Kayla LOVES being the Hat Master too! Nonnie had to head home before lunch....this made the girls & I sad, but we TOTALLY understand.
 
The guys were getting home just in time to go to Tom Karcher Wolf River Chapter of the Delta Water Fowl Banquet.
 
So I got all dolled up & we went for some time among adults.
 
The Somerville Eye Care Clinic was proud to be a sponsor again this year!
 
Sunday, the girls had the honor & privilege of attending a Princess Pampering Birthday Party for their friend:
The invitations was TOO cute!!!!
 
The girls went from this (crowns & shoes gotten during our outing on Thursday)....
 
 ...to this!
All the Princesses got pampered in the areas of hair, fingernails, toenails, & lips.....they also got tattoos; which the Princes participated in too!
 
Our fun spilled over into Monday & we got to go to Bass Pro for a little shopping & Arby's. We got a couple of Christmas gifts & I GOT A NEW GUN!!!!!!!! It's a Savage 308 (yes, I REALLY like to hunt!).
I have to get a youth model cause I am so short in the arms short. It just fits me better & I'm more comfortable shooting it.
 
So how has your life been since Thursday???


Sip Instead of Guzzle

Today's Unglued Blog Update: The Exploder Who Shames Herself
Another one of mostly my rewording & adding some of my own to what Lysa said. I just think she hits the nail right on the head!
 
"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." ~1 Peter 5:8
 
This is tough to do sometimes! Okay, it can be tough to do all the time. But it is REALLY tough for me to have self-control & be alert if I do ANYTHING before I meet with God in the mornings. Lysa offers some sound advice: Do not check in with the screaming demands of the world before you exchange whispers with God. When I do, I sometimes take an email, text, Facebook message/status, or any other way the world has contacted me to heart or take something the wrong way. It can lead to my feelings being hurt and to me to be an exploder who would later feel shame for not acting more like someone who really loves Jesus & follows Him.
 
She is sipping water
 
It's sometimes better to "Sip the shame so you won't have to guzzle the regret." In other words, taste a little bit of the shame of letting it all rip before you find myself drowning in gallons of unwanted regret. Sipping the shame of what would be if I let my raw emotions have their way might help me not explode. And that's good. But I still have some processing to do to make the hurtful feelings dissipate, to deal with my very honest feelings that were not yet very godly. The last thing I want to do is trade my unhealthy exploding for unhealthy stuffing. I must remember the balance between the two is soul integrity where my honesty is godly. What I need now is some God perspective.
 
Knowing what I need doesn't always translate into wanting what I need. The last thing I want in a moment when I have gotten my feelings hurt is a Bible verse to come marching my way. I don't know about you, but it's hard to pick up the Bible when I feel that way. But Ephesians 6 reminds me that my enemies are not flesh & blood. Ephesians 6:12:
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
 
In God's economy, people don't stand on opposing sides of the conflict scale. People stand on one said & Satan stands on the other. When I dump hurt into someone's life, I am not leveling the conflict scale. I am just weighing down the people side of the scale & elevating the Satan side of the scale. Satan loves it when we do his work for him by dumping on each other.
 
The secret to healthy conflict resolution isn't taking a you-against-me stance, but realizing it's all of us against Satan -- he's the real enemy. But this is hard to do when all I see is that flesh-and-blood person standing there who, quite honestly, is planted squarely on the last good nerve I have left. Such a moment may seem like the perfect time to see my Christianity on the shelf. But it is hands-down one of the grandest opportunities I have to shame Satan back to hell. A Jesus girl who rises up & unexpectedly gives grace when she surely could have done otherwise reveals the power & the mystery of Christ at work -- in her life & in the world.
 
That's why Paul ends Ephesians 6 by making a specific statement about words -- how he wants to use them & the impact he wants them to have. After explaining that Satan is our real enemy, reminding us to put on our spiritual armor each day, & reiterating the absolute necessity of prayer, Paul says one more thing:
Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel. ~Ephesians 6:19
 
After I remember who the real enemy is -- & that the person who hurt me is not my enemy -- I must carefully consider the words I speak to this person. After all, it's one thing to make the mental shift that this person isn't my enemy, but quite another to speak words that make known the mystery of the gospel. Wow....what a choice!?!?!
 
Is this easy? OF COURSE NOT! To have any chance at all, I have to develop a strategy in advance for how I will react in situations like these. In advance means I don't wait until I receive the hurtful comment or the shame-on-you email. In a non-emotional, clearheaded moment, I need to craft a response template. Then, on that day when another person decides to get all up in my Kool-Aid with their own raw emotions, I can hold onto my soul integrity. I'm trying to remember not to let my lips or typing fingertips be the first thing that walks into conflict. My tongue is powerful & holds the potential for death & life. So does sending a piercing text or email response. Lysa has developed a response template for when I need a written response; & it can be tweaked slightly & used for face-to-face interactions as well.
 
1. Begin by honoring the one offended.
This is NOT easy! When my feelings are hurt I certainly do not feel like honoring my offender's words. So I don't honor her words. I need to honor her as a person -- a person God loves. I have to remember that giving honor reveals more about my character than the character of the other person. I need to honor her by pointing out a good quality I know to be true about her. Even if I have to think really hard about what good qualities my offender has, most everyone does have redeeming qualities.
 
2. Keep my response short & full of grace.
The wordier I get, the greater the risk I will slip into defensiveness. If something needs to be clarified, I need to keep it concise & wrapped in grace. This would look like:
A line to acknowledge the expressed hurt.
A line to clarify my intentions.
A line of gentle honesty about the issue at hand.
And, if appropriate, a line of apology.
A line asking for grace.
 
Notice these all say a line.
 
3. End by extending compassion.
Chances are the person who hurt me is hurting for reasons that have nothing to do with our situation directly involving me (more on this in another chapter). For now, why not be the rare person who offers love to this hard-to-love person....but I must remember: DO NOT FAKE IT!
 
Now, not every harsh email needs a response. I need to ask God to help me know when to deal with it & when to simply delete it. I must also remember not every face-to-face confrontation needs a verbal response either. But when it does, I can easily translate what Lysa suggested for the needed conversation. I just need to keep these 3 points in mind: Honor them. Keep it short & wrapped with grace. Extend some kind of compassion. Honor, grace, compassion...H.G.C.
 
Whether I'm face-to-face or sending a written response, I do need to remember there is a big difference between a reaction & a reply. Reactions are typically harsh words used to prove how wrong the other person is (& no good comes from this). A gentle reply "turns away wrath" (Proverbs 15:1). Choosing a gentle reply doesn't mean I am weak; it actually means I possess a rare & godly strength.
 
I must keep things in perspective. Here's an image of what it means to keep things in perspective: People get freaked out when their cats climb up trees; & in some areas, firefighters get calls about this at least once a week. The firefighter will say, if he has time, he'll help them out, but if he's not able to go, he gently reminds the cat owner that he's never seen a cat skeleton in a tree.
 
Hmmm...interesting point: This all shall pass. In the end, it's good for me to remember that it isn't my job to fix someone who has hurt me with a reply. That's God's job. My job is to be obedient to God in the midst of my own set of issues.
 
Lysa reminded me that developing a response template will forever keep me from exploding & then feeling the weight of the after-shame, but it does help me take a more positive step than I would have taken before this journey.
 
For now, I am to focus on the progress I am making. Thank God for it & pave my journey with grace. Grace for myself when I'm an exploder who shames myself, & grace for myself when I experience the other side of this coin as an exploder who blames others....stay tuned for my next Unglued Blog Update.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pouncing & Roaring

Today's Unglued Blog Update
"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." ~1 Peter 5:18

 
Do you know how tough that is? To be self-controlled, when our nature is just to come unglued? But boy, the devil sure loves to just stay in waiting like a lion ready to pounce when our raw emotions creep in.
 
The devil teams up with those raw emotions, ready to pounce so we will explode our emotions onto someone, which many times will knock down all of our integrity. And this never happens at a convenient time. It's always when we are places like at the grocery store, & our kids act like they've NEVER had an ounce of discipline in their life. Does anyone understand what I'm saying, or am I the only one who gets it?
 
What makes raw emotions so complicated is they come out of nowhere & run us slap-over (which is why it's so important to prepare in advance for what will surely happen anytime we have our eyes open: next trip to the store, or attending the unpredictable family reunion, or driving unruly kids in the care pool, or dealing with difficult people at the office, or when this month's credit card bill is twice as much as you thought it would be--& there are no fraudulent charges). Raw emotions are sure to come out during these situations; & when they do, they won't sit quietly awaiting further instructions. They'll move -- outward if we explode & inward if we stuff.
 
Lysa's going to give us ways to prepare in advance for when our raw emotions come slapping us in the face no matter if we are an exploder who later shames themself for not acting more patient in the moment, an exploder who blames others, a stuffer who builds barriers, or a stuffer who collects retaliation rocks. As I've mentioned before, depending on the situation & the person my raw emotions are handling, I can be any one of these. But that's not where I chose to stay!
 
First up: the exploder who shames herself....stay tuned for my next Unglued Blog Update


Monday, November 12, 2012

Soul Integrity

Today's Unglued Blog
 
Exploders Who Shames Herself
Exploders Who Blame Others
Stuffers Who Build Barriers
Stuffers Who Collect Retaliation Rocks
 
These aren't labels I am to carry around with me. These are things I'm identifying about myself so I can bring my raw emotions & unglued reactions under the healing authority of Jesus.
 
Lysa informed me of this: When my emotions are level, I am like the little girl in that movie, The Help (one of my FAVs; watch it if you haven't & borrow it from me if you can't find it), to whom the beloved Aibileen leans down & whispers:
 
Jesus made me a kind-hearted person, full of encouragement & eager to inspire an person who gets within 10 feet of me. Jesus made me smart enough to know that I NEED Him -- desperately & fully. And Jesus has assigned all of us the important job of representing Him to this world, which means we re-present Him everywhere we go.
 
In processing unglued reactions, soul integrity is the heart of what we're after. Soul integrity is honesty that's godly. It brings the passion of the exploder & the peacemaker of the stuffer under the authority of Jesus where honesty & godliness embrace & balance each other.
 
When I explode, I embrace the honest part but refuse to be reined in by the godly part. I can feel justified about my feelings--not hiding a thing--& prideful for being so real, all under the guise of being honest enough not to stuff. But in reality, honesty that isn't true isn't honesty at all. It may just be emotional spewing. That's why I need godly honesty--honesty reined in by the Holy Spirit--if I'm going to have authentic soul integrity. It must really grieve God's heart to see His people reject the godliness that should always balance out our honesty.
 
It must also grieve God to see plastic versions of godliness that aren't reined in by honesty. That's what I do when I stuff & pretend everything is okay. The upside to stuffing is that it resembles peacemakers. But when I do this at the expense of honesty, I harbor a corrosive bitterness that will eventually emerge. It may seem godly in the moment, but it's false godliness. Truth & godliness always walk hand in hand; & when they are separated, I stray from soul integrity & give a foothold to the instability that inevitably leads to coming unglued.
 
So much of pursuing soul integrity means carefully watching our words. The Bible warns about how we use our words:
People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. (James 3:7-8)
 
In other words, I must bring all of my raw reactions under the authority of the truth of Jesus. Self-effort alone can't tame the tongue & my raw emotions that run wild. The exploder whose lack of restraint & brutal honesty result in a very mixed message:
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God's likeliness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. (James 3:9-12)
 
Here's some wisdom about how I can recover from times when my exploding honesty hasn't been reined in by godliness:
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. (James 3:13)
 
That's it! The perfect solution to making my honesty also godly: My words must be spoken in the humility that comes from wisdom.
 
There is also wisdom in the Bible for the stuffer:
But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. (James 3:14-16)
 
The harboring that James is referring to here is rooted in envy & selfish ambition. I stuff to protect myself by keeping conflict at bay. But if I'm stuffing & not being honest about my true feelings, that self-protection quickly turns into selfishness, & the unresolved conflict gives birth to bitterness.
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. (James 3:17)
 
In other words, my peacemaking efforts must be honest! I'm SO after soul integrity (honesty that is godly) -- it will bring balance to my unglued reactions! Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. (James 3:18)
 
Dealing with any of these four reactions, intertwined as they are with my personality & relationships, can be complicated. There aren't quick fixes or easy formulas that guarantee good outcomes when it comes to solving the puzzles of my unglued reactions. But identifying the kind of reaction I'm having & studying possible healthy solutions will empower me to handle my raw emotions with soul integrity.
 
Are you like me & see yourself in all four reactions, or do you relate to only one or two? Lysa warns for us to not rush into her suggestions thought the next chapters before we've allowed the Lord to show us everything He wants to show us in this moment.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Growing

In case you didn't know, I have 2 sweet little girls; and they are GROWING!
 
Please don't judge me for any outfit choices...sometimes you pick your battles & in the morning before preschool I avoid as many as possible.
 
Now y'all are probably thinking: Tasha, this is not a newsflash. You talk about them non-stop & kids DO grow. But it has REALLY hit me in the last 2 days that they are growing! You see, I am with them every day & see them every day; so sometimes it is hard for me to see this growth.
 
Jamie is getting taller & can reach the counter to put her own dishes on it after each of our meals & snacks. She's also getting that "no" & "I do it myself" stage. Jamie can now open doors by herself....not just the ones that have levers, but doorknobs now too. She can also take care of ALL of her own potty needs (remember the "I do it myself" stage I just mentioned). Sorry to mention it, but we have been in that season of life. PLUS, this is a MAJOR difference from sweet Kayla (who is just now getting over the loud noise issues she had with the flushing).
 
But Kayla is growing too. I mean, check out those pants she has on in the picture above....they ARE TOO SHORT! We JUST got into 5T not but a few months ago & it is looking like we are going to have to exit the "T" world of clothing for her comfy pants...which means soon we will leave for other clothes too. We can also see this added height in other ways: she can reach the light switches in the house & can also reach the paper towel roll (which is mounted under one of the high cabinets). I know I've also blogged about Kayla's growth (loud noises, playing with kids her age, etc.).
 
Well, Kayla is ALSO wanting to know more about what we as adults are interested in.....& we kind of had a PRETTY major even this week. Her Daddy was REALLY into the election (uhm, just in case you aren't a friend of his on Facebook to see his statuses, I thought I would inform you). So he started teaching her about voting & how elections work. Of course Kayla got ALL into it & was cheering on a certain candidate. And (just in case you aren't friends with him on FB), her Dad's choice for president did not get elected. Well, he's out-of-town, so I had to handle this one on my own. Y'all, I was NERVOUS! I prayed & even had a friend praying for me to say the right things.
 
Well, here's how it went....I told her Obama was still president. I reminded her that God is in control no matter who would have won. And that we ALWAYS need to be praying for our nation, NOT just when who we wanted doesn't win. I told her she should pray that God's Will be done & to pray that President Obama turns to God for help. And that if ANYONE said anything bad about him OR if she had any negative thoughts, instead of expressing them out loud to people, she should pray.
 
I asked her if she understood, & this is what I got:
God, please get President Obama to ask for Your help. Amen!
 
I think she is growing in more ways than I think.....
 
So, what do you think?