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7 Things to Help Reduce Tics!

7 TIPS

Before my book came out I was blogging pretty regularly for the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome. One of the posts that garnered 61 comments was on Five Things that Can Help With Tics.

A few years later, and with more research, I have decided to update the list a bit for new parents who keep writing me with the same question.

Question: How do I fix the tics?

Answer: There is no one-size-fits all answer. Every child is different.

What Can You Do If You’re Freaking Out About Tics? 

I’m no doctor, but after 10 years at this I can passionately state that all kids tic for a variety of reasons. I, personally , didn’t feel medication was the answer right off the bat for my son. It still isn’t. If it got severe enough, of course I would consider it, but so far it has not.

Here’s what I tell all parents who write me with concerns over their ticking kids. I tell them to ask a few important questions – the same ones I asked myself.

Questions to Ask if Your Child is Ticking

  • Could there be vitamin deficiencies happening?
  • What kind of environmental stressors could be worked on? (Less tension at home, less electronics?, etc.)
  • How much sleep is your child getting?
  • What kind of exercise is your child getting?
  • What does your child’s diet consist of?

It’s Up To You!

None of these questions are meant to either shame or suggest there are simple answers for complicated tic issues. Again, each child is different. My suggestion is to go to a naturopath and have your child evaluated for his/her individual condition. If you are low on funds (which I was) you can start with the basics and see if this helps. It helped in our case and I hope it helps in yours!

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5 Things to Help With Tics

  1. Magnesium: I gave my son 500 mg of magnesium a day, and it really helped with his eye rolls and vocals. For some little kids this might be too much, but I’ve been told the worst thing excess magnesium can do is cause diarrhea. Now my son takes a calcium/magnesium supplement as the magnesium is best absorbed with calcium. The ratio is double the calcium to the magnesium.
  2. Gluten Free: It was a pain, but it helped, and continues to help enormously. He can concentrate more and can fall asleep quickly. When he was not gluten free, it would take hours for him to settle down. He is still a high energy kid, but much less so now.
  3. Dairy Free: Ditto the gluten. It was a pain, but we’ve found many ways to supplement his calcium through rice milk, vegetables and fruit.
  4. Sleep: 10 hours of sleep a night is crucial and a huge tic reducer.
  5. No artificial flavors or preservatives: My son is very sensitive to chemicals. They can set tics off like bee around a honey pot. Not worth the sting of excess tics except on special occasions.

2 Other Supplements * Talk to you Naturopath first * 

6. NAC  – Standing for N-Acetylcysteine, this is an amino acid that can be purchased at any vitamin store. This natural supplement acts as an antioxidant and glutamate modulating agent.

According to this webinar, featuring Dr. Mark Mintz, “They (a study) found the N-acetyl cysteine decreased symptoms of trichotillomania (hair pulling) compared to placebo. It makes theoretical sense as NAC can modulate dopamine. So, there are reports that NAC can improve mood disorders as well (such as obsessive compulsive disorder). There needs to be more research and reports to have a better handle on the effects of NAC in Tourette, but it appears to show some promise.”

7. Taurine – I talk about Taurine here. My son is currently on 500 MG but I think he could use 1000. That said, I will talk to my naturopath first!

What have been your experiences with tics? Did any of you find it made a difference for your children? What about in some of your cases where tics were more severe? Would love to hear!

Until next time, may God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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Hippe…Hippie…Hooray!

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A few friends of mine are getting together in a couple weeks to get some goals accomplished. It’ll be kind of a mini salon, except without the French people and berets. Think moms and dads with pony tails and uni-brows shoving Trader Joe’s taquitos into their pie holes, sipping Diet Coke and downing Two Buck Chuck. (Um, with the crowd I’m known to link arms with, the uni-brows and pony tails describe either the men or the women. No judgement.)

It’s that last part that really gets me scratching my head at times. I truly never expected to be that person who, at 46, was sending out invites to fellow writers and painters to meet on my cull de sac on a Friday evening. I thought I’d be a hip studio climber, hob nobbing with script writers and discussing pilot premieres. And I did.

For a time.

But these days, I find myself less excited over television releases and more thrilled over musical theater releases.

It’s less about show launches and more about the premiere of book launches.

When it comes right down to it, I’m less interested in image. I’m more interested in soul. I’m not a hip person – I’m a hippie!

Many of my friends have gawked at me with my whale backpack, turquoise earrings and enough library books to kill a poodle in a single drop and utter, “Duh! HIPPIE!” But me? This comes as a surprise. Hippie-ness kind of snuck up on me while I was still fast clinging to my ego. And, well, as much as I hate to admit it, my ego was pretty massive. It had me twenty pounds lighter and twenty times richer.

It had me raising kids with hip names like Vida and Jax. These weren’t kids that snuck Hump Day videos on my computer every Wednesday or chastised me for not giving them money to get a fancy dog trainer for our dog. Heck, my ego would not have chosen THIS crazy mutt from the pound in the first place!

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I was supposed to have a yoga body not just because I worked out, but because I could afford yoga classes.

I was supposed to drink Starbucks every day because that’s where I had my writing meetings, not because that was where I worked. Maybe. (Not saying I will or will not be working there, but let’s just say that health benefits at this time do not suck.)

Lest you think I want to live as a modest hippie for the rest of my life, getting hopped up on free Venti White Mochas, I do not. I will not say no to a bigger career if that is what God has for me. I will live in abundance and always work my craft. But for now… when I get really still… when I drown out all those other voices that tell me what I should want, a quiet whisper defiantly rises up reminding me of what I really want.

And I want this.

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The big, messy, chaotic, impractical, not always perfect but amazing life that I have.

Because on the rare occasion after a hike we take that fabulous family photo…

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… most days we’re just getting through the day by day with as much joy as possible.

This means turning Costco into an icy adventure.

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And enjoying family walks to school because both my hubby and I are not working such nutty hours that we can’t enjoy the turning of leaves or a quick wave to Wing, the neighbor, who is so proud of his daughter for getting into UC Irvine. Go Ant Eaters!

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I want conversations with my son in the front seat of our stinky SUV on the difference between “taking a joke” and “not standing up for oneself” and, when the ticking – which is on a very high upswing these days gets a bit frustrating – I want to put my hand on on his and be grateful for his ticking heart.

 

Embracing what is, not what I wish was, makes my now living wow living. It’s not one I take for granted – even on my super tired, nothing is working, OH FOR DUCK SAKE days.

Along a similar bend,  a new blog I found, Grief Happens, has been talking about meditation these days. It’s been fun to watch her journey. I don’t know if I’ll start a sitting and breathing practice myself, but I’m all for becoming more intentional with who I’m sitting with.

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And as long as I’m breathing in more peace – even if that means talking art with my friends on a Friday night instead of being at a club or a show premiere this hippie will take it.

Anyone out there find life different than what they expected? I want to hear!

Until next time, may God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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The Cluster

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In the immortal words of Cartman, “Poor people… they tend to live in clusters.”

If I’m not careful, I can resemble that remark. Yes, I have a roof over my head, but my poverty mindset is always licking at my ears.

Poverty Mindset

“I’ll never get a job that works for my skill set…” (Note: Highlites of skill set include being a six one white mom rapper and the ability to get life stories out of homeless people and Costco shoppers in five minutes or less. Sometimes four minutes if I’ve downed more than one coffee sample.)

“I’m a bad mom for not being able to suppress Stink’s tics after all this time…” (Note: The whole ‘I can cure Tourettes thing?’ That’s up there with my other skill set: Denial Clinging. I’m so good at it!)

“The credit cards… they are still not paid off.” (No comment)

“This friend cut me off… that family member is annoyed with me.” (The good news is I have more time for random strangers. Lucky!)

“Stink was bullied in school. Again.” (Hey, at least he’s not at private school. I’m sending him to public where he gets bullied for free. Win win!)

“Another temp interview today. But I can’t find my Social Security Card. So even if I get hired, I can’t work because I can’t prove I exist.” (If a woman blogs three days a week, but has no official paperwork from the government stating her official numbers, did it actually happen?)

This morning I got up at 5:30am to go running.

Like every morning, I aim to reverse my poverty mindset with one of abundance.

Abundance Mindset

“Today I might not get a perfect job, but I can put myself one step closer to one that will put me one step closer to another which will put me one step closer to my dream job.” (Back in TV! Write that musical! And tap dance! Oh, that last one – I can do that for free at the YMCA beginning on Tuesdays. Who’s ready to “Put another nickel in… in the nickelodeon…!” Aging myself. Moving on. )

“I don’t have to be a perfect mom. THERE IS NO SUCH THING. Stink might tic, but he is confident and strong. Why not concentrate on that?”  (It beats staring at his mom job bowl haircut. Seriously, Andrea, not good. Put the scissors down.)

“I can pay a minimal balance on my cards each month.” (Though what I really want to do is spend MORE money on things I can’t afford. Like a this $125 Cath Kidston backpack. To carry the scripts for the pilot that will be written after my book gets marketed and I finally remember to buy sandwich bags for the kids so they don’t go to school with their sandwiches wrapped in left over gluten free bread bags. Yup, I’m organized!)

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“I can’t please the world. Apologize, let go and your real friends will remain.” (You know who you are. I love ya!)

Abundance! Grace! Forgiveness!

That’s what I’m aiming for! It’s only 7am! What can go wrong?

7:01

My daughter: “Mooooommmm… my alarm didn’t go off. I have to finish my homework and clean my room and I’ll never be ready for our walk to school.”

Me: (Annoyed as I watch her slowly eat cereal.)”Why didn’t you do it yesterday?”

My daughter: “I was making dinner for the family!”

Me: “That’s your chore for your allowance! You have to prioritize your time better!”

My daughter: (Now really crying) “I’m doing the best I can!”

Me: (Inside voice) “Me, too.” (Outside voice.) “I’ll help.”

But I don’t want to.I want to stew in my head and be hungry for things I can’t change. Poverty Mindset.

My daughter: “Okay.”

7:08

We’re now not walking to school. I can hear my son tick tick ticking in the room next door while I fold sheets for my daughter and she weeps in frustration. I am ready to join her but I don’t.

Because this is life on life’s terms. Abundant living requires abundant acceptance that sometimes things just don’t work as planned.

7:15

Me: “Pip, you know, you don’t have to be perfect. You just need to do what you can do for today. Be kind to yourself.”

Abundance! Grace! Forgiveness!

She’s not buying it. I get it. She will one day. So will I.

Me: “Want a hug?”

Denied.

I walk toward the stairs. I hear Stink in the next room. Tic tic tic.

Me: “Hey, Stink, got a hug for your mom?”

Stink: “Of course!”

He is soon at my side in the hall way, moppy head buried in my shoulder. He’s so tall now, I can practically look him in the eye.

His hug is expansive. Wrapped in his 13 year old arms, I am no longer in a poverty mindset, poor and living in a cluster. I’m clustered in what I strive for most.

Abundance! Grace! Forgivness!

All this by 7:45

I can’t wait to see what 8am brings.

Until next time, may God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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Letting Kids Fail:When to Let Go?

I don’t know about you guys, but the only thing harder than being in middle school myself is watching my kids go through it. It’s painful enough watching my sweet Martha Stewart daughter deal with kids in the hall throwing curse words. Her Victorian sensibilities are under attack on a daily basis and she’s ready to throw up her parasol in despair.

“It’s just too much, Mom!” she cried the other day, fanning herself with yet another tween novel about pioneers and progress. “This is why I refused to go on the nature trip. Why would I deal with the insanity of boy crazy girls and bad food when I could be at home with a book and a cup of tea in front of a warm cozy fire?”

I wish I were joking.

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Then there’s my son. He’s about as far a cry from Jane Eyre as Snickers is to junk food. Bring on the hump day tee shirts. Bring on the Pokemon hats with the bright yellow balls and the Pikachu-themed Nintendo DS’s. No skateboards and skinny jeans for this kid. Add in some tics and you’ve got yourself about as far out of the social circle as one can get.

nerd alert

A friend of mine, whose son has Asperger’s, told me that her son really began to shine when she put him in an alternative school.

“My kid was a duck trying to fit into a swan pond,” she told me, with nary a hint of frustration or defeat. (Apparently going through cancer can cure you of a lot of things that once would bring you down. But I digress.) “Now he goes to a school that’s only full of ducks. He can waddle to his heart’s content.”

This thinking seems completely reasonable. Why should a kid suffer for being who he is? I 100% applaud her decision.

But for my kids and my situation, here’s the real sticky mess – the Oreo filling in the center of two very logical crackers: “What if a little bit of suffering is what my kids need to grow and become strong?”

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In her book, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed, Jessica Lahey talks about how we, as parents, can let our kids fight their own battles to become self-sufficient adults who don’t crumble at the first sign of adversity.

The Amazon description reads:

“In the tradition of Paul Tough’s How Children Succeed and Wendy Mogel’s The Blessing of a Skinned Knee, this groundbreaking manifesto focuses on the critical school years when parents must learn to allow their children to experience the disappointment and frustration that occur from life’s inevitable problems so that they can grow up to be successful, resilient, and self-reliant adults.

Modern parenting is defined by an unprecedented level of overprotectiveness: parents who rush to school at the whim of a phone call to deliver forgotten assignments, who challenge teachers on report card disappointments, mastermind children’s friendships, and interfere on the playing field. As teacher and writer Jessica Lahey explains, even though these parents see themselves as being highly responsive to their children’s well being, they aren’t giving them the chance to experience failure—or the opportunity to learn to solve their own problems.

Overparenting has the potential to ruin a child’s confidence and undermine their education.”

It’s tough. On one hand, I don’t want to hover. But where is that fine line between letting a kid learn his part to avoid feeling like a victim, and when is a kid truly a victim? If you’re like me, you know only too well your child’s short comings. “I can tell my kid that his new hair do makes him look like a candidate for the short bus, but if that punk with the flat top makes fun of his bowl cut he’s going to hear it from mama’s best side!”

fart
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Bottom line, like this picture of me (taken by said wacky son), life can sometimes feel sideways. It’s tough to stand back and watch my kids get hurt. But when I’m truly being honest – who is getting hurt more? Them or me?

Trying to keep mean children and sadness away from them is like trying to stop the ocean. On good days I surf those choppy waves like a pro. On bad days I go under. But most days, I aim to sit on the beach and remember that my kids have had their swim lessons. It’s time to let them go a bit deeper into the water. And when they need a breath, I’ll be right on the shore – warm towel in hand.

(But not for that mean kid in seventh grade whose name will go unnamed. That kid can be freezing and suck it.)

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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“This is Bruce.”

It’s been one of those past two years months where it feels like slogging through molasses in lead boots carrying a bowling ball while nursing would be easier than securing a job I’m truly gifted at…

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Marketing a book…

taco truck quote chapter 1

Caring for children….

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And helping a spouse start a business… 

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Then again, after writing that last bit, the first part seems easier.

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Which leads me to the real point: how about I just stop?

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I don’t mean stop taking steps toward my goals. But how about I stop trying to manage and control everything? In the end, it’s truly not the result that matters, but the path to the process. I mean, what’s the point of getting that awesome gig or landing a T.E.D. talk if, at the end of the day, I’ve been a joyless, nagging, cranky, petulant and often worry filled hot mess? (Not that I’m ever one of those adjectives. Sheesh!)

It seems to me, crazy as this might sound, that taking life on life’s terms is the way to go.

Less judgement, not just of others, but of me.

Less working.

More playing.

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Less fretting.

More laughing.

Less me.

More God.

I once heard that “expectations” can be translated as “unborn resentments.” I was thinking about that while in line at Trader Joe’s. I had not expected to be, at 46, thinking about whether it’s truly a good plan to spend $24 instead of $20 on a bag full of mini tacos, cole slaw, gluten free bread and some cereal. I was supposed to be a working TV writer, don’t you know! (Or at least have a career writing jingles or Shel Silverstein poem books!)

But there I was with my re-usable shopping bag. On a budget, but determined to have joy anyway. Because, well, joy does not conform to budget. Joy looks at budget and says, “Ha, ha ha! I fart on you, silly money constraints! I will enjoy my day, go back for a second cup of sample coffee, and enjoy a gluten-filled gnocci taster since my sweet ticker is not here to watch me delight in the twitch inducing pasta morsels!”

I will chat with the cashier.

I will ask about her day.

And then I will explain to her that my shark backpack is not a shark after all but an Orca.

Named Bruce.

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And when she laughs and says, “That’s awesome!” I will laugh, too. Because, in the end, if I really had to choose between a crud load of cash and a true connection with another human being in the grocery store line, I’d choose the second option every time.

Even if my purse threatens to swallow her whole. (Bruce… he’s a cheeky accessory to say the least.)

Until next time, may:

God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and have the wisdom to know the difference.

Love,

Andrea

PS: I highly recommend getting a mammal shaped pocketbook. It can transform your day. Add in some Victoria floral designed fayx Doc Martins and a “I Love My Crazy Friends” tee shirt and your whole week will improve just by getting dressed!

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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My Prayer Square

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I’ve been practicing meditation lately. Not the kind of meditation where I sit for thirty minutes at a session, empty my brain of all things Andrea, and go blue with bliss like that scene in Eat Pray Love where Elizabeth Gilbert hits nirvana as the greeter at the Ashram or leaves all her problems at the top of the bell tower, walks down, and three chapters later is having wild sex with Felipe in a bed that resembles a floating parachute. (That happens to me every day, though, trust me.)

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I’m talking the kind of meditation where you just allow yourself to be where you are at any given moment. There is no judgment of thought. No should’s. (I mean really, people, I’m so tired of shoulding on myself!) No. It’s about just letting whatever is be what it is. Life on life’s terms.

If this meditation practice of mine was compared to a baby’s journey toward development, you could seriously put me in the “Crawling on Her Belly” category, but even us crabs have to scuttle before we can swim.

Take yesterday’s event after Stink’s tennis practice. I didn’t hyperventilate.That was a form of meditation! Hooray! After all, panicking about the future wasn’t going to get my car keys back.

Today, with Stink’s new vocal tic resembling Bobby Brady’s scratchy voice during puberty, thinking about how he was teased about a similar sound a few years ago is simply not helpful. I went on a walk instead and allowed myself to speak truthfully to my spouse about something that had been bugging me. He handled it well, I took his suggestion, he decided to work on his part… boom! So much better than sitting in the den, listening for squeaks with the obsession of a hound dog hunting runaway prisoners.

I’m finding that for me, the real answer to peace is to somehow enjoy the moment exactly as the moment is. Sometimes, it simply means finding a prayer square.

What’s a Prayer Square?

A prayer square, for me, is an upgraded version of “standing on my square” that my friend Barbara used to tell me to do. When I’d ruminate and complain and spin more than a tilt-a-wheel on truck stop java, she’d tell me to get my head out of my arse, clean house, trust God and help others.

One day, after one of her “pep talks” she told me find a square in my kitchen and stand there. “Plant your feet, look at them, and let all your energy and anger and pain just go from the tip of your head down to your ankles and root yourself in the floor.”

At first, that sounded pretty stupid. Sure, I’d try, but inevitably I’d focus on my stained tennis shoes and the damn dog fur, not to mention that the grout in my tile was not a natural black because I am such a bad housekeeper and OUCH! Without fail I’d virtually fall off the prayer square, hit my head on the tile, and wind up with a massive headache from trying too hard.

But eventually, it got easier. Because, well, my best thinking got me nowhere. And as silly as it felt to stand on a square in the middle of my dirty kitchen, it felt better than lying on my couch in a heap of misery over what I couldn’t change.

But something was missing so, not one to stick with dogma just for the sake of dogma, I switched it up a bit. I threw in some prayer.

For me, it’s hard to have monkey mind when I’m thanking God for something in my life. “Thank you, God, for this moment. For this kitchen in all its imperfection. For my life, with all the beauty and all the warts. I feel your energy from the tip of my head to the ends of my toes. Thank you.”

It worked. It really did. Eventually I started being able to stand there longer and longer. But, well, since life happens with kids and dogs and renters and husbands, it became apparent that I would have to leave the house. Every day.

Since it wasn’t always feasible to run back to my kitchen when things got wonky (which for me were, um, a lot,) I found prayer squares in public. Take last night, for example. While hiking up the park lawn to the office, only to find the doors locked for Yom Kippor (Happy Shana Tova, my Jewish readers!) my eye landed on a beautiful pepper tree. Something about the night sky, combined with the warm air and its branches hovering over me like a warm embrace made me feel safe. For a few seconds, I wasn’t thinking about how I would get home without a set of keys. I was focused on the love of that tree.

“Go lie down under it!” my gut told me. And believe me, I almost did. But given it was 8:30, some homeless bums were eyeing me from the office patio and I didn’t feel like being raped, harassed for food, or perhaps even asked for food while I was being raped, I decided it wasn’t a good idea. But I made a promise to it to go back. “Hello, sweet tree! I can’t wait to see you again. I will sit under you, and look up at your branches and just feel whatever I feel. And I thank you for not kicking me out. Because, well, with what I think about sometimes, I’d kick me out.”

Trees are like the best of friends. They listen and they don’t talk back. I hope to be a better friend like that some day, not because I ‘should’ but because that’s what being a friend is all about.

And if you, my friend, happen to be in my area, perhaps we’ll go sit under that tree together. And we’ll not worry about what we cannot change. We won’t fear the future or regret the past but just relish the absolute joy of the present moment with the earth at our feet and the sky over our heads. We’ll just revel in our prayer square and feel God’s love from the tips of our heads to the ends of our toes.

Sounds like a hoot, eh?

Until next time, remember to accept the tics you can’t change, change the tics you can, and have the wisdom to know the difference.

More of my writing can be found at AndreaFrazerWrites, on Facebook at Happily Ticked Off or on Twitter @AndreaFrazerWrites. 

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From “That Sucked” to “Miracle”

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Tonight at my kid’s tennis lesson I had a long conversation with a dad who happens to have an auto-immune disorder. This dad has a kid at my kid’s school who inherited his disease. As fate would have it, another friend of mine’s kid, from the same school, just had her kid diagnosed with the same auto-immune disorder as this dad from tennis. (It was kind of a six degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon and wonky diagnoses moment. So fun! Grab the insulin shot and a slice of gluten free bread pronto!)

This just brought up a whole slew of conversation back and forth like, “Would we, if we had known about our wonky genetics, have gone into parenting so readily?”

For both of us, it was an astounding “Yes, of course!” Neither of us could imagine not having the children that we do. It’s not about auto immune disorders but the soul that matters. (Even if that soul happens to be my son who was getting me so darn mad moments before the tennis lesson that I’m surprised I didn’t lose my mind or at least my keys. Oh, wait! I did! But that comes later on in the story.)

Instead, let me tell you the next thing that happened. In between talking about medication and personality and genetic pre-disposition with cute dad, another mom sat down. I looked at her face. If Ellen Degeneres were Indian, this short-haired, brown-skinned soul would be her. I just loved her spirit. And, turns out, I knew her!

PJ!” I said, shaking her hand in greeting.

“Andrea!” she said, shaking it back in unabashed delight.

The one-word greeting spoke volumes about our reunited connection. It seemed to triumphantly whisper, “Yay! We can talk for thirty minutes and have an adult conversation while our kids try not to bash each other’s brains in with tennis balls!”

Except this unspoken thought didn’t stay in our brains. It bled right out of our mouths all over the gum encrusted park bench. Within moments we both blurted out how happy we were to see each other again. Which, well, was a bit odd, given we had only met once before… two months ago… but we remembered each other for whatever reason. (Well, okay, the reason was that in a few minutes I completely analyzed her personality, her wife’s role in parenting, the disposition of her kids and why she likes her job. She thought I was a bleepin’ psychic. I was sad to report that I was just a wacky writer. But somehow I didn’t scare her off.)

Um…can you see men doing that on the football field? “Oh, Jerry, it’s so awesome to see you again. You know, the moment I heard you turn over that motor in your rotary engine, I knew we’d be fast friends. Let me read your palm and afterwards let’s make bmf bracelets!”

Well, silly or not, there it was…this bond between PJ and I that I can’t explain. And there was this bond between this dad and I that I am grateful for, too… two parents of two kids that require a bit more attention than “Suck down these Pop Tarts for dinner, we’re just done with cooking tonight.”

Let me now go on record that, as a Christian woman who has been married for 15 years, it might seem odd that a straight wife like me finds connection between an Indian lesbian and a happily married Italian father, but it is what it is.

Note to my Christian readers, Mom and Farmer Stacey: Do not be alarmed. I’m not starting an emotional affair with my Bollywood princess or blue-eyed auto immune cute dad friend. But I cannot lie. I find them both fabulous spirits and I’d be kidding you, and my very own self, if I didn’t admit that signing my kid up for tennis was the greatest lift to my spirits this month since Costco’s sale on dark Starbuck’s coffee ($15.95/bag – a deal!). When I start shaving my head or wearing a mini-skirt with a tight John Mackenro tee over my Double D’s, you can call out the Jesus squad.)

To add more cherries to the topping of this fun park bench banter (think of me as the peanut butter in between two slices of wonderful, talkative bread) we found out that PJ knows my sister through their kids’ middle school. Fun!

And then I lost my keys.

Boo.

But I didn’t freak out.

Yay!

Because what would be the point? The day up until that moment had been so crazy. (Wonky news from a writing client. No Ebay sales. Wondering if perhaps I should just throw in the towel and get a real job after all or run away with the circus and sell GMO infested popcorn to parents who have more money to entertain their kids than I do these days.)

But Stink made me sit on a parking slab and pray. Which I did. Which was no small feat for this six foot 1 mama.

“Jesus isn’t a magic genie,” I told him, adjusting my 2-foot wide butt to the diameter of the six inch cement chair.

“I know,” he said. “But He’s a miracle maker.”

Which, well, turns out He was. I did not find the keys right away. But I did stay calm which helped me retain my sanity. Each step I took I just remembered that I’m not in charge. I’d figure it out.

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Since my own phone was dead, I used the tennis instructor’s phone. (Old old phone… crack in the glass… thank God… a fellow tribe member of the ‘We’re Doing the Best We Can Club’.)

I called every person on his roster. “Did you take my keys by accident?”

“No… good luck…” was all I got.

So I called my husband.

And he showed up….

…At the exact same time as cute dad who pulled up in his car, keys dangling from his finger. “I took them with mine by accident!” he said.

So then I came home and ate a beet salad that my sweet husband (and even cuter) had made. And we talked about my work options and his business. And how sometimes, even if things don’t go the way we want them to, they go where they need to go. And that’s the kind of peace that makes all the nuttiness worth it.

If that’s not a miracle, I don’t know what is.

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Until next time, remember to accept the tics you can’t change, change the tics you can, and have the wisdom to know the difference.

More of my writing can be found at AndreaFrazerWrites, on Facebook at Happily Ticked Off or on Twitter @AndreaFrazerWrites. 

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My Word of the Year – Discipline

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It has occurred to me recently that whining and complaining is not all that it’s cracked up to be. At some point in one’s life, it becomes necessary to actually do something about what they want changed. This realization didn’t happen for me with doobage and unicorn rainbows shooting out my arse at a yoga studio run by a guru named Spirit Chevorlet. It happened for me at a red light on my way home from Target.

I had been stewing and stewing all day about finding work and putting away Christmas decorations and making school lunches and “Why can’t I just get a break I am working so haaaard?” when a little voice came into my head with four words that pretty much changed everything. “Shut the hell up.”

“Excuse me?” I thought to myself. But I felt that same voice tugging at me. Call it God. Call it my inner voice. Call it an angel with an attitude. I don’t care. For that moment, I sat in my own truth – the truth that it was up to ME to do something different. I knew this already, but it wasn’t until that moment that I really knew.

For many  years, I wanted the tics to change.

I wanted people to change to make me feel better about my life.

Since those fantasies didn’t actually translate into real life for me, it was now time for me to change myself. A few excuses I had for whining, complaining and basically throwing a big boo boo tantrum for the past few months included,  but are not limited to:

* I shouldn’t have to do all that social media stuff to get a job in this town. I’m a WRITER

* My husband isn’t changing into a beacon of flexibility. Why should I become the poster child for responsibility?

* My friends aren’t giving up wine. Why should I have to?

* My kids aren’t worried about cleaning their room. Why should I clean mine?

* I am too tired to exercise. I think I’ll just grow a spare tire and enjoy the wonders of armpit hair.

At the end of the day, I can either give my power to my husband, the tics, family obligations, my work, my kids or the dog, or I can give the power to me. Choosing me is kind of scary, because who the heck am I?

Who the heck are you?

This question changes everything. It leads to destruction or transformation. It leads to failure or success. It leads to darkness or light.

When we know who we are, we can be who we need to be. And when we are enough, no tic, person, place or thing can touch us.

It’s not every day that I have this kind of epiphany at 6:17 on a Thursday, but between you, me and the street light, I’m glad I did.

Talk at ya soon.