meditation, spirituality, Uncategorized, writing

Why I’m a Christian. Worries. And Toilets.

ssss

I have decided, encouraged by this post by Fractured Faith, and a week of contemplation thanks to glorious… oh so glorious… vacation… that I’m giving up worry.

It really makes sense. I mean, why did I get sober, or why do I believe that this God of mine died and rose from the dead if he wasn’t going to take care of me and all my concerns that really, in the end, I can’t control anyway?

Yup, it’s time to tell my negative thinking to take a hike. I mean, if you looked at me, with all my gazillion friends (I’m blessed) and happy go lucky attitude, you might think I had it all together. And on many fronts I do. But inside there is always a bit of restless discontent or anxiety. If I were a doctor, I’d call it a bit of OCD mixed with a bit of ADHD and a sprinkle of good old fashioned neurotic wiring.

But I’m not a doctor. But I do know this: When I sleep, eat, laugh and connect with my friends, family and God, sometimes my little anxious friend goes away. Hey, I have an idea: Why don’t I just do that! Connect and laugh every day!

Not taking myself so seriously means quite a few things for my ego, though. Poor little ego. This shame thriller doesn’t get to invade my present with its insistence on dwelling on the past or the future. It means:

  • I’m not going to overthink if I’m a good enough Christian for not believing everything I read hook line and sinker in the Bible. (Yup, I worry about that.)
  • I’m not going to worry that I like meditating more than I like doing memorized prayers from my childhood. (Yup, I worry about that.)
  • I’m not going to worry that I’m 20 pounds over the bobble head Los Angeles model range. (Yup I worry about that. Well, no I don’t. The emaciated pre-menopausal crone is so 1996.)
  • I’m not going to worry that my house isn’t perfectly clean or that I have formica countertops with a burn mark circa Carol Brady 1968. (Yup, I sometimes worry about that.)

What Gives Me the Audacity to Kill Worry You Might Ask?

Because if I can show up to Good Friday services at a church located in a perfectly respectable tree lined suburb where someone found it 100% respectable to put their toilet on the curb next to my car, then I don’t have to be so buttoned up either.

2.jpg

It means I can give myself permission to enjoy pancakes with 3/4 of my family while the other 1/4 sleeps in. (Hey, newsflash: I don’t have to control everything! That even includes using plastic striped plates with an old table cloth and a crusty Maple Syrup container!)

1.jpg

It means just giving in and letting the dog get up on the fainting couch while I book some camping sites with my husband. My very cute husband who, might I add, loves it when I’m not quite so serious also.

3.jpg

It might mean dancing whackily in the kitchen to Maroon 5’s Sugar, eating M and M’s for breakfast on occasion and not getting as much done on my pilot this week as I’d hoped.

But given the incredible outpouring of love, friendship and family I had this vacation, I know that everything is happening exactly as it’s supposed to. A little discipline… a little letting go… and a lot of trusting that this God of mine rose above some oh too serious Pharisees in his day. I can rise above my worry, too, then. I can throw my head back, and laugh.

sssssssss

At the very least I can eat pancakes and, worse case, I don’t feel well? I know of a free toilet not too far away in an emergency.

Happily Ticked Off Tip #42:  Give up worrying if you can by just not taking yourself so damn seriously.

My book is available on Amazon. (Note: It’s a special ed journey… your kid doesn’t need to have Tourettes to relate!) Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on Facebook. 

books

Advertisements
faith, self improvement, spirituality

Life Death and Big Pink Flowers

Today we officially said goodbye to my father in law. It wasn’t a big funeral. It was a small group of us: my husband, his mom, sister, me and the kids. We took my father in law’s ashes and spread them out on the ocean.

2

It was a weird mix of sadness and relief. Sadness that my husband and his family had to bid farewell to a man they weren’t quite ready to say goodbye to. (It happened so fast. Good for him, not so easy for the rest of us.) But relief, too, because now everyone can move forward with the healing process.

I have found that the best support I’ve been able to offer is to give less advice, ask more questions and just listen. This is not the time for me to “fix” anything. Sometimes things just are what they are. At least I’m not fixing problems that occurred from putting my foot in my mouth.

All this silence has given me an awful lot of time to think. And today, what struck me most during the solemn affair was how, in the end, we all go back to the earth. We can strive to sell books or teach classes or have nice homes, but at some point… if we’re lucky… someone is carrying our remains in a bag and wishing us well on journey into the next spiritual realm.

Maybe this sounds depressing, but to me, it takes the pressure off. In my faith, either Jesus died for me or he didn’t. If he did, then maybe I don’t have to sweat the tough stuff so much. Maybe I can grieve and feel those pains of loss, but at the same time laugh and feel the joy because I don’t call the shots. If this Jesus is who I hope he is, he promises something better after the dark fades. He promises that while certain people have gone back to the earth, new life will pop up with glory and color.

4

I will try and remember that tomorrow morning when I face that same student who decided I was a terrible teacher. I will take a look at this same pink tree as I drive down the street and pray that whatever darkness she experiences in her home she can bury. I can pray that, like my savior, she can rise into something more vibrant and beautiful that brings joy and color to all who behold her.

And, well, if she can’t, I can, and I’ll let go. Because honestly, I can’t take on the world. Instead, like this picture taken last night when I stepped out of a house full of guests to breathe in the dusk, sometimes you just have to be reminded to sit ON shit rather sit IN it.

1

(Yup, that’s four big stinky bags of fertilizer.)

Bottom line: May you grow flowers in your bullshit this week and make the best of whatever comes your way.

Happily Ticked Off Tip #35: When you’re dealt a lot of crap, grow flowers.

My book is available on Amazon. (Note: It’s a special ed journey… your kid doesn’t need to have Tourettes to relate!) Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on Facebook. 

books

 

Coaching and Wellness, education, faith, self improvement, spirituality

Hypocrite in Transition: Staple That to My Cardigan!

sss

Just yesterday I was saying how I meditate every day. If I don’t, I’m a mess.

Today I didn’t meditate. And shock of all shocks, I was a mess this morning.

I gotta admit it, I’m TIRED. I can’t keep on top of the waves of life that are rocking me these days. Work? I can do that. Kids to doctors? I can do that. But all the other stuff like remembering market items and birthdays… being on time for meetings or slowing down with my kids to really see them in the morning and not just rush rush rush while being cranky that my husband had the audacity to fix the pockets in my jeans so I don’t look like a vintage homeless giant? I’m kind of losing the game there.

Because I don’t allow myself to get into victim mode anymore, my mornings don’t define my entire day. There’s always an opportunity to start over. How? Hint: It doesn’t involve getting other people to behave. The only way for that to happen is to right size oneself. And the only way right size wonky, upside down thinking is to get in gratitude and be of service.

I’m no mathematician, but that’s a formula that has kept me from being homicidal or suicidal for the past year and so I gladly share it with you.

Ex: Today one of my students was sitting at my desk doing a big fat nothing. “Why do you let her sit at your desk?” you might ask. The answer: “Because she’s a bit on the fringe. I keep an eye on her. I make sure she’s doing work. Which, sometimes she doesn’t. And by “sometimes” I mean “often.” Clearly this is an IEP kid who needs some extra nudging. In a class of 40 with no aid, this isn’t easy. I can only offer lack of judgement and encouragement when the energy of the class transitions from savage ingrates to mediocre feral.

Knowing her wiring, and adding in the fact that she is not spitting, licking the desktop or throwing a basketball from one table to the next (yeah, that happened once) I gave her a passing grade during progress reports. So you can imagine my surprise when she left a homemade envelope on my note. It had more staples than guards at San Quentin. On it, in my black sharpie (which she did not ask permission to use, of course) read the words “MS. FRIZZLE. READ THIS. IN PRIVATE. NOW.” It was decorated with very sad cartoon drawings which, truthfully, were way better constructed than this awkward art teacher could have done. But I digress.

On the inside was a letter that read:

Dear Ms. Frizzle. I am very very upset with you. I got a B in this class and CLEARLY I deserved an A. I am very mad at you and want to tell you how WRONG this is. L.

What could I do? I wrote her back on the same strip of paper. I sealed it with more staples, hoping they wouldn’t poke her little paws and bleed all over my freshly washed desk. It read:

Dear L: I am so glad you took the time to write me! You spell very well! I am surprised that you are sad with your B, given that 25% of your grade is participation (you do not participate) 25% is your vision board (you did not complete this) 25% is your test (you have not taken any so that was an automatic A – Congrats on your easy win!) and 25% is behavior (you rarely take out your work after multiple prompts.) When you add this up you technically deserve an F in my class. Are you willing to change some habits, and your perception, to bring your B to an A by June? Ms. Frizzle. 

The responding note I received blew me away. In a good way. And it couldn’t have happened had I not switched my own perspective. Check in tomorrow to find out!

Happily Ticked Off Tip #31: When you get centered, other people behave. It’s really that simple!

Leave a Comment

Are you ready to stop blaming other people for what only you can do which is to center yourself? If so, sign your name to commit to the journey. (For me it was commit or be committed. I’m glad I took the first step.) Let’s support each other!

My book is available on Amazon. (Note: It’s a special ed journey… your kid doesn’t need to have Tourettes to relate!) Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on Facebook. 

books

 

Coaching and Wellness, meditation, self improvement, spirituality

Pain Sucks. But There’s Another Side

I used to hide my pain behind talking about people, putting myself down or drinking too much wine.

These days, I face it, I grieve and I move on. It’s so much easier. It’s so much easier, in fact, I don’t often feel pain.

No pain? How is that possible? 

For me, the answer is acceptance. Always acceptance. I don’t have to like a situation, but when I accept it, I surrender. Like in a battle, I put down my guns of defiance and anger. They weren’t protecting me anyway. If anything, they were protecting me from the other side. That “other side” being you… my fellow fighter… who seems so scary and more together than me but… when you put down your gun, too… you are just like me. A human being who suffers.

Death and Darkness

pain 1

There’s been a lot of darkness in my family lately. People dying. People ill. People sad. My immediate family, thank God, is okay. But I can’t pretend like the people around me are. That they aren’t truly hurting. It’s not easy because  I can’t take it away from them. If anything, I can only share my story if they want to hear it. Maybe they will surrender like I did to find peace. Maybe they won’t. But it’s not up to me to holler my ideas at them.  (Have you tried screaming over gunfire? It doesn’t work and you are taking the risk of best case going deaf, worse case getting maimed or killed.)

What is the Point of Pain?

Everyone has different beliefs on this. As a Christian, it makes sense to me that this Jesus character was kind of a bad ass, because he felt pain just like you and I do, but he rose above it. He left his spirit in us so we, too, could rise above it. Jesus didn’t want to face death. But in surrendering to it, God was with him during his dark times.

sss.png

 

To me, this is comforting. And it helps me realize that the pain of my past wasn’t in vain. I can use to help others find hope. This is good news – literally – because it means the suffering has meaning. It means I can endure the dark again because there is always light in helping others later.

pain 2

If you are going through a dark time right now, I’m sorry. I won’t preach at you. I won’t tell you to believe what I do. I won’t suggest you try some certain medication or organic llama bone crushed inside an essential oil that will make you both joyful and anchored. But I will tell you that I have been there, I got through it, and you will also.

My Greatest Teacher

I might be a teacher now by trade, but Pain will always go down as my best Professor. When I surrendered and embraced it, it taught me that I could be bitter or trust that something bigger was coming down the pike. And for me, friends, that something better is my fellows. A hand out to a new student. A compliment to the old dude handing out samples of Fig Newtons in Costco. A smile at the school secretary who deals with one million requests from hormonal middle schoolers/day.

In closing, I can pass on hope to you because someone passed it on to me. I lost… but in losing, I rose to be a better person. Pain didn’t win.

Coffee on the other hand? That wins every time.

Happily Ticked Off Tip #26: When we don’t run from pain but choose to welcome it as our greatest teacher, not only will we transform but we can use it help others transform from dark to light also. 

My book is available on Amazon. (Note: It’s a special ed journey… your kid doesn’t need to have Tourettes to relate!) Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on Facebook. 

books

Uncategorized

Learning to Be Content – 1 Grunt at a Time (Mine, Not My Kid’s)

 

sss

In my quest to adjust to life as a working mom, there’s a lot I haven’t done, including writing here.

Because I am lazier than the gajillion people who refused to get out and vote this election season hate to reinvent the wheel, I thought I’d share something I sent to a friend today. She was on my  mind because, being a good self-indulgent product of the eighties, I’m on my mind a lot. And since I somehow live more peacefully in my Starbuck’s infested/doing too much/oh crap/I forgot to apply to high schools for my kid and now he’s going to be stuck at our local feeder school brain when I think of others, I thought I’d share it with you in case you can relate. (A few words added and deleted for privacy.)

Hi friend – 

Just writing you a quick letter to let you know something my own sponsor said to me today. I call her every morning at 730. If it’s 731 she gets on my case. “You’re late.” It’s annoying and a bit non-graceful. She’s of a different faith than me, a lawyer and pretty much the opposite of overthinking/soft hearted/no boundaries me. But she’s been amazing. She’s like those rubber walls in a pinball machine for me. My emotions get wound back and released high into the game. The ball then falls against those walls and plink! plink! plinks! all over the place. It wants to go straight to the top (that’s where I think the good life is) but it hits those walls. Those walls scream at me, “No. You’re staying right here. Get still. Stop running.” So I do. 
sss
Today I told her, all in fifteen minutes, how I had all these fears. Fears that I would never land on that TV show or hit the big time to have money to send my kids to private schools and have all these CRAZY FUN experiences if I keep doing what I’m doing as a special needs aide. I need time at night to write again and figure out a way to finish that pilot that’s going to make me that money. (And my book. Whatever happened to that?)
ssss
But then I told her (and this is the truth) that I have never been happier at a job then I am right now. I make a small bit/hour and barely have cash after I buy food for the family and pay some bills, to do anything. And yet, I have people in a community that adore me. That I love right back. That bring me hard boiled eggs from their chicken coop and walk coffee to me on a break. People that have Thanksgiving and Halloween feasts…
sssssssss.jpg
…that have burrito bars for our Hispanic community… arts and crafts and Willy Wonka productions and ridiculous school dances where I get to walk around with eighth graders trailing behind me like baby ducks while Gen Ed kids scream out at me, “Mrs. Frizzle! Mrs. Frizzle! Nice Marilyn Monroe skirt!” (Intentionally refusing to call me Mrs. Frazer based on my… ahem… style of dress.)
 sss
I push wheel chairs and wipe drool and dance with Down Syndrome kids. I am plugged in to love on a daily basis. 
sss
With that,my life saving sponsor reminded me to remember where I am today. To “Make space between the notes” to be present. She reminded me that sometimes what we think we want is not worth it if where we are we cannot be content.
sss
As I write this I am still so unsure of my path. Without sounding like a narcissist, writing is where I find so much joy. My blog and my book are my soul. I refuse to lose it. But I’m also thinking that maybe TV isn’t for me. The pushing and shoving for money to validate my ego somehow doesn’t feel as rich as the team work and caring that validates others. I want to live up to my true potential, but what if what “I” thought was supposed to be is not what “God” intended. Is this spiritual enlightenment or just crack talk for the words ‘LOSER at a bigger life.’
sss
 I’m not sure. But I do know this: There is a peace in doing what I am doing RIGHT THIS MINUTE. Whether that’s painting a snowman with Ethan, my Asperger buddy who can barely read let alone hold a brush, or cooking dinner or having a beautiful Advent for my kids. There is joy in being of service right where I’m at and not flogging myself for being bigger in the world or my bank account. 
sss
In thinking of my purpose, I must always revisit God’s purpose. In all I do, I must remember the question, “What is my motive?”
 sss
  To quote Paul, 
 sss
“I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive.
Hang in.
 sss
Love, Andrea
 sss
If any of you are reading and are not a God person, I still believe God has a purpose for you. If you’re of another faith – or perhaps Christian and think your life should have turned out better because you go to church and help the poor and only buy sheep from catalogs as Christmas gifts for people to sponsor underprivileged villages in South America and have foster kids named Jorge and Wanita Azul – let me remind you that the most Christian of them all hung out with the poor, the wackadoos and died a brutal death. We have to let that fantasy of “I deserve it” go. Life sometimes sucks. Period.
sss
Tonight, with four tween boys stinking up my house, a pot of rice in the cooker, lights twinkling on my staircase and a husband peacefully watching a show I’d rather die than view, I’m content that it doesn’t suck today.
I hope you are, too.
Here’s to more time here connecting. As always, I’ve missed you.

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

bookcover profile pic

Uncategorized

I’ll Take a Venti Life with 3 Pumps of Sweetness and a Side of Career. Oh, And I Have a Coupon

wwwww

So the award for the longest title goes to me.

Also the award for the biggest tantrum on the planet. It has been going on for two days two years. And now it’s ending. What I really needed to do two years ago was give myself a spanking to snap out of it, but I don’t believe in corporal punishment, so instead I whined and complained and basically made myself and many around me miserable.

And then last week I threw water at my argumentative teenager which was my wake up call to give myself a time out on my nuttiness. And here’s what I learned.

Right now I’m exactly where I need to be.

I’m not God so I can stop pretending to run the universe. He has a plan for my kids, my hubby, my job, my entitled sausage of a dog… all of us.

I’m working at Starbucks.

I can stop feeling bad about it. It’s not because I suck at writing or because I couldn’t get something better. It’s because it’s an honest living. I get to stretch that side of me that hates discipline, order and routine and become good at it. Why? Because how can I expect my kids to do the same if I haven’t learned that lesson?

In taking a little time to myself the other day (a long time coming, I might add) it really sank in that my current job situation is tough for a creative like me. But it’s not impossible. And it’s not necessarily a punishment or a burden. It’s quite the opposite.

Getting paid pennies to show up on time, flex new sides of my brain and show professionalism when I want to scream are valuable life skills that I need to be ready when the bigger stuff hits. It’s allowing me to become a warrior in my own life. This is not a crap job. It’s a magic tool belt to refine my spirit. It’s a petri dish for my character defects and because of it I get to grow.

Life is not a Starbucks drink. I don’t get to stand in line with a kushy gift card and order a Venti Existence with Three Pumps of Joy and a Side of Career. (With a gift card no less!) I get to earn it fair and square so I’m ready when the big stuff comes along.

And here’s the real kicker: What if the big stuff is not out there? What if this is the big stuff… this very minute? This very “smells like Pike standing on my feet working it all out in a green apron” minute? Is that good enough?

The very plain answer is yes. Because right here… right now… is where my kids get to be 12 and 13. Where I get to work on my relationship with my spouse. Where I get to serve others and love on my nasty customers and try to make someone else’s world better each and every day.

And in doing so I get the greatest riches of all.

Peace.

Just a few thoughts for today.

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

bookcover profile pic

 

 

Uncategorized

Got Hope? Live Outside the Box! (The Hope Box, That Is)

 

the ocean

I woke up yesterday to more clothes in my living room than Trump has haters. The reason? My kids had the duty on Sunday of moving every stitch of them from my closet upstairs to the couch to make room for my daughter to move her clothes into her soon to be “new” bedroom. This would not be a problem except I was now faced with the task of putting 1000 pieces of crap into a vintage armoire that holds – at best – 100 pieces.

blog 3

I could, of course, do what most normal people would do and get rid of some items. But that would be a tragedy. First, there was my mother’s size 11 gold wedding shoes from 1969. They will never fit me, but I take such great joy knowing that she once wore these sparkly clod hoppers with a bright pink wedding dress. Oh, that dress? I have that, too.

blog 4

And then there’s my nana’s size 2 navy pumps. I’ll never fit in those either, but they make me smile. How did such a tall granddaughter come through her genetic line?

Add in the wool overcoats lined in bright plumages of pink and purple Victorian roses… the silk panda scarf… the “I Love My Crazy Friends” tee shirt…the XL puff skirt to wear under a dress I don’t have and the mis-matched China tea cups picked up from a thrift store for $1.99 each.

Yup, that’s a whole lot of “crap”. And yet, that crap fertilizes my heart and keeps it blooming. Running my fingers through the fabric reminds me that it’s okay to slow down just a bit and just enjoy.

When I was 11, I’d spend hours sitting on the floor of my bedroom,  sifting through my hope chest. In it I’d place all the trinkets I hoped to use in my future life of awesome sauce: handkerchiefs, tea sets, lavish picture frames or art books.

While I’m not 11 anymore, there’s still a girl inside the grownup who longs for the stillness of dreaming. And so, rather than just shove all of my items in an over sized bag and donate it to the local Good Will in impulsive “THIS HAS TO GO NOW” fashion, I took one section at a time. Hats in one bag and belts in another. Those would go at the bottom of the closet until hooks were purchased.

Winter stuff went in the garage. That would go in the attic until I could afford adequate outdoor storage to access it more easily.

Mom’s wedding dress, grandma’s sweater and all the shoes – they would be placed in a box in the attic until shelves were made in my new room to store them.

Underwear and bras – side table of the bed.

Tee shirts, pjs and pants – TV room! Cause where else but a 3-drawer plastic Target bin would my every day clothes go? I would not stress. I would find a better spot another day.

Everything else went in the armoire or in a bag to donate.

The result of this process was nothing other than good old fashioned intention – that intention being that while I want to honor my needs at this time, I’m passing the baton to another 11 year old who has hopes and dreams. (Out with my salmon, in with her pink!)

blog 1

This 11 year old loves music and singing and art. She loves tea cups and lace and books.

She dreams of a corner nook to sketch with her stuffed animals and a roll top desk to correspond with her Aunt MaryAnne (whose name she still writes as “Anut MaryAnne… who am I to argue?). No one understands dreams and goals this better than I, and so accommodations will be made. Yes, there will even be space for a bright pink carousel horse named “Pink DiMayo” because who doesn’t need such an animal in their Victorian Palace?

blog 5.JPG

I might not have a hope chest anymore, but when I look at my daughter’s face, I have more joy than can ever be housed in a cedar box.

And that, my friends, makes living in my new tiny box of a bedroom worth every single bit of lost space.

One more

(my little Pip, performing as Wendy in Peter Pan a few weeks back. She was radiant if I do say so myself!)

What about you?

What do you dream of? What makes your heart sing?

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

book cover

Uncategorized

I Could Be Ticked Off, But I’m Too Bleepin’ Excited

kids start school

Greetings from Happily Ticked Off. Remember me? That once faithful blogger who helped you navigate through the highs and lows of tics? The person who gave you all sorts of encouragement when you felt worse than a nit in your kid’s hair after a session with the lice lady?

Side note: Do any of you non-L.A./New York readers have this service? A real, live nit-picker who will comb baby lice out of your kid’s hair one painstaking strand at a time? Yes, even with much of our world in dire poverty, I say without apologies that I blew $400 bucks a few years back to deal with what I can only refer to as the Lice Infestation of 2010. It’s chronicled in this article, “Of Lice and Men.”

SUMMER

Did you all have a good summer? I, personally, did not. Mine consisted of this:

* Commute 1 and a half hours each way for a writing gig that kept promising insurance but didn’t give it

* Schedule kids for play dates and camp dates around my husband’s work schedule – that schedule being his very own I.T. company start up which, of course, does not pay insurance, but we have a dream, people! Dental, schemntal, insurance. Who needs teeth! I’ll start on my smoothie regime, lose weight, save money on the gym, and buy health insurance!

* Ebay on the side to make $29/month to put toward elusive insurance, only to inevitably spend it by the end of the month because I can’t take cooking, cleaning and kid wrangling ONE.MORE.SECOND. so I give my hard earned income to El Pollo Loco, Taco Bell or some other fast food joint that is not full of gluten but inevitably causes me to worry that I’m going to make my kids die an early death from their GMO-laden, toxic, hormone pumped chicken/cows, not to mention increase tics because, you know, I’m going to cure this whole syndrome with food alone.

* Have a few people close to me be less close to me because I’ve been so busy working my patience resembles a burned out elecrical chord on a dried out Christmas tree and, well, apparently I’m not as much fun to be around when I’m on four hours of sleep, six cups of coffee, and enough Oreo cookies to make Santa vomit. 

After 8 weeks of this insanity routine, my kids started school.

Normally I cry.

This year, it was all I could do to numbly kiss them goodbye at the classroom door. On one hand, it saved me the agony of worrying about my sixth (yes, SIXTH) grade boy’s tics increasing. I was too tired to freak out. “He’s a strong kid,” I told myself, and I meant it. “If he’s fine, then stop.” Work, with all it’s zillion tasks and responsibilities, simply didn’t allow for excess rumination. It was fall down and die of fear, or keep moving. I chose the latter.

On the other hand, numbness and stone cold resolve was a real sign for me that in running such a rapid pace I was not only outrunning grief, I was outrunning joy.

When was the last time I sat with my kids and read a book?

When was the last time I had coffee with my mom at the mall?

When was the last time I sat in my room, organized my photos, and just laughed at some of my family and friends’ ridiculous hair-do’s, not to mention my own?

While I can’t say I didn’t do any of those things mentioned above, I wasn’t as present as I’d like to be.

But today, after almost 10 months of marathon training, I was given my walking papers at work. (Well, not 100% true. My job was reduced to 75% of its original description. Which means 75% less pay.)

Fear? Anxiety? A wee bit. But truthfully, not that much. I truly feel God has a plan for me. Despite a whole lot of uncertainty ahead, joy and hope is bubbling up to the surface.

I’ll get to be present.

Present on my site.

Present in my home.

Present in my community.

And people, that is SUCH a gift.

I’ve missed you.

Andrea

(Pic of Stink, Pip and Miss L, starting 6th and 5th)

Wait, there’s more!

Check out more posts about Tourettes at the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome where this blog is syndicated.

Find me on FB here. 

Follow me on Twitter 

Uncategorized

Consequences and T.S. – The Big Pay Off

When I was in the middle of my big “do I or do I not follow through with this UCLA study/medication” I spoke to one of the doctors. She once again told me the pro’s and cons of Intuiv. The pros: It’s been on the market for 20 years. It’s got very few side affects. The cons: It can make a child really sleepy and sometimes faint due to its blood pressure lowering attributes.

I was still so iffy. It seemed weird to push my kid toward medication when Stink was content with himself. “He’s happy. He loves his tics!” I said to Dr. J..

Her response was a bit startling to me. “Yes, you’ve said that and so has he. It seems kind of odd, though… this whole liking his tics thing. What’s the meaning behind that do you think?”

I had to pause. What was she implying? That somehow Stink was living in Delusion Land? That perhaps I, as a mother, had been feeding my kid the Kool Aid all these years? (Note: This Kool Aide would of course be organic and dye free.)

Dr. J is really great, so I’m not annoyed at her, so much as surprised by the reasoning. Isn’t it possible that a child could like themselves, despite a few tics and twitches?

Is it possible… not to pat myself on the back (but it beats the alternative of flogging myself with fear so go with me)… that Stink was brought up to believe that he, as a person… as a soul… is valid, despite a few “flaws” in the form of tremors and twitches?

And is it at all plausible that this self-confidence is not a side-effect of “potential” Aspergers – the syndrome where people are considered non-self aware and self-focused to an extreme – but the ease in his own skin has to do with the fact that… here’s the zinger, folk…. he actually likes himself.

This leads me, once again, to my feelings about God. (Sorry to you non-faith based folk.) As you know, I’m on a Christian path. It’s one where I have my doubts right along with my blind acceptance of improbablilty faith. But the crux of the matter is this: If some dude really came to life as God in human form, was nailed to a cross, then rose from the dead to have new life, isn’t it possible that my own very human son, through the grace of God, could rise above his own wonky circumstances and love his life?

From my impartial perspective (ha ha… like I could ever be impartial about this little Stinker) my son’s love for his differences come from a combo of 3 main things:

* Personality

* Home life

* Faith

Like the trinity I look towards as strength and support for my joys and sufferings, how can I not look to the trinity of those three attributes and give all of them a little bit of credit toward his contentment?

Never to be underestimated or overlooked, so much of who Stink is comes from his sister. She is his greatest fan and advocate. As the sibling of a “special needs” brother, I am acutely aware that she needs the same sort of honor and time as I give him.

The other day, I said to her, “Pip, you know, there are groups for sisters of kids like Stink. I could totally sign you up if you’d like.” Her eyes got wide and she squealed, “You mean, a group for sisters who have brothers as awesome and funny as Stink?!”

I laughed out loud. What do I owe such an amazing daughter to? Perhaps more of the 3 above. I’m beyond grateful.

In closing, going along with my gut (or as my faith calls it, The Holy Spirit) I really felt compelled to follow-up on this drug study, despite Stink’s protests. “I won’t do it!” he stated in the bathtub one night. “I will spit out those pills! I will pretend like I’m swallowing them and stuff them down the toilet!”

“UCLA is going to give us $25/week for eight weeks for participating in the study. I’ll give it to you to save toward Disneyland tickets,” I offered, figuring he’d turn me down anyway.

“Sounds good to me!” he conceded.

I’ve now got a son fifty bucks richer, two times more hyper likely due to a sugar pill and one happy sibling who will be tagging along with him to the Happiest Place on Earth.

This Jesus of mine clearly has a good sense of humor.

* Photo taken last week before the kids’ music show. That’s my Pip on the left. Miss L is on the right. Stink is, of course, front and center. It’s shocking he’d pick out clothes that would make him stand out so much, huh?

Uncategorized

Gluten Free Living/Vitamins/More Revelations!

A new reader asked me to point her toward some of my more concise posts on diet and T.S.. (Me? Concise? Is that possible?)

It got me thinking that I should really add a tab on diet/nutrition to this site. Until, then, though, I’ll leave her and you with a link from my old website.

Gluten Free/Caesin Free Living and Tourettes

http://www.lifehappins.com/2/post/2011/09/10-ways-to-go-gluten-free.html

This is a great book on T.S, diet, etc.

http://www.amazon.com/Natural-Treatments-Tics-Tourettes-Patient/dp/1556437471/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1331674008&sr=8-1

Here’s info on how to test for food allergies

http://www.lifehappins.com/2/post/2008/11/the-abcs-of-igg-testingfood-allergies-and-tics.html

My Revelation

Stink’s Tarzan is still with us. I’m trying really hard to love it. Perhaps instead of viewing it as the squatter that constantly interrupts my son’s speech, I will view it instead as a quirky visitor who adds spice to our days. If only Tarzan would cook and clean toilets I might consider permanent adoption.

While I will never stop looking for ways to eliminate this sucker (stricter diet? more acupuncture? less Wii? better vitamins? drug options?) I had a super big epiphany today about me.

I was sitting in Bible Study, and we were asked to talk about a time when we simply could not forgive someone – no matter how much we were called to do it for our faith.

“Who would like to share?” our 82 year old kick-butt leader asked us. (I seriously want to be Rosemary one day. She hikes, wears Ugg boots, and is a nurse working as a lactation consultant. She had a shower at her home last weekend for one of our knocked up sisters in Christ. She called it “Better Than Sex” cake. Moving on.)

No one wanted to share their stories of un-forgiveness and anger. I don’t believe it’s because they were all so pious. It’s hard to talk about the ugly side of ourselves. Lucky for my leader, I have no shame.

“I have someone I can’t forgive,” I said. “Tarzan!”

I explained how, no matter how much I tried, I simply could not accept that annoying sound. I admitted that I’ve come a long way from getting totally nutty about it, but it still bothers me. I want it to swing on outta there.

“I am not 100% defeated, but I’m not 100% at peace when my son tics. I want to love Tarzan as he is part of my child. But I don’t. I hate him. (pause) With all my heart. (Pause) I don’t forgive him. (Pause) But I want to.”

People nodded and said they would pray for me – which is totally awesome. I do believe it’s God’s grace that is strong when I am weak.

Then a beautiful Barbie of a woman – call her Jodie – chimed in. In a venue where she could have left me with happy platitudes, she cut right to the core: “I don’t think you’ve accepted the tics because it’s not really about the tics. It’s really about you. When you are able to accept everything about you and love yourself the way Jesus 100% loves you, the tics will lose their power.”

Well, there’s that.