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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

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Happily Ticked Off – The Book Preview

Hello friends!

Between my new very fancy all important writing job new barista gig at Starbucks, as well as a few writing gigs on the side/Ebay/kid wrangling, I’ve been neglecting the one place that always brings me contentment no matter what. So I’m back – and this time – I bring a video.

 

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

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

bookcover profile pic

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.

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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.

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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!)

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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?

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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

I Am. Enough.

Enter Adele Song

Hello, blog…

It’s me.

I  have lost you in the pile of the

Trash and the laundreeeee

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But I’m finding…

My waaaaaay out…

Of the construction and the shipments so this post is all about….

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(Big bridge)

Hello from the other side

My freelancing career done died

No more Ebay… and clients

It was all way too much

So I’m now… going full time…

So I don’t go any more nuts…

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Anymore…..

Yes, hello from the other side… the side that is getting back to the me-that used to be. Like my kid who tried to rock the Robert Plant rocker look only to finally get a haircut yesterday, sometimes we have to cut off the old in order to grow something new.

after

I’m not sure if you’re like me, but sometimes things can feel overwhelming. It can feel absolutely impossible to get everything done in one day and do it well. And, well, that’s because it IS impossible. How does one mother, work, clean the house, shop, exercise and, God forbid, stoke the fires of her own soul?

I could overthink until I’m blue in the face (or pink like my kid’s pic above) but the real answer is: YOU CAN’T DO IT ALL.

Knowing this, and giving oneself the permission to not get it all done, are two different things. I’m making baby steps toward the second option and cutting myself some slack. But here’s the deal. I love to write. Some of my favorite times were when the kids were little and I wrote for a few big name blogs in addition to keeping my own personal blog. There was something connective about it. Something exhilarating about getting a comment. It felt like I made a difference. When other people wrote and I read their words, they often pierced into the very marrow of my bones as if to say, “I get it. I’ve been there. Keep going.”

I want that again. Full-time job or not, family obligations or not, I want to do the thing that makes me feel most alive. I want to do what God wired me to do.  I’m a story teller. And while for a season of my life it seems I’ll be adding commuter to my title, I’ll still need a place to share my stories. And that’s here.

Today on a walk with a friend, we were discussing the notion of balancing “want to’s” with “have to’s”. She, too, is a worker, a mama of two (one with some extra needs). She, too, knows the frustration of feeling like, in her words, a “piece of silly putty… pulled in a zillion directions.”

She told me about a sign she has on her computer screen at work that reads, “I am enough.” Yes, she is. So am  I. And so are you. How do I know this? Because I have a God who, in translation, literally means “I am.” Add a period to her sign and you’d get, “I Am. Enough.” I can’t help but believe this is the very God I choose to worship, telling me to cool my jets. “Slow down, Andrea. I am here. Stop with the spinning. Enough.”

And so, just for today, I will breathe.

I will get that transcript ordered from my college to turn into my potential full-time gig.

I will go back to the grocery store and pick up the items I had to leave yesterday when my checking account disagreed with the amount of food I was attempting to purchase.

I will take my son to Bible Study with his best buddy, Ty, because it’s Tournament Series and nothing says Jesus like a bunch of stinky tweens with painted faces and wrestling capes screaming “Lucha Libre!”

lucha libre

I will take the $100 a neighbor so kindly gave me out of the blue (“for always helping my son out”) and bring my daughter to the mall for a dress for her first middle school dance. (Visa bill, you can suck it for one more month. My kid needs some ruffles.)

I will send a reformatted galley copy of my book to my publisher so that I can get my #s up on Amazon from 200 sold to 201. (Nothing says hitting the big time like a $90 residual check.)

I will grit my teeth when I feel like screaming and tell my husband that he is “smart” and “courageous” and that I “have his back” with his business, even though what I really want to do is fall face first into my raised garden bed and cry about having to work full-time because I DON’T WANNA I DON’T WANNA I DON’T WANNA!)

The truth is, despite what can seem like a pretty daunting to-do list, all of it is do-able thanks to my God. This God helps me do big things. I don’t need to be scared. I have a teammate. I am no longer alone.

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How can I let go of fear of the future? I can live in the present. In His presence. Because there, in His embrace instead of my own anxious mind, I am secure.

I am brave.

I can do this.

(And so can you.)

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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

Joy. Every Day. Just Cuz.

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My daughter knows how to have joy. Whether it’s baking, or playing the piano, or singing or just playing with the timer on her new camera (see above!) she commits to beauty and contentment.

She is strong. She does not cater to popular opinion. Bring on the Justice sparkles and the “Peace Love and Monkey” tee shirts. NO THANK YOU. She’ll sit there quietly, back straight, with crisp black Mary Janes at the ends of her perfectly crossed ballet legs. She is kind and respectful, but she accommodates no one.

This mama has been has been watching her and taking notes. She’s onto something. Why NOT commit to joy, even with my to-do list bursting? Even with demands pressing at me wherever I turn?

I’ve had this realization that while I Ebay, write my articles, consider full time work and attempt to take care of my children (at times I feel like I’m lagging on that last part) I might as well enjoy every second of it. And while you’ll never catch me baking or taking artsy pictures, I sure as hell enjoy a Costco trip. Grocery shopping and budgets be damn, I can squeeze enough laughs out of a one hour run to last me for the day.

Take yesterday.

After downing more samples than a drug addict at a cocaine-for-all buffet, I was making my way from the Rotisserie Chicken section to canned beans when I  had to stop. A burly man and his wife were blocking my cart as they eyeballed the Vitamixers.

Wife: (startled) Oh, are we blocking you?

Me: Yes, you are. But it’s fine. I’m not in a hurry. (Which was true.)

Wife: (thrilled) Oh, thank you! How kind!

It was a little thing, but I could totally feel her light up from the inside over the fact that I didn’t call her a lazy ass slow poke for halting my progress.

Later on, while in line to pay, I saw the same couple next to me. The wife had just finished asking an elderly lady if she needed help lifting the 2000 pound bag of Pedigree. I suppose the wife could have been one of those predators that take advantage of needy octogenarians, but I gave her the benefit of the doubt. I could sniff her faith out a mile away, too, and just had to ask.

Me: I know this might sound odd, but are you a church goer?

Wife: Yes I am! How could you tell?

Me: I guess you just had a whole lot of God coming out of you. It’s nice.

Wife: You, too! Praise Jesus!

What could I say to that?

Me: Sounds good to me!

Lest any of you non-Christian readers think I’m about to get into a “Your kid’s tics will be healed if you drink the Jesus juice” rant, rest assured I’m not the Bible Thumper type. But I do love to connect with people, which is why seconds later I found myself at the coffee grinder, talking 20 minutes to man whose name turned out to be Bob. Come to find out he was also a member of the same 12 step association I belonged to. He later introduced me as a new friend to his wife, which of course I turned to and said, “Um, mam, I hate to break his anonymity, but did you know that your husband is an ALCOHOLIC?”

On the way out the door, I spoke to the transgendered item checker who, despite looking more manly than the week before, still goes by the name Krystal. She agreed that it is indeed cold outside but it’s no excuse for people to drive like mother cluckers.

On the way out the parking lot I looked the other way at the teenagers joy racing in the electric disabled carts. Why? Because I was young once, too, and their smile made me smile and that meant joy.

Later that night, I heard thump thump thump coming from upstairs. I could have gotten annoyed, but I didn’t. That was the sound of the two people I love most, having some joy with my daughter’s new camera. Apparently the timer feature is awesome for flying shots. Who can argue with that?

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A few hours later, while painting my nails with my daughter, I heard more squeak squeak squeaks coming from my son’s room. I sighed deeply.

Pip: Mom, you wrote a book for other people to deal with the tics. Why don’t you read it again for yourself?

Me: You have a point, kid. I’m working on it. But I’m not perfect yet. I’m trying.

After that, despite flogging myself like I normally do for just not being over sounds that my kid can’t control, I went on painting my nails. I joked around with my daughter (who of course scolded me for the inappropriate ones. How did I give birth to Jane Eyre?) And I internally gave a quick “Thank you, God” that my kids are still here in my home, safe and sound, despite  a few noises.

And joyful.

Thank you God, for the joyful.

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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

 

 

 

 

 

FREE Happily Ticked Off Book Anyone?

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I’ll send you the PDF in exchange for an honest review left on Amazon here.

Send me an email at Andrea.Paventi@Gmail.com and I’ll send it your way.

Meanwhile, have a wonderful Thanksgiving and talk to you on Friday as I work my way through the “how to suppress tics” list one item at a time. (See previous post.)

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

Andrea

 

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