The Sometimes Unspoken…..

Words of another single full time working, student & parent

Archive for the ‘Single Parenting’ Category

And So It Starts

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The first morning of the new year has rolled in, expected and ready to provide adventures. Today is a new day, just like everyday we wake up to see, but today is one of 12 firsts during the year and it’s the first of the firsts.

All over people are holding a bit of inspiration to make changes to a something or a series of somethings in their lives. They will start with all the determination and motivation they can muster. Within a month, they fall back to their old patterns, simply because they fully believe they can make these changes on their own power. While it is true that you are not going to change unless you are ready, it is also true that you are not going to do it alone. See something substantial in your life has to change. There has to be a reason that means more to you than you do that drives you. For some it is the fear of death. For others the fear of God. Still there are even some that respond to the unexplainable compassion they find within someone that gives them the last opportunity when everyone else has long given up. Or it may be as simple as another person giving one permission to choose to be different. That may sound silly, but in some cases it is the hold up.

I am not an expert at anything really. Maybe an expert at making poor choices and learning to live with and do something with them. It has been a hard and difficult life. My adult life is thousands times better than those years of my teens. While I appreciate the people in my life from my past sometimes it can be a struggle, because they are reminders of those things that happened that we’re not right. The silent abuse that my sister and I were enduring at my fathers hand constantly pops into those memories. Yet it is a few of my friends from that time period that have kept me accountable to the goals that I have set for myself. They believe that I can do what my heart desires.

This past year has brought me in touch with a decent size group of friends from my childhood that are cheering me on with my education. They do not care what the obstacles are in front of me, the demons I contend with as I walk the journey or how impossible it seems to be. They simply believe that I can achieve.

My church family will pray for me, that if it’s God’s will, then those doors are open and I will accomplish the task at hand. They do not worry about my personal abilities. In fact, they do not care if I can or can not. They know that if God desires it and I am willing, it will be so. No science degree needed.

Thus I am reminded as we start the first day of this new year, that on my own, alone, I can accomplish very little. Each person praying and each person believing is walking with me. Every friend that tells me to get back to studying, that gives me something to push for and that has given me permission is holding my hand. God is holding all of our hands together.

I can not say where everything will end up or what the outcome will be. I know the journey itself is as much importance as the end of the journey. All this to simply say, realize today that you are not going to do it alone. Your motivation has to be bigger than yourself and more important than you. Even simple changes have large effects at their end. A one degree change may not seem like much at the beginning, but keep walking down the road and you soon find yourself miles away from where you were, not even on the same road you used to walk.

Different roads have different rules. The old you no longer applies, the old thinking has to fade away, otherwise you stop walking and end up running back to where you started from. Those around you help to keep you focused, help to keep you on the right path and constantly uplifted. Even if you seemingly stand alone each day, anything with God’s hand in it guarantees you that you are not alone. Regardless if there is a person placed there or God alone, you are not doing it by yourself, on your own strength or determination.

And so it starts, the new day. The light has draped the lands, exposing a new Sunday. How appropriate that it is the start of a new week, the start of a new year and a new month all in one. I hope this year is the year of accomplishments, that the impossible becomes possible and everyone is filled with awe and excitement each step of the way. I look forward to the day. Off I go to take a shower, wake the girls and get ready for the first church day of the year. There are treasures waiting for me today and I intend to collect them all. I am going to be greedy and will take every blessing that God allows me to have and to take those that were given to my family long ago. No stone will be left untouched. I am greedy for those treasure for they hold what I need most to walk the journey, accomplish the things required and desired. Today is an awesome adventure and I am blessed that my family and friend are with me. Let’s do it!

Sometimes it Takes a Moment….a Dance with Productivity

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I have been on a search the last six months to find productivity skill sets.  I know, many of my friends are reading this and rolling their eyes.  Not because they feel that I am lazy, but because they have accused me of being a chronic workaholic.  I will take on more than I should or that I am truly capable of doing.  I do that habitually.  Many of my friends would not accuse me of lacking or needing productivity skills.

It is almost like parenting to me.  I am a parent.  It is a huge part of my life, in fact, is my life.  I can not run away, hide or escape the role of being a parent.  That does not make me an expert at parenting.  I love to discover new tips and skill sets that I can stick in my tool box for use.  I constantly research parenting at different age ranges, but mostly for the ages of my children.  If something isn’t working, I need to find something that does.  As a parent, there is one choice and that is to deal with whatever issues and matters that present themselves to me.

The same is for productivity.  I do many things.  I have lots of projects going on besides work and school.  There are many demands on my time.  Productivity is important to me and though I may exercise skills in it daily, I honestly can do better.  I strive to do so.  It is not easy to have a job where everything is critical and an A priority.  Staying on the Dean’s list is not a simple task either.  Toss in a family life and things can get down right interesting if each has something critical going on at the same time.

A good example:  A child gets too ill to care for themselves, work has a critical project that has to be done that same day and there is an exam that you must take that night.  If you miss the exam it is a zero, there is usually no retakes.  The project has to be completed, there is no choice and the child has to be tended to.  Just a little stressful, but I am not complaining.  But it is days like that, it is good to have some tools in your tool belt that can help walk you through how to handle each situation.

There have been many books read while on this search.  The most recent that I have completed is Getting Things Done by David Allen.  This book was interesting and had many a tip that would make a productivity mongrel drool.  For what I have going on, the starting technique is not realistic.  I just can not take a day or two and go through everything, making piles and lists, calendaring, etc.  If I were an executive, that would be an option.  The reality is, Mr. Allen addresses and consults executives, therefore his approach is geared towards executives.

Yet, there are some cool things in this book.  I will be referring back to it over the next year as I get portions of it in to my habit zone.  Right now, I have grabbed my work email and created two main folders @Action and @WaitingFor.  @Action has sub folders that pertain to my job tasks.  Instead of having to search the hundreds of emails that need to have something done, I can group the tasks that I am working on and do them at the same time.  It has allowed me to get more done faster.  It also allows me to keep emails out of my Inbox, which has always stressed me out.  My old method was to simply let undone emails sit in my inbox and I would file them away as I completed the tasks they requested.  This is fine if you get fifteen or so a day.  I get hundreds a day.

Sometimes it just takes a moment to realize a times savings.  This technique alone has saved me approximately a full hour each day.  I am not searching for things and jumping from very different tasks.  Grouped tasks get done faster because your brain is already processing in that specific mode.  Every time you change the base task, it requires some study and processing time.

I am now currently digging through Boundaries and Brain Rules for additional techniques.  One for better abilities in dealing with others as they drain away time from my work day (known as the “J” time in the Administrative field) and the other for better abilities to learn, assimilate and process information faster.

I have even pulled a nugget from a recent interview.  I was invited to participate in a Doctorate students study for their dissertation regarding Veterans and their transitioning from the military to school.  We were given a web form of some basic questions to answer.  Some of my answers were on the snarky side.  That snarky is why she chose me as one of the veterans to interview.  While doing the interview and chit chatting, she had posed the question “How do you balance work, school and family?”  I had to think about it for a moment and I realized that I didn’t.  My response was, “I don’t balance them.  I do not even try to balance them.  I do not plan them out.  I do notate events and things on my calendar that are important because I have to deal with them in some fashion, but the reality is…..some days there is no way to balance everything.  It is like labor.  At that moment, the baby is coming.  It does not matter what is going on in other segments of life.  The baby is coming and coming now.  You deal with it.  I deal with each thing as it comes because many aspects to work, school and family simply are unplanned, unexpected and quite frankly have very good (or bad) timing.  You just have to take it in the moment and run with it.”

Sometimes it just takes a moment.  In a moment life is changed.  No matter how productive, how many skill sets we have or don’t have, what position we are in or where we are, life happens.  Our brains do not multi task.  It is a proven fact.  This is why talking on the phone while driving does not work well.  Sometimes it takes a moment and our focus is changed and in that we have a dance with productivity.  We have to just go with it.  The best laid plans are disrupted, the calendar changed and we are dealing with the labor of a new baby arriving in the moment.

 

 

Written by neomav

November 19, 2011 at 11:16 pm

Awe Inspired Stumbling

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We sometimes take for granted that life is filled with luxuries or those things we feel are necessary, but in reality are nothing more than a nice to have.  I always have to giggle a bit as to where God has placed me in life.

I stand with one foot rubbing shoulders with the wealthy.  Their lives filled with fine clothes, decent cars, the ultimate in television entertainment, gadgets and technology to make any geek or geekette drool for ages to come and access to pretty much any whim that strikes them.

My other foot rubs shoulders with the working poor.  By contrast they are washing clothes by hand in their tubs, public access television is the only available channel, radio is the big thing there, internet is accessed at friends or family member’s houses, the cars do not always work when you need them and sometimes its a tough choice to go to the doctor when needed or wait it out because there are other bills that need to be paid.

Neither set of my friends are discontent with their lives.  I always imagined that those that were very wealthy would have huge holes of loneliness embedded in their lives.  The truth is that loneliness can happen to someone regardless.  For those that were poor I had always though that there was a feeling of being without.  The truth is, its hard to feel without something if you have never had it to start with.

It took me a while to understand that issues and problems are known, felt and experienced at every level, by every person, at any age.  Wealth has nothing to do with it.  It may affect the type of issues and problems, but not always.  Neither is better off than the other.

I listened as one of my friends told me a series of events that were happening in the life of his family and himself.  While he has considerable more money than I have, his problems and issues are not fewer than mine.  In fact, in many cases, his issues and problems are extremely similar to mine.  It doesn’t matter that his house is bigger or that he has money to satisfy any and every whim.  The pressures and stress of life are honestly not very different than what I experience.

Life happens to everyone that opens their eyes at the start of their day, that draws in a breath and is here another day, by the grace of God’s hand.  We are the fortunate and blessed.  We have another day and another opportunity.

This life is awe inspired in an awkward sort of way.  We bumble and trip and stumble on the road as we walk our paths in life.  Each of us learning something, and not always the right something.  Life is a series of awe inspired stumblings.  Somehow, somewhere in that walk, God manages to reach us.  We manage to find truth, even if its just for a moment.  And we repeat this over and over again, each time able to hold onto the truths of life that much longer.

I hope in my life that I can be awe inspired and awe inspire others with each step no matter how silly or crazy those steps can be.  I do not want to be just another person trying to survive the day in this world.  I want to be someone filled with awe, inspired by the very essence of life.  I do not care if I stumble as I go, but just that I am able to go and be that which was intended of me to be.

Tonight I sit and write.  I should be studying for exams and taking my Real Estate law class exam online.  My teen is sick and sleeping just a few feet from me.  Concentration is not my thing tonight and it is not that worry eats at my heart.  God is here.  My heart hurts that she has to endure the pains of illness even for a moment.  Even though, in some crazy way, it potentially is good for her, as it brings a reality about that every day even though good, can have moments that do not feel so great.

Yet we are not abandoned.  It is truly good.  Life is here, in our home, even with sickness.  So for now we stumble this portion of the road, maybe fall here and there.  Our hearts are still filled ~ we are awe inspired stumbling.

Written by neomav

November 13, 2011 at 11:32 pm

Frustrations in Relationships

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Relationships have a huge impact and are so very important in our daily lives.  A relationship ignored or abandoned may not impact us right away, but it will have a long lasting affect over a long period of time.  In the end it sneaks up and tries to bite everyone.

Sometimes, though, one has to choose to love a person from a distance.  It can be because of abusive personalitites, addicitions, consistent poor life choices or any measure of things that bring about an unhealthy aspect to the relationship.  It is necessary to do, even if everyone around does not understand that fact.

When I was younger, I found my escape from relationships that were very unhealthy.  Had I chosen to keep those relationships in my daily life, right now I would be very lucky if I were able to hold the most basic job.  In fact, I would have the viewpoint that the world owed me.

Many think that simply removing yourself from an unhealthy relationship fixes things.  It doesn’t.  The person leaving the unhealthy relationships has to somehow determine what was unhealthy and avoid relationships with those aspects in them.  They also need to deal with the series of issues that exist deep down after having spent much time living with or involved in unhealthy relationships. 

I had to go through a series of situations and relationships to acutally learn the clues as to what was unhealthy and what was healthy.  I am still learning.  Had I gone to counseling on these issues right out of the gate, perhaps I would have avoided all the marriages I had been involved in.  (Relax – I still do not have Elizabeth Taylor beat!)

Yet there is a more central issue.  Where I place my life to start with!  What is it centered upon.  I know I have mentioned this before, but it truly does play a role.  For instance, if my life is centered upon God and I believe that God created me with a purpose, that He molded me with His hands and shaped me, I cannot deny God’s love for me.  If God loves me, then there is something about me that is essentially good.  Something that is actually lovable.  If God loves me, I need to be able to love me.

Loving oneself has a major thing to do with the choices we make.  If we feel that we are not worthy of something or someone, we ruin it somehow.  We make some choice that hurts those relationships or we simply shut the door.  However, if we feel that we are worthy enough, we run with it.  We tend to it.  We care for it.

The irony here is that one can be hard pressed to say they deserve God’s love.  God loves us anyway and in there is another lesson.  It doesn’t matter if we feel we are worthy enough, we need to love anyway – to include loving ourselves enough to make healthy choices.  Yet, the human side of us makes choices in many cases of of our emotional impulses.  Advertisers know this.  Just take some time to study how they determine what colors to use, what images to associate and which words to use in ads.  They are all geared to draw us through our emotional side.

Therefore it gets frustrating at times.  It is hard enough to make good choices for ourselves.  One has to also deal with the choices that others have made.  After all, we are tallking about relationships.  You need another party to have the relationship.

Our values will have a huge impact on what we understand.  In my life I have ex-husbands.  I do not understand their choices in life and sometimes their choices impact my life in one way or another.  I get frustrated because I cannot validate, understand or justify their choices.

You have to let others make their own choices even if they have an impact on you.  However, you do not have to stay so close as to always be hurt or negatively impacted.  A little distance can keep things healthier and happier in the long run.  Loving from the distance has its value in some cases.

Nevertheless, we will always experience frustration in one way or another.  Just remember that as long as the relationship is healthy and it creates constant positive impacts on life, the frustration is quite all right.  If it is unhealthy and creates a constant negative impact on life, it is a flag for you to take some action.

Written by neomav

October 7, 2011 at 6:01 pm

Back To The Basics ~ Step 1: The Calendar

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Every time I stray from using the calendar, I begin to fall backwards, redeveloping the bad habits that I had spent considerable time trying to get away from.  I find that being someone that is incredibly busy, the calendar is a way to keep myself accountable to a large variety of things.  Me on my own, truly is like a seed blowing in the wind.  No telling where I will turn up.

The calendar is more than a listing of tentative or required dates and times of planned events.  I block off my time for specific activities that may seem mundane to most people.  However, if I do not, those things simply do get ignored.  I am lost without the calendar.  It is like navigating the sea in darkness with no sign, no star and no land sightings.  Almost impossible.  You will get somewhere, but the chances are that it will be some place that you really did not want to visit.

At any rate, my last post I had stated that I am getting back to the basics.  I have felt a little out of it and strongly lacking my normal sense of focus.  There are many changes to be done and rather then make a long listing of them, overwhelming myself and engaging my perfectionist tendencies – its a small bite at a time.  The best place to start is establishing a good foundation or redirecting the driver (if you are a mobile run around type).

I use my calendar to assist me in keeping my foundation healthy, strong and well maintained.  It tells me what direction to drive in, how fast to go, when and where.  My mind is then free to mull over things that can have a greater impact on life then worrying about forgetting something or beating myself up because I did forget something.

Many of you are aware that I revisit my goals about four times a year.  Honestly, I have not done that very much this year and its August.  We are long overdue.  Goals are important, as the projects and tasks that I establish on my calendar are typically based out of these.  Each day is an opportunity to work toward those goals.   Chipping at them a little at a time makes a huge difference and allows many things to get done.  I know it is not as fast as just diving in and it does make me a bit slower than many people that I know.  Yet, I still manage to experience large pay offs.  The Dean’s List in school doesn’t happen on accident, you know.  😀

I will also be gathering together a listing of all living expenses, bills and financial items.  All bills get listed on the calendar about 10 days prior to their due date for payment.  While at this, I will create a draft of the family budget for further work as the year goes on.  Budgeting is not a once a year item either.  It usually follows the same time line as the goals.  Goals do have a major impact on the budget.

Next will be an update of the family house rules.  We are still operating in a elementary/middle school mix.  We need to be functioning in a high school/middle school mix.  This will create adjustments for the girls and a bit of growing pains that will need to be managed.  They will be utilizing their calendars as a result.

Out of the house rules will come the set of chores for each room in the house and all of the outside areas that need to be maintained.  This will become a teachable moment as well.  The girls have no clue all of what is required in owning a home, maintaining a household and being responsible for a family.  Kat is starting her second year of high school.  That means time is growing short and she has so much to learn in the next three years before she starts to spring out into the world on her own.  Boo is just starting seventh grade.  She has a bit more time to get these lessons under her belt.  It is time that Kat moves onto a newer set of chores that can equip her to be able to live on her own responsibly.  Its time for Boo to step up and become a very active participant in the household.

School is about to start for all three of us.  In fact, it begins on Monday.  I will need to add all the scheduled school closing dates to my calendar, as well as any events that we already know about.  Kat’s cross country schedule needs to be merged into mine and the family calendar (which I need to pick up).  Boo will probably have some additions this year as well.  She plays the flute in band and also does the chorus in school.  She was considering adding another activity to her schedule.  Mom also has quite a bit scheduled for the fall.  That needs to be incorporated as well.  We also have to chase down my sister and grab her schedule too.

At least it is good timing to get things in order.  These items will be done this week.  Check back for updates, as I am sure I will write as I struggle, frustrate myself and finish each task.

Sometimes It Is Necessary

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Sometimes it just is necessary.  It just is!

I wake up and realize that I need to make some significant changes in my life.  Actually, it was not all of a sudden.  It has been something I have been mulling over for months now.  It is not that I am dissatisfied.  I have an extremely full life.  I love to stay busy, but sometimes I think that is a problem for me.

Don’t get me wrong.  Busy is good.  However, the question is – busy with what?  Where is my focus and what am I doing?  Life seems all broken and distracted.  Quite a few of the things I really enjoy typically are – well – meh.  I still like them, but they are not quite as enjoyable.

This isn’t about being depressed.  No, that is so not my issue!  This is about being disorganized.  I am not talking about engaging in a social media experts win win scheduling program.   It isn’t about finding the next mega guru on organizing either.  Simply it is that I haven’t been applying the principles that I know work.

In a sense, I have not been myself lately and enough is enough!  I am drawing the line in the sand today and we are going back to the basics.  Sometimes it is necessary to revisit the basics and bring everything back in line with simplicity.  Do what you know needs to be done and let the distractions fade.

Welcome to the start of the power week or month…whatever it turns out to be.  And how lucky for you!  You get to come on this lovely adventure with me! 😀  Yes, it is part of my evil plan.  Mwha hahaha!  You will like it.  I promise!

Written by neomav

August 22, 2011 at 6:42 am

Render Me Useless

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Sometimes I have these days or moments where I feel like I am just useless.  I wonder what I am doing and why I am doing it.  It is like choosing to fight a war that you know the odds are simply against you.  No one is betting you will win.  The underdog stance.

I do this when I feel very tired, burnt out or stressed about things.  I know it sounds depressing, but I truly do not view it that way.  It is an awesome way my body has for communicating to me that things are not in order.  Something is out of place.  It goes straight to my personal self esteem and attacks it.

See, I understand that I am not useless.  I also know that it is okay to feel that way at times.  It has a meaning.  It is not okay if this is the feeling one walks around with all day for days on end.  Moments of lacking confidence are important to us and necessary.  Not that I am defending, but just that I realize if I do not have moments like this, it is easy to loose touch with life.  Being overly confident is not exactly the best thing for us either.  Many think so, but I disagree.  The middle road is best.  We need moments that cause us to question ourselves and make us ask why something is the way it is.  They are growing times, if we let them to be.

So the big question is why this feeling?  It is simple really.  I am doing things that are way out of my comfort zone.

The social media game I love to play is intense and filled with people that do it as a profession.  They are great at it.  Its filled with people that have lots of time for online activities and thus they are rewarded for it.  Most of them are professionals in one way or another.  There are a few people like myself that are the odd balls out.  I refuse to quit though.  Even when it gets difficult.  The reality is, it is good for me.  The people I have meet and connected with have a different mindset than many of those normally around me.  My interests and hobbies are their professions.  They cheer me on even when my goals are not the same.  Compared to them, I am very socially inept.  My biggest lesson is how inconsistent I can be.

School is constantly pushing me to do that much more than I thought I could do.  It is expanding my mind, changing the way I think and the way I view things.  When the light is revealed even the details are suddenly exposed.  I have one year under my belt and it is still a huge challenge.  It is far more than study habits and good grades.  Again, I am out of my comfort zone.

At work I am constantly involved with things that I feel are outside of my skill range.  I am stretched, busy and sometimes lost.  I go back and forth feeling great and wondering if today is the day I get the notice.  I am not doing a bad job at all, but much of what I think actually ties into what I expect me to be able to do.  I have a little bit of a perfectionist tendency.

At home I sometimes want to just quit and say I can’t do this.  Life can be relentless, never giving a moment to just chill out.  I am out of my elements here as well as I continue to do work  on the house, learn new things (mostly the hard way) and face the challenges that life brings to us.

On all fronts I seem to be facing challenges and things that force me to stretch more, learn more and do more.  I am way outside of my comfort zone.  No complaints here, just an observation.  I am actually excited to see what is in store for us.  I know there are huge blessings rushing at me, surrounding me and covering me.  The adventures continue and I am thrilled!

Written by neomav

August 18, 2011 at 10:12 pm

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