Are you a Mom who is Crazy Busy? One Word to Simplify your Life.


 

Being a parent is a juggling act between needs, wants and absolutes.   One of the most common complaints I hear from parents is feeling overwhelmed and crazy busy.  Everyone is coming at you, wanting your time and energy, literally sucking the life from you.  Being overly busy is not good for you or your family.  There is no time to breathe, relax and enjoy each other.  Too much stress can lead to anxiety, depression, and health problems.

Well, I am going to put this to you lightly, if your life is out of control busy, it is because you have allowed it to get that way.  Let me explain.  It is our job as parents to raise and manage our children.  If their schedule is so busy that you are running around like a crazy woman, needing 5 cups of coffee to survive, that is because you have allowed this to happen.  You are in control, or at least supposed to be.

 

Just Say No!

The one word that will simplify your life is… (drum roll please),

No!

For example,

“Mom, can we get a hedgehog?”  No, we already have pets. (actually question I got this week)

“Mom, I want to be in the play, they practice everyday.”  No, sorry, we already are committed to other activities.

“Can you volunteer Saturday for a car wash?”  No, sorry, that is our family day.

“Mom, can you do my science fair project?”  No, I know you will do a great job at that.

“Mom, can I have six friends sleepover?”  No, mommy needs some downtime.

Saying no does not make you mean or a bad person.  It makes you a woman who prioritizes your sanity and family.  You are a woman who realizes that busy is not always a good condition.  Saying no, allows you to take charge of your time and not let others manipulate you.  Don’t get me wrong, helping others and being involved is great, but over-committing yourself is foolish.  Two very powerful letters.  N-O.

The Kid’s Perspective

Kids absolutely have to have food, water, and shelter.  They need love, safety, education, and some sore of enrichment.  They want everything.  They want to play soccer, volleyball, run track, be in the play, and be in the science and math fair, and also do Boy Scouts.  Multiple that by multiple kids and there you have it- absolute chaos.  And that is for a SAHM, God help you if you work!  This is why mom’s have become worn out, frustrated and frantic.

Just because you kid wants to play and do everything, you don’t have to allow it.  It is ok to say no, it doesn’t make you a bad parent, it actually strengthens you authority.   When a kid says they want to do something, like play soccer, they don’t realize all that goes into it.  For example, there is the sign-up day, shopping for shoes, all the practices, the games, the photo day, and the after season party.  Before you know it, you have invested  at least 24 hours of your life on soccer and your daughter just wanted to play because her best friend plays soccer.  Your daughter actually hates soccer but doesn’t want to admit it.  Your kids can run you ragged and they don’t even know it or like the sport!

You know your kid is in the right activity, when they don’t complain or cry about doing it.  When they look forward to it, and make goals towards it.  Parents often force children into an activity, which isn’t healthy.  Encouragement is on thing, but forcing is another.  How would you like it if someone forced you to do something you hated?  Yes, they are children and don’t “know” what they will like, but if your kids continue to cry, whine and stress out about doing an activity, you should re-think the motive.   If your child is naturally better at something, it will build their self-confidence when they are successful.  Kids are people too and they come out with their own agenda, desires and talents, regardless of how we steer them.   Trust me, you life will be so much easier if you listen to your children to find out what they truly want.

How We Manage 3 Athletic Kids

We started my oldest in gymnastics when she was 5, just for “fun”.  She was really good and moved up quickly.  They wanted her to join the team and practice more.  My husband and I talked about it and realized that gymnastics was not a good long-term sport for my daughter because she was estimated to be 6 feet tall and solid.  We decided to put her in diving next because it was a combination of gymnastics and swimming, which she was a natural at.  She did diving for a 6 months or so, then two things happened.  She hit the board during a back flip and the 2012 Summer Olympics.  I saw her hit the board and thought she broke her neck and the way her body ricocheted off the board.  Thank God, she wasn’t hurt, but it put a fear and doubt in me that maybe diving was not a sport I could handle.  My daughter watched the swimming in the Olympics with such intent, that she actualized memorized the strokes and how to swim them.  She said she wanted to swim and we put her on a team, and the rest is history.  She has a natural gift, and we were lucky enough to find it.  She has swam competitively for the last 8 years, and loved it.  Not only has she thrived, it has become part of her identity.   It allows her to set goals and think about the future.

She was our oldest, so when my other 2 kids came of age, we put them in swimming too.  They wanted to be like their big sister who was winning trophies and my husband and I felt that it was a sport that we could go as a family, instead of splitting out time on baseball fields, soccer fields and tennis courts.  My other two children also had a natural talent for swimming and a desire to work hard and succeed.  All three of them are successful.  They actually use each other for motivation and inspiration.  It has made them stronger as a sibling group because they share the love of the game, the same game, together.  It has made our life’s as parents and a family much easier because there is a common ground and goal.   My husband and I volunteer and have gotten involved as well.

 

Instead of being stressed and overwhelmed, we are unified and bonded.  But, looking back, we have made that way.  We said “no” to many other activities and distractions.  We honestly accessed our children and noticed their strengths and weakness.  (For example, if you child is short maybe basketball is not sport to invest your time.)  We said no to trying out baseball and dance.  Does that make us bad parents?  Absolutely not!  We have guided our children into a sport that aligns their hearts and talent and that works for our family.  We told our children, swimming is your “sport” that we are going to invest our time.  Funny thing is, they never complain.  They know what is expected.  They know when they have practice and meets.   There is consistency.  Don’t get me wrong, we have a basketball hoop, golf clubs, soccer balls, bowling shoes, footballs, skateboards, tennis rackets, art supplies, musical instruments  and archery stuff at our house which our kids play with freely in the down time.  I am just not driving them around to every activity.  

There is a difference between being competitive at an activity and just playing.  Today’s parents have lost site of that difference.

 

I realize we got lucky that all 3 kids like and are good at the same sport. But there is something to be said about finding your kids talent and love and sticking to it.  Let all other activities be just for fun and keep the focus on that one sport.  Helping your kids focus on their talent and stay committed is a life-skill that they won’t forget.

Kids should be well-rounded.  But as the saying goes…

 You will never be good at anything, if you do everything.

God’s advice for us busy parents.

He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive. 1 Timothy 3:4.

As parents we are instructed by God to manage our households well.  That means putting God first.  We are not to let our children overtake our life with activities, sports and busyness.  Saying no to excess activity will simplify your life and reduce stress.  Knowing your children’s desires and talent will help them focus on one activity and stay committed and build self-confidence.

Happy parenting!

#Seriously1975

Comments?

 

Struggling with Addiction? The 8 F’s of Addiction and What The Bible has to Say.

Real life Struggles

Addiction This could be alcohol, drugs, sex, computers, work, exercise or food.  (Or anything else that disrupts your daily life).   When you are addicted, you have obsessive thoughts about doing or seeing something and when you complete that action, your brain releases chemicals that make you want to do it again, and the cycle continues.  That is why long running addictions are harder to break than newer ones, because the brain has been hard-wired for a longer period of time.  Addiction is not a weakness, but the brain’s chemical dependence to a feeling.

But the question to ask yourself if what started the addictive behavior.  Addiction is self-destruction.  You are basically killing yourself slowly, in the least you are damaging your well-being.  But why would anyone want to hurt their own body?  Here is a list of some of the most common reasons addictions start.

The 8 F’s of Addiction 

Fear-  Is something making your excessively fearful?  Fear of death?  The health of your loved ones?  Being alone?

Fault-  Did you do something that your feel is your fault that dramatically altered your life or someone else’s?  Do you keep beating yourself up from something you did in the past?

Freedom-  Are you trying to escape?  Has the stress of everyday life got to you?  Do you just need a break?

Forget-  What are you trying to forget?  Something from your childhood?  Something you did?

Forgive-  Cannot forgive someone?  Yourself possibly?  Are you mad at God because you feel like He has abandoned you?

Fraud- Trying to be someone you aren’t?  Pretending?  Are you hiding a deep dark secret?

Fun- Did the addiction start out as something fun and end up consuming you?

Failure- Did you fail at something?  Do you feel like you cannot get anything right?

What Addiction Looks Like

Let me put these all into perspective.  My husband and I went on cruise a few years ago.  I like to people watch so I came to notice this one man on the first day of cruise.  He was a man in his mid-late 40’s who was drinking hard around the pool and being playful and flirty with the others that were partying around the pool.  The second day, he was seen again around the pool, drinking very early and hard, being loud and obnoxious.  He seems to be on the cruise by himself.  As the week went on and most other “normal” people started to calm down as far as the partying goes, he never did.  In the beginning of the week he was one in the crowd, by the end, he was alone at the bar with his hand on a drink, head down, looking quite somber, not sober.

I don’t know this man, but I can make some assumptions.   He obviously was an alcoholic.  I know this because of the amount of alcohol he could consume and still stay functional.  There were also clues from his body, red bloated face and distended abdomen.  This man possibly started to drink because it was fun.  His body liked the feeling of being drunk and then it became a crutch in his life possibly causing him to get divorced.  Now he has failure at marriage and that makes him fearful of being alone.  He also cannot forgive himself for ruining his life, so he drinks to forget all that he has done and how he is continuing the family tradition of alcoholism .  He continues to drink because that is all he knows, and would feel like a fraud if he did anything else.  He is angry at God for cannot forgive.  And the cycle continues.

Why Addiction Sucks So Bad

Addiction is a complicated struggle because most of us deny it or hide it from others, so it doesn’t feel real or apparent.  There is shame.  For instance, alcoholics tend to hide their drinking, and families tend to cover for other alcoholic members.  Binge eaters eat in secret, ect. ect.  Denial is part of the disease.  You lose touch with what is normal and healthy and the disease lies and tells you “it’s not that bad.”  The reality is God sees everything.  No addiction can be truly hidden.

The cycle of addiction is so tight that a single mere human find it very hard to break.  That is why people need support systems, rehabilitation, groups, and sponsors.  The first national rehabilitation group was Alcoholics anonymous, AA, has been around since 1935.  Their goal is to help people stay sober and to help other achieve sobriety.  AA started a twelve-step program as their foundation for success.  The twelve-step process is based on the addict admitting he is powerless to his addiction and need a “high power” to get them out of addiction.  Hmmm.  Sounds familiar.  Kind of like the Gospel.  We are all sinners, we are separated from God based on our sinfulness, they only way to God is to surrender our self to God, believe He sent his Son to pay for our sins, and to dedicate our life to Him.

Addiction can be beat.  With God anything is possible.

No matter what your view on God was before you became and addict, you absolutely need God now.  Every human being will eventually let your down, and you yourself have let yourself down.  But God’s love and grace is perfect and never ending.  God wants you to be holy, joyful and full of His love.

You matter to God!

Everyone else maybe mad or fed up with your addiction, but God isn’t.  He will never leave or forsake you.  You matter to Him and He has a plan for you, and He is the creator of the universe, so that is awesome!

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord.  They are good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11.

Let’s see what the bible says about the 8 F’s of Addiction.

Fear-

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.   Isaiah 41:10

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.   John 14:27

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.    Psalms 23:4         

Fault-

All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.  Isaiah 53:6

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge.  Psalm 51:3-4

Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults.  Psalm 19:12

Freedom-

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed.  Luke 4:18

But now you have been set free for sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.  Romans 6:22

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly, a complete life full of purpose. John 10:10

Forget-

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  Romans 3:23

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.   Isaiah 43:18

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  2 Corinthians 5:17

Forgive-

The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him.  Daniel 9:9

As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.   Psalm 103:12  

God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Fraud-                               

Whoever hates, disguises himself with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart.  Proverbs 26:24

Wouldn’t God find out, since he knows the secrets in our hearts?   Psalms 44:21.

For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light.  Mark 4:22.

Fun-

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.  Ephesians 5:18

Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.   Proverbs 20:1               

So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.  Ecclesiastes 8:15

Failure-             

Trust the Lord with all your heart, and don’t depend on your own understanding. Remember the Lord in all you do, and he will give you success.  Proverbs 3:5-6 

Our enemies have no reason to gloat over us. We have fallen, but we will rise again. We are in darkness now, but the Lord will give us light.  Micah 7:8 

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23

What now?

Hopefully if you have read this far, you feel a connection to what has been written.  Think about the 8 F’s of addiction and what caused you to become an addict.  Find the verses written about them and let them soak into your soul.

When you are ready to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, repeat this prayer:

“Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe you died for my sins and rose from the dead. I trust and follow you as my Lord and Savior. Guide my life and help me to do your will.  -Amen.”

Now, go get a bible and start reading.  Start going to a Christian Chuch.  Pray continually.  Listen to Amazing Grace.  Talk to other Godly people who can guide you and start living your new life with God.

Please share this post if you know someone struggling.  God Bess!

#Seriously1975

Comments?

                  

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How I Earned $0 My First 6 Months Blogging – The Blogging Misconceptions


Continue reading “How I Earned $0 My First 6 Months Blogging – The Blogging Misconceptions”

How to Live a Long Life – Advice from a 107-year-old


Most people would agree that living a long life, with good health, would be desirable.  Personally, I would love to be able to see my kids and grandkids grow-up.  Also, living in future times, to see what it brings, seems interesting.  Meeting people who have already lived long lives is inspiring.  Well, the other day, I met the oldest person ever.  107!  She was born in 1909.  It boggles my mind to think of all the changes in her lifetime.  I have met thousands of people in my 20 years of nursing, but she was the oldest.   She is from on of my favorite generations, (see my blog post on generations), and she definitely fit the stereotype of a tough cookie.  Of course I had to ask her, “what is your secret to living so long?”

Her answer “having daily conversations with God, not just prayer, but a conversation.”  Wow.   Has this woman cracked the code to the fountain of youth?  Maybe.  Just maybe, daily conversations with God, steer our life for clean and holy living.  Keeping us away from toxic substances like alcohol, drugs and smoking.  Possibly talking to God lowers your stress level, lowering cortisol.  Could conversations with God make us happier and give us more drive to live?  Is God the answer?

I don’t know.  But I do know that knowing God will make your life superior, giving you joy and peace so when your life does end, you won’t question whether you got gypped by a short life.  I do know that having a God-focused life will give you a purpose, so your life, no matter how long, will have meaning.   I do know, that having a relationship with God will make you grateful for every single day of life you are given.

So, how do you have conversations with God?  I know this is different for everyone but it is letting God into your thoughts.  It is letting Him guide your decision making process.  For example, if you are driving and start to get frustrated at traffic, but then your take a breath and are filled with peace and just patience.  This is the way of God telling you to chill out.  Another example, when you have a decision to make, you talk to God, either out loud or in your head, and wait for answers.   His answers come in many ways, and at His time.  Sometimes through opening doors and closing others, sometimes through other people, and sometimes you just get a feeling of overwhelming confirmation.  You also know when you are going against God’s will because you get a feeling of angst mixed with disappointment.

For non believers, this sounds like craziness, I know.  How can you possibly have a relationship with someone you never met?  How can you rely on feelings and assume they are answers for God?  How can the creator of the universe care about your daily life?   Once again, I don’t have all the answers.   I do know that faith and trusting God will put your heart in place where it will make sense.   The bible puts it perfectly in Jeremiah 33:3, Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.

Something else to think about, how is your life going so far without God?  The fact that you have read this post this far makes me think you might need some answers and help.   People are great at pretending to be happy, yet they are miserable inside.  Yes, you can “fake life till you make it”, but you are missing out on all the peace and grace that a relationship with God offers.  Not to mention eternal life in Heaven, also a perk.

So, think about what the 107-year-old had to say…

Questions or comments?

#Seriously1975

The Power of a Positive Pregnancy Test


 

Finding out you are pregnant is one of those moments that you will never forget, especially the first pregnancy.  I have been a mom over 12 years but I can still remember the time I saw two pink lines and the power of the positive pregnancy test!

Often us seasoned moms forget about that time when our life forever changed.  We find it east to complain about the daily struggles of mom life…making lunches for years on end, potty training, not sleeping, sibling rivalry…the list goes on.  We often forget that heart wrenching moment when we found out we were going to be a mom.

I got a reminder of that time recently when a few women at work were talking about our periods (I know kind of weird), and one states that her period is 4 days late and she is trying to get pregnant.  She also stated that she is 32 years old and was told she would never be able to get pregnant because she had endometriosis.  She hadn’t taken a test yet, because she didn’t want to jinx it.  Needless to say, we talked her in to taking a test at work (we work in a hospital, so they are readily available).   We got busy and forget about it but when we all got to sit again, we were like “so?…”  And she just burst into a huge smile and starts to well up with tears.  Two pink lines!  She said her heart was pounding, she felt so excited that she didn’t know what to do.  She threw out the Pepsi she was drinking and started asking us moms what she needs to do.  She wanted to call her husband and mom, but we told her probably not recommended since it was 2 am.  She also went on to doubt if she should tell anyone at all.  What if something happened?   Her reactions, emotions and questions took me right back to the day when I saw two pink lines.

I was 27 years old, and at work too, in Newport Beach, California.  It was the first month we tried to get pregnant and because I thought it was going to take months, I didn’t really think about it.  Something felt different so I decided to just take a test.   I remember standing there staring faint pink line started to form, my heart started to pound.  I could not believe it!  How could it have been so easy?  I was working at the time in a surgery center and saw women going under in vitro everyday, that getting pregnant the natural way, seemed impossible.  I could barely think straight.  I was so happy, so shocked.

We did everything we thought was right that pregnancy. I went to the doctor, ate healthy, and took care of myself.  We didn’t tell anyone till after the 12 week mark because we thought we were out of the danger zone.  I had two normal ultrasounds and had a healthy baby growing.   I’ll never forget the day it all changed.  I had the worst PMS attack ever, I remember sitting in the closet crying over nothing.  I didn’t know it then, but that was the day my baby died, sending my hormones into a nosedive.  I was 18 weeks along.  A few days later, to be confirmed by my doctor.  Cystic hygroma they said.  My life was forever changed.

The next pregnancy, I was extremely nervous.  I was still excited to be pregnant but very cautious.  I did not want the heartbreak again.  I did things differently the second time around.  I told people right away I was pregnancy.  I felt like a life was created and even though it may not survive,  it needs to be acknowledged and celebrated.  I also knew that I needed the support.  I needed people to encourage and love on me.  That is my advice for people, don’t feel like you have to wait to tell people.  There are never any guarantees, even after the first trimester, even after birth, even after kindergarten.  Life is very fragile, always.  New life should always be celebrated for it is a gift from God.

Happy ending to that story, I went on to have three beautiful, healthy, smart and wonderful kids, all with in 4 years!  It brought my husband I closer together an it forever changed my life.  I would not take it away for anything.   God has a plan and a reason.   For I know the plan I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11.

Back to the present day, a thought crossed my mind when I was thinking about this woman and the new life she had growing in her.  I was never going to feel that again.  I am 41 and not trying to get pregnant, nor do I want more children, even if it was feasible.  But that feeling of knowing you are pregnant, it just the best.  It is like of all the things that are wrong with this world, somethings are so right.  But, that chapter in my life is over.  I cannot say that I don’t feel a little jealous when I see a glowing pregnant woman but I am ok with never getting pregnant again.  I am so grateful for all God has done for us, blessing us with three children.  I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

So when you are feeling worn down from being a parent.  Feeling like it is groundhogs day, every single day. Take a moment to remember the day you found out you were pregnant.  The joy, the excitement, the anticipation.  And relish that feeling.  God is good.

Now, go do some laundry!

What is your pregnancy story?

#Seriously1975

 

 

 

 

 

Generation Stereotypes – Are they accurate?


This may seem like a sociology paper, but I want to discuss and share what I have observed from people and the generation stereotypes that go along with them, so that maybe we can learn a few things and gain some understanding for others.

I get to meet lots of different types of people, due to my job as an ER nurse for the last 20 years. Not just different socio-economic groups, but different generations of people. I like to study and talk to people, of all levels, and find out what’s their story. Everyone has emergencies at some point in their life so I feel like I have seen a good sampling of the population. This blog is not to criticize certain generations, but to get a better understanding for each and to be more empathetic.  God commands us, Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.   Ephesians 4:2.                                  

For instance, I had a 85-year-old man yesterday, fall in the bathroom and break his hip.  His leg is completely deformed, shortened and outward rotated.  He refused pain meds.  States he was “ok”.  He even managed to joke with his wife.  Wow.  I explained how we have to move him, and he still refused the meds.  But, he is just one example.  I see this generation all the time and they usually don’t complain, whine or argue.  They are more worried about their spouses than themselves.

Literally, a room away at the same time, I have a girl born in 1993, of The Millennial Generation, who came into the ER for chest pain, 10/10 pain.  This girl is on her phone, in no acute distress, breathing normal, watching TV.  Really, 10/10?  She is asking for pain meds and wants to know why it is taking so long to see the doctor.  She complains about the IV hurting and asks for a pillow and socks.  Wow.  But, literally I see this all the time.

How have we become so different?

I will break down each generation and explain each stereotype.


The G.I Generation & The Silent Generation

Elderly man portrait at outdoor shot

This group born 1900-1924, The G.I. Generation, and the next generation, The Silent Few, born 1925-1935.  These folks are no joke.  Tough cookies, I call them.  They literally take a licking and keep on ticking, and without complaining.  My dad was born in this generation and even though he is passed away, I see his personality traits in so many like him, born of the same time.

These people came to age during the great depression and were affected by WW II.  Most of them didn’t have TV’s (till late 1940’s), cars, phones, and they only used one square of toilet paper.  They had pride, respected authority, and wore dress clothes most of the time.  They liked stability, and lived in the same house and stayed at the same job for their whole life.

I like these generations because they can talk to people, they can tell stories.  They naturally don’t put themselves before others.  They work hard, and don’t quit, because they wanted better lives for their family.  They have been through some rough times, so they have great perspective.  They are not dramatic or attention seeking.

This generation is dying off and it is so sad.  We can learn a lot from them about respect and hard work.  If you know someone aged 80 plus, take advantage of the time you have with them.

The Baby Boomers

Group of seniors

Then you have The Baby Boomers, born in the mid-1940’s to mid-1960’s.   These people born post WW II, were like an earthquake to America.  They were divided between the conformist who developed suburbs and taught women how to be a good wife (TV shows Make Room for Daddy and Father Knows Best), and the anti-conformists who were hippies and listened to Rock-and-Roll.  This generation did want they wanted and had the money to do it.  They wanted the American Dream and worked hard to get it.  They tend to be self-absorbed and materialistic.  They had the highest divorce rate in history at that time.

Major life events were The Vietnam War, President Kennedy  and Martin Luther King assignations, the Feminist Movement and Woodstock.

Wow, this generation lived through a lot of big changes.  We can learn a lot about history from them.  They had great music and a desire for peace and love.

Gen X

Smiling mature couple standing in contemporary home

Born to baby boomer parents, somewhere between 1965-early 80’s, also know as latch-key kids and the MTV generation.  Where you were told to go play and don’t come home till dark.  A generation that lived in a world that was more focused on adults than kids.  Look at some of the movies, Sixteen Candles, Goonies, ET, and Ferris Bueller’s Day off.  The kids did what they wanted and the parents barely knew what was going on.  Divorce rates were high among the parents and children learned independence early on.  Because of this freedom, resentment, laziness, and “whatever” attitudes were prevalent.  Grunge and alternative rock, which were born during this time, show these attitudes.  Also shows like Friends, portrayed Gen Xers as laid-back, social and fun.

Because of this early freedom, Gen X are great thinkers, entrepreneurs, and workers who don’t need the focus to be on them.  We can learn from their creativity and ability to fly under the radar.

This is my generation and I can say for myself, that we definitely had a lot of freedom, and I lived with both parents and my mom was a stay at home mom.   We were just not micro-managed like kids are today.  I think because our generation had such absentee parenting, is why we started helicopter parenting for the next.

Millennials/Gen Y

Portrait of three friends taking photos with a smartphone.Group of young people laughing and doing a selfie in cafe.

Oh, the Millennials, born early 1980’s-late 1990’s, aka the Me Generation,  The generation raised under helicopter parenting, where the parents hovered over children, protecting them from harm, making decisions for them and giving them schedules and playdates.  Millennials have been coddled from birth.  Also know as “trophy kids”, because this is the first generation where everyone wins.  This generation is accused of being lazy, entitled and narcissistic (selfie crazy)!

They grew up during the recession of the late 2000’s and because of this, many have not been able to find work right out of college.  This has prolonged many life goals such as getting married, having children, and moving out of their parents house.  These kids are now mid-late 20’s and they cannot seem to grow-up.

On the upswing, Millennials are the least prejudice and most accepting generation. They also are tech savvy and accommodating to change.  They also have higher volunteering rates than past generations and a “save the world” attitude.  They are the largest generation at the current time.

I think Millennials have an over-inflated bad reputation.  So much of the stereotypes are a result of helicopter parenting and the economy.  They may be a little dramatic and need some positive reinforcement, but there are a lot of Millennials that just might save the world.

Gen Z/Post-Millennials

Group of diligent schoolchildren looking at camera in school

Born 2000’s to current, this generation is yet to be formally named.  Gen Z are going to be the most tech savvy, never knowing a pre-internet world.  They are possibly more cautious than Millennials because they lived through 9/11 and the recession in their early childhood.  These children have to compete on a global level for jobs and may no longer seek college for safe jobs, like doctor or lawyers. These kids know where to find answers and are able to network.  They are used to getting answers quickly and can be impatient. ADHD, autism and spectrum disorders are common.  It will be interesting to see how this generation developes.

So there you have it.  The last 100+ years of generations.  As you can see, there is quite a variance in each.  Learning to understand where each is coming from will help us all be more empathetic.

What observations have you discovered? Does your generation suit you?

#Seriously1975

Movie Review and a Message for the Atheist


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The other night I actually had nothing to do.  The kids were with my husband, the laundry was done, the house was clean and I had done my running for the week.  Hmmm, I’ll rent a movie.  So off to Redbox I go and I find a movie that looks intriguing, The Sea of Trees.  Matthew McConaughey and Naomi Watts, must be good.  (A 2015 film directed by Gus Van Sant).  I am biased to movies that make you think, man vs. himself kind of movies, and The Sea of Trees was all about that.

**Spoiler alert**  If you want to see the movie first, go rent it now.

There are so many themes to this movie, but I am going to talk about the most powerful and that is the atheist turned believer.

The movie starts with a solemn looking Matthew McConaughey, Arthur Brennan, getting on a plane to Tokyo, with a one way ticket bought the night before, and no luggage.  He gets to Tokyo and rides in a cab.  You see him go into a forest, the Aokigahara Forest, in his business clothes and trench coat.  There are message boards going into the forest saying “Your life is a precious gift from your parents.”  He sees the body of a dead girl and keeps walking.  He sits down at a tree and very deliberately takes a sip of water, opens a prescription bottle and starts taking the circular blue pills, one by one.  Headache, you think?

The movie unfolds and you come to find out he is there to commit suicide.  In fact his wife said, in a flashback, “find a nice place to die” as her biggest fear was dying in a hospital.   You see him Googling for a nice place to die and the Aokigahara Forest comes up because it is known to be a suicide haven.  But why would this nice professional man want to kill himself?  Well, through a series of flashbacks you discover that he and his wife did not have a great relationship.  She was a functional alcoholic who despised that he was brilliant yet taught at a college for little money.  He had cheated on her, and never got to really know her.  They berated each other in public, it was painfully awkward.

Ok, back to the forest with Arthur sitting by a tree taking pills, he sees this Japanese man, Takumi Nakamura, struggling to walk and he goes over to help him.  The man tells him he is lost and cannot find his way out.  He must go back to his wife and child.  He too was there to commit suicide, as his wrists were cut, (bandaged by our leading man).  He states he didn’t want to die, he just didn’t want to live.   This man is the distraction that stops Arthur from taking pills and together the men attempt to find a way out.  We also learn that Arthur’s wife is dead.  She had a brain tumor but died in an ambulance transfer ride.  There are struggles, it’s cold, no water, multiple injuries.   Then their conversation turns spiritual.

Takumi says “You believe in God.”

“Why would you think that?” Arthur

“Because you are American…if God is not waiting for you on the other side who is?” -Takumi

“I am a scientist.  God is more our creation then we are his.” Arthur

“There are answers for God in science.” -Takumi

“There are answers for everything in science.” Arthur

Takumi goes onto say that this forest is like purgatory, for lost souls, trying to get out, and when one does escape, an orchid blooms.

After a weeping session at the fire pit, Arthur confesses he is so sorry for never getting to know his wife and for treating her so bad.   The guilt of being a bad husband is what is causing him to kill himself.  He regrets not knowing what her favorite book, color and season were.  They fall asleep and wake up during dawn with the Japanese man half dead and Arthur leaving to find the way out (with the help of a walkie-talkie found).  He promises to come back and get him.  Arthur is found by the forest rangers, almost dead, and is brought to a local hospital, where he is treated medically and gets interviewed by a psychiatrist.  Arthur is insistent authorities go find Takumi.  They tell Arthur that they have checked the entrance cameras to the park and that no man entered matching Takumi’s description.  Nor can they find a man by that name.  The rangers even searched the forest and never found his body.

Arthur is discharged from the hospital and heads straight back to the forest to find his Japanese friend.  He uses string and crumpled paper to find his way back, kind of like Hansel and Gretel, a side story, but his wife’s favorite book.  He finds the spot where he left Takumi and lifts the coat to and see an orchid blooming, and no sign of any body.  He takes the orchid with him and heads back to America, with a new-found happiness.

Back in America, Arthur is tutoring a student when the student sees some Japanese word’s Arthur has written, the names of Takumi’s wife and daughter.  “Yellow winter”, the student says, revealing that he can speak Japanese.  Arthur realizes that Takumi’s wife and daughter’s names were actually his wife’s favorite color and season.  He smiles.  He now can sense that his whole experience in the forest was a spiritual awakening, not explained by science.  And such and experience could only be orchestrated by God himself.

Ok, serious doctrinal issues here, I realize this.  But the underlying story is great.  Atheist (scientist) man goes into the forest to kill himself.  He gets sidetracked by a Japanese man, (who was possibly his dead wife’s soul), who seems to ask all the right questions and leaves clues to the atheist’s questions.  Atheist survives and is renewed with hope.   He sees that his near death experience and survival in the forest was by the grace of God.  He also finds happiness in knowing his wife soul is no longer lost, as evidence by the blooming orchid. 

Waaabamm!  Go God!  The message this movie sends to the atheist is simple.  Not believing in God doesn’t change the power God has over you and in your life.  At any given moment, God can present himself to you so you no longer can deny his existence.  You may be sitting there (in a forest), when you are sidetracked (by a japanese man), knocked off course (lost and injured in a sea of trees), saved by the grace of God (Japanese forest rangers), and then have answered questions and happiness that you never imagined (yellow, winter).  God is all-powerful and all-knowing.  Whether or not you belive in Him, does not change the power he has over you.

For example, in the book of Acts in the bible, Saul, later to become the Apostle Paul, was on his way to Demascus, when he was literally blinded by a bright light and the voice of the Resurrected Lord.  Saul at the time was very anti-Christ and was persecuting Christians.  Saul was blind for three days and when a man named Ananias prayed over him he could see again.  He changed his name to Paul and became the greatest Christian missionary of that age, contributing to much of the New Testament in the Bible.

Personally, I was knocked off my course by God as well.  I wouldn’t say I was an atheist, but I thought it was a bunch of fairy tales.  I was doing life miserably when one day while visiting a pre-school, it hit me, God hit me.  I finally understood and my heart was changed.  That was 7 years ago, and my life has never been the same.

Even though The Sea of Trees got horrible reviews, I think it was an interesting story with a deep message for non-believers.  What do you think?

#Seriously1975

Out With The Old, In With The New


 

Yesterday I bought a new pair of running shoes, not just a new shoe but a new brand of shoes.  So what is the big deal, you ask?  Well, my last brand, Brooks Dyad, brought me from a novice runner to a marathon runner.  They were my first investment in my running adventure.  They never gave me one blister, on injury, one problem.  They carried me 2,500 miles.  I loved those shoes.  In running, shoes can make or break you, and those shoes made me.  They made me love running.

But, I felt like it was time to move on.  To have a fresh start.  I have read articles about other brands and thought maybe I could benefit from a change.  Maybe a new pair of shoes could make me faster, stronger, more motivated?  Who knows.  But, I was finally willing to take that step.  I was actually kind of hesitant, scared of potential issues I might have, injuries or buyers remorse.  Needless to say I bit the bullet, coughed up $130 and bought a pair of Hoka’s.

The irony of getting a new brand of shoes on the day we elected a new President hit me.  Not just a new President, but a new brand of President, Republican.   For the last 8 years America has survived under President Obama.  We didn’t go to nuclear war, there were changes made in health care (no opinions there) and our country had its first African-American President.  It was not perfect, but we all survived.  Maybe with some shin splints and blisters along the way, but in the end, we completed the marathon.

But now, it’s time to try a new shoe, a new President.  One with new colors, new pace, and a new outlook.  A clean-cut and a fresh start.   It’s a different mold, a different sole but still capable.  Yes, we are hesitant, can this new shoe be trusted, will it cause some pain along the way, will it carry us the mileage that we need?  Who knows.  We shouldn’t judge before we even try them on.  Sometimes you just have to say goodbye to the old, and in with the new. We need to pace ourselves and keep moving forward.

As for the other brand of shoe that America didn’t buy, the one with pink laces, it just wasn’t her time.  She ran a tough race but in the end, got beat.  I would have liked to seen a female president, but like in running races, men have an advantage.  The shoes with the pink laces had issues.  But she stood the test of time and serious trials, and somehow was still standing on two feet.   She just wasn’t fast enough.  Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose.

There are several tools in running that can make a run great.  Breathing, stretching and a positive outlook.  So my advice for America is take some deep breaths, the election is over and our new President is here.  Stretch and warm-up, the race is starting soon.  Keep a positive outlook, look for the beauty, and find the peace.

I went for a test run in my new shoes today.  An easy 6 miles.  A little off-balance at first, but it felt good, no pain, and I felt new.  These shoes are solid, strong enough to carry me many miles.  There may be issues down the path, but I am confident they can be worked out, just like with our new President.

#Seriously1975