Monday, January 20, 2014

Confessions of a Hoarder: When You Own Someone Else's Mess ...

One thing we hoarders go through is not owning up to our own messes. We see them, but we don't SEE them, know what I mean? We live with them because, well, they've always been there. They give us a little bit of comfort because we know that in all likely hood that pile of clothes over there will never hurt us (well ... In some cases it could fall over on top of us and probably crush us to death ...).

That's not to say we DON'T take ownership for anything ... On the contrary. We do.
But when we take ownership, it's for a MESS THAT IS NOT OURS.

My dish over there? It's fine. It's not hurting anything.
My daughter's dish over there? Mega freak out moment. Then blaming myself for not reminding her to take it to the sink - which is filled with dishes anyway that haven't gotten done which is my fault again because I've been trying to reorganize the kids' room - and it's my fault their room is messy because I didn't get rid of a handful of legos two weeks ago last Tuesday ...

See what I mean? That's how our minds work.

Another example:

My husband has one job to do. The reason I've only given him one job is because he works for a living - and I mean WORKS. He spends every day hunched over a desk with a magnifying glass and sometimes a microscope building wiring harnesses for airplane manufacturers. It is certainly not some cushy desk job where he sits in a comfy chair playing solitaire all day. He works really hard. So I don't mind him only having to do one thing. When he gets home from work - some day - there will only be his one thing to do.

That one thing? Taking out the trash.

Now some have asked me why I don't just do it myself. Well, there's two great answers to that. One, because half the time I can't lift the bag out of the trash can and carry it down the back steps to the ginormous trash bin in our back yard. What can I say? I'm a weakling. Second, my amazing, wonderful, darling hubby insists on having SOMETHING to do to help out. So, there you have it.

Now I need to preempt this next story by making something abundantly clear: My husband is a wonderful, amazing man. He is an amazing daddy and God's perfect chosen one for my heart. We are like Forrest and Jenny: "We go together like peas and carrots". He is my love, my heart, and my lifeline and without him I would be a giant pile of mush. This is NOT a post to pick on him.

There. That's done.
Now ...
Sometimes, my wonderful, adoring, darling husband forgets to do his job.
Sometimes he forgets for DAYS.
And then the dogs get into it. Like they did this morning.
And my mind says this:

"Oooh, poor dogs, maybe they didn't have enough food last night or they got bored? I better pick this up. IT'S MY FAULT IT'S LIKE THIS ANYWAY ..." I had to physically stop myself on that one. WHO'S fault is it? It's NOT my fault it's there - it's my husband's fault (forgive me love of my life!!). This is HIS job that didn't get done. When I don't do the dishes, we don't have anything to eat off of. When I don't do laundry, we don't have any clothes to wear. And when he doesn't take out the trash, trash has nowhere to go and gets torn up by the dogs on the kitchen floor. Before today, I would never have said that. I would have belittled and beat myself up over it. Today, I was able for the first time to pass ownership over to the person it belonged to. And what a relief it is!

So how does one get over this? HOW do you quit taking the blame and let it ride where it belongs? Practice, dear ones. Lots and lots of practice. And prayer. LOTS and LOTS of prayer. God has shown me many revelations over the years. And this is one of the most recent.

Say it with me:

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Hi, I'm Jen. And I'm a Hoarder ...

I never wanted to admit it.
I fought it for years, but it's time to finally come clean.
I am a hoarder.

Papers, books, clothes ... You name it.
But the problem is, I hoard other people's things rather than my own.
When it comes to my stuff, I have no problem getting rid of it.
When it comes to other people's stuff, however ...

I have to come to the realization that I am not responsible for someone else's memories.
They're not MY memories, they're THEIR memories.
I had nothing to do with that statuette or that book or that slip of paper. It's not my problem, and it shouldn't be.

Another issue I have is that I can't seem to throw away papers.
WHY?? Most of these I'll never use again.
Manuals - you can find copies of almost every one of them online.
Bills - you only need one copy of each bill until you pay it ... Then it's time to chunk it.
Kids' art - I have a photo album for those.
Movies, games, books ... - If I'm never going to read, play or watch them, why keep them?

It's a process. It's a huge process.
I can say I AM getting better.
Hopefully it will continue to improve as time goes on ...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Honoring Your Husbands

You see it all over the internet.
Women complaining about their husbands.
Talking about their misgivings.
Making remark after remark about how their husband's never do anything around the house, or don't help with the children, or go have a beer after work or leave their laundry on the floor ... and much more.
This happens on twitter, facebook, blogger, in forums, and in person.
And it's a constant that many women do without even thinking about it.

The bible tells us over and again that wives are to "submit" to our husbands and to "revere" them. Honoring our husbands is biblical truth.

When I have a Christian friend complain to me about her husband or her marriage, my first question to her is always, "Have you submitted to your husband?" More often than not, they balk at that idea. "Submission" is not a modern ideal for women. But if your Christian marriage isn't working, perhaps that is the problem.

When we speak ill of our husbands, especially in public, it is not only disrespectful but it is not biblical. In doing so, you are neither honoring nor submitting to your husband. This is something that I have had on my heart for some time, so today I'm going to talk to you about ways that you can get over it, submit and honor your husband.

1) Ask his opinion on major life decisions. Should you buy that house? What about that car? What does he think about you quitting your day job and being a stay at home mom? Where does he stand on your desire to homeschool?

2) LISTEN and RESPECT his thoughts on things. Don't just say "mmm-hmm" then go back to what you were doing and do whatever you want anyway. Actively listen. Ask questions about why he feels the way he does. If you don't agree with each other, what compromise can you come to? And if it's something he is strongly convicted too ...

3) Be prepared to let him have the final say. That's right. You might have to relinquish control over something.

4) Compromise. Yes. That means you just might have to make a sacrifice. But so will he. You both will be giving something up, but you will also both be gaining something. It's a win-win.

5) Communicate. Contrary to popular belief, men are not mind readers. I love my husband, but when it comes to my thoughts he's pretty clueless. That means that if I'm upset or irritated about something, if I don't tell him he won't know! If I hate that ratty t-shirt and I don't say anything about it, there is no way he's going to know. If he said something hurtful and I don't tell him about it, it won't fix the situation at all! That being said ...

6) Sometimes it's best to let things go. Constantly being mad at your husband over something little and insignificant is not conducive to a happy Christian marriage. So he leaves something on the floor? Either ask him to pick it up or do it yourself. Either way, it gets done.

7) Don't say mean things to or about him in public. Publicly chastising your husband only accomplishes one thing - it makes him feel like crap (pardon the expression).

8) Do nice things, just because EVEN WHEN HE DOESN'T. Because, believe me, eventually HE WILL. Yes. I am speaking from experience.

9) Pray with him and for him. Every day. Invest in a couple's bible study. Lift each other up spiritually.

10) And this is a biggie and may be one of the hardest: FORGIVE HIM. When he does something stupid, when he hurts you, when he leaves his whiskers in the sink or his socks on the floor. When he yells at the kids or forgets to pay a bill. When he doesn't take out the trash ... FORGIVE HIM.

11) Spend time getting to know him. Talk to him. Sit with him and enjoy a tv show - even if it's one you don't like. Renew that spark that got you interested in the first place.

12) Remember why you married him in the first place. There was a reason you agreed to walk down the aisle with your husband. What was it? What attracted you to him in the start? What made you want to spend the rest of your life with him? Think about it - is that reason still there?

Marriage is hard. It's not supposed to be easy. If it were, then everyone would be doing it and the divorce rate would be at a zero (ironically after reading this to my husband, his response was "Marriage isn't hard! At least, not for me!" Ah ... My work here is done ...). But the bottom line is this, we, as wives, have a certain responsibility to our husbands. In some cases, we are the ones carrying our marriages for years. But if we press on and remember that GOD should always come first, then things will, over time, improve.

Please note though that if your husband is abusive to you or your children, is continually unfaithful to you, or is involved in illegal activity, it is biblically sound to not stay in that relationship . If you are in a situation like this, please call and get help from someone.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Home Organization 101: A 14 Week Challenge At Bowl Full of Lemons

As you all know, I struggle with organization.
Fly Lady is awesome, but I really think I'm beyond her help at this point.
Then a friend on facebook posted something from a blog called Bowlful of Lemons.
She is having a 14 week challenge in getting your home completely organized top to bottom ...
It was a total God-thing to me, and exactly what I needed.
So, this Saturday I joined the challenge!
Each Monday I will update you on how things have gone for the week, my ups downs, successes and failures. I am excited at what will happen on this journey!

This week we're in the kitchen!
The object is to empty everything out of every cabinet and drawer, get rid of what you don't use/need and organize what you DO.
This has been fairly simple for me, so far, because I actually started this process last week, before I even knew about this challenge, so I started ahead of the game, already half-done!

I also will be cleaning off the fridge, inside and out, and organizing under the sink as well.
I leave for St. Louis (I'm going to see Joyce Meyer!!!) on Wednesday, so I have three days to get it all done ... So here's hoping I can do it AND keep up with the kids schoolwork AND keep up with everything else I'm doing to attempt to keep the house clean, LOL!

If you're interested in joining the challenge, visit Bowlful of Lemons and go for it! Let me know how you're doing, too! Inquiring minds want to know! ;-)

This week I'm linking up with my friend Nan over at Mom's The Word for her Making Your Home Sing weekly link up! Go show her some love!! :-)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Mom's Perspective of Miley Cyrus and the VMA's ...

As a rule, I don't watch the MTV Music Awards. They just aren't the same since MTV became more about the TV and less about the M. So I didn't think anything about it last night. Didn't even know it was on until I began seeing post after post talking about Miley Cyrus' embarrassing performance with Robin Thicke.
If you haven't yet seen the video, take a look:

Be sure to watch in its entirety, and yes that's important, because I am about to dissect this performance a bit ...

First off, I want to say that this performance was not shocking in the least. At least, not for me (okay, well, admittedly the giant foam finger was a bit much ...). Let's not forget performances of past VMA's involvoing Madonna, P!nk, Fergie, Lady Gaga, and others. People watch the VMA's to be shocked - at least that's why we all did in the 80's and 90's, and if we weren't, we were disappointed: "That was the most boring VMA's ever!" we would exclaim on the bus or at our lockers the next day. One particular favorite moment was Madonna and Britney locking lips. Or Madonna's performance of Like a Virgin. Or Madonna's bringing out the Drag Queen Brigade for Ray of Light. Or Madonna grabbing herself during Express Yourself, or Madonna's Marie Antoinette's rendition of Vogue, or Madonna's  ... Well, you get the picture ... The point is, for people to say how "shocking" Miley's performance is really inaccurate. It wasn't shocking. Not in the least.

Miley Cyrus came onto the scene in 2006 when Hannah Montana premiered on the Disney Channel. While her fun and quirky acting style was immediately obvious, it was her voice that made people stand up and take notice. Billy Ray's little girl could SING. But even so, she was still "Billy Ray's Little Girl". In fact, for the entirety of the show's run, and well after, she was "Billy Ray's Little Girl". Not once was she ever just "Miley" on her own terms. Not only that, but because she was "Billy Ray's Little Girl" and a "Disney Kid" she was expected to maintain a squeaky-clean image. So much so that she couldn't even sneeze sideways without a frenzy of media hate. You put those expectations on a kid while they're trying to live up to daddy's shadow and things happen ...

First was the "salvia incident". First off, for a kid to be experimenting with ANY drug is on the parents. Yep. I blame Billy Ray for that one. Know your kids, know their friends ... And don't give them a reason to WANT to try drugs.

Next came the "Can't Be Tamed" video. It was an image of a little girl struggling to grow up on her own terms.

Miley was in and out of the news after that for a string of media moments, including a DUI and speculation of drug use, but nothing major until now.

When you watch the video, the image of a little girl lost comes to mind. In some ways, it's saddening. In others, empowering.

It's empowering on the level that she is finally making a name for herself on her terms, not her father's. She's coming into her own. She is trying to break the image of "Billy Ray's Little Girl" and morph into her own image.

It's saddening because the image she's trying to morph into still isn't her own. Not really. I didn't see Miley Cyrus. Instead, I saw a compilation of P!nk, Madonna, Lady Gaga ... It was although she was trying to get as many shocking performers as she could and fit them all into one persona.

But taking the image of a 14 year old Miley Cyrus out of the picture, and watching the performance for the performance itself, it was nothing like the frenzy suggests.

In fact, as far as VMA performances go, it was one of the better ones. The fact is, no matter how you look at it, they were having fun up there. Even though people said that her vocals were "all over the place," I have to disagree. As a performer myself, I know how hard it is to be moving around up there and REALLY sing. Yes. She was REALLY SINGING. NOT lipsynching like 99.9% of singers and musicians do now days. Let's see how spot-on your vocals are after 50 jumping jacks ...

Everyone is so quick to judge Miley. Why is that? She did nothing different than many performers of MTV's past. She's going through a "wild phase" that so many young people go through at that age. In fact, some of those same young people are now amazing adult performers. So why make a big deal of it? Just turn your heads and get over it.

P.S. While the media frenzy over Miley was happening here, this was going on in Wisconsin, this was happening in Japan, and this was going on in Syria. Now, which do you think we should be more worried about?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Pinterest Fails!

I have found a new website that is my new-found addiction.
It's called Pinterest Fail. I'll give you a second while you go take a look ...



Yeah, that second turned into HOURS, didn't it?
It did for me too.
This site is so funny and TRUE to life!!
If you've ever been on Pinterest you know the way it can just suck you in for hours at a time
And, really, who does some of these things?
Well, Pinterest Fail shows you who - and what happens when they do!
Some of these are disturbing, some just sad, but most of them are funny because you know that's exactly what would happen to you if you tried said activity.

In honor of this great website, once a month I will be featuring my own Pinterest Fail - and who knows it might end up on the web site!

So keep watching - and while your at it, go ahead and comment about your own Pinterest Fails - and even successes if you have a few!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tasty Tuesday!! Chicken Not-Pie Skillet!

Happy Tuesday everyone!!!

So I'm learning slowly but surely that CARBS ARE NOT MY FRIEND.
It's kinda a bummer, but it is what it is.
So, I'm having to re-invent the wheel, so to speak

I don't like substitutions much - you can use spaghetti squash or cauliflower or whatever, but seriously, it's just not the same. So rather than substitute, I'm figuring out ways to make it so that the starch is not even missed!

The following recipe is what I call a "morpher" - that means that it can start out one way, then you can change or add ingredients at will to make it a completely different meal. It's great, especially in WLS patient families because we can use the leftovers the next night to make a completely new meal.

Also, please note that these ingredients are NOT set in stone! Don't like chicken? Use pork! Hate onions? Skip 'em! Use ingredients that YOU love and make it your own!

The one on the left is my serving, the one on the right is for my hubby.
Serving sizes are: WLS Patient Serving 1/2 C
                     Regular Serving 1 C

Chicken Not-Pie Skillet

2 T Olive Oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 medium onion (any color) chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 can low-sodium green beans (Or fresh, if you prefer), drained

1 can cream of chicken soup (low-sodium)
1 T Heavy cream
1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in heavy bottomed high sided skillet over medium heat until it begins to glisten. Add onions and zucchini and saute until tender. Add chicken and continue to saute until chicken is no longer pink. Add green beans and sauce ingredients and stir to combine. Continue to cook, stirring often, until heated through and bubbly. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes, covered. This allows the chicken to finish cooking through and the sauce to thicken.


Add Ins:
CHEESE!!! Make a version of chicken spaghetti without the spaghetti!! Trust me, this is so good you won't miss the pasta.

ENCHILADA SAUCE!!! For that craving we ALL get - try topping with some Monterey jack and sour cream for that ULTIMATE feast!

HERBS!! The sky is the limit here - rosemary, thyme, basil, sage - whatever your mood! The fresher the better!!

MORE VEGGIES!!! Put in as many veggies as you can stand! Trust me - they're ALL good like this!

Got it? Now, go try it!!
And if you make it, leave a comment and tell me how it worked out for you!
God Bless!