Saturday, May 28, 2016

So, there's actually not a lot out there that's really relevant to me about sorting an existing paper mess.

There's a lot out there about incoming mail sorting and such.

But the daunting task of going through quite possibly 20 years of papers?

And another thing I'm finding is not all of it is just papers in my office. There's a lot of office type stuff, craft stuff, and random things. I'm not throwing out my pretty fans that I can give V or decorate her room in, in just a few years. Or perfectly good crayons, paints, etc. Because I'll buy more if I throw that out.

Before I get too specific,  I must say that one thing I had to get into my head is that organization is an ongoing process; as needs change, and life changes, I have to adapt. Every house is going to be different. Every phase of family and childhood is different.

I organized the bottles, then she moved on to sippy cups, which didn't fit in the same space. I got her clothes organized,and she outgrew them AND the season is trying to change back and forth every 2 days.  Etc.

So, as I go, I realize there's a lot that may not stay exactly the same. But I have to start, and keep at it, to make it happen.

Friday, June 5, 2015

15 Things You Don't Say to Someone With A Mentally Ill Family Member

First of all,  everyone's situation is unique, so I'm not claiming to speak for everyone,  but I definitely want to open the conversation for others. Secondly,  some of these are a little exaggerated perhaps,  but this is what someone may hear when you make a similar, thoughtless comment. Thirdly,  I apologize on behalf of the church that the subject of mental illness is actually as much feared in the midst of Christians as non Christians; we are all human.  And lastly,  the brain is an organ, and all organs can be sick or genetically messed up. Have grace when someone opens up about a familymember or themselves!

1. It can't be that bad.
That doesn't help. And if I'm saying it, then I feel it is that hard.

2. Why don't you just get them help?
If I'm telling you,  chances are we've already been through a bunch of resources and this has been going on a while. Sometimes the doctors aren't a good fit,  sometimes they don't know what's going on,  sometimes the meds make things worse before they get better.

3. Isn’t there a medicine for that?
Meds are not always the answer. And a person has to take the meds for them to work.  And people with mental illness often go to extremes to hide that they aren't swallowing the pills.

4. Why don't you just make them (do, go, etc.)?
Have you tried to make someone do something they don't want to, who's bigger than a 5 year old lately? It's hard to manipulate a manipulator.

5. But they seem so nice...
Said every serial killer's neighbor. Seriously. You can't judge a charmer by their charmingness and "know it's genuine. "

6. They would never do that...
I know it's hard to comprehend someone torturing a dog or assaulting a sibling or their own mother or father,  but you're either calling me a liar, or you believe everyone is inherently good.

7. You should pray that God casts out their demon.
First, did you get some message that I didn't?  Or do you think I didn't pray hard enough? While I personally do believe there are demons, I also believe the brain can be ill, and I don't jump to conclusions. Often you'll find the family has prayed a very long time,  and I don't believe one prayer is more powerful than another,  because it is God who is powerful, not my prayer.

8. Why don't you just leave?
Because running away from a problem solves it?  Things are often more complicated than that. Someone may struggle with feeling like they are abandoning other family members, the mentally ill family member himself, or just be afraid they don't have the resources to make it on their own and fear that going back after being gone may be worse.

9. Are you scared it's genetic / that their children have it?
This question is often asked by someone who rather enjoys striking fear into someone,  but what person has not considered that possibility who has known their situation for more than a few days?

10. Have you talked to them about how you feel?
Ummm, in most cases, that's not going to stop the behavior,  and if it was that easy to change what's going on,  then we would have eradicated mental illness by now.

11. But you're not in any real danger, are you?
One of the things about mental illness is... it makes a person unpredictable. Sometimes,  yes. Again,  are you just being nosey, or are you trying to help?

12. What they say shouldn't hurt you, because you know it's not them talking.
Nope, pretty sure it still hurts. There is not a switch where I can tell when they are thinking clearly and when they are not - if they ever think clearly.

13. But you can tell when they're lying, right?
Not necessarily. They may not have the same reactions each time, or even feel guilt.

14. Bipolar, are they suicidal? Sociopath,  does that mean they're a serial killer? (Insert other misunderstandings here.)
No, but thanks for trying to understand, confirming that everyone is going to shun me like the plague now.

15. Maybe they'll outgrow it.
Yes,  I will always hope they can change. But some of it may never be healed this side of Heaven,  and I have to - they have to - live with that for now.

Friday, May 1, 2015


Motherhood. You're suddenly the expert on this little life... And yet this person is a complete stranger that you only met a matter of weeks ago. You practically have to read this individual's mind, yet you've never had a conversation with them, and you won't for months and months.

But slowly,  you develop an understanding. There are things this little person likes,  and dislikes,  understands, and is amazed by,  is concerned about,  and is learning about...  And you get to influence their interaction with the whole world.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Was there not a word for rest, either?

My daddy used to say, "The guilty cry the loudest," or something like that. In this case, the amount of defensiveness from some "followers" is making me feel a little suspicious.

First of all, there are many, many Psalms that use words that mean command, decree, law, etc. One of the ones I like that came to mind instantly is, "I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word." Psalm 119:6

A trusted source for many years has been Strong's Concordance. I googled and found on a site that pulls such free resources together in one accessible place:

The word maamar means: a word, command. Ir is taken from amar, which means: something (authoritatively) said, i.e. An edict -- commandment, decree.

While it is true, as in Galatians 5:1, that we are no longer bound by the law, it was Christ who set us free: "So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don't get tied up again in slavery to the law."

Did God accidentally write the commandments all in the negative sense instead of the positive? Have you ever watched a child for even a day before, whose family doesn't believe in saying no, but only using positive words? Try it sometime. We need to be self disciplined enough to say no, be told no, and accept no! The positives could have been presented alongside as benefits. But I need no further benefits to convince me to follow Christ as one who's experienced the freedom of redemption that only comes with repentance!

Was there no word for rest, either? What right do we have to reword God's word? None. In fact, we're promised plagues at one point if we alter the words of the scroll in Revelation 22:18 - "I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll."

So the uproar is one thing, the defense is one thing, but the teaching is not sound, in my opinion.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Sending positive thoughts does nothing for me

There has been a trend, and I first saw it appear on Facebook the last two years I was in college. Someone would say that they were struggling with something, or sad or disappointed, and several people would say, "Praying for you!" Then, there would be that one acquaintance who would say something between "Sending positive thoughts your way," or "Sending light and positive energy to you."

First, that sounds to me like the jokes we make about "You must have brought the rain/snow with you."After I get over that, I think about the flip side... do people think prayer is the same as just a good wish, and that the power is from themselves whether they are thinking, wishing, or praying for someone?

How many times do we just say that we are praying for someone and not doing more than thinking of them for 5 seconds? Ever feel guilty when you receive an update because you totally didn't even remember it again after that first moment after someone shared bad news / a hard situation?

I'm still learning about prayer. I'm not as consistent as I would like to be. I don't spend enough time listening. I'm not perfect. 

And, I know that people mean well when they say what they say. But empty promises of praying for one another changes about as much as a thought. And I don't subscribe to the philosophy that you can change things with just thoughts. God may intervene supernaturally, but there will be action. You yourself may take action. But this physical world primarily is affected by physical action and we hide behind good wishes when we can bring that meal, wash those dishes, and sit by their side.

Friday, December 19, 2014

It will be perfect

As I sat between the socks, new outfits, handmade gifts, blankets, baskets, gift bags, and wrapping paper, I felt so many things. This was different than the other times I'd been in that room.

It was several weeks ago now, but it affected me for days. My husband had just discussed with me when we should put up the crib. I was dead set on December, AND wanted the only "guest bed" (aka futon couch) we had to stay up, too. That's not really reasonable, I realized, but it was the last point that had me feeling like I couldn't let go: We don't know where we'll be - here or somewhere else - until mid January, anyhow.

Why does that even matter to me? Because I was planning on decorating and making a perfect little nursery, and I couldn't wait to start...

And even then, I know I'm not going to have a perfectly coordinated picturesque room. Why?

Well, because I'm doing it. And I mess things up. They don't come out like the magazines. They don't even function half of the time. And who has the space for these Pinterest ideas, anyhow? I have three bookcases lining one wall, and a piano, and a futon couch, and a big reclining chair in that room already.

 Besides, I don't even like pink that much, yet one of my themes is Precious Moments...

These things don't matter. My child's going to all too soon be communicating what she likes, anyhow, and I don't she'll be so boring to only like one thing.

I'm a military wife. I can pick up and go and never even have a nursery, and still raise my child right. If that's how it has to be, it happens that way. Then why do I feel so sad? Maybe because I couldn't even wrap the Christmas present that I was wrapping in that room that day without messing it up, leaving a crumply corner at the top.

But, I don't need a crib set up to start decorating, and I don't need much to organize these tiny outfits and tiny items she'll need at the beginning of her life, whether she spends her first months in this room, or another. So, today, this is all that's done, but it's a start:

Why you can't re-write an article

I've run into this a few times lately on - people want you to "re-write" something. The different aspects I see that come into play are as follows:

Often the content is very well written, and even well known material, but the client wants to use the information for his own purposes, and doesn't know how to talk about the content himself.

The client may have some specific ideas about what he wants to add or not include, but usually doesn't communicate those things, and then is disappointed that the client didn't know instinctively where he was going with the project.

The client only provides one source, but expects the writer to pull from multiple sources, OR the client doesn't realize it's impossible to write a new article on things that are not common knowledge subjects without research and pulling from other resources. 

For example, re-write the above sentence... there are only so many ways you can say that.

There seems to be a big misunderstanding about what an original idea is, and how writers function. If you're re-writing one sentence, that's one thing... but it's much more productive and much easier to write from a topic (such as: discuss homelessness and veterans) than to say, "Hey, I found this great article on this topic and I want you to rewrite it so I can use it in my book."

Often, I can't even "re-write" a description or a single sentence to a client's satisfaction. How many ways can you say, this product is a mug? I often think I've done well to engage a reader, and I receive back comments such as, "I was looking for something catchy..."

So, re-writing is now a key word I stay away from, because, for me, that means: A client with poorly thought out expectations, with some agenda they aren't sharing, looking for a shortcut to having their own stuff, without creating their own stuff, and expecting me to read their mind and then create awesomeness. That's worth more than the $5 they're usually willing to pay.