Wednesday, March 4, 2020

When life is in a constant state of crazy, you can be overwhelmed, OR.... (Part 2... applying the word)

As my follow up to my post regarding my "constant state of crazy", I ask that when reading these accounts (and I will be as brief as possible in my examples) to hear my heart regarding putting in place the use of my word of the year, OR.  

I am being intentional after years of self induced stressors and very clear and intentional abuse from some of my children, to gain some control in my life, and begin making decisions that will bring me joy in the midst of the crazy that seems to happen with or without my permission.  

If you did not read my March 2nd post about OR, I would encourage you to do so, as it can clearly be a stand alone blog, that I hope will absolutely encourage you to find balance in your life.  

We live in a society that say multi-tasking is king, we have to fill every moment with some more and some more and some more!  This is a lie. The truth is the word OR, gives us the freedom to stop mentally, physically and financially taking on burdens that we have never been designed to handle or bear up under the weight of.  

Until the first of the year and my realization that I have been missing this very small word, OR, from my vocabulary and had actually been excluding it from my life entirely, I can now see that with the use of this word, a host of possiblities open up for me without shame or guilt for not being the "end all be all" to so many.

Rest easy, this will not be a replay of my life's should have's, could have's and would have's.  Just January and February of 2020 in light of my discovery of OR, my word of the year. I just want those of you that follow our journey to find hope that in practical ways, while not easy, about how freeing it has been to be intentional about not adding more, but in finding the balance between just two things!   This OR that...

So here we go!!   

The Prince, as many of you know and love, has a grandmother, also well known and loved,  that is 95 1/2 years of age.  If we lived in the same state as she, my guess is I would be her primary care giver, as she is no longer deemed able to live independently.  

Earlier this year, we were faced with some tough decisions about her care, and what we would determine to be the best course for her physically and mentally.  At this stage in discussions about her care I could have chosen to become overwhelmed with the thought of transporting her to Florida to live out her days with us OR I could choose to trust that the Lord loves Nan more than we do, and He will guide us in this process of caring for her.  

I chose to trust that the Lord loves Nan and has a plan for her.  A plan that while was extremely taxing on the Prince (and continues to be) is one that allows her to be in a place where she is getting excellent care, in spite of herself, and is able to receive visits from her grandchildren, church members, friends and neighbors.  Where things, while are different, are much the same.  A move for her here to Florida would have been manageable, but hard for us all, and it would not have provided her with these blessings !   (Shameless plug: if you know and love her send her a card c/o of Dot Coburn at the Jewish Home, 4000 Linglestown Road, HBG 17112 or pop in for a quick visit.)

In October 2019 my eldest son moved back to PA.  While the discussion had been on the table for awhile as a potential option, things moved very quickly, and before we knew it he and his dad had loaded up the UHaul and were headed north.   Things seemed to be progressing well for Dopey, until they were not.  As a mom, you can recognize the signs, job hopping, burning through financial resources, lack of communication, etc.  

In desperation and with the desire to "fix" this situation, I again came to the place where I needed to be reminded about OR.  I could fixate on Dopey's bad choices, his potential financial ruin, his lack of motivation  and the fact that his back up plan was the Prince and I and how I could help (enable) or fix him ... OR I could join forces with his roommates mother and we could leave it in the Lords hands.  

Almost without fail, daily, we pray over the phone for our boys.  We pray that the Lord would protect them from their stupid, and be merciful to them as they figure out how to adult.  
You know what, Dopey is not there yet, but he is making huge strides!  While we all have to write our story, it is hard as a parent to see the story unfolding with the potential to go sideways. By not fixing, not fixating, and being okay with the fact he may have to learn some hard lessons on the way, I have found great peace in again trusting that the Lord loves him more than I do and that things will be okay.  Maybe not great, maybe not the way I would desire, but the way that the Lord needs them to be so that Dopey's story is his own.  

We were informed in mid December that our second oldest daughter was pregnant.  She sent the information to us, unsolicited via text message, and then fell off the radar.  She was the only missing family member for the holidays, did not communicate with us, even in our attempts to contact her. In January, basically wrote us all out of her life.  

While Sneezy has always been independent, and desires tons of space and minimal communication with us, our door is always open to her when she has a need.  

I will not lie, her situation is not ideal.  On many levels.  The Prince and I started praying for her and our unborn grandchild. This is no longer just about her, and since she was blocking my attempts to reach her, I had to get creative in my efforts to reach her. 

I sent a message to the other potential grandmother in an attempt to just let the other family know that we existed, we are able, and have the desire to be involved in all their lives.   This made Sneezy extremely mad.  Mad enough to un-block me and give me a piece of her mind about how stupid I am, to not understand that her silence means that she wants nothing to do with any of us, ever.  

Now this is where OR gets very hard.  At this point I am in the familiar, but unfamiliar territory of mental illness. How do you respond, or do you respond?  

In the angry tirade sent to my phone via text, the phrase, and "don't bother to respond to this text" was the valediction.  The great thing in all this is that after 15 years of parenting Sneezy, I know that the end is not the end, because she would be too curious to see if I actually ended the stream of texts there without response. 

I thought through my next steps.  I could walk away.  I could be ugly and respond to the nasty with nasty,  OR  I could choose to be gracious.  

When I chose to be gracious, (with a small side of snark) I now have been able to take whatever lies she has been holding on to in her mind about how horrible we are, and have started to be a reminder of the truth.  

The truth is that people who care, do try to maintain communication and contact.  The truth is that families can be in disagreement about something and still be a family. As an update, we are supposed to have dinner Sunday after church. No guarantees, but there is hope.

Our son, Grumpy, who has been homeless for the last 2 plus years, is once again, living outside the structure of a community program.  He chose to leave a housing situation because he no longer wanted to follow the rules.  When he left this 5th program, he knew exactly what decision he had made.  He walked away from our assistance.  (Side note: I am not saying that we are hard hearted towards him.  We are just not freely jumping to assist in the ways that we have or do when he is in a program and working hard himself.) 

While we love our son, and we want what is best for him, his bend towards disillusioned thought, risky life choices, lack of foresight and planning, place him in bad situations over and over again.  We have (and could continue) to be overwhelmed each time he calls and rush to try and fix his situation OR we could meet him where he is, accept him and his illness for what it is, and understand that we do not have the resources to "fix" him or his situation.  In love we can and will continue to minister to him, but there will be no cost to us financially, physically or mentally. 

My most recent example of putting my word of the year into play happened last week. It ended up being a double OR!  Bashful ran away from home.  In an intense whirlwind of hate spewing, mean spirited nastiness (of course all while the Prince is traveling for work) resulting in us not having seen or heard from him since. 

My options were that I could allow him and his mental illness to affect me (wont lie it did for a hot minute)  OR I could continue with the plans already made for a visit with Sleepy, knowing that I didn't create this dwarf and his issues and that it is outside my wheelhouse to fix him/them.  
In continuing with the plans already made, I was able to witness two college PR's in shot put, and Sleepy's 7th place victory at the last indoor meet of the season. 

If I had let the other emotions and options rule my decisions, I would have been weighed down in the chaos and crazy, and missed these blessings.  Knowing that I could either  continue to subject myself to Bashful's mental instability, and his toxic presence in our home  OR I could let it go.  I chose to let it go. 

I was only called to be the middle part of his story, really all of their stories. It is not my job to find, fix or in any way bring back home the level of chaos that he brings to our life.  I can pray for his protection and I can be intentional about protecting myself, but I no longer have to live in fear or constant worry over what he is going to be like at any given time.  

Those of you that know us, and have journeyed the road of life with us, know and understand the kind of commitment that we have for our family, for all our children.  You know the ways that we strive to minister and care for others outside our home, in our community, our workplaces and our church.   

We all have a different story to share.  Some of our stories have the "chaos" for a season.  Some of our "chaos" is self induced.  Some of what each of us partake in and partner with, are most certainly for the enrichment and betterment of others and the world in which we live, but end up stressing us out and damaging our emotional, financial, and physical beings.   

I share my OR stories with you so that you can see, regardless of what we are facing,  something as specific or unusual as a "word of the year" can bring a well timed,  revolutionary (even radical) change to our thinking and how we conduct ourselves day to day.  If we open ourselves up to new ideas, and consider doing things in a different way, often times the Lord is already working ahead of us to make these ideas and thoughts something that we will be needing in a practical way.   At least so far this year, this has been my personal experience.  

As with most of my blogs and my tales from Lingle-land, you can't make this stuff up.  However, if sharing touches one person in the midst of their "chaos" then I am happy to share.  

Now on to my next big decision...  a 16 oz hot coffee OR  16 oz iced coffee!   

Monday, March 2, 2020

When life is in a constant state of crazy, you can be overwhelmed, OR.... (Part 1; the explanation)


  1. 1.
    used to link alternatives.
    "a cup of tea or coffee"

This is my word of the year.  OR - two letters.  O. R.

Rewind to the beginning of the year. As I listened to the radio on my morning drive time, the local personalities were discussing the trend of selecting a word for the year.  One of the personalities after much consideration selected his word to be OR.  

At first my hand moved to the dial to change the station.  My thought was, "what a crazy choice".  Why would one select the word OR?  As he started talking about his reasoning behind this word, I started to buy into his idea and soon my hand fell away from the dial.  I was hooked, and for the first time, thought, I am going to do this too (pick a word for the year), and I am going to steal his word, OR, because it now makes so much sense to me.  

As I listened to his reasoning for the selection of his word for the year, thoughts started to flood my mind of the past year, my life in the last 5 -10- 15 years, and suddenly, I realized OR is a word that has not only been missing from my vocabulary, but in so many instances could have made a huge difference in my decision making processes, my responses to others and in my overall sanity.  

When the option to pick up someone else's stressors and make them my own, if the word OR had been part of my frequently used vocabulary, I would have immediately had an alternative solution for running myself ragged, shouldering others chaos, and creating stressors in my life, that didn't need to be present. 

As the calendar turned, January into February, my word of the year still present, but on the back burner of my mind, did come in handy a few times.  I remembered occasionally that I could either add one more thing to my already busy schedule, OR, I could say no thank you to the opportunity at hand.  I could either agree to assist with your situation, and get sucked into your crazy, OR, I could walk away knowing that I did not create that mess and I do not need to fix it.  

In the past, my thoughts would be similar to this.  I can, and people expect me, to add this extra responsibility to my "to-do" list AND while it will cause me added stress, I will get it done, I always do!   I also have voluntarily picked up others burdens, and made them my own in an effort to try and fix the situation or the person.  Now I am asking myself, "why does any sane person do this?"   

A lifetime of actions and responses that have included adding, adding and adding, have created in me a refusal to acknowledge/understand/regulate my own limitations.  That somehow in my mind, I have then elevated myself to  someone that can, and will, do any or all things, and be the solution to others issues.  I am your "go to gal", the "git 'er done gal".  

This is an exhausting way to live life.   When I think I need to fix, or do, or work out situations for others, my focus is frayed, my actions are less than 100% for any given item, and I lack intentionality.  At the end of my day, my week or my month I feel like I have accomplished nothing and my personal goals and desires are left unmet, and unfulfilled.   

I also understand that as a mom, a wife, an employee, a friend, a church member, a committee member or a neighbor sometimes we do have to add that "one more thing",  but I would like to encourage you (and remind myself) that there needs to be balance.  That the additional things can not take away from our mental, physical, spiritual or financial fortitude. If we can't meet others without depleting our afore mentioned resources, that should be cause for pause.  Multitasking is not this great accomplishment that the world makes us believe that it is.  We are better personally, and to our immediate family and loved ones, when we are more singularly focused.   THIS OR THAT, not THIS AND THAT. that I have explained my word of the year, I will share soon, how this year, OR, has been a good choice for me, and while such a tiny word, is the perfect word of the year for me to wrap my head around as life has been and continues to be crazy.   God's timing is everything!