Friday, March 15, 2013

Where's My Sunshine?

Do you ever find yourself down in the dumps?  What a silly question; we all have days that we just don't feel right.  That's perfectly normal and expected, especially given the world we live in.  It doesn't become an issue until we can't see our way out of the clouds.  Have you ever found yourself floundering in that negativity?  It stinks!  I've been struggling with some of that lately and it's hard to fight!  For those that don't know, I have been having trouble with my back... again.  It's kind of a never ending saga at this point.  After months of discomfort and worsening pain I got myself in, had the imaging done and found out that my bad disc has re-herniated and that another one has herniated right above it.  So we're very much back to square one.  To top it all off everything is super-inflamed and angry, which causes more pain and crazy problems.  Not the best news to be sure, but none of it unexpected.  I knew something was wrong, just not the extent.  Anyway, here lately I have found it hard to look at any of this in a positive light - I'm exhausted, angry, and irritable - which makes for an unpleasant Amanda. 
I'm usually better at working myself out of these moods, but I think I just gave into it this time and have allowed myself to wallow.  Needless to say, I have recognized the problem and am actively trying to remedy it.  I usually make a deal with myself when I get bad news - I get one day to wallow, then I hitch up the 'ole boot straps and start dealing with it the next day.  I skipped that step this time and now I'm paying the price.  It's not fair to anyone around me, especially my family.  I've been trying to think about what I need to do to pull myself out of this funk. 
Yesterday I took the first step: I picked up a mess.  I didn't take any steps backward in my "child training" with the girls, but I took my space back.  As usual they have made their mark in my area and I decided to take it back yesterday.  I went through the living room and collected a trash pile, a pile of the girls' things (yes, it was the biggest), and the three items that belonged to me that were out of place (no exaggeration on that).  It felt so good and put a smile on my face!  Now I can sit at my computer or on the couch and enjoy "my" room again.  Isn't it amazing how a neat space is so calming and puts you at ease?  When Abby and Morgan got home they got to help me clean up the messes they have made in the entryway.  I won't lie and say we enjoyed it, but I am sure enjoying the results of it!  Now when the front door opens you see a nice, neat entryway opening onto the family room.  Much better!  It never ceases to amaze me how an organized space can lift the spirits.
Today I'm continuing my journey.  I'm getting to work.  I'm going to sit here at the computer - with the requisite trips up to save the back - and work on my Bible studies.  God can't take a backseat to me anymore.  I've neglected Him and His work for me long enough and it's time to get back to it.  Just saying that I already feel more positive and hopeful.  Why do I let myself forget that He is all I need to pull myself out of any funk?  If I fill myself up with Him and His word there's no room for my depressed, unhappy thoughts!  Maybe next time I'll remember to let Him provide the sunshine...

Monday, March 4, 2013

Why Am I So Overwhelmed?

I don't know about you, but I am feeling really overwhelmed right now.  It seems like I can't get a handle on all of the school stuff going on, and any other things on top of that just make it worse!  I don't know where I would be right now if the girls were doing sports this year.  We've got two different school projects going on right now, Maryland State Assessments start tomorrow (for the same two girls that have projects due), we have to keep practicing math facts and reading AR books, and on and on and on.  It's just too much!  I find myself checking the calendar more than the girls do to see when Spring Break starts so I can have a break.  This has led me to wonder where I'm making a misstep with the school stuff and how I can correct it. 
Not hovering enough?  Emily has taken me by surprise more than once because she "forgets" to tell me about a project she has until the due date is fast approaching.  I get so frustrated and fuss at her, but she keeps doing it!  So, am I not riding her enough?  She is almost 11 years old and starts middle school in the fall, so we've been trying to give her more responsibility in regards to her school work.  I have been asking her what homework she has to do each day and leaving it to her to actually tell me what it is.  Lately I've been sitting down with her and her binder so we can go over assignments together.  I would like to be able to just ask her and have her tell me what she has to do, but that has backfired on us too many times here lately.  My hope is that eventually she'll take more and more responsibility for her work as time goes on.
Not regimenting time enough?  Charles and I are big believers in play time for the girls and try to give them as much time as possible each day to do that.  However, this does cut into the time available for extra skills practice or reading.  So, where's the balance?  How do I fit it all in?  This is a struggle I've had since the girls started school many moons ago.  The last thing they need is schoolwork from dawn to dusk, but sometimes it feels like that's what we have to do to fit it all in!  We've started trying to get them into bed a bit earlier in the evening so they all have reading time before bed.  It's working pretty well most nights and definitely helps them get through books a bit faster.  I've also started fitting math practice in when they don't have homework so they keep their brains sharp.  I've also put a few math games on the tablet so they can "play" and learn at the same time! 
Worrying too much?  I think that sometimes I worry a bit too much about the grades.  I was always a perfectionist about my grades - anything less than a B on an assignment was something to cry about and heaven help me if it had happened on a report card!  Unfortunately my girls don't have that same problem.  They often can't be bothered to turn in an assignment if they're not reminded several times to do so.  It drives me crazy!  Their Daddy was just like that as a child and it drove his parents batty, too.  I am learning, though, to let go of the grades just a little bit.  If they work hard (and turn the work in!) I will be satisfied with the grade they receive.  I sure do wish I could infuse a little more perfectionism in them, though, and I don't think that's ever going to change!