Wednesday, May 16, 2012

General Stuff

Okay so there's a few relatively exciting things going on around here.  The first and biggest being, we're in the works to get a new drain field! Yay! To those of you blessed to be on city water and who don't understand what that means let me give you a basic run-down. In the country, every thing that gets flushed or goes down the drain goes into a tank buried in the yard or something called the drain field. If all's going well anything solid should go to the tank where it can accumulate and eventually be pumped out and the liquids should end up in the drain field where they get dispersed into the ground. When your drain field goes however, everything ends up in the tank and you go from needing pump outs every three or more years to needing them every three months. Especially now that there's four people in the house instead of just my mom we've been doing all kinds of things to mind how much water goes down the drain. We collect and throw out water we use for dishes, and occasionally even our bath water. >_< It's not fun. And I'm SO happy it's getting fixed finally. We may end up being displaced for a day or two while they work on it, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. I wanted to post some before pictures though because they will have to rip up almost everything in our front yard and take down part of our fence. So I wanted to post some before pictures.

I've also decided to try to make a project of working on the backyard. Mom's back problems have ended up meaning she's let a lot of go over the years and while nature is great, we have a fairly large back yard and I'm pretty unhappy with how nature has taken it over. So here's the before pictures of what I have to work with. If anyone has any ideas for what I can do with the space I'm open to them. I'd like to do some raised bed planters, and Mom threw out the idea of a play set for the kids which I really like the idea of as well. But we'll see! 

Yeah that last one is a little scary. >_<

And then lastly there's still fence damage done by one of the hurricanes and one day I'd like to look into how much it'd cost to repair it.

Also for those of you who haven't seen it already, I actually started a blog for the children. I wanted to keep sharing what they write and I wanted to have a place where it could be stored and hopefully not lost, so I decided a blog would be great and I didn't want to overwhelm mine with their stuff, but here's the link to it in case you're interested in following them: 

And now I just leave you all with a few funnies I've encountered over the last few days:

Friday, May 11, 2012

Great Expectations

This has been a week where I feel I've been bombarded by the concept of expectations. It happened to be a central theme of this month's local needs part in our congregation, as well as it being at the core of this week's lesson in the fighting anxiety program I'm using. It's been one of the most challenging lessons thus far for me to deal with because of how conflicted it makes me feel. On the one hand I recognize that it's something that's plagued me and held me back for most of my life, and on the other hand I feel like some are worth clinging to and I can not mentally back down from them. For those of you that are able to get through what I'm about to write, I really am interested in hearing your thoughts on this topic. For those are you that choose to opt out, I don't blame you.

The first page of this week's lesson contained a list of objectives, among them were some points I agreed with and some that I'm having trouble reconciling with my primary mode of thinking as one of Jehovah's Witnesses. The main one being the goal "to recognize that our attitude, beliefs, and mis-beliefs are responsible for much of our stress, anxiety and depression." I understand that it's important to try to face the world with realistic expectations. Life won't be fair. Not everyone is going to want to be friends with you or will even like you. People will disappoint you. But I really don't like what I'm being told there. The most recent example I could see of this in my life was the break-up of my marriage. Based on my expectations as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, my mate should not lie to me, my mate should not fool around with someone else, etc. And yet that and so much more is exactly what happened. So the stress, the anxiety, the depression that resulted from that is from what, my unrealistic expectations? I'm simply adopting a victim mentality and I'm wrong for thinking this is not how it should be?

People will disappoint you, it's a fact I completely and totally mentally accept. But when someone completely and utterly blows it, I'm left sitting there clinging to my belief of what they should have done and feeling like I'm not wrong at all for having my expectations. It's as if the two ideas can't co-exist. But, I guess that's where forgiveness comes in. That's one of Jehovah's expectations of us too. It's the only way I can imagine being able to reach acceptance of both the fact that people will disappoint and that people have standards to live up to that they should be able to follow.

Or perhaps it's true that our beliefs sometimes are the cause of our anxiety or depression, but it doesn't mean those beliefs are wrong. I think sometimes as humans we tend to take something and run with it. Jehovah has the expectation of us that we give him our best. That's not an unrealistic thing for Him to ask of us. But everyone's personal best is different. Someone could very easy take that basic belief, of us having to give Jehovah our best ,and then build unrealistic expectations for themselves around that belief. Attainable goals are one thing, but it would be completely unrealistic for someone in my position, a single mother of two to create the expectation that my best should be going to Bethel, or my best should be serving where the need is greater in another state or another country, or I should be pioneering.

That brings me to another aspect of the topic, at least in my case I think only a small fraction of my problems with anxiety come from my expectations of others. I would say the much larger issue is my expectations of myself, and dealing with the question of what will other people think? I can trace this type of behavior and thinking all the way back to when I was a very small child. I commented recently on another friend's blog about how when I was very small I used to want to design my own board games but I would often get frustrated and give up because I couldn't make it perfect. I also remember wanting to write as a child and young teen, but I was most attracted to writing either science fiction or something historical in a medieval setting. And every time I would even try I would get overwhelmed by all the little things I didn't know, that I expected I should know in order to write it well, or accurately. It seemed like the people who wrote the best stories had been highly educated or had done extensive research that was just beyond my patience to do, and unless I could match that level it would never be any good, so I abandoned almost every idea that came along until I just stopped generating them.Thankfully I've found other creative outlets over the years, and it gives me great joy to aid my children with their creativity. It's my hope that if I can continually encourage them they will continue to exercise their imagination and have healthy directions to channel it.

The opinions of others has mostly been a stressor in my parenting and my spiritual activity. Again unreasonable expectations of myself rears its ugly head. For years now I've been telling myself that I was raised around the truth, I've been baptized __ number of years and I should be at a certain level that I'm just not at. I feel like if I give a comment that's just a simple, answer the question type of comment, in the minds of others they'll hear it and think I'm strange or behind where I should be. I love working in service when I can go to a door by myself, because I'm far more nervous about my partner hearing me make some sort of mistake or not be very good than I am of the householder. And to compound it I know that sort of thinking is unreasonable and people would just be happy I'm doing what I can, but it's like I can't make myself move past it. But I'm hopeful I can work past it.

I've definitely made some progress on the parenting front. There was a period of a few years where every time I would catch someone giving me or my kids a look, especially if they were acting up, I'd take it very personally. I immediately thought it was them thinking critically of me or them. Sometimes it would even prompt me to discipline or punish them just to show the person I was doing something. Which would then make me feel guilty because why on earth should I parent based on the expectations, or perceived expectations of another person? I'm slowly but surely coming around to the point of view that what other people think, doesn't really matter. I need to do what's right for my children and myself as long as it's within line with Jehovah and his principles. I shouldn't compare myself to my parents. I'm not them, and my children aren't me. If someone wants to turn around and glare at me because my kid is making a little more noise than they'd like, I'm now entirely likely to glare right back at them until they turn back around. Don't think know staring is rude?

So anyway, these are basically all of my thoughts on the subject of expectations. They're still slightly jumbled and they're something I struggle with, sorting what's realistic and healthy and what's not. But I think this helped. Any of you that waded through this mess, please let me know who you are, and next time we meet I owe you cookies. Seriously.

Prompt Me

So I have a bigger more serious post coming up but I thought I'd throw this one out there first. Lately I've been finding myself doing a lot more writing in my free time. Most of it has revolved around how I'm feeling, and trying to think through what's going on with my anxiety issues, but I've also found myself wanting to write just for fun. I've written a couple of pages about my current RPG character, but I'm a little frustrated with it, mostly because I think I spend too much of the time in her head and what she's thinking rather than having her DO stuff or interact with others. I think my hang-up is I don't feel like the other characters belong to me so I'm reluctant to have them say or do anything. lol

But anyway I remember when I was back in school I often did well with writing assignments I received from my teachers, so I thought maybe it'd be fun to fulfill some prompts. If any of you have any ideas I'd greatly appreciate it if you shared!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Preschool Storytelling Cont'd...

...and now the continuation...

So Kittynail said, "We're going to make Twister man. He winds everything around town. He was spinning all the houses around until he threw them into a volcano."

Stingraysharp said, "I'm going to cut all the sea creatures for their DNA."

Mousecutter said, "I'm going to get all of my rats to bite all the people and then get their DNA in their mouths, then they spit out all the DNA to make Sharkman!" He could become big or small, with big eyes and big legs and sharp teeth and he could do two things of hour. 

So then Kittynail created this monster. It looked like a shark and a beetle because it was round and white. And he made a whole army of those two monsters. And they charged into battle and Kittynail said, "We're going to use our biggest gooey monster and all our weapons!" 

Then gooey monster said, "I'm going to spray out all my goo on the men!" The slave army was about to die. But their was a knight. He didn't get killed because he had armor. And the goo bounced off the metal and hit the bad man. The knight went back to his palace and said, "We're going to build a big wall like the great wall of China," and they painted it like a giraffe and said the magic words.

And the royal dog discovered a man who was really a monster in disguise. But he caught the royal dog and the knight tried to stop him. The monsters hands could turn into any weapon, so it used its gun hands to shoot at the knight. But it didn't go through because of his armor and it went back at the monsters gun hands. So the knight took the royal dog and game it some royal chicken dog food.

Kittynail and Stingraysharp said, "We're going to flood the Upworld Skyworld where Thor lives. We'll capture Thor and put him in a kitty dungeon to take his hammer!" There's lots of kitty scratching there to scratch his armor off, so they made Thor his slave and took his DNA. Then Kittynail got bad DNA from his kitty chamber, where all the bad DNA was, and threw it into the lava with Thor's skeleton, and eyeballs, and he became Lava man with lava eyes.

(to be continued...)

So wow...Thor taken down by Kittynail and his minions. Some heavy stuff there. lol