Freedom from Addiction

Overcoming an addiction of any type is never easy. You always hear that the first step is to admit that you have a problem. I couldn’t agree more.

Hi. My name is LaKeisha, and I’m addicted to being busy. I don’t know how to relax, enjoy spare time, or not multi-task. Help!

I’d say that’s a pretty good admission.

In my last blog, I said I’d tell you how I am making steps to overcome my addiction. That’s exactly what I’m doing – making steps. It doesn’t happen overnight. And boy, is it not easy! I can’t tell you how many times in just a few short weeks, I’ve been tempted to just add one more thing to the calendar, or swing past this event (really quickly of course), or stop by this happening. I realize that resisting my own self imposed pressure to “just keep going” is going to be harder than any external force could put in place.

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So how am I doing it? Here goes ….

First, I’m putting myself on a schedule. I will put in set times for homeschool, set times for writing, set times to have fun with my husband, set times to enjoy the kids, and set times to relax. To some of you, a schedule might sound like more stress. But as a person who likes structure and wants to stick something in every spare moment, making myself take several hours or a day to relax is necessary. At least at this stage of the game.

Next, I am cutting down my to-do list. My lists were epic. I could have twenty items on a to-do list, all of which I expected to accomplish after a full day of homeschooling, making dinner, spending time with the family, and getting everyone off to bed. I’m laughing now – it’s insane, really, that I operated like that. Trying to keep each day to five items, max. I’ve already broken my rule several times, but at least the boundary is there, to reel me back in.

Third, I am really focusing on prayer and devotional time. I have to remember that God created rest! It’s something that’s good, beneficial and necessary for us. As I stay focused on Him and His Word, I find it easier to remember what’s important, and why.

Which brings me to my next point. I’m doing a better job of prioritizing. I’ve always thought organizing and putting things in order is one of my strengths. Well now I’ve turned it up several notches, because I have to prioritize my top priorities, if only five are going to make it on the list. This is really hard. But the more I do it, the better I’m becoming at succeeding.

And the all important learning to say no! When I first started blogging, my first blog was devoted to learning to say no, so I didn’t destroy myself and my family with my craziness. I learned that lesson, and proceeded to undo all I’d learned by getting crazy busy again. So, this also has to be turned up a notch. I’ll be saying no to several good things. It doesn’t mean I don’t love you, it doesn’t mean I don’t want the best for my kids, it doesn’t mean I don’t want my husband to succeed. And it sure doesn’t mean I don’t want success! But everything just can’t get done. Not humanly possible. So that’s that.

Lastly, it is one step at a time! Seriously. So I added too many things to my to-do list today. Okay, breathe. Be patient. Start over. Tomorrow’s a new day. Man, before I knew it, that “yes” to accept that invitation was out of my mouth. I should have said no. It happens. Regroup. Do better next time.

Here’s to victory. And staying free. One “no” at a time.

My Addiction Got Too Big To Handle Alone

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I have an addiction that I’ve dealt with for years. I’ve fostered it, denied it, admitted it, thought I’d moved past it, only to sink right back into it again. It’s affected my marriage, my family and several friendships, not to mention my own well-being. It’s a quiet addiction; many people face it and don’t even realize it, or are still in denial. But I’ve passed that point. After weeks of being too dizzy to see straight, being nauseous, horrible to deal with, and not knowing whether I was coming or going, I’ve decided to face this thing, head on.

Hi. My name is LaKeisha, and I’m addicted to being busy.

I’m seeing your blank stare right now. Being busy? Is that all? Big deal. After all, who isn’t busy these days? Multi-tasking is now an art form. For some people, it’s a badge of honor to see who is the busiest, almost a game of one-upmanship. “You think you’re busy? You wouldn’t believe my schedule,” they say.

I used to be that person. I loved that people always thought I was “on my grind”, always “about the hustle”, making things happen, making moves, making strides. I was that go-to person when you wanted something done. And I was busy doing it. It felt great.

After having my first son, I continued in my get’er done lifestyle, while also seeking opportunities for him. Now this is where it gets really interesting. I started to realize that I had a problem with always wanting to be busy, and was missing out on valuable time with my little boy. So I started turning down film and TV production projects. Started focusing more on him. Started slowing down. Briefly. Ever so briefly.

Why? Because I started getting him involved in projects, in events, pursuing interests. You like to spell? I’ll find every spelling bee out there. You want to help people? Let’s do it, larger than life. Basketball, soccer, guitar? Sounds great, let’s go for all of them. Oh, and entering other academic competitions? No sweat, I’m on it. Researched, found, entered.

And I was the volunteer queen. Room mom at school, check. Helping out at church. Check. Neighborhood board member. Check.

Now in and of themselves, there is nothing wrong with any of these things. In fact, it should be a parent’s heart to want to help their child develop all of the talents and gifts God has given to him. And if you know anything about me, I go hard for my kids. For my hubby. Real hard. Anything they aspire to do or want to be, I throw my all into making it happen.

The issue became when I couldn’t find myself anymore, because I was so deep in being busy helping everyone else. And that, coupled with my own pursuits, had taken me to a place where I no longer wanted to be. I didn’t find enjoyment in anything I was doing. I just wanted to finish each thing, so I could be on to the next. I always had my to-do list in mind. If I had a spare inch of breathing room, time to reflect, actually enjoy my children, or rest, I was filling the time.

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I heard my body. You’re breaking.  You’re doing too much, slow down, you’re getting sick, get some rest. And I did. Long enough to get well. A quick break to recover. Then back to over-committing, suffocating, drowning, in a sea of to-do lists, and crossed out items; many of which I can’t even remember.

It was a maddening, frenetic way to live. And I wanted no more of it. I’d had enough.

Stay tuned for how I am finally making steps to overcome my addiction.

Working Mom … You Pulled What Out of that Purse?

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It’s the big moment you’ve been waiting for. The CEO of the company you want to work for just spoke at a networking event. You’re about to cross her path, and can’t wait to meet her. Next thing you know, you’re in front of her. It’s natural, organic, not forced. She likes your ideas, she says, and would love to talk more. Then, the kill … she asks for your business card! Though you know you grabbed the big “mom” purse – you know, the one you take on play dates and field trips – instead of the cute “business” purse, you take comfort in knowing that you’ll definitely have business cards in there. But your short-lived euphoria turns to sinking dread.

You go in your purse for a business card, and instead pull out …. (take your pick):

Legos, Goldfish, Pampers’ baby wipes, anything half-eaten, crayons, kids’ meal coupons, an Octonauts action figure, American Girl doll clothes, bubble gum, pictures of your kids, pictures of you and your kids, a permission slip, or even lipstick . . . but no business card. You do have the days-old napkin you used to wipe ketchup off the car seat, though. And the crayon is red, so you’d be able to read her number and email …. Ah, look her up on Linked In, she says. Okay. Suffice to say, you didn’t land that job.

I know the feeling, working momma . . . you never know what’s coming out of that purse.

I Dare You . . .

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I recently made an elderly couple cry. And I’m so glad I did.

My boys and I were out to eat for lunch (perk of homeschooling) :). I’d brought along a few things, like LEGO Mini Figures (easy to carry in my purse), to keep them busy. However, we had so much fun talking, laughing and being silly, that we didn’t even need them. Now I thought they were being TOO LOUD. Playing tag, hide and seek (all within the confines of our booth, mind you), and I Spy, we were a rowdy bunch. We got more than a few looks. Finally the food came out, and calmness ensued as we ate. That’s when the elderly couple came in, and sat directly across from us. We finished eating and prepared to leave. They smiled sweetly and remarked what sweet boys I had (I was thankful they hadn’t seen us earlier). I then reached in my pocket and pulled out money for their bill. They were astonished, told me to keep the money for the boys, or for myself, or that they didn’t need it, and why was I doing it? Just because, I said. It wasn’t because they complimented us or were nice to us. It was just because I saw them, and I wanted to. So I did. And when I saw them overcome and tears forming in their eyes at such a small gesture, I felt amazing.

I Dare You . ..

To pass it on. To do something for someone who can’t do anything for you. To be a blessing to someone “just because”. To brighten someone’s day, then encourage them to do the same for another person. To show that no matter how many painful things happen, there are still people out there who are genuinely nice … loving …. caring.

Here’s an awesome example of somebody “Passing It On”
https://www.facebook.com/equippinggodlywomen/posts/791581494264666

Freedom In Me

There’s a difference between being a good person who considers themselves a Christian, and truly living a life for Jesus Christ. I learned this difference in college. Prior to that time, I had asked Jesus into my heart, I was nice to others, and I tried to be a “good girl.” However, living a life dedicated to God, studying His Words and His ways, is what brought me to a true realization of Who He is in me, and who I am to be in Him.

With the recent celebration of Christ’s willingness to die for our sins, and subsequent rising from the grave, I am reflecting upon what that victory means to me. Too often we minimize it to only meaning victory over sickness, sin, and death. Jesus’ dying on the cross did give us victory over all of those things, praise God. However, there is so much more that His death did for us.

Finish reading at:
http://www.gospeltoday.com/blog/2015/04/21/jesus-resurrection-means-freedom-in-me/

Impact … that will never be erased

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Today would have been Dr. Myles’ Munroe’s 61st birthday. He was a true man of God, a visionary, and the incredible depth of knowledge God gave him will continue to mold future generations. As I reflect on his life, I think about the words that came to me upon learning of his death…. impact.

It wasn’t just that he was a great spiritual leader. He was. It wasn’t just that he was a best-selling author, and world-renowned. Again, he was. But the profound depth of sadness that I felt, and now surge of thankfulness for what he left, was due to his impact.

Impact. The impact to show God’s love and compassion to a hurting world. Impact. The impact to help me stretch beyond the limits of what I thought was possible … to believe in me because of the limitless God within me. Impact. The impact to change the thinking and mindset of a generation … to help us see the Lord Jesus Christ is indeed an Almighty, Awesome God! Impact.

That is the word I choose now to describe Dr. Munroe, and his wife, Ruth, whose imprint was surely a part of his ministry.

And now his impact transcends even his death, in his children. Thank you, Dr. Munroe, for becoming all that God created you to be, and dying empty.

Thank you, for your impact.

Summer Camp Time Already?

Yup. Sure is. And for me, as with everything else, it becomes a part time job and a full time adventure. I am the type that thoroughly – and I mean thoroughly, researches every endeavor for my kids. From ratio of camp counselors, to time for breaks and lunches, to exact camp agendas, and of course are scholarships available – I check out everything. I’ve had many parents ask me how I begin research to find the best places for my child to spend their time during the summer.

1) I check out places I like to visit with the kids. I find out if there is a summer camp available. Then I look into whether they offer a scholarship/financial help. After all, camps typically run $200 or more per week, and that ain’t cheap.
2) I google areas of my boys’ interests. My oldest is into science (especially Magic School Bus). My little guy loves art and soccer. So I see what camps focus on those areas.
3) My local rec centers are places to look. They could offer great activities for the boys – and a reprieve for me – for about half of the price of ritzier locales. And they still have fun.
4) Vacation Bible School, anyone? VBS is one of the best ways for the boys to get a great learning week of fun! We are blessed to have a number of great churches holding VBS sessions in our area. And the cost is minimal – if any! A win-win for all of us.

I then reference, cross-reference and triple check dates. Parents, start your engines. Let the sign ups begin!

That’s What I Hate About You . . .

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Flowers blooming. Warm weather. Cool breezes. Birds chirping. Having fun outdoors. To me, spring signals a renewing of sorts … goodbye dreaded winter, cold weather, and being trapped indoors. Hello sunshine smiling down on my skin! I get giddy at the thought of getting those toes painted with a little Nail color. I’m also excited to watch my little ones run out some of that pent up energy. Yes indeed, I love springtime except for …

POLLEN! Ugh! Sneezing. Coughing. Itchy Eyes. Oh my! And pollen is so sneaky. For a day or two, my sweet little boy and I were walking around feeling sick. I attributed it to long days, working hard, late nights, and recent projects. Then I got a glimpse of our local pollen count – yikes! Through the roof! And though for years I’ve been blessed to not need allergy medicine to make it through, it doesn’t look like this year is one of those times.

I take a few precautionary steps to fight the pollen …
1) As soon as we enter the house, change clothes and bathe. It doesn’t work all the time, but we try.
2) Limit outdoor activity to after a good rain. Again, not always possible.
3) Masks. We haven’t gotten there yet, thank God. But . . .

Goodbye freezing cold, hello Allegra.

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Letting It Fall In My Lap

I’ve tried to open doors for years. Freelance writing, production work, speaking requests, teaching opportunities. I’ve searched. I’ve prayed. I’ve hustled. And all of those things are good. And necessary. But I am finally … finally … seeing things come together. To an outsider, it would seem like all of these great opportunities were offered overnight. Ha! The truth is I decided to stop stressing, worrying and trying to force things to happen. I calmed down. And decided to let them fall into my lap.

I’ve decide to trust God to lead me in the direction He wants me to go. I’ve decided that putting unnecessary stress and pressure on myself, is just that . . . unnecessary. And I’ve decided that some of those great opportunities that I missed … simply were not for me or it wasn’t the right timing. And it feels so good to feel God’s peace when I’m in the right flow!

Do I still make mistakes? Come on. Of course. Do I still get anxious? Occasionally. Am I excited about what God has in store? You better believe it. Let Him place it right into my lap :)