Like it? Then share it. *please*

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Best Medicine: Gratitude

Oh the holidays.  Here they are. Like it or not.

As much as we'd all like to live our own little Kay Jeweler commercial, the fact is, the holidays can be a really tough time for many. The shopping, the cooking, the caroling, the bourbon, the expectations.

No one told me when I was wrapping my little bundles of joy in the hospital and becoming a mom for the first time that I was now in charge of Christmas Joy for the rest of their lives. A burden even June Cleaver would surely reach for the vodka under the sink to bear.

There is good news. The best medicine for the holiday blues ....... drum roll please,    wait for it ........


Yes. Now you know why Thanksgiving comes before Christmas.

The act of gratitude has proven to be the highest mood elevator. Gratitude has more impact on your overall mood and body chemistry than any other mood, even love. Which is a good thing because most of us can be a little hard to love during the holiday season.

So take just a nano second, or a minute, or the entire day and focus your thoughts on something you are grateful for. Wedge in a little something something into the craziness of the day.

Start small.  Maybe pulling your sorry hind end out of bed today deserves a pinch of gratitude. Or maybe you've been so covered in hurt and regret you forgot to see the light in your child's eyes. Or maybe the wine is just really good this year.

Whatever you've got. Use it. Take your medicine today and savor the gratitude. It might get you through the next round called Christmas.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Christmas Through my Seven Year Old Eyes

What I would give for a holiday that captures the magic of Christmas through my seven year old eyes. When the month lingered and lallygagged and would finally erupt into a mound of excitement I could barely stand. When the house was filled with smells and sounds and secrets that spelled Christmas. When the Sears Big Book Christmas Catalog held all that I could have ever dreamed of.

When everyone I loved would curl up in their respective beds, or corners or sleeping bags under the roof of my grandparents farmhouse. Where my uncle would make me a part of his grand scheme and in the middle of the night we'd creep down those creaky wooden steps and sit beneath the tree. Rattling, poking, shaking. I remember then that it was less about the gift inside and more about being the chosen one to go on this great journey into the night.

Grandma's house wasn't fancy, like those farm houses in Pottery Barn catalog that I've spent a lifetime trying to replicate. I should have spent this lifetime trying to replicate the spirit of Grandma's house.  Sure Grandma and Pop had their share of stubborn farmhouse spats but in both of their hearts was love.

It was sometime before I realized that two of those I called "uncles" weren't really related at all. They were young men that had been invited or simply asked if they could live in the farmhouse because their families couldn't or wouldn't provide them a real home.

On Christmas morning, the house was filled with those expected and anyone that had no Christmas tradition of their own were welcomed in.  My grandmother would always wrap a few spare gifts for "boys and girls" that found their way to us on Christmas morning. My uncles would often find a spirited holiday party to attend on Christmas Eve, it was the 70's after all, and anyone that had no one would be a part of us.

Anyone that dated or married into our family found their way to our house on Christmas Eve night to awake on Christmas morning in the farmhouse. I always believed that we were the Golden Ticket of Christmas.

Just last week one uncle said, "Hey, remember the year I brought the bum home for Christmas."  Of course! That was my favorite. We would now refer to them as "homeless" to be politically correct but on this Christmas morning, the bum had found a home and a new flannel shirt and grandma's homemade noodles.

After all the surprises had been revealed, I'd belly up to the kitchen table with it's best holiday plastic table "cloth" and feast on the Christmas breakfast tradition of chocolate chip cookies dunked in milk, while the rest  would sit around the wooden bowl full of nuts and pile their shells beside me on the table talking about the latest and greatest adventure on the farm and all was right with the world.

I miss my seven year old self. I wish she would come over and play today. I wish she would climb up on grandmas couch with the Sears Big Book of Christmas and circle the best stuff and put a star beside the grandest of them all. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Dear Jesus,

Dear Jesus,

Did you really want me to spend the month of your birthday at the mall?

Please reply soon, I feel the dread coming on.



Friday, October 29, 2010

Call me if you find my great idea wandering around on the street

Friday Night. No Plans.

Both kids are tired and don't want to do anything but veg in front of their respective 'mind sucking' devices so I decide to be indulgent and sink into a bubble bath and do some reading and thinking.

I sink in letting my mind relax and wander.  Ahhh, clear thoughts not interrupted by ringing and beeping and requests of my time.  That dusty place in the corner called my creativity starts to come alive, spitting and sputtering, trying to fire up like the water faucet that lost its power and then sputters back to life.

Then it hits. A really cool blog post starts to form in my mind. It's good, really good. I like it. I consider jumping right back out of the bath to start to write. Then I realize my legs are starting to look like the Newf's, so I decide to do a little grooming while I'm there.

A few more ideas come in and out. Decorating ideas, book ideas, how to spend the weekend ideas. Before the prune sets in,  I dry off and put on my favorite fuzzy slippers. I go to get the electronic writing device to plant my brilliance into the interwebz and ....... it's gone.

My freakin' idea is gone. I panic. Then I try to slow my breathing and think. Was it about the kids? Hubs? Hairy Legs?  Where the hell is my freakin' idea!

Gone, just like my flat abs and my Breck Girl hair from the 80's. Gone.

So this is all you get tonight. If you see my great idea wandering around on the street, send it back my way. I'll leave the light on.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I cheated on the girl and made her sick

My girl has wanted to be a teacher since she smelled chalk and saw she could boss people around for a living. She'd rather go and buy school supplies than Web-kins. She'd pretend to do homework before she got any of the real kind.

For the last two weeks she has cried every single day because she didn't want to go to school. She took her temperature for 5 days straight. The first time taking it into the bathroom with her and coming out shouting 102! When I insisted that I'd like to actually SEE the read out on the thermometer she tried two more 'fake me out' attempts until the real story of 97 degrees Fahrenheit.

For a few days she tried the "I'm gonna puke" approach.  I told her the nurse would call us if and when she did "puke" and we'd come get her.

Then I started to worry. What if something was happening at school.  I talked to the teacher. She said the girl had been fine. No changes.

More days of hyped hypochondriac-ness.

I tell her I'll make an appointment with the doctor. She wants to know when. I tell her when I'll call. No, she wants to know WHEN the appointment will be. Then I worry she might really be sick. Then I go to the dark side of worry for a minute or two until she loads up on a huge bowl of bananas with chocolate followed by ice cream. Never mind.

So I go to the next step. The root and transportation of all evil. The bus.

After the girl gets on the bus, I ask the bus driver to call me. Maybe it's the evil bus kid. Every bus has one. Maybe the girl has become his target.

I'm walking back to the car and it hits me.........

I see Dude, her brother, sitting in the co-pilot seat of our gas guzzlin "cooler than a mini-van" SUV. It hits me like a big fat "DUH".

Just this summer, Dude started riding shot gun. One step away from the kids table, while he's wearing deodorant. Big changes.

Add to this that Dude is in a new school this year. A school that requires us to drive him to school every day.

The girl thinks I'm cheating on her with her brother. 

Over are the days that he is long gone on the big kid bus before she wipes the sleep from her big blue eyes. Long gone are the days when we linger over the Honey Nut Cheerios until it's time to saunter down the long lane to the big yellow bus hand in hand with the Love Story theme playing as our sound track. Our mornings with blue birds and daisy fields and skipping.

Yes, we did skip down the long lane a few times, true story. The girl and I have always been special.

Now the stinky kid that kinda smells like Old Spice is sitting in the front seat of her "true love's ride" jamming to G'N'R.  Those speakers that used to sweetly sing Taylor Swift are now blasting Hair Nation.

My girl is lovesick. She misses her mommy. She misses Mommy and Me.

So, I call the bus driver anyway because I said I would. She answers and I say, Hey Ann, I've been worried about the girl. She's been crying because she doesn't want to go to school. Anything happening on the bus?

I kid you not, Ann the bus driver says,"I noticed your son sitting in the front seat every day this year. I think she's upset about that."

Could she have called me two weeks ago and saved me some major drama. Damn that bus driver psychologist.  What is she Dr. Phil or something.

So I'm trying to date the girl again.

Just to validate. On the way home tonight she said, meekly from the back seat, "I wish there were three seats in front."

*Sigh* I wish they'd sit in the front and I'd hang in the back and watch a movie.

Why is there no manual for this parenting gig?

Monday, October 11, 2010

I love October. Crisp autumn air, leaves crunching under foot, the explosion of color - yada yada yada - same ole story, same ole song and dance, right? Everyone loves fall, blah blah blah

You know what else happens in October? Hint .... pink

Yes, Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This has gotten big!

I couldn't find the bag of SunChips that the girl wanted in the grocery store this week because the bag is pink this month. It's normally green. Complete confusion.

I'm thrilled by the movement October pinkness has become. I'm also a little concerned. Sometimes when things become so big they become wallpaper, not art. Let's not forget the 'reason for the season'. It's not about being able to buy pink M&M's all in one bag, although that was extremely helpful when the girl was a toddler because her birthday is October 1st. I have decorated entire parties around the availability of pink M&M's.
Check it .....

Cute huh?

Yea, but pink M&M's are to remind us to fund the research to cure breast cancer.

So let's get real about what October Breast Cancer Awareness Month means to me. My BFF, since I had big hair and drank Barcadi and McDonald's Coke, has lost her mom to breast cancer.

My BFF has now undergone testing that has determined that she has a mutated gene putting her at unusually high risk of heredity breast and ovarian cancer. Which using a phrase from my salty grandfather and in keeping with the theme here today, "Sucks hind tit." (Link available for translation) Wondering how many followers I lost with that comment.

The good news is, she has an early warning that allows her to be really proactive with treatment options. The bad news is, cancer sucks and now she gets to think it about it pretty much every day.

So this is where you come in.  Time to help out. Because you can, because you should and because I need my BFF forever.

Her support group FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered) is partnered with a really cool company called Tiny Little T-shirt Company. - Go to the FORCE site and follow the link to buy some great t-shirts for you and the family.  25% of the order will go to FORCE.  I saw Christmas decorations up at Lowes, you might as well start your Christmas shopping today and help to cure cancer too.

How cute would these be on a long sleeve T or a nice hoodie - come on -

And if you don't go buy a shirt, I'll send the Newf over to slobber on your supper.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Note to Parents: Put down the bubble wrap

I once asked a colleague of mine what she would have done differently as a parent if she could start over. Her response has never left me.

She said:

I would have let my daughter feel and understand more consequences when she was very young, so when the challenges got bigger, she would know how to make better choices.

She want on to explain that she would "save her" from pain and consequences thinking that was the best way to show love.

Her daughter later went on to suffer big consequences with drug and alcohol abuse. Thankfully, she was able to pull her self back up and now lives a good life running a Montessori school with her mom.

I have taken this advice to heart. Some days I do better than others.

When "the girl" was a toddler, I took her to preschool on a crisp fall day in shorts.  I had stood in the closet with her that morning while she steadfastly insisted that she was wearing shorts.  I reminded her that it had gotten quite chilly overnight and she was going to be really cold on the playground.  She gave me the stink eye and said, "shorts!" So I shrugged my shoulders and took her to preschool... in shorts.

The preschool teacher stopped her little preschool teacher smile when she saw the curly headed girl come in the door. She looked right at me and said, "You know we're going out for recess today? She's going to be cold." Yep, I said. Maybe tomorrow she won't want to wear shorts.  I kissed my little 'Gift from God' goodbye and off to work I went.  Oh, I'm sure I was the talk of the teachers lounge that day.

I have lots of room to improve as a parent. I totally suck at it some days. But I am sickened by how many kids I am seeing in school and activities that are spoiled and entitled. We have to let them make choices and then be accountable to those choices.

Soccer should have a winner and a loser. Why practice harder if you can never win.
If you don't bring your favorite skinny jeans down to be washed, you can wear them dirty or be a fashion don't. I could go on and on with similar situations.

We've put so much bubble wrap on our kids, protecting them from all kinds of crap. They're going to get pretty bumped and bruised when there's no one to pack their lunch and cut off their crusts. (Which reminds me, why am I packing Dude's lunch everyday? - Note to self: Dude now packs his own lunch.)

Or they'll just live in our basements forever.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I have a dream ....

I'm feeling pretty special that I named this post in such a positive rainbows and unicorns way.  This is a huge improvement.

Had I written this post a few days ago it would have been titled, "Homocide, a fun sport, you should try it to."

This week has been dark and cloudy with a chance of temper tantrum and tears. Not sure if it's the full moon or my overly full schedule but geez.

Monday was the first day of school for the girl so that alone requires days of planning and prep. I took her to school to get my healthy dose of "stupid practices that waste money" early because I'd missed it all summer.

On Tuesday morning I found the girl's favorite cat dead on the porch just as I was getting her ready for school. I hid that from her until she got home from school. Then we spent the evening painting tombstone rocks.

On Wednesday, Mother Hubbard's cupboard was so bare the girl was seen eating an ice cream cone with no ice cream for an after school snack. She also told me at 6:29 that the parent night at school was starting in one minute. I poured a glass of wine and toasted to those great parents that probably read the flyer on Monday and were neatly perched in their metal folding chairs.

At 8pm the girl stubbed her toe so bad while getting into the shower, she'll likely lose that toe nail. Of course when I told her that, she began sobbing wrapped in a towel in the living room which sent her into an hysterical fit of nakedness on the family room floor.  I did what every good mother does, I started to cry too and told her to just get in the damned shower and we'd deal with it later.

Thursday morning was a frantic dash to get haircuts for Dude and I. Of course, I was on a conference call until 10 minutes past the time we were supposed to leave. We jump in the car and half way there I run down the list of what I told Dude to do before we left. Brush teeth, eat breakfast, take your medicine. He was 0 for 3. So I took the green toothed kid talking 400 mph to get his mullet cut. At least he was wearing pants and shoes.

The girl comes home from school today and says, "The teacher sent home about 40 pages for you to fill out since you missed the meeting." Nice. (Insert what I'm thinking here ^&*^##)

Here it is Thursday night so I decided to live out of my imagination instead of my reality.  That's the kind of stuff I get paid to teach, by the way.

In my imagination, I have a dream....

I dream of a day that I wake up alone, in a house with clean sheets, where outside it is 65 degrees with low humidity. I pull on my running shoes and a cute little running outfit and head out to meet the girls for a nice long run.

I celebrate my running greatness with a frothy little number from 'fourbucks' where I head out with my trendy green logo wrapped in cardboard. I go in search of a little Asian girl that has a perfect chair that vibrates my cares away while I read the latest about JLo and Heidi Montag's surgical woes and hope not to get gang green from my bargain pedicure.

I stop at the grocery and pick up all the necessities for the night, Cheez Its, wine, and anything and everything else that catches my eye and can be wrapped in bread or dipped in sauce.

I arrive at my Pet Hair Palace to find that the Pet Hair Fairy has come and swept away all the Pet Hair to knit sweaters for the homeless.

I take a long bubble bath with wine and more mags and then migrate to the couch for dining and entertainment. I crack open the Cheez Its and flip on the tube to watch David Bromsted's biceps color Miami, and to realize that Sarah actually is coming to my House to do the guest bath downstairs.

With the wine half gone, I turn the channel to find that I miraculously have been blessed by the satellite gods to have every channel known to surfing. I even have those channels with Project Runway and Real Housewives with fake boobs and fake hair and BOTH are marathons for the next 10 hours. I scoop the ice cream to celebrate this greatness and tweet it to my tribe.

I watch three hours past the time I have to hold my eyelids open because I don't want this moment to end.

I wake up to find my family back at home, messing up the house and complaining that I ate all the Cheez Its. I smile ready to face the day, rested and rejuvenated and ready to love all of their unlovableness.

Ahh, what a beautiful dream. 


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Blast from the past - Journal Archive

I dig journaling. I love it as much as ice cream and puppies. The thrill of a blank page and a great pen gets me all giddy inside.
(My current fav pen is a Sharpie fine point, I've left the house and remembered I forgot my favorite pen and went back for it. Not sure I would have done that for my kids some days. Just Sayin.)

So today I decided to go back and read through some old journal posts.  I often don't remember writing them just a few weeks later (because I'm getting old) and so it's totally new again when I read it. 

I love this post from October 26, 2008

I'm grateful that all of the answers we need are available to us if we have the courage to let go of our own plans and ask Him to lead us and guide us over the bumps and through the valleys that lead us to the better plan, His plan.

I'm grateful for my friend Vickie who sent me this message from a book she is reading,

God's answers to prayers .....
  • Yes
  • Not Yet
  • I have a Better Plan
I'm also grateful that whichever animal threw up, did it on the tile instead of the carpet.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I need a "Did You Mean" translator

You know when you type a search into Google and you screw it up somehow. Either you spell something wrong, or Google is just smarter than you, and it says, "did you mean" and gives you the right answers.

Yea I want that for the rest of my life.

Picture this,

You enter the house and say something to your husband and he immediately becomes defensive and frustrated. No worries, you hit your "did you mean" button and you get a do over.

You say something in a meeting and all of a sudden the room is filled with nothing but blank stares and the sound of crickets. No Problem. You hit the "did you mean' button and everything is fine and your career is back on track.

I tried to simulate it and this is what I got:

It started out looking o.k. -
Look, some poems about a wonderful mother, like me.
Then I realize the Google Ad is for a singles site and the bottom link is an obituary.
I guess the loving wife and wonderful mother gig really is a bunch of crap.
We're all just trying to do the best we can.

Friday, July 16, 2010

My Muse

This week was one of those weeks with not enough sleep, lots of cool work, a shortage of workouts, an excess of junk food and a sense of "wow", TGIF.

So I settled on the deck at 7pm on Friday night with my laptop and a glass of wine. My favorite combo pack.

My favorite 12 year old, Dude, joined me. Not with the wine, but out on the deck.

I shared with Dude the outline for the Not Wrong, Just Different book and the bones of the website that's being built. Without a blink or a wink of sarcasm he said, "Wow, mom, I bet you can help a ton of people, millions probably."

I teared up, smiled and said, "Yep, Dude, that's the plan."

And with that, the scary clients, late forecasts and 45 tasks were forgotten and replaced with a sense of gratitude and awe both for the Not Wrong, Just Different ADHD approach and the admiration of the reader that matters most, my muse, my inspiration.

As they say in the Dicks Sporting Goods store, "Life is Good".

Monday, July 12, 2010

You're lame if you don't read this book

I've not done an official book review here on Random Thoughts until today.

This one is important.

This one is important for you, and for your kids and how you raise them.

You may not have noticed yet, while you're busy getting the kids off to soccer or just trying to keep up on the whirlwind of your life, the world has changed. The way we think, act and work is different.

The good news is, the changes have some fantastic opportunities lying inside them, like the center of a Tootsie Roll pop. You're going to need to be aware of those changes or you'll just have another sucker. Or you'll just be another sucker, working for "the man" trying to keep up.

 The book is Linchpin - Are you Indispensable? by Seth Godin. I bought this book full price in hardback from the bookstore, the day it came out. That's big.

If you've got a Twitter account and are spending much time on the interwebz of the world, you've likely already heard of Seth or of Linchpin.  I'm writing this review for the rest of you. Especially those raising kids. 

Seth states in the opening comments, 

"You are not a faceless cog in the machinery of capitalism (anymore). You now have a choice. This book outlines the two paths available to each of us, and teaches you about why you might be resisting the less-traveled (but better) choice. 

Seth outlines the two team choices, management & labor or the linchpins.  Linchpins he goes on to say are those "who own their own means of production, who can make a difference, lead us & connect us."

We must understand today how to raise our children to be Linchpins. Don't be lame, click on the link and buy it. Be super cool and buy it through this link so I get a couple of coins in the deal. K?

I do find it interesting that I find a new bald guy to follow around every 15 years or so.  I wasn't, however, a Spock fan. Save the jokes, I see it, but I don't want to hear it.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The "ick" box

I want an "ick" box.

A place to put my "ick".

This would come in quite handy.

Picture this, someone says something to you that makes you feel "ick". Maybe mad "ick" or sad "ick", just "ick".  You're either slamming stuff or dragging your head feeling, well, "ick". Then you realize you need to take the kids to soccer. Instead of yelling at them and sharing your "ick", you put your "ick" in the box.  You can then go about your tasks without sharing your "ick". Cause you've got your "ick in the box".

You have an "ick" day at work. The worst. You drive home and just outside the door before you enter the house, you open your 'ick box' and you drop in the 'ick'. Smiling and perky you enter the house like one of the Cleavers, "Honey, I'm home." Then the family smiles back, "Great to see you, we've missed you." - OK, that's a little more than I can handle too, but you get the point.

Sometimes you'll need to go and clean out your 'ick' box, it's likely to get kinda stinky in there. But I imagine some of the 'ick' isn't that bad and when you go to look in the box, it disappeared.  It was only 'icky' when you were wearing it.

Some 'ick' is just "real ick'. That will likely take an 'ick remover" plan. Maybe you remove the person that keeps passing their 'ick', or you slather on some 'ick repellent' and hope they get better. 'Ick' has many sources. The 'ick box' would keep you from spreading it around, like a nasty bacterial infection. Wouldn't that be nice?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Not Wrong, Just Different - coming soon to a computer, then a bookstore near you!

So Random Thinkers, the new website and book are well underway!

The Title: Not Wrong, Just Different
subtitle: (still under construction)

The Topic:  ADHD Relationships

Who's the book for? Anyone that will read it and hopefully buy it!
I'm writing to anyone with ADHD and those that love them; parents, spouses, grandparents, teachers, scout  leaders, cul de sac queens, & car pool divas.  It's simply about the relationships between those with ADHD and the people that love them.

Why this topic?

With an ADHD husband and an ADHD son, this subject is near and dear to my heart.

It also scares the living crap out of me.

I'd say I'm writing the book mostly out of fear. Fear that I'll screw it up, (more than I already have), fear that so many others are screwing it up, and fear that if we don't see it differently, we'll have a real snowball of a problem on our hands for the millions of children and adults walking around this planet with ADHD. (yes millions, but I'm not in the mood for stats tonight, we'll cover that in the book and a future post.) 

By writing the book, I'm ridiculously aware of my behavior now. I'm aware when I'm getting it right and I'm keenly aware of when I'm screwing it up.  I'm working to tip the scales a little more to the right, getting it right that is.

Not Wrong, Just Different is about starting with the right perspective, viewpoint, paradigm about the relationship and about ADHD.   You have to see things differently to do them differently.   With an accurate perspective, the actions get much easier and more aligned to the results that everyone wants out of the relationship.

So many people try to action plan their way into better results without actually backing it up a step and studying how they "see" the situation.  Our viewpoint or paradigm drives our behaviors or actions, our actions drive our results and our results reinforce our point of view.

Let's review two of the most common perspectives I've seen so far in my interviews with those in ADHD relationships and then we'll look at the better option: Not Wrong, Just Different.
ADHD isn't real.  The drug companies made it up to make more money.

If you enter into an ADHD relationship not believing that this is a real disorder, your actions will likely be:
  • denial
  • shaming them about their behavior
  • working to validate your belief
  • seeing the ADHD as poor performance, lazy, or lack of effort
Of course this is the scariest paradigm of all for the person with ADHD.  These relationships are always at risk.
  • Most will end in divorce
  • Children become defiant
  • Child has no interest in maintaining a close connection with their parents. Many won't stay in the house past the legally required age or in some cases they leave earlier 
  • Lack of confidence, terribly low self esteem that plagues them with issues into adulthood
You can easily see what kind of long term impact there is for a child that is raised with parents that believe this, or for the spouse that lives with a partner that believes this.  In one word: doomed.

The Fixer  - Let's look for a cure, this has to end, surely you'll grow out of it.

Actions from this belief could be:

  • constantly trying new diets, new doctors, new medications, new books to fix the problem
  • studying the ADHD person like an entomologist studies bugs, microscope in hand, always ready to assess the situation and then fix it
This is the toughest. Most have this view out of love to help the person with ADHD. Unfortunately, the results can be frustrating for both parts of the relationship.

The fixer:
  • Becomes tired and resentful
  • Confused that help isn't appreciated
  • When and if the relationship ends, they have no idea how they contributed because they were only trying to help
The ADHD person:
  • Feels like a science fair experiment
  • Low self esteem from perpetually being fixed, believes they must be broken
  • Begin to resist and resent all strategies to cope with ADHD
  • Begin to look for other relationships that will be more accepting,  friends at school, or the co-worker that is more sympathetic - you can see where these may go.
And finally, the paradigm I'm trying to hold, reinforce, and write about in the book:

This is the belief that ADHD is very real but it doesn't make the person wrong, it just makes them different. This is the healthiest paradigm available to all involved in the relationship.  It's not an "easy button" or the answer to a blissful existence, but it is the healthiest for all involved.

ADHD is real and needs to be acknowledged.  There are many strategies that are helpful for ADHD, there isn't, however, a once size fits all solution.

Not Wrong, Just Different is about acceptance, love, patience and understanding.  It's about learning about ADHD in a healthy collaborative environment.  It's about meeting people where they are, and finding a way to nurture the best of each other.

Being in love with an ADHD person or raising a child with ADHD has it's fair share of struggles and frustrations.  Find me a relationship that doesn't have it's fair share of struggles and frustrations!

Key themes that we'll cover on the website and in the book for a Not Wrong, Just Different view:

  • Education. ------ Learn about ADHD from a practitioner point of view, not a fixer/scientist point of view. Learn and try new things, but don't be a pest. Recognize there is no cure, but there are some cool resources out there that can be really helpful.
  • Affirmation.  ------- ADHD people are typically brilliant and creative. Let their light shine. Ride the wave of their passions. They need people that can help them be a little more organized. Affirm each other. Be a team; thankful and appreciative of each others strengths and how much stronger you are together. 
  • Advocacy. ---- There will be many situations and systems that are not ADHD friendly, school is the primary example, but there are others.  Don't let ADHD be an excuse. Don't allow yourself to be a doormat. Don't get pushed around by those that don't understand it. Also, don't become the freak that the teachers run from because you've confused advocacy with your own type of bullying. Somewhere between being a doormat and being a bully is the sweet spot where everyone can win. There is both art and science to advocacy. 
  • Renewal. ---- ADHD is challenging, for all involved. Chillax a bit. Pick your battles carefully. Get enough rest and remember that organization and love are two different things and they don't need to be connected. Everyone needs time and space to themselves to recharge. Honor what that looks like for each other. For the ADHD person it may be a cluttered room with classic rock blaring. For the person that loves them, you may need to get away to that quiet, organized room to find some zen and peace. Honor the differences in what renewal looks like for each other. Remember, not wrong, just different.
This is just a high level look at the topic.  So what's next?

A website designed by the brilliant, Eric Hall from ehdesign & consulting will launch this summer.  The website will be a collaborative petri dish for testing ideas and theories.  The goal is to bring in a tribe of dedicated followers that can share their stories and challenges and brag about their successes. We can write much of this book together.  This site will be like an ADHD party, with a healthy dose of Ritalin and I'll be Julie the cruise director of this Love Boat. 

When it's time for this ship to sail, we'll blast it out to RandomThinkers, Twitter, Facebook, email blasts, you won't be able to NOT hear about this launch. Bring the champagne and I'll arrange the shuffleboard. This is going to be a blast! And we might learn a thing or two if we're lucky.

Your response: Wow, Rebecca, that's awesome, how can we help?

Me: Glad you asked. You can forward this post to everyone you know with ADHD or to those that love them. Ask them to do just two things here on the RandomThoughts site. Hit Follow and Subscribe so they won't miss the launch. And if you haven't done that, shame on you, catch up now.

You: Sure, happy to help.

Me: Thanks, you're one of my favorite Random Thinkers.

    Friday, June 25, 2010

    ADHD: Dude and I strike a New Deal

    What Mom hasn't stood in the doorway of their kid's room rolling their eyes, threatening to ship them away to private school, or simply throwing stuffed animals while grunting out caveman sounds?  Moms and clean room angst are like chocolate and peanut butter, wine and cheese, or bitch and moan, they just seem to fit.

    Sit down, pour some tea, and let me tell you a story about what I learned about clean rooms from my 12 year old ADHD son that we lovingly call, Dude.

    I decided on a Saturday to brave the depths of Lego madness and enter the land of lost socks and dishes from the Bush administration and help Dude clean his room.  He certainly wasn't Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs about this deal but he humored me and actually pitched in with a decent effort.

    For hours we sorted Legos into the plastic bins of organizational heaven that I had chosen just for him, because I love him.  Every ADHD mom scours The Container Store searching for clues to a calm from the chaos like a thirty something woman searches for her Prince Charming. It's a quest. A quest for answers and solutions and a fix for "their problem".

    Easily 4 hours later, with the sweeper cord wound, the bedding found and replaced, I laid on the bed with a ridiculously deep sigh and said, "Don't you just LOVE this."  Dude's room gets this clean about as often as Macys runs their semi annual white sale. This was a moment to take in. I wasn't really expecting a response from Dude, it was more of a rhetorical question. Except, he answered.

    "No Mom, I really don't."

    Whoa whoa whoa - What did he just say?

    I was so intrigued.  I said, "O.K. I get that you don't like to actually do the cleaning part, but don't you like it when it's done?"  And then it happened. My moment of enlightment about his ADHD mind that has changed me forever.

    He said, "No Mom, I really don't.  I only do this because I know you like it. When it's all put away in the drawers, you put my ideas away."

    I laid there on the bed, curious, embarrassed, shocked, and needing to know more.  What Mom puts away their kids ideas? That's insane. That's criminal.  So I delved in.

    "So let me get this straight, don't you find it easier to build stuff when you know exactly where all the pieces are?  You know, little men in this drawer, long red strips here, square blue blocks here?  I thought you hated it when you couldn't find a piece you wanted?"

    With the calm and profoundness of a scholar he said, "No, it's not that way at all.  I get my best ideas when it's all laying out and I see this piece of a building and then I stumble on this part of a helicopter and I think, wow, what if I put these things together. Then it gets me thinking about all kinds of things and I get excited and just want to build and build. When it's in the drawers I don't really have any ideas."

    So at that moment, just like Roosevelt, I struck a new deal. I said, "Hey, how about you agree to scrape it all off the floor once a week onto your big table so I can run the sweeper and we'll call it good."

    His eyes lit up, "Really?" Yea, really. No kid of mine has his brilliance locked up in a plastic box.

    He's not wrong, he's just different. Let the building continue and the ideas flow.

    Saturday, June 12, 2010

    No Child Left Behind: Hey, you missed one, MINE!

    Summer has finally arrived and I'm so glad school is out I almost cranked up the Alice Cooper and danced around the house myself.  It's not that we have some crazy town vacation planned or that summer is all that easy for us 'work from home' types.  I'm just glad that SCHOOL IS OVER for a little while.

    Remember my interview with Dude on why school sucks?  Well, this is Dude's Mom's perspective on why school sucks. Crank up the Alice Cooper and here I go ......

    At the beginning of 6th grade, test were given to determine our kid's proficiency in key areas. Dude was reading at a Senior level and writing as a Sophomore.  Pretty good, huh?  Dude is also ADHD so school is not exactly built for his brain.  Teacher lectures mostly sound like Charlie Brown's teacher while he thinks of cool stuff in his head. Because he's smart he still does o.k..

    Here's how things went on the reading report card for the year.

    1st Semester -      B-
    2nd Semester -    C+
    3rd Semester -    C-
    4th Semester -     D+

    Then I get his ISTEP scores

    Is anyone else scratching their head, more than a little perplexed?

    If you double click on that D+ you see out of 57 grades, 28 are A's and 10 are F's mostly for homework that was done but lost or late.

    So this begs the question, is the D+ a measure of Dude's reading ability or of his organization ability?

    Here's my biggest complaint.  What kind of message do we send to Dude with this D+ grade?  The teachers feedback to me via email before the end of the year was, "Dude needs to be more organized." If you remember from the earlier post my response was, "yea, and the deaf kid needs to listen more." ADHD kids are not usually organized.  We have now sent the message to him that he's not smart. That he barely passed. What in God's name do you think that does to a kid's self esteem?

    I've had it.

    I sat down with Dude and we had a great conversation.  I don't let him off the hook completely with grades because he does need to find strategies to deal with his ADHD, but never will grades be a measure of his ability, intelligence or capability.  I'm hopeful that he'll have a virtual assistant that handles all of this organization crap that he's not good at and he'll be changing the world with his brillance and creativity.

    To be clear. I'm not down on teachers.  They've got the 2nd hardest most underpaid job on earth after stay at home moms.  Yes, some of them suck. I won't name names here, but for the most part they are great people with a huge heart working in a system that fails them and our kids every single day.

    Not one time throughout the year did ANYONE from Dude's school call and ask to speak to me that his test scores and his grades seemed to be completely out of sync.  His test scores helped them get the funding they wanted and needed and that was the end of that story.  No need to worry about the lasting effect a D grade gives a pre-teen about who they are and what' they're capable of.  There's no funding for that. 

    Next up on my School Sucks Rant: Look What Your School Book Money Bought

    Note: If you buy something from Amazon with those links, I get some dimes and nickels. No harm, no shame.

    Friday, June 4, 2010

    Stupid TV

    I went to 2nd Grade Field Day at Small Town USA Primary School today. This is a BIG deal. Lunches were packed. The right color shirt worn by kids and old-timers like me. All a well orchestrated and coordinated pre-game.  There was prep and planning like Spring Training in Florida.

    After kickball and tug o war and every other sweat-making kid game known to high humidity mid western families, it was time for lunch.  We packed a lunch so I guessed we weren't heading to cafeteria hell.  This day was special.  I asked a couple of the kids where we were having lunch.  No one seemed to know.  I pictured maybe the shady tree out back but that'd be hard for the hoards of wheel chair grandmas that show up for field day.  Honestly, I'm not sure that many grandparents came to my high school graduation.

    So we ended up having our sack lunches in the classroom.  Really? I wouldn't have bought the good turkey if I'd known it would be eaten sitting on the same chair that Spelling Tests are given.  This was special sack lunch day!  I adjusted and settled in, sharing a chair the size of a cock-a-poo with my sweaty-haired baby girl. Man, I love that girl.

    Half way through our zip-lock bag of chips and turkey on wheat, heavy on the mayo, I strike up a fascinating conversation with Luke across the table.  Luke has a deep infatuation of the military, driven by his grandpa that died at 107 years old.  He loves tanks and army men and museums his parents have endured to fuel his healthy passion.  Luke lights up talking about tanks like I do thinking about a new season of The Bachlorette.

    Then there's Hayden.  Hayden eats peanut butter with NO JELLY!  Whoa, kid what's that about? We struck up a healthy debate about the need for a life with jelly and how he is surviving one without it. Not even on his toast! Fascinating!

    The two Alex's can't wait to weigh in on our debate.  We're learning about each other and envying each other depending on if your mom let you come with the cardinal sin of a caffeinated drink.

    Then it happens..... mid chip .... mid Mountain Dew swig .... mid military tank debate ....... all things come to a screeching, mind numbing, sugar fueled staring halt. Mrs. Really Good Teacher turns on the STUPID TV!

    Like a moth to a flame they all go into a trance from their 143rd viewing of Lady and the Tramp version 23.  Seriously?  These kids have seen this movie more times than Luke's grandpa lived!  I watch it happen. Each one of these bright eyed Gifts from God shuts down their conversation to stare at the little black box perched in the corner, above the tissue paper sun.

    Luke and I are still having our Nazi tank discussion which is far more interesting than those annoying animated dogs.  And get this! The other kids are "shooshing" us for trying to TALK through their movie!!!!  I resist the urge to stage a movement and solidify my daughters fate in therapy for more money than college and force myself to just sip my coke and eat my chip crumbs while highly paid actors do the voice overs for animated dogs until it's time for the next activity.

    Stupid Stupid Stupid TV.

    Wednesday, May 19, 2010

    What kind of dinner companion are you?

    I'm having dinner tonight with my "client turned friend", Vickie.  I've looked forward to this all day. 

    I don't look forward to all of my meetings.  It has me thinking.  What is about meeting with Vickie.....

    Vickie will breeze in with a smile on her face no matter what kind of day she's had.  She may even be complaining about her day but she does it with a smile and an attitude that you know she'll find a way to turn that frown upside down.

    Vickie knows that this world is powered by something way bigger than Facebook, or corporate America and she's not afraid to talk about it. Vickie prays for me. (Feel free to join her, I'll take all the help I can get.)

    Vickie cares about me.  She started out as my client and she always cares about it being a win win relationship. I call her my friend because she's now invested in me and my family and she cares.

    Vickie will ask me questions and then really listen to my responses. Not the fake listening kind.  She'll listen and respond and engage to truly understand what's on my heart and mind.

    Vickie is kind.  Even when she's frustrated by someone or something, she doesn't let that shake her values to turn her into some freak on a mission.  She finds a way to fix it or get away from what's 'ick'. And she does it with herself intact.

    Vickie makes me laugh.  She's not Seinfeld or anything, but she's just got a great view of the world that is light and great to be around.

    So enough about Vickie.  What kind of a dinner companion am I?  What kind are you? 

    I don't bother writing a post on the whiner, complainer, 'woe is me' types. I don't dare schedule dinner with them either!

    I realize that I was kind of a whiner a couple of times today but I'm cleaning up my act before Vickie gets here because that's not cool.  Let's all work to be more like Vickie.

    More Vick and Less Ick - Bumper stickers being printed now.

    Wednesday, May 12, 2010

    Yeller's Anonymous Here I Come

    I did a really scary thing today.  Really. Scary.

    No, I didn't skydive, or ride a bull, or get a tattoo.

    I sent a request to my very own Dude to fill out part of my 360 survey feedback for work.  The feedback is about overall effectiveness.  Where do I really need to improve my overall effectiveness?  Yea, at home.

    I've sent them to my husband several times before, bringing Dude into the mix, that's new.  That's scary, because he has no reason to put filters on his opinion.

    I must admit, I did look over his shoulder a couple of times as he filled it out, but I never commented, coughed or rolled my eyes. I didn't even flinch when one of his improvement comments was something to do with yelling too much. Ouch.

    So, the scary part isn't asking for the feedback, or getting the feedback.  The really scary part is the accountability I now have to make the changes.  There's nothing worse than giving someone feedback and having them ignore it.

    Maybe I'll join a "Yellers Anonymous Group".  I'll stand up in the back of the dark room with my coffee, "Hi, My name is Rebecca and I have a vein in my neck that likely will rupture some morning when my son is looking for his other shoe and the bus is pulling down the road."  Then the other moms will respond, "Hi, Rebecca, we're glad you're here" in unison.

    Maybe I'll take a class.  How to keep your kids out of therapy in 7 steps. I'll pay $99 and go to the downtown Marriott and sit in the front row and take notes.

    Yep, I haven't even received the final report yet but I'm preparing for my, "Be a Better Mom Plan".  I think that was the reason I gave him the survey. Ugh, what was I thinking!

    Sunday, April 25, 2010

    You: Hey, where you been? Me: Thanks for asking.

    Hey there Random Thinkers,

    I thought I should check in and explain my extended absence.  Although by the sheer fact that not one of you came looking for me, I humor myself to think I NEED to explain my absence.  It's not like I'm the only blog in town I know.

    Here's the scoop.  I'm writing a book.  Yea, what blogger isn't.

    I've been writing this book in my head for almost a year.  It's only been in the last 3 months that I can say it out loud. Just seeing the sentence, I'm writing a book in black and white makes it real.  I've put it out into the universe and now I have to do something with it. 

    I planned the debut of my "I'm writing a book phase." I sat with a great pen and a full tablet and I began to release all of the random thoughts, categories, stories, chapter headings, reasons, and cover ideas onto paper.  It was a scary looking, mind mapped, spider web.   The more I wrote, the more ideas came, the more excited I became, the more real it is. I began picking up the phone and calling people I wanted to interview and get help from.  I sent emails asking to schedule time with them.  The act of picking up the phone and sending out the emails made it more than a doodling exercise with purpose.  It made me an author.  Somehow this was important to me for the process to evolve and grow.

    I've called myself a writer since 7th grade in Mrs. Garvey's class. I've been writing a journal and a blog for years.  Writing is fun. Writing is non threatening. Writing is a hobby.  I love being a writer and sometimes you give me feedback that says you even like to read it.

    Being an author feels different.  By calling myself an author, I feel more responsible for my craft. I feel accountable to produce something.  I feel responsible to produce something with purpose. I feel responsible to take a years worth of ideas, sort them into an outline that makes sense and fill in the gaps so one day I can actually sit down and write.  Write with purpose and write for a cause I believe in. 

    You see since I made that switch in my head, from writer of random thoughts, to an author, I am spending more time organizing those thoughts and doing lots of research to fill in the gaps.  It's kind of like saying you're pregnant, 9 months from then, you better produce a baby.  The gestational period for my book is likely way more than 9 months, but I now need to produce something and that's where I've been.

    Rebecca Hession
    Not Wrong, Just Different
    "coming soon to a bookstore near you"

    Friday, April 2, 2010

    To the white legged girls across the Midwest

    Ah yes ladies, it's that time of year again.  April in the Midwest.  Time for us to bring out the big box to stash away the wool and weather-wear. We open the windows and have the joyful celebration to put away the hats and mittens and snowball maker and sleds that are now stuck in the mud in the backyard.

    And then with great anticipation we wake up to that first day in the 70 degree mark and we pull out ...........the capris.  Yes ladies it's that time of year when we must take a moment and shave what's been covered and do a little 'leg preview' for the season.  Just that 3 inches shorter that says, Spring is here.

    The introduction of the capri, formerly known as the peddle pusher, gave us great freedom in the midwest.  I remember the days growing up that the jump from jeans to shorts was sometimes a traumatic one.  Those gangly-legged middle school years when the first shock of white legs with a few bruises and scrapes took some real guts.  You called your friends to make sure this was their 'leg preview' day as well.

    Then the high school years. The first day of shorts was the real sign of who was rich enough to have gone on Spring Break. Those girls were already sporting tan legs and shoulders in their tank top.  If you had been one of those left behind, you laid on a blanket in the backyard where no one could see you, hoping for some ray of sunshine to transform your goose bump ashen white legs into the long beautiful brown ones that your friend would come home with.   Later came the tanning bed years that equaled the playing field a bit but that's not a subject I care to take on.

     I personally don't own a pair of capris but I couldn't swing a cat yesterday in Indianapolis without hitting some female wearing them.  I came home last night to a tearful 8 year old because she was the ONLY, yes the one and ONLY girl that didn't wear capris yesterday. (Enter sounds of pathetic sobbing here)
    Being the scrappy one that she is, she tore through the garage sale basket in the attic looking for a remnant of last years capri-ness.  She scoured the closet for something that just wasn't there.  Then finally in a shining moment of brilliance she landed on the perfect solution!  Eureka! She pulled out the faded pair of jeans with the little hole in the knee that had been just a little too short for awhile now and said those magic words. Mom, PLEASE can we cut these off into capris?  Yes, she's a problem solver.  I didn't tell her that young girls across the midwest had been playing the "jeans and scissors" game since the beginning of suburbs and baseball practice.  I smiled and said, "Sure we can do that."

    So with marker in hand I stood while she contemplated the exact right length of her new pair of capris.  Once cut, she smiled with satisfaction, and then did the thing we always did next. She looked at that little strip of blue jean and said, "I can make that into a ponytail thing."  Yes, you can.  And she did. Like all the white legged girls before her.

    So off to school she went sportin' her new capris to fit in with the masses.  And if one snotty girl makes a comment about her 'home-made' capris, you'll need to hold me back.

    So today, we stand ceremoniously and salute the capri and it's longevity into the midwest fashion staple category.

    Happy Spring, Random Thinkers!

    Saturday, March 27, 2010

    Listening to the Voice of Change

    I dream of a place where we believe in all that we are,
    we believe in ourselves,
    we believe in each other.

    Prayer fuels all that we are and drives away the evil that tries to live in the spaces of the things that we aren't.

    Each night we scurry about picking up the remains of the day and preparing for the next.

    And in those times of challenge and change,
    we stop,
    and we listen.

    We listen for the Voices of Change asking us to go a different a way, be a different way, in the spirit of being more of who we are.

    And we don't fight the challenge and the change.

    We may mourn the loss of some, but we learn to listen and embrace and move forward.

    We lean on faith.  Faith that shows us that the clarity of tomorrow will replace the confusion of today.  Faith that fills us, calms us, loves us.

    In this space I am sure, I am loved, I am the me I was meant to be.

    Monday, March 22, 2010

    My Favorite Quote

    When I ask you to listen and you start giving advice, you have not done what I have asked. When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell me why I shouldn't feel that way, you are trampling on my feelings. When I ask you to listen and you feel you have to do something to solve my problem, you have failed me, strange as it may seem. Listen! All I ask is that you listen; not talk or do - just hear me.  -------------Ralph Roughton, M.D.

    Sunday, March 21, 2010

    Are you waiting for permission?

    I've been stirring around a book idea for about 6 months.  I add a little info here, stir.  Add another idea, bake it a little longer. Never really getting the cake baked. Maybe I was waiting for the golden moment when Oprah calls and invites me to write a book and make me famous.  Yea, as Dr. Phil says, "How's that working for ya?"

    Who's permission am I waiting for?

    So last week while traveling I had some time and space to think, plan and ultimately decide. Decision is a powerful thing.  It took me two glasses of wine to clear my head of the whirlwind and to pull out an empty pad of paper and start deciding if this book idea has the right ingredients to be a fabulous souffle. a tasty cupcake, or a bowl of fruit jello.

    What kind of permission am I waiting for?

    I made a list of all the people I could think of that could help me with book writing.  It was a pretty impressive list. I can't believe how many people I am closely connected to that have written books. Why can't I tap into their experience? I stopped waiting on permission and started dialing the phone and talking to these people.  All were supportive.

    Then came the next decision.  Do I know enough about this topic to write a book about it. Malcom Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours to be an expert at something. That's good news because I've been married to my husband for 13 years, that's 113,880 hours and I've had my son for 12 years so that's 105,120 hours. You see my book is about the world of ADD/ADHD and the working title is, "Not Wrong, Just Different." Because I've lived with these two guys for over 100,000 hours, clearly I'm an expert.

    Looks like I'm out of excuses and waiting for permission seems pretty stupid so I better get to work.

    Once I got out of my own way the ideas started flowing. I made 6 pages of notes in one sitting and two "phone a friends" for input. Now I've got a couple of interviews done, a few more scheduled, three more books of research ordered and I'm making notes every day.

    I have no idea where this book is going but it feels good to be started with a new energy and excitement.

    What great things in your life are sitting there waiting for permission to get started?

    I, Rebecca Hession, author of RandomThoughtsByRebecca and fellow seeker of all things grand, give you permission to start today with your idea of greatness.

    Let the games begin.

    Saturday, March 20, 2010

    Come visit my other blog ....

    Hello RandomThinkers! Yes it's been awhile. 

    Thought I'd introduce you to my work blog.  Yes, I actually do have a real paying job, shock shock.

    Please share this with your boss or your friends that have that boring job working in a cube in corporate America.

    Today's post is about the power of focus to achieve your goals.  It applies at work or at home but I get paid by those corporate America types.
    Focus: Like Ant Boy on the Sidewalk

    And if you're feeling really Springy and abundant, hit follow on that blog too.  That would be cooler than Easter Baskets and Daffodils.

    Monday, March 8, 2010

    God Speaks to me in Airports

    Packing for my 6am flight to San Francisco tomorrow.  I won't be riding on a trolley car, photographing the Golden Gate bridge or touring Alcatraz while I'm there.  Just the boring life of business travel; airport, cab, hotel, meeting room,cab airport, home.  Yep, that's it.

    The only really great thing about my trip is, God speaks to me in airports.  Before you roll your eyes and think I must be off my meds, let me explain.

    My life is grand and chaotic.  I work around 50 hours a week doing sales and consulting for FranklinCovey. My days and sometimes nights are filled with more phone calls, emails, and client meetings then most people can stand.  I have two kids and a husband who expect dinner at least a few nights a week. There are dogs and cats to feed, laundry to do.  The family has their meltdowns, excitement, and general expectations of what our life should be and I'm involved in a majority of it.  The few hours of sleep I get a night are the only times that my brain and my body rest.

    Tomorrow morning around 5:30a.m. my accessibility is almost completely cut off for nearly 48 hours. I get a little giddy just thinking about it.

    In the airport and on the plane I think.  I dream. I wonder. I ponder. And when I create this space, God creeps into my heart and the middle seat, because he's that kind of guy. He speaks to me through the books I finally get to read, the interesting guy that chats with me in line at the ticket counter, the delayed flight because He thought I needed more time to myself, and the cab driver wisdom on the way to my hotel.

    Some of my best ideas and most profound moments have come to me in airports, airplanes, cabs, and hotels when it's just me and God hanging out, travel buddies. 

    Lately I've been having that itchy, "what if", kind of feeling.  That's the one I get just before a new opportunity or idea comes in.  I'm excited to see what He has in store for me. 

    Friday, March 5, 2010

    Brand Fail: Reflections on Swamp Girl post

    So I posted the Swamp Girl post last night. 

    Then I woke up at 5:45am thinking, kinda funny but clearly a Brand Fail.

    I failed my own brand.

    Bloggers are a weird bunch.  We put out a post, then we sit and wait for the response. Any response. Comments make our world all sunny and bright. We secretly dream that someone will pass one of our posts to Oprah and she'll market her very first blog recommendation and we'll be on her show, and we'll get a book deal, and our waist will get smaller and our hair will get fuller.

    So at 5:45am I woke up with the "brand fail" thought.  Then I went totally crazy train in my "barely had 5 hours of sleep" state and let this roll around in my fog spot head.

    What if ........ what if this was the one.  What if this was the post that got into the hands to transform my writing career.  What if instead of Oprah, it was Perez Hilton.  What if I opened my gmail account and found an email from Perez saying, "Oh Honey, we just L  u u u  v your Swamp Girl post. (said in a he/she kind of way). And honey, we want you to write a piece for US Weekly and do a little spot on TMZ.

    So what happens then?  Do you stumble around saying oh, no, you don't understand, that's not really how I write, I'm way more positive than that.  See .... see.... look at this post about how much I love my son.  Then, I sob ...... go back and look at my Lessons from the Recession series, it's really good.  Then falling to my knees, I plead ... pllleeeaaaz just call Oprah.

    And it hits me, all of those other posts don't matter at all, I'm now a trash talking rag writer and my kids will end up like the Osbournes without the interesting accents that make them tolerable.  There will be a large poster of the Swamp Girl picture above the fireplace in our trashy leopard skin decorated house and I'll long for my life before Swamp Girl and you'll only remember me as my own Swamp Girl.

    I rub my sleepy eyes and try to wake up. I grab my phone. No email from Perez. I re-read the post and realize it's not that bad and actually kinda funny. Hmmm.  Guess I'll get on with my life.  TMZ might've been kinda fun.  *sigh*

    Thursday, March 4, 2010

    Swamp Girl and Whiny Boy

    For those of you RandomThinkers that log on for a daily dose of RandomThoughts that have some nutrituional value, this is not the post for you.  This post is the equivalant of a bag of potato chips, 2 Little Debbies and glass of wine.  This post is indulgent, not very good for you, but kinda fun and will likely leave you with a bit of indigestion.

    This post is about The Bachelor.

    Yes, The Bachelor.  I just lost half of you knowing that.  Oh well, I must continue.

    Yes, I watch bad TV and sadly three days past the final rose I'm still thinking about Jake the whiner and Swamp Girl.  Yes, you're right, I shouldn't be calling people names but if you agree to be on a show like that you better be ready to blogged, Tweeted, FB'd and water coolered. This is mine.

    Why I think Jake the whiner picked Swamp Girl ......

    My take on Jake. 

    Jake has been the pursuer for years.  Trying to find girls that will date him and not leave because he's a nice guy and a whiner with really annoying facial expressions.

    Why Tenley wasn't a fit. 

    Jake didn't want to deal with the nice girl. He knew he'd need to heal her heart and all kinds of emotionally exhausting issues. And can you imagine the whiny kids that would come from that union? Shoot me now.

    And mostly because Tenley was compared to Swamp Girl.

    Swamp Girl was hungry like a wolf. (Or an alligator)

    Swamp Girl was willing to bow down to Jake in more ways than I can cover in this sorta family friendly blogosphere.  Swamp Girl was perfectly happy to be the hot fun girl with no real emotional baggage other than the weird Dad relationship. Swamp Girl is dang happy to leave her hip waders and get out of Swampville. Now Jake can sit back, relax, and finally be pursued instead of pursuing. "Bring me my swampwater, Baby, you know I like it when your one eye looks at me from around the corner."

    This makes Jake feel all manly. And now Swamp Girl can afford a good hair colorist. The tattoo and lazy eye are going to be a little more difficult.

    Sadly, WHY DO I CARE?

    I don't really, well kinda, it's just interesting. Like road kill.  You can't NOT look.

    (I told you you'd feel kinda yucky at the end. I'm still participating in my #28DayChallenge to write a post a day for 28 days. Content and inspiration gets a little 'thin' some days. Blame @thescottbishop for this swampy mess)

    Coming soon to ABC

    Wednesday, March 3, 2010

    Dishin' out some iLove

    Have you been reading those articles about how technology is ruining our kids? Yea me too. 

    I'm not buying it. 

    Remember yesterday's post about Dude? It was all about me worrying that my boy was growing up too fast and I wasn't keeping up on my end of the deal?  Well, there is one thing that I'm doing that I dig a lot.  Dude and I, we text, we email and we love Guns N Roses. 

    There are so many things that run through my head throughout the day that I wish I would or could say.  Normally I think of it at a time that he's at school or in the evening when it's all chaotic. And quite frankly, by the time bed time rolls around I'm spent.  That's not my warm and fuzzy moment of my day.

    So now when I think of it, I text it, or I email it. Short little bursts of love and affirmation. I try to keep it light and not preachy.  Living with ADHD means he is constantly getting messages about what he forgets, what he didn't do, where he's not measuring up.  My job is to remind him he's the exact person that God created him to be.

    Last week I sent one that said,

    I love the person that you are.
    Love, the coolest Mom ever

    I also violated my rule and forwarded him his Powerschool update of grades and he slammed me for it.  His reply, "Mom, thanks for reminding me about my screw ups."  - #MomFail

    My favorite is when I get messages from him.  Sometimes he sends me app recommendations that he finds.  He's a cool kid and they're usually pretty interesting.

    He sent me an email that said,
    "Hey Mom, let's have a great day."
    I nearly cried.  Ok, I did cry, just a little, but I don't want to blow my tough girl image.

    He also sent me one that said,
    "Hey, pick me up some Taco Bell while you're out."
    He added his favorite smiley face emoticon because he knows there's no way I'm putting the stench of Taco Bell in my car!

    Kids are more than school.  Email and text helps me connect real time to our thoughts and feelings.  We're using high tech to build us up not tear us down.  There are so many tools and ideas that can be used for good or evil.  We're goin' for the good, dishin' out some iLove. Maybe that's what Steve Jobs meant by iTouch.

    Tuesday, March 2, 2010

    When I get caught up I'm gonna .......

    Yesterday I took my son to his yearly check up at the doctor.  He now weighs as much as a supermodel.

    80 lbs.

    80 POUNDS! My little boy weighs 80 POUNDS! Well, uhhhh, he is 12 years old.  He's talking about things and learning about things that FREAK ME OUT!

    I woke up this morning still thinking about this reality and being scared out of mind.  You see, this crept up on me.  I had planned to be such a better mom.  I don't totally suck at it, I mean, we don't sell crack out the backdoor or anything but there is a ton of room for improvement.  Did I have to stand in the kitchen on multiple occassions and scream, "Get your arse down here or you'll miss the bus!" Yea, there's tons of stuff that will come up in his therapy for sure. Things I'm too scared to even share with you, my Random Thinkers.

    There are so many things I was planning to do to help him win the Nobel Peace Prize.  I'm really behind on my grand plans.  I'm scared out of my Sketchers that it's too late to catch up on some of it. How am I ever going to show up in one of those P&G proud mom commercials now?

    We stand and tell our friends and family that our kids are the most important things in our life. Then while we're busy trying to pay the mortgage and stay married, they're sitting at the kitchen counter waiting for their turn.  Yea, I'm done with that. I'm in freak out mode.

    I feel like the farmer sitting on his combine ready to harvest the crops and all of a sudden thinking, I really should have planted that better, I really should have put on a little more fertilizer, I should have picked a better field, I should have picked a better crop.  (tap tap tap on Farmer Brown's shoulder, Hey Dude, start the combine, it's too late for that. Let's get crackin'.)

    So, it's too late to buy those fancy ink blots and Mozart baby mobiles, but I can start talking. A lot. And I can start being a better role model.  I can start by sitting at the kitchen counter and walking with him through this crazy fun house called Middle School.  As my friend Jim Struck says, "I'm moving into coach mode."

    I can't beat up the other kids at the dance for him.  Well, I could, because I'm crazy strong and a little crazy, but I shouldn't do that.  I should teach him the times that it's ok to beat the crap out of that little punk Randy for bullying him and the times that you really should walk away and more important, when you should walk away and start a petition and a movement for the equal treatment of geeky science kids with great hair.


    Maybe I'll even get a whistle to wear around my neck so everyone knows there's a new coach in town.

    Are there things in your life that you're gonna get around to when you get caught up?  Caught up on life, caught up laundry, caught up on everything?  (tap tap tap, hey Mister, time to get crackin' on the big stuff, you'll never get caught up on that tornado of a life you're leading.)

    That weekly drive to and from guitar practice with dude is going to be all about coaching. I like the car/hostage situation.  Last week we talked about the culture of rock n roll and how he will deal with that sex, drugs and rock n roll thing. I'm steering him toward a Christian Rock career so I don't have to deal with Axl Rose living in my basement.

    Monday, March 1, 2010

    Don't judge my book by my cover

    I'm in Starbucks. Yes, I'm one of "those" people. I'm sitting with my iPhone and my laptop and my $5 coffee and my fancy laptop bag in my "I'm a professional on my way to a really important appointment" outfit.  To the stranger's eye, I look like I've totally got my crap together.  But I don't.  There's stuff stirring in my heart and mind that are not at all "together".

    I just hung up the phone from a friend who also has a box truck full of crap she's dealing with.  But she also looks neat, ironed, made up and totally normal.

    I'd like to walk around to each person in this coffeehouse and find out what there truckload looks like.  My guess is 85% have a story of something they are juggling with. Something in their mind that is serious.

    Why is it we want to believe that we're the only one that's hurting and if we can just get it together, we'll be like everyone else.  That's stupid. And it's a lie.

    In fact, my theory is, those that act the most like they have it together are the biggest train wrecks. 

    Let's all stop judging people's life based on their shoes, their ride, their digs, and their dog and just get real.  Life has its fair share of crap. Bring a shovel and listen with your heart. 

    Sunday, February 28, 2010

    Root Canal Series: Part 2 - What is trust?

    This is part two. Start here if you need to catch up ....

    Another interesting lesson of my root canal.  As I was sent from my dentist to the endodontist I realized on the drive over that I knew absolutely nothing about these people. I was in excruciating pain and only wanted relief but couldn't help wondering if this endodontist had been on the news for some heinous root canal crime.    I was cursing my decision to stop watching the news several years ago.  After all, there's never anything good on the news.  Which is exactly the problem!  Was this endodontist shown on the news with her white coat over her head being escorted to a police car with angry toothache patrons holding picket signs?  I had no idea. I was in way too much pain to do a thorough iPhone Google search.

    It started out ok.  The lobby was normal, the front desk lady was polite. Then....then..... then..... I went to the room of doom. The one with the "recliner".  There I found a lady that wasn't new to the world of removing infected pulp, but she was new to this office.  She and the veteran pulp sucking assistant spent much of my diagnosis bickering about the right x-ray techniques, why do we use this, why don't you have that, don't put that there.

    Meanwhile, back in the recliner, I've been poked in the eye, had the roof of my mouth scraped with a metal torture device and my lip pulled and smashed.

    The whole time, no one was really talking to me.  They talked about me, around me, above me.

    The tooth band thingy kept popping off and three different people tried three different techniques and finally when it was time to begin, I freaked out.

    The actual endodontist came in all cheery and ready to put a power drill in my mouth and I said through green plastic shields and metal tooth bands, "get this off now".  Which sounds like, "Ge  is oh  nohw'.

    At first she was unsure and then she finally looked me in the eye and it was clear I wasn't kidding. My kids know that look very well.

    Once she had removed all the gear, she sat me up like a normal person and sent "frick and frack" out of the room.  With tears streaming down my face I said, "I have lost all confidence that you and this team have the ability to do this procedure."

    She finally talked to me, and with me. She told me about the procedure, what to expect, and she cared about how I felt for the first time since I got there.

    Trust. It's that soft and squishy thing that's hard to explain.  We just know when we do or don't have it.

    In my work as a consultant, I know that trust takes two things, character and competence. Basically, you have to care and you have to know how.  Neither of these were immediately presented to me in that office that day.

    Think about your relationships. How much do you care?  Not the fake kind of care.  The kind that has you doing things differently only because you know it's important to the other person. The kind of caring that comes from a strong character. 

    A big part of your character comes from your intent.  What is your intent? Is it to get the other person to do what you want them to do, or to truly know that person?

    To jump to the punch line, my endodontrist gave me movie tickets and a big apology when I left. She divided my appointments up because my mouth couldn't take the full deal with all of the challenges they put me through and to date, I think I'm gonna live. She showed me good character and she finally had the competence to remove my infected pulp. That's good stuff.

    Trust is a big deal. Try to understand it more.  Here is my shameless plug for a book that can help you with this: The Speed of Trust: The one thing that changes everything.

    (I work for FranklinCovey and teach classes on this stuff but I won't make a dime when you go to Amazon and buy it, pinky swear.)

    Saturday, February 27, 2010

    Root Canal Series: What is acting as infected pulp in your life?

    Last week I went in for part 2 of my root canal.  Yes, who knew that some root canals come in a three part series? 

    If you've not had one, it's kind of a big deal.  A "sucky" big deal. And of course as a blogger, it has me thinking about stuff.

    Here's just one thing I learned from my root canal.

    >>> I'm seriously thinking of a three part blog series to go with my three part root canal, because that's the way I roll.  And because I've been so ridiculously busy at work, my inspiration bucket either has a hole in it or is just plain drying up. So, take what you can get RandomThinkers!<<<<

    Ok back to one thing I learned from root canal. 

    Sometimes you have to remove the infected pulp from a situation to get any relief at all. 

    Infected pulp you say?  Yes, infected pulp.  Which is what had me ready to commit hari-kari. Which is completely different from Harry Caray. I'll leave that to you for a little side research.

    So I went to the grim reaper also called my endodontist . This is a dentist who decided mere fillings weren't enough and had to go on to removing infected pulp for a living.

    In this crazy process of drilling and filing into the deep canals of my teeth, all the infected pulp was released and my pain was removed, almost immediately.  What are those things in our life that act as infected pulp and once we remove them our pain is removed, almost immediately?

    * bad boyfriends
    * toxic friends
    * team members that don't pull their weight
    * bosses on a power trip
    * our own toxic thoughts and attitudes

    I'm sure together we could build a pretty impressive list of infected pulp producers.  Is there something in your life right now that has you wanting to commit hari-kari? 

    Could you take your own drill and file and suck out that infected pulp and get on with your life in a little less pain?