Gifts of Gratitude – Disguised as Bad Service

Let me tell you, finding gratitude when you’re hungry, tired, and impatient is an extremely hard thing to do. How do I know? Recently, I attended a birthday dinner at a nice restaurant (with three kids mind you). The thing lasted three hours, when we could have been in and out of there in an hour and a half! Talk about testing your patience.

There were tantrums, melt downs, complaining about the food not being ready, and those were just from me. The kids really did an excellent job of eating bread and throwing crayons around the restaurant, but I quit caring about forty-five minutes in. It was almost like an ultimatum to the wait staff. “Okay, you get these kids fed or else I’ll be forced to give them each a bread stick and have them reenact a light saber fight by the bathrooms.” Zzzzzsssshhhhhrrrrroooooom….zzzzsssshhhhrrrroooommmm.

Anyway, the point of this whole thing is to say I’m grateful for the people I was stuck with for three hours. There were people I’d never met, people I hardly get to chat with, and my immediate family (minus one brother) was all in one place. I couldn’t think of better people to be stuck with. (Especially the sweet lady sitting next to my son claiming she has six grandkids and she knows how kids are. Thank God for that lady!)

You can find something to be grateful for in every situation. Every single one. You may have to look harder when it’s cold, wet, rainy, and you’ve lost your umbrella. But I promise you they are there.

 

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Needing to Take a Step Back

Imagine a woman in hair rollers with her bathrobe on, a glass of whiskey in her hand, and her constantly screaming at her kids. Now replace the hair rollers with a pony tail, the bath robe with yoga pants and a tank top, and the whiskey with her third cup of coffee. What do these two women have in common? They still scream at their kids. To my own sadness, I’ve become the latter one.

I’ve learned to manage a lot of things in my life that I hadn’t been able to control before. My ability to show gratitude, my willingness to help others more, and being empathetic to people going through tough times has dramatically changed my life. But patience and perspective, I still struggle with these every single day.

Sometimes I think, “Maybe I need a shock collar. As soon as I start yelling, I need someone to zap me. That’ll break the habit pretty quick.” This alone is a much bigger improvement than previously thinking the kids needed shock collars. Don’t worry. I never tried it. I knew they would have them figured out in a nanosecond anyway. 🙂

So how do I stop yelling at my kids? How do I forgo becoming this hideous beast of a monster? The answer is simple: take a deep breath. Don’t be so reactive. Don’t say the first thing that pops into your head. Don’t let the kids control your emotions. Don’t let the dog control your emotions. (He gets yelled at a lot too. He’s lucky he’s a puppy and adorable.)

Goal for today and the rest of this week: NO MORE YELLING! Oh wait, sorry. no more yelling. 

Progress not perfection. One day at a time. Deep breaths. Patience, Love and Tolerance. (My mantra I will be repeating anytime I’m about to lose my shit.)

Grabbing the Situation by the Horns

Maybe you’ve come to this blog believing there might be some good advice every once in awhile. Maybe you’re here because you’re ashamed to reach out and go to a meeting. Maybe you’re here to get the dirt on other people’s stories and compare them to your own. Maybe you’re here because…well, you’re not really sure.

All of these answers are sufficient. All of these answers are part of the reason I’m here. (Except getting the good advice part. I find that from other people and try to share it here.) 

Every day, something about my knowledge of alcoholism affects me in some way. It’s not that my past haunts daily. It’s more of the positive things my husband has learned from his part of the program and how I’ve learned to incorporate some of those tools into my life as well.

For example, yesterday was a mood swing kind of day for this mama. (Those happen every now and then.) Knowing myself and when I’m about to reach the point of no return, I took a long, slow deep breath and repeated the words, “Patience, love, and tolerance.”

These words have become a mantra of sorts in our house. I’m sure my kids by now know when mommy is saying these words to stop, turn, and slowly back out of the room.

The meaning of these words calms me down and helps me refocus. As I’ve stated for the one millionth time here, I’m not perfect. I yell at my kids. I lose my cool. I wind up saying things I have to apologize for later. But when I know to stop, take my deep breaths, and repeat our little mantra, I’ve taken control of myself.

Progress, not perfection!

New Tests, New Trials

So I try to find things that are relatable for everyone that way we are all kind of on the same page. Well, one week ago we got a new puppy. And let me tell you, I wasn’t mentally prepared for a puppy.

Maybe most people can relate to the constant chewing, peeing everywhere, and piles of poop that come along with a housing puppy. I have raised a few dogs in my life already so I guess I was thinking I was a pro and told myself, “I got this!” 

Well, I don’t have this. This dog is straining my energy, the little tiny bit I had left after taking care of 3 kids this summer and keeping up with a house that seems to be always messy. He is constantly under foot and we are desperately trying to not step on him all day. He is a nuisance. He tries to chew on the kids. He has tried to eat my front door rug. He pooped in his kennel again last night and let’s just say it wasn’t fun to wake up to at 1:45 am this morning.

But even through all of that, we still love him. We may want to leave him outside for the remainder of the day at times, but his snuggles and kisses make up for all of the flaws.

He’s not perfect, so why was I pretending he would be? Why was I putting an expectation on him to be perfect, especially as a 9 week old puppy? 

Thanks for bringing me back to reality HP. I previously prayed for patience with the kids and I believe the dog is the answer to those prays. I’ve realized…it could always be worse!

We All Need Some Grace

Ever since I got back to every day life and reality has had time to set back in from vacation mode, I realize I’m already starting to get down on myself. “School is right around the corner and there is so much that needs to be done. Meal planning, school clothes shopping, organize the kids’ clothes, organize the pantry, get the garage in order, and I’m sure tons of other things that need to happen!” Yes, these were all of the thoughts running through me head about 5:30 this morning. That would make anyone go crazy, right?

Well I’m glad I can realize when old habits creep in and I have the power to not let those old things take over my life. I’m not in control of everything around me, but I am in control of myself and how I choose to go into the new school year. I’m in control of how I spend my time each day and whether I should spend time worrying or spend my time in a more productive manner.

I feel that some people think the more stressed out you are (and the more public you are about it!) means you are more productive. I believe the contrary to be true. When you are busy getting things done, you don’t have time to complain about how busy you are!

None of us are perfect here! We all need a little patience and a whole lotta grace!

Fishing

What the heck does fishing have to do with alcohol? Well, if you’ve ever been on a lake or gone fishing with my family then you’d understand the obvious reasons. But I’m here to talk about fishing as a metaphor.

We search far and wide for some type of lifestyle or identity that we most relate to. We are fishing for our true selves basically since the day we are born. 

We are searching. We are casting lines into multiple ponds to see if they are worth our time.

Maybe you’ve never been fishing. If that’s the case, let me paint a picture for you:

When you are out on the lake, shoreline, or simply standing on a dock, patience is key. Unless you’re at a place where the fish expect someone to be dropping food right where you are standing, then you must wait. Sometimes you have to reel your line back in and recast out into the water in another spot. Sometimes you’ll get a nibble, but whatever it was stole your bait. Sometimes you’ll catch anything but a fish (i.e. a turtle, a branch, moss, and occasionally get a tree root). Sometimes you’ll catch the big one. All of these examples are life metaphors too. 

We must have patience in life, every day. The things worth having won’t be handed to us, unless we want the easy food that is dropped to the masses. 

Maybe your great idea failed, but don’t lose faith. Just recast your line out into the sea of opportunities in the world and see what else comes up.

Maybe you put all of your faith into something that stole your bait. Perhaps a bad relationship, getting fired from a job, losing someone important to you, or maybe just a really bad day! 

Maybe you cast multiple lines out into the world, only to catch something you had no intention of catching. Be open to the possibility of this thing being useful. If it’s not, toss it back in and cast your line out again.

Maybe you catch the big one! The one you’ve been dreaming of your whole life. But you’ll never know until you cast out your line.