What Makes You Happy?

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I’m working on a list, a list that is turning out to be pretty frustrating. A list of what makes us happy. Now there are the basics of that list: our family, our fur-family, and friends, etc. That’s not what this list is after. This list is supposed to be about what kind of activities make us happy. So I re-named it, sort of. I named it…

Things That Make Us Happy

or Things We May Enjoy

The point of this exercise is to move us out of the all or nothing mindset we get stuck in and help us realize that we have many other options in life. Not just options of things we HAVE to do but things we WANT to and enjoy doing. Obviously, things on the list are going to apply differently to each of us, but having the list will help because our memory is shit. We get caught up in one thing and we beat that thing to death until it becomes our entire life, for all of us, and it becomes all of who we are causing almost a burnout. In a moment of desperation, I posted on Facebook and asked our friends if they have any idea what makes us happy. They are coming up with the same things we know, haha.

We absolutely love to crochet. That’s for sure and for most of us.

We adore our penpals, writing to and receiving things from.

Lyssa re-discovered her love of cross-stitch and Rachel found out that she really enjoys it too.

Many of us are really enjoying Celebrate Recovery and the relationships we are building there.

So those four things are a big deal, especially building relationships both by mail and in person.

We know we all like being around people and being accepted. We really like crafting, we like learning new things, and we like being involved in things that help people and help ourselves.

Music and colors make us happy.

Attending concerts make us happy and we’d LOVE to see some of our favorite artists live in concert, especially Zach Williams, Mercy Me, and a few others.

We love going to live baseball games! Watching baseball on TV is awesome too.

Most of us absolutely love the ocean. The Puget Sound is good too. We have been to both the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans and they both are amazing and call to us. We also love the mountains in Colorado.

We love to explore new areas and have new experiences with our family and our friends that we feel safe with. People we can just be us with.

Some of us like to color. We have fuzzy posters, coloring books, a color by number book which is pretty cool. We have colored pencils, some markers, and crayons.

Some of us like to craft and really want to experiment with the stencils we bought and the paints Mom said we can use. We also want to learn to use stamps for our scrapbooking and card making. A few have suggested using this crafting to help others who are feeling down feel better.

Lyssa and Cadie have several finished cross stitch beading pieces that can be mounted somewhere. That would be a lot of fun to do.

We have a lot of fun making things for gifts.

Life is about more than making things, but we don’t really enjoy experiencing things alone. Taking Howard out to parks is cool but it’s not much fun without friends or family. Just taking the kids isn’t a whole lot of fun either. It’s much more enjoyable with Mom and Dad and the kids or friends or people we can talk to or relate to.

Taking a fitness class of some sort sounds fun too. The church has a Zumba class but it ends soon since it follows the school calendar. Maybe next school year we can get involved in that. In the between time something else may come up somewhere.

Making a positive difference in the lives of others, that makes us happy. All of us agree on that one and want to find ways to do that. We want to make a positive difference in the world in general. Taking all we’ve learned and lived through and turning it into something that can help us AND help others. This is a big one for us, but this doesn’t solve how to live life daily.

Not everything has to be a major deal. Sometimes we just need to do something to have fun with it and that is kind of what this list needs to be. A list of options. A reminder of things for us because our memory is horrible.

Just sitting down with a notebook and a pen made us cry. We were overwhelmed by a task designed to be helpful. This post has taken hours, literally, but I feel like it has actually gotten somewhere. It’s a little wordy, but we have come up with some things. Some of them aren’t exactly practical for everyday spur of the moment but I don’t think that there were limits set on the list.

So to kind of consolidate:

Concerts

Ballgames, baseball in general

Fitness classes (Zumba, yoga?)

CR meetings and the socializing

Church and Jesus

Penpals

Exploring with other people

Coloring, crafting, finish projects

Cross stitch and crochet

Fitness on the Wii

Blowing bubbles

Learning new crochet patterns and techniques, applying them to something fun

Trying new things and sharing them on our blog

Visiting new places, landmarks, states, countries

Learning about other cultures

Playing with snapchat filters and texting/messaging friends

Thinking about new hairstyles and watching youtube for makeup ideas

Learning to cook more and have fun in the kitchen

Learning more about nutrition and how our body uses food for energy, how to help our body run efficiently

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Where is Fear Taking Us?

Fear

 

The sermon at church last night came with several application questions. Personally, I like those because they give me something to really think on, and where we have such memory issues, I can use those to grip onto the important parts of the message… or at least what I take from it. We all know that everyone in that room hears something different based on where they are at in their lives.

One of the application questions was about fear. The whole question was “What fear obscures the presence of God in my life and where is that fear taking me?”.

Immediately this question caught the attention of some of us. The other two questions got a shoulder shrug at best, but this one grabbed attention, and now, over 12 hours later, it still has our attention. We haven’t been able to focus enough to write in a week and now here we are.

To be entirely truthful, it’s the last part of that question that grabbed us. Where is that fear taking us? I mean, we’ve done enough therapy to know what we are afraid of so we almost skipped that first part entirely. We made a goal to find God and that requires honest participation though, so we went back to it.

Rejection. Yep.

Failure. Duh.

Abandonment. Right, boring, moving on.

Success. Okay. And.

Wait… what?

Success. That’s kind of a new one. I mean people have suggested that we were afraid of success, and we’ve read a lot about people being afraid of success, but none of us had ever actually admitted to that one before. So let’s look at that.

Mom and Dad have been adamant for 3 years that nothing we do can make them leave us (abandonment). If we succeed, why would they stay?

The ONE thing we have never done, any of us, well or consistently, is succeed.  We have no idea how to do it, how it works, or what to do with success.

Right there are the two reasons we seem to be afraid of success. We seem to manage to self-sabotage everything when we get close to succeeding because success is unknown territory. What happens next? We’ve never been there and it feels uncomfortable and dangerous.

Truthfully, we’re not sure where to go from here. I do know that we want to succeed. So we have work to do. And we’re going to be asking God for help with this one, and our friends. We are no longer trying to carry mountains on our own. We may need help remembering this from time to time, but we are now working on achieving success, growth, and accountability. We can have a measure of independence and not be forgotten.

It’s time to work on putting our attachment disorder to bed. It’s time to take our fear of success and turn it into proof of our abilities. It’s time to trust that our friends and family don’t want and need us because we are a mess. That we can be loved and wanted and still have support and love if we are successful and have a measure of independence.

We can do this. We want to do this.

 

An Attitude of Gratitude

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Last night at Celebrate Recovery the lesson was about gratitude. We have a list of things from that lesson we are grateful for. And we have a list of things from this morning that we are grateful for.

The “Attitude of Gratitude” isn’t new for us. It shows up in recovery a lot. So many of us recovering from our pasts and presents get stuck on what we DON’T have and we forget to look at what we DO have.

We’ve posted a lot about how we don’t have local friends, community, a tribe. Over the last several years, in our private journals and in our public one it’s a topic that comes up a lot but rarely have we ever put in the work to change that. Instead, we keep focusing on what we don’t have.

That, friends, does not demonstrate an attitude of gratitude. I’m not sure if I should call that an attitude of learned helplessness or an attitude of general whininess. I kind of like both.

So here’s the thing. In order to change the issue, we need to examine it. Why do we not have many close-by local friends no matter where we live? The first answer called out from inside is “money”. We don’t have a budget that supports doing out to dinner or lunch spontaneously or doing things friends seem to want to do, especially since the people we would be befriending are adults. We can’t even afford to gas our own car.

Second is social awkwardness. This one the system as a whole is torn about. We tend to do okay at celebrate recovery and in our peer groups before we moved so I think we could hold our own with friends once we got to know them. Others are worried we can’t.

Next is relating to people. That one seems kinda tough but I think we’re pretty cool most times.

Aside from the money issue, it feels like we are holding ourselves back with a lot of preconceived notions. We spent so much time in Colorado being jealous of Mom’s dinner dates with her friends and lunch dates with Nana because she was out connecting with people and we were home. She went to college and made a few friends. We were not. Here, Dad is making friends at work and we’re not. That’s starting to shift a little bit since we started putting in the effort in CR, but still, we are not rushing anything because we don’t have the money or the knowledge of whether we can fit it just yet.

This time though, we are having an attitude of gratitude about it. We are grateful for the people we are starting to connect with. We are grateful for the time and the meetings to meet people and interact with people. We are grateful for our family who supports us and helps us grow and try these things. And we’re grateful for each other, especially because we are WORKING at it now and not waiting for the answers to come knocking at the door. No more jealousy, now we work for it.

An attitude of gratitude.

 

Friends

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There are no words to describe the confusion we often cause ourselves. The need for friends, for a community, for our tribe is strong. The need for quiet, alone time, and to hide from the world is almost equally as strong. The struggle is real.

It’s the same battle we have been fighting for years. Only now we can actually find friends and a community in person. There’s no human being holding us back aside from ourselves. There’s no husband making us feel guilty or forbidding it. So why aren’t we working harder at it?

It’s partially because of that balance thing. Not wanting to obsess over it and go overboard with it. It’s also partially because we aren’t sure where to look. We want equality in our relationships. We want relationships where we don’t do all of the giving, or just as important, all of the taking. We want people as invested in us as we will be in them. And then we actually have to be invested. Commit.

Commitment is scary. We have committed to CR and have been talking to people there. We still need to find accountability partners. We need to be all in when it comes to committing and we haven’t quite jumped that far in yet. I think we’re sort of wading in haha.

Scattered thoughts and a headache and a sore foot and I’m cold.

-Cadie

Control: How Does This Thing Work?

 

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Is the ocean in control or out of control?

 

 

Control. A word that most of us firmly believe should be a four-letter word. A cuss word. Obscene and foul language. Just a nasty word, in general. We need it, we lack it, we need to practice it, yet we often cringe when we hear it. It brings up many negative emotions and yet it’s a necessary thing.

There are things we can’t control and things we can. Things we can control but shouldn’t and things we don’t want to control but need to. People try to control each other and yet not themselves. There’s self-control, control of others, animal control, even remote controls.

What does all of this even mean? How do we make sense of this and make it works for us and not against us?

For much of our life, someone had complete control over everything we did, didn’t do, ate, didn’t eat, where we went, how we got there, who we talked to, when we talked to them, what we said, and why. We didn’t have self-control because it wasn’t necessary. There was nothing left for any of us to control. We weren’t even allowed to control our own reactions to things.

We now have about 3 years under our belts of learning control. We choose our own foods. (Side note: Do you have any idea how hard it is to decide what you actually like and not just what you’ve been told you like?) We try new things and we each control what we try. We write and we decide when and what we write about. We chat with friends online, although how much time we spend online is regulated by mom.  (Side note #2: We lack self-control. Working on that one.) We decide when we are hungry and decide what to eat. Sometimes mom will ask whoever is front to re-think a choice based on health goals or blood sugar numbers, but the choice is still ours.

Self-control is a tougher one, and something all of us are struggling with. When we want something it is hard to decide how much we want and how much effort to put into it. It tends to fall into the all-or-nothing category. It doesn’t help matters any that we try to treat all 60+ of us the same and that won’t work because we are not the same. We are different and require different methods to help us each succeed and thrive. Self-control becomes a little messy and requires outside sources to help us manage and then it’s not really truly self-control anymore, is it?

Some days some of us still want someone to just control everything. And there are some of us who want to control everything and lead us down some very dangerous paths. A lot of this is left over from not being able to control events of the past because you can not always control what happens to you. Not being able to control what happens to you causes endless amounts of anxiety, fear, and poor choices.

What we’re learning through intentional peer support, meditation, and Celebrate Recovery is that even though you can’t control what happens to you, once you are old enough you can always control how you react to it. There’s where you hold the power. You hold the power of your reactions and no one can take that power away from you. It’s something that I find peaceful and I know many in our system do too.

-Jenna, Bella, Rachel

 

Social Media: Helpful or Harmful?

pexels-photo-607812.jpegWe live in a social media dominated world. Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram are everywhere. Children as young as 4 understand how to work some of these social media platforms. People post some of the most intimate details of their lives, down to what they are thinking at the moment, what they ate for lunch, and how their marriage is doing. They share pictures of their pets, their children, and their vacations.

On the surface, it sounds like a fantastic way to keep in touch with family and friends, and a great way to record your life as it’s happening. Maybe a type of online scrapbook, even. I love to scrapbook and record our life so that appeals to me in a big way. I want to keep records of all of that because it makes me happy to be able to look back at it a year later. To have it for memories and to connect with like-minded people and I miss.

It can get addictive, however, and pull us in. Games, newsfeeds, articles, pictures, and groups. There’s never a shortage of things to look at, play, or read. There’s always someone willing to chat. After a while, it seems like someone always needs your time and attention. Drama and gossip start to happen, and soon you find that you’re connected to these social media platforms all the time. They keep reeling you back in and demanding all of your attention.

Your days start to fly by and nothing gets accomplished because you’ve lost it all scrolling through the social media accounts. There’s nothing to scrapbook. Life happened without your attention. You don’t feel well because the drama sucks the energy out of you. You haven’t actually talked to a person, in person, for so long you’ve forgotten how.

It reminds me of the episode of The Big Bang Theory when Penny became addicted to online gaming and had Cheetos stuck in her hair. Maybe what I described is a little dramatic and over the top. But think about it. We all need balance. Part of our balance is needing to see people, in person, and not connected to a device somehow.

We need to use social media to document our memories and enhance our life, not to be our life.

It’s up to us to make sure social media doesn’t become harmful. It’s up to us to keep our balance and be mindful.

How to Find Balance: We Have NO Idea What We Are Doing

 

Balance

Borrowed from a google search. It illustrates my point perfectly. 

 

This isn’t going to be your typical “How To” post. We’re not going to be able to tell you how to find balance in anything… yet.

Yet. That’s the key word here.

We spend an hour a week with our two little sisters working as a group on things that bother us. The girls have chosen topics like communication, confidence, self-esteem, and time management. To start off, we all set goals. Our system set a goal of finding balance.

“To find comfort in the grey areas. To find balance in all areas of life”

If you know us, or have been reading awhile, then you know already know that we are all or nothing people. We get these ideas and these great plans for ourselves, each other, other people, and we hit them so hard we burn out fast when we there are no immediate results.

Didn’t lose 100 pounds yet? It’s hopeless. Haven’t found God yet? That’s passed.

Like whoa, slow your roll. It’s been 3 weeks. Not to mention that we stopped caring for the body while looking for God. And we stopped looking for God while helping our sisters. And we stopped journaling while blogging. Oh and we stopped openly communicating with our safe people while doing all of this. Now we’re tired. And we wonder why the body is sick and we have made no progress and all we have is a hundred changes and projects that never stuck.

All of these plans and ideas are fantastic. They are all amazing. They are not all going to be solved at once and tied up with a pretty little bow. They require work, dedication, and in most cases actual lifestyle changes. They require balance.

Yep, there’s that word. Balance. None of what we want to accomplish is going to come without effort and hard work. But when does it become overwhelming and too much? At what point do we take it out of balance and risk burnout? How do we achieve goals without throwing our entire life into them? When do we turn healthy ideas into ridiculous compulsions? Frankly, all of this makes our anxiety kick up.

How do we even find these answers? We need the right answers in order to achieve the goals of being healthy physically, spiritually, and emotionally yet we become so obsessed with the goals themselves that we turn it all into something unhealthy. Where do we find the balance? Not only do we want to make our body and mind healthy, and achieve those related goals, we want to find balance and do it in the right way. And achieve that balance goal.

What it looks like we are going to have to do is start slow and build up. Small changes that stick, maybe? Admit that we are in over our head and ask Mama for help? I like that one.

I’m going to go google how to find balance. Later I’m going to bug our mom and see what she says. I’ll let you know.

Rachel