ir·rel·e·vant

What does every parent want for their children? 

Ultimately, we all want our children to become fully capable individuals that make wise decisions on their own. Everything we do as a parent should lead to this final result.

For most parents, our children are our world. We have a lot invested in them…money, time, memories, and most of all our emotions. Unfortunately, these emotions, paired with our expectations, can actually affect our relationship with our children, especially as they become adults. Of course we want the best for our children regardless of their age, however, we have to acknowledge that once they become adults only they are in charge of their lives and we as parents must respect that.

When our children are born, they need us for everything. We’re free to give advice and direction to our underage children whenever we choose. However, after a child reaches eighteen years of age, the only rights we have in regard to input in that child’s life are the rights that the child gives us.

What if they live in your house? Well, certainly there have to be rules. Chaos should never be tolerated. In respect to your property, you always have the final say. My son just turned nineteen. He lives at home, but there is an understanding. I do not intrude in his life unless he asks my opinion. I do not tell him whom he should date or not date, whom he should have as friends, or what career path he should take. I do, however, have the right to determine who is allowed at home. He can’t just take things as he wishes, nor leave things lying around. The point here is that parents of adult children need to learn that the rules have changed. A continuance of unsolicited intrusion will cause a major disruption of the relationship. Recognize that your child is not a child anymore. They should be free to succeed or fail on their own.

Arriving at this realization is bittersweet because you want to remain “relevant” in your children’s lives, you want to help them make better choices than you did. I suspect that desire will never go away. They will always be your babies. There may even be times when they’ll need a warm hug from Mom or Dad but ultimately, we must let them live their own lives… Nevertheless the fact that you’ve become irrelevant – or more precisely, no longer needed means that you’ve succeeded in your role as a parent.

So now what??

Time to rediscover who we are and how we want to live OUR own lives. That means that as an adult you in turn are free to make your own choices and your adult children must respect said choices. It’s all a bit daunting but exciting all at once. Oh, the possibilities!

Time to take care of me….

Have Fun, Be Safe.

Have Fun, Be Safe.

My Baby Boy turns 18 today!!!  I cannot believe this day has arrived – a day I have simultaneously anticipated and dreaded.   While I could write a novel about my experience with this boy and how it has largely made me into the person and mother I am today, I will spare you the soliloquy.  Instead, I am going to speak directly to him and invite you to read along.

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Dear Baz,

Today is a big day — you turn 18!  When you were born, this day felt like a goal line way off in the distance.  It seems like just a few days ago you were just a little boy, running up to me for a hug with your sweet little voice and boundless energy.  Parenting you has been the ride of a lifetime filled with unconditional love, laughter, joy, fear, frustration, and tears, for both of us.  As you know, life doesn’t always go as we plan and you’ve endured a couple of rough bumps.  Stuff happened that was out of your control and you handled everything very well for your young age.  I’m almost certain that I felt short sometimes so, if I’ve ever done anything that I need to ask your forgiveness for, then I humbly ask that now.  I pray that as time goes by you’ll remember the good times more so than the rougher moments. Fortunately for us, we’ve had plenty of great times.

Turning 18 is exciting. It’s a new chapter in your life. You’re an adult now – at least as defined by the law.  Reaching adulthood brings great benefits but it also demands more responsibility. While I want you to have phenomenal experiences at every stage of your life, I also want you to be proud of the choices you make for yourself.  There will be times when you’ll have the urge to do something you know you shouldn’t. When that urge comes – and it will – stay focused, and keep your eye on the big picture because ultimately you are responsible for your own actions.

I’ve often worried about so many things: Did I do what was best for you?  Did I teach you everything I was supposed to instill in you?  Did I pray for you enough?  Hug you enough?  Discipline and say no enough?  Do the right things to keep you safe?  Take you on enough adventures?  I know you can cook for yourself and do you your own laundry, but did I forget anything important…. Yet, I’m certain that you will do well in life.  I see it.  I sense it.  You’re smart, responsible and almost as charismatic as your mother! 😉   Just in case, I’ll leave you with these thoughts:

– Communicate with those you love. It’s important for our growth and for those close to you to know what you are thinking and feeling.  Hug them often.

– Talk through your emotions; explain anger instead of acting on it.

– Be patient with people, especially your younger cousins.  They all look up to you.

Relax and don’t sweat the small stuff. Seriously, it’s not worth worrying about petty stuff or even stuff you can’t control.

– Educate yourself and never stop learning. Find something you enjoy doing and put your heart and soul into it. It will never seem like work.

– Manage your resources responsibly. Save your money so when times are tough or you need to help someone you can.

I love you very much, son. I am proud of you and it is an honor to be your Mom. I wish you all the love and happiness in the world and I look forward to seeing you move into this new chapter of your life. Remember, I am always here for you.

Love,

Mom

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HOW TO GROW FROM YOUR PAIN

A 10-minute read by Mark Manson

Original may be found on Mark’s site HERE.

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Marguerite Johnson was born in the late 1920s in Arkansas. A poor black female in the segregated South, Johnson didn’t exactly have a bright future to look forward to. She endured the hardships that virtually all African Americans endured during and beyond segregation—second-class citizen status, economic and social exclusion, living in near-constant fear of physical threats and terror, and so forth.

As if that weren’t enough, the particular events of Johnson’s life wouldn’t make it any easier for her either.

At age 7, she was raped by her mother’s boyfriend. She told only her brother about it. A few days later, her attacker was found dead.

She was so traumatized by these events that she didn’t speak a word out loud for another five-and-a-half years. An outcast, both from the outside and from within herself, Johnson was seemingly bound to a hard, lonely life of struggle and isolation.

Marguerite Johnson, however, would later change her name to Maya Angelou and become a dancer, an actress, a screenwriter, a poet, a prominent leader in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and the first black female to write a best-selling nonfiction book, her memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. She won multiple awards across multiple fields and even gave a presidential inaugural speech in 1993.

And what was perhaps most impressive is that, at one point, Angelou admitted that she didn’t become what she was despite her early trauma, she became what she was because of it. When she wrote, she said she wrote over her scars—scars that only she could see and touch and feel.

Let’s be real: trauma is not a “good” thing in life. All things being equal, none of us should have to experience these horrible things. But all of us do, at some point or another. That’s just a fact of life.

Most of us live through at least five or six traumatic events in our lifetime—we lose someone close to us, get divorced, lose a job, get a scary diagnosis at the doctor’s office, get assaulted and on and on—and more often than not, after one of these events, we’ll come out at least a little bit stronger, a little bit wiser, and a little bit of a better person.

THRIVING IN THE FACE OF TRAUMA

Up until relatively recently, the field of psychology mostly studied the ways in which trauma fucked us up. It makes sense why psychologists thought this for so long.

When starting out 100+ years ago, as a “quack science,” initially it was only the most desperate and disturbed who resorted to seeking psychiatric help. Mainstream people with mainstream problems didn’t go see shrinks because it was still something stigmatized as embarrassing or shameful (and still kind of is).

As a result, the first 50 years or so of psychological/psychiatric practices dealt with the really hard cases. You know, schizophrenics, manic depressives, suicidal people, and so on.

This created a sort of selection bias. Since psychologists were only studying the most extreme mental health cases, and pretty much all of these cases involved the patient experiencing some terrible trauma at some point, early psychologists came to the logical conclusion that trauma leads to mental health issues.

But this, it turns out, is wrong. And, in fact, it’s often the opposite.

It wasn’t until psychology and psychiatry became more mainstream that the field began to realize that trauma is incredibly common. In fact, trauma is actually a fact of life. And not only do most of us not succumb to severe mental breakdowns, but many people end up growing and developing into stronger people due to their past pains. As many as 90% of people who experience a traumatic event also experience at least one form of personal growth in the following months and years.

These people eventually come to feel a greater sense of appreciation in life, their priorities change, their relationships are warmer and more compassionate, they draw from a greater source of personal strength, and they see new possibilities in their lives they never even considered before.

Now, before you go on thinking, “OMG, Mark Manson says all I need to do is experience some of that rip-out-your-heart-and-spit-in-your-face trauma and then my life will finally be the way I want it. Let’s get this trauma started!”

Uhh… No. There’s more to it than that.

THE TRAUMA IS NOT THE END, IT’S THE BEGINNING

It turns out that trauma in our lives, in whatever form it takes, isn’t actually the thing that makes us “stronger” in this case. All those inspirational quotes with cheesy sunsets about enduring adversity and “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” they all kind of mislead you into thinking that just enduring some form of hardship is enough to steel yourself against future hardship.

That’s not entirely true.

It’s what comes after the trauma that really matters. It’s not the survival of trauma that makes you stronger, it’s the work you put in as a result of the trauma that makes you stronger.

Traumatic experiences shake us to the core. They make us question our fundamental beliefs about the world and our place in it. They make us question the degree of benevolence and kindness and predictability in the world and of the people around us. Some traumas serve as stark reminders of our mortality, something most of us don’t want to think about.

And then there you are, traumatized and bewildered, lost and questioning everything about your life. At that point, it can basically go one of two ways:

  1. You fall off the proverbial mental cliff and experience some Real Shit™ that leads to a lot of dysfunction (less common than you think);
  2. You use this as an opportunity to forge a new set of beliefs and a new worldview that is more resilient and enduring than your previous worldview (a lot more common than you think).

Think of it like an earthquake that rips through a city. Everything is pretty much fucked after the tectonic violence wreaks havoc beneath. But after that, buildings can be rebuilt with new knowledge of structural integrity and people have the opportunity to design more resilient systems to guard against future earthquakes. The city doesn’t just “bounce back” to its previous state—it’s made into a wiser, more resilient city.

And so, when our lives are disrupted by some tectonic-shifting personal shit, we have the opportunity to rebuild ourselves. We’ll carry the memory and the pain of the experience with us no matter what, just as the people of a city carry the memory and loss of a natural disaster like an earthquake.

The question at that point is, how will we rebuild ourselves?

 

LIFE AFTER TRAUMA

Trauma creates a distinct before and after point in our lives. Trauma creates moments that we’ll likely never forget.

The extent that we can experience personal growth after trauma depends a lot on the narrative we construct around this before and after point.

It’s normal to ruminate about your pain, to question the meaning of it all, and to feel any combination of guilt, shame, fear, and loneliness. This can really suck. You end up playing the trauma over and over again in your head, like a bad movie you’re forced to watch in a theater where you’re strapped to the chair and your eyelids are taped open. It doesn’t feel real. And each replay feels almost as painful as the last. It’s like your brain punching itself over and over again for months, or even years, on end.

But as shitty as this is, it’s actually a crucial step in creating a narrative around your trauma. The narrative you construct will help lead you out of the dark corners of your mind and ultimately to a better place. As humans, we need to make sense of the world around us, and like I said before, trauma rarely makes sense as it’s happening to us.

So what should that narrative look like? Well, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. IT’S NOT ABOUT DESERVING

Our natural inclination when something horrible happens is to ask, “Why me? What did I do to deserve this?” Generally, the younger we are, or the worse the experience, the more we will naturally come to blame ourselves for our pain. We will come to feel that there must be something inherently wrong with us and that we did something to bring the situation upon ourselves.

The most important step in forming the meaning of our pain is understanding that it’s not about deserving. That goes for ourselves, but it also goes for others as well. It’s not about deserving. Pain is not a zero-sum game. If somebody hurts us, hurting them back doesn’t make it better.

In fact, pain is the opposite. Pain is contagious. It’s like a virus. The more we hurt, the more we will feel inclined to hurt ourselves further and to hurt others further. Our own perceived shortcomings will be used to justify further destructive behaviors towards ourselves and towards those around us.

It’s important to recognize this and to stop it before it goes too far. We did nothing to deserve our trauma. Nobody deserves trauma. But deserving is not the point. It’s just something that happens.

  1. A NEW APPRECIATION FOR LIFE

I remember when a close friend of mine died, it immediately made me aware of my other friendships and how fragile and tenuous they were. I found myself making the point of telling my friends that I cared about them and that they were important to me. This had the effect of actually strengthening some of my relationships, despite the fact that I had just gone through an intense loss.

Because trauma confronts us with the possibility of our own mortality, and with the possibility that most of what we thought was true about the world may not be, it has the interesting side effect of exposing what we’ve been taking for granted for most of our lives.

It’s extreme pain that has an uncanny ability to clarify what actually matters in our lives, and removes any inhibition or doubt as to whether we should take advantage of it or not.

  1. TALK ABOUT IT

Narratives don’t form in a vacuum, they only exist when they’re communicated to others. Researchers have found, over and over again, that a strong predictor of personal growth following trauma is a willingness to open up about the trauma in the context of a supportive social network.

Find a friend, a family member, a therapist, your pet iguana, and share your experience, your feelings, your doubts, and your fears that surround your trauma. Get out of your own head and share your shame.

Some of the most profound wisdom in your life will come from your trauma, but that wisdom can never be realized if you don’t share it in some form or another.

There’s a stigma in our culture around sharing our pain. Unfortunately, disclosing that we’re hurting runs up against a number of taboos — that we should be positive and pleasant, that our problems are just that, our problems, and that the self-reliance of people means we get what we deserve.

But squelching our trauma only makes it worse. It festers and infects us. And this is perhaps the greatest lesson we get from Maya Angelou. Her ability to transmute her pain into a message of hope and empowerment is what led to her healing, not the other way around.

It’s sharing our own personal pain that allows us to move beyond it. Because it’s one thing to just sit and intellectualize our problems to ourselves. But once we share and mold that meaning out in the world around us, our pain becomes something outside of us. And because it’s now outside of us, we are finally able to live without it.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day…

Happy Valentine’s Day…

Or Whatever….

Don’t mean to sound like an angsty teen, I’m just not feeling the “love”

On a positive note Valentine’s Day Candy and chocolates will be on sale by Wednesday….

Ah, POOP!!!  I’m doing Keto!  I’ll have to make myself something….meh!!!

mehheart

 

Here’s something worth the effort…..Keto Coconut Raspberry Cupcakes

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Photo Credit KetoSizeMe.com

Ingredients

For Cupcakes:

  • 1 Cup Coconut Flour
  • 1 Cup Almond Milk (Unsweetened)
  • 7 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • 3 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 3/4 Cup Erythritol
  • 1/2 Tsp Liquid Stevia

For Frosting:

  • 16 oz Cream Cheese
  • 28 Fresh Raspberries
  • 1 Cup Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 Cup Erythritol
  • 1/2 Tsp Liquid Stevia

Note: The frosting recipe makes enough frosting to frost 32 cupcakes so you can always cut it in half if you don’t want to use the rest as a dip.

Instructions For Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Powder Erythritol in a food processor
  3. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until well blended
  4. Pour into silicon baking cups and bake for 28 – 30 minutes (until toothpick comes out clean)
  5. For Frosting:
  6. Melt butter
  7. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until light and fluffy.

 Baking Tips:  The fat and butter in most keto cupcakes will destroy cupcake wrappers and cause any color in them to bleed all over the place. So I recommend that you forgo the wrappers or use silicone baking cups. Silicone baking cups are great because the food doesn’t stick to them, so it’s easy to make beautiful cupcakes every time. You can still use festive wrappers after they have cooled.

Nutrition

Serving Size: 1 Cupcake (makes 16)

Calories: 225
Total Fat: 19g
Carbohydrates: 6g – 3g Fiber = 3 Net Carbs
Dietary Fiber 3g
Sugars: 1g
Protein: 5g