Posted in Family, Parenting, Personal

Parenting: It’s not for Sissies

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving. I know I did. Although, it seems like the holidays fly by faster and faster every year. I love the holidays and it’s always great to get together with the family and catch up.

I was also productive with my writing. I got a couple of scenes done and I’m getting closer to the end. I’m hoping I’ll get this done by the end of the year or maybe even January. Cross your fingers for me. It’s getting close. 😊

 

But enough about that. Today, I’d like to talk about the sadness of watching your children grow and become more independent. I know they’re supposed to grow up and move away, but I get so much joy just hanging out with them and hearing their stories that it makes me sad to think about the time when they won’t be there. I’m sure every parent experiences this, but for some reason, I’m becoming more acutely aware of it every year that passes.

Photo credit: Ted’s photos – For Me & You on Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

I enjoyed all of it, watching them grow and watching their personalities develop. That’s why when I hear statistics saying that the suicide rate for teens has doubled. It scares me. I don’t want to lose my kids to something like that. So, I talk to them about depression and anxiety. I tell them that anxiety runs in our family and if they’re feeling anxious, they can talk to me or the hubster. But I worry. I worry that talking about it isn’t enough.

So, I try to tell them about coping mechanisms they can use to relieve their anxiety or stress. I tell them how exercise is a great way to calm your mind. I’m hoping to get them into the habit of exercising at least three or four times a week. Right now, they have gym class so it’s not a big deal, but later in life exercising a couple times a week will help them manage their stress.

Photo on Visual hunt

I’m trying to prepare them for every situation that comes down the pike, but this is an impossible task. Some things we can only learn through experiencing them first hand.  I hope I’ve given them enough so they’re resilient when adversity strikes. I hope. I hope. I hope.

I know every parent has these thoughts and feelings and I’ll get through them, but I miss those years when they were younger, and they came to me with all their problems. Those years went by so fast. In the blink of an eye they became teenagers with smart mouths and sassy attitudes. I love to hear them stand up for themselves though. It does my heart good to know they’re not afraid to voice their opinion even if they’re different from mine.

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Parenting is a tough gig. No one prepares you for when the kids start to leave the nest. Sigh. They’re not there yet, but it’s coming, and I can tell when it happens, I’m going to be a mess. Thanks for reading my rambling post today. Do you have any ideas on how to handle your kids’ growing independence? If you’ve got some advice, leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Posted in Parenting, Personal, Teen

The Book Every Parent Needs to Read

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy weekend of writing, family time, running, and cleaning. Yes. I was able to get all of that in in one weekend. LOL! Plus, a date night with my hubby! 😉

I also picked up a book recommended to me by one of my friends, so I thought I’d pass the information on to you. It’s called “The Stressed Years of their Lives.” It’s about helping kids handle the college years and beyond.

 

From two leading child and adolescent mental health experts comes a guide for the parents of every college and college-bound student who want to know what’s normal mental health and behavior, what’s not, and how to intervene before it’s too late.

“The title says it all…Chock full of practical tools, resources and the wisdom that comes with years of experience, The Stressed Years of their Lives is destined to become a well-thumbed handbook to help families cope with this modern age of anxiety.”
― Brigid Schulte, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author of Overwhelmed and director of the Better Life Lab at New America

All parenting is in preparation for letting go. However, the paradox of parenting is that the more we learn about late adolescent development and risk, the more frightened we become for our children, and the more we want to stay involved in their lives. This becomes particularly necessary, and also particularly challenging, in mid- to late adolescence, the years just before and after students head off to college. These years coincide with the emergence of many mood disorders and other mental health issues.

When family psychologist Dr. B. Janet Hibbs’s own son came home from college mired in a dangerous depressive spiral, she turned to Dr. Anthony Rostain. Dr. Rostain has a secret superpower: he understands the arcane rules governing privacy and parental involvement in students’ mental health care on college campuses, the same rules that sometimes hold parents back from getting good care for their kids. Now, these two doctors have combined their expertise to corral the crucial emotional skills and lessons that every parent and student can learn for a successful launch from home to college.

 

 

In our society, suicide is the second largest killer of our young people today. Let that sink in. It’s the second largest, know what the first is? Accidental overdoses and alcohol poisoning. I don’t know about you, but these statistics scare me. What is happening to our young people today?

I compare my teen years to my kids’ teen years, and it is a totally different era. I know it was a long time ago, but still. 😉

I was so much more active than kids are these days. We used to play kick the can and capture the flag with our neighborhood friends until dark. Summer was a magical time. I was outside all day. Kids these days are not. We have become the indoor generation. I try to get them outside for at least an hour a day, but when the weather’s bad or it’s too hot. It isn’t always possible. Parents are caught between providing for their kids, meaning both work or making sacrifices, where one spouse stays home, and maybe having their kids apply for student loans to get through school. Then the kids are strapped with thirty thousand dollars or more in debt when they get out of school. No wonder our kids are stressed.

 

Photo credit: Mitchio on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC

 

According to the authors of the book, we are in a constant state of striving. Striving toward our goals, striving to be the best we can be, and striving to live our best life. So, our kids lack the skills of self-care and behavior management that they so desperately need, and they are woefully unprepared for college life and beyond. I agree with this statement. I remember the high anxiety I felt during those early years. Fear of making a mistake and becoming a failure before the age of twenty-five.

As parents, we need to teach our kids reasonable expectations. They aren’t going to have it all by the time they’re twenty-five. They just aren’t. It might take them a few years to find that perfect job or the right spouse, and we have to teach them there are going to be bumps in the road. For example, room-mate issues, nasty break-ups, and sometimes getting fired from a job. We have to teach them to manage dealing with a bad boss, because sometimes you have to put up with that because you need the job. They must learn the world is an imperfect place and life just isn’t fair. We must teach them strength of character, grit, and resilience. They must learn how to overcome obstacles, deal with rejection, and learn to keep moving forward.

 

Photo credit: Sangudo on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

This book is going to give me insight on how to do just that. I’m hoping it’ll give me tools to help my kids manage their fears and anxiety, so they don’t become paralyzed when dealing with some of the issues I’ve mentioned. And lastly, and most importantly, it will help me convey to them that when life does become too much to bear, like a nasty break-up or getting fired from a job, that they can reach out for help. Help from parents, grandparents, and even professional counselors. So, I will keep you all posted on the golden nuggets I get from this book and I urge you to pick up a copy yourself.

Do you have any tried and true methods of helping your teens deal with anxiety and depression? What are they? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal

Where is Summer?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a hectic week. Over the weekend, we thought our youngest had broken his foot. Even the doctor said he had a fracture. So, when hubby came home from taking him for his check-up, I found out that he didn’t have a break at all but a bad sprain. Yay! But boy that first diagnosis caused some stress!

Photo credit: Thomas Hawk on VisualhuntCC BY-NC

But enough about that. I’m trying to get back into the swing of things with my writing and I’ve accomplished quite a bit this week.  I’m almost finished with an important scene and hopefully, I’ll be able to spend a lot of time this weekend on my story.

But I don’t want to talk about that either. There is one thing I want to know, and that is where is my SUMMER??

The whole month of June all we’ve had is RAIN, and as much as I like a good thunderstorm, these bleak and dreary days are sapping me of my motivation to get outside and run. Well, get outside to do anything at this point. We’ve had sixty-degree weather and rain this whole month. Ugh.

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I want hot weather and sticky humidity. I want it so hot that we complain about the heat and we forget how horrible our last winter was.  I want to head up to the lake and watch the sun rise and set on those steamy days when it doesn’t get dark until ten o’clock at night.  I can’t wait to stare up at the night sky and see all the stars. It’s amazing when you gaze at them while standing on the end of the dock, with the sound of the waves lapping the shore and you don’t know where the sky ends, and the water begins. There’s such a feeling of vastness. It’s one of my favorite things to do.

Photo credit: PeterThoeny on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

How about you? Are you wondering where your summer is?

According to weather gurus there’s been a shift in the Gulf Stream, at least that’s what the experts are saying in the UK, so there’s nothing we can do about it at this point except hope and pray there’s another shift that sends hot weather our way.

The reason this is so upsetting is because I have plans for this summer. I’m going to sit in the sun and tackle some of the books on my TBR pile. Then when I get done with that, I’m going to write like there’s no tomorrow. I’ve got three books floating around in my brain and it’s time to get them out.

Photo on Visualhunt

I also want to hike more this summer because it’s good for me and I enjoy it immensely.    We’re planning on going up north and spending a week on the shores of Torch Lake, but no big trips until next year.  So where is my hot, sticky weather?

How about you? Do you have plans for this summer? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal

Lessons from Nature

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. It’s been a while since I’ve written a post and I apologize. I’ve been busy with work and kid events. My youngest has decided to play tennis, and it has been great fun watching him. He is improving every time he plays and that has motivated him to keep practicing.

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I’m so thankful to the coach who asked him to play. His father and I had been trying to motivate him to try a sport because he’s very agile, but whatever we suggested he just wasn’t interested in that activity. Sometimes it takes another adult that you respect that makes all the difference, and for my youngest it was his math teacher who was also the tennis coach.

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So, I am very thankful for his teacher who recognized a spark in my youngest and motivated him.

 

But enough about that, today I’d like to talk about something I’ve noticed in nature, and that is, every species seems to work together to take care of each other except for humans.

For example, there is evidence that trees in a forest can communicate with each other through their root system. When there is one tree that is doing poorly, the other trees send nutrients and healing antibodies (for lack of a better word) to the one that is sick.

 

Photo on Visual Hunt

Another example is elephants. Did you know the females stay with their mother their whole lives and help raise the babies? When one of the weaker elephants falls and needs to rest, the other females circle it with their tails facing their fallen friend and ward off predators until their friend can continue her journey.

Photo on Visual Hunt

Did you know the only species that kills within their species is humans? Sure, animals fight for positions within their herd, pride, or tribe, but they never reach the point where one of them dies. Why is that, I wonder?

Maybe we’ve gotten too far away from nature and need to go back. I wonder what kind of world we would have if we all tried to cooperate and look out for each other? Instead of competition we’d have cooperation. Wouldn’t that be nice?

I know, it’s an unrealistic thought. There’s always going to be competition. It’s the way humans are wired, but if we can, we should take a lesson from nature and do our best to look out for each other. 😊

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment!

Posted in Health, Personal

Getting back into the Swing of Things

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a long week of work. I’m itching to get back to writing. I haven’t written anything except blog posts since I’ve been sick. I’m finding out Bronchitis takes a long time to get over, but the worst of it is over. Thank God.

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Spring is finally here, it was supposed to snow last night, and I believe it did, but it didn’t stick. I’m happy about that. Because I’ve been sick, I haven’t been exercising for about a month. I can tell the difference and I’m anxious to get moving again and get writing again.

I’m going to start my exercise routine by walking first, just to see how my body reacts. I don’t want to do too much too soon and get sick again. I’m going to hike in the woods and get some of those healing phytoncides from the trees.

Photo on Visual Hunt

Trees are amazing. Did you know it has been proven that they communicate through their root system, much like the communication between the synapses of our nerve cells. Isn’t that amazing?

The older trees help and communicate with the younger ones so that they all flourish. Kind of like the female elephants who stick together and help raise the babies. It’s just another piece of evidence that shows we’re all connected. For more information about tree communication, check out this article. http://www.ecology.com/2012/10/08/trees-communicate/

So, if you’re looking to start a new exercise routine, add hiking in the woods as part of it. It’s good for you, both body and soul. Getting back to nature is one of my goals this summer. I always feel better when I’m in the forest or at the beach. Both places are good for you.  The fresh air is good for you. Don’t be a victim of the indoor generation. Get outside and get healthy!!

 

Photo on Visualhunt.com

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. What are some of the things you do to stay healthy? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Guest interview, inspiration, Personal, promotion

Let’s Hear it for Mike Hamp!!

Hello everyone,  I hope all is well with you. Today, I have a guest with a unique message. He’s trying to take his own experiences and trying to help others who may be struggling with the same issues he has struggled with. I won’t go into any more detail than that because I want Mike to share his story and the project he’s working on. Take it away, Mike!

  1. Mike, tell us a little about yourself.

Hey Lisa!! Thanks a ton for the opportunity!! I was born on the east side of the state in Port Huron on November 1st, 1982.  That makes me 36 years old 😉 I have 4 amazing children. It goes from oldest to youngest, ages and gender follow names. Michael 14 Daughter (Yes, its Michael, yes, she is a girl…) Rylee 13 Daughter. Jonah 8 Son. Ailey 6 Daughter.

These kids are incredible and help remind me daily that I MUST lead by example. I make a living and goof off a lot at Tom’s Meat Market here in Hastings. We just recently went viral on Facebook with our Gummi Bear Brats!! Daniel Tosh (Tosh.o) shared it, I also did a live radio interview recently about them with a station in Rockford, Illinois. I honestly can say if I MUST have to earn money to pay bills, then Tom’s is definitely the place I want to be as the Values Not Feelings Organization and A Walk For Thought are growing and taking shape… I’ll explain more in the questions below.

 

 

  1. If you don’t mind, could you tell us a little bit about how you became addicted to opiates?

Sure, this is all part of my story, although I speak of it a lot lately. I LOVE sharing it in hopes that I reach the MANY others who battle the same or similar things that I have. I was introduced to opiates when I was 16. I had 4 shoulder surgeries pretty much all back to back. There was a lot of work done in a couple years span which pretty much kept a pretty decent number of opiates flowing into my life for a solid amount of time. I really enjoyed the way the opiates made me feel. They helped the chaos in my brain feel better, that I can remember super early in my younger years. This was a chaos that I still deal with today, one that I have thankfully learned to think through rather than go numb and try to hide from. The hard stuff never goes away, it might fall back a bit, it might sit in the shadows out of your sight, but the fight in the mind that so many are engaged in will show back up at times with more opportunity to grow. Around this time is when I took my first drink of alcohol. Something that was a problem from the very first drop… I am just shy of 17 months sober from drinking alcohol as I write this and I am grateful for how much my quality of life has improved without it. Mixing opiates and other pills with alcohol became a war that lasted for half of my life before I was finally able to break out of the hell like grips of addiction. A “disease” of the mind and our thoughts…

 

Photo credit: RS2Photography on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

 

  1. When did you realize you had a problem and what were the steps you took to resolve it?

 

With opiates and alcohol both it was almost instantly that they both became very big issues in my life. I had many times in between the 16 years where opiates weren’t as big of an issue as alcohol was for me. If they were around and I took them, well, it would just depend on how long in between therapies, rehabs, meetings before I was faced with yet “another” failed bout with self-control and will power. I would once again give into the fight and would take opiates and then  would face the consequences in one way or another EVERY TIME. Until finally, after a shit ton of tries, many and I mean many hard lessons and close calls, I stopped using opiates 4 years ago. Alcohol on the other hand had its grips around my neck for a bit longer and other than a 7 month period of not drinking (For a girl), it was the longest I went with out alcohol from 16 years old until just about 17 months ago. Where I made the decision that if I was going to choose life,  I was going to put in the work NO MATTER WHAT happened. I’ve tried quitting so many times before so I was skeptical about my success, but deep inside I knew this time was different.

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  1. Tell us a little bit about your struggle to resolve your problem.

I’d say my senior year of High School is when the use of the substances reached a place that put a real problem on the radar. I was drinking in school, before school. Just before graduation was my very first attempt at a try in the substance abuse programs that are around. (Not by choice) My parents tried helping by putting me into a program. It was an IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program) for people battling addiction. I had to go 3 nights a week for 3 hours. It only lasted a few visits and then I stopped going which then lead to years and years of juggling through trying to quit and failing which then the many different therapy sessions, and aa/na meetings, other types of rehabs followed. I have been married and divorced 2 times. My issues with my mind and battle with substances played an enormous role in both marriages failing. Although we are in control of our own actions and behaviors, its super hard to be the husband you need to be when you don’t even know who you are…

Photo on Visualhunt.com

 

  1. Tell us a little bit about your most recent project.

 

My newest project is something called A Walk For Thought. It is a solo walk from Hastings, Mi. to St. Ignace, Mi. Its roughly 280 miles and I will be finishing on Labor Day of 2019 by crossing the Mackinac Bridge. The whole point is to attempt to bring awareness and funds to the Values Not Feelings Organization, a Non Profit that I am currently working on that will be based in my community and will be here in hopes to help others struggling with mental health and addictions. I have experienced this War first hand and it helps me  to support anyone who is ready to get out of this lifestyle that shortens life spans and steals life’s happiness and joy. It takes a ton of hard work on their part however, and that is where I feel I can help. Coaching so to speak…

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  1. How would someone who wishes to participate get in touch with you?

We are ALWAYS looking for financial support as well as people sharing the vision. I have had so much amazing support and sponsors come on board, one being J Pixel, who has built an awesome website for me www.valuesnotfeelings.com which has a bunch of information about the project as well as a page for anyone to sign up as a sponsor. I’m also available on social media and  via Email. Facebook: Mike Hamp or A Walk For Thought Page.  and Instagram: Mike Hamp (Valuesnotfeelings) as well as Email: valuesnotfeelings@gmail

 

  1. What do you hope to accomplish with this project?

A Walk For Thought and Values Not Feelings are 2 separate projects that ultimately go together very well. The walk is meant to help push the Non Profit, it’s meant to help fund it, to help put it on the map so to speak, so I really hope that the walk brings a ton of attention in hopes to get the message and vision out to reach any and all who are ready to change their lives. This walk is meant to cause enough of a stir and gain the attention of people all over in hopes to help support those fighting for their lives. As well as, get people who have the finances and other things in hopes to get more sponsors and donors. The fight of addiction and the battle against poor mental health make this awesome life super hard to live, I want my story and experiences to help the people who are stuck now, get out and get to a place where they experience life fully…

 

Photo on Visualhunt.com

 

  1. Do you have any plans after this project for another one?

OH YEAH!! 😊 I have found a new Love/Passion for walking, hiking. 280 miles is only the beginning. This project has caught some attention of companies and donors thinking that 280 miles is far, just wait until you all hear of some of the other things we are tossing around… East coast to West coast maybe? We have A TON of great ideas that hopefully will turn into something more in the next few years. But as far as the foundation, the original base of this whole vision is helping anyone and everyone who is ready to put in the work and discipline needed to pull themselves out of the fiery pits of hell that addiction is. I NEVER want to lose focus of the real reason I am doing this all, and that is to offer myself to anyone ready to live this life on purpose…

 

  1. Where did you get the idea for this project?

There is a lot to this question as far as layers and ways I can answer it to get to the most descriptive answer so bear with me… At 16 I fell into this trap after 4 shoulder surgeries before I even graduated from High School. I am not blaming anyone but I didn’t even have a chance to be a “normal” High School  kid. I started life behind the majority because I battled for mine early on. After ALL of the things I have faced and all the extreme lows that I sank to, after the dust settled and I was able to walk out of that War alive. I got to a place in my life where I was solid enough to toss some ideas around. I started to see patterns and little tricks to help stay away from the poisons that were screaming in my brain to let in. I realized that we are in control of our responses only and that even though we “feel” emotions, as hard as they can be, we don’t have to respond!

This put a power into my life that I didn’t know was possible. I became part of a Crossfit Gym (Trifit), who is now a sponsor of mine, and was introduced to the importance of exercise and proper nutrition. This was the EXACT shift I needed. After putting in some very hard work and remaining disciplined in my work outs and diet, things began shifting in my mind. I had begun experiencing some awesome responses from the way my brain was working, it was like my once broken-down beat-up body and mind (which was like an old beat up car that was backfiring and spitting and sputtering, smoking and back firing) was just barely running and barely getting from point A to point B. But when I got on purpose about putting the proper fuel in my body (My vehicle), and took care of it with exercise and other maintenance, it started running like a fine-tuned machine, and it brought me into a place in life that I hadn’t experienced before. I began to trust my thoughts; my brain and body functions were amazing. I got into good shape and enjoyed life from that place and learned that that is a HUGE part at building a foundation to a life where you aren’t NEEDING drugs or alcohol to live…

The idea for the walk however only came when I went through a few months span of my body falling apart. I was recently sober, eating awesome and working out intensely. I was hit with some unexpected health issues that made it impossible to work out or even run. I had Rhabdomyolysis. I had shoulder surgeries #5 and #6 and I got to a place that when I ran, I peed blood, every time. (Bladder rubs when I run, causing enough trauma to bleed, very scary stuff until you get an answer) After the last 7 months of doctors, surgeries, overnight stays in the hospitals and all the chaos, I was pretty much left with only the option of walking… I had a new love for pushing myself and my body, but I was sinking fast when I wasn’t able to do much. I had just started realizing  I could take control of my mind and body and really do a lot to become healthy and strong. Exercise and good nutrition helped my thoughts and it was hard when I couldn’t exercise, I felt everything was crashing down around me and burying me in the very same mental mess that had buried for so many years previously.

I lost one of my most dear friends in March of 2018 to the battle of alcohol. Watching him die did something to the deepest part of me. I knew that with my story and past and with the determination I had from Brandon’s death, it was time to make my life mean something. I had to do something. I wondered, how far I would I have to walk for people to notice… And Bang, the idea was born. I began walking very far everyday because it was all my body can do and it turned into a passion. Now, I walk a ton everyday but I have also gotten back into the gym as well as slowly recouping and rehabbing. Now, its just what needs to happen, in order for my mind and body to fire on all cylinders, they must be treated properly, on purpose…

Photo on Visualhunt.com

  1. On a lighter note, what are some of your hobbies and interests?

I LOVE writing. It’s been a passion and an escape for me from as far back as I can remember. It’s a way for me to dig deep down inside and grasp onto some of those feelings that are there, and attempt to pull them out and put them onto the page, hoping they might just make sentences and paragraphs that will positively impact anyone who reads it. I have 4 amazing children who I LOVE spending as much time with as possible. I work in a pretty awesome Meat Market and spend quite a bit of time there, but it’s among my friends and it rarely ever feels like work. I love people, hearing their stories. I enjoy comedy and laughing a lot. I just might take a crack at it myself someday… 😊

 

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Thanks a lot Lisa for this opportunity. I am grateful for the chance you’ve given me to get my story and vision out. Keep fighting, Keep pushing, Be love; #valuesnotfeelings #awalkforthought

 

You’re welcome, Mike! Thanks for being a guest today. The meme below reminds me of you. So, keep spreading your message. The world needs to hear it!

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