Breaking Free from the Chains of Abuse

break free from abuse

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Abuse does not care if you are black or white, a native or an immigrant.

 

Abuse does not care if you are a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist, or Jew.

abuse no discrimination
Abuse does not discriminate.

 

Abuse does not care if you live in a run-down trailer park, an apartment, or a mansion.

Abuse does not care if you finished high school or college.

 

Abuse does not care if you are rich or poor.

 

Many years ago, my children and I were abused. 

abuse robs
Abuse robbed us.

  We were the victims of an abuse so terrible.  It wrecked our lives and tore us apart for many years.  It robbed us of many years of happiness and true love. It robbed us of years of precious memories together.  It robbed us of peace. 

 

However, we never lost hope!

hope
We never lost hope!




We defied the statistics! 

We regained our lives together. 

We rebuilt our lives together.

We have made new, precious memories together.

We are building amazing futures together.

  My oldest son, who never had a true father figure to love him unconditionally during his childhood, is the MOST AMAZING father! My daughter became an AMAZING artist, studying in a prestigious art school! My baby boy is an accomplished athlete, taking strides toward being a college athlete.  I, who lost the career I so dearly loved, built a new career that I love even more!  And finally found a true love, who loves both my children and me unconditionally.




 

There is someone reading this who needs help. 

help from abuse
Someone needs help escaping an abusive relationship.

Mom, YOU TOO can defeat the abuse!

For EVERY problem, there is ALWAYS a solution. 

I know it seems like you will never find a way out.  You WILL!  It may be a difficult road.  Mom, save yourself some time, and take your children and find help.

  LEAVE, and never look back! 

problem solving, hope
For every problem there’s a solution.

 

There are so many organizations and people who will help you. 

Mom, you have a choice! 

Choose to help your kids and yourself. 

In the end, you will see it is for the best.

You CAN break the chains of abuse!

freedom from abuse
Break free from the chains of abuse!

All the best,

Christy

Song of Sapelo Sunset

 

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My Son, the Athlete, Begins His College Search: How Wrestling has Taught Him Determination, Motivation, Tenacity, and Honor

College athlete
My son, an accomplished wrestler, begins his college search.

I cannot believe these words are actually coming out of my mouth!  It seems like only yesterday he was born.  This is my baby boy…my baby.

It seems like only yesterday we were in this park, enjoying the simplest things in life.

My baby is not such a baby anymore.  He will always be my baby though!  Abe…that’s my baby.  For my kids, skipping college has never been an option.  College is viewed as a normal stop in their futures–rather, present for Sarah, my daughter.

Years ago, I began goal-setting with the kids, in relation to their close future and distant future.  Naturally, they came up with some silly ideas at first.  As time passed–or rather, flew!–, the ideas matured as the kids did.  In middle school, Abe found his passion:  wrestling.

He actually won several matches his first year.  I will never forget the first time he slammed a kid.  I had videoed him, and after watching the video maybe the 5th time, Abe said, “Now that’s John Cena style!”  For those of you who don’t know John Cena, he is a professional wrestler for the WWE.  This excited him so much that he fell in love with the sport!  We had only signed him up to help him in football.  This was in 7th grade.


As Abe entered the 8th grade, he began wrestling year round, wrestling Olympic styles, Freestyle and Greco, during the spring and eventually summer.  By his freshman year in high school, Abe was competing in national tournaments every summer, travelling to Pennsylvania and North Dakota.

tenacity, motivation, determination
From his freshman year in high school, Abe began wrestling in national tournaments every summer.

And each year before a season begins, he now sets his goal for that season.  His freshman year his goal was to go to state with his high school team.  He did!  That summer he worked so hard training with the nationals team, preparing for Fargo and preparing for the next school season.

Abe began to meet wrestlers from all over the state and the country and became friends with many.  The year before Abe began wrestling at our high school, we lost one of our own.  Matt Walters, an amazing athlete, student, friend, and son, was killed in an auto accident not too far from his home.  Our team honors Matt in many ways.  One is in a shirt that says, “Walk Like Walters.”

Honor
Abe honors fallen wrestler, Matt Walters, in Atlanta as he competes for the Southeast Regional title.

When I looked at Abe’s back and realized what he had on, I beamed with pride at the honor Abe showed in such a special place.  Matt never had this opportunity.  Abe takes his memories with him around the country.

Sophomore year Abe set a goal of placing at state; he placed 4th in the state, with a strong record.  This was not good enough for Abe.  He trained hard for nationals again and came home with a winning record…finally.

Junior year, his goal was to win state.

My baby was in the state finals!

Determination
Abe, walking out onto the mat of the Macon Coliseum, for the state finals.

He made it to the finals, but the title was not to be his this year.  He was unhappy for the loss.

Tenacity
Abe, on the podium, accepting the honor of state runner-up.

This was a blow for Abe.

Before he was all about wrestling in college. 

His tune changed.  Upset about failure, he considered giving up his dreams….just for a moment.  When I began making appointments for college visits for him, he returned back to normal, ready to fight again.  His training began almost instantly.  He watched the finals’ video, analyzing exactly what he had done wrong….what edge he had allowed the kid to have over him.  He vowed to never let that be the reason he lost again.

About a week ago, I had Abe attend a preview day at our local college.  He spent time with college wrestlers and other college kids; he regained his confidence.  He is now excited about his first visit to a Division 1 university.

Abe is an average student.  He is much smarter than his grades show.  He is an awesome test-taker.  Above all, he is an accomplished athlete.  Wrestling has not overshadowed Abe’s education.  Rather, it has developed the best of character in a young man.  Character of

HONOR

MOTIVATION

TENACITY

DETERMINATION.

This character will guide Abe to success, for he will never give up.

He believes he can do anything!  And he will!

Determination
Dream big, set goals, and take action!

This weekend is the next road on the journey to his dreams.  This is the action part.  Let’s do this, son!

Motivation
Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.

*This blog is dedicated to Matt Walters, who now rides on the wings of angels.  Matt, who never had the opportunities Abe has had.  We will always remember and honor Matt and thank the Lord for allowing us a new opportunity each day.  If only we all lived like we were dying!*

On a final note, when Abe was a very young boy–maybe 4 years old–his favorite song to sing on the way to school every day was “Live Like You Were Dying.”  He doesn’t remember that, but I do .  He does live life in that way….still!

More to come after the visit….

All the best,

Christy

Song of Sapelo Sunset

 

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Staying Positive in the Most Difficult Situation

The past month has been a total bummer, to say the least…

 

A simple way to stay positive even in the most difficult situations

 

Please note that this page may include affiliate links, which if you click on them and purchase a product, I will receive a commission.  I only provide links for products I truly believe in.

Over a year ago, I found my dream job in a vegetable plant.  It was the perfect combination of management, business, and training.  I worked with an amazing team, as a team.  We defied the odds together, moving a mountain in a plant that had a massive listeria recall 2 years prior.  As a team, we moved that mountain! 

Anyone who’s worked in or visited a manufacturing facility would be shocked to hear that when you walked through this plant, all the employees were working hard and doing so with smiles on their faces. 




 

 

Last Thursday, all smiles were wiped away, and the tears rolled, as our company was sold, and the plant was shut down for good.  In the blink of an eye, we all lost our jobs and benefits.  I have struggled to stay positive over the weekend, as I lost a very dear family, my work family.  This morning, my husband asked me what I would do for the day.  My answer: “I don’t know.”  Weird, coming from someone is so busy she’s spinning in motion! 

 

 Anyone who knows me well knows that’s not me.  I’m a bulldog! I don’t stand down.  Life has taught me to pop back up and get better than before.  (that’s for another blog, another day.) 

 

So, I LOVE to-do lists!  And on my to-do list for the past month has been to transfer addresses into a little address book from a mixture of envelopes and loose papers.  As I looked for a book this morning on my desk, I spotted the address book, and said, “Why not!”  In the middle of the papers, I found a sweet birthday card from a dear friend, and it read:

“Each day holds its own wonder to discover.”

wonder card

I immediately thought, “This is a sign!”  Then, “Wonder what today’s wonder will be!”  Amidst all this pain, depression, and sadness, I remembered how I once stayed positive in a most difficult position.  A dear friend and I would ask each other, as well as others around us, to name 3 positive things that have happened so far that day. 

 

Friends, sometimes wonder is in the simplicity of things.  For example, three positives from my day thus far are:

1.   Ate lunch with my best friend and had awesome conversation!

2.  Giggled as I watched the neighbor’s baby goats frolicking in the pasture. 

baby goats.JPGGiggled even more when the Mama goat came up to my face to say Hello!

 

 

mama goat.JPG

3.  Found an amazing Virtual Assistant Course I will complete this week!  Yesterday morning I found a Pinterest pin about this and just knew I had found something special. 

 

Nothing happens by chance.  Everything happens exactly when and where it is supposed to happen!  Today has been a wonderful day! 

Now, you try it!  Name three positive things that have happened to you today. 

Have a blessed, wonder-filled day!

 

All the best,

Christy

Song of Sapelo Sunset


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Me-Time for the All-Around Mom

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Life of an all-around mom leaves little room for free time. 

Running from practice to practice, game to game.

College move in day.

FAFSA.

Scholarship applications.

College visits.

Athletic recruitment.

Sports fundraising.

Athletic banquets.

The list goes on and on……

Amidst the chaos, it is important to make time for yourself.

Easier said than done!

You will be amazed at what 15 minutes—not long at all—of self-time can do for your soul!




3 SIMPLE IDEAS FOR ME-TIME

  • Take a short walk in your local park. The whistling of the birds is soothing to the soul.  Use this time as exercise or reflection time or simply self-time or a combination of these.

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  • Take a hot bath. The past months of my life have been especially trying and busy.  However, almost daily I come home and run a hot bath just to have 15-30 minutes to zone out alone.  I usually add ¼ cup of Epsom Salt and 10 drops of lavender essential oil to my bath.    This combination draws out toxins and aids in relaxation.
    This combination draws out toxins and aid in relaxation. Often I light a candle. I always take this time to read a book. That is my escape!

 

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  • Have a Netflix marathon! I caught myself doing this about 2 weeks ago, watching 15 episodes in a row of Lost.

 



The key is to do something that doesn’t require your brain to think too deeply. And to do something for YOU! Your kids need you to be strong and on top of the world for them. That means you must take care of you! Grab that self-time every chance you can get it. It will only make you a better mom!

All the best,
Christy
Song of Sapelo Sunset

 

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Instilling a Never Give Up Attitude in Your Teen: 3 Successful Tips

 

Teens, tenacity, steadfastness
Instilling a Never Give Up Attitude in Your Teen: 3 Successful Tips
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When you hit a brick wall every corner you turn, giving up is the easy way out.  Now, if parents, the adults, feel this way, imagine how teens feel when they are faced with what appears to be insurmountable mountains!

My favorite quote of all times is

“Never give up!”


by Winston Churchill.  This is my mantra!  When I was a little girl, my family’s home burned to the ground.  We lost everything we owned.  I remember nothing of this except when we moved into a mobile home while my Daddy began building our new home.  I only know the sadness from stories from my family.  What I remember, however, is how my family stuck together and built a home from the ground up.  I remember perseverance, steadfastness, tenacity.  I remember strength and hope as we built our home little by little.  Over forty years later, this is what I still remember…strength and hope.

This strength and hope that my parents instilled in me during such a difficult time provided me with one of the most important tools for my life. Some call it tenacity, others calls it perseverance, and yet others call it steadfastness.   All three words mean the same thing:  Never give up!

From this experience and those with my own children, I have surmised 3 successful tips for instilling a never give up attitude in children:

 

love

1.     Love your child with all your heart…no matter his age.

Teens often don’t make that easy to do.  When I was a teen, I was a spoiled brat.  There is 9 years between my next oldest sibling and me.  My parents tried for 9 years to have me, so to say I was spoiled is an understatement.  Remember though, my family lost everything in the fire, so they did not have material things to spoil with.  Rather they spoiled me with an immense amount of love.

Mama did the majority of the spoiling.  Daddy, on the other hand, was the “bad guy.”  I remember thinking that he didn’t love me.  Why?  Because he wouldn’t let me have my way.  However, in the end of Daddy’s life, I realized he loved me more than anyone in this life.  You see, amidst a horrific and violent marriage, I pushed my parents away.  This lasted for almost a decade.

Daddy NEVER gave up on me!

He prayed and kept trying to get me to talk to him.  I was terrified of my now ex-husband.  How dare I disobey him; now, that’s a story for another time.  I will never forget calling my Daddy collect for the first time in years and hearing his sweet voice on the phone, accepting my call.  He knew I would call.  He had faith in God and in me.  He had faith in the love he had truly shown me.  He never gave up.  And for him, I will never give up.

hope

2.    Give your child hope.

What is more depressing than thinking there is no hope?  A sense of hopelessness can drown an innocent victim.

The college entrance experience was a challenging time for my daughter.  First, she was terrified she wouldn’t be accepted. She wanted to go to SCAD.  She wanted to pursue her passion: Art.  And SCAD was where she wanted to do so.  I continued to ensure her that she would get accepted.  Sarah had the most well-rounded resume for a high school student.  My head spun helping her get her resume together, and I thought I was a busy student.  Sarah was the ultimate juggler.  She still is!

Next came the financial aid struggle.  We worked hours and hours, night after night, on scholarships and other financial aid.  It was a close call, from which we learned many lessons, but her first year was covered.  I remember celebrating that night!  Together, we never gave up, and together we celebrated.

Hope fuels success!

example

3.    Live by example.

In other words, practice what you preach!

You are your child’s first example!

If your teen sees that you give up every time you feel pressure, they will see no reason to persevere.  This fuels low self-esteem.

As a former math teacher, I firmly believe there is a solution to EVERY problem.  The key is when you first don’t succeed, try another way to skin the same cat.  There is always more than one true method to solve a problem.  Live by this in your own life.  Like my Daddy, when our home burned down, he rebuilt, and he built a beautiful home in which our family created the most beautiful of memories.  He made lemonade out of lemons and showed all his children how to rise above the highest mountains.

My kids have truly gone through some difficulties and statistics would dictate they should be failures.  However, they are the most amazing kids!  Not because they are mine.  No!  Because they have been truly resilient and risen above the odds stacked against them.

Children who don’t have this type of positive influence in their lives often become statistics, whether it be from drug or alcohol abuse, physical abuse, prostitution, suicide, etc.

I know teens are often difficult to love.

Believe me!  My daughter truly challenged me.  This doesn’t mean you give up on loving them as their parent.  It just means you have to get a little bit creative with how you love them!

Love, hope, and example grow a well-rounded, steadfast individual.  They instill perseverance, tenacity, steadfastness…tools that will help one survive the worst catastrophes.

May we all persevere and be steadfast!

All the best,

Christy

Song of Sapelo Sunset

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Goal Setting with Teens: 5 Principles & 5 Aspects to Preparing for a Bright Future

Goal Setting with Teens.png

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In my last blog, “Where Did My Baby Go? 4 Ways to Deal with Raising Teens…and Still Love Them,” one tip was goal setting.

Goal setting is a lifelong skill that will guide your child through the darkest of situations.

Goals give hope.  Goals give light at the end of that deep, dark tunnel.  Goals give focus.  Goals motivate and inspire.  Goals achieve results.

Our children will one day be on their own…if they are not already.  When they are, they need to have the tool of goal setting in their “toolbelts.”  Dr. Edwin Locke, an American psychologist and pioneer in goal-setting theory, and his research partner, Dr. Gary Latham, surmised 5 principles for setting goals:

  1. Clarity
  2. Challenge
  3. Commitment
  4. Feedback
  5. Task complexity

CLARITY

clarity-goal

Help your teen set clear, attainable goals.  Everyone needs to see positive results.  Have your teen write down his goals.  Putting it in writing helps make it clearer.

CHALLENGE

Challenge-goals

Help your teen set goals that will challenge him….ones that will make him reach for his full potential.  Challenge involves risk.  A small amount of risk is healthy.  Risk and challenge involve uncertainty, and this can be alarming to a teen. Help him to set challenging goals and follow through to the end result so that he can see the awesome benefits of meeting the challenging goal.

COMMITMENT

COMMITMENT-GOALS

Help your child set goals and stay committed to them.  Never give up.  There is always a way, under, or around, or through.  Sometimes the challenging road to success is littered with potholes and detours, but commitment shows true grit, especially as the goals become more challenging.  Teach your teen to never give up!

FEEDBACK

FEEDBACK-GOALSConstructive criticism is a tough bullet for some people to bite.  Teach your teen how to look at the “man in the mirror” and make true assessments of their current situation.  Have they reached their goal?  If the goal has not been met, what are issues standing in the way, and what are steps to take to successfully meet the goal this time?  Teach him how to accept the feedback of others and how to use this as a gauge of genuine success or failure.

TASK COMPLEXITYTASKCOMPLEXITY--GOALS

Ensure your teen has adequate time to complete complex tasks and meet his goal.  If stress or frustration arise, sit down with your teen, and take an inventory of the current situation, analyzing where things went wrong and determining how to fix these issues.  If necessary, especially in the beginning, break up more complex tasks into smaller chunks so that your teen sees and feels some success along the way.  What is more frustrating than feeling like you’re spinning your wheels in a million directions!

 

SMART Goals

Locke also coined the idea of SMART goals.

S—Specific

M—Measurable

A—Attainable

R—Relevant

T—Time-bound


Have your teen honestly ask himself the following questions regarding the goal:

  1. Is the goal specific?
  2. Is the goal measurable?
  3. Is this goal attainable?
  4. Is this goal relevant in his life?
  5. Are the time constraints for this goal realistic?

Begin with baby steps, even in middle school, especially in middle school, and gradually increase the levels of goals you help your teen set.  In the end, your child, his future wife, his future boss, his future children, etc., will all thank you for teaching him effective goal setting strategy.  Goal setting leads to great success in all areas of life.  While you’re at it, what are your goals for the next 6 months?  The next year?  The next 5 years? The next decade?  You are never too old to set goals.  Reach for the sky!

 

All the best as we reach for our goals,

Christy

Song of Sapelo Sunset

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Where Did My Baby Go? 4 Ways to Deal with Raising Teens..and Still Love Them

What happened to my baby

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One precious day you hold your beautiful, sweet baby.  It seems like just a few days down the road, and this sweet baby is gone.  He doesn’t want you to talk to him and really doesn’t want to be in the same room with you.  Every now and again, you see a faint hint of that sweet baby boy when he has faced disappointment and really needs you.  The next thing you know it’s Jekyll and Hyde, and he’s back to being the monster who invaded your home. 

Why, you ask, is my baby acting like this?  What did I do wrong? 

Short answer:  your baby is going through the greatest growth spurt in his life since infancy.  However, this time it is not just physical growth.  He is growing at an extremely quick rate in the following areas as well:  emotional, social, and intellectual.  This is what makes teens “weird;” they struggle with dealing with all of these changes that are lumped onto them at one time. It’s easy for you to see the physical changes.  These other changes, however, are of the mind and therefore abstract to the human eye.

Pull up your granny panties, mom, for this will be a struggle for a few years!

Here are some solid tips to make your life easier during this years and to make it easier to love your baby, as you raise your teen:

1.         Goal Setting—

Teach your child to set goals.  Part of intellectual growth during the teen years is the deeper development of abstract thought.  Laymen’s terms…they have the ability to think deeper…farther beyond today.   Often, their selfishness makes it appear they cannot.  Try them out. 

I remember when my son and daughter were in middle school.  One day we were in the car, and they were arguing.  I made them each stop and write down their goals for life.  For them, at that moment, it was a competition.  However, they really thought this out.  Naturally, some of their goals were silly; that’s par for the course with teens, especially younger teens.  However, this beginning conversation on goals set the stage for these two to set attainable goals in the future.  It focused their energy on something positive!  And it has given them a life skill that will make them successful adults.

2.       Talks—

When your teen is acting like a monster, it makes them hard to be around.  However, this is that same sweet baby who learned to walk, talk, potty, read, ride a bike….  They just have bigger problems.  This is where the emotional comes into play.  This is when they need you to really listen and offer tidbits of advice.

The big “P”, puberty, comes into the lives of teens and often creates chaos in their lives.  I’m in my 40’s and still have emotional issues during that time of the month.   This emotional change in teens is confusing to them and often makes them irrational.  I can usually tell when my daughter is about to start.  Same old classic symptoms.  And boys aren’t immune to these changes.  Life, though, has taught boys to be macho, and when they feel emotions creep up, it is often hard for them to handle it. 

Offering tidbits of advice is not a lecture.  Have you ever sat in a college lecture?  After some point in time, the words can blur together.  Same goes with lectures with a teen.  Give them tidbits…just enough to sink in.  Talk to them, but most of all, listen to them.  Don’t get so busy in your life that you aren’t listening to your teens. I know they are difficult to be around, but listen to them.

3.       Encouragement—

Part of life is risk-taking.   You only want to see your teen taking part in positive risks.  Believe me, there are more negative risks than you know out there for our teens, risks that we don’t even see and cannot fathom.  The digital age has created these.

Encourage your teen to be brave and take positive risks to better himself.  Currently, my son, a junior in high school, is going through the college search.  He is an extremely accomplished wrestler, competing year-round.  However, he shows signs of fear of his college career.  I helped him get in touch with several college wrestling coaches, showing him that he is doing the work, and can do this.  Sometimes, although a teen has deeper intellectual thought, you have to put things in front of them.  My mother-in-law used to say, “put your finger on it.”  Same idea.  Now, he is studying for the SAT, preparing for college visits, looking at pros and cons of different colleges. 

Remember, in a short time, your teen will be an adult.  Encouragement of an adult is much different than that of a small child.  Same goes for a teen.  It’s not about lollipops and stickers.  Although every now and again a Dr. Pepper helps my boy.  The encouragement holds different forms at this age.

4.       Consistency—

Have you ever gotten so busy at work and with life that you don’t make time for the simple things?  Teens, just like infants, toddlers, and small kids, need consistency.  Heck, adults do too!  Not all things in life need to be planned.  Spontaneity can be an awesome thing!  How you love your teen, how you talk with and encourage your teen, and how you groom them into awesome adults must be consistent. 

In our home, a rule is a rule.  And rules must be obeyed.  Reality….everyone has rules to follow.  Even the boss has to follow federal and state laws.  Same goes for teens.  Don’t set rules that you are unwilling to enforce.  Be consistent with all your kids.  If one has chores, all should have chores.  If one pays for a car, the others should as well.  You are the first example to your teen of how parents should be.  Lead your teen, who will be, before you know it, an adult, a spouse, and a parent. 

No matter how tough the road gets, stick to these tips with your teen, and in the end, you will be pleasantly surprised.  Remember, your teen can do lots of things now, but he is not an adult yet, and still needs you!  Don’t let him down!

All the best,

Christy

Song of Sapelo Sunset

 

 

 

 

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6 Tools to Help Your College Child Thrive

 

collegechild pin

My oldest son has been married and has lived in New England for years, but this year I lost another child to adulthood.  This has definitely grayed my hair more, as it was my daughter growing up and moving out.  Daughters are just different.  Transitioning from being the parent of a teen to the parent of an adult presented many challenges with Sarah.  Put it this way…my vacation this year was a week spent in Savannah, Georgia, moving her into Savannah College of Art and Design, an elite art school on the coast of Georgia.  Not a bad place to vacation.

When I moved her to Savannah, however, I thought she was an adult and would handle things on her own.  Little did I know!  The cord was not entirely cut!

Through this experience with my daughter, I learned the following necessary skills a successful college student needs in his/her “toolbelt” in order to truly be successful:

Genuine Problem Solving Skills

Yes, teachers attempt to instill this in their students. However, ultimately, parents can instill this skill more effectively through real life problems, such as grocery shopping and making money stretch.  I have heard stories of college kids stressing out over long dining hall lines.  My daughter’s retort: “Go at another time!

problem solving

  • Clothes washing—Some adult children do not know how to wash their own clothes! I cannot imagine!  This is a must in our household from the beginning of high school.

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  • Basic cleaning skills—Some college students and their parents think that the college has a cleaning service. NOT!  There’s no more Mommy picking up after little Johnny.  I have a 16-year-old son, whose room will truly make you gag at times; he’s a wrestler, so his clothes can stink up the room quick!  His room is his responsibility, though, and he cleans it.  My children have chores as soon as they are old enough to understand.  A home is a place where everyone has responsibilities.  Even my son cleans dishes by hand!  One day he will make a great roommate and an awesome husband!
  • Budgeting—This is a skill I am working on with my daughter. She is not horrible at this, but she can definitely use some coaching.  Some college kids think that money  will just fall into their laps.  Thankfully, my daughter has had jobs and has been given financial responsibilities.  One of the greatest gifts we can give our kids is responsibility. If they grow up with everything being handed to them, they will think that’s how life works.  WAKEUP CALL!  It’s not!  When our kids get cars, they each pay a certain amount monthly, in order to keep the car.  When my son has traveled to national competitions, he has raised the funds himself through sponsorships.  I never made a call for him.

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  • Time Managements Skills—We all wish we had more time in the day. Time management can make or break a college student.  If a student is not accustomed to managing events on his/her own, managing classes, studying, washing clothes, and just normal day to day activities can become overwhelming.  Let’s face it: it’s their first time away from home, and they just don’t know what to do with themselves!  FREEDOM, they scream!  We did it when we first went away from home.  Naturally, our kids will too.  Managing time can be as simple as using the calendar app on a smartphone.

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  • Basic Health Knowledge— Amidst getting used to freedom away from their parents, college students often lose sight of taking care of their health.  I sent Sarah to college with multivitamins; we restock every time she comes home. Vitamins ward off lots of illnesses that are passed around in communal living- quarters like college dorms.   When do you go to the emergency room?  Not every illness requires a costly ER visit.  I stock my daughter up on the normal over the counter meds: Ibuprofen, allergy tablets, antacid, etc.  A bad case of indigestion can be solved easily and less expensively with antacid than with an ER visit.

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Each of these points seems like common sense and that our kids will just figure it out.  However, they don’t!  Parents are entrusted with preparing their kids to live as successful, thriving adults.  Each of these skills, that are easily taught and reinforced from a young age, can prevent lots of heartache and stress.

Here’s to all the moms, helping their college kids excel!

 

All the best,

Christy

Song of Sapelo Sunset

 
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How to Multi-Task and Thrive

multitask
How to Multitask and Thrive
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Do you ever feel pulled in a million different directions? 

I often wish I had a clone!

I am the mother of 2 adult children and 1 teen, as well as the step-mom of 1 teen and 1 pre-teen.  Add a precious grandson and beautiful daughter-in-law, and don’t forget grandson #2 due in May of this year!  And, we can never forget my husband, child #6!  A nine, soon to be 10, person small family!  We are beyond blessed.

On top of being a mother and wife, I am a manager in a major production facility, managing approximately 100 employees daily.  Finally, this year I helped create the first booster club for my son’s wrestling team, one which has raised about $10,000 in its first year!

Everywhere I go, every minute I spend, I do what I can to multi-task.  Even as I sit typing this blog, I have made phone calls and sent emails for my son’s team and arranged for my daughter to travel home for the weekend.  For a moment, the world was spinning!

As a manager and mom of teens, I have noticed the struggle for lots of people to handle multiple tasks in succession.  Today’s life is so fast-paced that if you don’t keep pace, you miss out on too much.

How do we keep up and still enjoy life to the fullest?

Prioritize.

All tasks are not equally important

Thus, it is essential to establish a hierarchy of importance between tasks and responsibilities.  Checklists are great for ordering tasks by importance.  I handle the bills for my family, as well as any other “secretarial” type calls or transactions.  Friday is the big day.  Thursday evening I often write out a list of calls to be made to pay all the bills.  Often, a child’s activities creep into the middle of this list.  However, the power bill being paid on time is more important than registering my son for a tournament, for example.  His registration will happen, but he needs electricity in his home more than he needs to be registered for the tournament.  Often, tasks are time-sensitive, thus dictating the order they must happen.  For example, I submit specific reports by a designated time daily because other employees are awaiting the report to complete their tasks specific to those reports.

Organize.

Organization saves time, time we all need

There are numerous ways to organize your life activities.  Calendars are the best.  I use my calendar on my phone, placing reminders for all work, family, and sports activities.  This simplifies making appointments and keeping them.  When my daughter called me today and asked if I could pick her up from Atlanta on Friday, I quickly looked at my calendar and saw that it was clear.  Calendars work great for future events.  However, for a daily basis, a checklist suffices.

Delegate.

You do not have to do everything!

You are not the only person in your company, you are not the only person in your family, and you’re definitely not the only parent in the school.  Growing other employees to learn some of your responsibilities at work gives you flexibility, and it is just the smart thing to do.  If you aspire to move up from your current position, teach someone you trust aspects of your current position so that it would be an easy transition for the company.

I have been in a position in which I have refused to move to another division of the company, simply because it would have hurt the company due to the lack of cross-training that had taken place.  The second time this happened, I set out to change things, and I decided that day that I would always have a back-up so that I would never be in that position again.  The key is searching out someone you trust to fill-in for you.  In the family unit, suck up your pride and let your husband pull his weight by picking up the kids or washing a load of clothes.

In the booster club and in other team parent situations, I have had to delegate responsibilities to other parents.  This year our team held a tournament with 4 other wrestling teams.  The same evening was our first ever Alumni Night, along with a reception created by yours truly, as well as recognition during the matches.  Don’t forget the concessions stand, the gate, and a 50/50 raffle.  My daughter was home for Christmas break that week and really wanted to spend time with her new boyfriend.  I capitalized on that by enlisting her to cook the food for the reception and bring it to the gym so that I could arrive earlier at the gym.  She and her boyfriend helped in setup of everything and ran out for pizza and other needed items.  Texts, phone calls, and emails brought lots of parent help into the picture.  It was a busy but extremely successful night.  Without delegation, it would have been a total wreck!

In the home, delegating is as simple as assigning chores to the kids.  This has helped my daughter cope with “real life.”  She easily cleans her own clothes, takes out the garbage, cleans her area, including the dorm room bathroom.  This is all second nature to her.  Now, I am working on my 16-year-old son!  I will groom him into an awesome husband for one very blessed young lady…maybe 20 years down the road.  Delegating is not laziness, rather it is intelligent work, intelligent living.

Focus on the task at hand.

Focus!

According to research, what we call multi-tasking is truly task-switching at a rapid pace.  Yes, life, in general, is extremely busy.  However, focusing on the task at hand and completing this task leads to greater productivity and quality.  If you switch between tasks constantly, you do not devote adequate time and energy to either task.  Focus on one task, complete this task, and then move on to the next task.  Sometimes you must tell others to wait on their needs until you complete the current task at hand.  Focus makes an amazing difference in the result!

Learn to say, “No.”

If you are always the “yes man,” you will burn out.

And quickly at that!  Learn to say, “No,” as needed in ALL areas of your life.  You do not hold the world on your shoulders, and no one should expect you to do so.  Just breathe!  Don’t be scared.  Just say the word!  No!

Find time for yourself.

There is only one YOU! 

Find time to do the things you love.  Reading is my escape, my relaxation.  In the past year, I have finally found time again to read three books.  That’s not a lot of reading, but it is more reading than I have allowed myself in the recent past.  I was more focused on what everyone else needed or wanted.  An old hobby of mine is sewing.  I have had pillow stuffing for quite some time now.  During Christmas, I shocked my daughter when I finally made some pillows out of all this stuffing.  It was a relaxing time doing something productive but fun.  An added plus was teaching my daughter a new life skill.  I savor and cherish moments as those.

Cherish those simple moments with your family.

Love those you love with all your heart in the simplest of moments.

We spend lots of time driving our kids to and from various events.  During those long drives, I take time to talk to them about life.  We set life goals together.  I will never forget the trip where I had both Sarah and Abe make a list of their life goals.  We revisit these goals about once a year, sometimes more often for my son, Abe.

This Christmas was the first time ever our little family had a family get-together and all were present!  It was rather special as we ate a feast together, exchanged gifts, and just loved on one another.  Besides cooking for about 8 hours, I spent hours in the floor playing with my sweet grandson.  Other things in life went to the backburner as we enjoyed our time as a family, for that was the most important thing in our lives at that time.

Set attainable goals.

Don’t overdo it!

Set the bar high enough but not so high that you can never reach it.  Give yourself adequate time to effectively complete tasks.  Many of us would love for our children to attend Ivy League colleges and universities at little to no cost.  I am not saying to lower your standards.  Reach for the stars!  However, realize limitations.  Not every child will receive a full scholarship, or any scholarship for that matter.  You’re a parent, though, and your number one job is problem-solving.  If you don’t reach a goal in one way, you try another way.  There is more than one way to skin a cat!

Reflect on successes and failures.

Without reflection, our successes are meaningless.

Reflection is a healthy step of life.  Genuine self-reflection opens one’s eyes to reality.  Success and failure are both part of life.  If at first you don’t succeed, try again! Analyze that failure, and ask, “Why?”  What could you have done differently to be successful? How have you succeeded in the past?  What was different this time?

Never give up!

You only fail if you stop trying.

A failure is not the end of the world.  It is only a stepping stone to your success.  Life is too short to just throw in the towel.  Fight the good fight, and ensure you can look in the mirror at the end of the day and can say, “I gave it my all!”

 

All the best as we all give it our all,

Christy

Song of Sapelo Sunset

 

 
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