• Things to Say to Someone Who Is Suffering

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this.

    It makes me sad/angry to see what you’re going through. You deserve better.

    It won’t always be like this.

    It’s OK to be broken sometimes.

    Not everyone could handle this with as much grace/bravery/whatever as you.

    Sometimes all you can do is get through the day and that’s enough.

    I know it’s overwhelming right now, but I believe in you.

    Tell me how bad it really is.

    What do you wish someone would say to you right now?

    Can I pray for/over you?

    Obviously, use discretion, but these are all things that you can say to someone going through the worst life has to offer. When dealing with someone in that position, resist the urge to try to convince them things aren’t so bad, to look at them more positively or to practice gratitude. Sometimes life really is that bad and your efforts to convince them otherwise will only highlight how hopeless they feel and make them feel even more isolated by their pain. Pep talks and positive thinking have their place, but in a society where everyone’s supposed to be happy all the time, it’s a gift to demonstrate loving acceptance of someone’s pain.

    If you want to lift their spirits, distraction is your best bet. Crack jokes, tell a funny story, let them reminisce about better times or share a bit of harmless gossip.

    For more ideas on how to be there for someone going through a terrible time, check out my post What To Do When Someone Starts Crying In Front of You.

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    The Gift of Delayed Grief

    My early twenties weren’t exactly a stellar time. Within a short period of time I was raped twice. I found out I was pregnant shortly after I decided to take Jesus’ words that it’s better to enter the kingdom maimed and had broken up with then boyfriend. The people around me didn’t exactly rise to the occasion. One woman I told about one of the sexual assaults told every-freaking-body. A man she told became so belligerent towards me that I had to interrupt his screaming rant to let him know that if he laid a hand on me, I would call the police and have him hauled away. One of my dearest friends died after a life-long struggle with a rare blood disorder.

    I had been studying to become a high school English teacher, but would now need help so I could complete my student teaching in order for that to happen. Instead, I was sent out into the world without so much as a chair to sit in or a bed to sleep on. I became homeless and wound up in a homeless shelter/half-way house for single mothers. My roommate was an orphan who stole a ridiculous amount of money from me. The other women there were children of drug addicts, forced out by violent step-fathers, recovering from addictions themselves, etc.

    Some of the people around me felt free to demand that I go into hiding and then place my child for adoption so my siblings, relatives and community wouldn’t know of my shame. (The idea that perhaps a person who has already had their right to self-direction grossly violated shouldn’t be told what to do with her own baby didn’t register, of course. And no, this wasn’t the ’50s. It was the mid-90s)

    After I had my son and decided to follow God’s leading and raise him myself, family and friends refused to have anything to do with me. Some went so far as to tell me directly that I wasn’t welcome to come around anymore – particularly if my son was with me. I did manage to eventually finish my degree, but what sort of work to pursue with a degree in Literature and Communications still eludes me. I was poor, alone and directionless beyond knowing that I needed to care for my son.

    There were a few brighter spots. My then 16 year old sister was supportive and actually happy about her new nephew. A local church held the only baby shower I had until a couple of my husband’s friends’ wives threw a spectacularly under-attended shower for me when I was pregnant with my 5th child. So, at least I had a stroller when my son was born. Continue reading

  • A New Year’s Resolution for the Overwhelmed, Forgetful and Easily Distracted

    I hate New Year’s resolutions.  Hate them.  The worst part of New Year’s day for me was always when the qxh (quasi-ex-husband) would pull out a piece of paper and write “Trotter Family Resolutions” across the top.  So we could “pull them out at the end of the year and see how we did”.  Great, another completely unrealistic standard to feel bad about not meeting.  Just what I need! 

    The other day I read an article which advised that the key to keeping this year’s resolutions was to set up specific targets.  Like “I will exercise 3 times a week and lose 25 lbs by April 1.”  Ahahahahahahahahahahahaha!  Seriously.  That’s what it said.  Like the two are related.  Continue reading

  • The best of the week . . .

    According to infalible me!  Ha!

    I’ve done more writing than reading this week, so this is a bit light, but here goes:

    How children’s  play is being sneakily redefined.  I totally agree with this from Alfie Kohn:

    1. Play is being redefined to include things that are clearly not free, imaginative play.

    2. Younger and older children ought to have the chance to play together.

    3.  Play isn’t just for children.

    4.  The point of play is that it has no point.

    5.  Play isn’t the only alternative to “work.”

    When congress does something so idiotic that the people who create internet memes take a break from ridiculing Edward Cullins and valorizing Chuck Norris to say “WTF?”, the people are not amused.  US Congress Rules That Pizza is a Vegetable.

    An old homeschool blogger buddy, Henry Cate at Why Homeschool shares an article on the surprising differences between elite achievers and others:

    • The average players are working just as many hours as the elite players (around 50 hours a week spent on music),
    • but they’re not dedicating these hours to the right type of work (spending almost 3 times less hours than the elites on crucial deliberate practice),
    • and furthermore, they spread this work haphazardly throughout the day. So even though they’re not doing more work than the elite players, they end up sleeping less and feeling more stressed. Not to mention that they remain worse at the violin.

    Kids with high IQs more likely to become teens and adults who use drugs:

    The results may seem surprising at first glance, but the researchers noted that they do fit some established patterns. “High-IQ individuals have also been shown to score highly on tests of stimulation seeking and openness to experience,” they wrote, and it could be that “illegal drugs are better at fulfilling a desire for novelty and stimulation.”

    Hmmmm . . .

    As I listened to this interview with Mattieu Richard, I kept saying, “yes! this man gets it.”  After a while I started getting a bit irritated that a buddhist monk was sharing some amazing things with the world while we Christians support a cottage industry dedicated to convincing ourselves that the world is only 6000 years old.

    Did you know that in Ezekial 16:17 God says that the hebrews had taken the wealth he gave them, made a jewel encrusted dildo with the gold and silver and pleasured themselves with it?  In 1 Samuel 6, the neighbors of Isreal, who had stolen the ark of the covenant, made models of their tumors with gold and sent them, along with models of rats made of gold back to Isreal along with the Ark. Can you imagine? “That there piece of gold looks like a goiter I had once!”  The bible is the most interesting book I own.

    From Slate: Four Excellent Habits – The subtle skills that will give you a permanent edge:

    Principle 1: Look for bright spots

    Principle 2: Find the right gravity

    Principle 3: Maintain your bridges

    Principle 4: Avoid following the herd

    And finally, I have decided that my 12 year old son Collin is much easier to understand and get along with if you just accept that he’s a 16 year old and an 8 year old living in the same body.  And the 16 year old doesn’t like being treated like an 8 year old.

    If you blog and have something you’d like me to read and maybe (almost certainly!) include in my weekly list, email the link to me at ratrotter73@yahoo.com with “best of the week” in the subject line.

    Principle 1: Look for bright spots

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    Why I Won’t Keep a Gratitude Journal!

    Here’s where I tell you all about the magic of gratitude journals. Everyone you and I know, from my mother to Oprah swears that keeping a gratitude journal changed their life. Which is wonderful, but I have never kept a gratitude journal. The idea of having one more thing to remember and make time for – at the same time no less! – makes me queasy. And I like my way better any how.

    Here’s what I do: anytime I am feeling good as I go through my day, I take a few seconds to thing of things that I am grateful for. Usually I’m grateful for whatever triggered my good feeling and I acknowledge that. Then I take a few seconds to think of a couple of other things that make me happy and be grateful for those as well.

    This way, I can experience gratitude in real time. By adding on a quick thought for other things I’m grateful for, I might even get to extend that feel-good moment just a little bit longer. It’s the multi-tasking way of doing gratitude! Wins all around, people!

  • Opposites_attract_by_Kyuthi

    Lookin’ for Love

    I have 2 copies of a New-York Times Bestselling book on “love languages”.  Which is odd because I really don’t like the book. Since it’s a major bestseller, I guess that makes me odd.  The reason I don’t like the book: it spends all its pages convincing you and teaching you to learn the love language your partner speaks.   Yet the book says nothing that I can recall about learning to receive the love language your partner speaks.  I find this absurd!  Why would it be ok to simply ignore or refuse to receive love from our partner because it’s not done the “right” way?

    We need to feel loved so badly that its like a need to eat.  And yet many of us are ignoring a steady stream of love that comes our way from our friends, our children, our spouses and many of the other people we come in contact with just walking around.  We don’t notice or take it for granted or assume that its manipulative or someone just being nice or whatever.  So we let all this love that is intentionally being directed right at us, go by without filling the sometimes gaping holes in our spirits.  Don’t do this!

    A big barrier to receiving the love directed our way is that it tends to come in forms that for any number of perfectly valid reasons don’t trigger an emotional response.  I have found that by “translating” what I am seeing into something that triggers an emotional response, I can start to experience the love that is intended for me.  For example, if hugs make me feel loved, but my husband likes to provide financially in order to show love, anytime money comes to me because of work he did, I will think of it as a hug.  It’s simple enough.

    In other cases, its my cynical side that’s keeping me from experiencing love.  But then I remembered being a child who loved my mom or when I have smiled at someone and really meant it.  I realized that I don’t want the love I put out ignored or rejected because other people find reasons to think I‘m being insincere or my love isn‘t “real”, so I can’t do it to other people either.

  • crazy me

    An exciting new feature here at TUDW . . . TUSDW? TUSDWNWRLD?

    If you look at the little bitty letters across the very top of this page to the left, you will see that there is a new page called “Ask the Crazy Christian Lady a Question”.  You should go click it.

    And if you haven’t already, you need to buy a copy of my book.  So I can upgrade the website and fix the little bitty letters thing! ;)

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    Things I always tell my kids

    I think I’m going to write a book titled “Things I always tell my kids”.  Samples:

    • Dumb people never learn from their mistakes.  Smart people learn from their mistakes.  Wise people learn from the mistakes other people make.
    • If this is the worst thing that happens to you today, you’re having a pretty good day.
    • As you go through life, you are going to make the best choices you can.  The people around you will make their choices.  Then the world will throw in whatever it comes up with.  And you will wind up where you wind up in the end.  If you are making your choices the best you can, the only other thing you can control is how you deal with the journey from here to there.  So you might as well do your best to be happy on the way.

    What are some of your favorite things to tell your kids?