No Stress November? Really?

Pathway in the autumn forest

This is the time of the year many of us are wrapping up our goals. The holidays are upon us. There is also the putting away of summer clothing, summer items and putting the fall and winter things where they belong. It’s the organization and preparation of your home for winter. There are events, celebrations, festivals, and family gatherings. Finances and traveling factor in as well. What can we do to make sure we don’t become overwhelmed and “wig out”?

Keep your routine of exercise and eating as healthy as possible. Don’t neglect your self-care routine either. Get a massage to help you with all of the stress or do an Epsom salt soak in the tub.

Keep to your routine of prayer, meditation, daily devotions and religious services.

Make a budget and STICK TO IT.

Remember, YOU CAN’T DO EVERYTHING OR EVERY ACTIVITY. You can’t make it to EVERYONE’S EVENT.

With that being said, decide what you are going to and where you are going to in advance. Also, leave room for adventure. Be flexible to change. We should know by now things don’t always go according to plan and we must be able to adapt. Oh, and adjust our attitudes in the process! Your FUNKY little attitude can affect the group and ruin everything.

Apologize.

Take off your cape and learn to say NO. Take off your control freak cape and delegate things to others. They can handle it and it doesn’t have to be exactly how you want it done.

Take a breather and some time alone. Go for a nature walk or a walk in the neighborhood. Listen to music. Read a book. Stargaze.

Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too. -Mayoclinic.com

Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events or communities. Many may have websites, online support groups, social media sites or virtual events. They can offer support and companionship. If you’re feeling stress during the holidays, it also may help to talk to a friend or family member about your concerns. Try reaching out with a text, a call or a video chat. Volunteering your time or doing something to help others is also a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships. For example, consider dropping off a meal and dessert at a friend’s home during the holidays. -Mayoclinic.com

If you have any tips, chime in!

~Nikki

28 Days of The Self Love Project: Day 15 You Don’t Have to but…

Photo by Jeff Wang on Pexels.com

You don’t have to forgive anyone. You can keep holding that grudge and unforgiveness in your heart and trying to figure out why you are so heavy. You can tell us you feel free but, anytime their name is brought up or you think about it and it yanks your heart, you are not as free as you think you are. Once again, you don’t have to forgive anyone. But just in case you want to open the love valve even more in your life, here you go:

I am kind. I am compassionate. Therefore, I forgive and move on with my life.

I am compassionate towards myself about the mistakes I’ve made in my life and that creates compassion for others

In order to grow in love, I forgive

I forgive others and set the appropriate boundaries as needed

I release the past and forgive [name] for the wrong, perceived wrongs, or intended wrongs towards me.

I choose to let go of the grudge and anger against [name of person] and I choose to be happier in my life.

The incident that happened between us is in the past forever. I wish the best for them. All is well between us. Peace be with you. Peace be within me.

I forgive everyone in my past for all perceived wrongs. I send them loving energy and wash it out of my aura (space, heart)

I forgive so that I have inner peace.

~Love, Nikki

For the Love of Family

We don’t always get the relationships we wish we had with parents or siblings. If you can’t create those relationships due to issues that can’t be resolved, personalities, morality, mental and emotional issues/abuse you end up feeling like you’re missing a connection or deeper connection. You probably are. There are ways to make those connections with others or be that connection for someone else. Foster those connections between your children and with your children. And you can always be to yourself what you needed as a child. Nurture the child within.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Housewarming

It finally happened. I had a housewarming for family and family-friends. And it was GREAT. We had a really good time fellowshipping with one another. Most of my immediate family is vaccinated and if not they have had their first shot.

It took me two weeks to prepare for one day because of physical limitations. Really, I started to prepare three weeks in advance. The last two days were brutal on my body and I had a few days along those weeks that were bad days and many sleep issues at night. However, I persevered. I also had help from my brothers, my daughter, and parents. I am grateful for that.

Today, I begin the process of recovery. It takes about a week and sometimes two weeks to recoup from an event like yesterday. Today, I feel like I have been hit by a ton of bricks. My body is exhausted. I am fatigued. I have a huge amount of pain and soreness. So, I have cancelled all plans for this week. I only have one goal, each day, for the next seven days that require my physical energy. I am also not taking any phone calls or dealing with any negative energy. It’s just not happening this week. No extra tasks for anyone else. This is the epitome of self care for those with autoimmune diseases. We must heed the lessons learned and the good advice given to us by others in order to preserve and improve our health.

Take Care!

~Nikki

Learning Your NEW Changing Role as Parents

“Don’t fix it. Fix it. Listen and don’t give advice. Give advice. Don’t tell me what to do. Wait, what should I do?” I am now the parent of a young adult in college. I thought I was doing well as I started the above when my teen was in the 10th grade but, apparently, I need to take a closer look at this very new, ever changing, college student. “You’re always giving advice and sometimes I just want you to listen. You’re always trying to fix it.” I was told.

And it’s true. My nature is to fix. I am the problem solver and the peacemaker. I am the bridge. I am the counselor. I am really good at just listening to others but, as a parent I listen with the intent to SOLVE and ADVISE and I now realize I need to listen with permission to advise or more importantly, ask if it’s not clear afterwards, “Are you just venting and need my listening ear?” And if so, I need to use words like, “I understand. Or wow, what do you think you should do? Or give it some time, you will figure it out.” One must refrain from their stories of what they did in those situations because you have been told, “they just want to vent or just need you to listen” and remember how you, too, need to just vent or just need a listening ear. You, too, don’t always want to hear someone’s story, need advice, or need it to be fixed. You just want to get it out of your head. TRUST your young adult to figure it out or come back to you for advice or, brace yourself, to find the solution from someone else.

Someone else? Yes. Now this is the time to talk to your young adult (or remind them) about making sure the resources they use are credible resources! This is for articles on google, influencers on YouTube need to be questioned and so does their sources, and to seek professional help (a teacher that teaches the subject or campus counselors). Perhaps, a pastor or even an older sibling or relative they trust. Yes. Your young adult may be able to talk to your brother or your sister about an issue and not you, the parent. My sister was my main source during my teen years and young adult years. She was much older than I was and had been through similar things in which my mom had not.

If you haven’t prepared yourself, you should prepare your mind to know that you will not always be the end all be all, the main source to your child. They grow up. In my belief system, they belong to the Creator ultimately and are not to be controlled but, are to be guided and eventually, left to sail their own ship. I don’t get to pick the ship, design the ship, and pick passengers or destination. I am just on call to assist and to check on. And you learn to enjoy that role. Keyword…learn.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Single Mom War Stories

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I can tell you first hand accounts of being young, with child, and single. I can tell you “war stories” from without and from within. It’s all in my book, Healing the Single Mother by Nicole Jackson. But, on this day, if you are a newly single mother of young children or teens, by way of divorce or NOT (I was not) I want you to know one day you will look back and realize, “This TOO HAS PASSED.”

All of your sleepless nights, tears (bottle up by the Creator), fears, mistakes, lessons, and heartaches/breaks, perhaps the lack of participation from the other parent, lack of respect from others, the statistics, will all pale in comparison to the child(ren) you are trying to raise into productive, respectful, law abiding, compassionate adults. One day, you will look at them in awe, in bewilderment, and wonder, “Who is this amazing person?”

If you are trying to instill morals and values into them be relentless at it. I hope you let them know it’s not okay to hate other people because of their race, gender, or sexual orientation or to mistreat people because of their occupation as the janitor or trash employee (which make a decent wage in some cities actually). Stress the importance of an education, higher learning, a trade, or being an entrepreneur. Talk to them about finances and good credit. Teach them how to learn from their mistakes and your mistakes. You know, you do make mistakes and it’s okay to let your children know that you are not perfect.

If you are doing something and it’s not working, it’s okay to try something different. What worked for us as children, or your parents, may not work for this generation. But what does work and will always work is spending quality time with your children without distractions. Game nights will always work. Listening to them, allowing them to express their feelings and thoughts always works. Discipline always works. Real life conversations will always work. Getting out in nature, the park, will always work. Loving them through the teenage years and hard knock lessons, will always work. Encouraging them, cheering them, correcting them, will always work. Saying no will always work even if they don’t like it or understand. Saying yes will always work. Being their perfectly, imperfect parent…will always work.

~Nikki

Parenting Young Adults: Ignoring Clear Instructions

 

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I bet you thought I was talking about the young adult? No, I was talking about the parent “ignoring clear instructions.” Today I was driving taking the long way home so that my college student and I could change the scenery and feel some fresh air. We had a discussion. After the discussion, I could sense she was thinking and feeling something. I asked what it was and she said she didn’t want to talk about it. I pried. She said I really don’t want to talk about it but…

She did. And she said I really don’t need any advice or support or encouragement. And what did I do? I did not try very hard to resist giving just that; advice, examples, support, etc.

Transitioning from parent to guide isn’t easy. Some parents never make the transition. I mean you are forever a parent but your role changes several times. As a parent we want to be more, less, or the same as our parent (s) were depending on our experience. Personally, I try to be there in ways my parents didn’t know how to be or in ways they didn’t understand were important. I learned today that I was doing something I don’t like done to me. Sometimes when I am in my thoughts and feelings, I just want to be there. She wanted to be “just be in her feelings and thoughts.”

This wasn’t a life changing, threatening, urgent, put on my Life Tour Guide moment, it was a “Oh. Okay. Let me turn on the radio or go to my own happy place and space” moment. Oh well, you live and learn in this PG (Parental Guidance) life. I’m just passing on a “take it or leave it” tip.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musing: Time Well Spent

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My mom is the primary caregiver for my father. He has Parkinson’s Disease which is a result of being in contact with Agent Orange when he was in Vietnam. He also has other illnesses and diseases that have developed after Parkinson’s. Imagine you retire and you develop a disease that DRASTICALLY changes your outward appearance and your mental and emotional well being.

My dad has always been this strong guy with muscles. I remember him lifting weights and hanging from his biceps. I remember the big round weights that go on the weight bench. I remember the children in the neighborhood racing against him and they would lose. So, if it’s hard for me to see all of that, his mobility, his muscles, his strength disappear, it must be incredibly hard for him to deal with. He’s stubborn, but I think by now he realizes he needs help or assistance. Yet, he fights to keep most of his independence because he doesn’t like anyone doing anything for them. Especially, if they make it known they really mind doing it for him or that it’s a problem. I get that and the stubbornness from him. My dad has always had a sharp mind. He still has it. He is like a walking history buff and Bible. He is still pastoring and this is his last year as his health has really declined. Last week when he was in the hospital for rehab, we talked about poetry and just when I thought I knew it all about poetry he throws out poets I never heard of. He recites some lines. This is my dad.

This week my mom was out of town on church business and I was “hired” to take care of my dad. Even though my mom is the primary caregiver, all six of us children are there to do our jobs. We all chip in. Some more than others because some work full time and others have illnesses of their own (like me). We seem to take on our roles and fill in when needed of roles of the others. It just worked out that way. I took care of Dad this week and I got to see him in a different way. I got to see the struggles in a different way. I heard the yelling as he napped. It was something about war. I got to see the depression that he sometimes denies. I got to experience the moodiness and irritability that we rarely see. But, I also got to see the determination to wash his own clothes, put his dishes away, wash up, and put his clothes without my assistance a few days. I saw the sweat pouring down his face and the tiredness that followed those simple tasks.

My favorite part of the experience was getting him out of the house to sit on the porch as he likes to do and we listened to a famous sermon on YouTube by Reverend C.L. Franklin (Aretha Franklin’s father). He was unsure he could get out of the house or go anywhere with his new fancy walker (which he calls the Cadillac). I had to encourage him and he made it to the barber shop with his new walker.

Even though it was really hard work taking care of him all week from 7 am to 7 pm it was time well spent. The pain and exhaustion that I felt daily, the pain meds I had to take, the willing myself to get up, the swelling and the joint inflammation, the mental battle,  reminded me of why I had such a hard time working my last full time job.  By the time you recover, it’s time to work again and creates an endless cycle that worsens your health. However, all that I experience this week was worth the quality time spent with my dad. Care giving is a job. It’s a job for the one doing it all the time and the ones who do their parts regularly and the ones that have to fit it in. However, it’s rewarding knowing that you helping someone you love and it has it’s moments that will someday become memories.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musing: The Auntie Mom

I was an Auntie before I was a Mom. I remember when my first nephew (that was younger than me was born) like it was yesterday. My dad was cutting the yard and we got the phone call that it was a boy and his name was Jeremiah. It was a sunny day in June with clear skies and I remember the grass being so green. My Dad started to sing “Jeremiah was a bullfrog and he was a friend of mine.” He meddled my nephew with that through childhood and even now! My second nephew I had the pleasure of giving him his middle name and he was my first job at 8 weeks old. He later gave his younger daughter the same middle name! I was a babysitter. Those two gave me a run for my money! And there were more nieces and nephews to come.

I am writing this piece for my friend Jackie and Alicia whom are Aunts, and all of the women who want to have a family someday and to the ones that may not be able to. You are a mother by heart. You are a mother because you nurture someone somewhere. You may even be a mother figure to a friend, a sibling, to a class, the motherly one on the job, a doggie mom. You care. You will jump in and fill that roll as an Auntie Mom. I tell my niece Brea I am your Auntie Mom. She’s the fireball of the bunch and I keep close reigns on her because I love her. I was once known as the General and Sargent but, I have been promoted to Lieutenant by my nephew Brandon. I am the Aunt that will play football, dolls, fix you a good meal and bake cookies but, I also believe in discipline.

All of my nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews are my children. I wanted more children but, I am unable to have any more because I had to have a hysterectomy. That was tough and sad. But nothing beats hearing, “Auntie! Auntie Nikki! Ti-Ti!” and getting those hugs. It’s the same feeling as “Mommy!” and receiving love in the hugs. It’s the same pressure to watch what I say and do and how I live my life. I still have to impart instruction, wisdom, and love.

~Nikki aka Auntie Mom