Shedding the Wallflower

When I tell my children I was shy and painfully unsure of myself during my childhood and early adult years, they question if I am being truthful. The story sounds made up, to them. But it is true.

I spent most of my first twenty some years quietly looking around, unsure of myself and the world. I preferred to watch people, instead of participate; listen to people, instead of talk.

I tried to avoid situations where I needed to talk in front of others and where I felt under the spotlight. I hated being asked something I wasn’t sure of. When asked a question, my mind usually went blank, then churned like a slot machine circling madly to land on the correct answer. Didn’t all questions have a right and wrong answer? I was terribly afraid of choosing the wrong one,

With this established track record of silence, who knows why during my last half-year of graduate school I listened to my friend who recommended that I pursue a job as an English instructor.

Now why it never dawned on me as I was typing my resume, calling English department Deans, or interviewing, that being a teacher required one to stand in front of a class and talk, I am not entirely sure.

Getting dressed for my first night of teaching at a local college I was scared out of my wits. I wasn’t sure I would have any sweat still left inside of me by the time I arrived.

Remembering the vote of confidence from my friend, I grabbed my notes, and out the door I headed. “You can do this,” she had assured.

Talk about an adrenalin surge. Intense nervousness. A cracking voice. Sensations of nausea. Feelings of being an alien on exhibit. I experienced it all within the first 10 minutes of entering the classroom. Being an evening class, I still had another 100 minutes.

To find out what happened, please continue reading this post, Shedding the Wallflower – Made For Brave Sisterhood, at Crystal Twaddell where I am guest posting.

We were made to be brave. And sometimes that means stepping out and doing the unexpected. #worth and identity #personal growth

What I Wish An Older Woman Had Told My Younger Self

Like most things do, it slowly snuck up on me.

There were a few warning signs, but I am not that observant.

I had noticed I wanted and needed more naps to stay alert, but I was just thinking naps were one of my best friends.

I had noticed I had less energy, but after all I am no spring chicken. I also reasoned I was also doing more. And I could still do hard things, like hike 14 miles on the continental divide in less than 7 hours.

I had noticed I seemed to be shedding a bit more hair. But I reasoned it was spring, and I usually shed more every spring.

9 things I would give as advice to my younger self. Everything from mental health to checking my iron and hormones, to setting boundaries and playing more.9 things I would give as advice to my younger self. Everything from mental health to checking my iron and hormones, to setting boundaries and playing more.9 things I would give as advice to my younger self. Everything from mental health to checking my iron and hormones, to setting boundaries and playing more.9 things I would give as advice to my younger self. Everything from mental health to checking my iron and hormones, to setting boundaries and playing more.2 weeks later I was getting my hair cut. At the end of the session my stylist pulled his stool up and sat down to face me.

“I am a little worried,” he said. “You are shedding more hair than normal. If I were you, I would get this checked out by a doctor. My mom was shedding lots of hair and it turned out to be her thyroid.”

I was now sitting up and listening.

I saw my doctor two days later. She ran some blood tests and it turned out my thyroid was fine, but I was low on iron. Very low. And yes, hair loss can be one of the symptoms of low iron. I was suffering from anemia, caused by low iron levels. Low energy, hair loss, and being sleepy and some of the symptoms.

Every few years I get blood work done, but because my doctor had never checked my iron, so it had slipped by unnoticed.

Thankfully, 4 months of taking a high dose of iron had my iron levels back on track. I noticed I had more energy and don’t need to take naps anymore.

Ladies, sometimes we are so busy taking care of everyone else, that we forget self-care—taking care of ourselves. We need to take care of ourselves, or we can’t take care of others.

I know life is busy. And getting to the doctor can seem like another chore in a long line of to-do’s, but we need to make it a priority. We need to buckle down and not let things slowly slide until we are having real big problems. 9 things I would give as advice to my younger self. Everything from mental health to checking my iron and hormones, to setting boundaries and playing more.9 things I would give as advice to my younger self. Everything from mental health to checking my iron and hormones, to setting boundaries and playing more.9 things I would give as advice to my younger self. Everything from mental health to checking my iron and hormones, to setting boundaries and playing more.

Here is what I wish an older woman had told my younger self:

 

1. Get baseline tests in your 30’s, but especially by your 40’s. Test your thyroid, vitamin D, iron, and hormones. Get a lipid profile to check cholesterol. Get pap smears. Don’t forget skin checks for moles and skin cancer.  Test for diabetes. Get your vision checked. Get a mammogram. Schedule regular dental check-ups. Don’t forget to have your blood pressure and heart health checked.

Also talk to your doctor about other tests you may need.

The goal is to see what your numbers are when you are healthy and feeling good. Then when you recheck later, you will know how far your levels have dropped or risen and you can take action before things get so low you are exhibiting many of the symptoms of something.

Some of these tests may cost a little out of pocket money, but remember they are to determine your baseline when healthy. For example, you want a baseline of your hormones before you enter menopause.

2. Address your mental health. Emotional and psychological issues creep back to the surface if they are ignored and not dealt with. This means we have to deal with past loses, abuse, trauma, unhealthy relationships, and more, or they will eventually affect our current life and patterns of acting and thinking.

This may mean talking to a close friend, seeing a therapist, seeking out a psychologist’s help. Several times in my life I have benefited from seeing psychologists. Both individually, as a couple, and as a family. They provide a new perspective and help us better understand our self and others. They can help us find new ways of dealing with patterns and obstacles we have given up on ever changing.

9 things I would give as advice to my younger self. Everything from mental health to checking my iron and hormones, to setting boundaries and playing more.3. Study yourself. Discover who you are and what brings you joy and sadness. Learn your faults and good traits. Are you a people pleaser, perfectionist, an optimist, encourager, problem solver, an introvert or night owl? We are better able to change for the better when we are aware of what we need to change. And likewise, we appreciate our wonderful and unique self if we know what we are good at and enjoy.

4. Exercise. I know it is hard. But walk a little. Dance in the kitchen. Garden. Do squats while the pasta is boiling. Run up the stairs. The goal is to move. And to move in different ways.

5. Form meaningful relationships. Make friendship a priority. Friends to do things with. Friends to share good and bad with. Friends that will listen to you and help when hard times hit.

6. Learn about menopause long before it hits. Read about it. Talk to older women. Discuss the symptoms and treatments. Find out all you can so you are prepared. It’s kinda like childbirth. Everyone’s experience is a little different, but there are enough commonalities that overlap that you won’t be the only one going through what you are experiencing.

9 things I would give as advice to my younger self. Everything from mental health to checking my iron and hormones, to setting boundaries and playing more.7. Engage in self-care. All the above is taking care of yourself. Now add a few other ways to care for yourself and nurture your soul. Like quiet time each day. Drinking your favorite tea. Reading. Calling a friend. Sleeping on your favorite sheets. Painting. A girl’s night out. Playing the flute. (As we are all different, your self-care will look different than other women’s self-care.)

8. Learn to love yourself. Realize your worth. Whose you are. And how valuable you are. Deal with your insecurities and critical voice. Replace lies with His truth. For when we are less hard on our self, we are less hard on those around us. And we are better able to love and care for others in the way they require or need.

9. Set boundaries. On your time, emotions, and life. Don’t let yourself get worn out by doing too much or by not saying no. Refuse to feel responsible for things you are not responsible for. Practice self-control.  Remember to control what you can and leave the rest in God’s control.

When we take care of our bodies physically, emotionally, and mentally, we are doing ourselves a favor, and those around us a favor. We will have more energy. Feel better. Enjoy life more. And be better at loving and serving those around us.

Let’s commit to doing this.

I’ll take care of myself.

You take care of yourself.

9 things I would give as advice to my younger self. Everything from mental health to checking my iron and hormones, to setting boundaries and playing more.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

 


If you need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the Discussion: What do you wish your younger self had known ?

9 things I would give as advice to my younger self. Everything from mental health to checking my iron and hormones, to setting boundaries and playing more.May link up at Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).

9 things I would give as advice to my younger self. Everything from mental health to checking my iron and hormones, to setting boundaries and playing more.9 things I would give as advice to my younger self. Everything from mental health to checking my iron and hormones, to setting boundaries and playing more. 

Building a Strong Moral Compass for Your Kids and Their New School Year

School is starting again.

Calendars will be necessary to keep up with everyone’s schedules. Because things are going to get hectic for our children and us.

We want to influence our children. Shape and guide them to their best selves. But sometimes the school year is so hectic that our good intentions fall to the bottom of the to-do list, and even get crossed off.

This doesn’t need to happen. With a little strategizing and planning we can be a positive influence and moral compass for our children. We can help them counter and question the negative influences that they confront them at school, from their peers, and from society.

5 ways parents can build a strong moral compass for kids. If we want to shape and influence our children, we need to focus on our relationship with them. 5 ways parents can build a strong moral compass for kids. If we want to shape and influence our children, we need to focus on our relationship with them.

We can’t build a strong moral compass for kids unless we have a relationship with them.

 

Children, whether they are verbally telling us parents or not, really do want us in their lives. They want to hear our opinions, want to be a part of the family, and want to know they are loved and matter.

Which means, they want a relationship with us. A genuine relationship that is safe, strong, and will always be there no matter what.

A relationship takes time and commitment. We need to commit to developing and continuing this relationship with our children, despite the busy school year.

 

5 ways to build and strengthen your relationship with your children:

 

1. Spend family time together. Relationships require time together. Children learn so much from us, but it’s easy to get caught up in daily life and forget to allocate additional time to spend together as a family. Eat dinner together. Do chores with them, like raking leaves or cooking together. Schedule weekend excursions. Have a board game night. Watch movies together. Attend a local high-school football game. Hike the local trails. Help your children feel part of the family by doing activities together.

2. Build in time for faithful activities. We want our children to have a relationship not only with us and the family, but also with their creator. Read the bible aloud. Pray with and for them. Take them to youth group. Discuss God and his love for them. Strive to make your faith a normal and natural part of our life.  

Help your children get into a routine with scripture and prayer. Daily devotions are a great habit to develop with your kids. Don’t know where to start? Download devotional apps to your own phone and their phones so they have easy access to God’s word. My teen son and I like to read the daily verse aloud to each other and discuss it.

3. Volunteer. Helping others and serving in different situations takes our children out of them self and helps them see different perspectives. It also builds compassion and empathy. Two necessary ingredients we all need. Encourage your children to do some community service; help with a sports activity, church event, or school event; feed the homeless; or participate in a charity effort. Volunteering can be done individually, as a family, or just you and your child.

4. Reward good behavior. When your children show exemplary behavior, make the right decisions, and say and do things that fill you with pride, communicate it to them and let them know their behavior is recognized. Don’t just say, “You’re a good boy.” Get specific. Say, “I was proud of you when you encouraged your team mate to not give up. You were showing compassion and empathy to him.”

5. Pursue your children. Even when they push you away. God doesn’t let us push him away; he keeps coming after us. Over and again.

Pursue them by developing an interest in their life, hobbies, and activities, even when they don’t interest you. Always be there for them. Initiate the conversation. I have had some of the best conversations with my kids on walks, before bed, in the kitchen, and in the car. Pray for them. Ask their opinions of anything you can think of. They often enjoy telling us what they think if we take time to listen to them and consider their opinions.

We can be a bigger influence on our children than we think.

It requires time and commitment.

But you got this. You can do this.

Focus on the relationship.

It’s the most important thing between you and your children.

5 ways parents can build a strong moral compass for kids. If we want to shape and influence them, we need to focus on the relationship.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

 

P.S. One of my favorite women’s devotionals, and available in an app, is She Reads Truth.


If you need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the Discussion: What helps you build a strong relationship with your children?

5 ways parents can build a strong moral compass for kids. If we want to shape and influence them, we need to focus on the relationship. May link up at Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).

5 ways parents can build a strong moral compass for kids. If we want to shape and influence them, we need to focus on the relationship. 5 ways parents can build a strong moral compass for kids. If we want to shape and influence them, we need to focus on the relationship.