3 tips for taking a field trip with an ADHD child.

Yesterday, we went to a mansion that was built for a young lady because it was what she requested if she were to agree to marry her very insistent husband-to-be.

Apparently, I’ve been doing marriage wrong.

But that’s neither here nor there. The point is that we went because my daughter was interested in finding out if it was haunted.

Is it? No. Not to my knowledge.

But there was a rocking horse made out of real horse hide with a real horse hair mane and tail.

Not terrifying at all.

For most people, a trip like this with a soon-to-be ten-year-old girl would have been a piece of cake. You’d simply show up with your daughter, gently peruse the grounds, and then skip off hand-in-hand Rory and Lorelai style.

Now, let me introduce you to Ava:

Ava, to say the least, is what you would call energetic. Or, if you were a doctor, you might say something to the effect of, “Mrs. Clay, please remove your child from my ceiling.”

You get the point.

She’s been like this since she was a baby. I’m pretty sure she learned to somersault before walking and one time scaled a massive outdoor climbing apparatus when I looked away for two seconds (LITERALLY) and then started laughing when the eight-year-old boy below her was crying and clinging in fear.

She was three.

People always wonder why God decided we only needed only child. And then they spend five minutes with her.

But for me, this is a beautiful thing. I’ll be honest though. In the beginning? Not so much.

I worried. I cried. I blamed myself.

I thought this happened because we had somehow dishonored God and would forever be committed to a life of cleaning footprints off the ceiling.

But you see, I was just looking at things wrong.

Because Ava is the perfect embodiment of the story of Job. Of how you can feel like you’re at a disadvantage and that God is working against you when, in reality? He’s using your situation to grow the relationship you have with Him even deeper.

This is how I’ve explained it to Ava. And she kind of loves thinking of it like that.

So when we go on field trips, I don’t panic anymore. I just set us up for success.

Here are a few tips that might help when you’re out on a homeschooling field trip with your ADHD kiddo:

  1. Keep their hands busy. Ava was actually the one who suggested taking pictures with my camera which I definitely got on board with. Sure, I now have a camera roll brimming with everything from ceiling cracks to individual planks of hardwood but my pictures needed spicing up anyways.
  2. Distract with useful information. When I start to see “the look” (you know the one that says “I’m about to do an impression of a currently hit Broadway show,” I throw in quips about the architecture, I ask questions that make her think, I do my own Broadway production because at least I know I can keep from smacking that irreplaceable two-hundred-year-old plate to the ground. Hopefully.
  3. Find a kind, elderly woman who enjoys children who seem to be on some sort of psychedelic sugar-high. Okay, you’re not going to nail this one every time. But if you do have a guide during your trip like ours and your child is a social butterfly (see picture below), then give your child the reigns to ask questions on your tour. As long as those questions are on point and not so much about where the guide likes to purchase her make up (you can’t win them all).

 

A tip for you, Mom? Enjoy it. I know the anxious feeling you harbor in the pit of your stomach. The one that seems permanently fixed to your colon because you’re pretty sure something embarrassing will be going down any moment. And maybe it will. Maybe it won’t. Either way, let me leave you with this:

“Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal,” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.

Light. Momentary. But the love? Oh so real.

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How to choose Jesus and still write fiction.

The before and after.

I was writing a novel before choosing Jesus (I hate saying “became a Christian.” It just sounds like I filled out some sort of information card and put fifty cents into a jar. It was more like seventy-five so whatevs…).

This novel was a small child I carried in my brain, and I did everything I could to write it into submission and “Christianize” it so to speak, but as all writers understand, you can’t make your characters do anything other than make you go crazy.

(There were an awful amount of curse words in it now that I’m thinking about it. But these things happen. Maybe not to other people but definitely to me.)

So I stopped writing. I started blogging and even toyed with the notion of writing a non-fiction book about my faith journey.

But I figured I should probably read the Bible first so scratch that.

So then I submitted a brilliant poetry manuscript to a poetry contest and guess who didn’t win first place and a one thousand dollar grand prize?

Me. It was me.

I started to get frustrated, but then I realized whenever things get frustrating, it’s God saying, “Ericka, for the love of tripe, quit freaking out. We all know you’re terribly good at it, but nobody is giving away awards to thirty-four-year-old homeschooling mothers who just got coffee on their sweatshirts and are trying to clean their kitchen floors with their tears.”

But can you imagine? I’d absolutely toast the competition.

God speaks to us in a million different ways. My favorite is when I’m quiet and turn down the surrounding noise and my journey starts to click in place again without me even trying.

Right now? That’s writing a blog where I share my thoughts and the heart I have for a savior who never stops saving me.

And it’s also writing a collection of short stories I’m keeping close to my soul, the “after” Jesus piece that’s sparked by His will for my life and my passion for following the curving line that leads from one person’s life to another.

I don’t have to be the old me.

I can just be the better one.


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Three easy ways to save the world.

Somebody on Instagram mentioned how things haven’t changed for us women.

And she’s absolutely right.

And they haven’t changed for the men either.

Or the children.

Or every person every shade under the sun.

We all live in a personalized hell. And Satan has an uncanny way of making us feel like we’re drowning in a pool of our own making.

He also does this cute little thing where he allows you to bob your head awhile to stare at somebody else’s pool. And there they are, lazily floating on their pool float, soaking up the sun.

Jerks.

Right?

I’m not a fan of the “-isms.” Which is a major 180 from the person I used to be. When I was twelve I asked for books about Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan for Christmas. I soaked up every ounce of their lives, their existences, what they fought for. I had no God, not really, so I needed people.

I needed people to save me.

My teenage years were very dark. I ran for miles and miles and miles in the incredibly chest crushing Houston heat. I hated my body, myself and in some sense, I wanted to disappear. I ate nothing but small portions of grapes and pretzels with a little bit of mustard (how I thought this was a brilliant idea is beyond me, well, this older version of me, but I digress) and every time I sat in my closet to read Cold Mountain (summer reading), I started to cry. But not just cry. Panic cry like someone was trying to kill me.

People talk about money and privilege like it solves everything.

It solves absolutely nothing. And I’m convinced it’s just another shiny thing Satan uses to get you to lift your head.

Like fighting for something you believe in even if that means fighting against somebody else.

I’ve thought about it for a long time. Prayed about it, too.

This world will not change on our own accord. We are not the brilliantly evolved beings we like to believe we are just because we have indoor plumbing.

The same issues that arose in biblical times arise now. And we still solve them the same way: with the force of our hands.

So how do we really solve the problem?

Here, let me help:

  1. Christ. Follow him. Give up everything else that is shiny and beckoning and makes you believe you’ll have it all figured out “if just.” If just nothing. Satan knows your heart and your mind. He’ll keep playing you. And he’s very good at it.
  2. Stop the pack mentality. Stop the -isms. Stop grouping yourself into a category and grouping everyone else into another. JUST. STOP. IT. I know you think you’re helping, and if we could just cut that other group down, then wow, we’ll really get somewhere! No you won’t. You won’t get anywhere.
  3. Instead? Look everyone in the eye as the individual they are. Look at every situation as a specific occurrence you can handle with God’s help. Otherwise, you’ll move through life like a mindless pack animal who starts to get twitchy every time somebody posts something on Facebook that’s counter-intuitive to your way of thinking. Nobody like twitching. Nobody.

And here’s one more I’ll throw in for free: don’t judge. I firmly believe our paths as Christians are highly individualized and even though we come together as one body, we all have separate purposes. Some of use might be missionaries, some of us might be called to stay right here. Some of us will be hanging out with the used and abused, some of us will be working with those who label themselves as the quintessential Christian and are under the impression their feces gives off the scent of fresh, cut roses (mmmm!).

So if you happen to be bobbing along in your pool, skin soaking in the sun, hop off your float. Get into someone else’s pool. And help them out.

Otherwise?

We’ll all start to drown.


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Everything must go.

Not everything.

Clothes are probably a must.

But I don’t know.

We (my husband and I…just assume from here on out that “we” refers to me and a man I tricked into marrying me ten years ago and stays because I’ve hidden his keys…in the ice maker…shhh…) love watching Naked and Afraid.

At first, I just assumed it was a bunch of naked people running around for the sake of ratings.

And yes, it kind of is.

But it’s also so much more.

Take for instance the three alpha males who continuously pray to God before they score during a hunt and even though they reek of testosterone and electric eel slime, they check their egos at the door and even keep offering the other naked group on the show the food they’ve killed because, and I quote, “It’s the Christ-like thing to do.”

You’ve never seen so many naked Christians.

I think I’m writing this because I wanted to tell a fellow Christian friend how much this show rocked but then I didn’t because I thought she’d judge me.

HOW. MESSED. UP. IS. THAT.

Here’s why I think we shouldn’t judge: there’s a very intricate web being woven at any given moment and you only get a glimpse of a few basic strands.

What I mean is that God is moving all of us, those who believe in Him and those who don’t. And just because you assume certain things shouldn’t be done/said/thought by those who love Jesus doesn’t mean that you’re the final authority on what should be done/said/thought by those who love Jesus (Matthew 7:1-5).

That’s…well…kind of Jesus’s domain.

Things aren’t as defined as I once thought they were. I think we wade waist deep in a big ‘ol sea of gray when walking this Earth.

But God knows that. He knows our hearts, and He’s molding us as we tip toe down the path he’s mapped out for us even when our feet are tired.

So when you see someone walking down their own path, open your heart and snap shut your criticism. Pray that God has them as tightly as He’s holding you.

And if you notice their feet are bare, don’t judge. But maybe offer them some shoes.


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Beyond skin deep.

This is not what my skin does.

Remember my other organs? How beautifully I’ve been crafted by God that even the medical community has frequently commented on it in the past? (Matt stop rolling your eyes.)

Well, my skin has jumped ship recently.

It’s my fault. As the only child of a woman who is the skin care queen (my mother looks like my slightly older baby sitter. And I’m sure when we’re out, fellow store patrons are relieved knowing someone is keeping an on me), I was given a solid diet of Paula’s Choice products since I was ten.

This is probably why for the longest time waiters were mad at me for ordering so much alcohol. Or maybe it was because I like to order through interpretative dance. Either way.

Ava recently received her first Paula’s Choice skin care kit from my mother this year as well so you can understand that this isn’t a gift given in passing. This is a serious family tradition that marks the beginning of a life characterized by angry waiters and gluing your ID to your forehead.

And I’ve been failing horribly.

I think somewhere down the line I just assumed I had naturally beautiful skin as a consolation prize for telling time making me so mad/sad.

And I’m kind of cheap. And if the Internet tells me slathering a tub of butter on my skin will turn me into a glorious baby deer, I’m gonna do it.

So for weeks, I was poring through articles and firsthand accounts about how certain incredibly cheap DIY skin care routines were the bomb diggity (shout out to sixth grade Ericka, represent!). Ahem.

I tried everything from slathering honey on my face (I was so delicious) to rubbing powdered turmeric into my cheeks for a healthy glow (jaundice is a kind of healthy…right?).

All along I was denying the very thing that kept my skin healthy and my photo on the wall of every bar in the tri-state area.

Faith, like good skincare, can often be neglected. Or maybe it’s never been tapped in the first place.

I’ve been there. I went from Catholic, to “maybe there’s a God,” to “there’s no god but long live Gloria Steinem,” to “anyone going to eat the rest of this guacamole?” to “I’ve been up three nights in a row with night terrors and who peed on the kitchen floor?” (Fortunately, it was dog pee. You can stop holding your breath now.)

My life has never been linear, at least not in my head. I have a knack for cutting people out of it like trying to win a Japanese game show and if you meet me in person after reading my blog posts, you might find me incredibly dull, if not adorably kid-sister like. I’ve already built the fort so…

But God is forever reaching out to me. I know that. And what’s weird you guys is that I FEEL it. Like Justin Beiber once randomly sang on Instagram:

And oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine

(Yeah, he’s gone super Jesus. So…Armageddon soon. Just a friendly warning.)

God would do anything to get me back on track and fully enveloped in His love. Even when I’m off dazed and wandering in the forest, terrorizing a bee hive so I can slather its honey on my face.

My skin is healing now. My mother actually emergency called the Paula Choice’s customer service line to map out a custom plan for my skin and the products should be arriving soon (Some mothers bake cookies… Okay, mine bakes cookies, too. She just looks twenty while doing it).

In her words: “There is NOTHING. I mean NOTHING I need in this world other than my skin care products. Not all my purses, not all my shoes…okay wait, Jesus. Jesus first…then my skincare products.” And if you’ve ever seen that woman’s closet, this is saying something. I’d really like to vacation there one day.

Moral? 

Don’t forget what makes your soul clean and heart healthy. God will never forsake you, so pay him back the favor, mmmkay?

Now let’s go order margaritas and get yelled at. 


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Let go, let God.

I deleted all my previous posts.

How’s that for minimalism?

But it’s been something that’s been playing on my heart and in my head for awhile now.

I’m not who I used to be.

I look the same. Ish. And I’m just as brilliant and incredibly humble about it.

You’re welcome.

But fundamentally there’s been a change. I’ve let the hand go of the old me, and every day I attempt to hold tight onto Christ’s.

That’s a big transformation for someone who’s no stranger to dancing on bar tops.

But I guess my feet got tired. And my daughter needed dinner. And my husband loved me too much for me to keep hating myself.

And God loved me, too.

So I took the leap and let go of everything, and I’m finally free.

And now it’s time to write about what I want to write about. What I really think God would like me to talk about.

Let go. Let God.

I’m doing that on an intense level. On a very real physical level that’s manifested itself into me clawing through cabinets and drawers, ridding our lives of the “maybe one days” and the “you never knows.”

Here’s the thing: you don’t know. You just have yourself, this moment, and God’s path for you. And that’s what the Bible keeps telling us.

And I think that living a simpler life is part of that path for me.

I’m not saying having things is inherently bad because it isn’t. But humor me for a second: what if those were the very things that were keeping us from the journey we’re supposed to be taking?

Let go. Let God.

Okay. So what does that look like? Like with anything else, it’s going to be tailored to you and to what God wants for you. So my first suggestion is my first suggestion for anything: pray.

And here are the words you say:

Lord, please lead me on the path you’ve chosen for me. Please help me to remove any obstacles that have impeded my progress towards knowing you fully and completely so that I can become the person you intended me to be.

Or something equally brilliant. Get creative.

So me? What have I been doing? Here’s a quick list that we’ll delve into for future posts as things progress:

  • I’ve freed my brain from Facebook and Instagram. It gets way more oxygen that way.
  • A complete overhaul of our stuff. Goodbye junk. I never liked you anyways.
  • Clean eating to balance my hormones and feel better.
  • Working out to balance my body.
  • More books. Always.
  • Reading the Bible and writing a poetry compilation as I interpret what I read. You know. Girl stuff.
  • Knitting. And wondering why yarn is the devil.
  • Homeschooling my daughter and learning more about her and myself, really.
  • Slowly taking the natural route as far as home care, face care and body care products.
  • Talking to God like I used to talk to myself.
  • Breathing. Again, girl stuff.

I’m growing, learning, changing. And so are you. There’s no perfect recipe for anything. Only a perfect God.

And as I continue to find my way, seeking Him. I’d like to write about it in the process.

Brilliantly, of course.


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