forgiveness

Forgiving anyone is no small task, but it’s doable.  Forgiving yourself…now that can be tricky.  In order to forgive anyone, you have to acknowledge the hurt, pain, disappointment, and/or frustration.  You can’t keep walking around acting like it’s ok.  As parents we go into “it’s ok” mode quickly, it makes it easy to move to the next task.  If I sit and think about how hurt I am, then I’ll start crying and then I may want to talk and I just don’t have time for that right now so let’s just push these feelings over into a nice little corner and move on.  We’re good, right?  On the outside we all know how to make it look like we’re good but on the inside not so much.  Me being a mom (of a beautiful autistic young lady might I add), I can say that I can be extremely hard on myself as a parent.  You can try to encourage me all you want but all I hear is wah wah wah wah wah (Charlie Brown’s teacher’s voice).  I’ve had family and friends tell me: You’re doing a great job, You can’t do it all, It’s ok, You need to take a break, You’re too hard on yourself, I don’t know how you do it…..wah wah wah wah.  Because my self talk is the total opposite…I’m telling myself, You suck, You can be so stupid, You’re not a good mother, She deserves more…that’s my self talk…kind of horrible.  If I talked to anyone else like this, I’d need to ask for forgiveness because it’s not acceptable…I deserve that same courtesy.

Being an autistic mom (or mom of an autistic child), there has been and will always be times when I need to be the advocate.   There has been and will always be times when I see what she doesn’t and I need to be her voice.  Whether it be at school, at church, or just in the grocery store.  There are people that still don’t understand autism, they still stare at her (adults moreso than children), they still try to give me criticism dressed up as advice on basically what can be done to make them feel comfortable with my child being autistic & sharing space with them.  I have to forgive myself for all of the times that I was too afraid to…or felt that I didn’t know enough to…or was just too shocked at the time to stand up for my daughter and be her voice.  But I also have to make sure that the next time, I’m ready.

There’s so many more things that I need to forgive myself for, and until I started writing this post I never even thought about it.  At the end of the day (I hate that I typed that phrase) I want to be the best mother that I can be and be the mother that my daughter needs me to be.  And to do that I can’t be drained from the negative self talk and beating up myself for every decision.  In the words of the oh so wise Else from Frozen I have to (sing it with me) Let It Go & embrace what is, accepting the complement sand encouragement without saying “yeah but”.  Just let it go 🙂

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Forgive Yourself

As a wife and mother, you never realize how often you have to forgive yourself. For example, yesterday was the first day of school for our older three. Wait, let me rewind and set the stage.

(Que- Black Star Instrumental) Hello, I’m a 35yr old, Brown Skinned Lady, I’ve been married almost 11yrs (Oct. 2005) to my awesomely geeky husband. I have four beautiful, intelligent boys (12, 8, 5, 1). I’m born and raised in the 313.  If you would have asked my 17yr old self would I be married with four children by 35, I probably would have said, “yes” with some variations (music fade out).

I’m a career mom and an entrepreneur when I have time. Being me isn’t easy. Many people ask me “I don’t know how you do it”? My response, “the Holy Spirit,” like if I was to take an outer body experience and look at myself, I would probably want to commit myself. Like, literally in today’s society, it’s a lot to take on.

So back to my original story…. first day of school. I set my alarm the night before for 5:30am. My kids were all in bed. As I set my alarm, I thought to myself, I won’t be there for the first day of school. How does a mother not make it to the first day of school? I mean I’m, a working mother who had a pressing call at 8:30 a.m. The question would be, “couldn’t you have pushed your meeting back? The answer, No.  In all my 12yrs of parenting, I have NEVER missed a first day of school. However, that day had come.

When I think about it, I think of the words of one of my directors said during a meeting, “It’s not work, life, balance” it’s more like “work, life, compromise”. Well, today was a compromise. A compromise, which I also had to forgive myself after it’s all said and done.

I have to forgive myself for being a career mom. I have to forgive myself for actually liking my career and even the times it takes me out of town. I have to forgive myself, for not being there all the time and as attentive as I should. However, I can’t fully say I’m mad at myself though. I am living my best life right now. I’m living the life I’ve always wanted, a home in a historic Detroit neighborhood, working for one of the largest auto companies, I’m well educated and I have four brown boys that keep me alive. Most importantly, I’m married to my best friend and he supports me in everything I do. Can you say WINNING!?!?

Forgiving one’s self is cyclical. There will always be something the makes us think you’re not enough and you can always do more/better. The key to all of this is no matter what, this too shall pass. We have to forgive, dust your shoulders off**jay-z** and keep it moving. Because you know what? There is still so much life to live and as for me… I’m going to live my life to the fullest.

 Constance Thomas is married to Kristopher Thomas and they have four boys Khamani, Dylan, Chase and Levi. She currently works in Diversity Marketing for General Motors. You can follow her on Twitter: @Only1ConnieT

 

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We are more than we have become!

Live Better with Dr. Willie Jolley

My wife loves theater – particularly the play, The Lion King. She can see that play over and over and over again, each time getting the same thrill. And she also enjoys watching the movie with our grandkids.  And to be honest, I enjoy the experience each time as well…because every time I see the play or watch the movie, I get a new perspective about life.

Be More
On my most recent viewing, I was re-inspired by one specific statement. Mufasa, the father, appears as an apparition to his son, Simba, who by this time is a grown, but playful, adult. Mufasa appears and says, “Simba, you are more than you have become!”  

As I listened to that line, I realized that statement could apply to all of us!  We tend to get comfortable with life and don’t always get serious about the possibilities for our lives…

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Leaders Are Shining Lights by Angeline Lawrence

I remember a time in my life that I eschewed the spotlight. I could sit quietly in meetings and listen to the rhetoric spoken by coworkers.  I would write notes or protest by whispering to my neighbor. However, as I grew in my relationship with Jesus Christ, I realized that I could no longer sit quietly allowing issues to remain unresolved.

As a staff member in a municipal department, I was one of the few people that would ask the difficult questions. I could not just accept the norm, but I had to challenge the leadership when I knew we were going down the wrong path.  After many heated staff meetings, my coworkers would come to me and say, “I am glad you spoke up about that issue. I had the same concern.”

I learned how to harness the power of the Holy Spirit to make a difference in the lives of people around me. Yes, as Christians we should always pray, but there is a time when we must speak out. The key is being led by the Holy Spirit to speak with authority to shift the atmosphere of injustice.  Walking in the Spirit is our first priority as Christians. As we walk and are led by Christ others will see our integrity, fairness and passion for justice and will follow. Matthew 5:21 states, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

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In a Perfect World by Michelle Love

What type of impact will you leave when you’re gone?  Great question!  I’d love to think that when I’m gone I’ll have more positive things said than negative.  But I still have a lot of work to do.  I can’t pass up moments to love on my loved ones, taking for granted that they’ll be there tomorrow.  I can’t selfishly hold on to what I can’t use instead of giving it away to those in need.  I can’t say one thing and then do another.  There are so many things that I need to work on to be better so that I can “maybe” leave a great impact on others.

When you talk about leaving an impact, as a mom I automatically think about my little one.  If I could mold this place into a perfect world for her.  A place where people can know she’s autistic and not act like they’re afraid.  A place where she doesn’t get stared at for being herself.  A place where…..she’s accepted.  I think about the lyrics to the song “If I Could” by Regina Belle, and I don’t know what I thought the song was about when I heard it in the 90’s lol but as a mom those lyrics are on point.  I can’t do it all, but I have to do what I can to make things autism friendly for my child, that goes for church, school, camps, family gatherings….I owe it to her to make that impact.

Hobby Lobby SignI took this photo tonight when I went to take advantage of Hobby Lobby‘s 40% off sale on their stamps.  I spent $40 bucks on some awesome stamps, mostly Christian.

I got home and noticed that I received a response regarding the photo you see here on my Facebook.  It wasn’t bad, just their opinion that Hobby Lobby is “suing the federal government so they don’t have to do things like provide equitable health insurance coverage for their workers” and that the sign in the company’s entrance was merely a “window dressing”.  That sign has been up there since I have been patronizing the store.  I just took a photo of it because I thought it was cute.  Who would have thought it would turn into a blog entry?

My response is as follows, respectfully:

I haven’t really followed this, but what i know is that Hobby Lobby is a Christian based company.  They refuse, if i am not mistaken, to agree with the federal’s birth control mandate (paying for the “morning after pill”).  I understand and respect that because they are Christians who standing by what they believe in.  On their website, it clearly states they are  “honoring the Lord in a manner consistent with biblical principles,”

Also, i understand that Hobby Lobby isn’t alone in suing the Obama administration over this mandate (new health care law by President Barack Obama). There are other groups fighting against this mandate, it’s just that Hobby Lobby is the largest.

I am a Christian and I love to craft. I support their decision.  We are still respecting the First Amendment right?  Not all insurances pay for abortions or anything that “causes” an abortion, such as the morning after pill.  So why make this company do it?  I don’t think that’s fair.

I spoke with some workers there tonight and they are not happy with what the government is doing.  They are happy Hobby Lobby is fighting.  I mean, $1.3 million in daily fines if he doesn’t pay for types of contraception. YIKES!  It’s not like their employees are being mistreated.  They are actually getting good insurance coverage and getting paid well.  So, unless an employee had an issue with it, why did the government come after Hobby Lobby?  This company refuses to pay for the morning after pill.  They refuse to pay for “abortion-inducing drugs.”  They are staying true to their faith.  They will not be the first! Heck, my insurance doesn’t pay for it and I have GREAT insurance!

Ok, so now we have Walmart, who is a Christian-based company and Hobby Lobby.  I wonder are they going to go after Kraft’s Macaroni and Cheese next.  He’s, James L. Kraft,  was a Christian and his company was founded on Christian principles.

Bottom line: We all have free will.

This is my opinion.

What are your thoughts?