Uniquely Mi Vida

I Am a Planner…

…with ADHD and Surrounded by People

“A goal without a plan is just a wish” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

So this is me. I’ve been taking a break just because I have a lot to do and don’t want to do any of it, at least right now. I made plans for today, wrote my to do list, yet… after a while you will see me, dragging myself off this chair to continue with “my plans.” Eventually… Why do I feel this way?

pexels-photo-730806.jpeg

Well, I began my day with my delicious cafe con leche and sat in front of the computer to work on my Mother’s Day Sermon. But that is not what I did. Nope, my ADHD insisted on checking out my accessories on my “wishlist” for my little sister’s wedding. First to see the dress I have already ordered (or dresses), make sure they are the right size… I had to pause here. My middle daughter needed my help to get to work. So off I went. Okay, back on the computer and returning to my “to-do-list.” I’m thinking, I really need to read the Bible… I’m just bad at listening to my ADHD brain, because it decided, after seeing the tabs I had open for the clothes, I had to look at shoes…. And into the tunnel of shoes my mind went. Eventually I told myself, “I may not need any shoes if the blush color dress fits.” With that, off I went to actually work on my sermon… or so I thought until I saw the papers in front of me.  I had not made important phone calls, so I got my phone. One of those calls I needed to make was to the university my daughter attends in order to check on her balance.  Picking up my phone I saw I had not checked my messages. My curiosity won out, and I checked to discover my youngest daughter had called me. Better call her back… but first, the phone calls.  That took a while, longer than I expected.  Eventually, I called my little college student. Still in front of the computer we spent time, a lot of time, helping her to get her financial aid taken care of for next fall. Making sure all is paid in full. I hung up and finally decided, “Get yourself together Raqui, get your mind focused.” After a silent prayer I began to read and think through the scriptures. Finally, I’m getting somewhere. Allowing my thoughts to brainstorm and my eyes search through information and praying, “Lord, lead me to the right Word.” I was getting hungry. Figures, it was past 1 pm. With my thoughts going,  and still in prayer, I gather my lunch. Sitting back on my computer I felt God clarifying which scripture for me to use this Sunday. On computerI get excited and continue to put my notes together… I’m moving forward some more! YAY! …and somewhere before I type in the first organized thought.. in comes my Dad… He needs help with his insurance for his “new” used car (long story, don’t ask).  **Sigh** Oh, well, At least I have the scriptures down and my theme taken care of. At least I know what I’m preaching on. While he filled in some information, I had to do something, so off I went to do the dishes until he called me back… As soon as he left I realized I still needed to register for this summer’s Pastor training sections…

Yes, I am a planner. Can’t blame my ADHD brain from getting in the way of my “to-do-list,”  especially when I have others around. (There are times though that I think life would be better if I give out numbers). Even If I don’t distract myself, others do it for me. My tendency to stop what I’m doing to help sometimes annoys… well, me… mostly when I realize that I have a lot to do. I think, however, what gets to me, and this is when my own self-discipline has to take over, is when in the process of one task something comes up. And something always has to come up. Leave it to others to be that something…or your interest in something you saw out of the corner of your eye… that is just in the wrong place…  Or when you are cleaning a room and while taking the laundry you realize the floor need to be swept. You stop to take care of that only to realize that the dishes need to be done…Wait. Let me take care of that before I forget… So what is WRONG with me? Maybe I do need to get this ADHD under control! I really just need to get my to-do-list done… so I know what I need to do.

Planning can be aggravating if you can’t learn to prioritize, well, plan. The problem is when others distract you because they need your help. Helping is not that bad. I suppose I don’t mind it because it is just who I am and who I want to be. It reminds me of the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.”  In the Gospel of Matthew 7:12 it says, “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets”. (also in Luke 6:31) In a way I’m hoping that others return the favor when they see that I have too much on my plate… I don’t expect it but I would like it. Therefore, I have learned to be flexible with my “planning.” I have learned that I can set aside things for the sake of others when they are in need. Eventually, I get my to-do-list done as well (or most of it, okay, sometimes half of it). Some things can be put off for the next day without problems. Keeping in mind when they need to be done helps me. I do confess, sometimes, I just can’t help a person. For example: While I was cooking last night my brother comes in to ask for…well, help… “Sorry, I can’t help you. Ask Todd.” After all, it was getting late…

This is not the only reason why I don’t mind helping others when I have my own “plans”. I help because it is my way of showing that I love them. Helping others is a great way of showing kindness but is even a more wonderful way to show love. Setting things aside and making others our priority is a way of showing love for others as Paul writes in Romans 12:9-10 -“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Though we show love in different ways, setting aside our time for others is a one of those ways. Helping was my Mother’s special way of showing love to others. I guess I learned from her. She would plan ahead of time who she was going to help according to their needs.

My Mom, Raquel, & Me (Raqui)
Mom and Me after her remission from her first cancer, Spring 1990

Often, my Mom would set aside her own needs for the needs of others. Regardless of her “to-do-list” she always had a space for anyone who needed her, even my friends. Of course, she was not as scattered brain as I am… I tried to imitate her love of helping others, to put others first (Philippians 2:3-5). I learned that there is always flexibility in my “to-do-list”. I began by “planning” and helping her when she was very busy with others. I realized how happy and pleased she would be when I would help (And less stressed, AND that was always good for me), without being asked or “made” to. This, in turn, made me very happy. (Of course there where the days I got quarters out if too.) You can say that I learned to be a helpful planner.

Now, being a “Helpful planner,” is my very special unique way of getting my “to-do-list” done and still be kind and loving to others, even with my ADHD mind and all. My concept looks a little like this: Make a Plan A, B and C and always have room for Flexibility and be prepared to re-write and reorganize it when others need you as long as you accomplish it. Better yet, do it in pencil…now… to finish my notes before I have to cook. {Oh, I almost forgot: do my emails, finish cleaning the kitchen, mop my daughter’s room before she gets back from college, …oh, and…}  Wait… did I just hear my brother walk in???!

Uniquely Inspirational

Being a Mom

“The deepest, heart felt joy of Motherhood is watching your kids discover who God is, as creator, father and savior for the first time.”  –Raqui

Today, as my youngest daughter turns 19 (and I’m not telling you my age), I find myself nostalgic for those days when all my girls were young. Of course I don’t miss the diaper changing, or the heartache when they would get lost at the mall, or say “mean things” to me. What I miss the most are those moment they would make a discovery: discovering for the first time the difference of cold and warm water, the colors of the flowers and how they grew from a seed, the beauty of the ocean, mountains and valleys, the textures of the rocks and their differences, and even the bugs that wound up in their pockets. I miss their laughter, the games they would play, and the books they would read to each other even before they knew how to read. I miss the songs they would sing, the learned ones and their made up ones, even if they would torture us daily for months with those Disney princess songs. I miss their creations, even the ones where we had to say, “that is so nice, could you tell me about it” so we could discover what it is. It was amazing to me to watch them discover God’s creation, in shapes in the clouds and in the rocks. I loved their own creations in the sand and with finger paint. Those are the amazing discoveries of a child. To be a Mother and see that is one of the greatest of gifts.

 

As they get older, those discoveries get a bit… complicated… well, sometimes too complicated. Yes, they discover “Relationships!” Not just between friends, and with each other as sisters, but with boys. BOYS! And then a mother’s nightmare begins! Boys just have to come into the picture, there is no avoiding it, try as you may. What can you do short of locking them up and homeschooling?  What is a mother to do!?

Well, I did a lot of PRAYING! PRAYING! PRAYING! (And still do). I know I have mentioned this before about prayer, but it is the number one “go to” solution. And with daughters, it just multiplies to the nth degree. It turns out that prayer is not just a learned behavior, but I think it is hereditary because when I asked my Dad, after he mentioned how I made my mother so anxious growing up, especially when boys were around, I asked “What did she do?” daddy responded with, “Well, she did a LOT of praying. Every morning, every night and every time.” It turned out, I did and even still do that as well. A mother is consistently in prayers for her children. I guess if I had boys I would be praying for them too (and the people that have to deal with them).  Regardless, those prayers help me find peace when I need it. It helps me seek God’s will in their lives as often as in mine as a mother. It gave me the strength when I had none and the comfort when I felt at a loss. Yes, prayer is one thing that keeps me intact as a Mother. It is not just praying for them, it is more about prayer for my sanity.

sisters

I learned to always have a huge line of communication open. From the time they could talk (even though half the time I didn’t understand them), I would ask, “How did it go today?” or “What did you do at________?”  Yes, since the age of 3 I would ask, ask and ask. They would tell me everything {almost}… from how they made a new friend to not liking the snack to getting in trouble and more. We talked in the car on short trips and long trips, around the dinner table and while coloring. As they got older they had gotten into the habit of sharing. And if they would respond with “nothing” (often when they hit the “teen stage”). The question would be “Anything funny, weird or sad happen today?” Though I must admit, one had a hard time, and started hiding her feelings, during her middle school years, mostly due to being bullied. And when she shut down I sent in daddy to talk to her. When they didn’t talk to Mom and Dad, they relied on each other. Often, those lines of communication would get muffled as they grew, but then somewhere in high school they just seemed to open up more again. So much more that their “school drama” would be the topic of conversation during dinner. These conversations, to me, are a window to the heart of my daughters. From relationships to painful events and broken hearts, to weird stories (that I might just want to forget) and to their belief {FAITH} and love for God. (Yes, we even had some deep theological discussions, the Puerto Rican way…) I’m not saying it is all hunky dory (is that even still an English saying?), they had their secrets… But a mother always knows and eventually they have to cough it up.

IMG_0303

Family events weekly, monthly and during the summers became extremely important. After all, that is when the discovery of art, history, nature and more happened. We always had, every Friday night (though in the last 5 years it had to be changed to Saturdays), movie & pizza night. Each of them took turns choosing the movie. On a monthly basis we would go out as a family to special place, even garage sale shopping (as they got older this became their favorite). And since I have girls, why not make a family trip to the mall? These trips were not just once a month, we took them as often as we could. Even grocery shopping at times became a family event. Leave it to Mom to make a trip to Walmart and make it a mother and daughter thing. We set aside 2 family vacations throughout the year for no less than 2 weeks in length. Going to places we had not gone before, that took us to museums, historical places and the wonders of nature. Spending time with other family members on the holidays was just as important. These trips gave me the opportunity to enjoy their growth, their quirk and their silliness. To their amazement, as they learned and experienced new things it was the greatest adventure I have ever encountered. As a mother, these were and are the memories that will never leave me. These are memories that I treasure including the ones that are outrageously funny…

Motherhood for me has been an amazing rollercoaster ride. From the difficulties, disappointments, sadness, pain and even anger to the joys, laughter, excitements, admirations, surprises, and a lot of love. They have forced me to grow, not in height (sadly), but in Christ (happily). I have learned more about the love of God and who He is through my children than from anyone else. From the time of their births throughout their growth, in many ways, my life has grown closer to my Christ, pushing me more towards holiness than I would have done without them. It is the love of a child that opens the windows of heaven. (Matthew 19:14).  I attribute my blessed and gifted title of Motherhood to my God who gave me the opportunity in the first place, and to my unique and amazing daughters who have made me so UNIQUELY Raqui!   …LAS AMO!!

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lordand he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lordtrust in him and he will do this: …” -Psalm 37:3-5

Girls & mom 2017 (2)Mommy and her “Unique”girls!

 

Uniquely Mi Vida

I Am Short

Vertically Challenged

As I stood at the door of the classroom I figured, just another ordinary day of subbing. I was wrong. It wasn’t the kids that made it unordinary, nor the assignments, or other teachers… it was my inadequacy. Yep… my physical vertical inadequacy. I found this out when lunch time came and I was searching for the microwave. I found it, sitting on top of a 2 1/2 ft. tall fridge that sat on top of the counter.  I gasped, “Surely this teacher is not that tall!” Then I remembered, “Well, all of them are taller than me.”  Yes, I am short! Or, as I prefer, I am “Vertically challenged.” I got on my tippy toes and I still couldn’t reach the buttons. So, what does a vertically challenged person do when she is hungry and only has 25 minutes to eat (or less)? Be resourceful, of course. I looked around for something to MacGyver my way to hot food heaven. This teacher had unusual seating for the students, beans bags, crates, unshapely sitting stools and more, but nothing for me to stand on while being held up by gravity.  My next idea, well, long tools… pencils were not long enough and as I looked around (hearing time flying in my head), I found myself using scissors. Scissors! Who in the world needs scissors to press the dumb buttons of a microwave that sits 6 feet high?! Well, me!  UGH! Nonetheless, I got my food in and began fighting the microwave’s img_0657.jpgtouch pad and eventually heard the “beep” of the running heating machine. Sigh.. Finally After getting on my tippy toes to get my food out and eating I had 5 minutes. I had to leave to pick up the children from the cafeteria. I decided; I better get my bathroom break. So, off I went only to find the staff bathroom. Turns out, they didn’t have one. What they had was a “Staff’s stall” and gues what? It was locked! “Okay Raqui, breath, they don’t want anyone messing up the clean teacher’s stall, just unlock it from the inside.” I reached over the door stall, on my tippy toes (again…). Try as I may to strect like plasticman ralizing my arm can barely even make it over the dumb stall door… “Of course you know this means war! In the name of all who are short, I will get in that stall!” I went back to the classroom to get my trusty scissors. I reached over, struggling to finding the latch… meanwhile a 2nd grader comes in, looks at me very puzzled, or was that fear? “I’m vertically challenged… too short” and gave her smile, as I heard the “click” of the lock. WelI, I won. YAY!! It turns out that it’s easier to unlock it than close it and locking it back up from the outside…wound up leaving it unlocked. Sigh** That day I conquered the challenges of my height inadequacies.

It is not easy dealing with my physical limitations… I never thought of it that way until I came to the USA… Everyone arounds me likes to remind me. Like if I, somehow, was not aware of my height and didn’t know how short I am.  In Venezuela I wasn’t “short” compared to every girl, I was pretty average. In Guatemala, well, I was above average! Yes, I admit I’m one of the shortest girls in my family, but not the only one. I have learned to live with it and make the best of it. I have found ways to make up for it. Use a lot a resources to get around. THANK HEAVENS FOR HIGH HEELS!! I married a guy of “average height” who is really good at getting things off the shelves for me. Believe me, he is tall to me, and I have step stools pretty much in every room.  I became an expert climber too… There are just some things that are unavoidable, like “short” jokes. So what do I do when I feel frustrated?

Celeste on stool I have learned to see my height not as a limitation, but as a blessing. A blessing because God created me and I am wonderfully made: “You created the deepest parts of my being. You put me together inside my mother’s body. How you made me is amazing and wonderful. I praise you for that. What you have done is wonderful. I know that very well.” (Psalm 139:13-14) Why? I don’t know. God hasn’t told me why even after I have asked Him time and time again. (Yes, God talks to me and “No”, I’m not crazy, well, maybe a little;) )I suppose that without us short people there wouldn’t be tall people. I’m sure that there is a scientific explanation due to genetics, environment and adaptation. None of this matters, really, because all that matters is that I am fine with the fact that God created me, with my vertical challenges and all. He created me. Best of all, I am wonderfully made.

I have learned that there are benefits to my shortness. I have been able to do things that others taller than me cannot. J I mean, why jump over obstacles when you can just go under them… My soccer coach learned this when she realized that I could steal the soccer ball from my opponents without them noticing. I was good at sliding between their legs and taking the ball! (No joke!) I was the best defense because of my height and my speed.  Even to this day I can sit in a car, or sofa, and curl up taking less space (okay maybe I do take a little bit more space than I used to, but still…). I can also find and see things that others can’t.  Did I mention I can use tools?? I also learned to climb just about everything just like Zacchaeus… not that I can do this well anymore…

“Short People: God only let’s things grow until they are perfect… Some of us didn’t take as long as others.” –Unknown

I have learned to laugh! How? Because, for every “short” joke there is a “tall” joke… Truth is, you can only laugh and joke about it too. It is just the way you see it. That positive attitude that makes us “tall” in our sense of humor is important. This is not to say that it doesn’t bother me when the short jokes don’t stop. I mean, if gets annoying and really?.. so you have to bring it up every time?? But letting it go and finding humor is better than getting upset. However, for those of you that are taller, and that means most of you, please don’t push it. There are so many times the joke is funny… In the meantime, laugh and smile and remind them that “the best things come in small packages”. (And if they don’t watch were they are going they are going to be surprise when they see stars after meeting the door way.)

I guess that even though finding a chair or stool to climb on may not be available, there is always a tall person that can help.  Just like being short can be beneficial, realize that having tall friends is beneficial too. God created them so they can be helpful to those who are created uniquely vertically challenged.