Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Just Say NO to Family Secrets!



Today's post is from the relationship advice column that I write for Insight, a Tampa newspaper. This past month I tackled two questions and this was the second. I discussed the first one in yesterday's post.  I'd love to hear your feedback. What has your experience been with family secrets?
 



Dear Deanna:
I’ve recently discovered a family secret that has me in so much pain, I am thinking about going to therapy. I am trying to cope the best I can but each day it is hard to even put one foot in front of the other and keep going. The information I found out has made it almost impossible to think about anything else. The people in my family who kept the secret are upset I found out and don’t understand why I’m taking it so hard. Right now it seems like no one understands. Talking to them about it just makes me angrier. Should I go to a counselor and be done with it? They don’t want me to share about it with anyone outside our family and I feel trapped.  - Essie

Dear Essie:
My heart goes out to you. I wish I could be there to hug you in person. I understand the pain you are going through. There’s a popular saying you may have heard before: “you’re only as sick as your secrets.” The truth is, although you will benefit from counseling, you aren’t the sick one.  The more secrets a person has, the sicker they are, and you aren’t the one who has been keeping secrets…you’ve simply discovered one and experienced for yourself how destructive they are!  

My advice is: don’t fall into your family’s trap of secret keeping. I endeavor to live a secret free life as far as it depends on me.   The only people who get upset about people who are transparent are people who aren’t free!! There is a difference between confidentiality when professional situations call for it, and secrets.  There is also a difference between discretion and secrets.  Be careful to know the difference.  What some people called discretion back in the old days was really just a cover up for pride.

Some people walk around living broken for many years and wonder why they can't quite get it together no matter how hard they try.  The truth is that covered things don't heal well.  Think about when you have a cut on your body.  You might clean it with peroxide or alcohol, then apply some antibiotic ointment and use a band aid.  That band aid being on there for a few days is a good thing but if you left it on forever it would never heal.  At some point the injury needs to be exposed to the air, to have complete healing.  Our lives are like this.  We can shove things down all we want but the truth is it never heals or goes away, it just festers until one day you explode. 

Even when you are tempted to keep your own secret, think about the fact that what threatens to break you also has the potential to be the platform you stand on to help others through their own trials.  What about when you live transparently and people talk about you in a negative fashion because now they know things about you that might not have been your finest hour?  My answer to that is, the kind of people who talk are always going to talk.  That's who they are.  That's what they do.  They've chosen to be who they are.  You might as well choose who you are as well.  Don't let somebody else make the choice for you.   

Living free is a wonderful thing because no one has any leverage on you. What power is there in somebody letting a cat out of a bag that has already been running around for years? It's old news that everyone knows so no one cares.  When secrets are exposed, they lose their power.  

My thoughts and prayers are with you as you break free of this negative cycle that your family has been trapped in and find your own way in a secret-free world. 

E--Mail your questions for future columns to deannashrodes@gmail.com. Due to space and time every question will not appear in the monthly column, however Deanna welcomes you to interact with her where she blogs daily at  www.deannashrodes.net. 

Deanna is an author, speaker and certified coach who loves living in the Tampa Bay area with her husband of 25 years and their three children.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

When Friends Invite People Along (And You're Not Happy!!)




My post today is from the relationship column that I write for Insight, a Tampa newspaper. This month I tackled several questions and this was one of them. I'd love to hear your thoughts about how you handle this when it happens to you.  

Dear Deanna:
I am having problems with a friend who invites me to do things with her and then after I have already agreed, invites someone else to join us. This may not appear to be any big deal, however my discomfort with the situation is that she often asks people I’m not particularly fond of and don’t want to spend an evening or an activity with…people like my ex-sister-in-law. Yes, AWKWARD!!!  Once I’ve agreed to attend, I don’t like to back out just because she invites someone to join us that I’m not comfortable with. But I’m really tired of dreading these times together. What do I do? I don’t want to lose my friend but I also don’t want to keep dreading her events and invitations.

Signed,
Dreading

Dear Dreading:
 I understand. This has happened to me. One thing I’ve come to believe is that if a friend changes something we initially agreed upon, the initial agreement is no longer in play. When I RSVP to a friend’s invitation, I do so on the condition that it regards specifically what she asked me about -- not something else I’m unaware of. If she changes major details there may not be an obligation to follow through as I have not agreed to the new terms. For instance, if a friend invites you to go to the movies and you say yes but later says, “by the way, we’re not going to to the movies…we’re going water skiing…” would you feel obligated to follow through? Probably not. You didn’t agree to water skiing and it is perfectly reasonable to decline. In your case, you did not agree to spend an entire evening with your ex-sister in law.

I am very careful about accepting invitations. If a friend has been known to do what your friend is doing, I become reluctant to say yes to invites.  They usually notice that and ask me, “well…are you going to join me…or not?” and I’ll say, “Hmmmmm…not sure yet.  It depends on who’s attending. Will it just be us?” If she says yes then I take the opportunity to say, “Great. As long as it will just be us, I’m in.” If she asks me why I’ve made this clarification, I would let her know  that while I’m looking forward to spending time with her, I appreciate the opportunity to know who and what is involved before I make a decision. This usually solves the problem. I hope it works for you and you can enjoy, rather than dread, upcoming times together.


E--Mail your questions for future columns to deannashrodes@gmail.com. Due to space and time every question will not appear in the monthly column, however Deanna welcomes you to interact with her where she blogs daily at  www.deannashrodes.net. 

Deanna is an author, speaker and certified coach who loves living in the Tampa Bay area with her husband of 25 years and their three children.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Do You Fit In...Or Stand Out?



Nine years ago. Six years old. Elementary School.

Me: I really don't want you to wear that to school tomorrow, Savanna. I believe your classmates will laugh at you.

Savanna: [batting her big blue eyes at me] I don't care if they laugh at me, Momma. 

Me: Oooookay. [gulp]


I will confess that in the beginning, I feared for her. I thought at some point, she would get off the school bus, run home crying and throw herself down. Grieved by her classmates taunting. I had visions of bullying.

But it didn't work that way.

She became the trend setter. The one who stands out.  


Fitting in.

Standing out.

People are driven to do one of those two things.

I've always been driven to stand out. Sadly, I feared when my children went this direction. All of them went the stand out route, in one way or another. Like me, Dustin isn't someone you would describe as caring a lot about fashion. But, he is a creative type -- a communicator who stands out. He stands out with his words. Jordan stands out externally and internally. He makes a statement by what he wears and what he creates.

So, why did I fear for them?

Because I know the pain of standing out. There can be periods of loneliness and waiting for something good to happen. 

For an artist of any kind there are intense seasons of aloneness and behind-the-scenes hours and days and months of preparation, with little feedback. And sometimes you create something and people don't respond the way you thought or hoped they would. Sometimes they hate what you produce. So you are standing out, in a way you didn't imagine.

As a mother, I stood out like a sore thumb with the way I raised my kids. Some people resented me for it and told me I was doing it all wrong. 

Standing out requires being okay with standing alone at times.

Standing out requires perseverance in the silence.

Standing out requires an inward assurance that you are doing the right thing even when you don't always have a cheering section to tell you that.

Standing out rocks though, because it's the only way to become...outstanding.



  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Weekend Wrap Up


Before I wrap up blogging this weekend, I thought I'd share some highlights from Dustin's birthday...

The table was set with his favorite meal ~ pot roast and all the trimmings...including...

Homemade yeast rolls...yummo...

And the one thing he wanted more than anything...a Batman cake.


It seemed to make him real happy...


And that's good because Moms are happy when their children are happy.

We've got a full day at Celebration Church today and our Holy Roller Night Outreach tonight. So much fun!



I hope everyone is having a great weekend.

Much love,


Saturday, October 27, 2012

He's All Growed Up! (Sigh)


He's 23 today.
Twenty-freakin'-three.
[sigh]

Time stand still?
Please stand still.

Changes are hard.
Even good ones.

And they just keep coming.
And there's nothing I can do about it.
Nothing.

Lord knows I've tried.
And like most other things in life, it's out of my control. (And that's probably a good thing, most times.)

At least he's turned out perfectly wonderful.
The best a parent could ask for.

I'm talking about one, Dustin Michael Shrodes, if you didn't know by now.

He's our youth pastor now, by the way. Just in case you crawled out from under a rock and didn't know. Or you are reading my blog for the first time and have no idea who the main characters in this real life scenario are. Please meet my absolutely perfect first born son:



You can read some day-to-day happenings of his early years in a hand written blog I kept and shared here a while ago. You'll love it, I promise, if you have any sentimental bone in your body whatsoever. You can see the hand of God working in his life from the very beginning. Cause' that's just what God does.

We talked about going out to Kobe like we do many times for family milestones, but all he wanted was his momma's pot roast dinner with gravy and mashed potatoes and corn and homemade rolls. And...a Batman cake. [sigh]

I'm not that artistic.

I make tasty meals and homemade bread and stuff like that, but I am not a Mom who makes decorated cakes. I just make frosted ones. I could sense a failure on the horizon if I tried to create Batman.

So I called a bakery and explained what I wanted.

Here's how it went:

Bakery: What kind of cake would you like to order? 

Me: A Batman cake. For a birthday.

Bakery: Okay, what size?

Me: Well, there will just be seven people, so not a real big one.

Bakery: Well, we have Batman on a motorcycle or a scene from the Dark Knight but I don't know if I can fit that on a cake that feeds seven people. Our size cake appropriate for that amount of people feeds about 10.

Me: Okay, I just need a Batman cake that looks good. What can you put on the cake that feeds 10?

Bakery: Well, we can't fit the whole Batman scene but we can use Batman colors, write the child's name and include the toy that the child can have to play with even after the cake is gone. The child is mostly going to be interested in the toy so I think if you have that even on the small cake, as long as they have that, they should be happy, right?

Me: Well, um......they aren't exactly a child.

Bakery: Mmmmmmkay. I see. So, it's for a teen?

Me: Not exactly...it's for my son who is turning 23.

Bakery: Oh. [chuckle] Okay. Well, do you think he will want the motorcycle Batman or the Dark Knight?

Me: I'm not sure. Let me ask my husband.... (messaging Larry to find out) Okay, his father says he will want  the motorcycle Batman.

***

So, we'll be dining on the family favorite pot roast dinner and a Batman cake with Dustin's girlfriend and another best friend he wants to invite.

This is the son who, for his 21st birthday two years ago, requested a keg party...with nothing but a keg filled with orange juice. Preferably "Simply Orange".  Because that's all he drinks.

Why the Batman cake?

When Dustin was two years old my husband took him to see the opening night of Batman at the theater. They have gone to the opening night of Batman ever single time since. They go no matter what. In sickness, health, snow, rain, sleet, hail or anything else, it matters not. Larry says even if they have to fly to one another someday in the future to do the opening of Batman, they will. It's tradition.

He's such a good boy. Oops...young man!

I'm still getting used to this, ok?  But the Batman cake does at least give me a little bit of an illusion that nothing's really changed. Yet. Right?

A Mom can dream.

 

Friday, October 26, 2012

It's Fun Friday! And, where I'm blogging today...

Today is Fun Friday, which means...it's my day off! I love Fridays. Adore them. Crave them. What could be better than a day to do what we want to do? (To have more time to do what you want to do, vs. what you have to do, go here, where I'm helping lots of people.)

I am blogging today at Lost Daughters, one of my favorite places to be. I enjoy blogging there on occasion when I get brave enough to do so. :) More than that, I enjoy the sisterhood I've found there, with my adult adoptee friends who understand on a level that is impossible for others. Today at Lost Daughters, I'm sharing specifically about what I'm doing to help orphans. Here's my post, if you're interested in following me there today.

Have a most blessed day!

Much love,

 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I hate stigmas


Stigma: a distinguishing mark of social disgrace.

Who decides what they are, anyway?

What I hate about them is that because they are established by some, many don't get the help they need.

I know so many people who hold back in pursuing support or wholeness because a social stigma is attached to whatever they deal with. Whether you have a physical condition or experienced some  type of trauma, if you don't pursue help because of a stigma it makes what you go through even worse.

I am part of a support group. Sometimes I help others, and at other times I'm the one in need.

The help I receive doesn't just make things bearable, it makes walking in true victory possible.

Victory is not pasting on a smile and acting like nothing is wrong. Victory is acknowledging and facing the battle, and reaching out for the help you need to win it.

I beg you, my friend, don't let a social stigma about anything hold you back from reaching for the help you need.

 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

3 Truths About Meeting a Need

Recently I attended a writer's conference in California. I had new business cards printed just prior to the conference, to take with me. Although I knew I would need cards, I gave no thought to a card holder.

Soon after arriving I was smack dab in the midst of groups of writers who were networking and exchanging cards. Most of them had fancy little black or silver card holders. I had nothing. Each time someone said, "do you have a card?" I was left to stand there digging in my purse, pulling cards out of a little ziploc bag I had hastily stuffed them in prior to leaving for the airport.

Ugh. How embarrassing. Everyone else had fancy schmancy...I had ziploc.

I thought, "hhhmmmmm....what can I do? I am totally out-classed here..."

So, I stepped into the ladies room and started going through the black hole that is my purse, rummaging for anything that might be a suitable business card holder.

This is what I found:




Yes.

Seriously.

I quickly moved my pills to a little zipper pouch compartment of my purse...and...



Boom-chacka-lacka!!!! I had myself a fancy little business card holder...one that MATCHED!!!

I was now ready to head back out and network with the best of 'em!

The purple pill case went perfectly with my cards. You can't see the colors real well in these photos but my shirt has purple swirls in the photo and the thick line in the business card is purple. A few people were amazed at how my cards so perfectly matched my card holder.

It worked like a charm, my friends. The moral of the story here is...

1) You already possess whatever it takes to meet a need!
2) Think creatively! Leave no stone unturned to discover it!
3)  Once you find a solution -- don't be afraid to use it. Move forward confidently.

Every time someone said, "Let's stay connected, Deanna. Do you have a card?" I flipped my little card holder out with pride and said, "Sure do! Here you go!"

 Them: "Oh Deanna...wherever did you find such a cute matching combo like that?"


Me: "Oh...it's an exclusive company. BHC. You've probably never heard of it..."

[Bayer Health Care! Ha ha ha!!!]


 I got home and shared this with my husband. He thought my idea was great but he also thought I deserved a real card holder. A few days later, he came home and blessed me with this:




As you can see it's black and silver. It's a lot "shinier" than the picture reflects.


Although I love this one, I might pull my exclusive BHC holder out on occasion, just for old times sake.  :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

3 Ways to Improve a Relationship With Someone

1) Ask what the best part of their day was.
2) Ask what the worst part of their day was.
3) Ask how you can help.

These work.  I speak from experience.

Try it!


Monday, October 22, 2012

Where Can Girls Go With Their Questions?



Last night, a bunch of them came to Celebration Church, and to me.

It was awesome. We laughed. We cried. We hugged.

We went there.

We talked about stuff some people are never brave enough to speak of. We tackled the tough issues.

We were strengthened.

"Can we do this all the time, PD? Like everyday?" they said.

"Ummmm....everyday? Can we gather in person with this group every single day at the church?" I said..."In person...realistically, probably no. But can we get together on a regular basis in person? YES. Absolutely. Yes!!!" (And we can get together every day, on Facebook in between times!)

Last night I gave each of the young ladies a stack of small papers and a pen as they came in. We sat in a circle. A bucket was placed in the center. I told them at any time during the evening they could get up and put a question in the bucket that they didn't feel comfortable to ask out loud.


A lot of questions were asked out loud, but probably a dozen of them were placed in the bucket. After a brief teaching on mentorship, we discussed all the questions.


After this meeting last night, I am more encouraged than ever about this generation. They want to grow. And they are craving our investment.

Let's not be afraid to go there. Let's answer what they are really wondering about. Let's face the world head on with this generation, and together be victorious in the journey of life.

 
*Photos courtesy of Rachael Rice

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Weekend Wrap Up



I've been away a few weekends in a row at conferences, so this weekend I've been catching up on a lot of  house and yard work. So much that my leg muscles ache with each move! I might just take some ibuprofen to get through all my responsibilities today...

The best part of my weekend so far was connecting with my support system at Lost Daughters.  The writers group there provides something for me that I've never had before and I'm so grateful.  I don't post blogs there all the time, yet. Just a few. I have a lot of them sitting in draft that I'm just not ready to publish. A few times I've even set them to publish and then moved them back to draft.  When dealing with issues that aren't ready for public consumption, I'm able to process them privately with the writer's group.  I've gone to counseling before but I must say, this is better because I'm actually talking to people who share the same experience. It's the missing ingredient I've never had. What a comfort!


This morning I'm teaching the Celebration Church Newcomers Life Group. I serve continental breakfast to my group every week. Lately I've been experimenting with making different breads. Last night I made this one. We'll see how they like it.

Tonight I'm hosting a mentoring night with the young ladies of Celebration. I'm meeting with them for "Triple M" ~ Mentoring, Munchies and More. Should be fun!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

What Room Do You Clean First?

Where do you start when the whole house is messy?

Mine has been out of sorts the past few weeks with being out of town for three conferences and lots of other stuff in between. I've been juggling the best I can but still have some catching up to do.

Yesterday I needed to start somewhere and it was rather overwhelming but the choice was easy. I started on mine and Larry's room and bathroom first. 

So often people prioritize the public areas that everyone sees first. (Entry way, living room, etc.) It makes sense. We all want the parts that everyone sees to look great.

I have a bit of a different take on things though. I feel like there's nothing more important than the place where Larry and I spend time privately.

It's that place that makes all the public things possible for us. Not just today but for the long haul. And make no mistake, we're in it for the long haul.
 

Friday, October 19, 2012

How to Handle a Bad Day


"Depression hung over me like a black cloud...and it was hard to find my way out at the time..."

These were my words during a sermon a few years ago and afterwards a lady rushed up to me and said, "you mean YOU were actually depressed? Because I can't even imagine that. You seem so...together... "

Truth be told, all of us go through hard times. And all of us have rotten days. Me included.

I happen to be having a good day today. But a while back I was having an absolutely horrible day. And because so many people seem to think people like me never have bad days like they do, I got the brilliant idea, "I'm going to video record my bad day!!!"

Yes, I know that's kind of bizarre but I have a passion to share transparently with people.That's why this blog is about transparently leading and relating from a faith perspective.

So I did what was for me, a courageous thing. I recorded scenes during 24 hours...even waking up in the morning with no make up and bed head.

Why did I do this? First to relate to others that people like me do have bad days just like you do. And when we wake up in the morning, everything is not solved. Some days it gets even worse. But more important, I wanted to show the response to a bad day, as I see it from a faith perspective. Because things can and should be different for people of faith.

This was recorded a while back and with the benefit of time that has passed I can tell you that good has come about. All of the problems have not been solved -- even the particular issue I was hurting over in this video has not been completely resolved, BUT...God has worked all things for my good!

I have grown!
I have learned!
I have moved forward!

God has brought me treasures in the darkness. (Isaiah 45:3)

He has a habit of doing that, especially when we respond like His Word tells us to. Because His Word will never fail us even when a lot of other things in life do. His Word is forever faithful.

So here we go...


Just a reminder -- this was pre-recorded! I am having a great day today. Please do not e-mail, text and call me in droves saying, "Are you okay??!!!!!" because I'm just fine. Although I do appreciate your concern. :)

Much love,

 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Two Reasons Why People Grow (Or They Don't!)


I was recently in a regional leaders meeting where we discussed the fact that today's people want events, seminars, workshops, mentorship and coaching. More than anything they seem to crave a leader's personal investment of time and interest. However, it was also noted that when any of that hits home and puts the finger of truth on areas of their life that need change, they back off.  Scores of leaders affirm that people want them to pour into their lives but only to the degree that it doesn't mess with their desires, habits, goals and plans.

 

I've noticed two things about people who grow. 

1) They recognize/honor the gift of God.



"So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up…" Ephesians 4:11,12

Christ Himself gave these people to us to speak into our lives. Christ is not confused about what He sent.

The gift of God isn't God, however the gift does speak wisdom from God and has been appointed by him. Many will honor and receive the gift of God until they tell them something they don't want to hear.  People love to have their leader's affirmation and encouragement, but rare is the person who craves truth-speaking, even in love. Because truth hits us where we live and it brings us to the crossroads of uncomfortable decisions. Those who honor and receive from the gift of God even when it touches sore points in their lives are the ones who will grow.

2) They don't just tolerate truth, they ask for it.  


They crave it. They beg for it. 


God gives a guarantee for growth in His Word. Don't you like guarantees? I love them!! A sure thing makes me super happy.

Referring to the gift of God and speaking truth (in Ephesians 4) it says,“speaking the truth in love, we will grow…”
 
Not we might grow.
Not “it’s a possibility that we’ll grow.”
We will grow.

So first we know, this is the key to real growth -- guaranteed growth.

If the truth is spoken and if you hear it, and act on it, you will grow.

Do you want to be a whole package deal? Do you want to be all that and a bag of chips? I don't.

I want to be all that, a bag of chips AND dip, AND a Coke!
The Bible tells us how we can do that.

Verse 15 says: “To become in every respect the mature body…”  

Not just some respects.

Every respect.

Because the Word knows that there are some who can be respected in some ways but not in others.

And that’s not good enough for the mature believer.

God wants well rounded believers. No, that doesn’t mean you gain a shirt size each year. 

This means well rounded spiritually. 

The whole package!

Nothing’s missing!!!

You can have real growth in your life right now. You can move forward more than ever before. The choice is up to you, and starting with these two things gives you the winning edge. It's God's plan. That's why it works!

*This post today was taken from my message last night that I preached at the Fusion service at Celebration Church. It seemed to resonate with a lot of people so I'm posting a highlight from it here.