Thankfulness is a Virtue

-If you want to change your life around, It will change your life mightilyLately I’ve been struggling with some frustrating situations in my life. I was at an event at my alma mater last week and they were having a pre-Thanksgiving “Day of Gratitude.” It struck me how caught up I have been in my current situation when I have so much to be thankful for and appreciative of in my life. I thought maybe I would post a thing a day during the month of November, but realized I was way too close to the holiday to have that be a decent list. So, here I am…

And here goes. I’m thankful…

  1. …that I have a family that loves me.
  2. …for the support of my parents in all the things I’ve done and tried.
  3. …that I have a warm and comfortable place to lay my head each night.
  4. …to have a reliable car that gets me to work, has cargo space I need on the job, and can comfortably let me give friends and family a ride.
  5. …for the many learning opportunities that I’ve had in life. Not just for my formal education, but that I’ve discovered other avenues to continue learning even when I’m on the go.
  6. …for the support of a boyfriend who encourages me in my dreams, but still keeps me grounded.
  7. …that my family always has enough food on the table.
  8. …that I’ve had the opportunity to live and work in the same community where I grew up, giving me the opportunity to connect in new ways and even help give back.
  9. …for the peace and calm that I get from the precious quiet mornings I occasionally get surrounded by trees and mountains.
  10. …the ability to take vacations and spend time with my friends and family, even if it isn’t very often.
  11. …that I’m able to bless people with my baking.
  12. …for my family’s patience with the mess that comes along with my baking endeavors.
  13. …for my growing knowledge of my ADHD and how to work with it and utilize the strengths that come with it.
  14. …my family’s and boyfriend’s patience with my ADHD tendencies and the challenges it creates….and their help in coming up with workable solutions
  15. …to have a job where I get to be active and work with my hands.
  16. …that I sometimes get to travel and see new places with my work.
  17. …a chance to work alongside my boyfriend and on a business that gives him (and us) flexibility
  18. …a love for good food and the chance to try new things.
  19. ….my health and ability to be active.
  20. …that I have a job and don’t have to worry about insurance or daily expenses.
  21. …for the internet. It might have shortcomings, but it’s an amazing source of connection and information.
  22. …the ability to create art. I might not be good at it, but it’s a pastime that I enjoy and relieves stress.
  23. …for friends who, though I don’t see them often, I know I can pick up with right where we left off.
  24. …for lazy Sunday afternoons.
  25. …warm sunshine on a cool day
  26. …for all the little things I’m not going to include for fear of boring you all!

What are you thankful for today? Let me know in the comments!

F.O.C.U.S.

I love podcasts. They are a great way to learn, catch up on news, and more. A few days a week, my commute to work is a over an hour, so I alternate between podcasts and audio books on these trips, depending on my mood and how tired I am.

Oftentimes, I listen to these and get inspired to take action (or work on the blog every once in a while!), work on an idea, return to a project that might have fallen by the wayside, et cetera.

But here’s the problem with my brain….Attention Deficit means I have trouble focusing on one thing. The upside to this is that I’m always looking at things in a creative way and coming up with new ideas. The downside (and to Boyfriend’s chagrin) is that I rarely keep with a project to “completion.”

Tonight on my drive, I was reminded of a principle introduced to me by my podcast “friend” John Lee Dumas (Entrepreneur On Fire Podcaster). He has an acronym that I absolutely love…but struggle to follow.

Follow

One

Course

Until

Success

How awesome is that? But here’s the problem… just on my way here, I was reminded that I need (or want, as the case may be) to work on the following:

  • update my mom’s POS register for her upcoming show
  • Develop my own crafty project for said show (that will be doubling as a wedding gift for a friend)
  • Email a couple of people regarding some work for my day job
  • Clean my car so I can get back on the road (I do some rideshare driving on the side. For more info my experience with this, check back soon!)
  • Organize my MANY cake decorating supplies
  • Work on my model cake project(s)
  • watch a youtube to develop my skills with my online business.
  • Schedule time to workout (and just develop a more disciplined schedule to add life balance)
  • Work on my budget to pay off my student loans and start really saving money
  • Find more time to spend outdoors in nature.

Did you keep up with all that? I think the most frustrating part is that I can’t write down all the developing plans while I’m driving!!!  And that doesn’t even include any actual action steps.

I think the key to this is to follow ONE course of action until success (or completion…or failure as the case may occasionally be!). The question, for me, becomes which items to focus on? There’s only 24 hours in each day…And I like to use at least some of those sleeping! So, my goal between now and Christmas (just a friendly reminder, only 2 months left as of this writing!) is to work on a better schedule. Pick ONE project to focus on each day (because, let’s face it, I’m not likely going to be giving up any of these any time soon!)…and maybe see if there is anything else I might be able to put on the back burner.

This week, my goal will be to do some updates for my mom’s POS and to prep the car to get back on the road….some of those other things will just have to wait!

My challenge to you? Figure out what you should set your F.O.C.U.S. on. What ONE project do you need to pursue right now? Why is this the best use of your time? What goals do you have set?

Are you like me? Do you have more projects and ideas to work on than you could possibly hope to accomplish? How do you prioritize what needs to happen now, put on the back burner, or trashed completely? I would love to hear what you are doing in the comments below!

 

 

Wisdom Wednesdays

I recently saw an inspiring post at a new blog I discovered called The Art of ADD  that was full of great quotes. Many of these are just great quotes in general, but the author also includes many that are specific to, or is especially applicable to an ADD life.

I might not have the time to search out hundreds of quotes for you, but I can absolutely share some from the existing list and tell you my thoughts, how I’v found it helpful. My hope is to inspire and encourage (hopefully) weekly.

And so, please welcome the addition of “Wisdom Wednesdays” to this humble site! {audience clap}. We’ll start with something easy, and someone that many of you already know and respect…

“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.”

Zig Ziglar

Now, I think that most people have trouble with self-esteem and negativity, however that is never more true than when you’re talking to an adult ADDer…so many of us have had trouble with learning and experienced personal defeat in so many areas that it becomes easier to just tell yourself you “can’t” do something because of your ADD/ADHD.

self-talk02Not only will this negative self-talk never help, it is actually self sabotaging. “Self talk” consists of those things that your inner voice tells you. You know, that constant stream of diaologue that happens in your head? Yeah, it’s that…but you have the power to CHOOSE how you think!  It takes some time to recalibrate, but is so worth it.

Told  that we are dumb, lazy or stupid when we had trouble with a task or school asignment as children, we began to believe the lies we were told, not realizing that we may have a challeging barrier to success, there are tools and resources to help us combat the battle against our own negativity.

You can, and will make the change. And when you do, you’ll likely be empowered to get more done, and have more success with the things you do try. If it’s something you struggle with, I encourage you to do a google search for negative self talk, as there quite a few resources for you and this is a constant area of struggle for ADDers.

Good luck to you, friends as you work on bringing more positivity to your life!

~Jessica

P.S negative self is something that I struggle with personally. I don’t claim to have it all together…  I am just here to bring light to some of the struggles that those with ADD/ADHD have throughout ther lives.

Blog Notes: This quote and others found at: http://www.theartofadd.com/2012/11/16/50-inspirational-quotes-for-adders-to-live-by/ Picture found at http://consciouscollectives.co.uk/images/self-talk02.jpg

ADD Resources

Websites and podcasts I’ve found helpful:

adda.com/org – among many other things, these guys offer webinars all the time. If you become a member ($50/yr for an individual, $20/yr for students). They also have a lot of other resources. I’m not currently a member, but have heard great things. One good thing about joining is that you get unlimited access to all their webinars (if you’re not a member, you pay/event)

ADDClasses.com with Tara McGillcuddy. Tara is great, because she offers free classes once a month. Personally, I stick to just the free one, but she has some great guests, and I believe you get unlimited access to playing past seminars by joining her website. As a side note, she also has a podcast that is free.

ADHD Laurie Dupar is another great resource. She has a lot of great free contact that she offers on her website and the various seminars she hosts. Just recently, she hosted the ADHD and Motivation week long telesummit. I was only able to “attend” a few of her sessions, but those that I did listen to were great! And Laurie has more great content all the time.

ADDcrusher.com is hosted by Alan Brown, who I discovered when he was a guest at the ADHD annual telesummit hosted by Laurie Dupar. He offers coaching services, but has lots of great content on his website that is completely free!

Books to check out:

You mean I’m not lazy stupid or crazy?: The Classic Self-help book for Adults with Adult Attention Deficit Disorder by Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo

This book details some of the many areas that Adult ADDers struggle with. I actually listened to the online version and it was very insightful.

The Disappearing Act

Hello, dear readers…Long time no talk, right?

Many apologies on my part. Hopefully you haven’t been eagerly awaiting the latest blog post…if you have, well, here it is!

But don’t get your hopes up too high. You see, it’s 2 am and I’m feeling guilty for not having checked in. BUT I plan to change that this year. Yes, yes, I know it’s a little late for New Year’s Resolutions. But I was recently inspired to get back on the blogging horse. If not for you, then for me.

I’ve still got a lot to learn about myself. During my…”hiatus,” as we’ll call it, I have been crazy busy. But more than that, blogging became overwhelming. And when my A.D.D. brain gets overwhelmed, well, sometimes it’s not pretty.

Sometimes, it gets stuck. If you’ve ever heard the term “Analysis Paralysis,” this is what they were talking about. I literally felt like I couldn’t write anything.

And eventually it became easier to ignore the problem than deal with it.

However, I’ve had some ideas for the blog – to make it easier for myself, to expand, and more!

In the meantime, bear with me…some (more) patience is much appreciated

~J

Remembering the Positives

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.” Napoleon Hill

After a week when my shortcomings seemed glaringly obvious at every turn, I was reminded that my ADHD is more than just a series of challenges. No, it’s more than that. It gives me the opportunity to do and think and be differently than others are able. And in that sense, ADD is a tool. An asset. Better yet, it’s a gift. The trick is to harness that tool appropriately The question is, what are the benefits? And how do I use them? For me, it means I’m always interested in many things…yes, that means there is sometimes a lack of focus. But it keeps things interesting and allows me to respond to situations with a wide array of background information that might not seem related. But that added — and often creative –perspective is oh so powerful. While I might not be able to focus wonderfully on one task for an inordinate amount of time, the number of things constantly swimming around in my head actually allow for better multitasking…I could point to the number of activities that I attempt to do in the car while driving as an example, but that might get me in trouble. 😉

pic - thought bubbles
Image courtesy of Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sure it leaves messes behind and can be frustrating, but, for today, I’m choosing to be thankful and remind myself of the positives. And sometimes that choice makes all the difference in the world. Do you, or someone you care about have ADD/ADHD? Have you thought of it as an asset or  just a challenge? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Cupcake Shoes and Information Overload

The last couple of days I’ve been utterly disappointed and frustrated with myself and my lack of focus.

Things always seem to take longer than I think they will.

And today (I began writing on Saturday, in case you’re wondering), I am (finally) going to bake those cupcakes that I promised for a friend’s birthday – no more excuses, her big day is tomorrow! And I’ll double it so there are some for the family, too. After all, Father’s day is right around the corner…

But like I said, I’m discouraged with how inexplicably long things seem to take me. So I was looking at this gluten free vanilla cupcake recipe. It claims to take 8 minutes of prep…and 19 min to bake. Now obviously, my bake time will be different, since I’m doubling the recipe.

But here’s the goal…16 minutes prep time. Double the ingredients, double the time for prep. I don’t want to be overambitious (Boyfriend says 24 would still be a win…and he’s right, unfortunately). Nothing like making a little game of things to lighten the spirits, eh?

So, I know I’ve got all the ingredients…already checked. Just need to gather them. Measuring cups are clean and out, milk and butter have been brought to room temperature, music is on, and a glass of wine has been poured (have I mentioned it’s been a long week?).

vino

I promise to keep you updated as time passes (maybe after 16 minutes…I’m sure you understand. In it to win it, right?).

So here goes….commence the mess baking.

Well, I got the first batch in at

 

Timer

….And that was moving as fast as I could. Perhaps there was some sloppiness that resulted…It’s now been 19 more minutes of tidying and spooning out the last of the batter as “batch one” was in the oven… I just took them out.

 

blank slate cupcakes

What do you think? The one on the back end needs a little more time, but I didn’t want to risk burning his friends. I suppose they’re actually his siblings. Hmmm…

ANYHOW…back to the timer. I got the other two batches in the oven pretty quickly….but it’s after that that things went downhill. The actual cupcakes only took 27 minutes, but the decorating. Well, that’s a whole other story…

While they were baking, I started on the long decorating process. You see, dear readers, the friend had requested particular cupcakes. And they required a bit more time and attention than your average cupcake swirl decorations. I was up for the challenge, but didn’t anticipate how long it would take…or how overwhelmed I would get.. But that’s not the cupcakes’ fault. Leave them out of this.

In fact, I was super frustrated while at the store and then when I got home…I spent waaaay too much money at the store. Had too many supplies, and still wasn’t sure exactly what I was even doing. Recipe for success, right? Nope. Just ask Boyfriend…he’ll tell you how crazy I was.

BUT as he kept reminding me, none of these things was the end of the world.

Fast forward to Sunday…On the car ride home, Boyfriend and I listened to a telecast of a seminar on ADD and motivation (yes, we fully acknowledge that we’re nerds. But luckily he’s a bigger nerd, so when I want to listen to something like this, he just rolls with it. And YES, we do know that most people just listen to music. We are also quite adept at singing along to the songs on the radio, so don’t worry too much about us).

I might write more commentary at some point on the seminar, but a couple of things did stand out. Particularly, the idea that our distracting world makes our weaknesses that much more obvious. The ADD struggle is one with information.

And it struck me…this was my problem. Too much information. You see, I had not one, but like ten cupcake combos in my head. Just as an example….

Friend wants vanilla cupcakes. I don’t have a good GF vanilla cupcake recipe…[searches online for recipe…gets distracted by other things on pinterest. And other yummy recipes on GF baking blog]. Funfetti vanilla cupcakes should work. But she wants this shoe style design…should I try to find the confetti to make them funfetti inside? That seems like lots of work. Oh, I was going to fill them. But with chocolate or strawberry? How ‘bout both. Well, I have the chocolate, but need to go to store for topping. Oh, I haven’t decided on frosting. I want to make that swiss meringue buttercream. But that has ganache topping to finish, and I can’t put that on shoes. Well, maybe still… Oh, maybe I should make ganache to fill the cupcakes instead of the pudding.!!! But that will take forever. But SOOOOOO GOOOD…Or there’s a vanilla frosting recipe to try here. That has flour in it?! Weird. I like the cream cheese frosting from a few weeks ago, but  that wasn’t as stiff as I would’ve liked, and these have to hold well. Should I buy gumpaste to make fondant flower decorations? Save time, see if the store has any. Oh, how about spray on food coloring. That’ll save time and effort. And everything will be same color. I have white pearl sprinkles already, but maybe these silver/grey ones would work better with purple frosting. And sprinkles. I have sprinkles. What on earth am I going to use to decorate the shoes???

And on it went. The problem with this is that not only did I not have a focus, but I also had trouble actually making a decision. And once the decision had been made I would forget and either start the mental process over OR purchase the wrong ingredients. For example, because I mistakenly thought I was making a meringue, Boyfriend now has an extra 18 eggs in the never-enough-space-for-what-we-need-refrigerator. He’s thrilled. But he’ll be fine once I make something tasty for him with the extras. 😉

Anyhow. You can see how there’s waaaaay too much information floating around haphazardly in my head. And Saturday, all of those thoughts got the best of me.

BUT!!! Once I was able to focus and zero in on what I was doing, things got a lot better. Sure there were still things that frustrated me about the process (don’t even ask me about the strawberry filling disaster. Suffice it to say…be sure to always blend your strawberries…those chunks don’t really work that well in the Wilton #230 decorating tip. Just a word to the wise…explosions may occur. No, really, strawberry preserves EVERYWHERE. And no, I didn’t take a picture for you…because *I* was covered in strawberry as well…), but I actually enjoyed working on the small details.

And, also, it’s amazing how getting a good night’s rest (after like 7 hours of working) helps me to gain a little bit of perspective. (ya think!?!?!)

The question for next time is this: how do I pare down the information that’s rolling around in my head and focus in on one thing. Perhaps making a shopping list would help, though I hate to admit it (and am unlikely to remember to do, if I’m being honest, sorry Boyfriend). But even more than that…learning to simplify my projects would help immensely. I think I allow myself too many options.

So. Next time, this is my goal: to have ONE design objective decided upon before going to the store. And only TWO ways of accomplishing this goal in mind. Not 72. With 39 more backup plans ready and waiting in the wings.

I’ll let you know how it goes…

~J.

 

P.S. In case you’re just dying to see the end result, here are some pictures of how the cupcakes turned out.

These are half decorated - before adding any toppers or turning them into shoes...The different colors mean different fillings
These are half decorated – before adding any toppers or turning them into shoes…The different colors mean different fillings
poppies
poppies?…well, originally supposed to be roses, but I changed my mind. these were easier. and still cute
Ribbon shoe
So bummed I didn’t notice that this pic was blurry. The ribbon bow shoes were my favorites
pointy flower
Fun flowers… you can see the heel on this one wasn’t cooperating
no topper just simple
I decided to keep one “pair” plain and simple.
carnation
This carnation looks a bit wilty. It looked better in person…I promise

Stuck

I’ve had a productive couple of days, my dear friends. But sometimes that focus results in exhaustion.

For the last three days, I’ve left work planning to bake. But once again, after leaving class, I find myself uninterested in the prospect. It seems like so much work. Like, a LOT of work. I have to decide which recipe to use, make sure I have all of the ingredients, gather the supplies, clean the ones I used for class and haven’t had a chance to clean, and then I have to actually make the recipe. Not to mention that I also need to make and color the icing. And fondant/gum paste for some smaller details. And that’s all before cleanup. Oy.

Seriously. Whose idea was this, anyway?!?!

Perhaps, my lovely readers, you have, with this seemingly silly admission, dubbed me as “lazy.” And I won’t deny that I am a little bit.

But I also think there is more going on. The sheer act of starting. Of getting to and making all of those small decisions. It’s a little overwhelming.

I’m reminded of a book that I read (well, part of it, anyway) that talked about how to organize your house if you have ADD. Things that seem like extra steps make small tasks seem…insurmountable. For example, I have a set of drawers where I keep my socks. But the book recommended having open storage, so that there is nothing to open every time I need to put something away. And to store things where you actually use them…

And in thinking of this, I think I know part of the problem. You see, dear reader, I eat gluten free (for the duration of a little test I’m doing, at least…I’ll write about that one day soon. I promise), but no one else in my house does. That means that all my stuff gets put on a shelf separated from the items containing gluten, etc.

Well, this was fine for awhile. But as I’ve started baking more, my repertoire of supplies has expanded…drastically. I now how a half bookshelf of supplies that’s overflowing and contains maybe half of my things. So, every time I want to bake, I have to go FIND the supplies. Where have they been stored most recently? Do I still have enough of X, Y, and Z supplies to actually make my recipe? And there are some funny ingredients that no one else would even look for, so if they’re not on hand, they won’t go on a store list…do you know when I last made a list for the store? Ha.

Except when Boyfriend makes me. But that’s usually for a specific meal. Anyhow…

The question is, what’s my solution? I’d love to have dedicated kitchen space. But that doesn’t seem likely to happen any time in the near future. And my dedicated shelves help, but they’re not in the kitchen, so that is an unfortunately added extra step (quite a few extra steps, in actuality).

Today, I’ll try to organize the shelves. But I know full well that this won’t solve my problem, unfortunately.

Perhaps I’ll go back to that book – if I can find it – and see what ideas they have.

And in the meantime, I’ve really got to bake those cupcakes…

Distractions…discouraging or delightful?

to-do_pic

Today is the first day in over a week that I’ve felt like myself. You see, dear readers, I caught a nasty virus that got the best of me for a bit. Indeed, I swore to both Boyfriend and mother alike that I was on my deathbed.

But, as usual, I digress. Will all this feeling better business, I had rather hoped for a productive day…or at least afternoon. I left work in the mid-afternoon, knowing that my body was still recuperating, I shouldn’t push it, and probably needed a short nap. Well, almost two hours later, I woke up from that “short” nap.

Rejuvenated? Sure. Happy with myself for losing so much time?

Not so much.

You see, I had several computer projects to catch up on after not being at my best next week. Not to mention several housekeeping items to take care of…Can anyone say “laundry”???

On a positive note, I did get some of the clean clothes put away. So there are a few less piles in the bedroom than previously. And I did find a voucher for Michael’s baking supplies that I needed (it’s now expired, of course).

But then, I came downstairs with the dirty laundry to find that there was company in the form of my aunt. Who I swear, has an undiagnosed case of ADHD. But that’s a whole other can of worms.

I also discovered that we had already received two of the x-men movies from Netflix…which are clearly required watching before coercing Boyfriend into seeing the new movie in theaters with me. Obviously. 😉 And, excited as I was, it somehow found its way into the DVD player during dinner.

Somehow, in the midst of all this, it was suddenly past 10:00 pm. When or how that happened, I do not know.

All I know is that my hopes of having a productive evening spiraled into a pile of unproductivity.

Perhaps I aim too high, with too many goals for what to do in a day. In fact, I do believe I’ve read somewhere that goal setting and prioritizing those goals is often a struggle for us ADDers. I’ll have to see if I can find a link to that information again.

Needless to say, this is frustrating, and led me to vent and wonder what I can do to be more productive. Earlier today, I was reminded of the value that regular exercise has in increasing mental clarity. Perhaps there is something to this.

Perhaps that will be my next official addition in my quest to find solutions.

For tonight, however, I seek catharsis with pen (or keyboard, as the case happens to be) and the written word.

Gluten Free “Carrot” Cake – aka brown butter cake.

The other day I made my first attempt at what I’d deem a carrot cake. Now, normally I have a hard and fast rule about all desserts containing chocolate. But this exception was allowed for three reasons:

  1. The originally posted cake was beautiful and made me want to try my hand at it, even if I didn’t go the fresh flowers route.
  2. My dad loves carrot cake and his birthday is in May
  3. Boyfriend’s work friend asked for non-chocolate (!?!?!?!?) cupcakes.

So, when I ran across this beautiful post, I couldn’t help but pin it and mentally remember that it was something to try.

And I’m glad I did. As usual, it took me a bit longer than I anticipated. But I think that the results were worth the wait….and the mess.

Have I mentioned how neat and tidy I am when I bake?

kitchen2 kitchen1

My mom tells me I have a special gift…

Both she and Boyfriend attempt to contain the tornado-like effects, depending on which kitchen I’m in. But be careful, there are usually casualties. And invariably, there will be flour of some variety, frosting, and whatever I’ve chopped  recently in small (or sometimes large) quantities on me.

Yes, this is baking. ADD style.

So, right…back to the cake.

The list of ingredients might, at first seem a bit long and daunting. But when you take a closer look, it’s not so bad. In fact, what I love about this recipe is that there are no weird, hard to pronounce ingredients, unlike most gluten free options.

The flour was primarily almond with a little bit of coconut. Which means they’re high in protein as well.  Did I mention that there was no refined sugar, either? #awesome

Photo1

With all of the many healthful ingredients, I’ll be honest…I was concerned that they would taste healthy as well. So, I kept my mouth shut and just told everyone they were carrot cake…and it worked, by golly! Everyone loved them (including me…we won’t talk about how many of these wound up in my belly…without frosting they totally count as healthy breakfast muffins….right?)

As usual, though, by the end of the process I was exhausted and had no desire to clean up whatsoever, much to the chagrin of other kitchen users. It most certainly did not help that somewhere in the baking wait time, I was put in charge of this little munchkin…

Landon_Kitchen_pic

Now, really…who could possibly blame me for leaving that mess? I had a sweet sleepy boy that needed holding. Priorities, right? Right.

In any case, the kitchen did eventually return to a semi-organized state, though I can’t take all the credit. It’s that lack of focus problem coming into view again. But that’s ok, I’m learning to harness those times of focus and use them for my benefit.

And in the meantime, I’ve found a great recipe to share with y’all. I topped them with a tasty cream cheese frosting, though it wasn’t as stiff a consistency as the recipe claimed it would be.

carrot cake cupcake pic

These weren’t aren’t exactly an example of my finest decorating skills, but they were delicious nonetheless. If you get a chance to try these….enjoy! They’re totally worth it. 😉