Making a Difference is Hard

I don’t know about you, but I constantly struggle with the sense that I need to be trying to make a positive difference in the world. Yikes, saying it like that makes it sound bad. Let me rephrase that: I really, really, want to make a positive difference in the world, and doing so is challenging. I get grand ideas of how I might approach doing so–most of which either completely flop or turn out to be ridiculously less grandiose than I anticipated.

I suppose part of the difficulty is that it’s impossible to know if I’ve made a difference or not. Even the occasional compliment or expression of gratitude sometimes leaves me thinking, “Are they being genuine, or just trying to make me feel better?”

Not that I should complain about being there for someone when they feel the need to offer the service of paying someone a compliment–I’ll take it any time, but it does leave me wondering if I’m really leaving a mark.

And I know–I know; it’s really about the little things, the kind word, the smile, the simple act of service. I know those are the more important actions that truly make a difference.

But don’t you get that nagging sensation that in addition to those things, you ought to be doing more?

Maybe I’m just weird, but I have that sensation almost constantly. Does it mean I really need to be doing more, or just that I’m suffering from anxious ADHD energy overload? Or maybe both.

Anyways, I’ll keep trying.

ADHD

ADHD: A Year Later

It was a year ago next month that I was diagnosed with ADHD, and my doctor prescribed Adderall. I wasn’t surprised by the diagnosis. I’d done enough research to know for myself that the fit was perfect, but I wanted to be sure, so I went to the doctor, who confirmed my suspicions.

I didn’t fill my prescription. I guess I wanted to try to treat it myself first. I thought that if I did all the right things–proper exercise, diet, fish oil, etc, that I’d be able to manage it on my own. After all, I was 35 years old, and I’d made it this far on my own, right? Even if those things didn’t help, what would it hurt to just continue dealing with it.

And I was right. I could go like this the rest of my life.

But I ran into a friend at church who has ADHD, and he told me his experience. Basically, he’s been on Adderall for the past ten years and it’s been life-changing for the better. His wife was there, too. She not only confirmed what he said, but she was the one who had suggested he go to the doctor to see if his childhood ADHD hadn’t actually worn off like he’d thought. Ten years later–ten medicated years later, their family is in a much better situation.

That conversation re-opened the case for me.

I could share my whole internal dialogue–my concerns and worries about using an amphetamine/psychotropic drug (and if you’re interested in hearing those concerns, I’d be glad to share in future entries), but I’ll just say after much thought, prayer, and conversations with Jenni, I’ve decided I’d like to give it a try.

There’s not one specific thing or incident that makes me think I should do it, but the thing that keeps coming back to me is that these kinds of medication, when they work properly, make life a lot easier on the spouse and children of the adult with ADHD. Things have been stressful lately–really stressful. I’m a ridiculous optimist, with a tendency toward grumpiness when things don’t go as I’d hoped (which is pretty much most of the time), but I think it’s been especially hard on Jenni. No doubt my ADHD issues have exasperated that stress. It wouldn’t be fair to BLAME myself for it, any more than it would be fair to blame an invalid for all the extra stress and work required of his/her caregivers, but that doesn’t mean I don’t add considerable stress to her life. It’s not my fault, but my ADHD is a source of great challenge.

If my taking medication can reduce that pressure, it’s probably worth it. I would happily go blissfully absent-minded through life, forgetting stuff, avoiding tough paperwork (such as medicaid papers and taxes–ugh…), and only seeing what I want to see in life, but it’s not just about me anymore. I’m willing to tough it out, but I don’t like the idea of her suffering because of my stubbornness.

Jenni hasn’t said anything about this, except that she will support me in whatever decision I make. I so love her for that. No pressure, just love and support.

Maybe it’s time for me to try giving something back… at least attempting it. I still don’t know what medication will do to me. So I’ll give it a month trial to see what happens.

Now if I can just get the self-discipline to fill out the paperwork to get me back on PCN so I can go back to the doctor to renew that prescription…

ugh…

Book Review: Ice Cream Work, by Naoshi

If you’ve never heard of Sunae, a beautiful form of Japanese sand art, Ice Cream WorkI highly recommend picking up a copy of Ice Cream Work, by Naoshi. Naoshi is a Japanese sand artist, and every page of this colorful book is an example of this fascinating art.

overcuppress_icecreamwork_monday_2-e1432939512653The story is about a woman finding work, and each day tries a different kind of work, all focusing on different aspects of her work with ice-cream. The pictures are bright and fun, and the language is easy for young readers to read.

The concept of the sunae art form is genuinely fascinating. I even found a video demonstrating how Naoshi does it.

How to make SUNAE from Naoshi on Vimeo.

You can get Naoshi’s book, Ice Cream Work on Amazon, or you can follow her on Facebook.

Naoshi_Sunae_Classrom

Rootstech 2016 Giveaway (3-Day Pass)

Yes, I’m about to offer a free pass to the 2016 Rootstech 3-day conference. But first I’d like to tell a little story about my last experience with Rootstech.

I’ve been working on genealogy since I was a teenager. It was right after Personal Ancestral File went from low-tech black screen and white (or green, in some cases) words to “high-tech” blue screen with white words. I was just getting my feet wet when I came across some fascinating tidbits.

First, Benjamin Franklin was my great-great-g-g-g-g-g-whatever grandpa (found out later he was actually a g-g-g-g uncle, but still…), and second, that I had royalty in my family line–namely, Prince Hathaway. It was only after much searching that Prince Hathaway wasn’t a prince at all. Prince was his name, and after further misleadings, I learned that Prince was down a different line than mine–that we’d been following the wrong line.

Anyhow, I’ve learned a lot since then, and have come to discover that every person in my family line is fascinating. They were pioneers, shop owners, parents of a dozen kids, farmers, miners, toothbrush makers, people of faith, people of music, people of industry, people of creativity, people of passion, people of faith. Whatever they made of their life, every tidbit of information has become like gold to me.

My first time attending Rootstech a few years ago, I was doing a presentation on self-publishing your family history. The class went well, but the moment things got really interesting was when a man approached me after class and introduced himself to me. He shared my last name, and as I thought about it, I realized we’d conversed online. Kent and I are something like 3rd cousins twice removed–I haven’t figured it out exactly, but Kent was a gold-mine of information about the branch of my family that includes Prince Hathaway (which, I might add, turns out I probably AM related to–it just keeps getting more exciting as we go along!).

Kent had even done DNA testing, visited the birthplaces of our shared ancestors, and spent literally decades in research on the individuals that leave the most mysterious shadows on my family tree. Never could I have expected that.

We actually spoke several times throughout the conference, and both he and his wife Jaelynne were both fascinating and informative to speak with.

I was also interested in the booths representing the plethora of websites, companies, organizations, guilds, and technologies available to family historians and amatuer genealogists.

The beauty of the whole experience for me was the discovery of how many allies we have to our family history efforts. Sometimes the hours behind screens, old books, and endless wanderings up and down aisles and websites can feel quite lonely, but that’s only an illusion. There are so  many people and resources ready to help. There are even people researching branches of your family history already, and never in history has it been easier to team up with them.

Okay, so you heard my story, now you get the goods. I’m excited to announce that I am a 2016 Rootstech Ambassador, which basically means that in exchange for my helping to get the word out about the conference, I get to offer someone a free 3-day pass to Rootstech 2016. So here are the rules:

  • Share this link on your favorite social media (Facebook, Twitter, blog, whatever)
  • Comment here, sharing something about an ancestor of yours.

I’m going to trust you on the first rule, so by commenting about an ancestor of yours, I’ll be assuming that you have shared a link to this contest. The commenters will be entered into a drawing to win. That way you can know how good your chances are by counting the number of comments. If you’re the only commenter, you’ll win by default. Seriously, folks, you’ve got nothing to lose–other than three days of your otherwise boring life to an exciting, fulfilling, fun, and incredible family history experience.

Here’s the real clincher. You have ONE week. The comments will be tallied one week from today (September 21), so get sharing and typing!

My New Gardening Website

Blue Flax 01If you’ve been following me for a long time–like a really really long time, you’ll know I love gardening. Well, with our recent move to a bigger property, I’m excited to document my gardening excursions–but it’s not going to be a simple garden. It’ll be a full on food forest.

Of course, it will take decades to get it to that point, but I’m really pumped about this, so if you’re interested in following my efforts, and (please please please) offer any tips you might have, come visit my enchanted forest garden website, WildTater.com.

It’s brand new now, but I promise, there’s more to come…