Thursday, June 20, 2013

Blog Intervention for my ADD Boy

Hey everyone, it's Lolly. How are y'all doing? I hope the world hasn't been too cruel to you today. I wish I could say that our life has been all sunshine and rainbows as of late, but alas, that is not the case. Lots of stuff is happening here at La Casa Weed, some good and some bad. Needless to say, we are stressed.

Josh loves this blog and he loves you, his readers. A lot. But, he has been struggling lately with posting consistently and that has been stressing him out. So, I am having an intervention for Josh. A blog intervention. He doesn't know I'm writing this. So hopefully he likes it! (Hi honey! Hope you don't care that I hacked into your blog!)

As most of you know, Josh has ADD. It's not a baby case of it either. It's a full-on colossal dragon-size case of ADD. I'll be honest...
before I married Josh I kind of thought that ADD was a cop-out. I thought it was just an excuse for lazy people who didn't want to work. Josh and I didn't know what he experienced even was ADD until a few years into out marriage. Had I known, it may have been a deal breaker. (That's a joke, by the way.) So, Josh, you're gay? No problem. What, you have ADD? Hold the phone there, pal. I have to think about this a little more.

Now that I have lived with him for 11 years, I am here to testify to all of the naysayers, like my former self, that ADD is very real. And it can be extremely painful and humiliating for those who have it. (And let's be honest, really frustrating to those of us who don't have it.) It's not just a matter of being more motivated or more organized. It's much, much more than that. It's brain chemistry and malfunction.

I had an experience when we were first married that helped me to see that Josh's distractibility was not due to a lack of willpower or laziness. We had just moved to Provo, Utah so that I could finish my degree at BYU. Josh hadn't applied to BYU yet (surprise, surprise: classic symptom of ADD) and so he was planning on looking for a job that first semester as he was finishing up his application.

Here's the scene as I left for my first day of classes: Josh was sitting in the middle of our living room floor in our disastrous apartment. There were piles of unpacked boxes everywhere. We had no TV. We had no computer. We had no phone. There was nothing to do but unpack and clean. (And look for a job, I had hoped.) So, off I went for my first day of classes. I was gone for seven hours. When I got back home, I opened the front door to find Josh sitting in the exact same place as I had left him, in the middle of the living room floor. He hadn't showered. I wondered if he had even gotten up to go to the bathroom. The apartment looked even worse than it did when I had left. I was completely baffled. What had he been doing for seven hours? It's not like he had been surfing the internet or watching TV. He was just sitting there, surrounded by papers. Turns out, the first box he had attempted to unpack was a box of my old journals. For someone like Josh, that box was an ADD trap of death.

A very blurry picture of Josh and me in our first apartment. You can tell this picture is staged because Josh is holding cleaning supplies! Just kidding, he really does clean.

For those of us who do not have ADD, after about an hour or so (or maybe even two or three hours) of sitting, un-showered, on a floor surrounded by boxes, we would go crazy and have to stand up and do something else. We would feel compelled, like it or not, to move on. But, for someone like Josh, his mind moves from one thing to the next while the hours escape him. He doesn't need the internet or the TV to "waste time" (although those things are certainly helpful in doing that.) His mind gets trapped and it is completely paralyzing. I call this his "molasses mode." Observing him in this state reminds me of someone trying to run away from a predator while trapped in a vat of molasses. It is just painful to watch.

If Josh and I were stranded on a deserted island with nothing to do but find food and shelter, you would probably find me frantically creating a makeshift treehouse to shelter us from an impending storm while Josh was sitting in a nearby field contemplating the lifecycle of the butterfly that he just saw. This can be a beautiful thing! We need people in our society who contemplate in this way. (It reminds me of the children's book Fredrick.) However, to anyone who didn't know Josh and understand ADD, you might think he was a complete jerk, leaving all of the work up to me. But, I am here to say that Josh is one of the hardest working people that I know. He doesn't take hard work for granted. No one has to work so hard at working hard as people with ADD. When you see him accomplish something big, you have to know that it did not come easy for him. You have no idea the amount of time he has spent trying to get himself to even get started working on something hard.

I have a sister-in-law with ADD who is a stay at home mom. She spends most of her day thinking about cleaning and trying to get herself to actually do it. After spending eight hours of her day attempting to clean, all the while getting distracted, she has managed to unload the dishwasher. And that's all she can see that she has done, other than keep her children alive (which, granted, is no small feat). It's not because she doesn't want to do more, or because she doesn't try hour after hour. It's because her brain won't focus. Now that is torture. Don't you think she'd rather be the mom that wakes up in the morning, works really hard for a few hours and has a clean house to show for it? I can assure you, given the choice, she'd rather be able to just work hard and get it over with. So, yes ADD sucks, and it is very embarrassing and humiliating to those who have it. They experience a lot of shame. Shame instilled in them from the time they are very young. Our culture is not very kind to these thoughtful, daydreaming, visionary people.

Recently I put a timer right next to the shower. I did this for myself because I love taking hot showers. It is so relaxing for me, but the whole time I'm in the shower I worry that I've been in there too long. So, I got a timer so that I could set the timer and enjoy my shower without having to worry that I was taking too long. Turns out that this has been an amazing tool for Josh as well. It has totally helped him in his morning routine by helping him keep track of his time.


The most amazing ADD tool Josh has ever had--a timer!


I'm basically writing this post because I want you to know how much Josh loves this blog and how much all of you Weeders mean to him (and me!). This blog is a huge part of his life, and mine--it has literally changed our lives for the better. I know how much he appreciates being able to interact with all of you. Without going into a lot of detail, let me just say that he has been going through a rough patch lately. He's been struggling, so you haven't seen him 'round these parts much. But he loves this place, and he loves you all, and I can see him becoming himself again. So, I know he'll be returning back to The Weed.

And me? Well, I love this blog too. Sometimes Josh needs a timer in the bathroom to keep him on schedule. And right now, I am going to help him by being his "timer" for The Weed while he gets his footing again. I will lovingly beep at him when he needs to post something. Sometimes Josh needs that extra help.


48 comments:

  1. Lollie,

    I hope I speak for many of us when I say I would much rather Josh spend his time and energy on your family, work, etc. when he needs to than on us Weeders. We love and enjoy this blog so much, but we love you and Josh even more and want what is best for you. And sometimes when life is busy or stressful or tough, the best thing for Josh might not be to be on the computer for hours to satisfy the demands of his blog. We're not going anywhere. We're not going to get tired of waiting and give up on him. We'll feel thrilled and lucky when he's able to write, and we'll understand and be supportive when he isn't able to write because he is taking care of other things. So tell him not to worry....
    And in the meantime---it's always fun to hear from you. :)

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    1. Amen! I love Lolly's post just as much as Josh's. I like seeing things from her perspective.

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    2. Ditto. :D I hope we Weeders can be a support, not a guilt trigger! I'd offer a virtual hug from a stranger, but that might be creepy. :D

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    3. Ditto! Prayers and hugs to you. You are an awesome wife and eternal life partner for Josh, Lolly. Life is very discouraging sometimes with our human frailties and some of us feel that a bit more than others on a regular basis. The power of empathy and support are priceless blessings so we can all be patient with ourselves and do the good in the world that we desire to do.

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    4. Amen. Well said. We are here and we love you guys! And while we wait for josh just know that he is helping me to better understand my boys who are also deeply ADD. I hope they are lucky enough to find beautiful, wonderful, undsytanding girls like you, Lolly.

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  2. Lolly, thanks so much for posting this. It was perfectly timed.
    You see, I've got ADHD, pretty bad. Most times I can skate by, but other times, like now, everything comes crashing down, and I don't think hell is too strong of an expression for what happens.
    I've been trying to explain this to my boyfriend, and he's tried to be sympathetic. But he and several of our close friends just don't get it. It's not that they accuse me of laziness; they just don't understand. Reading this post was a God-sent reminder to me that I'm not a horrible person just because i can barely remember to accomplish anything. I think it will also help me explain my state of mind to my loved ones.
    Once again, the Weed family has come to the rescue!

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  3. This was really cute. Josh is sooo lucky to have you Lolly! And don't worry about making him post if he needs to focus on other things or is struggling doing it. I totally get it and I know that most of the other readers on here will too. :)

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  4. Lolly you both had a lot to take in this last year. I hope you know how much good this is truly doing. You are all opening so many doors with understanding. I struggle with severe anxiety and panic attacks. I get overwhelmed and forget sometimes that I am doing my best. I needed that reminder. You are all in my prayers.

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  5. I hope Josh isn't feeling too stressed! Thank you for posting about ADD in more detail. As I read, it sounded ALOT like me! So I've just done an online test & scored moderate-severe! I know it's not official but it does recommend I see someone soon. I just thought everyone struggled with the things I do. Maybe i'm not alone after all. Thanks, if you hadn't posted, maybe I would never have realised!! You guys are great :) NC

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  6. Thank you so much for this post, Lolly. You and Josh and your sweet family mean so much to me. Your love, acceptance and humour inspire me and as someone who has struggled with depression since I was a teenager, I can completely identify with that "molasses mode" when I really do want to "get stuff done" and spend the whole day trying to move.

    I'm a freelance Artist and have accepted that I have an overwhelming need to exist through my Creativity, but it's not easy.

    A good friend of mine told me a year ago while I was struggling with a life-changing decision, that as Artists, we are conduits to these gifts from God. We are stewards, we don't "own" the gift, but it is our job to let it flow through us to make the world a better place. The question we have to ask ourselves is are we a good or bad steward and then do our best to keep it flowing.

    Josh's blog was another inspiration that I saw at this difficult time and the little peek in to your lives and wisdom has been a comfort to me.

    I'm learning to forgive myself those days when I'm stuck and accept that it's part of the price that I pay for my vision and creativity.
    BIG huggs to you and Josh. You're wonderful people and so very brave.

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  7. Thank you so much for this post, Lolly. You and Josh and your sweet family mean so much to me. Your love, acceptance and humour inspire me and as someone who has struggled with depression since I was a teenager, I can completely identify with that "molasses mode" when I really do want to "get stuff done" and spend the whole day trying to move.

    I'm a freelance Artist and have accepted that I have an overwhelming need to exist through my Creativity, but it's not easy.

    A good friend of mine told me a year ago while I was struggling with a life-changing decision, that as Artists, we are conduits to these gifts from God. We are stewards, we don't "own" the gift, but it is our job to let it flow through us to make the world a better place. The question we have to ask ourselves is are we a good or bad steward and then do our best to keep it flowing.

    Josh's blog was another inspiration that I saw at this difficult time and the little peek in to your lives and wisdom has been a comfort to me.

    I'm learning to forgive myself those days when I'm stuck and accept that it's part of the price that I pay for my vision and creativity.
    BIG huggs to you and Josh. You're wonderful people and so very brave.

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  8. Thank you for this post, Lolly.

    You and Josh and your sweet family inspire me and I first "discovered" this blog while I was struggling with a difficult life-changing decision last year.

    I'm a freelance artist and have struggled with depression since I was a teenager, so I totally identify with that "molasses state" that you speak of... there are times when I spend the whole day(sometimes longer!) trying to get going. I really really want to DO the things that I need to get done and can't seem break out of that stuck place.

    I'm learning to forgive myself the "stuck" days and look at each day as a new day and a new opportunity. Thank you for the tip of the timer. It was also suggested to me that if I put on bouncy music, it can get me going so that I don't get mired. I use lists a lot -- and don't expect to get every single thing done, but feel good when I do.

    The love, faith, acceptance and bravery of you and Josh are a constant light for me.
    Be well. You are loved for the illumination and vulnerability you share with the world.

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  9. Thank you for this. I began following this blog because I needed an example of an adult with ADD who was leading a productive life (I have a teenage son with inattentive ADD who is struggling), so I appreciate it when you guys address it. I'll have my son read this.

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  10. This couldn't have come at a better time. Thank you so much (both of you) for being so open about things.

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  11. We're not going anywhere, us Weeders are a loyal bunch, Josh and Lolly, and we love you two :) Take your time with posting, we'll be here when you do.

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  12. Josh is a lucky man. I admire the heck out of you Lolly.
    Sorry about the rough patch, friends.

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  13. Lolly, thank you so much for posting this. I don't have ADD, but it seems like almost every teenager in my sunday school class has it, and it drives me crazy. It is so frustrating to try and teach a lesson when your students get distracted by every little thing. And it has been really hard for me to understand why they act like they do. But your post painted a very vivid picture for me, and I think I have a better grasp of what some of my kids are experiencing. I'm still not sure how to get them to focus on the lesson more, but hopefully that will come with time and experience. Thank you, again. And tell Josh not to stress too much about posting regularly. We love him no matter what!

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  14. I too appreciate how open you guys are with things! I know I am ADD but it's so mild that I usually enjoy it.
    I just struggle getting my husband to a doctor, because after 5 years of school, he is still 2 years from his bachelors.
    Humility goes a long way and you guys are proof are very humble, sweet people- so thank you!

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  15. I too have ADD and wasn't diagnosed until I was an adult. This blog is like you talking about me! Josh, know that we love and appreciate you so much! We support you when you are here and when you're not. <3

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  16. Your timing could not have been better. As a mom of 4 with ADHD, I tell you that you are spot on. It is humiliating. I was on medicine for my ADHD & felt so liberated. Then we changed insurance and I had to choose to have that gift for myself OR my son. Yesterday, I had a conversation with someone close to me that doesn't have this.... Issue. She has an immaculate house, dinner ready by 5,runs every morning.... And she just doesn't understand. I left our conversation feeling like a complete failure as a mom & wife. This post helps, just to know I am not alone & that my struggles are not imaginary. Sometimes my ADHD is a positive thing. I believe it is why I am creative & (usually) funny. Anyway... Thanks for posting.

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  17. Lolly, this was beautiful! Tell Josh not to worry if he isn't able to post as often. It's awesome that he's taking care of what he needs to for your family. We'll still be here when he does have a chance to write.

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  18. Mental challenges are a huge thing. I have struggled with severe post-partum depression, for much of our ten year marriage. We have five children...and I feel a lot like your sister-in-law. Sometimes I can accomplish a lot. But for a year after having a baby (at least), cleaning one room per day, feeding our children, and taking care of the baby is about all I can begin to handle. Some of us just have to plow through and keep walking forward in life~even when we don't feel useful to the people around us. Everyone has their challenges. There have been plenty of moments where I have felt clear-headed, like everything was working well; those are glimpses of eternity for me. I'll continue to muddle through, and do my best with what I have to work with...and hope my kids will forgive me for not being the amazing, ever -present mom I wish to be. My faith has grown tremendously through these things, and I know that if I continue to listen to the Lord, that he will turn all things for mine and my children's good. I used to think my husband was lazy...he may have ADHD or something too. He is incredible when he is able to focus on things consistently-so passionate and thorough. But like me, he doesn't always have a clear head. All we can do is be patient with each other, right? And not expect too much...but have constant faith and reliance on our Savior and His ability to make up for us, as a unit, what we cannot accomplish even between the two of us. Marriage is a beautiful thing. Thank you both for being pillars of righteous living!

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  19. Lolly and Josh-
    I just want to send my love. Having ADD myself, it really helped me to see that someone without it understands. Some people don't. They say "Just do it" or "You'll just have to work harder." They don't understand. They don't understand how completely crippling ADD can be.
    It is important to have supportive people in your life. I have my family who makes sure that I think about all the things I HAVE done instead of all the things I haven't. I'm glad Josh has you and your girls, Lolly. Josh, I hope you feel better soon. Try not to stress and take one day at a time. Sometimes I have to tell myself that I just need to try again tomorrow. It's ok to give yourself a break from trying.
    Love,
    Sami

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    1. You are a wonderful person Sami - just the way you are. I love ALL of you and wouldn't trade anything about you for anything. I am SO proud of you and so grateful to be your mom!

      Josh & Lolly - keep up the good fight. I know things will swing back into a good place again. We support and love you!

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  20. You just helped me. Everything you described...Sounds just like me. ESPECIALLY describing your sister-in-law. 0.0 I never thought that could be what my problem was. I'll admit, I recently have been putting myself down to others, including my husband, saying that I'm just lazy.

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  21. You just helped me, Lolly. You never know what kind of impact you'll have on people. Thank you. ^_^

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  22. I think I may have posted this on another blog post but I will post it again. I am a marriage and family therapist (Yay for MFTs!) as well and I also have bad ADHD. I realized last night just how bad it is when I was going through some old client files and realized how many undone things were left in files I thought I had "completed." One of the best things I have learned to help myself and the clients I work with is Bal-A-Vis-X. Website: http://www.bal-a-vis-x.com/index.htm I have received training in it and it really helps my brain to calm down. Also I recently started having acupuncture and that has helped too. Hope this is helpful.

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  23. I know several people with ADD but until I read this post I had no idea it's about the lack of being able to focus. I always though ADD means hyper and can't sit still. I would never picture an ADD person sitting in the same place every day. What an eye opener for me. Thank you so much for explaining this Lolly!

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  24. Great post! I hope Josh gets back to his old self. Your family story is inspiring.

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  25. Lolly- What a good wife you are! I love that you were able to give this gift to your husband as well as us Weeders. It's so important for us to always be in our husband's corners, and you do that so well! Thanks for the great read (I love it when you do a post! I love Josh's posts, but I identify with you so much, it's always wonderful to 'hear' your voice in your writing.) The best to you both!

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  26. That was amazing. My husband has ADHD and I struggle with him not helping around the house sometimes. It's nice to hear how you have dealt with it and that dealing is just loving and accepting him as he is.

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  27. When The Weed is in my inbox, it's a boost to my day. But when it doesn't, I'm just fine. Keep up the good work (both of you!) whenever you can.

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  28. This post is a wonderful love letter. Thanks for writing, Lolly.

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  29. For those like me who wanted to see the full episode of Josh and Lolly's I Am Married To... it is on hulu now. I was sad that I missed it the first time so I thought I would share it.

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  30. Thank you so much for posting this! I too was a naysayer until my son was diagnosed and so many things started to make sense. Unfortunately because of other medications he is on there are no add meds he can take so it is untreated and it is so difficult to get him to focus on getting his GED and finding a job. Any other tips you can give?

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  31. Lolly I love how you lovingly support and defend your husband while being realistic about his challenges. It's a struggle to be the partner of anyone! I'm glad to see you on the blog.

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  32. Lolly, you have the most beautiful soul. And once again it comes across with just as much love in your writing as it does in your presence.

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  33. Lolly... you totally ROCK and your love and understanding for your husband really inspires me! Thank you :)

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  34. Thank you for posting this. My husband has ADD too and it's sometimes very hard for me to understand him or relate to him when it comes to task management and stuff like that. I think we both really relate to this blog entry.

    So thank you.

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  35. Thank you for posting this. My husband has ADD too and it's sometimes very hard for me to understand him or relate to him when it comes to task management and stuff like that. I think we both really relate to this blog entry.

    So thank you.

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  36. My husband has super-duper ADD, with the night crazies (we call it that both when he and the cat run around randomly at night) and all the fun stuff. Anyway, he's talked about all the great things he'd blog for at least 5 years. So, Josh has him beat by like a billion-fold, since he at least *has* and *does* blog, LOL! (Also, my husband once procrastinated over a year to get his only pair of glasses fixed [and really, I finally took them in].)

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  37. I want to thank you for this post. I have ADHD and while I was lucky enough to have it discovered when I was still a kid it is still a constant battle every day. I am so glad there are people like you out there who are willing to try and understand what people like us are going through. For me even with my medication I still have to struggle to get all the stuff done that I need to. I do have to say that there are some benefits (kind of :s...). For example I find that I can multi task really well if I put myself in a situation where I can see the things I want to do so if I get distracted it is at least by something else I need to do. It has also helped my learn many skills over the years. I would be reading or watching something and think: I want to learn to do that! Of course keeping focused long enough to learn whatever new thing I have latched on to is the hard part. Both of you keep up the good fight and thank you!

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  38. Thank you so much for this. I've struggled for most of my life, but never had anything to call it. I've been told, "You are so smart & have so much potential. Why don't you stop being so lazy and apply it?" And I've also heard, "You're so clumsy & absent minded!"; "I don't know how someone can be so easily distracted."; & "Are you sure you're a natural red head?" Outwardly I laugh at the jokes, but inside I'm screaming. I don't *want* to be like this. I didn't choose this. I surely don't like or enjoy it. I have certain tigers and coping mechanisms which help keep me moving most of the time, but it can be incredibly exhausting. Now, after reading your description of how it looks from the outside looking in, I seem to have a direction to focus on in finding the help I need.
    And now having a child of my own exhibiting similar behaviors, I can get him the help he needs so that he doesn't have to suffer like me.
    I can't thank you enough!!

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  39. AuntSue
    This post has been an epiphany for me. I always blamed my husband for our children's ADD, but now as I look at my behavior, (hours on the internet or in a book, inability to keep the house clean, extreme "laziness", I see that my genes have contributed HUGELY to the ADD of our children. AW shucks. Major repenting needed for my negative thoughts toward my husband, and major forgiveness for my negative thoughts toward myself. I keep trying to do better, asking My Father to forgive my laziness, promising every night that I will do better tomorrow, and then doing worse tomorrow. Maybe He keeps lovingly forgiving me because He knows how truly hard it is for me. I am writing this through tears. Thank you.

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