ADHD, charts, children, homeschooling

How Do Executive Function Problems Affect My ADHD Child?

#ADHDFacts

#DrBarkley

#GraceUnderPressureBlog

#ADHDAwarenessMonth


If you or your child have ADHD, you have executive function issues.

ADHD is basically all about problems in executive function.

What is executive function?

“Executive functions (collectively referred to as executive function and cognitive control) are a set of cognitive processes that are necessary for the cognitive control of behavior: selecting and successfully monitoring behaviors that facilitate the attainment of chosen goals. Executive functions include basic cognitive processes such as attentional control, cognitive inhibition, inhibitory control, working memory, and cognitive flexibility. Higher order executive functions require the simultaneous use of multiple basic executive functions and include planning and fluid intelligence (i.e., reasoning and problem solving).” –from Wikipedia

How executive function problems affect someone varies by the person.

For instance, I don’t struggle with time management as much as some of my ADHD friends. I struggle in some areas, like keeping on a strict schedule, but I don’t struggle to arrive places on time or to make plans.

Some ADHD people have a hard time thinking up creative solutions, but that is one thing I am really good at.

So, while ADHD does involve executive function, how it looks in each person is as individual as the person themselves.

The following chart lists the various areas of executive function that could be deficient in an ADHD person.

How Do Executive Function Problems Affect my ADHD Child

It was very helpful for me to identify which areas I am good at and which I am not.

There are some of these areas that I am not struggling with which was very encouraging for me.

It also helped me to see these all written out because I was able to look at this chart and see how my children struggle compared to how I struggle.

At least if I can identify the problems, I can give them more grace and help in that area. If I can identify the issue in myself, then I can realize when one activity is going to cause more stress than another.

You can download the PDF of this graphic here: How Do Executive Function Problems Affect my ADHD Child PDF.

Follow this link to read a detailed description by Dr. Barkley of the 7 areas affected by executive function.

To learn more about executive function, take a look at these posts:

What Is My ADHD Child’s Executive Function Age?

What Is My ADHD Child’s Executive Function Tank?

For additional posts on ADHD:

What You Need to Know About Your ADHD Child

13 Facts Parents of ADHD Children Should Know

17 Things Your ADHD Child Would Tell You if He Could

10 ADHD Statistics Parents Should Be Aware Of

ADDitude Magazine Endorses Homeschooling When Public School Isn’t Working

Start Here to Learn More About Homeschooling an ADHD Child

So, You Want to Homeschool Your ADHD Child


 

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I cannot diagnose your child or offer you medical advice. A lot of the ADHD information on this blog comes from Dr. Russell Barkley’s videos –many of which are available on YouTube. There are many links in this post to more information about these topics, but since I am not a scientist or a researcher, I am unable to provide you with double-blind studies. I am just a writer and artist making articles and graphics based on information I have seen and read from ADHD professionals in an effort to raise ADHD awareness. I encourage you to look into these ideas yourself and follow the links provided. You can see more of those videos from Dr. Barkley at the bottom of this post.


 

You can also download a pdf worksheet to evaluate if your child’s ADHD treatment is helping his or her symptoms here.

If you found this information helpful, I would be honored if you would subscribe to my blog and follow my Facebook page.

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

Advertisements
ADHD, children

10 ADHD Statistics Parents Should Be Aware Of

As part of ADHD awareness month, I have been posting ADHD facts regularly on Facebook. More than once I have been asked if I could back up my facts with studies and data. For some of these facts, I was able to find data; others I only have videos or articles by experts. I hope you find this information helpful. Please consider following the links and looking into the sources yourself.

An educated parent is better able to help their child.

Statistic adhd


1. ADHD is the most treatable condition in psychiatry, and yet 40% of ADHD children and 90% of ADHD adults are not recognized and treated for their ADHD meaning that the issue is under-treatment, not over-treatment. [source]


2. 80% of people with ADHD will be on medications at some point in their life which is a good thing because ADHD is a neurogenetic disorder and ADHD medication is an effective, proven neurogenetic therapy making medication completely justifiable. [source]


3. Less than 20% of adults with ADHD have been diagnosed and treated.
[source]


4. Approximately 2 million children in the USA have ADHD which means that in a classroom of 30 children, at least one will have ADHD. [source]


5. Only 50% of young children with ADHD are receiving services for their ADHD. [source]


6. At least 50% of ADHD children have a comorbidity or additional psychiatric condition. [source]


7. About 80% of ADHD patients respond positively to the medication. [source]


8. When ADHD people use stimulant medication it lessens the likelihood that they’ll abuse drugs and alcohol not increases it. [source]


9. ADHD people often use drugs and alcohol as self-medication which would likely be reduced if they were medicated properly. [source]


10. Exercise helps ADHD more than any other psychological disorder, so everyone who has ADHD should be in an exercise program of some kind. [source] and [source]

For my ADHD boys, I think Fruit Ninja on the Kinect was the best exercise program of anything we tried.


BONUS:

11. 50% of ADHD people who take medication are completely normalized meaning that the medication allows them to function like a neurotypical person. [source]

12. 50% of children with ADHD also have a learning disability. [source]


I hope you find this information helpful!

You can download the printable PDF of this image here: ADHD Statistics That Parents Should Be Aware Of.

You can also download a pdf worksheet to evaluate if your child’s ADHD treatment is helping his or her symptoms here.

If you found this information helpful, I would be honored if you would subscribe to my blog or follow my Facebook page.

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

PS If you enjoyed this post, there are many other posts on my blog about ADHD such as:

13 Facts Parents of ADHD Children Should Know

17 Things Your ADHD Child Would Tell You If He Could

Start Here to Learn More About Homeschooling an ADHD Child

What Is My ADHD Child’s Executive Function Age?

What Is My ADHD Child’s Executive Function Tank?

DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A DOCTOR or mental health professional. I cannot diagnose your child or offer you medical advice. A lot of the ADHD information on this blog comes from Dr. Russell Barkley’s videos –many of which are available on YouTube. There are many links in this post to more information about these topics, but since I AM NOT A SCIENTIST or a researcher, I am unable to provide you with double-blind study reports. I am just a writer and artist making articles and graphics based on information I have seen and read from ADHD professionals in an effort to raise ADHD awareness. I encourage you to look into these ideas yourself and follow the links provided. You can see more of those videos from Dr. Barkley at the bottom of this post.

ADHD, children, homeschooling

What Is My ADHD Child’s Executive Function Tank?

#ADHDFacts
#DrBarkley
#GraceUnderPressureBlog
#ADHDAwarenessMonth

Executive function is defined as “self-directed actions needed to sustain problem-solving towards a goal.”

“Executive functions (collectively referred to as executive function and cognitive control) are a set of cognitive processes that are necessary for the cognitive control of behavior: selecting and successfully monitoring behaviors that facilitate the attainment of chosen goals. Executive functions include basic cognitive processes such as attentional control, cognitive inhibition, inhibitory control, working memory, and cognitive flexibility. Higher order executive functions require the simultaneous use of multiple basic executive functions and include planning and fluid intelligence (i.e., reasoning and problem solving).” (from Wikipedia)

ADHD is an executive function disorder.

Because of the asynchronous growth in their brains, ADHD people struggle with executive function.

It is a daily struggle.

Since so much of life requires executive functions, it is easy for those of us with ADHD to deplete our executive function ability –or our executive function tank.

Different activities can either fill or tax our executive function. When the tank runs out, the ability for self-restraint is gone resulting in blowups and meltdowns –even in adults with ADHD.

“The executive function has a limited fuel tank, and you can spend it out real quick. Every time you use an executive function and you use it continuously, you empty the tank. And, if you get to the bottom of the tank, in the next situation, you will have no self-control. This is the ADHD child after school. It [the executive function] is gone, and you want to do homework? You’re out of your mind! So, you’ve got to refuel that tank, and that tank has a very limited capacity.” –Dr. Russell Barkley

What taxes the tank? How can we refuel the tank?

What Is My Child's Executive Function Tank-

You can download a printable PDF of this graphic “What Is My Child’s Executive Function Tank” by clicking here.

The most useful perspective on ADHD is to view it as a chronic disability.

“ADHD is the diabetes of psychiatry. It is a chronic disorder that must be managed every day to prevent the secondary harms it is going to cause, but there is no cure for this disorder. They [those with ADHD and their loved ones] need to view ADHD as diabetes of the brain. It’s a chronic disorder.” –Dr. Russell Barkley

Like with any disability, those with ADHD will need the support from those around them to succeed.

I hope this chart helps you better understand what is going in with your ADHD friends and family.

You can learn more about executive function on this post:

What Is My Child’s Executive Function Age?

To learn more about ADHD in general, there is a great video at the bottom of this post. The video is a 3 hour long series by the wonderful ADHD advocate Dr. Russell Barkley.

What You Need to Know About Your ADHD Child

Many of the ideas in this post have come from Dr Barkley. The concept of an executive function tank came from the video in the bottom of this blog post:

13 Facts Parents of ADHD Children Should Know

I hope you find this information helpful. If you enjoyed this post, I would be honored if you would subscribe to my blog or follow me on Facebook.

You can also download a worksheet here to help you evaluate if your child’s ADHD treatment plan is working.

Please remember to give your ADHD loved one or friend lots of grace. They have a brain that works differently than the brains of neurotypical people.

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

Disclaimer:
I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I cannot diagnose your child or offer you medical advice. Most of this information comes from Dr. Barkley’s videos –many of which are available on YouTube. There are many links in this post to more information about these topics, but since I am not a scientist or a researcher, I am unable to provide you with double-blind studies. I am just a writer and artist making posts and images based on information I have seen and read from ADHD professionals in an effort to raise ADHD awareness. I encourage you to look into these ideas yourself and follow the links provided. If you Google “Executive Function + Dr. Russell Barkley” there is a lot of information available online.

ADHD, charts, homeschooling

What Is My ADHD Child’s Executive Function Age?

“Executive functions (collectively referred to as executive function and cognitive control) are a set of cognitive processes that are necessary for the cognitive control of behavior: selecting and successfully monitoring behaviors that facilitate the attainment of chosen goals. Executive functions include basic cognitive processes such as attentional control, cognitive inhibition, inhibitory control, working memory, and cognitive flexibility. Higher order executive functions require the simultaneous use of multiple basic executive functions and include planning and fluid intelligence (i.e., reasoning and problem solving).” (from Wikipedia)

What is my ADHD child's executive age

The brain of the ADHD child is developing at an average 30% behind schedule in the frontal lobe region according to leading ADHD researcher Dr Russell Barkley. The frontal lobe controls regulation. It is the executive function part of the brain. It is the boss, the voice in your brain, the executive assistant, that tells you what to do with what you know and learn. Because this part is behind schedule, children with ADHD brains are not always able to access the information they know to make use of it.

All the files are there in the information section, but the operating system is failing to access the files.

For example, they may know that stoves are hot and yet impulsively touch a hot stove because the part of their brain that says “Wait!” isn’t working on schedule with neurotypical brains. This is because the files stored in the back of their brain that says “Stoves are hot” was not accessed in a timely manner to prohibit touching the stove. It is not because they do not know the stove is hot. It is a failure of the frontal lobe of the brain to access the information they have stored in the memory sections.

Executive function dysregulation generally causes deficiencies in planning, abstract thinking, flexibility and behavioral control. It encompasses many different parts of regulation –from emotional control to physical control over their bodies to organizational abilities– and any one part could be more or less affected by ADHD. It varies by the individual.

Because there are other disorders or injuries that can cause executive delay problems, Executive Function Disorder is a diagnosis in an of itself. Sometimes, someone with ADHD will have both diagnoses. According to Dr. Barkley, (the ADHD researcher who is the source of the 30% behind concept) every ADHD person has executive dysfunction by default to one level or another.

The 30% behind neurotypical people as listed in this graphic is just an average. So your child could be more behind or less behind. He could be more behind in some areas and less behind in others.

For instance, I knew I was impulsive (even though I didn’t know I have ADHD) and didn’t think things through as a teen. So I chose not to get my license until I was 19 and thought I could handle it. Impulsivity was a big deal for me. But I was also a smart kid and knew I wanted to be careful and make good choices. So even though I tended to be impulsive, I was careful about my choices, involving my parents in decision making, asking for advice from trusted adults, and being cautious. This made a huge difference in me not making bad choices as a teen.

When I got married I was 20 which gives me the executive age of 13.33 according to our chart (which is a rule of thumb, not a hard and fast rule). No wonder I had so much trouble organizing our lives, managing our home, working a job, and paying bills! It makes so much sense now. I had to work so much harder than anyone I knew to do these things well.

The chart only goes up to 32 years of age. There is a reason for this. In the human adult, we reach our peak maturity in our early thirties. That means that however much the ADHD brain has developed by the early thirties is where it will stay. However, that does not mean that we cannot learn new coping mechanisms or better skills. It does, however, mean that ADHD adults tend to be about the same Executive Function Age as those who are in their 20s. This makes us a lot of fun actually! Executive function only refers to the regulatory part of our brains, not our intelligence or ability to learn new things. We may tend to be emotionally reactive, impulsive and disorganized compared to other people our age. Medication can help us make up that 30% difference no matter what age we are.

I hope this chart will help you better understand those around you who have ADHD. Please give them a lot of grace –and remind them that you love them no matter what.

If you have ADHD, give yourself a big hug for me. You are awesome. You have worked way harder than everyone else to get to where you are right now. ADHD people are my most favorite people in the whole world. On average, they are kind, loyal, honest, gracious, and compassionate. Don’t let the fact that you are awesome get lost in the science of ADHD. You know how you always felt like you need a housekeeper and a secretary? That is because those parts of your brain don’t work the same way as neurotypical people’s brains do. All those things require your frontal lobe to work efficiently –the frontal lobe is the very part of your brain affected by ADHD. It is okay. Find a tribe of ADHD people who get you. Educate those around you about ADHD. And, above all else, give yourself a lot of grace.

If you have ADHD, leave a comment and let me know how it affects your life –do you feel the 30% behind? Or maybe this average isn’t true for you.

If you are a parent of an ADHD child, I would love to hear if this post and graphic helps you to understand your child better.

You can download a copy of the above graphic “What’s My ADHD Child’s Executive Age?” to print for yourself here.

You can also download a pdf worksheet to evaluate if your child’s ADHD treatment is helping his or her symptoms here.

If you found this information helpful, I would be honored if you would subscribe to my blog or follow my Facebook page.

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

P.S. The information in this post, and particularly the chart, is based on a video series by Dr Russell Barkley. You can find the video series at the bottom of this blog post. If you enjoyed this post, there are many other posts on my blog about ADHD such as:

13 Facts Parents of ADHD Children Should Know

17 Things Your ADHD Child Would Tell You If He Could

Start Here to Learn More About Homeschooling an ADHD Child

ADHD, charts, homeschooling

13 Facts Parents of ADHD Children Should Know

#ADHDFacts #DrBarkley #GraceUnderPressureBlog #ADHDAwarenessMonth

If you love someone who has been diagnosed with ADHD or who you think has ADHD you might feel like you’re fighting a battle. False information, extreme biases, and fake news are profuse to the point that what most of the public believes about ADHD is simply lies –lies that affect those of us who have ADHD and those of us love people with ADHD. I’m not going to misrepresent this: it can feel like a battle. But, there are science and facts to combat the profuse misinformation permeating the internet.

Here are some facts you need to know about ADHD:


1. ADHD is not a new diagnosis, but the truth is that it has been well-researched all the way back to the late 1700s when Sir Alexander Crichton (1763–1856) gave a detailed and accurate description of the condition.


2. ADHD is not really about attention: it has been mislabeled and is actually a regulation problem due to the underdevelopment of the frontal lobe in people who have ADHD causing a failure to develop age-appropriate behaviors on schedule with their peers (attention problems are a byproduct of poor regulation).


3. In ADHD, the hyperactivity is caused by the overgrowth of the action part of the brain combined with the low ability to regulate due to the underdevelopment of the frontal lobe.


4. A huge component of ADHD –which is unfortunately not in the diagnostic criteria– is emotional dysregulation which affects every aspect of the ADHD person’s life and especially those who love and care for them.


5. ODD is a byproduct of ADHD which results from the emotional dysregulation combined with anger (often anger about not being understood), and every ADHD person is automatically subclinically ODD.


6. ADHD is the most researched and proven condition of any mental health condition known to man regardless of what culture and media tell you.


7. ADHD people are not addicted to media and video games, but rather media and video games work in a way that gives immediate responses which ADHD people need to stay motivated and focused.


8. ADHD is not a result of lack of discipline or poor parenting, but rather it is a result of how the brain has formed which is usually a result of genetics and can even be identified by genetic markers.


9. ADHD can be proven, there are even brain scans which back up the science proving that it is real, and it is the most treatable condition in psychology even though most ADHD people do not get treated.


10. ADHD needs to be identified and treated –the earlier the better– and there is significant potential damage for children who do not get a diagnoses, treatment, and have knowledge of their own diagnosis (I cannot emphasise enough how important knowledge of the condition is to the healthy psychological development of the child).


11. ADHD is a neurogenetic disorder, and ADHD medication is a scientifically proven neurogenetic treatment.


12. ADHD people are statistically far less likely to become addicts if they are effectively medicated and treated before they get desperate enough to start self-medicating with drugs, tobacco, and alcohol –even the majority of addicts with ADHD do not go back to illegal drugs if they are properly diagnosed and treated for their ADHD (It doesn’t matter what the media says, because the science backs up this position).


13. ADHD people cannot and will not be “normal” –ever– because they have different brains, so normal methods of organization, education, employment, etc will not work for them like it works for those who have neurotypical brains (this is why I endorse homeschooling).


This is a summary of topics discussed in Dr. Barkley’s “30 Essential Ideas You Should Know About ADHD” plus a few additional ideas which have their basis in science. You can find the entire 3-hour video series by Dr Barkley here, and I highly recommend taking the time to listen to the whole thing if you know and care about people who have ADHD or who you think might have ADHD.

If you don’t have 3 hours you can get a taste of the wonderful information available from Dr. Barkley in this video which is about 14 minutes long.

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to my blog or follow me on Facebook. You can also download a worksheet to help you evaluate if your child’s ADHD treatment plan is working.

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

illness

Please Stop Giving Me Weight Loss Advice | Weight Loss Is Far More Complicated Than You Think It Is

Dear friends and family…

And complete strangers in the grocery store…

And purveyors of exercise programs…

And friends on Facebook…

And friends of friends on Facebook…

And sellers of diet pills, nutritionals, and protein drinks…

And random people who stop by my blog…

Please stop giving me weight loss advice.

I’m actually less concerned about my you bugging me about my weight than I am concerned the stigma attached to people who are overweight.

Hear me out.

Here’s something you may not realize: weight loss is so, so, so, so, so, so very much more complicated than you think it is.

“Well, no, it’s not,” you say, “You eat healthy food, you move your body, and you lose weight.”

Right?

Wrong!

So, so, so wrong.

The above statement presupposes that you have a healthy body to begin with.

Without a healthy body that simply will not work!

I was born sick.

I’ve been sick most of my life in varying degrees, and my body has never —I repeat, never— worked properly.

Here’s an interesting little factoid: I spent two years having salads and meat for every single meal and exercising regularly, and I still gained weight.

“How on earth can that happen?” you ask.

It’s simple.

My body is broken.

I cannot lose weight until I fix the problems in my body.

Most of these problems are issues of my genetics which has predisposed me to certain conditions, many of them autoimmune related.

And none of them are my fault.

I have spent the better part of the last two decades being obsessed with food –not obsessed with eating food, but obsessed with what I should be eating and trying to put the right foods into my mouth.

I am absolutely not overweight as a result of not eating healthy.

In fact, I think that the only reason I’m still alive is because of how careful I’ve been about my health and what I put in my body.

I have exercised until I nearly passed out and couldn’t walk anymore and still didn’t lose weight.

Here’s something that baffles people: you know those two years when I was eating salads with protein at every meal?

I got sicker.

Way, way, way sicker.

Believe me, you do not have to tell me that this is not the way it is supposed to work.

I got so sick from all that “good eating” that my diet was reduced to only four things I could eat: ground beef from one local meat shop, chicken broth (but not bone broth), kidney beans, and occasionally some cheddar cheese.

If I deviated from the above four food items, I would start hemorrhaging rectally –and sometimes vaginally.

Yes, hemorrhaging.

It’s frankly terrifying when there’s blood coming from all kinds of places it really shouldn’t be.

It’s been going on for over 2 years!

That doesn’t even begin to explain the pain I experience.

I have no choice but to adhere to a very strict diet of those few things I can eat without hemorrhaging.

Now, if diet and exercise isn’t the answer –and I promise you it isn’t regardless of what our culture believes– then what is?

I currently have over 20 medical diagnoses, and those diagnoses do not explain all my symptoms.

What would help me lose weight is to accurately diagnose and treat the conditions which are causing the chaos in my body to begin with.

Here’s an uncomfortable truth: it is possible that we might not find diagnoses or treatments.

I could even die from my conditions.

But, it’s not from lack of trying to get better.

I have a whole team of medical doctors trying to come up with answers and treatments for my puzzling ailments.

If people who specialize in autoimmune diseases have to confer with other autoimmune disease specialists to come up with a viable treatment plan for me because of the extreme complexities of my illness, what makes you think that your diet is the answer?

I’m so tired of being told that if I just did this diet or that diet then I would lose weight.

No, actually, I’ll lose weight when my endocrine system is able to function in a healthy way and my immune system stops attacking itself!

I’m sorry to burst everyone’s bubble but it’s not as simple as diet and exercise.

I repeat: it’s not as simple as diet and exercise.

And no, I’m not doing your diet… because it will land me in the hospital.

What I wish healthy people realized is this: the majority of people you see around you who are overweight are far more conscious of their health than you are.

But, you have a healthy body, and they do not.

This is, for the most part, due to their genetics and not due to them not caring, or eating too much sugar, or whatever you think causes their problems.

That is a lie that sick people fight against their whole lives.

If you know an overweight person, most likely they are sick —even if they don’t know it and haven’t been accurately diagnosed.

People often don’t get medical help because, even if they have some health problem, they –and everyone around them– just assumes that they aren’t trying hard enough to eat healthy and exercise.

More than one time, I’ve had people tell me that if I would just stopped eating at McDonald’s I would lose weight.

Here’s the reality: I wouldn’t even dream of eating at McDonald’s unless I was suicidal, because that a sure-fire way for me to end up hospitalized!

Gradually, over the last 18 months, my doctors and I have found ways to increase the foods I’m able to eat to about 20 items.

So, I’m not really the person to complain to if you have to remove a single item like gluten from your diet –I might be slightly less compassionate than the average person.

I just wish people would stop acting as if it’s simple.

Like if I just did this one thing than all my health and weight problems would go away.

Do you think I’ve not considered every single possibility available to me?

My life may depend on my choices!

Don’t you think I wish there was one simple answer that would solve all my health problems?

But, it’s not that simple.

And, my weight itself is not a health problem.

My weight is a symptom of my health problems.

I have come to grips with my weight and am focusing on being healthy which is honestly a better goal than being thin.

Even if I lost a bunch of weight by some miracle pill or liposuction or whatever, it isn’t going to fix the problem that caused that weight to begin with.

Please, don’t assume it’s simple.

Please, don’t assume you know more about my condition than I do or than my doctors do.

And for heaven’s sake, don’t assume I’m not trying every single reasonable thing I can to get better.

But, 99.9999% of the suggestions I get are things that I’m either severely allergic to, that I’ve already tried, or that would send me to the hospital.

If you feel the need to do something, instead of giving unsolicited advice, pray for me.

Pray that I would have strength and be pain-free so I can be active and take care of my family.

Pray that my immune reactions –to, well, basically, everything– would minimize.

Pray that my doctors have wisdom to diagnose and treat my conditions.

Pray that my family continues to have the money for my treatments since we lost our insurance and my treatments wouldn’t even be covered if we got new insurance (it’s a long story).

If you feel generous and feel like you just need to do something, you could even donate money to help with my medical expenses.

But, in the name of all that’s good and holy, please stop sending me links to new diet plans and trying to sell me your shakes and pills.

If you do send something to me, please do not be shocked and offended when I do not respond enthusiastically but instead send you the link to this post.

And, please stop viewing every overweight person as a slob who doesn’t care instead of a real person who is trying to overcome his or her genetics and health complications.

Overweight people are –with very few exceptions– ill people.

They shouldn’t be objects of ridicule and criticism.

They should be given understanding and compassion.

And support.

There: that’s my tirade about magic pills and diet plans.

I don’t mean to offend anyone, but this is the honest truth about what I know and how I feel.

Be thankful if your genetics has not predisposed you to live with severe illnesses and significant weight problems —you are far more blessed than you realize.

Oh, and one more thing: please don’t pick apart every little thing I’ve said in this post and give me even more unsolicited diet and health advice.

Because that would just be rude.

Blessings,

Sarah

If you liked this post, you might also like some of my other posts:

Why I Am Not Ashamed of Being Overweight: My Weight is Part of My Story

Too Much Information: 10 Unexpected Symptoms of My Illness That it’s Taboo to Talk About

From Immobile to Mobile: a 20-week Exercise Plan for the Obese and Chronically Ill

faith, myths

The Bible Doesn’t Call Us to Host Dinner Parties | A Discussion About the True Meaning of Hospitality

More than once recently, a young mom with a bunch of little kids in tow has lamented to me that she’s falling behind on her job as a Christian…

…Because she’s not hosting dinner parties.

Well-known Christian authors have published books about the importance of having dinner at a table and inviting many people to that table –often with scripture that supposedly backs this up.

I have some shocking news: not only does scripture not tell us to host dinner parties, it doesn’t even command us to have dinner at a table.

Ok, now, catch your breath.

I know I just contradicted hundreds of years of Christian traditions.

But, Christian traditions do not equal Bible commands.

In fact, what we really need to do is compare the traditions of men with scripture.

Did you know that the Bible commands us to not get caught up in the traditions of men —especially if those traditions are based on philosophies that are not according to Christ?

So what is the definition of hospitality?

“Friendly and welcoming to strangers or guests” according to Google.

One Bible commentary defines it as “willingness to help the weary and heavy-laden ones of the world.”

And what does the Bible have to say about hospitality?

How is the word hospitality used in the Bible?

What are these verses that are misapplied and used to make moms of little children feel like failures because all their energy is going into providing for and caring for little eternal souls instead of cooking fancy meals?

Aren’t little souls supposed to be a mama’s first responsibility?

And, who is daring to make a mama who is focusing on those little souls feel bad about her properly-placed priorities?

One rule of Bible interpretation is that you use the most detailed verses on a topic to help explain the less clear verses.

Another rule is that you take the historical context and passage context into consideration when applying scripture.

That means that we cannot pick a verse out and use it however we want to –we have to figure out what the verse was intended to mean.

The most detailed verses regarding hospitality are the following verses:

“Do not neglect hospitality, because through it some have entertained angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2 (MEV)

The KJV doesn’t even use the word “hospitality” in this verse but gets right to the point of focusing on strangers:

“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2 (KJV)

Another verse on this topic lists the qualifications for a widow to be worthy of financial support from the church:

“Do not let a widow be counted unless she is over sixty years old, has been the wife of one man, is well attested in good works, if she has brought up children, has lodged strangers, has washed the saints’ feet, has relieved the afflicted, and has diligently followed every good work.” 1 Timothy 5:10

Other translations say she doesn’t qualify unless she is “known for showing hospitality.”

“Above all things, have unfailing love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without complaining.” 1 Peter 4:8-9

Here are some things we know based on the above verses: we are commanded to show hospitality to other Christians according to 1 Peter and to show hospitality to strangers according to Hebrews.

Now, let’s look at the historical context of these verses.

What was going on in the world at the time? The New Testament was written against the backdrop of the Roman Empire.

Christians were being persecuted and were fleeing for their lives.

We know this because many of the letters in the New Testament telling the believers how to handle persecution.

Do you think that with all that persecution going on that the writers of the New Testament were actually telling the Christians to host dinner parties?

No, that’s ridiculous!

They are saying something like this: “When strangers who are believers come to your town fleeing persecution, open up your home to them and help them.”

See the context there? How that fits into history and agrees with the passages?

Hospitality in the New Testament isn’t what we think of as hospitality today.

It isn’t making an elaborate meal and keeping a house clean for people to come have a party.

In the context of scripture, hospitality is opening your home to or helping those who are in need.

While the Bible doesn’t specifically say that you cannot open your home to unbelievers, there are specific commands to be hospitable to other believers.

So, mama with a bunch of little kids who feel like you are not being hospitable, let me ask you a question: if someone knocked on your door today and they were injured and needed help, would you help them?

That is being hospitable.

If you knew a mom who was being beaten by her husband and she came to you and said “My children and I need a safe place to stay,” would you help her?

That is being hospitable.

If there was a car accident outside your house and people were hurt would you go out and help?

That is being hospitable.

This is helping true needs –serving and ministering.

And, it has nothing to do with a clean house, fine china, and elaborately planned dinner menus.

If you think hospitality is about those things, you are missing the point.

Hospitality in the context of the Bible is meeting the needs of other people and helping them when they need help.

That idea is further backed up by Hebrews 12:13 which says:

“Contribute to the needs of the saints, pursue hospitality.”

The command to be hospitable isn’t given to just women, either:

“A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach.” (1 Timothy 3:2)

As a person with chronic illness, I may not be able to many things –I certainly am not healthy enough to host dinner parties, and we rarely even eat at the table because the table is usually covered in school supplies and groceries I haven’t had the strength or energy to put away yet.

Shocking, I know!

But, if you have a need, I will be there for you if I at all can.

We know a Christian family who lives a ways away from us and kind of in the middle of nowhere.

We were traveling and needed a place to crash for a few hours so my boys who were little at the time could take a nap while my husband was working that day.

Unfortunately, circumstances around the job he was working had prohibited me from making solid plans earlier –I didn’t know I needed a place to stay until that day, and we didn’t know another soul in any direction for hours and hours except one family.

This family refused to let us come by their house even for a few hours.

I was desperate for somewhere to go because my husband needed the car to go to the job he was there for –he needed the car for the job, and the children and I were not allowed on the job site or else I could have just stayed in the car and had the children sleep there.

Every plan I came up to address our situation fell through.

I ended up paying for a room at a hotel so my children could take a nap: we paid hundreds of dollars that we couldn’t really afford to use a hotel room for a few hours when our friends were right down the road unwilling to help us.

Although I’m sure their reasons seemed sound to them, it seemed like when we were really in need, they refused to help –like they viewed us as an inconvenience rather than a Christian brother and sister in need or a ministry opportunity.

That’s the point of hospitality: helping those in need.

It isn’t about having a finely set dinner table –it is about helping others when they are in need.

I have always wondered how I would respond to someone’s need –and planning and writing this post has made me rethink how I address requests for help.

I mean, sometimes, I am just unable to help.

If you call me and say “I really need a ride,” and I am in too much pain to drive that day, I cannot help you –but, I would probably try to find someone else to help you.

A while back, a car broke down across the street from my house.

I live on the busiest street in my town: it is the main road between our little town and the next big city where most people work.

I joke that the whole down drives by my house every day.

The car had been sitting there for a while along the side of the road with traffic whizzing by it.

The inhabitants didn’t get out of the car, and I wasn’t sure at first that there was even anyone in there.

I was getting ready for a medical procedure, and we really had to leave by a certain time.

Then I noticed movement in the car.

I wasn’t sure what to do.

I was concerned about their car being in traffic.

I was concerned that maybe they didn’t have a phone or that they needed help.

So, I finished getting myself ready to go and walked carefully across the street.

They had broken down, they had a phone, and they were waiting for a relative to come help them –he was about an hour away.

I offered to get my boys to push their car out of traffic, but they didn’t want to.

Thankfully, it was not hot that day, and the mom seemed to be entertaining her munchkins to pass the time.

I offered use of our bathroom, but she said they were fine.

I didn’t know them and didn’t feel comfortable leaving them in my house while I was gone: I needed to leave for the doctor’s office in less than 10 minutes.

I did the only thing that I could think of: I went into the house, gathered up some bananas and bottled water and took it over to the car for them, and I told her they were welcome to run around in our yard and use our lawn chairs while they waited if they wanted to.

She had mentioned that they were headed to someone’s house for lunch before they broke down; I would have provided something more to eat, but that was about all I had because I really needed to go grocery shopping.

She thanked me profusely, and I just tried to be as kind and helpful as I could be under the circumstance.

I kinda felt like there was more I should have done, but I couldn’t figure out what.

By the time I got back from the doctor’s office, they were gone.

Do you see someone in need? Help them if you can!

Even a little help is better than no help.

When the scripture says you may be helping angels unaware, it doesn’t mean that one of the people from your church who come over for a dinner party is secretly an angel.

It is talking about helping strangers.

I have seen my parents live out this idea of helping people in need –they have done it before my very eyes, and I am honored to be able to see their faith in action.

I have seen them help people who have needs –like being stranded in one state trying to get to another– and my parents have dropped everything and driven those families to the place they were trying to get to even hours away, provided food for them, diapers and clothes for their children, and made sure they were in a safe place once they got to the new location.

I have no doubt in my mind that my parents’ hospitality to strangers left a lasting impression and a strong testimony to those to whom they have ministered.

I implore you, do not reduce the concept of hospitality down to a dinner party.

If you do, you miss the point.

You do not have to have a clean house to minister to other people’s needs.

My house was not clean when I was helping the family with the broken-down car, and I would have brought them in my messy house if they needed to use the bathroom.

If I hadn’t needed to go –and been unable to reschedule the appointment, I would have even brought them into my home until their help arrived.

Do you think that the lady trying to get away from domestic abuse cares when the last time your living room was vacuumed? Or your shower clean out?

So, mama out there with a house full of little people feeling like you can’t be hospitable: look for ways that God brings people into your life that you can minister to.

Our responsibility is to focus on the eternal things in our lives: the souls of your children matter more than the condition of your house; the souls of those around us who are in need matter more than the condition of your house.

You do not need a clean house to help other people.

And, you certainly don’t need to host a dinner party to do it.

Those who say hospitality is about a dinner party are missing the point of these verses and missing opportunities to minister to others.

Not only that, they are teaching –erroneously– that women who are unable to host dinner parties are somehow in sin for not doing so.

It’s not that there is anything wrong with hosting dinner parties, but that is not what the Bible is commanding us to do.

We need to read the Bible with the context of what it was written and what God was trying to communicate through the original authors instead of simply viewing the words through our modern, wealthy, American culture.

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

ADHD, getting started homeschooling, homeschooling

How To Plan a Flexible Homeschool Schedule

Schedule is actually a bad word at my house, and I don’t call what we do a schedule.

Maybe more like a plan, but I still put schedule in the title.

Because that is what most people will think of when they see our plan.

This post is a follow up to a previous post I wrote about what to do when mom can’t do school; I came up with a plan of how to do school after some surgeries many years ago.

school-schedule

It turns out that this plan isn’t just for sick and recovering-from-surgery moms –it seems to work really well for moms with ADHD and moms who have ADHD kids.

The beauty of this plan of mine is in its flexibility.

You have a basic plan written out but the freedom to adapt it to whatever you need each day.

How awesome is that?

I have been told that this plan has saved more than one mom’s sanity, allowing her to flexibility to plan each day based on her child’s needs that day or even her needs that day.

For that reason, I am writing a follow-up post with a worksheet to help moms make a schedule like this of their own.

After you have a basic schedule plan made, you can pick and choose each day which of those options you will actually do –this is great if you have days when you are in pain or where a kid is just having meltdowns. You can pick just a few things for today and try again tomorrow.

I hope that this will help other moms find a workable schedule that is flexible enough to work with their special needs children or their own health or mental health issues.

Examples of the worksheet download:How To Plan a Flexible Homeschool Schedule.jpg

How To Plan a Flexible Homeschool Schedule (1).jpg

Download the whole pdf  with instructions for creating your own flexible homeschool plan HERE. 

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

faith

How Long Does It Take to Read Each Book of the Bible? Plus a FREE Printable!

Do you ever have a few extra minutes and think of picking up the Bible to read and then don’t?

It happens to me sometimes, especially when I am sitting waiting for doctor appointments.

I have this perception that it takes so long to accomplish reading a book of the Bible, and I am reluctant to get started without knowing if I can finish before my time is up.

So, I hatched this idea: how long does it take to read each book of the Bible?

If I knew that, I could choose a book that I had time to finish before my appointment.

It would help me fit in reading times without getting interrupted.

That’s where this list came from.

Online, I found a list of every book of the Bible and how many words were in each book.

Then, based on the average reading speed according to trusty ol’ Google of 200 words per minute, I figured out how long each book would take to read.

Although I actually read faster than 200 words per minute, I found that when I was testing these estimated times for reading the books of the Bible, I read slower than the estimated time.

I think that this is because I tend to meditate on the scripture and mentally compare it to other passages.

It would take longer if you were reading it out loud as the average person speaks about 150 words per minute when reading aloud –however, I have found audio Bibles to be useful tools especially when I am struggling to read due to my health issues.

I hope that this will encourage others to read more of the Bible –myself included.

Although I have read through the entire Bible more than once in the past, I would like to do it again if my health doesn’t prohibit me.

It doesn’t seem that daunting when you realize you could sit down and read the book of Jude, for example, in about 3 minutes.

How Long Does It Take To Read a Book of the Bible-CLICK HERE DOWNLOAD THE PDF: “How Long Does It Take To Read a Book of the Bible?”

Save this image to Pinterest for future reference, or download and print the PDF to keep in your Bible for a reference!

If you found this helpful, follow me on Facebook or subscribe to the blog to get future posts.

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

faith

How Do I Do It All? Plus A Free Peace Day Challenge Printable

#biblicalpeacedaychallenge

The last week or so has been challenging for me.

I am having flare-ups from my car accident.

Although the car accident was over six months ago, I seem to be healing more slowly than average due to the complexities of my health issues.

I am particularly struggling to remain peaceful with the amount of pain I am dealing with –often so much that I cannot even walk.

Earlier this week someone asked me how I do it all –how do I run a house, stay organized, do everything that I am supposed to do?

There is a simple answer: I don’t.

I simply don’t do it all.

I cannot do it all.

And, I don’t believe that God expects me to.

Every day, I am expected to get done what I can do.

If I cannot do it, I was not expected to do it that day.

God doesn’t expect from us what we cannot give.

He knows that we are frail humans, and He knows what we are capable of.

I have a rule that if I can’t do it without yelling, being unkind or not being peaceful, I’m not doing it.

My testimony in front of my children is more important than the task.

I am struggling to maintain that testimony, but I am striving to do so in spite of daily pain and immobility.

I don’t have some magic solution to life that makes me able to handle all of life’s challenges beautifully.

I am not super organized and a super mom.

What I have done is I have trusted God with the things that I cannot control.

I have trusted Him with the things I cannot do.

If I cannot do it today –either because my health or circumstances prohibit me– then God did not intend me to do it today.

If I understand this, it alleviates the frustration and guilt associated with trying to do it all and failing.

If what I do today is completely surrendered to the Lord, if I am okay with whatever He brings my way, then I will not be angry when I am unable to do the things that I thought that I was supposed to do.

I only feel out of control when I fail to remember that He is in control.

So, how do I do it all?

I don’t.

I don’t even try to do it all.

I try to do what is truly important –things that have eternal value.

I try to be a servant to my family –as much as I can be in a state of ongoing health problems.

And I surrender the rest to the Lord.

Most of the problems I have –most of the time that I have had anger– is when my ideas of how my day should go come face to face with how the Lord is allowing my day to go.

When things don’t go my way, it often results in anger if I cannot remember that He is in control of all, knowing all, directing all.

Far more important than if my house was cleaned today….

Or if dinner was made on time…

Or if all the dishes were done…

Or if my homeschool plan was fulfilled…

… is my testimony before my children.

How I respond when things do not go my way matters.

How I handle the imperfect situations shows my children how they should respond when things inevitably do not go their way.

It is our testimony to our children about whether or not we really believe that God is in control.

We say that we believe God is in control.

But do we show that in how we act?

The things that need to be done are never more important than the attitude we have while doing them.

We tend to think that our character is reflected in what we accomplish –if we get enough done– when in reality our character is reflected in how we do what we do.

The amount accomplished has little to do with it.

Do only what you can do with an attitude that honors the Lord!

We should be far more concerned with how we do things than how many things we accomplish.

We can trust what happens to the Lord who is in control of all.

And, we can never go wrong by focusing on our character –which is eternal– over our to-do list –which is temporal.

Below you can download some free printable to remind you to focus on your testimony to your children and family.

Choose PeaceClick here to download the above image

 

I have a rule that if I can't do it without yelling, being unkind or not being peaceful, I'm not doing it. My testimony in front of my children is more important than the task.

Click here to download the above printable

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes