Monthly Archives: September 2014

Ten Things of Thankful #67 (but really week four)

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It doesn’t seem like this should be week four. I am very proud of myself for keeping up with it. It is also getting easier and easier to find something to be thankful about in every situation. This is not to say I have left all the complaining and grumbling behind. I don’t think I ever truly will. However I do know that it is helping my mental health greatly, this looking for the positive and being grateful.

Saturday

1. As odd as it seems , because we need the money, I am thankful my husband had Saturday off from both jobs. It allowed him and our daughter some bonding time and it allowed me to deal with another flare of myofascial pain syndrome and Fibromyalgia. Along with the storms that were moving in and out and throwing my arthritis in all kinds of fits. I was able to focus on resting and replenishing my body without worrying about my daughter.

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Sunday

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2.We had a service at the beach and a potluck for our autumn equinox service.  It was stormy at first but the sun did make an appearance. Good food and a good service.  Here is to cooler weather. Even if it is because of the tilt of the Earth.

3. For a friend who gave me the left over Seitan Stew from the potluck. It made it an easy dinner since tonight was just me and the kid.

Monday

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Not only was it too thick of rain to drive, my arthritis was just not going to be calmed down by anything. It was ticked off and was making it well known how much it didn’t like the barometric fluxes we had all day. They were individual storms roughly an hour apart.

4. Despite my schedule being changed all around, I still got off two submissions to other Magazines.

5. PLUS I got an email from Mamalode saying I will be published this FRIDAY! WOOT WOOT!

Tuesday

6. I had the most amazing autumn equinox walk. It was so amazing I wrote about it, here  .

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7. I tenaciously guard my alone time. A cola and my book fifteen to twenty minutes before the school dismissal. It is simple yet gives so much happiness.

Wednesday

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8. More newborn snuggles. I just love it. I love that I can help my friend out a bit with some relief and I love the snuggles. I also kinda like that he doesn’t talk back….yet. It actually does make me thankful that we are past that stage. You tend to gloss over how much work it is with a newborn when you reflect back.

Thursday

9. I am thankful for friends who can communicate with no words at all

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This was  vastly more stress relieving than any words could have achieved.

Friday

10. A second published essay. It really has helped renew my passion for writing. Check it out. If you like it please share it!

We have enough;Teaching Gratitude 

Also I am really happy to say I have figured how to attach links to words. It was something that I could do with help but when I tried on my own… it didn’t happen.

So that’s a bonus thing.

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Protect your time like a tenacious two year old

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Mother’s often have unrealistic expectation from others. We should get up and care for others all day long. It should fulfill us and complete us. In a lot of ways it does. It doesn’t mean though that we don’t need time for us.  We can not keep caring for others continually without caring for ourselves. The problem is a lot of Mother’s feel guilty for taking that time for themselves.

I have found I need a mixture for my personal time. Time that renews and restores me.

TwoHoursOfNatureADay

I take a walk twice a week with a friend. Not just for health reasons but it helps mentally as well. We walk outside which has it’s own health benefits. It gives us time that we can actually take care of our bodies and still vent about what a tough morning it was. This works for me. It will not work for everyone.

The thing is, this kind of me time is not enough for me. I need  some time to just to be alone.

I also go to the school sometimes a half hour early but mostly fifteen minutes. . Not because I don’t have other things to do. I do. I could get quite a lot done in that thirty minutes. However that time is mine. I sit in my car and read. Sometimes I drink a soda with it. Sometimes I don’t get much reading done.  Sometimes I find myself staring out the window watching the trees blow in the wind or birds frittering here and there. It is my quiet time. I can settle my mind from the million and one things I do when the kid is in school and get myself ready to be fully involved in whatever my daughter needs me to be.

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You can get this kind of stress relief in as little as five minutes of reading.

I tried not protecting it. I tried saying its nice if it happens but its not necessary. Seriously I can’t set aside even fifteen minutes for just me? Where if I don’t want to talk to anyone, I don’t have to. I have found myself when I am really stressed out, going to my reading spot early. Sitting there with the windows down, the sun streaming in. Vitamin D is something that a lot of people are low in. Five minutes of sunshine does wonders for you mentally.  Soaking up that sunshine is literally working on my happiness at a cellular level. Think of it as taking a vitamin if you have to.

 I protect that time like a two year old who is determined to hold on to a toy. It is mine. I won’t share. I won’t give it up. If I miss a day, it is not the end of the world. I do however feel the difference. I will say it is not always easy. It took a good six months of literally scheduling it, to achieve it , let alone get it to a regular basis. Just when I had it down. School was letting out. This year I am hoping to fall back into the routine much faster.  I refuse to feel selfish doing this. I refuse to feel guilty.  I know what I need and I am going to hold on to it like a two year old holds on to their toys!

Autumn Equinox

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Grammar people- I did not edit this or worry about grammar in this blog post as I felt it would take away from some of the authenticity of my thoughts.

I have been struggling for a while to find what I truly believe. I finally realized a few years ago that part of my problem with religion and spirituality was because I didn’t truly believe it. Part of the struggle has been letting go of what I was taught and part of it has been finding what I do believe in. I feel I am starting to get somewhere. When my walking partner told me her kids were still sick and thus unable to go for our walk. I was tempted to just not go. Then I realized it fell on the autumn equinox and I felt led to find a walking meditation to listen to. I tried several choices off youtube. They were not what I was looking for. Then I found one. Sage Goddess  had an hour long ritual and it was simply titled Fall Equinox Ritual. This was it. This resonated with me right from the start.

Now a bit of backstory is that I have been walking this trail for four weeks consistently. I did however walk it a lot last fall and winter. The first thing I noticed when we started back up on this trail was how dry everything was. The first two weeks of walking this trail I was just continually amazed at how little life there was along the sides of the trail. This was a trail we had seen alligators and turtles, gopher tortoises and even otters. It saddened me a little truth to tell. I understand it was the circle of life but still. Even last week on Thursday when we walked it was still dry. There was no water visible. There however had to be water somewhere as the frogs were back. They were singing their songs again.

Today the trail found me in amazement again. It was now Tuesday. Five days had passed. There was water. There was so much water. There was at least a foot deep of water if not more in some parts. Some areas it stretched back as far as ten to fifteen feet.  This was the trail I had fallen in love with last year.

As Sage Goddess talked about the story behind the equinox. There are many but this one was dealing with Demeter and Persephone and Hades. I had heard it before. However I had never felt the depth of emotion I felt when she told the story. I understood Demeter’s anguish and it suddenly made more sense why the light was softer in the fall.  There was just so much emotion I felt and could relate to in this story. It was like. Oh this is why I embrace fall so much.

Now many people who live in Florida say there are no seasons. I beg to differ. There is. They are just very subtle changes and you really do have to be paying attention. The change in the sunlight is always what I notice first. Soon after the air feels different. Less oppressive somehow. There is a slight change in the plants, the rain makes them fuller more alive, more colorful. We do have leaves that change colors. They just are not as many so you have to look carefully for them. Maybe it is because I take my walks outside twice a week minimum. I just have always felt fall the strongest though.

As I walked I found myself drawn more and more inwards and even despite walking felt grounded after Sage Goddess led us through a grounding practice.  Really it was a good thing that my pedometer kept interrupting every ten minutes as it forced me to look up and take in my surroundings.  My cats had knocked my cord out of the wall sometime in the night. So where I thought I had a fully charged phone. I was shocked to discover a mile and half into my walk that my phone battery was dying.

Sage Goddess had set the circle and was calling the four corners. I have always known I am considered an air element/East. However I have never fully related to any of the descriptions until now. I tend to relate the descriptions to personality and I really felt she had found me. Then she called Fire/south which is my daughters sign. Again everything she described I could relate into my daughters personality. She described us so beautifully and perfectly.

Sadly my phone died right after calling the four corners. However, my senses were so awakened. I tried to gather my thoughts for a letter to tell Sage Goddess how much just even that thirty minutes meant to me. I found it was much better suited to a blog post.

I spent most of the walk back looking off to the side. Noticing the little things. The song of the frogs was much louder and stronger. Their songs even seemed happier. We are wet, we are alive, we are happy.  There were so many little chickadee type birds flirting from branch to branch to water to branch. It may seem odd to see flowers blooming in Fall but that was what was happening. These were wetland flowers and they were showing how happy they were with the recent rain. They were bright and vibrant and almost seemed boastful and proud. Pinks and purples, yellows, whites and even a few red in color.  I saw a gopher tortoise hole and I wondered if anyone was way down deep in there. Enjoying the humid wetness of the soil.  A little further on I saw the gopher tortoise. He too seemed to be saying,” yes , this makes me happy.” The far off distant rumble of thunder had me thinking please clouds just hold off until I get to my car. Then I thought. well if it does, it might be just as cleansing as this walk has been. Before I knew it I was almost done with the second half of my walk. Here it was more obvious the plants had loved the rain. They seemed to have doubled and the sunlight that hit the new green of freshly grown leaves was just stunning.  There was Lantana blooming. They are my favorite and bring back so many childhood memories of picking them.

Fall is here. The trail is alive once more. I no longer worry that I will get bored walking the same trail twice a week. I now look forward to noticing all the subtle changes and hope again to glimpse some otters. The walk that normally takes an hour and twenty minutes took a few minutes less. I had a better more consistent pace. This walk was just the thing I needed. I felt grounded and restored like I haven’t felt in quite a while.

I will finish the Fall Equinox Ritual later today.  I am linking it here for anyone else who wishes to listen or practice.

 

When thankfulness invades TTOT #66

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Well apparently it is #66 but I am still new at this.

Anyway. A renewed dedication to remembering to be thankful for ….. everything. This week I am going to branch out and try to incorporate more photos. I easily take a butt load of them but will try not to overwhelm. The funny thing is once you start thinking about being thankful, it starts happening spontaneously.  I have almost started looking for the good in any situation I find myself in.

Saturday

1.A community where we can come together and enjoy each others company. We had a drumming circle at our church and I love the vibrations. I don’t particularly care for the vibrations while actually hitting the drum though. Something about my skin sensation issues. It was great that there was no pressure to play. I was able to loose myself in the vibrations and also exhaust the kid. A mutual enjoyment evening.

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Sunday

I have two for Sunday. Well actually I could find quite a few it has been a great day.

2. A friend of ours got my friend and I and our girls…..did you follow that? tickets to her daughter(first friend) performance of Alice in Wonderland. It was spectacular.  We really should turn to musical numbers and interpretive dance in real life more often.

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3.My newest obsession is toast.. With honey and cinnamon. Which that combination itself has health benefits. However it is my sweet fix. I found though when the kid called from the shower I can still be distracted. I had already put honey and cinnamon on the toast and  then called to the shower. I put more honey and cinnamon on when i got back. It was so sickeningly sweet I had to brush my teeth immediately after. Of course I ate it. Can’t let it go to waste. Plus I also didn’t actually notice until I was on the second slice.

Monday

4.newborn snuggles. I mean is there anything better than holding a newborn.

5. Squash is back in season and was ridiculously cheap at the farmers market.

Tuesday

6. A friend of mine and I are dedicated to walking twice a week.  Our point that we turn around, we sit for a bit. There is a lovely firebush and the butterflies were all around it.

7. I made acorn squash and quinoa for dinner the night before and had extra for lunch. It was the perfect lunch after our walk.

 8. 14 years of marriage today. How did that happen? It seems like yesterday and it seems so long ago all at the same time.

Wednesday

 9. The fact that the kid has school. I had a flare of myofascial pain and fibro. Most likely a combo mixture of my cycle coming and the walking we have been doing. I was really thankful I could take the kid to school and crawl back in bed.

Thursday

10. Lunch with a friend.  Despite the fact that almost everything I normally eat at Panera they were out of …… we had good conversation with plenty of laughter.

Friday 

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Yeah I went back for more newborn snuggles.

A week long reflection on ten things of thankful

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I decided to renew my dedication to being thankful and having gratitude for what I do have. I have been blogging something I am thankful or grateful for every day to have a more precise ten things list.
”Ten

 

 

Monday:

1. A cleaning job that gives me a small amount of money but also some confidence in myself.  Since disabilities has interfered with my ability to work full time, or even part time. This has been tremendously helpful.

 

Tuesday:

2. I kept to my goals of writing as much as possible. I also kept my second goal of submitting to at least two publishers daily, for two days in a row!

 

Wednesday

3. Fifty cent coffee at the gas station. We ran out of creamer at home today. Sometimes I can drink it black. This morning was not one of those times.  I needed my hazelnut this morning. Thankful that my car change holder had fifty cents in it.

 

Thursday

4. I had to dig deep to do it but I got my four mile walk in. We had to push back the time. I was really doubting that I could make it. Several times on the way to the two mile point I wanted to turn around. I did it. I kept my fitness goals for a week so far!

 

Friday

5. I am thankful that I read an article about self compassion. It allowed me to be a bit nicer to myself about not getting my to do list done today. I was able to say but look what I did get done.

 

In reflecting on my week, I looked for other things that I was thankful for or had gratitude for. Sometimes it is hard to be thankful/grateful for things as they are happening. It is helpful to look back and appreciate that moment, even if it is later.

 

1. I am thankful for the time away from being constantly connected when my phone mysteriously died.

2. I am also thankful for the return of my phone. Mostly for the fact that I can play my youtube self hypnosis videos with headphones.  I didn’t realize how much of a difference it makes.

3. I am thankful and grateful for a friend who is always up to go out to lunch one day a week. I am both thankful and grateful that it does not matter who pays.

4.  So since school started I have seen this little girl (the one on the left) sitting on a stump at the drop off area…she always looked so sad and lonely….I told the kid Monday she should go talk to her.I told her why…she came home so excited to tell me about her new friend.. Only she didn’t remember her name! She did remember to ask on Tuesday….the last two days it is like seeing the sun come out when we pull up and this girl sees who gets out…I am so thankful I have a daughter who actually listened to something I said and it has made a difference in some other child’s life.

5. I am thankful that as I stay more on target with my exercise goals in walking, my food cravings have turned more and more to healthier options.

What are some things you are thankful for?

Why is there no in between sane and not sane?

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Recently a friend of mine was feeling off. She called her therapist and after speaking with her therapist it was decided she should go to the mental health hospital. She was not suicidal. She was sent away. She was essentially sent away because she was not suicidal so therefore fine. We were discussing how this is so vastly unfair. Further reflection led me to say, “This only goes to further feed the mental health stigma. You are either sane or not sane. There is no in between.” I know most of that boils down to funding. I am not finding fault with the mental health hospital itself. It is the system. It needs to start from the highest level. Government needs to start stating openly, mental health is just as important as physical health.

When I worked in probation I saw how broken the system was. I saw how many probationers were really mental health clients that could not receive help. Most often I heard they will give me medications but they won’t give me therapy. This in turns fuels the stigma that there is a “magic” pill that fixes the mental imbalance. While medications are part of the answer. They are not the only answer.

Mental health tends to be more like a puzzle. The problem is it is not just one puzzle. It is a puzzle based on each individual. Finding out how that person’s puzzle can be put back together , is the hard part. It also doesn’t help that you can’t glue the puzzle together so it stays together. It can and often does fall apart and has to be reconfigured. This makes it frustrating not only to the Doctor treating it but, also the person dealing with it. It is easy for the person dealing with the mental health issue to think there is nothing wrong. The system really does encourage that. I know this all too well.

I am estranged from my Mother and youngest sister. I  had already been in therapy for  four years by the time the ties were cut. When it was pointed out that I was relying on medication in order for me to deal with this situation I knew something had to be done. If nothing else this showed me how toxic it was for me. Not just emotionally, physically as well. No medication is completely side effect free.  I had chronic pain issues on top of this. My kidneys and liver were not happy.  Where as physical abuse is so much more obvious, Emotional abuse is much more subtle. Verbal abuse as well. We tend to tolerate a lot more from close friends and family than we ever would others. It came time though for me to love myself more. I am not going to get into the specifics. It is not for public consumption. The details don’t really matter to others.I often reflect on the situation. I do hear things here and there. What I hear still convinces me it was the right decision. We need to realize that emotional physical verbal and social all tie together in our health. They can not be out of balance.

Three years later and my kidneys and liver are back within normal ranges. I am on much less medication. I am aware I won’t get completely medication free. I understand it is a chemical imbalance in part. I am also completely okay with the fact that I will probably be in and out of therapy for the rest of my life. I don’t understand so much of the stigma around admitting to a mental illness. I don’t understand admitting an imbalance and working to improve that imbalance being a weakness. It is something that has to start from the top levels of our government AND from the bottom level of every day interactions with people. It is way past time for us to realize this.

I struggled with this when I was on medicaid and dependent on the system for my mental health care. Luckily I had years of private insurance therapy first. I knew what I did need and what I didn’t. Still they tried over medicating me. I won’t lie, I did go along with it for a bit. It took me a while to realize that over medicating is just as bad as under medicating. It is a balance. The problem is when you are in the middle of psychosis and are over medicated, it is really hard to realize that.  It is easy to see why people go off medication. Over medication made me feel like a zombie. It increased my brain fog. It made my mood swings even more unpredictable.  I was lucky that we were able to get back on insurance. I was lucky that I found a physician who listened to me. Who was willing to fine tune medications to the right mixture.  Having gone through the medicaid system I know how hard it is. I understand how broken the system is.  I had to go off all my medications for two months because I was not suicidal. They didn’t know how long it would take me to get through the waiting list. I was just needing maintenance.  The problem is if medication is part of your maintenance and you are denied that medication, you are no longer maintaining.

We need to fix our broken system in all the areas, not just physical health. We need to let people know there IS an in between. There is a work in progress level. That mental health is so much more than sane and not sane.

Meme 30 things about my invisible Illness

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http://invisibleillnessweek.com

30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know

1. The illness I live with is:

Myofascial Pain Syndrome, Fibromyalgia , Degenerative Disc Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome,  Supra-ventricular Tachycardia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Vitamin D and Potassium deficiency

2. I was diagnosed with it in the year:

2007

3. But I had symptoms since:

2005

4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is:

Pacing myself to make my energy levels last throughout the day.

5. Most people assume:

I am lazy and don’t want to work.

6. The hardest part about mornings are:

The first fifteen minutes , getting out of bed, and moving around.

7. My favorite medical TV show is:

Rush! lol. Right next to House

8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is:

My phone alarm, I set it often to remember medication times.

9. The hardest part about nights are:

Getting actual sleep. Restorative sleep is fleeting. I can fall asleep but staying asleep and then getting back to sleep in the early hours of the morning. that’s rough.

10. Each day I take _23_ pills & vitamins. (No comments, please)

11. Regarding alternative treatments I: 

Have done many of them, it becomes what can and can not afford. Chronic means I will always need them.

12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose:

Visible.

13. Regarding working and career:

I really wish I could work even part time and be the fully involved parent my daughter deserves. 

14. People would be surprised to know:

I get really annoyed at my body when all I can do is lay down.

15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been:

I am not sure I have just one thing. It is a daily job to find acceptance. Some days I am better at it than others.

16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was:

Resume going on long walks and hikes regularly.

17. The commercials about my illness:

Are absolutely ridiculous. Even with medication there is pain, and then there are flares. It isn’t a magic pill. What works for one person won’t always work for another.

18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is:

Having a career of some sort outside of the home.

19. It was really hard to have to give up:

My wish for a second child.

20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is:

I really haven’t started any new hobbies. I have pursued some of my interest a bit more.

21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would:

I would probably want to get the house completely clean all at once and still have the energy and ability to take my daughter to go play somewhere. 

22. My illness has taught me:

Patience and to slow down.

23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is:

Say feel better. I know you mean well. I really do. It is just not a reality. It just really annoys me.

24. But I love it when people: 

When I am having a really good day. Low pain and really upbeat!

25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is:

Never give up.

26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them:

It really is not the end of the world. There are lessons to be learned.  

27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is:

How much my perspective has changed on so many different areas. The health care system, other peoples struggles, so many things.

28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was:

They didn’t give  me a choice. I was told to rest and my daughter was taken care of. 

29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because:

We need more awareness. 

30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel:

Amazing!

Sunday confessions: Regret

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MoreThanCheeseandBeer

Regret is something I struggle with a lot.

I have started looking at it a little differently.

I may regret the actual action but then I look at what I do have because of that action.

Would I still have that?

I regret that we didn’t start trying for a second child sooner.  I regret not having one.

We can do a lot of things with one child that we wouldn’t be able to do with two.

I would 

We could

Actually.

I am still working on looking for a positive for that one.

Ten things

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I keep meaning to stay on top of this project . Then life happens and I forget until the next time I stumble upon it.

Ten things. Ten little things. Ten big things. You know what all the things are big things.

This week was full of transitions.

1. I am thankful for friends who are willing to work with me towards my goals. Even small goals of getting enough exercise.

2. I am thankful for being able to pack my daughters lunches daily. One less stress is to know she is being provided healthy food options.

3. I am thankful that I forced myself to get up this morning and go for a hike.

4. I am thankful we saw a bald eagle in it’s nest on our hike.

5. I am thankful for rangers who take the time to help my daughter identify a butterfly she saw.  Nourishing her love of nature even more.

6. I am thankful for a husband who works hard to provide for our family.

7.  I am thankful that I have reached a goal of being published. One that took two years to attain but still gives me a thrill and has renewed my dedication to writing more.

8. I am thankful for coffee.  I am thankful for coffee dates. I am thankful for the enjoyment I get from coffee.

9. I am thankful for my pets. They know when I need to cuddle. They know when I need distraction. They just know.

10. I am thankful that I have recently been able to see some of the hard work we have put into parenting our daughter pay off.

So there they are. Ten things. Big things, little things, they all matter.

My little activist in the making

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My daughter’s anxiety level has been rising. I knew she needed a good snuggle time. It is one of the parts of chronic pain that annoys me, the lack of snuggling I can do.  Last night I knew she needed it more than I needed less pain.

She came in to my room in the middle of a Law and Order SVU episode. This is not something I normally let her watch with me. This episode though dealt with some humanitarian issues.  I had made a promise to myself recently. I needed to stop sheltering her quite so much from reality.  I am not turning down NPR as often as I used to. My response now is not always , ” That is not something you need to worry about.”  So we discussed women being forced into marriage. We discussed how other governments are not run like ours. They do not protect the people like ours do.  We discussed how in the end the woman got  her papers to stay legally in the United States but refused. She knew it was possible to get justice now.  I was really impressed with her understanding of the basic concepts. I was also really impressed I could carry on such a conversation at seven thirty at night. Where did THAT brain come from? The episode ended.  I decided that was enough of that kind of talk.  We switched to Animal Planet.  In an attempt for mindless tv for the last half hour.

We succeeded with mindless TV for the most part. We were watching Call of the Wildman.  There was the commercial for Redwood Kings.  A fairly new show on Animal Planet.

” I don’t like that show. They are mean people. Those are rare special trees and they are cutting them down. That hurts the animals and the trees and everyone. It is not very nice.” My daughter comments.

I am slightly baffled that she knows so much about Redwoods. I am slightly baffled that she has come to this conclusion on her own. I am not really sure why it baffled me. She has always been a highly sensitive person.  She has always been very nature oriented.

Somehow I found myself back in heavy conversation with her about this.  I found that she had found out about Redwoods through National Geographic. Of course, she did. I know she is constantly on that website. She watches full length documentaries from there. She loves reading the magazine itself.  Of course, she would know about them.

Then just like that, she is on to a new subject.

“Mommy know that stuff that comes in a can that you turn upside down and its all white and fluffy and airy.”

” No, no I don’t.”

” Sometimes people put cherries on top.”

” Oh whipped cream.”

“Yeah I wish we had some whipped cream.”

I turned off the TV and we snuggled down into bed.  She may only be nine years old but, I see a budding activist in her.