Monthly Archives: June 2015

A Mommy Rant

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When I was in school I struggled with reading comprehension. It was easily one of my worst subjects.  I enjoyed reading itself. I loved that it was like a movie playing out in my head. I loved I could get lost in the pages of a book. Actually understanding the reading, not so much. I really didn’t care to comprehend what was going on. I didn’t care what color shirt Mr. Frog was wearing. It was my escape from reality, don’t make me think too hard! I don’t really remember many books not having reading comprehension questions either in the back or otherwise. It seemed no matter what book I was reading someone handed me reading comprehension questions to go with it.

 As a mother, I struggle to make sure that my daughter doesn’t fail in the same areas as me. I know she is going to have her own issues but I hope by being aware of where my issues were I can help her. She gets good grades. She devotes her best work to her school work which is all anyone can ask. However, we don’t stop learning just because school is out. It has dramatically less structure, sure. It is more review work than anything else.

Today I am getting on my soap box and ranting on a lack of reading comprehension material for books that don’t have awards or medals. Because I have forced myself to read a fourth/fifth grade level overly adjective (yes that is a thing) book to get the questions and vocabulary words myself, reading  it ahead of the kid. I refuse to limit her to only books that have reading comprehension questions available because she actually had an interest in this book. For her to find a book that is on her reading level that she has an interest in, is rare. She much prefers books way below her reading level so that it is easy. The reason I am so bent out of shape about this is, I am sure there is so much more that she could take away from this book.  Hastily thrown together reading comprehension questions just don’t get to the heart of the book. I guess though even crappy reading comprehension questions keep her thinking about the book, and really that is half the battle.

Many other books have reading comprehension questions, I know. Mostly ones that have medals or awards. There is nothing wrong with that. There are books that she has in her reading pile that do have reading comprehension questions. Her pile is a mix of books I have picked for her to read and books she picked. I had planned to sort through them and find the ones that didn’t have questions available. No wait, that is not exactly true. I just didn’t even think that there would be a lack of reading comprehension questions available. Most of the books she picked were through Scholastics. It is not even that I won’t do it, because obviously I am.

One night I was really annoyed with this and was talking with my friend Beth Tehlio , who wrote The Order of Seven. Which admittedly is way above my daughters reading level. However, she was not at all offended and thought it was a great idea to put reading comprehension questions or a discussion guide in the back. I am after all only a mother wanting to see her child excel. If I have to read really annoying books to make sure that happens, I will. Every. Time.

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Reminding your brain how to feel (A #10thankful Post)

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Ten things of thankful have really helped change the way I think of things. I find myself finding the good part of any situation. “Well, at least we got to go to the beach for ten minutes before the storm moved in.”  “Well, at least we got to spend some family time together.” ” Well, at least we have something to eat.” ” Well, we managed to get inside before it rained so that was good.”

The more I do this the less horrible the day seems. The more I do this the less horrible the week seems. Before I know it, it’s been a good month too. It is constantly finding the good things that happened that change your attitude. Sure at first it was grudgingly and I really didn’t feel grateful that at least we go to do…(whatever we did). I said it though. I started finding myself saying it without thinking about what actually went wrong. I can’t pinpoint when it happened but at one point I actually started meaning it. Now it is a true feeling of gratitude. Sometimes our brain needs to be reminded how to feel.

1. New friends

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We met a new friend in a Local Facebook group and the kids had a great time at the Ringling Museum.

2. Museum time

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I really appreciate getting even a few minutes to look at the gorgeous artwork that is always on display at Ringling. By now some of them are as familiar and comforting as old friends. Some, however, are new displays on loan from other museums.

3. Insurance on the phones.

I am the best destroyer of phones. My phone, of course, decided to die in the middle of our museum trip. However despite a really hot phone, I did not get burned and I still have some pictures because we met a new friend!

4. New phone

Most people have more than one reason they love their new phone. Me? I love it because it has a really nice camera on it. So I have had fun playing with the settings and taking pictures. If you want to know how many pictures I take on a weekly basis, I have had the phone since Monday afternoon and I am approaching 200 pictures. That is really my secret to getting good pictures. I take a million and get one good shot.

5. Interview

The job search is on-going. I did, however, have an interview so I am hopeful that the job search is nearing an end. I am just thankful to have gotten an interview either way.

6. Sunsets

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Really they fascinate me. You really can not predict how they will look. Whether the clouds will clear or if there will be clouded.  Is it going to be all gold and yellows and oranges? Will there be pink and purple? Will you get to watch the sun go all the way down or will a cloud be in the way?  A great reminder happened this week to not just focus on the beauty in front of you. Sometimes the beauty behind you is just as awe-inspiring. Heat lightning and a sunset make for fantastic clouds and colors.

While you watch the sunset this is going on behind you sometimes

While you watch the sunset this is going on behind you sometimes

behind you

behind you

To your left of the sunset

To your left of the sunset

behind you

behind you

7. Labyrinth

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We went for a new experience. The way my brain had it all planned out was not how it went. It was interesting and different though. Something I would definitely try again. Probably without the kid to allow more focus. However, it was a learning experience. It not only opened my mind but also my daughters. So in the end, it was worth it.

8. Lunch with friends

Twice this week, I have been able to ditch the kid and meet a friend for lunch.During summer break that is not always as easy as it sounds.

9. Kid doing chores

The kid has been actually enjoying doing some chores. We added more to her daily chores and she has been cheerfully helping around the house when I ask. Of course, there was some bribery involved but really she is asking to help. I really appreciate it and the house is only going to get better kept this way. Oh yeah, and it teaches her responsibility and stuff too.

10. Good looking scoby’s

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It is weird. I never thought I could handle the texture of a scoby. Making my own kombucha has been interesting. A scoby is a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. It doesn’t sound like it would be anything you would want to put in your body. However, fermented teas have been around for quite a while, like thousands of years while. For someone who suffers with poor gut health, and arthritis this has been amazing for me. There are so many benefits and brewing it yourself you can make it as weak or as strong as you like.

Don’t Forget

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I haven’t always loved that I live in Florida. There are times though that I can’t remember not loving Florida. I mean where else can you see this every night and yet its never the same?

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This picture doesn’t do it justice. It was deeper, brighter and more vibrant all at the same time. There is a sunset every night and not one sunset is like another one. In fact this is not even the direction that the sun was setting. This is the opposite site. The side no one thinks to look at most of the time. Don’t forget that beauty is not always what is right in front of you. Sometimes it is to your left or to your right and sometimes it is even behind you.

Charleston, a #1000speak and a look forward to the future

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1000 voices of compassion started at a time where there was so much violence and heartache in the news. This month it coincided again with violence and heartache.  With compassion in mind and allowing time to process what has happened, we have decided to keep the link to this month’s #1000speak link up open for a week. In the end, the posts  in regards to Charleston will be round up in an e-magazine.

So Here is the link if you feel so moved to write a post in regards to Charleston and share it.

Charleston has been on my mind a lot and I just have no words really. I thought I did. I thought I wanted to say something about it. Instead, I think I just have intense feelings and not really words.

1000 voices of compassion has been spreading and I really think it is making a difference. In my opinion if it lifts up one person it has done its job. If it helps one person, it has done its job. The value of the right message at just the right time in someone’s life is priceless. I hope that is what is happening each month with our 1000 voices of compassion link up.

July’s theme for the link up will be acceptance. In my opinion, acceptance and compassion are intimately wrapped up in each other. It is not true compassion without some form of acceptance. Acceptance of who that person is. Acceptance that your support is enough, even if you don’t completely agree with their decision. You don’t have to in order to show acceptance and compassion. I can’t wait to read your posts for July 20th!

All the things Ten Things of Thankful

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I have taken to keeping a notebook with me and writing on actual paper. In that notebook is a list I started for Ten things of Thankful. I left the house this morning with the laptop knowing I was planning on writing Ten Things of Thankful while the kid was in class. Did I bring the notebook? No, No I did not. Do I remember any of the things I wrote down over the week? No. No I do not.

This week there has been so much sadness in the news. I am so thankful to participate in Ten Things of Thankful and #1000speak this week. It has forced me to think of good things. To purposefully search out the positive, it makes a difference.

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Somethings I am thankful for this week:

1. #1000speak

It is proving that 1000 voices of compassion is needed more and more. I am so heartbroken that this is so. The shooting at Charleston is so fresh and the stories pouring in can be so overwelming. I am thankful for a place to go that is more positive and can lift me back up.

2. Classism.org Post. You can read it here

Not only did they publish my writing but they contacted me to write for them. I am so honored and thankful that people are reading my writing.

3. Bowling for Bullying

Brittnie has such an amazing heart and I am so honored that she asked me to share a story. I didn’t realize how cathartic it would be for me as well.

4. Feast day (lunch with friends)

5. Friends who don’t mind feeding me and my kid!

6. Pottery class

7. Family adventures

8. Report cards

9. Summer solstice Celebration _ even if it is currently pouring rain and there probably won’t be much hope for a fire.

10. Ten Things of thankful for changing my perspective on a weekly basis.

So there they are My Ten things of Thankful for this week.

From the ground up (A #1000speak post)

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It’s all over the news these days. It is hard to avoid it. Police brutality! Police shoot civilian! On and on it goes. It starts to get depressing. It is so easy to only see one side of the story, as media often only shows one side.  Even media that tries its best to be unbiased. Are any of us truly unbiased? When the only stories you are being fed are sensationalist and horrible, it starts to taint your view. If you are not looking at the picture as a whole, it is not easy to see why police are acting the way they are. It seems random and unconnected. Folks, it’s time we all started looking at the bigger picture.

When I worked in probation, I saw it progressing. The blatant disregard for law enforcement. It hasn’t gotten any better from what I have seen. In fact it has gotten worse. Both civilians and police over reacting because of past events. ” I wasn’t really resisting!” When you think about it as only your actions it doesn’t seem like resistance.  When you look at it from the perspective of the police who not only have to keep their safety your safety and the safety of anyone in the immediate area in mind at all times. Someone pulling their arm away can seem like a bigger threat.A small resistance can be where it all falls apart. They can’t possibly know that you never intended to escalate it to anything more than that. They are human. They are subject to adrenaline rushes just like anyone else. No? They should control it better? Really? If a person fails to rescue a child being crushed by a car because the adrenaline rush is not enough to lift the car, would we blame them? Would we say they should have been able to control it and lift the car. No one would ever say that. If you really step back and look at it, both situations are one where safety is threatened. They really are not that different of situation. The problem is not them. The problem is not us. It is all of us. It is both sides. Both sides need to reach out. Compassion can be that bridge.

Race seems to play into it sure, but that can end with us. It takes both sides reaching out. If you look back over time there have been many races all over the world that have had clashes with police, for all kinds of reasons. It is not just an American problem. It is global. GLOBAL people. That should be getting our attention. It is practically shouting for change. We can be that change. It won’t happen over night I know that. Right now it is all about planting seeds of compassion. Compassion is capable of building that bridge between them and us. Because really there is no them and us there is only we. We, the human race. There is a lot that needs to change. Compassion is the first step in those changes, I promise. Trickle down effects work. We know they do. We have seen it. Its time to use the same process to go up. Start with compassion from the bottom and it will reach the top. It will. Compassion can go up that chain of command and before we know it change will be happening.

We need to start now, at home with our kids. We need to be setting the example and looking for the good. We need to be scouring the internet for good stories and sharing those twice as much as the negative stories.  We need to be teaching our children to find the positive. We need to get the message through to media that we are tired of only negative stories. We are emotionally burdened by the repetitive horror stories of what the human race is capable of. We need to not shelter our kids from the horror but show them that there can be balance. THEY can be the balance. They can make the difference.  We need to lead them by example. We need to be working towards the changes just as hard as we are teaching them. We need to not only tell them there are two sides to every story but show them. Find the other side of the story. Give them all the facts. Demand that media do the same. From what I have already seen from the up and coming generation they are going to blow us away. They are holding tight to compassion and spreading it. Call it a renewal of the hippies if you want, but peace, love and happiness are not horrible goals.

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Start now. Join us. Read share and comment on the links in the link up below. Link up your own compassion post.

Treasured moments

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We had already had a busy day. It had not gone the least bit as we thought it would, but not in a bad way. I had arranged for a friend to take my daughter to a class while I sat through meetings. We met for lunch, then parted again. I had another meeting, they were off to the pool. By the time we got home, we were both fairly exhausted. Luckily we had leftovers in the fridge.

Sometimes though you just get a tickle in your brain. This harebrained idea that is just completely ridiculous. It was almost six pm. I like to be home no later than seven pm most nights. What if, though. What if we just left the house. What if we just went to the beach for the sunset.I could just as easily write the meeting minutes tomorrow. Laundry could be done late at night. There is no rule that says it must be done right then and there. Surely a better solution was to run the dishwasher after the beach while we were sleeping. Before I could back out of it, I told my daughter, “Let’s go to the beach.”  Once those words are uttered there is no going back. There just isn’t.

Bathing suits were thrown on,towels were grabbed and a sheet and even a book. Sunscreen was in the car. We were off. In five short minutes we were walking on the beach.

I would like to say we just jumped right in. There was some caution though. We checked the lifeguard station, green flag! Spritzing ourselves with sunscreen, we then laid out the sheet. “Okay now.”  Two short words but like a flash of light she was gone. All that remained was a splash in the ocean. She bobbed up a few seconds later and was grinning ear to ear. I dropped all thoughts of things left undone and went into the water.

As we were swimming around heading further and further away from the beach, she asks ” Good thing we don’t have to worry about dolphins!”  ” We don’t?” I ask. “Nope they are vegetarians.” ” You sure about that? I am pretty sure they eat fish.”  “Well we aren’t fish.” No, we were not fish. I splashed her which proceeded into a very fast and furious splash fight. It was only when neither of us could see and we could both feel the burn of salt water down our throats that either of us stopped.

Sitting on the sheet, watching her play in the waves. I thought,” this is what we needed.”

“Mommy why is some sand black? Is it pepper? Because the ocean has salt so is the black stuff pepper?”

” I am pretty sure it is not pepper.” I answered. It didn’t matter. She was lost in watching the coquina’s burrow back into the sand as fast as she uncovered them.

The sunset was not the sunset I imagined when the thought to go to the beach had wriggled its way into my brain. It was less, it was more. It was gorgeous and dark and stormy all at the same time. It was exactly the sunset I needed to see. We didn’t even get to pretend we heard the sun go “plunk” into the ocean as clouds and far off rain obscured the view. Still it was perfect.

We wrapped ourselves in towels and shook out the blanket. At one point I had tried to read the book, I was distracted by dolphins. They were elusive jumping out past the buoy. There were long moments of scanning before seeing a glimpse of one again. None the less little reading got done. That was completely okay.

” Are we going to shower off before getting in the car?”

“Nah.” I said. I had long ago given up the notion of not bringing half the beach home. Really it is a lost cause.

” But we are all wet and sandy.”

” Well we would still be wet. We will just take a shower as soon as we get home.” I said back thinking she was really quite exhausted.

” But we will get the car all wet.” She whined back.

” Are you listening to yourself? Either way we will be wet silly. It’s fine.”

The entire five-minute ride back home she chatted happily about her day. Really any little thing that came into her head came out of her mouth. I cherished it , driving home listening to her happy chatter. I cherished the silly little conversations. I treasured the splash fight and the sound of her delightful laughter mixing with the ocean waves.

She is in the shower now as I sit at the table pounding the keyboard to get it all out. I want to remember it. I want to remember that sometimes those little wiggles and tickles in your brain. The ones that are so ridiculous you couldn’t possibly act on them. Sometimes those are the best. Sometimes our brain unconsciously knows what we need before we are conscious of what we need. Sometimes it is the body that knows. The balance comes from listening to both your mind and your body.

We had been home for barely an hour when it started to rain. Washing everything to start tomorrow clean and new and sparkly.

When flares and growth spurts collide

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One of the problems I have run into lately is balancing my chronic illness flares and my daughters growth spurts. This annoying thing keeps happening. They are occurring at the same time. So while I really would love to do nothing at all and just lay like a blob on the bed, she wants to do all the things and eat all the food.I thought this particular flare was extra harsh, I could not seem to function and my daughter was driving me up a wall. Then it dawned on me what was happening. I was flaring as she was going through a growth spurt. It is not unlike two women having pms at the same exact time. There was lots of tears, irritability and the need to eat on both sides.

I was also out of Ultracur, a curcumin supplement, it was really starting to be clear to me just how much it had helped. I tried using the fresh turmeric root. I put it in everything, and I mean everything. In the end I fell back on Advil. Even still I was not getting as much bang for my buck taking the Advil.

A week goes by and by this time I am beyond irritated that I continue to flare. Not one thing I did was helping break this flare. I could get some relief sure but not break it. The housework was piling up. It was all I could do to entertain my daughter for the day, and that included several hours of go do whatever you want. Seriously I don’t care if you take everything out of the refrigerator and eat it, as long as you stop telling me that you are hungry.  The longer the higher pain levels the deeper the depression gets. It was like this vicious battle of clawing my way out each day only to go to sleep and do it all over again. I threw so much ginger, water and magnesium at my system I am not sure how I was not just a floppy loose pile of muscles.

I made my nasty arthritis juice. It seemed so much more labor intensive than before. Ginger, lemon, cucumber, celery, garlic and turmeric. I tossed three ounces back not unlike a shot of alcohol. It is immediately followed by several ounces of water to cool the flames from that. I forced myself to make three more three ounce batches of it. I was determined I was going to kick this flare down and function. I was going to reclaim my house.  If you have fibromyalgia and/or arthritis I am sure you know what happened next. Yeah, not much of anything.

The mail came and I sent my daughter out to get it. Ultracur finally came. Let me clarify here, I have issues many times with my mail. I do not think it had anything to do on behalf of Ultracur. I can’t tell you how many things I get weeks or even months after it should have arrived. Ripping into that bag and popping open that bottle was just a whirl. I am not sure anyone could have followed the actions that resulted in two capsules in my hand. Thirty minutes later we were off to a library class. It helped so much, I can’t even. I took the next dose and when I woke in the morning I could see improvement. I wish I could say I will never run out again. I probably will. I am really bad at doing that plus I keep testing myself. Do I really need this? Is it really helping?

My daughter is still going strong in her growth spurt, as fast as I get the groceries she eats them. I know it’s a constant thing. I know this is part of parenting. Next she will have almost no appetite and suddenly her clothes won’t fit anymore. For now though, my flare seems to be breaking so bring on the growth spurt. I guess, since there is no avoiding them and I really wouldn’t want to anyway.

The week of surplus ( A Ten Things of Thankful #10Thankful post)

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I wrote like 3000 something words today. At least 1000 were for a church committee meeting, so maybe they don’t count as much. I have had this post open for about an hour and just haven’t found the words. So Ten Things of Thankful Via Photos.

Thankful one: Explorations

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Thankful Two: Juicing and Kombucha

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Thankful Three: Redo hair cuts!

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Thankful Four: Paid for writing

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Thankful Five: This stuff. Its magic. Trust me.

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Thankful Six: A visit to the beach is never the exact same.

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Thankful Seven: Baby cows…even if they didn’t know what to do with the celery.

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Thankful Eight: Pottery class has started

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Thankful Nine: Listening to her laughter and getting good photo shots

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Thankful Ten: Pizza and wine

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And I didn’t even have to invoke the Seven Guard Virgins OR the Book of Secret rules!!!!

The pretty good not from a recipe soup I made

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I am not a great cook. This is not something I hide from people. In fact, normally the fire alarm is an indicator of if dinner is done or not. However I have had some interest of improving in this area.  I don’t do recipes. Now don’t get me wrong recipes are fine, they just don’t work for me. On the logical level I know cooking is a science. It is however, also an art. That is really the only explanation of why recipes don’t work for me. Often I base what I make for dinner on what I am craving, sometimes a family member. This time it was my daughter. She wanted okra. The only ways I like okra is fried or in soup. We are trying to eat healthy and clean so soup it was! I was telling my friend Jen about this after the fact and she said you should totally blog that. I laughed because see above sentences about cooking. As far as I can tell it is both vegetarian and vegan. The wheels started turning however and I was thinking how healthy this turned out to be and good. Did I mention it came out good?

This is what you need based on what I remember.

1 bunch of kale Chopped

1 chopped and diced bulb of fennel (good for calming the stomach and intestines)

4 large carrots

1 bunch scallions

8-10 red creamer potatoes diced

2 yellow squash

1 Large zucchini

2 1/4 inch ginger minced (muscles really like ginger makes them all loosey goosey)

1 tablespoon ground ginger  (only because I didn’t feel like chopping up more fresh stuff)

1 tablespoon basil (its yummy and it fights bacteria and virus’s , Boosting immune system is important stuff)

1 teaspoon minced garlic

Green beans cut up

1 tablespoon rosemary ( I really love Rosemary and it helps muscles as well as it supposedly helps memory, circulation and immune health. However I really like it. )

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup green lentils

a container of Veggie broth ( I get organic low sodium but that is just me)

All measurements are from me eyeballing it.

Toss all ingredients in a large pot. Add the entire contents of the broth fill up with water and dump that in too. Let all this simmer for an hour.

Toss in the lentils and let it simmer for another twenty minutes or so.

Boom! Soup! It passed family inspection even if it didn’t have meat in it. I was not at all bothered by the lack of meat.