Monthly Archives: September 2015

A change in perspective through photos

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I have always loved photography. I have taken classes on and off since middle school. In middle school I had yet to realize Photography was entirely in the eye of the beholder. I took photos of the stupidest stuff thinking this is what they are looking for. It had not occurred to me yet to look for what I was looking for. In all those years a camera has never been far from my reach. When cameras starting being part of cell phones, well then I always had one. The last few years especially, I have found myself taking photos daily.

Some days start out rough and just seem to get worse. I have a lot of those days but I rarely stop taking photos. I often don’t post near as many as I take. I was looking through my photos on google, because it said I was running out of space, and thought huh was that a bad day? What if I just looked at my days through pictures? No words just a picture. Well, then suddenly my day didn’t seem so bad.  So here is my challenge to you: In the next week take as many pictures as you can through out the day. Then at the end of the week go back and look through them and see if that doesn’t change your perspective.

Here is the day that this thought occurred to me: I will let you see it through your perspective.

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What it is like

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Social media can truly be a miracle sometimes. When asked a question you have time to think without your facial expression giving it away or making it awkward. It is a small thing but one I find very helpful. Recently I was talking with someone who had just gotten diagnosed with a chronic pain illness. It would be a matter of constantly managing it. She asked me, “What is it like? How do you do it? I just can’t imagine ever being okay with this. It is so distracting and I absolutely hate it.”  I agreed. I still feel all of that. It hasn’t gone away, more like it is just simmering.
Simmering, yeah that is a good description. Let’s go with that. It is a lot like cooking a meal that will never ever be done but you know it will be worth it.  It is a labor intensive meal like Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. It is like you have four pots on the stove and something in the oven.
One pot is emotional/mental health. One pot is physical health. One pot is spiritual. One pot is work and in the oven is the family. Just like in cooking you have to keep adding ingredients and it can simmer on its own for a bit but it needs a stir now and then. Every so often, and often when you feel you have it the most under control, all the pots start boiling over. Sometimes some smoke even starts coming from the oven.  Normally though the boiling over happens one at a time and you can handle it and move on. You take a taste every once in a while to check on it as a means to see how it is coming along. Sometimes tasting can tell you if there is a problem. Sometimes it tastes good but really something has started to go bad you just can’t taste it yet.
Then there is the other problem. Suddenly an ingredient is no longer working. It is no longer bonding with everything in the pot to make it one solid thing. It could be that self-care has fallen off your radar. It could be that you cut back on exercise. It could be that you thought it was self-care by sleeping in on Sunday, but really you hadn’t done anything else for spiritual health so it really wasn’t self-care. It could be that you cut back on exercise–physical health–for good reason, yet it negatively affected another part of physical health, vitamin D.  Sometimes you find an ingredient you thought would work well actually doesn’t and you have to take it back out of the pot.  Sometimes while you are disposing of that ingredient another pot starts to boil over. Don’t forget you changed the dynamics of that one pot you took the ingredient out of so you will need to adjust the temperature!
Yes, but that is essentially life isn’t it? You have to add the chronic pain as well. You are right about that, we are handling that as well. Hopefully each of the pots and the oven are helping that. Chronic pain though, that is the tricky element. That is the part that makes the ingredients suddenly stop working so well. That is the part that says, “that worked for a while, but now, not so much.”
On the really good days the chronic pain is like the background noise of the dishwasher going. You hear it, you know it’s going on. You just try not to pay too much attention to it until it dings. When it dings that is when you find out that suddenly the soap you were using didn’t work or something got gummed up in the hose and the rinse cycle didn’t go off. Sometimes there is not even running water to wash the dishes by hand while all the other stuff is happening. Chronic pain does that. You find something and your brain says, “hey, thanks this is really working,” so it starts focusing on something else more pressing.
So essential pain management just becomes part of your routine. I can’t tell you when it happens, just that it does. I can tell you that I am never okay with it. Chronic pain just adds to depression and anxiety because you are constantly longing for what you cannot have. Things you used to do are no longer an option. It took quite a bit of looking around trying to figure out what I wanted to do. It took even longer for me to realize that what I want to do will always be in flux. Some days I am overwhelmed that my health issues are only going to get worse as I age  because they are degenerative. Degeneration is already an issue as you get older. It is just sped up in my case.
Some days though, I don’t care. I am enjoying the moment for all that it is. Those are the days that make all the above worth it. They balance out all the bad days where all the pots are boiling over there is smoke coming from the oven and the dishwasher just plain won’t work.
It takes a lot of self-analysis to make those good days happen. In the beginning, I fought that. Don’t look too closely. Don’t fix what isn’t broken. If it is hanging on by a thread and still working, it isn’t broken. There comes a time though that it just doesn’t work any more. Nothing about it works and self-analysis is forced on you. You have to sit down and look at it. You have to acknowledge the problem.
Slowly you realize that sometimes you could be a bit more proactive. For a time that is all it is. A thought. You don’t act on it. Then one day you do something proactive and you see it pan out that it fixed a problem you didn’t even realize was coming. I am not saying that before you know it you are doing this all the time. I am not. I know I am not. I know there is always room for improvement.
At the end of the day, that is what I tell myself. I think about the things I handled proactively and the things I didn’t respond to that I should have. Tomorrow. Tomorrow I tell myself, we will try again. We are not going to try harder because we are already trying our hardest. We will just simply try again. I can tell you that if you keep telling yourself this each night you will believe it. I can’t tell you how long that will take. It could take months. It’s harsh to think that, Months! I can’t take months! I need a fix now! So take a deep breath and remind yourself that slow and steady cooks the meal.

 

 

Ten Things of Thankful I made it through the week.

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Ten Things I can do this. I need to do this. I need to unblock my issue on writing. I have not done any all week. Well that is not entirely true. I have it just …yeah. See I have this thing that I often write like the third or fourth paragraph first and end up building from there. So I have a whole lot of third and fourth paragraphs but that is about all. SO here it is. Starting with Ten Things of thankful.

 

  1. I made Coasters and I think they came out pretty awesome.
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2. Beach time

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3. Crystals

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4. easy but yummy dinners

5. Vitamin D

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That has no corn oil, corn startch or anything else like that. Nor is it suspended in soy. FINALLY. It does not help malabsorption issues if you ingest the vitamin you are lacking in the thing that causes the malabsorption. Corn. Corn is evil that is all there is to it.

6. Reading time

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Now I have To do a few Hypo gratefuls because you know right now Sarcasm is about all I have to keep the abyss back.

6.  Rejection notes from Nanny positions I have applied too.

Because you know some people aren’t even trying to get a job so they don’t even get that.

 

7. No Ac in the car

Because some people don’t have cars. I had a time we had no car. So lack of AC is great. We roll the windows down, let the wind blow through our hair. SO if I show up with messy hair that is why.

 

 

Compassionately Honest children

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Honesty. It is something a lot of us strive for. It does however often leave us feeling very vulernable. When we meet that honesty with compassion a wonderful thing happens. We reach a new level of understanding. Suddenly progress is being made where it had not previously happened. As a parent I struggle with this. How do I be open and honest with my daughter about how the world is? I want to protect her and keep her safe.  For awhile I clung to this quote : “Parents need to fill up a child’s bucket of self-esteem so high that the rest of the world can not poke enough holes to drain it dry. ” Alvin Price.

However, the more I thought about it the more I didn’t like it. Why? Why must I fill her bucket so high? What if I just had a child with a healthy self-esteem? Would that be enough? What if instead of filling her up so much that she might overflow, What if I just told her the truth?  If I do that, do I have to have all the answers? It took me a bit to realize, I don’t. I don’t need to be able to tell her why it is, just that it is.I can tell her I don’t know why these things have to happen. They have happened and now we have to deal with them and go forward. If we have open and honest discussions about what is going on in the world, compassion and empathy can be fostered. Not too long ago I found this quote which made so much more sense to me than the first one.

“It is not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It is our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless. “L. R. Knost

So then my questions turned a different corner. How do I raise a child who can survive this world AND possibly make it better? How do I keep her the loving, peaceful, compassionate and kind child she is with the reality of this world?

The longer my daughter has been at a Montessori school the more I am convinced this is the right path. She is honest about situations but not in a way that is lacking empathy or compassion. This is something Montessori has fostered since the beginning of school for her. There are variations of it but I have heard it called, the peace rose the most.  If feelings are hurt, sit down and figure out how to make it better. Acknowledge that certain behavior was not right without blaming one specific party. I only see this as helping the world be a better place in the long run. If five year olds can do this, What is holding us back? What if all schools everywhere used this process starting in kindergarten. Sure the progress would be slow but I guarantee there would be change.

In order for peaceful conflict resolution, you have to look inside yourself as well. How many of us want to sit down and honestly look inside ourselves? I do it, but I am still squirmy and uncomfortable. I do it because I know my daughter needs the example. I do it because I have seen her peacefully resolve conflicts with skill that just blows me away. Actually, I am not sure if I am being the example or if she is. I know she showed me it is possible in a way I never understood before. I am sure someone had explained the concept that Montessori uses before. It just took my daughter actually doing it for me to understand. Now it comes as second nature to her.  What if we had a whole generation like that? Can you imagine the changes that would happen?

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Ten Very Thankful oh so Grateful Things Post.

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I debated on whether or not to write tonight or save it for the morning. Guess what I chose?

Ten Things. Do you have that many? Can you sit down right now and write ten things you are thankful that you have in your life right now? I can most days. Ten things per day easily most of the time. This however is a weekly challenge. Write ten things. Some weeks it is hard. It is really hard. Some weeks the words just flow and I know without a doubt things I am thankful for. It doesn’t even matter if you are thankful for the same exact things over and over and over again. It counts. It all counts. It counts that you are thankful at all, for anything.

Number one on my list this week is LIZZI!

I can’t tell you how many times this week I was cheered up just by her smiling face. How great a time she is having here in America and getting soooooo much more excited to see her soon! I may just walk up to her and throw glitter at her and then hug the crap right out of her.

Number two is my friend is back from Alaska.

I don’t think I really truly appreciated how much she cheers me up. She has a high energy and I didn’t realize how much I feed off that. She also told me my teeth look better. I am pretty sure that is not true however, until I get my vitamin D level rechecked, I am just going to believe her. Bodies are strange but apparently when you have vitamin D deficiency it is not unheard of for your body to leach it from your teeth.

Number three is that my daughter has such a great school.

We have struggled a bit with Dyscalculia. No, it is not a vampire like disease. However, despite her learning disability she is doing excellent in math. A very successful parent teacher conference showed no worries. Keep doing what we are doing at home! YAY!

Number four is that I got some awesome meditation time in this week.

My daughter also enjoys the labyrinth and even got a picture of me. I actually really really really like this picture.

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Number five is popcorn.

Wait, how can this be? Are you not allergic to Corn anymore? Oh, I am. I most certainly am. Sometimes the consequences are worth it. This time it was oh oh oh so worth it.

Number six is feast day!

I mean who does not like a great big feast. We do have it at a healthier choice place. However this week we had it on Monday and we started it off with Chocolate cake. Oh yes we did!

Number seven is INTERVIEWS.

Although I feel like they are a lot like an awkward first date, I have had a couple this week. Two of which I think went really well and I really liked the people. No really I did! Since hubby and I met on a blind date I guess really I am a pro at that whole awkward first date thing huh. Hey did you see? We hit fifteen years married this past Wednesday. For once there was not a hurricane happening or threatening although it did in fact, rain.

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Number eight is HARPS!

Not the beer. Although that is good too. My daughter is doing so well and really pursuing this. She has gone every morning a half hour early to school to practice. Really it is such an astonishing opportunity for her.

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Number nine is ULTRACUR!

Seriously I know I have preached about this. It really is terrific stuff. I really do get a lot of help from their product! So much so I was telling the rep Casey (Here is her email if you want samples CCentola@hausbio.com) that I was just so worried about running out because I have before. So then she sent me this…….

The leaning tower of Curcumin!

The leaning tower of Curcumin!

Number Ten is Florida.

Sometimes I am reminded why we never moved away.

 

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So that is my Ten things. What are yours? I really do want to know! Tell me at least one pretty please?

How did that happen?

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Most days I still wake up feeling Like I am that crazy teenager wanting a serious relationship and not nearly ready for the amount of responsibility I actually have. It astounds me that today at four pm, my husband and I will have been married for fifteen years. We have been in a relationship for eighteen years.Our relationship is old enough to be a legal adult. What? Don’t let that fool you into thinking we are mature adults. Farts are still funny. They will always be funny. We will always pick on each other. We will always laugh at stupid grade school jokes. Uranus.

I still remember so many people asking me at our wedding reception when the baby is due. Um what baby? Yes I am nineteen. Yes I got married. No I am not pregnant. Oh honey you have so much time left for serious relationships. Go out and live a little first. Um, well I found the man so I guess we are going to go out and live a little together. It amazed me how many went from when is the baby due to well wait a couple years to have kids. I only ever wanted to be a Mommy. Waiting was not what I had in mind. It was what Life had in mind though. Four and a half years of waiting for our miracle. Struggle and heartache during those years but oh so worth it.

Excuse the picture of a picture. When we got married Facebook wasn't a thing yet.

Excuse the picture of a picture. When we got married Facebook wasn’t a thing yet.

Anyway this post is not really about the kid so back to this whole married thing. Fifteen years. I just …. I can’t even. How the hell did this happen? I don’t know. People have asked me for relationship advice in the last several years. ME!! I don’t know I have not dated in years. Why ask me? Oh long-standing relationship, yeah I see your point.

I guess when I really sit down and think about it. We don’t try to change each other. I know he is going to take FOREVER to get ready to go somewhere. Me? Pants check, shirt check. flip-flops check, keys, Got it let’s go. Does it annoy me and infuriate me sometimes. HELL YES IT DOES! just walk out the door. Lets go already. He gets in the car. I let it go. At this point I let it go if it even bothered me in the first place. I just automatically try to work that in to my schedule. We have to be there at four pm so I need to tell him to get ready by three and three thirty and we might be out the door by three forty five. You know what though? I don’t yell at him and pick on him to change it. Well mostly, unless we are running late but then…okay okay let it go. However, I know for a fact there are things I do that drive him just as nuts. I mean really we have to have crappy nitpick things to pick on each other when we are not arguing about something big right? Right. In fact, the more I think about it, little stuff like that we both are really good at letting go. I mean its like gone, not that its gone until we have a fight. It’s just gone.

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We communicate. Mostly I would say that is it. We communicate. We tell each other what happened, is going to happen, might possibly happen. We do this however without being little detail oriented. I don’t tell him when I go to the bathroom while he is at work. I don’t tell him what I had for breakfast after he left.Although sometimes we do because POOP is always an interesting conversation. There are some decisions we both have to make when the other is not there and we just kind of go from there. I don’t you know like decide we are going to move or where we are going to move. I don’t just go out and buy a car and come home and say well I had to make a choice.

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I guess we are really lucky in some respects. We started our relationship and three weeks later I saw him on life support. I MEAN LIFE SUPPORT. Like machines breathing for him and the little heart monitor making sure he had a heart beat kind of life support. It has always boiled down to we have each other. Infertility, miscarriage, money issues, housing issues, plumbing issues. We have each other. We don’t need more than that.

 

Well maybe some Oreos for me and some hard cider for him but you know each other works too.

Back in the swing of things…. Ten Things of Thankful

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Ten Things of Thankful

The last month things have been a daily challenge. Something comes through and gets resolved and three more things break or quit working. In the last month, we have had septic issues, plumbing issues(seperate from septic) Which meant I could not run the dishwasher and had no water in the kitchen sink, The AC went in the car( current real feel in afternoons is over 110), the power cord to the laptop broke, School started, Church meetings, interviews cancelled and I know I have forgotten at least five other things.  It has been happening long enough that my resilence has been tested, which always makes me want to do the healthiest thing possible of hibernate in my bed. I basically did that for several days, Some how I got back in the swing of things.

We have an amazing church  (although some would say it is not a church) and someone annonymously paid our rent to help things out. One less thing to worry about. I can’t even begin to tell you how thankful I am for that. The state of awe and near giggly relief I spent hours in.

I decided to knock out cleaning, was especially daring and hit shuffle on my cleaning list music.

The first song came up : John Mellencamp Jack and Diane ( i just tried to embed it and it said no. It was there but it wouldn’t play. Sad)

So long story short. THe first time I heard this song I thought it was “Life goes on long after the threat of living is gone.” Some how I still think that is a better verison but it was a good reminder either way. Life goes on. Thankful that such a great classic song was able to help me remember that.

I have however had time to get back into walking four miles twice a week. I have some amazing friends who have either taken us out to eat, offered the use of their house, washed our dishes and the list goes on. Seriously, they know me well enough they didn’t let me hide for long. Some even told me out right how they were going to help. Not asked because I would most likely say no, They just told me, this is how it is going to work.

Now that I can breathe, and have my powercord for my laptop (because my back really really really doesn’t like sitting at desks), I feel like I am not quite grasping at straws.

I am pretty sure there are ten things there. I am not really interested in counting, truthfully. I am also really not interested in going back and correcting gramatical errors. I might never hit the publish button and get back into ten things of thankful if I did.

Some how I didn’t stop looking for beauty though so here are pictures from the last two weeks.  If you follow me on Instagram you probably have already seen these.

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Oh that’s the thing

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When I first started having health issues, it turned out one of the big culprits was my Vitamin D level was super low. I did all kinds of things to raise it.It still just barely would get in the normal range. I was taking a prescription based dose for quite a while. Then, we discovered corn intolerance and no one could tell me if the prescription had vegetable oil in it. Vegetable oil doesn’t always mean corn but most of the time it is. So we did some trials of me just taking 1000 iu’s of Vitamin D with my multivitamin in the morning.  It seemed to be okay. Still years later, I often have asked people going through diagnosis processes about their vitamin D level. It is an over looked nutrient that does so very much for our bodies. Especially bodies that deal with chronic pain and fatigue on a daily basis.

The past month I have been struggling more and more with aches and pains as well as my depression flaring. I suspected it was a flare from doing so much at Disney but I also thought maybe my magnesium level was low again. Almost all vitamin deficiencies will start out with fatigue and muscle aches, when you have Fibromyalgia-that doesn’t get you very far. I had been putting off getting blood work done but now it was really time. I got that done and then started looking at things. I really thought I had been getting outside and taking enough vitamin D , so I had basically crossed it off my list. I did suspect maybe potassium had dropped again so bought more banana’s. Small steps I know but sometimes that is all we need. So I started taking the Magnesium supplement nightly again. The side effect of too much is loose bowels. That was never a problem for me so I assumed I was right and the aches and pains did ease up.  Was it from the banana’s? Was it from the Magnesium?

Only now, I could feel that one pain. It is like an ice cold bone pain. Primarily It bothers me the most along my shins and along my collar bone. The same day I figured it out, my Doctor called to say the blood work was in and my vitamin D was super low. Not just low but the lowest it has ever been. Oh well yes then that makes a whole lot of sense. I suspect both were low when I started taking the magnesium supplement nightly. My magnesium levels on the blood work was low but within normal.  Potassium too was within normal ranges.

Something I thought I had a handle on, vitamin D pops back up and suddenly I find myself analyzing everything all over again. Well if what I was doing for that stopped working……

It is necessary to sometimes assess what we are doing when dealing with Chronic illness/pain and all that goes along with it.  However right now I think I am just going to keep up the magnesium and the extra Vitamin D and go from there.  Everything else shows it is working as far as my blood work goes. Let’s just let the magnesium and Vitamin D catch up and see where we are a month from now. Even saying that a month seems like forever when you are dealing with pain.

Strong girls, confident girls and American Girl

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I love perusing the bookshelves at Goodwill. I have found some real treasures there. Sometimes for as little as a quarter. Sometimes for as much as two dollars. Over the past few months I have come across American Girl books. First of all, I had completely forgot there was a book series. Then I discovered they had these guide type books.

Having a ten-year-old girl to raise, I have wondered how to approach subjects. When do I approach them. I am constantly looking online for information on this. I had not really thought to find a book that explained it to HER.  The first one we came across was ” The Care and Keeping of You 2: The Body Book for Older Girls.”  There was nothing in this book I had not told her already. However, she dove into it and really seemed to finally grasp some basic concepts. She was understanding why she needed to change underwear every day. Why she had to use shampoo conditioner and soap when she took a shower. I can’t tell you how many times she asked to take a rinse off shower. Why brushing your teeth last night doesn’t count in the morning.We read some of it together but for the most part it was just in her room for her to read. I know she read it as when I went in to check on how clean her room was, It was always in a different spot.

Now instead of figuring out how to have birds and bees talks and your changing body talks I could focus on other important issues. With school starting back up, I thought I would go check out the book store again. We had visited lots during the summer. She has more chapter books than she knows what to do with.

When I stumbled upon another great book from American Girl. This one is something that some of the other mothers I am friends with and I have discussed a lot lately. “Stand Up for Yourself and Your Friends Dealing with Bullies and Bossiness, and Finding a Better Way. It is hard for me to comprehend that at Ten years old this is what she is dealing with now. She is my baby. Wait how is she walking? Why is she growing so fast? Alas, she is and the best way to deal with it is to pull up my panties and be ready. So I got the book, even though it was not remotely what I was looking for. I walked in to find books for a friend and maybe one for me.

Knowing my daughter is an eager to please type person like myself. Knowing how that affected me when I was her age. I wanted to fill up her bucket as much as possible, to strive for her not having the crippling self-doubt and lack of confidence I had.

Like the first book she started reading it right away. As she read things she liked or made sense to her she would talk to me about it. Normally reading hour is a bunch of me reminding her she is supposed to be reading and a lot of her rolling her eyes. This is why it’s an hour instead of the twenty minutes required. Once she had this book in her hands though it was all she could focus on. Even the next morning I found her walking around looking at it. I mean seriously how do you get upset she is not getting ready when she is reading? I really struggle with that. In the car she continued to read it and all these little squabbles that had come up, some when she was in Kindergarten, that she had never told me about. She had ideas of how to handle it if it happened again. The book encourages to set a personal motto, so that was what she was thinking about as she got out to go to school.

I remember being told to respect my elders. It didn’t matter if that elder was bullying me or being overly bossy. I was a kid. I had no say and if I said anything it was disrespectful. I have tried to encourage her to speak up for herself. To stand up for herself when she needed to. I have tried to teach her that if she sees it happening she should say something. I want her to feel heard but also have respect for those in charge. How in the world do you teach this as a parent who is eager to please and overly anxious to a child who is the same? Being the researcher I am, I looked up the book. Then to my wonderful surprise, I found there was all kinds of curriculum material available all centered around this book and another American Girl book.  Not once anywhere did I see it mention they should behave this way because God wanted it. I was so relieved. This was actually usable stuff to me! She is already eager to please and I want her to stand up for herself for HER. Not for anyone else, not even God.

My eyes have been opened and now this is probably something I am going to research more.  She already wanted to share this book with her friends so I have volunteered to do a Sunday School class on this subject. Perhaps this is something I will try to do more often. Perhaps I need to make this a goal for myself.

It starts with us, the parents and will trickle down from there. My hope is if we all do this, one day the world will be a kinder place.