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Is It Cold In Here?

17 Aug

Why do people get so annoyed with each other? Especially when it surrounds a fun way to do something good and create a buzz to encourage others do the same? So what if people are dumping ice water on their heads and it’s clogging up your Facebook feed with redundant videos of people dumping ice water on their heads? Other than making you roll your eyes, what harm did it do to you?

I admit, I am an eye-roller. Big time. But while my eyes were rolled this time they saw that my brain had very little knowledge about the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Other than knowing it is also called Lou Gehrig’s Disease, I didn’t know what it was. Something so silly as an ice bucket challenge educated me. Sure, I’m only one person. But I’m one person who also donated to a cause that I likely never would’ve donated to before my family was called out in the chilly challenge to raise awareness and money for ALS.

Some are saying it’s all nonsense. Just donate. Don’t waste your dollars on a bag of ice. Don’t record yourself getting iced. Don’t tag others on Facebook to do the same. Just donate and keep any antics you may attempt to yourself.

Maybe they don’t want to dump ice on their heads or feel pressured to give. (I know Andrew sure didn’t want to do this. He doesn’t even wish people happy birthday on Facebook. Gasp.) Maybe they feel they do enough with their good deeds and kind living. Whatever they feel – fine and good. But why criticize those who feel they are making a difference with their antics? It seems they really are too. The donor dollars are on fire at the ALS Association.

Here’s where you can help too: Donate to the ALS Association. (That is, if you can access the site. It seems there are quite a few people trying to become aware and charitable.)

Also, watch this story about the man – a baseball player named Pete Frates – who’s daily challenge with ALS inspired this awareness and charitable challenge.

It feels good to be cold.

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A New Leaf

5 Aug

A little more than a year ago, Nia was plagued with worry. She obsessed and fretted about the smallest thing. For a 10-year-old, the worries were heavy and I — a natural-born stress case myself — didn’t always know how to help her. It also started to — get this — worry me. I felt like I was absorbing her feelings and carrying them around with me.

Naturally, all this lead me to venture into the dangerous world of web searching. I found several articles that made me worry more but I also found a few that offered relief. To make sure I covered all my bases, I also took advantage of a work program that offers employees a free counseling session. I came away with two things to help us both manage our anxieties:

  • The counselor told me to picture my worry as a streaker. (Yes, a naked person.) You may see one run by but you never chase after the bare body. We agreed to modify this to be age appropriate for Nia. She suggested an animal that Nia would never chase. The streaker thought is pretty funny though.)
  • One bit of online information I learned said to visualize a tree with a leaf about to break free. Place your worry on that leaf and then watch it fall and gently land in a stream. The stream then carries the worry away. I told this to Nia and she asked, “Could an animal also eat my leaf?” I’m thinking, sure. Whatever works. (Here’s a blog that has more about the leaf relief.)

Both of these techniques have helped us both but now it seems it’s Nate’s turn to worry and he just doesn’t relate to those. His little heart is filled with concern – so much so that I wonder if it’s been contributing to him sleepwalking. A few nights ago, I actually caught him opening his bedroom window while sleeping. We’ve since child-proofed his windows but the thought of him accidentally hurting himself while we all sleep was too much for me to take. I told him about the ways Nia and I have used to ease our hearts. He asked, “Huh?”

With that, I tried something different. My own thing. Last night, I cuddled with him before he fell asleep and I put my hand on his heart. I told him I was collecting all the worry from his heart so he wouldn’t have it anymore. He giggled as I gathered but then really let out a laugh when I told him I was going to eat all his worry. “I also have room for dessert,”  I told him, “so let me get that worry from your head too.”

Sure, kind of twisted. But you know what? I think it helped some. He went to sleep with a lighter heart and didn’t sleepwalk.

Of course, it could be because of all the other techniques we researched online and tried too (earlier bedtime, consistent sleep and wake time, quiet time before bed, earlier dinner, more water throughout the day …) but I want to claim the giggles as the victory.

I know it made us both feel better. (And me quite full too …)

 

Significant

7 Nov

Maybe it’s because we lived it. We try not to make big deals of things we’ve been through or accomplished. People have done/do more. We may feel like that because part of us feels like we don’t deserve special acknowledgement. We just are people doing things other people do.

For whatever reason though, Andrew and I don’t really recognize his military service on the designated holidays. We certainly think of the others though. Those friends who are no longer with us, those still serving or who’ve served longer or long ago.

Then, a stranger changed that. To her, Andrew’s service is significant and should be noted.

She only really knows him to say hi to him in church but that didn’t stop her from getting his address from the church directory (I imagine) and sending him a card to thank him for his service.

I’m not even sure how she knows about his military history. In the end, it doesn’t matter. What does is that someone reminded us of it.

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What are you passionate about?

23 Aug

I was asked that question recently and I couldn’t answer it. Besides the obvious (and natural) answer of family and friends – I couldn’t think of anything else. I mean, I like a whole bunch of things but I’m not sure I really have a passion for any of them.

Some people are passionate about a cause. I don’t really have one. I’ve always been pretty wishy-washy. My heart strings are pulled over and over again but they are not tied to on any one cause.

I’m certainly not passionate about politics. Don’t get me started.

Some people are passionate about sports. I don’t play any. I run but I would not say I’m passionate about running. Most days, I whine and drag my feet before forcing myself out the door.

Books? I don’t have the awake-time for them.

I’d like to say I’m passionate about writing but I don’t do much with it. I write here and there with the hope of writing more. I just don’t have the initiative or the courage to push it too far. Passion fizzled.

I guess I just felt lacking after the question forced me to review myself because I wasn’t able to answer right away. Am I lazy? Does it mean I don’t care enough? Am I putting too much meaning on the word “passionate”?

Can you answer the question? What are you passionate about?

Listen Closely

19 Aug

“If you listen closely, you’ll hear the ocean.”

I remember my Grandma Rafaiani telling me about the magic of the conch shell she had sitting on her record player console. I don’t remember how old I was but I was young enough to be amazed by what I heard and believe it really was the ocean trapped within the shell. I kept the shell cocooned around my ear, absorbing the waves.

How was that happening? It had to be a trick with my ears and the curves of the shell, I thought. That’s not really the ocean. I know that. But it sounded just like it – and what’s wrong with believing it is?

I know there’s a science behind the sounds from the shell but sometimes I just need to believe for a minute or two that when I cover my ears to block out the noise, the sound of the ocean will be there to sweep me away – to calm my breathing and still my thoughts. To help me listen closely to what really matters.

Sea Sounds

Sea Sounds

Me Worry?

16 Aug

You name it, chances are I’ve worried about it. In fact, I’ve written a blog or two about it. (I got four pages of results when I searched the word “worry.”)

I think I’m a pretty smart person. I realize worrying doesn’t get me anywhere. It doesn’t solve anything. It doesn’t change the outcome of things. It doesn’t prevent things from happening.

Why then? Why all the worry? It’s such a waste of energy, time, sanity, happiness. It’s what I’ve been reminding myself when I feel the senseless anxiety bubbling up within me. But that’s also when I start worrying (of course) – if I don’t worry, does that mean I don’t care?

I’m not sure I know how to care about something without worrying about it. If I let go of that worry, will it change how I care about it or make it seem like I don’t care?

Ridiculous, I know. See what I mean about me worrying?!

To quiet that inner loon, I’ve been trying a few things to help ease my mind and heart. They’ve been working for me so I wanted to share because they may help a worrier you know.

When I feel the worry invade my space:

    • I think of my kids. They see me worry too much. What am I teaching them? As Nia’s sweet note shows and I’ve written about, it makes her worry. If nothing else, it can’t be fun to always hear me say something worries me. That has to change. They need to be carefree kiddos.
    • I think to myself, will this worry fix the issue? No? What will fix it? Anything? Focus on that.
    • Is this going to matter next year? Next month? Next week? No? Toss it.
    • Will this define me? In 15 years, am I going to remember this moment or issue? No? That was an easy one.
    • Will this affect my family in some way? No? Not worth an ounce of stress.
    • What happy, beautiful things am I missing out on around me because I’m stuck in the fret zone? Sucker. You are letting worry rob you of the present.

The last point actually came from something recently talked about in church. I don’t always connect with what’s taught but this spoke to me. It was about how we are only supposed to think about we need for today. “Give us this day our daily bread” refers to that. This day. Focus on today, not tomorrow. Be content and full in the present because if it was my last day I wouldn’t want it spent on worrying about what might happen. I’d want it filled with rejoicing and cherishing.

That’s what brings me to the thought that seems to soothe me the most.

Am I satisfied?

I think of my here and now and feel at peace.

Perception of Me

1 Jul

It’s taken quite some time – and I really am not sure how long this feeling will last – but lately I’ve had an oddly immense feeling of self-esteem.

It’s weird how even typing that makes me feel like I’m bragging or something. Why do I feel like having self-esteem is an arrogant thing? Oh well, boastfulness aside, it feels so free – and awesome – to not put others’ opinions of me before my own.

I wore a dress this weekend that was a pre-baby belly dress. Yes, it fit just fine but that doesn’t necessarily mean I should wear it. I actually liked how this dress looked on me. I felt womanly and I was pleased with my curves. Sure, my belly popped out causing Nate to rub it and innocently observe, “It looks like there’s a baby in there.” (No. There is not.) A comment like this would’ve destroyed me prior to this week or so of feeling secure. (The grocery store bagger crushed me when she said it to me a few months ago.) Now, I giggled at him and said, “Nope. That’s just mommy. It’s my comfortable belly.”

I think womanly/curvy is hot. Why does it seem that as soon as a lady has a non-flat stomach, the perception is she’s with child? Decades ago it just meant you were one fine and foxy female. I’m working toward that opinion again. I’m glad I have my comfortable belly. It helped carry my two worlds and cocooned them in love, life and nourishment in the forms of Spicy V8 and ice cream. (Not at the same time.) I eat the foods I like so I’m not grumpy and I work out so those foods (and beverages) don’t push me to the unhealthily zone. I’m sure if I really pushed myself I could turn my comfy tummy to a flat one but I’m a happy lady in my skin. My body shape and size is just-right healthy. That statement makes me restroom selfie-secure.

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Feelin’ fine so I took a restroom selfie.

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