When You Wish Upon a Hair Piece

I think this is the most excited I’ve been about a post since I started my blog. LAFF’s (Lulabelle’s Anxiety Free Friday) are by far my favorite entries to write, as I know they are making people laugh and bringing joy to a world that can be pretty scary. Another thing about LAFF’s I’ve enjoyed is reliving funny moments from the past. The following account had my husband in stitches the other night. We’ve been together for several years, but the other night was the first he had heard this story. So, visit the restroom–better safe than sorry 😀 — pop some popcorn, pull up a seat and let’s get started.

Our story begins when I was in elementary school. Not sure exactly what grade I was in, maybe 2nd or 3rd. Several years prior I had endured a bit of brain surgery and they had to shave 1/4th of my head. After I had healed, my mom took me to her stylist to get a good haircut. From then on, my hair was no longer than right above my shoulders. I could have a pony tail and pig tails, but not much else. I desperately wanted to have longer hair. Most of my girl friends had longer hair. It looked so beautiful.

At this point my grandma B enters the story. As you recall I wrote about her the other day. She was awesome and in typical grandparent fashion, was an expert at spoiling her grandkids. I told her once I wanted a monkey for my birthday, and that year she gave me a card with a chimpanzee on the front (she was accommodating only up to a certain point 😉 ).  One year near Christmas, it must have been mentioned about my desire for long hair. We visited my grandparents every year for Christmas, and always had a big family celebration where each of the grandkids were given a stocking to open, as well as a few small wrapped gifts. 

My turn to open gifts came and I reached for a small wrapped box. Upon opening the gift, my heart leapt out of my chest. (It should be noted at this point that what was in the box has been since lost so unfortunately, no photos are available. I’m going to try my best to describe it to you–but a bit of imagination may be needed). There, in the box, contained something so glorious I could hardly imagine I was seeing it. It was a banana clip. Not just any banana clip–oh no! This banana clip had, woven into it…..human hair that extended past the end of the clip and was braided into a beautiful perfect braid! It was like a bit of magic had been performed. How did this all happen, I asked. At this point, my grandma B volunteered that she had enlisted her hair dresser of many years, to craft a hairpiece for her (favorite? 😉 ) granddaughter that desperately wanted long hair!  But one thing still puzzled me. HOW was my grandma’s stylist able to get my hair color so spot on?? At this point, it was my mom that volunteered the info that she had cut a sample of my hair WHEN I WAS ASLEEP!!

I got lots of use out of my hairpiece (incidentally, that is a sentence I never thought I’d write 😀 ). I even remember wearing it to school at least once. I believe it was on a Monday. So, I went to school Friday, with normal short hair, and arrived at school on Monday wearing this thing that completely changed my look. One more thing about this hairpiece…it had a hard time staying in–even with the aid of bobby pins. It’d be good and secure for a few hours, but if I moved around too much, it’d get loose. The one time I remember wearing it to school, I remember I was in the middle of class and felt it starting to slip. Seeing my distress, my teacher graciously allowed me to book it to the bathroom where I hurriedly assessed the situation. Looking up from the sink, I now saw about half the girls from my class staring back at me. They had gotten permission from the teacher to go with me and watch as I fixed my hair–which I still hadn’t given an explanation of how it was so long so fast.

After that day, I took out my hairpiece and put it delicately in a drawer in the bathroom. I don’t remember wearing it again, but for years it sat in the drawer, a pleasantly creepy reminder of how far a grandmother would go to making her grand daughter’s wish a reality.

Well, that wraps up another week of blogging. I hope this story made you smile.

Always remember you are never alone.

Cheers!

PS: Oh, and that freakin’ dress that’s gone viral? It’s obviously pink with purple polka dots. Case closed! 😉

funny-cigarette-wig

*Time saving or really bad idea? Photo appears courtesy: http://www.memey.com

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Anxiety in the Workplace Part 3: When Your Job Becomes a Game of SORRY!

Author’s note: The following post was written by the author during a time of great strife in the life of the author’s youngest cat (translation: I was gone for 3 hours and she thought I was never coming back!), causing said cat to take refuge atop author’s lap. Please ignore any spelling errors as it’s become difficult to type. We now return you to our regularly scheduled blog! 😀

Yesterday’s entry ended on a high note; I had a job I loved, working for awesome people and my confidence had reached an all time high.  Then suddenly, without much fanfare, my job became a literal game of SORRY!, wherein I was toppled from my square and forced to start at the beginning. New management brought a completely different dynamic to our working environment. Things done and praised one day, were inexplicably criticized the next. Staff shifted around in a constant stream of new faces.

Here is where my anxiety was heightened. Couple things about me: 1. I hate change. Yes, I know I’m an adult and change is one of the constants in life; I’m still not a fan–but I am getting better at being OK with it. And, 2. My primary love language is Words of Affirmation.

(Sidenote: Back in college I read a book titled, “The Five Love Languages” for a Communication class. The author’s main premise is that we all have primary ways that we give and want to receive love. There are 5: Words of affirmation, Physical touch, Quality time, Gifts and Acts of service. When you don’t receive your PLL you can begin to feel empty inside. I highly recommend the book and can do another post on this if you’d like)

Now, integrating the Five Love Languages into your job is a bit of a sticky issue. You don’t normally think of love when you are in a professional environment. But I really do thrive on positive feedback. Unfortunately, that’s not something that ever comes up during your job interview, so no one would easily know.

Through this entire period I kept asking God what I should do. The answer I kept hearing? “Keep going.” It’s a delicate dance when you love what you do, but the environment where you are doing your dream job leaves much to be desired. Finally one day in May, I heard from God. This time my answer was, “It’s time”. So I nervously put in my two weeks notice and almost instantly it felt as though a load had been lifted. Two weeks later I walked away and felt better than I had in months!

Being gone from that job has allowed me to be a more authentic me. I’m able to concentrate on things that interest me and enrich who I am. I’ve been able to start a blog, chronicling my life in hopes of helping others. I finally conquered that game of SORRY! and came out on top.

Remember, you are not alone!

Cheers!

Anxiety in the Workplace Part 2: Oh Confidence, Where Art Thou??

Confession time: I’m struggling to put words on paper today to describe my experience with anxiety in the workplace. My last experience was something that shook my confidence, and I dreaded going to work everyday.  Just thinking about it has my stomach in the same knots as I had during this time last year. I’ve worked hard to get past my experience, but I feel like it’s too important a topic to not write on it. The goal of my blog has always been to help others who have experienced similar struggles and to give them hope from the other side. So, let’s take a deep breath in….and proceed.

For as long as I can remember I have had anxiety over doing things right. I HATE making mistakes. To the point of sometimes avoiding doing things. I remember in Jr. high I took a shop class. We made these wooden pen stand things with the option of burning a message with a hot tool into the wood. I wanted to make something for my dad, but was scared I’d mess up and burn myself, so I had someone else in the class write the message I had written out on a piece of paper. They misread the message and changed one of the letters. I gave it to my dad anyway and to this day it sits on his desk in his office. In my defense–besides being a kid scared of fire–I DID sand the wood out to the shape it became. So that’s something.

This whole being afraid of making mistakes thing has also affected my job performance at times. Although I’ve grown out of having people do tasks for me; thankfully, I can still be a bit timid and indecisive when it comes to making decisions and completing tasks. I started my last job at the end of 2011 and fell in love with it. As the years progressed, I was proud of myself for taking the reins and slowly becoming more confident in my ability to do the tasks that were assigned to me over time.  I was also fortunate to work for people who were patient and encouraging, and recognized the good work I did. Of course my performance was not perfect all the time, but for the most part it was on point.

Wouldn’t it be great if this was the end of the story? Ah, I had a job I loved, working with awesome people. Of course life is not that simple. We’ll pick up here tomorrow.

Always remember you are not alone.

Cheers!

Anxiety in the Workplace Part 1: God’s Rainbows are Everywhere

Today I’d like to start a series focusing on anxiety in the workplace, by sharing an experience that I had about a year ago. This specific story is what transpired right before I left my job, so we are working backwards. In the next few days I want to focus on–without going into specifics–what went into our decision to pray about my job situation and ultimately leave it behind. 

Genesis 9:13 “I have placed My rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth” NLT

After my engagement to my now husband, I moved to be closer to him before we married. I had no job at the time but found one I adored working with children. During this time, I secretly made a commitment to stay in my job for the next several years (or until the Lord pulled me out). Well, the beginning of May 2014, we both felt the Lord pulling me out and I sent in my two weeks notice. Seriously, one of the scariest things I’ve done.

Well, as often happens when you walk with Jesus, the devil comes in and begins to plant doubts in your head. This is definitely true if you live with daily anxiety.  So, a week before my last day, I was at work and feeling kinda blah. Thinking, “Crap, I think we made a mistake. What am I doing, this is my JOB!!??”

So I finished the day and walked down the hallway to the front of the school. This particular school had large windows by the front door. As I approached the front door to leave, I felt my heart skip a beat, looking what was in front of me. There, outside in the sky, was the BIGGEST RAINBOW I had seen in a LONG time!! Immediately I started laughing and thought, “Ha! Ok, God. You got me. I don’t know what You are gonna do, brainbowut I know You are gonna do great things in this situation that right now seems pretty scary. “

I can’t tell you that these last few months have been the easiest on our family, but I can tell you time and time again that God has provided for us in ways we hadn’t imagined. I have some new job skills that have come in handy for my new child care role and honestly, I rejoice at what I’ve gone through to get me to where I am today.

I don’t know what you all are facing in your life at the moment, but I know that Jesus loves you SO much and always keeps His promises to us, His precious children. Things may seem incredibly hopeless at the moment, but do not lose heart. In those moments, look for God’s rainbows….they are always there. In the sky, in your spouse’s laugh, in your children’s smiles, in your friend’s embrace. Always.

Remember you are not alone. I’ll see you tomorrow. 

Cheers! 🙂 

In Memoriam

Today’s post takes a short departure from anxiety, but I hope you still receive it warmly.

Last night the Oscars showcased the best in movies around the world. I LOVE the Oscars and look forward to it every year. Seriously, my favorite part is watching all the fashion come down the red carpet and trying to decide who is gonna be on the Best and Worst dressed list. Correctly predicting this has become a bit of a hidden talent for me. No kidding, in 2007 I correctly placed Jennifer Hudson’s Oscar de la Renta dress in the ‘worst’ category. Although you can argue that fashion is subjective and that same dress could end up on a ‘best’ list depending on the opinion of whatever fashion pundit you subscribe to.

In 2008, the Oscars changed forever for me. During that broadcast I was in my apartment with popcorn, watching all the glitz and glamor when the phone rang. It was my dad, calling to tell me that my Grandma B had died. Nothing can prepare you for that call, especially after just seeing her a few months back and she seemed fine. Yes, she had a series of strokes the last year of her life, but seemed to bounce back fairly quickly. I realize now I may have been in denial.  Grandma B was like another parent to me. Someone so much a part of my life that I couldn’t even fathom suddenly having her gone from it.

My grandma B was awesome. We called her grandma B because her last name was hard to say when we were kids, so she and my grandpa kindly shortened it. She was heavily invested in all her grandchildren. So much so that we each had one week carved out over the summer to visit her and grandpa to spend one on one time together. During this week, we were able to do whatever interested us. For me it was movies, eating in front of the tv (you couldn’t do that at home), crafts and playing cards. And eating bologna. She ALWAYS had bologna in the refrigerator (Oh wow! My mouth just filled up with saliva just thinking about a good ‘ol fried bologna sandwich -Yum!). 

Tomorrow will mark 7 years since my grandma’s death. I’ve often been sad that she has missed out on important milestones in our lives. In those years she has missed seeing the birth of several great-grandchildren, as well as a few weddings of grandchildren; including my own.

But I have a secret. I believe that my grandmother was there for all those events. Soon after I was married, I had a dream. In this dream I somehow had the phone number to heaven and was able to contact my grandma. We talked about all the new things in my life, including my husband. She then told me she knew about him and was proud of us. It was the most gloriously satisfying dream I’ve ever had.

In honor of my grandma B, and taking a page from my cousin’s blog, (that you can find here www.hashtagsareforfootballfields.wordpress.com ) here is a recipe that she frequently used*:

DRIED BEEF GRAVY (Serves 4)

1/4 lb. dried beef

2 TBSP butter

3 TBSP flour

3 cups milk

Directions:

Melt butter in skillet

Tear the dried beef into small pieces & stir into the butter.

Brown meat lightly.

Stir in flour.

When flour is dissolved into butter, add milk, stirring constantly.

Cook over low heat until the mixture thickens. Serve immediately over biscuits or regular toast

**This recipe I actually found at http://www.food.com/recipe/amish-mennonite-dried-beef-gravy-mmmmmmmm-47844 since I was unable to find the cookbook I have of her recipe but as far as I can remember, they are identical. 

Things that Awkwardly Go Bump in the Night

Happy Friday!! I hope if you are stateside you are bundled up and prepared. Sounds like it’s gonna be a big one. Let’s get this Lulabelle’s Anxiety Free Friday (LAFF) #2 started!

Before our saga is told, here are the featured players: the humble lone occupant, the brother, the girlfriend of brother.

Our saga begins in a small house in the midwest. It is a very snowy January, and the humble lone occupant of the residence is hosting his brother and brothers new girlfriend visiting from out-of-state. The occupant’s fiance’ is also visiting to meet her future brother-in-law for the first time.

Now, when said brother-in-law and girlfriend travel, they make a point to take several of their four large dogs on the road with them. During this trip, they were accompanied by three of the four. When I describe the dogs as large, I’m talking a collective couple hundred pounds of doggie enthusiasm. Two males and a female.

Because of the weather, the dogs were kept outside during the day and brought in at night to stay with brother and girlfriend in a spare room, located steps away from the living room. Now getting the dogs transferred to the house involved a few fancy moves, as the humble occupant of the home also lived with two overly territorial cats. So before the dogs came in, the cats were herded into another room, the door shut, as the dogs were paraded through the living room into the spare bedroom. The cats were then let back into the living room wondering what the crap just happened–they could smell it–but not receiving any answers.

Seeing as the guests had arrived at night and traveled a long way, they excused themselves to retire with the dogs till morning. The humble lone occupant and his fiance’ stayed behind in the living  room to catch up on each others lives. Minutes later, a distinct sound could be heard from the bedroom where girlfriend, brother and dogs were supposedly sleeping soundly. A kind of violent thumping sound. It intensified, and eventually those in the living room felt as though they were in a large bouncy house without padding. Realizing what was happening, the lone occupant and fiance’ decide to keep the truth to themselves–brother and girlfriend are adults after all–to save them any embarrassment, and attempt to get some sleep.

In the morning, the girlfriend shyly emerged from the bedroom. Looking at both the occupant and his fiance, she apologized….for the actions of THE DOGS!!!

Six to eight weeks later, twelve (yep, you read that right) healthy, beautiful puppies were born! Considering the father of the puppies was fifteen years old-basically the dog version of Sean Connery- this entire tale is as miraculous as it is true. Two of the puppies, one born with stunning blue eyes, end up temporarily gracing the cover of a blog devoted to anxiety. 😉

I guess that wraps it up for this week. I hope this true story made you smile. I’ll see you Monday.

Cheers!

dog 2nd cousins

Of Self Care and Vices


Self care in an important part of life, especially when you live with depression/anxiety issues. The first time I experienced a full-blown panic attack, I was with family visiting my sister’s apartment on the east coast. After a long day of walking around the city, we returned to the apartment. I began feeling dizzy and light-headed. Then I started breathing very erratically and shaking. If you’ve ever had a panic attack, it can be a pretty scary experience. Even in the days following, remembering it could send me back into a bundle of tears.

What I learned following my first panic attack was that I tire easily. If I do too many things, I get overwhelmed and need to take a break or else it could spiral into a panic attack. But what happens when you get an attack out of the blue–in PUBLIC? Well, I got your back! 🙂

So, senior year of college I’m in class and began to feel panicky. Out of the blue. On a scale of 1-10 it was about a 3 or 4. I could feel it inside, but it wasn’t to the level where I needed to leave the room. I had been taking notes at the time and during lulls in the lecture, I’d write small messages to myself in the margins of my notes. Messages such as, “You can get through this.” “Breathe.” “Jesus loves you.” “Don’t worry, you are not dying”. I began to notice this kept happening in the same class. One day after class, I approached the professor, who doubled as my advisor, told her what was going on and asked her what to do. Since she was my advisor she knew my daily schedule. She asked if I took daily naps. Naps? Well, I didn’t feel like I had time for naps! She encouraged me to make time every day for a nap. Especially on days when my schedule was crazy. You know what? I took her advice and my panic attacks stopped.

Nowadays I try to listen to my body and take precautions. If I do too much, I make sure I take breaks. When stressed I also indulge in activities that calm me. Watching TV is one of these. Now, in full disclosure it must be noted that this can be a slippery slope; as TV has become a bit of a vice for me. One TV show turns into 5 and before you know it, the day is gone and I haven’t tackled my to-do list. One thing that I’ve implemented is watching TV while I’m doing something else; dishes, folding laundry…ect. This method has proved to make me the most productive. So has eating chocolate. True story, I once ate two chocolate covered Oreos and managed to clean the living room more thoroughly then it had been in a long time. Seriously, I even dusted. Conclusion: Oreos must be healthy! 😀

This is not an exhaustive list of everything that has helped me overcome anxiety and panic attacks over the years, just some of the highlights. As always this might not work for everyone, but I wanted to write on this topic and share what has worked for me in hopes of helping others with similar struggles.

Remember you are not alone.

Tomorrow on the blog for LAFF #2; a tale of unbridled passion and lust….Stay tuned 🙂

Cheers!