Spring Cleaning and Tweezers: Lulabelle’s Rules of Order

Hey guys guess what? Can you guess? IT’s SPRING!!! I am SO stinkin’ excited for warmer weather! I’m sufficiently coffeed and ready to rock-so let’s get this first LAFF (Lulabelle’s Anxiety Free Friday) of spring started.

Organization and constantly losing things because of the lack of the first element can be a great source of stress for someone with anxiety. This is something that I’ve struggled with my entire life. Recently one item in particular keeps going missing in my life. Tweezers.

Much like the movie Groundhog Day, I’ll buy a pair of tweezers to groom the crazy hairs on my face–lovely mental image, you’re welcome–and eventually within weeks or months they are gone. The last pair I had were just purchased last Sunday. They also went missing the same day. This should probably earn me some sort of award: World Record in Losing Stuff or something.

Before I was able to buy a new pair of tweezers, some areas of my face I tweeze managed to grow so long that I was literally able to pull out a few hairs with my BARE HANDS (holy crap, I’m Wonder Woman! ). I did try to replace them with a pair of the best tweezers on the market, but when I went into the store to buy them, I chickened out. Do I really need a pair of $23 tweezers that I’ll just lose next week? Next option please!

WIth my history of losing tweezers, when I purchased the latest replacement, I thought I’d be smart and put them in a place I’d use them regularly, and remember to keep them there. My purse. This seems like an odd place to put a pair of tweezers, but I sometimes arrive at appointments early and have to wait. While waiting, I’ll sometimes look over my face and tweeze stragglers. In my head, this made perfect sense.

So it came as quite a shock when I searched my purse and didn’t find my tweezers anywhere. I even emptied all the pockets last night and threw out all the pieces that weren’t necessary–mostly used kleenex’s and empty gum wrappers. At least my purse was cleaned out, but I was flummoxed as to where my newest tweezers ran off to. Even my oldest cat searched for them. Nothing. In the midst of cleaning out my purse, it dawned on me where they were.

“Hey Mom, they don’t seem to be under here”

I had bought them on Sunday afternoon and was on my way to a party later in the day. During the car ride over, I brought out my tweezers to make a couple minor adjustments. My husband, who was driving, stopped short at one point and the tweezers flew out of my hands and under the seat. Yes, I realize tweezing one’s face in a moving vehicle is risky, but I’ve always come out of the experience with both eyebrows completely intact so, so far, so good. Plus it helps to go with curved tipped tweezers in situations such as this.

In life you are gonna lose stuff, especially if you are like me. The way to get through this is to get creative in three ways. First, put things in places that, while unconventional, are places you’ll remember. Secondly, if you choose to tweeze in a moving vehicle, make sure your tweezers have a blunt end. And finally, if all else fails and you manage to lose your tweezers, be bold. Start a new fashion trend by braiding your chin and eyebrow hair. Then call Vogue.

I hope this entry made you smile. Feel free to share this with anyone that needs a laugh. Remember you are not alone. I’ll see you back here on Monday!

Cheers!

Advertisements

Tendonitis, Trash and Theft: Unfortunate Alliterations

Glad to be back to blogging today. I took the last few days off so my hands could rest–pesky tendonitis flare up–and to get caught up with some housework. So without further ado let’s talk about……trash.

It’s a universal tie that binds. No matter where you live on the planet, you’ll have to deal with trash, and it’s disposal, on a regular basis. In some places, you can get trash picked up by a city owned trash service–provided it’s properly bagged and placed in the accompanying dumpster, set on the curb. Some places you pay for this service, in other locations it is free.

Our fair city is going through a bit of a trash can crisis. Although trash pick up is free, some residents require an extra can, a can that is provided for a small fee. In recent months trash cans all over the city are mysteriously disappearing. Much like the Tooth Fairy in reverse, residents go to sleep after having set their cans out to be picked up, and in the morning they are gone. No amount of money is left anywhere.

Fortunately the company that issues the trash cans are a benevolent folk, who replace the stolen cans at no cost to residents–no matter how many times the same house requests a new one. Unfortunately the replacement cans take a few days to arrive, forcing residents to stockpile their bagged up trash inside their homes or on their front lawns. That paints a lovely picture of Americana, doesn’t it? And the accompanying smell? Not exactly Chanel No. 5. 

This brings up two important questions. Who is taking them and WHY?? Perhaps it’s a rogue team of oversized squirrels, hellbent on taking trash cans to turn them into large apartment spaces for the broader squirrel community. Or maybe a mysterious spell is cast on our trash cans after dark, enabling them to sprout limbs and run away to an undisclosed location, underground and out of sight.  Just for fun.  The official theory formulated by the trash company, and floating around town, is that there are those among us that need an extra can but lack the desire or resources to pay the extra can fee.

So now that we’ve theorized on the how and why, what can be done to change this? Spray painting house addresses on cans have done nothing to stop this wave of larceny. Some have suggested attaching a GPS (Global Positioning System) to the can with duct tape and wait to find out where it ends up. Seems reasonable given the number of cans some residents have gone through but this solution may be more costly than effective. The most obvious solution would be to keep trash cans off the curbs and inside of garages until trash pick up day. But what happens if you are at work all day or physically unable to bring in the can after the trash has been picked up?  Do you watch desperately as it’s carried off by the above mentioned squirrels? There’s a police report that you never thought you’d file.

Perhaps the solution isn’t as hidden as we think. Maybe our fair city could set aside funds to defray the cost of extra cans for those that need them. Helping to curb the trash crisis and clean up our piece of Americana. Or maybe we should just put those over sized squirrels on the city pay roll to stand outside houses and ensure no cans are taken. Then they’d be able to buy their own apartments. Problem solved.

Clearly this one is a bit bigger than our cities current needs! 

*steroid popping squirrel appears courtesy of http://capitalcitiesusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/01-giant-squirrel.jpg

“And They Shall Call Her Blessed…”

Show of hands, who else has a ragin’ case of the Monday’s?  Thankfully the sun is shining and there is NO snow in sight (I’m turning mental cartwheels in my head because I lack the skills to do a real one
😀 ).

A few weeks back I narrated our family’s struggle with accepting that parenting was not going to be part of our life journey. Immediately following that revelation, my husband and I started making a list of couples or single folks we knew who had come to the same conclusion. Now, it’s not socially acceptable to go up to a childless couple and ask them why they are without children, but a strange thing happened after we made our decision. Without any prompting, we began hearing accounts from our childless friends about why they didn’t have children. Finally we felt we had a community we could relate to.

Back to that list. The list of people we knew who didn’t have kids? One of the most healing things I’ve done was put my kindergarten teacher on that list. Her name was Kathryn Aschliman. Ms. Aschilman for short.

Ms. Aschilman was simply one of the best teachers I ever had. She was the professor of education at the college where my kindergarten was located. Yes, I went to kindergarten on the campus of a college. Every year, a few education majors would rotate doing educational activities with the 15-20 kindergarten students that came through each year. This gave the college students real world training, and a chance for the kindergartener to interact with adults other than their teacher. Every year Ms. Aschilman made sure the class was made up of a diverse group of children from all backgrounds and creeds. In my kindergarten class I was the token disabled kid. There were also african americans, Asians, and children from different economic backgrounds. By the end of her 34 year career, Aschilman managed to teach and influence the lives of 700 children. All without raising her voice. As someone who works in childcare, I can tell you this often takes the patience of Job. 😉 

I have many happy memories in Ms. Aschilman’s class.  Every day we’d have story time, where we’d gather on a mat on the floor-in a circle, and she’d read us a story and have a short lesson. I also remember having a day where we learned about and celebrated Indonesian culture with one of the students mom and grandma. They came dressed in traditional clothing and we ate traditional Indonesian food. Another day we dressed up as hospital workers and went around the community, collecting donations for a family in need. 

The neatest thing about Ms. Aschilman was what happened after I left her kindergarten class and journeyed through my school career, entering senior year of high school 10 years later. At my graduation open house, She arrived at my party and handed me a tiny diploma! Later that summer my kindergarten class–all of us taller and older–gathered for our kindergarten 10 year reunion. Upon walking into that same classroom of our youth, we were struck by the reams of newspaper that covered the walls. Each of those newspaper clippings chronicled each child’s life from kindergarten to the present. Any time any of her students were in the paper or on TV, Ms Aschilman made a point to save the article or watch the footage. Like a mamma bear, she kept track of all her cubs. And looked on in pride at their accomplishments.

As a child it never occurred to me that the abbreviation Ms. was to denote singleness. At some point in kindergarten, we visited her house. I never thought it strange that there seemed to be no children living there. Of course years later I learned that she never married or had children of her own. But in a way, she did. 700 of them. And she loved them all as her own.

If you find yourself going through similar circumstances, I encourage you to seek out the Ms. Aschilman’s in your community. Know that you are most certainly not alone!

Cheers!

Tales From The Nursing Home Part 2: The Incident

Who else loves napping on rainy Friday afternoons? Lets get this rainy LAFF (Lulabelle’s Anxiety Free Friday) started:

We begin where we left off last week. As you’ll remember, I volunteered at a nursing home laundry room once a week. When I began this volunteer position, I only folded the towels and wash cloths, but soon ‘graduated’ to folding resident’s clothing. I’d work there a few months when it happened.

I arrived at work early in the morning on that fateful day–8am to be exact. Walked the long hallways into the laundry room. I greeted my co workers and started folding the pile of laundry in front of me. The first part of my shift was spent folding towels and wash cloths. Clothing went in after those were finished, so we’d start folding articles of clothing after our break at 10am. I worked with other volunteers, mostly residents from the nursing home who craved the social interaction and fellowship.

I had just come back from our break when it happened. A pile of clothing was in front of me, and I began to fold it as instructed. I don’t remember the clothing going into certain piles, but this particular pile of clothing was for residents who lived in the main part of the nursing home. Those that needed medical assistance on a regular basis to bathe, clothe and at times feed themselves. Most of these residents were very elderly, average age being 80’s-90’s.

At this stage in the story, I should probably point out that this nursing home could at times seem rather conservative. Some residents and staff wore head coverings in accordance with their religious beliefs.

Knowing all of the above made it even more shocking when I was folding clothes and reached into the pile to pull out a brightly colored item. There, in between my fingers was a bright neon pink thong! Now to ratchet up the crazy factor, her name also appeared on what little fabric there was. Thankfully I didn’t recognize the name, but when I inquired of my co workers, it was revealed that she was still pretty spry for her age. No kidding. 😀

Several years have passed since ‘the incident’. Immediately following this day, when I’d tell the story, as I am today, I saw the humor in it. How unexpected it was to find such a ridiculous item in such a seemingly inappropriate place. But today I realized how awesomely inspiring this woman was.  In spite of her age she had the courage to say, “Screw what’s expected. I’m gonna wear what I want!”

I only hope to be half as bad ass as she when I get to be her age. May we all strive to live unexpected.

I hope this story made you smile and helped leave you inspired. Remember you are not alone.

I’ll see you back here on Monday!

Cheers! 🙂

A Month of Blogs: Lessons Learned

I’ve been blogging now 5 days a week for one month, and as of this post, two days. While saving this document I realize this is lucky #20. If you think the number 20 is lucky, anyway. In that time I’ve pored over the contents of my writing, making sure it’d reach as many as possible. By this point I feel like I could teach a seminar on the art of tagging. It’d be short, but you’d learn a few things. I also spend time every day refreshing my stats page to see the number of views/likes/comments very slowly climb. Very slowly. To the point of having to reload the entire page because it’ll inevitably crash. 

As a person whose primary Love Language is words of affirmation, it can be a bummer to log into my WordPress account and not see the stats bar move very far. If at all. I also worry that by saying this you’ll get the impression that I’m shilling for more views. I’m not.

One month ago, I felt the Lord leading me to blog on my experiences with anxiety in an effort to help others. And that’s the key; others. It’s never been about me, even though I’m writing about things that happened to me. Whoa, that’s a pretty deep epiphany for 1:15am.

Last night my husband and I watched– or attempted to watch– the movie, “Heaven Is For Real”. I say attempted because it was a free rental, and neither of us remembered that sometimes rentals can be damaged and skip key parts of the film. Several times. While frustrating, we stuck it out. Especially since I have read the book several times, and narrated what was skipped to the delight of my husband. The book and the movie are quite different, and if I were to make a recommendation, I’d say read the book.  For those of you unfamiliar, here’s a brief synopsis: HIFR is based on a true story about an American child, Colton Burpo, who visits heaven while having surgery for a ruptured appendix. At the time of his visit he is 4 yrs old. His parents, a pastor and his wife, are left to slowly figure out the truth by talking to their son, and gently encouraging him to tell what happened in his own words. In the book, the church and small town are inspired by Colton’s story and embrace the family. On the other hand, the movie paints the town and some in the church as doubters, and a few even make fun of the situation.

Seeing this section in the movie made me realize something. You know the old saying, “What is popular is not always right and what is right is not always popular?” This is definitely true as a follower of Jesus. When the Lord speaks to you and tells you to do something, you do it. Despite what others might say. When Colton told his family he had visited heaven, they believed him, despite what others said. The family felt led by God to share Colton’s story, despite the negative attention some gave them. It was never about giving themselves glory, but focusing that glory on God.

I think this is the biggest lesson I’ve learned in this month-long blogging journey. I was led by Jesus to begin my blog, not knowing how long it’d last or how many I’d write. Not even knowing how many people would read it, if any. But the intended focus has always been to use my experience to help others. And if I only ever had one follower, they would be my mission field and focus. I was asked to follow a certain path, and let God handle the rest. Even to the point of trusting Him when I was hesitant to reveal my beliefs, for fear of alienating my audience–I understand that religion can be a source of anxiety for folks. And so I march on. 

One month in, I hope you’ve found encouragement and hope in my little space on the internet. I don’t know how long we’ll be together, but I know I’ve enjoyed the ride so far. So buckle up. I’ll see you tomorrow!

Remember you are not alone (Jesus loves you SO much!)  🙂 

Cheers!

Take a Blessing and Put it in a Jar

Ever have one of those days? You know what I mean–those days that you just feel kinda blah. Low energy and just feeling a bit blue? I’m having one of those days today, which is weird because this is one of the first times this week that the sun is shining so bright, I happily opened the window. Someone else seems to be enjoying the sun as well. 😉

“Excuse me dahling, could I trouble you for a refreshing sparkling water?

Days like today it’s important to remember a few things. One, this blah feeling is more than likely temporary and will pass. Secondly, you have so much to be thankful for. Which leads me to our topic of the day: counting our blessings.

Sometimes I have days that I feel so down in the dumps, the feeling that God is no longer moving in my life and I get so discouraged. Last year I came up with a solution that I hope will help you during times of doubt. I made a Blessing Jar.

It’s simple. I took a mason jar, washed and dried it, and then I labeled it with a Bible verse that would consistently remind me of God’s goodness and provision. Ephesians 3:20,

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us,” (NIV)

10171059_10152965738463638_7819350761739371973_n

Every time you receive a blessing ie, a bill is paid off, you get a raise, or your spouse reminds you why you married them, write this down on a piece of paper, with the date and put it in the jar. On days, like today, where doubt begins to set it, go to the jar and read your blessings aloud.

I like to start a new jar every New Years Day and keep it for a year. I’m excited to go back years from now and read about what the Lord has done for us during our marriage.

I hope this idea has helped to pull you out of a funk today. Know that you are loved SO much and you are NOT alone.

Cheers!

Health Insurance and Murphy’s Law

Health insurance in the States. Nothing is more stressful or needed than health insurance when you have a disability. It’s a total catch-22. If you have insurance, but make too much, you have to pay an outrageous premium. If you don’t have it, you don’t have to pay a premium, but you’re screwed if you get into an accident and have to stay in the hospital for an extended time. An ER visit without insurance can cripple you financially. This is something most people know.

What people may not be familiar with are the requirements to become eligible for insurance.  The application process for Medicaid, the insurance for people who are disabled, is extensive enough that it may feel like getting a colonoscopy whilst simultaneously having a root-canal. In the dark. During an earthquake. Especially if this is your first time to sign up. For first timers, you are asked to provide proof of your disability along with documentation of ALL medical tests and surgeries related to said disability. That occurred since the day you became disabled-this includes dates and times. If you’ve been disabled your entire life, this requirement will no doubt illicit an eye roll so hard that you risk getting your eyeballs stuck to the inside of your head. Might as well add blindness to the disclosure form. 😀

You might be saying, “Oh come on! Applying for health insurance is part of being an adult.” And I agree with you. But although I’ve put on my big girl panties with my superhero cape, doesn’t mean the application process is any less daunting.

In the state where I live, Medicaid has changed slightly in the past couple months. Now if you apply, your timeline for turning in documents has decreased-while the level of documentation has increased. The stress level for making sure you have everything in on time is now greater, especially if you deal with daily anxiety. Not being able to drive also adds another element of frustration to an already steaming pile of strife (Sidenote: I’ll be writing a more in-depth entry on my history of driving later in the next few weeks). To add insult to injury, you are told if you use fax to turn in your documents, they’ll arrive faster and you won’t be penalized for a slow postal system. But sometimes these same machines malfunction–causing your documents to sit in literal limbo in cyber-world. Crying in vain to get to their intended destination.

The entire process of getting health insurance has taught me two lessons I’d like to pass on to you.

1. Make a list of everything you need before they send you a list.  You can do this if you’ve applied before but missed the application deadline. This way you give yourself more time and are ahead of the game.

And…..

2. Although faxing is quicker, in the long run it’s probably more productive to gather up the endless bundles of documents, strap them on the top of your car–they won’t fit inside, too bulky–and present them to the Medicaid office before the deadline.

Besides, how else will you show off your fabulous super hero cape??

I hope the following made you smile as well as think about the reality of our health care system.

Remember, you are not alone. I’ll see you tomorrow! 🙂

Cheers!

PS-This post has generated quite a discussion on my FB page. I’m also curious to know other’s experiences in countries with free health care. If you are in a country with free care, comment below with your experiences, good or bad. Thanks! 🙂