Why I Blog…..

This week marked an anniversary of sorts for me. It was one year ago this week that I quit my job. As you recall I worked in child care in less than favorable conditions towards the end. Through prayer and discussion with my husband, it was finally decided that I’d put in my two weeks notice. Scariest email I’ve ever written. I had no back up job to take. But I knew it was time for me to move on.¬†

And so a year later, I reflect. I still don’t have a “regular” job-one that takes me out of the house on a daily basis from morning till evening. But I am working pretty regularly for folks needing child care. And I love it. The people I work for are amazing and I’ve never once felt under appreciated. Working in a positive environment does wonders for ones mental health. And I can now put “change diapers” to my skills acquired on my resume. ūüėȬ†

I’ve taken on more of a role at home. Since my husband works crazy hours, he’s unable to do much housework,¬†and since I no longer work a regular job, the housework has fallen to me. While I’m not exactly a domestic goddess, I do what I can. I’ve also taken on the role of chief scheduler and coffee maker. The latter is quite important as my husband single-handedly keeps the coffee market afloat. Seriously.¬†¬†

What? You didn't believe me?? :-D

What? You didn’t believe me?? ūüėÄ

And I started this blog. For years several people have been chiding me to “write more” and I guess I finally decided it was a good idea. Actually on a more personal note, there is another reason this blog was started. Several months ago a man from my church, who had struggled with poor mental health, took his own life. It was devastating for those of us that knew he was struggling, but felt powerless. After his death, I wanted to do something. So I prayed. And the Lord showed me that it was time to start a blog. This blog would be on anxiety and other mental health issues that I’ve struggled with in my life. But more importantly my blog would serve as a place of encouragement and hope for those that are struggling. With each post I write, I want you to understand how loved you are and how much your life matters. If you need some help walking through this life, you can call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433). If you are outside the US, go to¬†http://www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html and pick your country. This page will also direct you to the number to call if you are military or LGBT.¬†

Know that you are loved, you matter, and you are NOT EVER alone. 

Cheers! 

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How to Cope with Hospital Anxiety (For Kids and Adults)

Living with a disability comes with several constants. Hospital stays and dr.’s visits are two of these constants. Only those of us that have gone through it understand¬†the frustration of traveling several hours for a once a year check up, that lasts all of 10 minutes. My mom tried to make these visits more enjoyable by bringing my grandparents along. Afterwards we’d go out for ice cream. Because these trips were so far out-of-town, I’d get the day off school. No school, ice cream and grandparents was a pretty good trade in exchange for a little X-ray or cat scan.

However, hospitals can be scary places, especially if you are a kid that needs surgery. So today on the blog, I thought I’d give you my tips for helping kids (and adults) go through a hospital stay.¬†

1. Make it Fun: A doctor’s appointment that includes blood draws and shots can be stressful. That’s why making it as fun as possible can alleviate your child’s stress. Take a favorite relative¬†or friend with you. When I was a kid my grandparents would accompany my mom and I on these trips. My grandma also packed a bag of fun things for me to do in the car. A deck of cards, fake jewelry to play dress up, and other little trinkets helped to brighten the day and pass the time in the car and waiting room.

2. Write down a favorite Bible verse or inspirational quote and bring it with you into the operating room: For small children, consider a favorite stuffed animal. Of course these will be removed once you are asleep, but it’ll help with anxiety before you go under. My go to verse has been Ps. 56:3-4: “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.¬†In God, whose word I praise-¬†in God I trust and am not afraid.¬†What can mere mortals do to me?”¬†

3. Search the hospital for the HOTTEST anesthesiologist and see if they are scheduled for your surgery: Ok, this one is a bit out there. But I included it because I remember the last time I had surgery, in high school, many MANY years before I met my husband, I had an anesthesiologist that was very easy on the eyes. This did make surgery a bit more bearable.
ūüėȬ†

These next tips are things to consider post operation: 

4. When they change the medicine in your IV, it can sting something awful: Ringing the nurse and asking for a warm or cool compress can give much-needed relief. 

5. Healing can suck when you are in the hospital: One thing that my grandma did was make sure I had some of her “medicine” to make me feel better. After surgery, when I was back in my room, every hour I’d reach into this box that my grandma had brought with her. Inside were small gifts to help me pass the time. Cross word puzzle books, coloring books, a container of bubbles…ect…These can be small, inexpensive gifts but will help make any kid feel better faster.

If you are facing a surgery or know of someone who is, feel free to pass this list along to them. Remember you are not alone.

Cheers!  

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Cartoon depicting the importance of teamwork appears courtesy of Pinterest 

Money Well Spent….Viva la Gerbils!!

Hey guys, you might wanna sit down for this one. A small miracle happened at our house last evening. If you recall, I’ve written several times about how our trashcan has been stolen for unspecified reasons. The last incident happened just last week. I called the local waste management and ordered another can. Being a holiday weekend, I wasn’t expecting it to arrive until today. Just to be sure, I had my husband go out back and see if the new one arrived. It took a bit longer than just a quick peek, so I assumed the new one had arrived and he was pulling it to the safety of our back yard.¬†

So when he came through the door and stood in our kitchen, I was unprepared for what he told me. “So our new trashcan was delivered?” I happily asked. “Nope.” He replied. “You aren’t gonna believe this, but the original trashcan is BACK!” More specifically, my husband announced that the last can that went missing, mysteriously found its way home.¬†

Now the question we are trying to answer is how. I called the waste management service and they said a replacement can had yet to be delivered. So there’s just one explanation for this benevolent turn of events…..it had to be the gerbils. Those Nicaraguan Attack Gerbils we purchased at our local farm implement store last week have proven their worth. And now they’ll rest in our basement, being fed a steady diet of licorice, chocolate and Red Bull,¬†while¬†patrolling our backyard at night for any signs of hooliganism and deviant squirrels.¬†

Cheers!

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Literal Red Bull selling wings courtesy of: http://www.memecenter.com

Bumper Stickers and Regret

Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. About two and a half years ago, I visited a small town family business with an unfortunate name. Despite being a small town business, they’d developed quite a following and had a section in their store advertising their unusual name. Merchandise included mugs, t-shirts, tote bags, and bumper stickers. All these items¬†proudly¬†proclaimed, “I¬†‚ô• **insert unfortunately named small town business here**”¬†

I had heard about this business and was excited to visit. I saw all this merchandise and couldn’t help but pick up a bumper sticker for our¬†car. See, we have a few humorous tags on the back and I wanted to add to it. One series of stickers has all the names that were involved in the last presidential election. Yep, we like to make people laugh¬†and confuse them. So we were excited to add this sticker to our collection.¬†

But two and a half years later, most of our other stickers have faded but this one¬†still boldly proclaims, “I¬†‚ô• **insert unfortunately named small town business here**” And its made me start thinking. Thinking about where we take our car on a daily basis. And knowing that this sticker is prominently displayed. When we go grocery shopping. When we go to church. And when we go to work. As much as we’d like to think differently, the outside of our car is a representation of ourselves. It would be different if we lived in the same small town as the unfortunately named business. Then it’d be seen as an homage to a successful family run business. But drive out of the small town bubble and that same bumper sticker will elicit confused stares and double takes, and not because it’s funny. They may see us as a kind of medical anomaly in need of….never mind.¬†

So the time has come for this particular bumper sticker to take its leave. But there’s one problem. It won’t come off. Granted, we haven’t tried everything yet, but I’m a bit nervous after I discovered that removal wouldn’t be as simple as tearing it off with my bare hands. That little bugger is really holdin’ on. Our next attempt will probably involve some sort of solvent. So, until we can successfully remove this sticker, if you see us out in the world, please refer to this post and the video below as an explanation.


If you’ve had second thoughts on a bumper sticker on your car, and have tried unsuccessfully to remove it, take heart. You are not alone. When you go to the store to buy that bottle of
Goo-Gone, tell them it’s on me.¬†

Cheers! 

*Rhett & Link and Butt Drugs appear courtesy of Youtube

Learn more about their history here: http://www.buttdrugs.com

Star Wars Reimagined…….

In this version, the characters wear all black,¬†the light sabers are yard-long ears of corn, Princess Leia just returned from rumspringa, and Chewbacca speaks Pennsylvania Dutch. Oh, and Yoda’s Amish cousin fills in his role…….¬†

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I hope this made you smile. Have a great weekend! ūüėÄ

Cheers!

*Yoda’s Amish cousin appears courtesy of Facebook. Shhh….don’t tell his bishop! ūüėÄ

Fortune Cookies, Cat Parent Guilt, and How to Spell Gross Words

Well, unlike Garrison Keillor, it has NOT been a quiet week here in….yeah, I don’t live in Lake Wobegon. But even if I did, it wouldn’t change how crazy our week has been cat wise. On Monday the youngest one surprised me by “marking”¬†a pile of laundry. Some of which was clean. Today I went through and made sure they came out of the laundry smelling fresh¬†and, lets just say I’ll need to run another load¬†tonight.¬†

And all this week our oldest cat, whom we have affectionately christened “Princess Fussy Butt” has been grumpier than a certain¬†famous internet feline. ¬†It’s normal for her to try to attack the youngest, but not more than once a week, and definitely not more than once a day. We were at our wits end when we arrived at the vet’s office this afternoon. Our cat wasn’t doing much better. She was already grumpy and hates riding in the car in her carrier, so to make the trip a bit easier, we put her favorite small plush pig and a bit of cat nip inside the carrier. It did make transport a bit more calm, but by the time we hit the parking lot, a certain smell filled our car. You’ve never seen a truly angry cat until they have to be shampooed off in the vets office. Long story short we now have to replace a favorite plush toy, and replenish our supply of cat nip. And maybe include the cat in our will. As¬†sole heir.¬†

After the vet examined her, she was diagnosed with dental abscesses. I’ve written that word WAY too many times today. Abscesses. Defined by google as, “a swollen area within body tissue containing an accumulation of pus.” Pus is also a gross word, but I haven’t written or heard it as often today.¬†

The only way this can be fixed is surgically. After we came home today I did some research on dental abscesses in cats, including symptoms. That’s when the guilt set in. I realized our cat has been exhibiting symptoms of dental abscess for a while. She was grouchy because she was in pain. I felt like the worst cat parent ever. I’m the one that’s home the most. I should know what’s normal and what’s not.

Not only do I feel guilt, but going through this process of treating an injury for an animal that you consider your child, that requires surgery, is a bit delicate. No one thinks twice about doing everything possible to treat a child that needs a tooth extraction–the same procedure needed for our cat. But swap the tiny human out for a cat, and some people will think you are wasting money. But for those of us that won’t have human children, this is it. These are our kids. And I think I’ve handled this as though she was human. I put her on prayer chain lists at church, called friends and asked them to pray. And I’ve worried. Worried about how much this will cost. Worried that things won’t heal properly. Worried that our other cat will display the same symptoms. But you know what? Ever since we came back from the vet this afternoon, I’ve been on the internet doing research. And I’ve been on social media. And in my newsfeed, time and time again today, there have popped up memes of inspirational quotes. Messages of how things are gonna work out, how we need to count our blessings….ect…And then there was the fortune cookie.¬†

My husband frequents a local chinese restaurant during the week for lunch. Each time he goes, a fortune cookie finds its way home with him. ¬†But he never eats them. I usually fish them out of his work bag and eat them. And read the fortune. Years ago I started collecting fortune cookie fortunes-at least the good ones. My fortune today? One that I¬†am claiming in the name of Jesus? “Business and health matters will improve around you.”¬†

Our cat is gonna be fine. If you are in the same boat, I pray healing over your precious furbaby. Remember you are not alone.

Cheers!

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*image appears courtesy of Facebook

Awkward Phone Calls and the Midwest’s Finest Nicaraguan Attack Gerbils……

Argh! I just hung up the phone after having to make an awkward phone call. So, awhile back you may recall I talked about our city’s problem with trash can thieves. I thought it would be good to put a counter on my blog to track the number of days we’ve gone without having our can stolen. Well, as of last night that counter would have to go back down to zero. Yep, those danged oversized squirrels have struck again! After a month of vacation–destination unknown, but most likely some place¬†sandy¬†with umbrella drinks–they struck our neighborhood once again.¬†

And so this afternoon I was forced to place a call to our local waste collection center and essentially greeted the operator by saying, “hey, it’s us again!” I did feel slightly relieved when, after she looked at our record, she noted that this will only be our 3rd trash can. Although part of me is wondering if they throw out records after so many cans are replaced on one account. 3 seems like such a low number.¬†

So, as we are back to square one, I am being forced to take more drastic measures. Last night¬†we visited¬†our local farm implement store and purchased 4 of their biggest, fiercest Nicaraguan Attack Gerbils–we would have sprung for the Combat Trained variety, but you have to make sacrifices when you are poor. They will be placed outside our garage after our new can arrives, and take turns making sure our trash can stays put. In the likely event that a thief, of any species, is caught trying to steal the can, the Gerbil on duty will automatically take the offender down, sit on them and blow three sharp blasts on their attack whistles-these are thrown in free of charge at the register-summoning the appropriate authorities. Your move, squirrels! ¬†ūüėõ

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*Jorge the Nicaraguan Attack Gerbil appears courtesy of Youtube.com and google search