Merry Freakin’ Christmas…..

Well, it’s almost here.

Christmas.

That time of year when we get together with family and just relax and enjoy each other’s company.

But before that, I have a to-do list as long as the line to see Santa Clause in A Christmas Story and the stress is really getting to me. Seriously.

Just this week, I’m sure out of stress, I threw up a liquid-gel that I was taking to try to stave off sinus sickness AND yesterday I pulled a muscle in my shoulder.

How?

I was washing dishes. You know, how we all pull muscles in our shoulders at one point after becoming adults. 😛 It would appear as though at this point God is just throwing in random stuff to give me good blog content, which I can respect. But it’s beginning to get on my nerves, to be honest.

Even the thought of dragging out our faux Christmas tree and setting it out on the porch was too much to think about. So I improvised. Along with blog content, our Lord and Savior provided a makeshift place to put our Christmas tree ornaments this year. The vessel in question was a long forgotten weed that won’t die, rising up from the side of our porch.

So on Monday afternoon I threw some ornaments on it with masking tape and called it a day. By Friday afternoon, even our Christmas Weed felt the stress of the holiday. Take a look: 

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(Monday’s lookin’ all like “We got this! Merry Christmas!” Friday? Friday’s like, “We tried Lord. And we are done.” 😛 ) 

Yeah. You know it’s a stressful time when the top of your Christmas Weed just gives up. (And yes, that IS a sushi ornament covered in glitter. As I got it in an ugly ornament exchange, I have no idea where it was purchased. Praise baby Jesus for Google.)

The holidays are a particularly stressful time, full of anticipation, excitement, and expectation. All of which can make stress worse than any other time of the year. 

My favorite Christmas carol is “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear.” I grew up singing this in church, but it wasn’t until I was an adult that I really listened to the lyrics. My heart leaped at the words of the 4th verse:

“And ye, beneath life’s crushing load, Whose forms are bending low, Who toil along the climbing way with painful steps and slow, Look now! For glad and golden hours come swiftly on the wing. O rest beside the weary road, And hear the angels sing!”

Edmund Sears wrote this poem, that later became a song, in 1849. Back then life was no doubt different from what it is today with our modern technology and way of life. But stresses still remained.

The last lyrics of this verse have remained with me and are my favorite: “Oh rest beside the weary road and hear the angels sing.”

All these years later it reminds us all to slow down.

Rest.

And appreciate the beauty around you. Even among the festive weeds, puke and pulled muscles. 

Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown! 

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Dropped Luggage and a Race Against Time…..

So a couple of things before we get into our topic of the day:

1. Yes, I was able to get Riley off my back to continue blogging my thoughts on random things.

2. That snow that was predicted? Yeah, it came. And today it was back to warm-ish weather. Go figure.

Now, on to our topic of the day……..

I got my period yesterday. Aunt Flo had been circling the area for about a week and finally dropped her luggage while I was enjoying lunch with friends at Panera Bread.

Now, I don’t say this to overshare or for “shock value.” (OK, actually that’s not **completely** true, I mean….admit it…you read those words and if you didn’t click off the page right away, you wanted to keep reading 😉 #Weirdo ). This random fact is actually an important piece of information to better understand my story today.

The free clinic in town was having a Woman’s Health day on Saturday and offering free Pap smears. Because I figured it was time for me to have an exam on my lady bits, I went.

Now for most women, a Pap smear isn’t a fun day at the beach, but a necessary evil to keep yourself healthy. And I had grown up with the notion that I needed one once a year.

Apparently that was a lie.

According to new standards set by people who were in school longer than I was, guidelines for Pap smears have changed. In short, **women who are aged 21-29 should have a Pap smear every 3 years. Those 30 and over should have one every 5 years, ending at age 65. However, if you change sexual partners in a year or have a history of cervical cancer, it’s recommended you still have a yearly exam.

(Sidenote: I really feel like every woman should have been informed about this change in guidelines in some way. Possibly through the mail. I mean, we all get enough junk mail, so it’s not like they don’t know where we live. 😛 )

The other reason why I would have loved to have this piece of information before I went into my appointment was because I have a bit of anxiety when I anticipate having a Pap smear. To the point where I NEED TO have someone hold my hand during the entire procedure. And my hand-holder of choice, Chad, had to work and couldn’t be there.

So I found out about this Woman’s Health Day at the free clinic more than a month ago so I’ve been anticipating and worrying and fretting about this appointment for a Pap smear for literally WEEKS in advance of the actual event.

WEEKS!

Also, when I saw the date of the Woman’s Health Event, my stomach dropped. Why? Because I realized that was the day my period was due. Aunt Flo is so regular that I can predict her arrival with a high degree of accuracy. Except this month I was completely wrecked with worry. Especially all this week I was on edge because the last thing I wanted was to get my period and not be able to get a Pap.

And every day I felt like it was a race against time. Each day that passed without Aunt Flo’s ominous knocking on my uterus was one day closer to her arrival, and the less likely that I’d be able to get my lady bits checked for free.

There is really nothing like going into the Dr.’s office, anticipating a procedure you’ve been anxious about all week, then being told you don’t need that procedure and almost making them do it anyway because DARN IT you’ve been worried about it all WEEK!! (Then realizing that’s a really dumb line of thinking, you leave the office before they can change their minds, but not until after you get your hands on the free goody bag they are handing out to all participants.*)

So why even write about such a personal topic? Well, several reasons: 1. I had NO idea the Pap smear guidelines had changed and I figured if I didn’t know, there are others that didn’t know either. 2. Having anxiety over Pap smears makes these new guidelines all the more important because when you live with anxiety, the more stressful activities you can put off the better. 3. In writing about this topic, I am helping to take away the stigma that we can’t openly discuss intimate health issues. It is NOT dirty or shameful or wrong. Talking about it saves lives.

And you are never alone!

Cheers!

*So I know what you are thinking, “The first thing in a Woman’s Health Day goody bag would be chocolate.” Yeah. You’d be wrong. But the things inside were just as useful: hand sanitizer, a comb, feminine hygiene products, razors and a clinic pamphlet.

**Like anything else, these are just general guidelines. Every person and situation is different. If you have any doubts, talk to your doctor before putting off a Pap smear.

And The Truth Shall Set You Free…..

So after my blog went live the other night, I happened to read a comment from a new reader. And it stung a little bit. This person had made a judgement about me based solely on reading a tiny snapshot of my life.

And for a moment I considered its truth. And believed the truth as this person saw it, that I was lazy and unproductive.

Ouch!

The thing with having anxiety is that often times when I’m criticized, no matter who it is, I have a moment when I consider its truth. And often I decide there is a morsel of truth in the offending statement.

Last night I realized the flaw in this reasoning.

The flaw is this random person doesn’t know me. They don’t know my life (unless they’ve read my blog for the last two years, but even then that’s just a bunch of snapshots). They don’t realize that the way I have to be in the world is different than others because of the way my brain functions. That seemingly small tasks like taking a cat to the vet stress me out to the point that I need some down time after getting back home.

They clearly also don’t realize the risk and preparations needed to give a cat a pill! 😀 Or that you’ll often remain unsuccessful on the first try.

Or 50th. 😉

This also reminded me of something I read a few years ago right after President Obama entered the White House for his first term. The Bush twins, Jenna and Barbara, had written a letter to Sasha and Malia Obama about what to expect as the First Kids. One thought from the letter has always stuck with me. They told the young girls to always remember who their dad actually is. No matter who said what about him. That at the end of the day, the leader of the free world, was still their dad. Still the same person.

They reminded the girls to remember their truth.

And so in light of this troll, I remember my truth. That I am a housewife that picks up the slack so we have clean dishes, vacuumed carpets, clean bed sheets and well fed fur babies. That I feed my passion of helping to encourage and inspire others through my blog.

This truth has set me free. 🙂

Cheers!

**I don’t have a picture to post with today’s entry, but here is a relaxing song to get you through this busy Thursday. One of my favorites played by one of my favorites; my cousin, Ted Yoder. Please note that I am unable to post the actual video as WordPress has recently changed their settings, but if you click the link below, it’ll take you right there. 🙂

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Om3OAVh34nk

Finding Your Voice and Going to the Mattresses…..

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The above photo explains my day perfectly. No, I was not the sleeping, cuddly polar bear, I was the bad *ss penguin with the cymbals. And I don’t run really fast, so my brave thing was done with double courage. What was this brave thing, you ask? Did I write a scathing letter to Donald Trump, calling him a doody-head? Or maybe I prank called PBS during their pledge-drive while watching their channel, just to hear my telephone ring on TV. Nope. But I did do that last thing when I was a kid. In my defense, my older sister who should have known better also did it. 😉

While I didn’t call PBS, but I did make a phone call. To a computer repair guy who I had taken my mac to for repair….several months ago. Yes, I recently got my computer back, from the place I had taken it to be repaired from the first repair guy.

Yeah. This mama wasn’t happy with the first guy. Why? Well, when you take your computer into a repair place that has been highly recommended and it comes back–several weeks later–with an incompatible trackpad, you tend to get a bit miffed. For those unfamiliar with why this would make me frustrated, let me break it down for you. When you have a computer that has an incompatible part, your computer is not going to perform the way it should. Like at all. And when you rely on your computer as a daily blogger, this frustration is amplified.

So why has it taken me so long to call this guy? Well, he’s one of those intimidating types. I hate to even admit that because I have a reputation, at least in our house, for being firm with repair guys if they waffle with repairs. There’s a reason “let me have you talk to my wife” has been known to get results.

But this guy was different. I guess it was his stature and intimidating presence that made me nervous and dread calling him to follow-up when my computer wasn’t repaired within the time frame discussed. Then when my computer came back, I discovered it was not working properly. A quick trip to the Apple repair store (that I had just discovered in town), and it was determined that the track pad installed was the wrong one.

By the time it had been fixed properly it had been several months since I had taken it to the first guy. And I didn’t call about getting a refund until today. I just wanted to get a refund without having to deal with the repair guy.

Somedays I hate adulting. Today was no exception. But I knew after so long I had to do it and try to reason with him to give us a refund (yes we have proof the wrong track pad was installed. So today I steeled my resolve, took a deep breath and dialed.

He didn’t answer so I left a message. The plot thickens. Stay tuned!

Do you have anxiety over confronting someone who did you wrong? I know it’s hard but you can do it. You aren’t alone.

Cheers!

PS: So you are wondering what “going to the mattresses” mean? Yep, forgot to explain (it’s been a long day). It’s a phrase originating from The Godfather movies (that I’ve never seen) and used in the movie You’ve Got Mail (one of my faves). To “go to the mattresses” is a colloquialism to describe fighting or going to war with a person or group. It can also mean to fight for what is right. At least this is a meaning that makes sense to me, no matter if its technically the correct one. 😉