Category Archives: Lists

Giving Myself Permission

My friend Echo has been writing these posts, “Hey, It’s Okay…” and they’re pretty awesome. I love how she puts herself out there, while simultaneously giving herself the permission to just be her, however she may be feeling in that moment.

I’ve toyed with doing a post of my own, but it hasn’t really felt right. Until today. Today, when my heart is heavy with words I can’t share here, and feelings that are too much.

So with a gentle nudge from one of my newest and most wonderful friends…

HeyItsOk

If I can’t help my mother the way she wants.

If I need to put my health (both physical AND mental) above the needs of those around me.

If the tears flow at the drop of a hat. Sometimes you just need a really good cry. Or ten.

To stick up for myself.

To be sad and angry at this disease, as long as I acknowledge those feelings instead of bottling them up.

If I want to take a day off and curl up with a Parenthood on Netflix marathon instead of facing responsibilities.

To ask for help.

To admit I can’t do something.

To take my own advice, and take care of me.

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Ask Away Friday The Solo Edition

Happy Friday y’all!

I’m not entirely sure how the first week of November is already behind us, but here we are. This week was packed with all the usual kinds of stuff, with an added bit of family stress. I’ve also been participating in #NaBloPoMo, so it’s been a flurry of activity around here.

This week I decided to forego swapping with a partner, and instead share with y’all ten random tidbits about me. Maybe even things that haven’t been shared in the Ask Away Friday posts.

1. I argue with my TV. Usually it’s when I’m feeling my worst and I’m grumpy with it, but honestly, I can be found lobbing snarky comments at TV shows, commercials, and news programs fairly often.

2. I love lists. To-do lists or shopping lists, it doesn’t matter. They soothe me in a way I can’t really explain. I write and re-write them often. I have a running household to-do list on a white board in our kitchen/dining room area. I have a notebook where I keep a personal to-do list and a list of working blog post ideas. I have a separate notebook full of lists for the wedding. I love making playlists of music for myself and my friends. I love lists.

3. I’m a lightweight. I used to be able to drink any of my guy friends under the table in college. Now? One glass of wine and I’m a giggly mess. Most of that is due to the fact I rarely drink anymore. With all the medicine I take, it’s not wise to mix a lot of alcohol. And honestly, there’s not a lot of joy in going out to get trashed anymore. Gah, I sound old, right?

4. I have made it to the ripe old age of 32 without ever having smoked pot. If you knew me in high school, this would shock you. I dated a pothead, all my friends smoked it…I just was too chicken. I still drank like a fish and smoked cigarettes, but just couldn’t bring myself to try pot. And now that it’s legal in my great state, I still don’t see it in my future, not even when some have said it could help with my pain. Guess I’m still a chicken…

5. I’m terrified of heights. Bridges, Ferris wheels, skyscrapers…NOPE. I once had a panic attack while in stuck in traffic in the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge. For as long as I can remember, they’ve scared me. The funny thing? I love roller coasters. Bizarre, I know.

6. I don’t like rats, mice, ferrets, frogs, snakes, lizards, or anything else close to them. I know some people consider them pets, but I just can’t. They creep me out and make my skin crawl.

7. I have nieces and nephews I’ve never met. I don’t know their names or how old they are. Because I have siblings with whom I’m not close, I’m not a part of their children’s lives. There is a part of me that regrets this, but I know it’s really for the best. Sometimes even family is toxic, and we must distance ourselves.

8. I am forever starting things and not finishing them. I have dozens of crafts in varying states of completion, ideas for this blog that have only been outlined, and I can’t tell you how many times I get excited about a new thing only to put it down for whatever reason. Maybe my resolution for 2015 should be to complete some of these things…

9. I don’t like pumpkin anything. Or avocado. I’ll only eat bananas if they’re baked, like in banana bread. The only squash I like is zucchini. All these fall foods everyone is loving right now, and I’m like NOPE. I’m also not a huge fan of chowders. Weird, I know.

10. I’m a Dallas Cowboys fan, have been since I was little. I’ve loved them when they were great, when they were terrible, and every season in between. I’m not, however, a fan of Romo. I think he’s overrated. And I’ve had about enough of Jerry Jones. I think Michael Irvin is probably my favorite all-time player, though I have a soft spot for DeMarcus Ware. I was pissed Dallas didn’t do more to hold on to him after last season.

And there you have it. Did you already know some of these things about me? Did any thing surprise or shock you?

If you’d like to swap ten questions with me for a round of Ask Away Friday, check out their Facebook group or email me at becominneurotic@gmail.com

Top Five Thursday: De-Stressing

I had a really hard time writing today. Which, when you’re posting every day, is something to be expected from time to time. Also, my brain has been pretty bogged down with stress.

One of the biggest battles I face as a spoonie, is reducing stress and stress management. We all know that, while stress does not cause our illnesses, it can exacerbate symptoms and cause flare ups. Stress management is key.

I’ve been working with my therapist and my doctors to learn better coping skills, and find areas in my life where I can cut out potential stressors. Still, life has a way of sneaking up on me every now and again. This week would be one of those times.

And so, I thought instead of just working on me, I would share my top five ways to de-stress, in case life was being mean to anyone else lately.

*Music. I know I say this a lot, but music really is one of my greatest tools. It soothes me while allowing me to sing along and express whatever emotions are clogged up within me. Also, music varies, so there’s always something to fit whatever your mood. Rock is my go-to, but sometimes I can be found crooning along with something soft and slow.

*Distraction. Sometimes it’s scrolling Pinterest, sometimes it’s playing silly games on my phone, sometimes it’s trashy TV. The point is to find something to pull your mind from whatever is stressing you out.

*Writing. Journaling has become a great tool since I started therapy. I used to think that my journals had to be neat and edited, like my writing here. A good friend helped open my eyes to the wonders of scribbling. Now my journaling is just about getting the thoughts that are swirling around my head out onto the paper. And to be honest, there’s a part of me that feels a little better to just doodle and scribble instead of making it all neat.

*Creativity. Coloring or crafting, as long as it involves using my brain for something fun, it counts. Spilling all my mental energy into crafting new cards, scrapbooking, or even photo editing takes all the power away from the stressful thoughts. I can’t be worried about money while I’m coloring in Winnie The Pooh, it just isn’t compatible. Try it sometime.

*Talking. Just like writing, this works to get the thoughts out of my head. Talking them out with someone- a therapist, a friend, a family member, your spouse- can also often help you see a solution where there wasn’t one a moment ago. And even if you don’t need any answers, but just to vent, talking is still a great tool.

These are not my only tools, but they’re the five which help me the most. What tools do you use to combat stress and worry?

My Happy Place

The lovely Echo tagged me this morning to share my happy place.

Much like Echo, my happy place is more a series of moments, little tidbits that make up an overflowing pool of happiness within me. Some are memories, some are actual places, some are dreams yet to be fulfilled, and some are the moments in my days that chase the dark away. These are the things I would think about if I were to fly with Peter Pan.

It’s a cozy chair, a mug of hot tea, a fuzzy blanket, and a good book.

It’s the joy and excitement my little doggy shows when we ask if he wants to go for a ride.

It’s looking into my newborn son’s eyes and seeing my future gazing back at me.

It’s an afternoon in the park, sprawled on a blanket under the sun. A picnic lunch after a trip to the library.

It’s the memory of a drawled, “Hello, dawlin.” and the feeling of knowing someone cares.

It’s a bubble bath, scented candles, and soft music playing.

It’s text messages from my son, little glimpses at his life away from me. It’s him telling me he loves and misses me.

It’s the kisses goodbye as Scotty leaves for work, and the kisses hello when he gets home in the evenings. It’s the texts throughout his day that let me know he’s thinking of me.

It’s an afternoon on the banks of the Puget Sound, a first date with a man my heart had known always.

It’s boardgames, Mario Kart, and popcorn and M&M’s.

It’s nights at Denny’s, sipping hot cocoa and getting to know each other.

It’s all the little things he does to make my life easier.

It’s afternoon naps with my doggy.

It’s hours long chats with the sisters of my heart. The talks about music, writing, life, and more that always leave me feeling loved and inspired.

It’s waking up each day and going to bed each night knowing I am loved, even when I don’t feel very lovable.

What is your happy place? Where do you go when you need a smile?

Tuesday Ten: My Advice For Our Teens

I had a lovely chat with one of my favorite ladies this morning, and we were talking about kiddos and how fast they grow up, and how we moms just aren’t ready for the teen years. And I was inspired.

So here are the ten things I would tell my teenage son, and all my adopted kiddos.

*You are going to have crushes. You’re going to “date” and you’re going to break hearts…and yes, you’ll have your heart broken. You’re going to care about someone and you’re going to get hurt. It may feel like your life is over, but it will really just be beginning.

*It is true what they say, as much as is possible, treat people how you want to be treated. Put all the good karma you can into the world and you shall be handsomely rewarded.

*You will be bullied. When the time comes and you’re the one doing the bullying, remember how it felt when you were in their shoes.

*You will have many “best” friends. When a friendship goes sour, try to leave it on the best terms possible and with your dignity intact. God knows how hard it will be, but always, ALWAYS try to be the better person. You will be glad you did.

*Take pride in yourself and the values you hold dear, but be willing to accept you won’t always be right. Open yourself up to learning new things and revising what you’ve been taught. There isn’t always one right answer. Find what you hold true and stand up for what you believe in.

*There are consequences to each and every action, some good, some bad, and some may not surface immediately. I can’t tell you what choices to make, but please weigh the outcomes beforehand. Even just one minute of thought can save you a lifetime of hurt.

*Dream. Dream loud and dream often. Chase those dreams and dream new ones. Hold onto that wonderful imagination for as long as you can and use it to dream and accomplish the impossible.

*I know it won’t always be popular to make the “right” decision, but please remember that popularity can and will fade and when it does, your virtue will be all that you can hold on to.

*You will get warnings, people will tell you all of the horrible consequences for many of the decisions you will find yourself faced with…and you will tell yourself they won’t happen to you. Please remember, they can ALWAYS happen to ANYONE. Protect yourself and be smart. Naivety and ignorance will only bring you pain.

*Most importantly, don’t forget to smile, laugh, and LIVE. You are only young with minimal cares for this short period of time. Enjoy every last second; I can promise you, you will be glad you did.

What advice would you give to teenagers?

**This post is adapted from a post I wrote in 2012 for The Band Back Together Project. I certify that I am the sole author of both posts, though they are written under different names. I retain all rights to these words, in both posts.

Ten Things For Which I’m Thankful

Yet another prompt from the SITS Girls, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Yesterday we were jarred awake at 2:30 am by a very loud boom and the deafening silence that said our power was out. Though we were able to go back to sleep, the power was still not back when it was time for Scotty to get ready for work, so he got to shower in the dark. The power finally came back to life right before 11:00 am, right around the time I was starting to panic about the food in my freezer and refrigerator.

Anyway, I told you all that to tell you this: You don’t realize how much you rely on things and/or take them for granted until they aren’t there anymore. So here are some things I’m trying not to take for granted today:

*Electricity. The microwave and toaster and TV and my laptop and the router which allows me to have WiFi for my phone. These modern conveniences are vital in my life, and I find I go just a little bit crazier without access to them.

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*Scotty. That man loves me when I’m crazy, when I’m sick and whiny, or when I’m panicky and hysterical over silly things. He calms me down, listens to me rant, and provides chocolate when all else fails. He is my rock, my safe harbor, and I would be truly lost without him.

*Fall. I’m so happy fall has decided to come to my little neck of the woods. Gone are the 90 degree days, and here are days of drizzly rain and cool winds. Now is the time for hot tea and apple cider, oatmeal for breakfast, and soups in the crockpot. This is my time.

My Girls

*Framily. Otherwise known as friends who are more like family. Nolan and Court. Tracie and her family. Teala. Natalie. Cindy-Lou. Fallah. Kerry. Cathy. Cathi. Rene. Rob. Shevaun and her family. Joules. Dawnie. Kristen and Seth. Amanda and John. These people lift me up and inspire me daily.

*My Doctors. And their staff. A medical community that genuinely cares about me. They call to check on how I’m feeling, and answer my litany of questions without any frustration. They help me to live the best life with chronic illness, and that’s no easy feat.

*Blogger Gals. The ladies from Ask Away Friday who have become friends, mentors, and bringers of inspiration. Bloggers I’ve known/followed for a while now who continue to make me want to be a better writer. Please check out the Blogroll in the sidebar to send these lovely peeps some smiles.

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*Jojo. The light of my life. My legacy. His text messages keep him here with me, even while he’s miles away plowing his way through middle school. The fact that he wants to play Fantasy Football with Scotty and I. All the little ways he tells me he loves me, and loves Scotty. His smile which will warm my heart always.

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*Toddy. Our adorable little doggy who loves me to pieces. His tail wags, snuggles, and kisses never cease to make me grin. When he senses I’m not feeling well and cuddles at my feet, like he’s guarding me from the yucky RA monsters. The way he snuffles and barks in his sleep as he dreams of…whatever doggies dream. The little dance he does when we ask if he wants to go for a ride in the car. The sheer JOY on his face when we take him for rides. He is a light in every single day.

*Music. Our extensive music library. The ability to stream music via my phone. That I can sit here and sing along as the words flow. New artists, old favorites, it all blends together to soothe me and encourage me. I close my eyes and let the melodies and lyrics carry me away to a place where the pain can’t quite reach me.

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My beautiful Oregon Coast. This was taken by me, about this time last year.

*Beautiful Photos. Instagram, Tamara’s blog, Facebook. The faces looking back at me from the frames on my wall. They keep loved ones near, show me places I can only dream about visiting, allow me to live vicariously through my friends, and show me glimpses of your lives. They capture memories and inspire me to remember the good, each and every day.

 

What are YOU thankful for today?

A To-Do List For Fall

Yesterday the SITS Girls had Fall Bucket List as a prompt for the day.

A few blogger friends have inspired me to update my bucket list, and that’s definitely coming soon, so keep your eyes peeled. (What a funny expression. And pretty gross when you think about it. You’re welcome.) For now, here’s a list of things I’d like to do this fall.

*Corn Maze. Or is it a Maize Maze? Either way, I want to go wander around in the tall stalks and possibly get a little lost. Scotty and I went to one before I got sick and we wound up covered in mud and wet to the bone. It was amazing fun and I want to do it again.

*Apple Butter. A few years back, I found a recipe on Pinterest for making apple butter in my crockpot. Not only does it taste amazing, it makes my house smell SO GOOD! This year I plan to make a big batch and package some up for a craft bazaar. (And possibly for some friends who’ve requested some.)

*Repay Debts. Last year, about this time, some friends were very good to me. It’s taken me a while, but I will repay their kindness this fall.

*Save The Dates. Scotty and I need to design/print our Save The Date announcements. We’ll be sending them out with/in lieu of holiday cards this year, so we need to get cracking!

*Expand Blog. I have some adjustments I’d like to make around here. I’m looking at reaching out for new guest posts, new features, and ways to branch out with my writing. Tracie and the girls at Ask Away Friday have been BIG helps here, as well as great inspiration.