My system

Recently, I asked Facebook how many books were too many to read at once?  I was currently in the middle of five and technically, I am reading more than five right now, but two of them are only picked up very sporadically and can be read that way, thankfully.

I gifted myself time on my to-read shelf on Goodreads and used our curbside pick-up from my local library since I had cleaned the house the other day.  And begins another reading journey of balancing different books.  

One Facebook friend asked how I can keep them straight…I consider it a gift and a curse. I listened to a podcast by the Lazy Genius the other week about her reading life and it reminded me a lot of what I did and as I have changed my reading habits.  I blame Anne Bogel, the creator of “What Should I Read Next?” podcast.

I often start my morning with a devotional (currently The Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer) which is short and then a chapter or two of another spiritual book (currently Chasing Vines by Beth Moore – having to push myself through the book a bit faster than I would want because I do not have any renewals since it’s a new release).  I then use my morning and sometimes afternoon hours when I can catch a few minutes another non-fiction book (currently rotating between Becoming by Michelle Obama and Elizabeth and Hazel by David Margolick – it’s about the Little Rock nine in 1957), and then I rewards myself with my fiction book in the afternoon and evening (currently Ladies of Ivy Cottage by Julie Klassen).  

You can see from my stack that I am well prepared for the next few weeks.  

It works for me…tell me about your reading life.  

 

 

 

Anatomy of a Nap

Naps have changed and evolved since Evan tumbled out of the crib a few months ago. The first few times being in the cot, he stayed right there. And then came the adventures.

Books pulled off the shelf. And by books, I mean every. Single. One. Stuffed animals pulled out of the basket. Pillows thrown again and again.

I earned my flights of stairs from Fitbit just by walking upstairs to put him back into the bed.

Lately, we’ve settled into a routine.

1:53 pm. Look at books. Sometimes I take them to my bed. Not today.
1:54 pm. Lie down. Am
I tired?
1:55 pm. Nope. What’s going on under the door?
1:56 pm. Not much happening. What could I go do now?
1:57 pm. Back to my books.
2:00 pm. Decided to look thru a dresser drawer. Mom told me to stop and go back to bed.
2:11 pm. Clean and dry now (thanks Mom), so off to dream land I go!

Neighbors

One of the hardest things about leaving a community where you spent the majority of your life is exactly that. The community.

Moving to a new town meant new everything. New neighbors. New church. New friends to walk with and hang out with. New faces everywhere. Yes, I can still drive and see my friends. Yes, I can call and text them. But it’s also not the same.

One of the new things I am thankful for is the work that my husband and I put into getting to meet and know our neighbors. After we met them, we added their names to a map I had drawn. I made it a point to say hello, to talk and get to know them.

I’m grateful for them. I have friends I watch The Bachelor with. I have friends who let our son sit in their sandbox and play for however long he wants. I have friends who buy a cookie at a bakery because it’s perfect for our son. I have friends who bring a full bowl of pho rather than a tasting of the broth that I had asked for. I have friends that I walk with. Friends that make our evening walks longer simply because we stand on the sidewalks talking. I have friends that share educational wisdom. I have a whole village that has cheered on our son.

It is so much more than I could ask for.

Thankful

A very different Thursday today. I could look at it through two different lenses. I am learning to choose the positive side.

I am thankful for the rain because it meant I didn’t have to water the garden.

Thankful for a morning walk to see the sunrise, listen to podcasts (surprise, surprise), and back before anyone was awake.

Thankful that my son was able to get a session of ot in. It’s not guaranteed yet for weekly visits.

Thankful for six hours with my dad and stepmom. They wore Evan out.

Thankful to have food in the pantry and freezer to throw a meal together.

Thankful my son can grab my arm and show me where he wants to go.

Thankful my husband jumped in to help with dinner while I finished up with a zoom meeting.

And thankful for spell check because trying to spell guarantee is hard.

Bliss

I experienced absolute bliss.

And no one knew about it until now.

My son had actual in-person therapy today, so we walked there.

For the next forty minutes, I walked a gravel path, listened to a podcast (love The Lazy Genius), ate a snack, read a book (current read is Crazy Rich Asians) , watched the clouds go by, and never once looked at social media.

Those forty minutes were quiet. Full of peace and exactly what my soul needed.

I’m already looking forward to the next time.

Breathe

I’m learning to breathe. Not for exercise. But for my brain.

Since December, I have been wrestling with a higher level of anxiety. I had my first mammogram and received a callback. An ultrasound, revealed a mass that needed a biopsy. Three weeks passed and the biopsy was performed.

Oddly, my anxiety lifted after the procedure. Even though I didn’t know the results, the unknown of what a biopsy would feel like was over.

When the call came Friday afternoon, and it confirmed a benign tumor, I felt like I could live again.

The rest of January passed and bled into February. March brought an odd warming sensation near my leg.  My phobic sixness, as well as my heightened awareness of family history of cancer, led me to my ob/gyn.  Everything was fine, but she told me to check in with my family doctor if it continued.  

A month later brought me to my family doctor.  It’s the beginnings of a hernia was his conclusion, probably brought on me performing too many regular push ups over the past few months…how’s that for trying to show off how strong you are?

Through all of this, I noticed the shortening of breath.  The rambling of thoughts.  Being present but having spent too much time writing a future that was full of sadness.  With our current health situation occurring, it feels like one more layer on top of another that just adds a depth of sadness I can’t explain.  

A belly button hernia emerged last week that took me to the doctor that was covering for my family doctor.  When he finished, he asked, “Anything else?”  Well, since he asked, I shared I had felt a lump that was new to me.  He ordered a diagnostic mammogram and an ultrasound and the little breath I had left.

How the next six days passed is still a mystery to me.  It was not a pretty week.  I cannot thank my husband enough for how kind he was to me during some really week moments.  I cannot thank my friends enough who listened to me on phone calls or video calls or texts just let me share.  I cannot thank the social media world enough for praying for me and sending me kind messages.  I also cannot thank a dear reader enough who sent me daily quotes to encourage me.  This is not the first time she has done this and it lifted me spirits immensely.  I also cannot thank my God enough for providing resources and truth and peace that would come crashing down like a tidal wave.  

I focused on breathing.  It was all I could do.  When the thoughts came and threatened to crash the little I felt I had left, I exhaled.  Again and again and again.

Yesterday morning, I had the procedures and I’m so thankful to the technician as she was performing the ultrasound…she would stop and take photos and while I tried to look to see if I could see what was going on, it was unclear to me.  I asked her what she saw, and she said, “Nothing.”  Yes, it had to confirmed by the doctor, but the breath slowly started to return.  What I was feeling was normal.  My mammogram was fine.  The doctor released me to come back for my normal mammogram in December. 

As I walked out to the car where my husband was waiting, I noticed the lifting of the layers.  I breathed in the fresh air.  It had never smelled so wonderful!  I could feel it returning to me.  The lifting of my head and spirit.  

This won’t be the last time I ever encounter something hard.  But I will remember the importance of breath.  

Sidenote – As I am writing this, I am listening to music and this song came on…quite timely and such a great reminder.  

 

 

Chain reaction

I don’t know many people that are loving this quarantine time. I could write lots of reasons why I don’t like it. But one minuscule and petty reason is that it’s taken away some of my podcast listening time.

I used to listen during my son’s therapy and when I took walks during respite or cleaning during respite and on my drive to a nearby town for WW.

It’s becoming a problem in such a first world way because they keep multiplying.

I started with two churches and a podcast by Annie F. Downs.

It’s up to 25 shows. Granted, I don’t listen to all of them every day and some do not have active recordings, but one podcast will have an author that is interesting or another podcaster and I’m sucked into theirs or friends make recommendations.

It might be a problem.

Some days, it’s a great problem. I love the ideas, wisdom, and humor I receive. They challenge me to keep growing. Keep learning. Keep going in my journey.

Other days, I’m overwhelmed and don’t know who to listen to or when I’ll have time to actually finish a series.

So…got any great podcasts I should listen to? 😜

Gift

It looks like a mess to you.  It is a gift to me.  

When our son was first diagnosed, we began the process to receive extra services including respite.  At first, I balked at respite.  I didn’t need extra help.  We had people that watched Evan.  He doesn’t require extra medical care and is a really good kid.  I didn’t need caregivers.  

Oh, how wrong I was.  

Screen Shot 2020-04-30 at 12.05.51 PM

Evan requires extra eyes on him.  He is at a higher risk for certain things and cannot be left unattended due to safety awareness and mobility.  Factor that into hiring a sitter and how much extra should you be paying for that kind of supervision?

Being with Evan is not unpleasant.  It can be difficult though.  My brain never shuts off.  I’m tired once he is down for a nap and trying to accomplish the daily “stuff” just doesn’t seem to get done all the way.  

When our respite services finally began (because everything good takes time), it was heaven!  We were able to hire our own caregivers and found several amazing ones!  I cannot thank them enough.  Evan laughs and has such a wonderful time with them!  They are true gifts!

Then we were hit by the pandemic and everything that had once been a help to us went away…preschool, in-person therapy, play dates, outings to the park and even to a store to hold the door for mom (his favorite thing when in the cart), and respite.  

Yes, it is all for good reasons.  I am not going to pretend to be medically intelligent (cause Google is my best friend whenever I encounter something – and that’s never good news) or enter the debate of what’s currently best, but when you have a child with a disability who automatically enters a higher risk category and the unknowns of how they will be affected, staying home seems the safest.  

Thankfully, we were able to utilize one of our caregivers (who also works with my husband so they encounter the same group of people), and that picture is my gift.  

I took a two mile walk, washed baseboards, filed paperwork, read a book, and even blogged.  It gave me the breathing space I need.  Mundane activities, yet magnificent!

 

 

Struggle bus…

Before my son was born, I imagined what motherhood would look like. Part of it would be me being active with my son.

Fast forward a few years and I am active. But I have one glaring item staring at me. The jogging stroller.

I used to run. I don’t really anymore. I walk. A lot. I want to run again and I have visions of pushing my son in the jogging stroller for 5ks, but at this point, I don’t think I could even run a mile. The jogging stroller also does not fold down enough for me to transport it in my car so I’m stuck using it only around my neighborhood which has some amazing sidewalks and spots to get in some mileage.

So, do I give it back to my sister to sell or keep it in the garage as a reminder? Thoughts, readers? And yes, I’m a phobic six and rely on others for input…anyone else into the enneagram?

Routines

Before I begin, my brain is like a giant bowl of spaghetti…my thoughts are running into each other, overlapping, causing my brain to feel discombobulated (thanks spell check, wasn’t sure on that one).

Words are coming to my mind of what to write about.  Time, books, podcasts (oh, how they suck me in), attitudes, complaints, routines.

It’s late enough that I don’t think I could combine too many of them and it would make sense, so routines it is.

I am a WW coach and one constant comment that seems to prevail at each workshop is the interruption, disruption, and rearrangement of routines.  So, I thought I would share some of my routines.

Same Routines 

  • wake up at 5:30 to walk a mile, drink 20 ounces of water, and listen to Beth Moore’s podcast, then I have my own reading and study time while listening to instrumental music on Pandora and drink that first cup of coffee while waiting and watching for Evan to wake up
  • make protein pancakes and watch Little Baby Bum with Evan
  • walk outside as much as we can
  • eat lunch during his nap and catch up on one of my shows
  • try to accomplish one household chore before resting my eyes (as my grandma called it)
  • dinner around the table with Evan with an evening walk most likely
  • read books in bed with Evan and then off to listen to more podcasts and clean up the kitchen

New Routines

  • plan and carry out at least five minutes of focused OT and speech therapy with Evan.  It’s amazing how much better he behaves for his therapists for 45 minutes than ten minutes for me!
  • Zumba online
  • Zoom with my WW workshop
  • figure out how to do self-care when the only down time I have is when Evan is sleeping (so thankful for a neighbor who has been taking Evan on walks) Nate does give me time, but trying to find it when he is at work is the biggest challenge.
  • reading more books electronically
  • sip a glass of diet tonic water (I add a little Crystal Light to it) to relax my eye muscles so they stop twitching (a symptom when I am overly stressed)
  • blog Thursday nights 

Routines I Want to Improve Upon

  • cleaning
  • blogging
  • writing in Evan’s notebook 
  • finishing projects I start
  • speech therapy – This is Evan’s hardest area, so it’s the easiest to put off because of the work involved.  

What about you?  Any great tips for routines that you just have to share?