13 Ways to Better Your Days

camp is my happy place

I almost always come home from summer camp a different person than I was when I left.  I am not sure if it is the change of scenery, the change in schedule, or the change in my mental mood.  Whatever it is, I am changed, at least for a while.

I will let you in on a secret – I was privately worried that I would not make it all the way through camp without having to retreat from the retreat.  With my medical issues, life is hard to predict from day to day.  Surprisingly to me, I not only survived the entire week of camp, but I thrived!  I only had to take four pain pills, and two of those were during the same day.  I struggled a little, but way less than I thought I would.  Maybe it was combination of adrenaline and the power of God…

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Rabbit Trail  For insight on health and wellness

            Now why did I get through the week without major issues when I can barely get through a week at home without major issues?  Who knows?  I do know that I am willing to try making some changes that at least seemed to work during my camp week.  Will it help?  Who knows?  The least I can do is try it out for a while and see.

In adapting my church camp lifestyle to my home lifestyle, I thought of these thirteen areas that I handled differently at camp.

  1. Schedule

I had a fairly strict schedule at camp, and duties that had to happen at certain times.  I didn’t have just any old time that I could veg out playing a word game on my iPad or peruse Pinterest for hours.  I had places to be and jobs to do and people to see.

  1. Study

The first part of each day was devoted to Bible study and prayer for about twenty minutes.  This did come after a shower and getting dressed; otherwise, it was top priority.  Getting with God first thing in the morning – is there any more positive way to begin a new day?

Bible study

  1. Diet: Meals and Snacks

I ate.  I ate more.  I ate better.  This eating habit was an important part of the daily schedule.  Breakfast at 8, lunch at 11:45, snack at 3:15, dinner at 4:45 (that was a little tough), and another snack at 8. I paid attention to what I was eating and added what I needed to add (i.e., extra protein or iron, again due to my health issues).  Today, I didn’t eat anything until after I took a bath, which I didn’t do until 1:15.  An entire morning wasted away…

  1. Work

From 9:30 to 11:45, I taught lessons and led the campers in making a project each day.  At home, I equate this to my writing and my online income.  It doesn’t contribute much to our bank account, but it does contribute a little money and a lot of accomplishment.

  1. Service

Missions time was in a morning time slot, but we addressed it throughout the day.  At home, my main mission and service is to my husband, my home, and our house guests.  Housekeeping, community concerns, and my extended family and friends are my focus of ministry and service.

  1. Medications

This should be a no-brainer.  The problem is that sometimes, I can be a no-brainer.  If I forget to take my meds, I have difficulties and if I have difficulties, I forget to take my meds.  Since my medication are important to my health, I need to be sure I take them at the appropriate times.  At camp, I had my camp nurse that helped me remember to take them.  She never had to remind me; just seeing her hanging out would remind me.  I plan to figure out some trigger that will have the same effect here at home.

  1. Exercise

I did not have an exercise plan in place when I went to camp.  Just being at church camp tends to be an exercise in itself.  Walking, doing the motions to worship songs, just hanging out with faculty and campers gets me much more exercise than I am accustomed to getting.  Incorporating a walk and maybe a worship song or two into my day will go a long way.

  1. Nature

I am often saying or typing “Get out and play out.”  There are some very good books written on the topic of the nature deficit of modern children.  I tend to forget that adults need time in nature too!  Even if it is as simple as sitting out on my deck enjoying the outdoors, I need some nature in my life.  So do you.

Drake and Gertrude

  1. Friends

I was surrounded by friends this entire week.  At home, I tend to sequester myself inside my own four walls.  It’s not that I don’t like people.  I just don’t go out of my way to be where the people are. (Cue “The Little Mermaid”)  Everyone needs that human connection, including those of us who consider ourselves introverts or ambiverts.

faculty foosball

  1. Delegation of Duties

            Help!  I need somebody!  Help!  Not just anybody!

            Trying to do it all by myself is exhausting.  Doing this with my health is even more exhausting.  The past few years, I have started delegating more and dropping duties less.  At camp, I had others lead two nights of group games, others led campfire, others led meal time prayers, and others led all kinds of things.  This helped me then and it can help me at home.  Instead of leaving things undone because I cannot do it all, I will ask for help when I need or want it.

  1. Rest Time

            Naptime!!!

I will nap here

            A rest and relaxation time was built into the camp schedule after lunch.  I tended not to get much rest at this time because of other duties.  Instead, during the campers’ swimming time that followed, I was able to get an hour of rest, sometimes even sleep.  Recharging my battery is very important.  How can I help others if my own battery is running dead?

  1. Me Time: Creativity

“We were created by a Creator to be creative” was our camp theme this year.  During the day, I was able to get my camera out and practice using it.  I was able to doodle in my notepad.  I was able to write out thoughts.  I was allowing God to speak to me through my gift of creativity.

  1. Greater Good

I think the most important part of the camp week was that I was focused on the greater good.  I was there to serve, to lead, to show by example, to experience God and help others to experience God.  Sometimes, I feel my life has no focus, but that never happens at camp.  Maybe my camp mindset is one I should carry year-round.

camp confession 200

 

That’s So Pinteresting!

pinterest-logo

I have a Pinterest addiction.

I find myself wandering to the site without even thinking about it.  I can scroll and read and pin for hours.  I organize and reorganize my boards for fun.

I would be so excited if a button for “I did this!” was created!!!

pinterest newsfeed

I have 77 boards currently, and 8,561 pins as of 4:14 p.m. 6/20/2016.  This doesn’t include what I consider temporary boards such as planning for a specific upcoming party.

So I want to share my goodies and stuff with you!

Cruise vacation 2012 123

Are We There Yet?  Travel, destinations, tips for packing and sightseeing

Artsy Fartsy  Art inspiration and beautiful things

Be Mine, Valentine  Crafts, decorations, and fun ideas for Valentine’s Day

Beautiful Baths  Design and décor ideas for the bathroom

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Bible Study

Board Games  Ideas for creating games and instructions for playing

Bread Basket  Recipes, tips and tricks for baking homemade breads

Breakfast Bonanza  Recipes for breakfast and brunch

Camp Allendale  All kinds of goodies for planning a week of church camp

Clean It Up  Recipes for making cleaning products, tips and tricks for cleaning almost anything

Clothes Closet  My dream wardrobe.  If only what I pinned would magically show up in my closet…

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Coffee Shoppe  No recipes, just for fun

Craft Room  Craft ideas, tips and tutorials

Crockpot Cookery  Recipes for the slow-cooker

Delicious Drinks  Beverages, both alcoholic and non

Dining DIY  Recipes for making ingredients for other recipes

DIY Décor  Inspiration and instruction for making beautiful home décor and vignettes

Do You Want To Build A Snowman?  Cute snowman arts and crafts, duh.

Easter/Spring  Crafts and decorating ideas for the spring season

Family Camping  Recipes for cooking out, tips and tricks for camping

Festive Fall  Crafts and decorating ideas for the fall season

Fibro File  Research, motivation, and helpful hints and tips for living with chronic illness

Fire!!!  Outdoor fireplaces and fire pits

Fit For Life  Exercise and fitness that is friendly for me

Floor Plans 

Food Preservation  Canning, drying, freezing food

Genius!  Tips and tricks I wish I had thought of

display

Gift Ideas  Ideas for gifts to make, to compile, or to purchase

Good Eats  Recipes, recipes, recipes – usually for entrees and main courses

Grandkid Goodies  Games, toys, and activities to do with my littles

Happy New Year!  Décor, activities, and recipes for the holiday

Hooked On Crochet  Patterns for crochet, knitting, embroidery, and so on

Hospitality House  Creating an inviting and comfortable environment for guests

How Does Your Garden Grow?  Ideas for garden design, tips and tricks for growing vegetables, flowers, and greenery

I Feel Pretty…  Beauty hints

I Love You  Romantic reading

Interior Motives  Home décor and design

Jewelry Box  Jewelry design and instructions

Junk Drawer  When it doesn’t fit anywhere else

Kitchens and Dining Rooms

Koi Pondering  Koi pond design, care, and related topics

Lawn Games

Let Them Be Little  Early childhood learning and teaching

Mapquest  Design, crafts, and décor using maps and globes

Merry Christmas  Holiday décor and design

Mood Menders  Animal memes (they just make me smile!)

Motivation

Music Makers  Instructions for making musical instruments

Nature Center Projects

No Small Kindness  Quotes about goodness and kindness, and ideas for making a difference

scarf organizer

Organization

Outdoor Décor  Design and decorating the outdoor space of my home

Outdoor Learning Space  Projects for early childhood education

Party Ideas

Peacock Palette  Mostly peacocks and peacock-inspired color schemes, just because I like them

Photo Ops  Ideas and inspiration for photography

Preach Your Passion  Public speaking pointers

Scrapbook, Cards, and More  Papercrafting

Sew Pretty  Ideas, tips and tricks for sewing, mostly non-clothing items

Shoes!

Simply Salads

Sleepover Suite  Ideas for multi-person bedrooms

Snack Attack!  Recipes for sweet and savory finger foods

So me…  Identification

Someone So Special  Research and ideas for people with very special needs

Soups and Sandwiches

Stars and Stripes  Décor, activities, and recipes for Independence Day

Stress Less  Recipes and tips for stress relief

Sweet Dreams  Bedrooms design and décor

Sweet Treats  Recipes for desserts and such

This Is For The Birds! (…and the bees and the butterflies…) 

bathroom cabinet transformation

Trash To Treasure  Upcycling junk into lovely stuff

Winter Wonderland  Crafts and décor for the winter season

Words  Quotes about everything

Writer’s Block  Inspiration for writing

Young Ladies Life Group  Leading teen girls in a Christian lifestyle

Feel free to wander on over yourself and explore my pages.  You may even get rewarded with a great idea or a hundred!

Tomato Talk

 

What did one tomato say to the other tomato?

tomatoes

Let’s catchup!

 

It has been 37 days since I last posted.  This was an unplanned hiatus that simply happened.  Each day as I woke up, I did not say to myself, “I am not going to write today.”  I just didn’t.  Oh, I had plenty of brainstorms and moments of inspiration (my notebook and my bathroom wall can attest).  Why the words were not written for the web, I do not know.  But…

Here I am!

the writing on the wall

the writing on the wall

Sometimes, a time of self-discovery is necessary.  Sometimes, debacles with family or with friends occur.  Sometimes, health or home issues must take the forefront to find a resolution.

Sometimes, the words must be written and anguished over and edited and rearranged, and after all the emotions and insights are put down on the paper or on the screen – the entire saga is deleted, stress is drained, and the world may be looked upon with fresh eyes.

Anne Lamott quote

Sometimes you need a break before you break.

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Here are some hints, goodies, and sneak peaks that I look forward to sharing with you in upcoming posts!

Advisory Warning – Waxing philosophic usually creates philosophic ear wax.

Beauty in a Bottle? – Gratitude and graceful aging

Commitments and Commitment – The business of busyness

Importance Issues – Sometimes you find that you are not as important in someone’s life as you thought you were.  Is that their fault for not recognizing your importance, or yours for ascribing/believing/considering yourself important?

Planning and Priorities – If you don’t determine what matters most, then what matters most tends to fall by the wayside.

Someone So Special – Are we sometimes too “smart” to be satisfied?

What Were My Words? – Your words are the only thing in life over which you have absolute control.

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[Well, of course they are in alphabetical order!  You know I have legitimately have OCD (meds and all), right?]

 

a touch of madness

These Three Things

a goal without a plan is just a wish

I have the wool pulled over the eyes of so many friends and acquaintances.  Many of them think I am such an organized person.  If only they knew…

Oops!  I guess now they do.

I do seem fairly organized, and this appearance is because I make use of many, many tricks to help me remember what I need to do, when I need to do it, what I need to do it, with whom I am doing it, and where it all is done.  I am most definitely a List Lady, and that helps tremendously.

I also employ a tactic that I call These Three Things.  Each evening as a part of my routine, I write down three things to be accomplished the next day.  I usually try to make sure they are not the ordinary and everyday tasks I do anyway, such as making the bed or fixing supper, although these can be perfectly acceptable for someone just getting started or if you know you will have a rough or difficult day ahead.

These are my These Three Things lists from four separate days.

These three things

Sometimes the items on my list are easy, such as a reminder of a meeting or a class that is not part of my usual schedule.  Sometimes, it is a more involved task, such as when I planned to rearrange my basement playroom/rec room.  That spanned several days and was rather intensive in both the planning and implementing stages.  That brings me to a very important point I want to make:

If you do not accomplish all three tasks, you have not failed!

Use this list as a tool, not as handcuffs.  Circumstances happen.  You can see that purging and putting away my shoes is on three out of the four samples above.  Sometimes it is because I didn’t get it done.  Sometimes (probably most of the time), it is a recurring situation.  Sometimes, it is because the task is something I know that I can easily get done.

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I leave you with wise words from Winnie-the-Pooh.

organizing

Being Beautiful

Recently, I have found myself tagged in posts on Facebook, encouraging me to post five photos of myself that make me feel beautiful.  I understand the sentiment behind the request to post and share with others.  Many women do not acknowledge themselves as being pretty, pleasing, or even acceptable to look upon, much less beautiful.

There is a big difference between looking beautiful and being beautiful.  Think about some beautiful people you know.  Just what is it that makes them beautiful?  Minus the makeup, what is left?

Let’s go at this another way.  Think about a peacock.  Most people will agree that they are beautiful birds, right?  Check out this peacock video.

Beautiful display on the outside, horrid noises from deep inside.  And sadly, I know people like that.  And, some of the most beautiful people I know aren’t much to look at if you are searching for Mr. or Ms. Universe.  What good is a lovely face without a lovely soul?

Pretty ≠ beautiful ≠ lovely

Let’s change this idea of what constitutes beauty and what makes us feel beautiful, shall we?

My Five Photos That Make Me Feel Beautiful

Beautiful Eyes

Tomi

…in order that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you (the) spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of Him, having had the eyes of your heart enlightened, so that you might know what is the hope of His calling, what is the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power in us, the ones believing according to the working of the might of His strength…                            Ephesians 1:17-19

To me, this passage encourages me to use the vision and knowledge God has given me of His grace and how I can bless others with that grace.  I can see the hurting, I can see the needy, and I can see what I can do for them.  That is why my eyes are beautiful.

Beautiful Hands

skin

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands.  Psalm 90:17

I believe that what I do shows who I am.  Maybe not absolutely every little thing shows my belief, especially when my physical needs are overwhelming me, but overall, it is not difficult to see how I feel about taking care of God’s children and His creation.  I don’t wear my Christianity like a badge; I wear it like my skin. I want to always share His awesomeness in my actions.  That is why my hands are beautiful.

Beautiful Belly

Beautiful belly

Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.  Proverbs 17:6

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him.                               Psalm 127:3

 My belly is soft and sometimes saggy.  The skin is stretched and scarred.  This same belly that sometimes causes me dread and disgust is the same belly that was home, nourishment, comfort, and safety to four of my six children.  How can I deny the marks from the miracle of giving life?  That is why my belly is beautiful.

Beautiful Ears

Tomi and Sharla

The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.                                 Proverbs 12:15

Jesus called the crowd to Him and said, “Listen and and understand.”                        Matthew 15:10

I have a 40% hearing loss in my right ear.  Due to multiple swimmer’s ear infections I had as a child, scar tissue on my eardrum, causing the tissue to not vibrate properly in response to sounds.  Unfortunately, some of my husband’s vocal tones fall into the sounds that I have difficulty hearing.  I have learned to tune out some of the distracting noises when he is talking, along with focusing on his face during discussions.  This is actually a good thing to practice with everyone.  By listening closely, avoiding distraction, and focusing on the speaker, I can sometimes hear what is not being said along with the spoken words.  How can I help someone without knowing their needs and feelings?  How can I understand unless I seek to understand?  Listening with love is life-giving.  That is why my ears are beautiful.

Beautiful Feet

Cruise vacation 2012 085

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?  And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?  And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?  And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?  As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”  Romans 10:14-15

Let’s face it:  I do not like feet.  Is there an opposite to a foot fetish?  If so, that is what I have.  Feet tend to be dirty, they look funny, and they smell.  But they are also pretty important.  If you don’t have feet, or even have only one foot, you have to adapt, using prosthesis or other devices to get around, or even just figure out a different way to move.  The most important movements we can make are toward sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.  This doesn’t require feet or even mobility in this day and age like it did in 50 B.C.  Feet are handy (ba-dump-ump-shkish) but faith is forever.  My feet remind me to take His message of salvation and share it wherever I go.  That is why my feet are beautiful.

Take Away

The most important lesson I would like you to remember is this:

lovely thoughts

 

🎼Me and My Fibro 🎶🎶🎶

When I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia several months ago, I had a very strange reaction to the news.

I felt a huge wave of relief wash over me.

That seems odd, doesn’t it? You are diagnosed with a life-altering incurable health issue that no one really knows much about, and you are relieved? After years of fatigue and pain and health issues that didn’t respond to the treatments like they should have, at least now I had a documented reason for the way I was feeling.

And I wasn’t just relieved by the diagnosis. I wallowed in it.

Too tired to do the laundry? Well, I have fibro – what do you expect?
Too exhausted for intimacy? Have a little pity, it’s not my fault I have fibro.
Too sore to go to the gym? I have scientific proof backing my choice to not exercise.

Honestly, I do have many days where it is a sheer act of will to get to the kitchen for a cup of coffee after getting out of bed. I don’t like showers because they are too painful for me, so I take baths, which leave me wiped out for a bit. I try not to schedule anything in the mornings since I don’t really know how long it will take me to get moving.

But I was using my health (or lack thereof) to justify not even really living.

So, here is my new mantra: Live life to the fullest extent possible, without using a diagnosis to make excuses. Now, if I honestly cannot do an activity, I won’t. My point is to not simply let my multiple health conditions take over and take away my life.

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Here are some ways you can help (whether it is me or another individual):

1. Please don’t tell me I don’t look sick. I try to not look sick. Don’t most people try not to look sick? Many people suffer from invisible illnesses and are battling something others may never see.
2. Don’t ask me if I am getting better. My issues are not curable (yet) and they will not just go away.
3. Do ask me how am I feeling or how I am getting along. If I need to share my need for help or prayer in an area of my life, this gives me the opening to ask without feeling like I am dumping on someone.
4. Understand that when I use the valet parking at church or some other location, yet I walk in without any limping or other issue, I am not just being lazy. I am taking advantage of a service that is provided that, although I may not need it when I arrive, I may definitely need the assistance when leaving.
5. Don’t be afraid to invite me to do things. If I absolutely cannot, I will let you know. I would rather be asked and have to turn it down than to never be included.
6. Don’t feel sorry for me. Everyone has their own battles they are fighting, and everyone needs to be understood and cared about. Ask me questions about my health issues. If I can, I am happy to share with you what I know.
7. I am still me, no matter what my body is doing. You can still be my friend, and that is the most important thing you can possibly do for me.

Resources for more information (my specific invisible illness issues)
Fibromyalgia http://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/fibromyalgia/
Rheumatoid Arthritis http://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/Diseases-Conditions/Rheumatoid-Arthritis
Migraine http://www.americanmigrainefoundation.org/about-migraine/
Irritable Bowel Syndrome http://www.aboutibs.org/
Glaucoma http://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-glaucoma
Chronic Depression http://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/depression-signs-and-symptoms.htm
Generalized Anxiety Disorder http://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/generalized-anxiety-disorder-gad

Just Another Day…

imageSo, this is normal for me.

I pick up my empty coffee cup from the table and go to the kitchen to refill it. After putting sweetener in my cup, I open the trash to throw away my empty Splenda packets. I see the dishwasher is cracked open a bit and I start putting away the clean dishes. As I put away a clean coffee cup, I remember I was going to fix another coffee. I place the cup on the coffee maker stand and realize that I forgot to get the meat for supper out to thaw. I go to the garage to get the meat from the freezer and see that I forgot to shut the garage door when I came home, so I shut it. I come back in and put the meat in the microwave to thaw. I start to fill my coffee cup and I decide I should probably look up the recipe for shepherds pie instead of winging it. I get on Pinterest and waste fifteen minutes looking at popular posts. Then I find the recipe. I start cooking the beef in a skillet, and go to get a drink of coffee and find I still haven’t made a cup yet. So I finally make the coffee, turn around to take a drink, and see the dishwasher standing open with six clean glasses still in the top rack.

…and that was just about a half-hour of my day… Is it any wonder I don’t get anything done?