Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Fat Tuesday

I need to be getting ready for bed, but it's Fat Tuesday, and I've been partying it up! Okay, if you call spending a little extra time in front of a screen today, and eating some sugar (it's out again tomorrow!) "partying", then I am all over it!

Y'all, I know it's last minute, but I love that Pope Francis is calling us not to be indifferent to those around us, and to focus on other people and being merciful rather than just giving up candy or whatever. (I still think a small sacrifice is helpful, particularly if it's something that helps us rethink our priorities or become a little more detached from certain habits- AKA some of my social media checking and re-checking getting a little out of hand!) But still, I really feel like for so many reasons, I really need to be trying to reach out and help others this Lent, but I don't really know how or in what direction. Any thoughts? I think there is a lot to be said for first focusing on those we live with... But I live alone. So, I can start with the people that I see regularly, but I don't know. I feel like I need something specific to focus on so as to reach a little outside my current comfort zone. Any brilliant thoughts as to how I might try to go about that?

You guys! Unrelated to Lent, but I am giddy today! Praising God for the way things have worked out in unexpected ways at work. I am trying not to get too far ahead of myself, but there is a chance that if I can bridge a gap that I'm working on that there might be a chance to make some real change, at least in my little area, with regards to people moving better and with less pain! Appreciate any prayers that I can figure out the best way to bridge that gap... Or at least find a way that works!

Also, while I'm on the prayer requests, I'm going to go ahead and throw one out there for those of us that are single and still feel called to marriage. There is a loneliness in that that is hard to describe. Yes, it's being alone every evening, sometimes on holidays and weekends, but even when I'm out doing all the fun stuff, it's not having that person to share it with. Furthermore, I feel the separation from many of my friends as well, because they are all going through something in life that is so different than what I am that I also don't have as much to share with them. I am more than aware that marriage doesn't fix all of those problems. I don't expect it to. Nor am I praying just for marriage, but also for a way to help create better community, which is something that we ALL need, no matter our state in life, and something that few of us have. And I am not just asking for me. I can think of 4 or 5 or 6 other people that are in the same boat. It gets old, and that fatigue of trying to get up and deal with it is a big part of my recent depression issues. All I can say is, those words in Genesis "It is not good for man to be alone" are ringing deep and true right now.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Let It Snow

Yesterday was a beautiful day in the mid-60's and today it's snowing. That's just how it goes sometimes. Honestly, my only complaint at the moment is that it's not snowing harder. It's peaceful with the snow sifting down, and this is one of those few days that I don't have to go anywhere (now that I'm home from Mass) and I can relax and enjoy being home. I have no idea how much snow there will be; there was talk of up to 18", but often when they say a foot and a half, we might get 2 inches. So, no one knows. I'm thinking Star Wars (the originals, which I think is silly to have to even differentiate. They are the ONLY Star Wars as far as I'm concerned, though I kind of liked the newest one), some tea (I'm especially enjoying this peach herbal tea with my own coconut milk creamer- I added vanilla and, viola! creamer- it tastes like peaches and cream) and I made some chicken soup the other day. Not chicken and noodle, of course, but chicken with a ton of vegetables and some good bone broth. Obviously blogging is also on the list.

I don't know if it's because of the cutting sugar, but I got so much done yesterday! I went hiking with a friend, then she helped me finish my movement challenge on Instagram. (That was so much fun, and I wish I had a monkey bars in my house now!) Then I got home, made food, did laundry, went to the grocery store and went through all of my books, getting rid of over 60 of them. I had my hiking clothes completely cleaned before I even sat down. The dishes were even done before I went to bed. Like I said, a bunch of energy due to a lack of sugar? Who knows, but I'll take it! Oh, yeah, and for those of you who are not on IG, this was my first time ever of successfully completing the monkey bars. Yes, I know, just a bit of a developmental delay there, but I was never able to do it even as a child, so I'm super excited to have made it, and I can't wait to keep working on things.

I am currently reading the book of the hour (or of the last hour, because I'm a little slow), "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up". I really like the underlying concept of keeping things that bring you joy. Many of the books that I had were not making me happy, but I felt almost obligated to keep them for various reasons. It was eye opening as I picked up each book to realize how many were not something that were meaningful to my life anymore and that I really could let go. Between that and a big purge a couple of months ago, I'm down from 5 bookshelves and 2 large storage bins to 4 bookshelves and a little room left over. I'm sure that they are still more books than I could read or re-read in my lifetime, but I don't much care. The books I have now are the ones that I love and/or that I'm really interested in. Honestly, not sure that I'll fold my clothes or hang my closets as she suggests (partly because I'm a visual learner and reading how to do it isn't much help), but I am really looking forward to sorting my papers trying to do it as much as possible like she suggests- i.e. get rid of it ALL! I also previously sorted my clothes mostly according to her method; I already thought my wardrobe was small, but I still got rid of 50+ more items. I'll let you know if it changes, but so far I have yet to miss even one single thing out of the hundreds that I have gotten rid of in the last months.

I want to thank you for the encouraging comments on my last post. I don't like to admit to depression (who does), but it is a part of my life. To be honest, while I hate going through it, it is a part of who I am, and not always or even mostly in a bad way. I have learned a lot from it, or rather from getting through it.

What are you up to today? I hope you are enjoying whatever weather comes your way today!

Friday, January 29, 2016

When You Don't Know What to Say

I've been thinking that I should write a blog post. Every once in a while, I almost do it, but then I don't. I think it's safe to say that I am well and truly out of the blog writing groove.

Today I'm hungry, so I think that's why I'm writing. I just have to whine a bit. Since when am I not hungry, right? The story is that I feel like I'm letting the inflammation get out ahead of me again a little bit. This time of year, that's not quite as bad as it could be (except for one thing, which I'll explain as soon as I'm done complaining), but I have got to get it under control before the pollen comes back. It is so hard to keep managed with pollen that I would rather have things a little better before then. And so, no sugar. Sheesh! I don't eat tons of sugar anyway, compared to a lot of people, but I do eat it, and my body does NOT process it well. Bye, bye sugar, and since I can't eat wheat or dairy or most nuts, that leaves vegetables and meats. But not ham, bacon, or deli meats, as they all have added sugar. Yeah. I am working to find the ways to add fats and proteins to my meals. I cut back on the sugar before now to try to make the transition a little easier (and it has been, but it's still surprising). For two weeks, I'm even cutting out fruit. I normally don't, but I'm just trying to get my body to settle down from all the sugar. Although, a lot of the vegetables that I'm eating (onions, carrots) still have a lot of sugar. But whatever, you have to eat something.

During this time, I am also cutting back my workout intensities. I don't want to get to the high intensities that cause a greater sugar burn that I'm not replacing readily. Also, burning fewer calories just sounded like a good idea. PLUS, if I'm trying to knock down inflammation, it's good to create less stress for the body. Not to mention that currently there are a lot of sick people around and high intensity exercise can decrease your immune response. And it's and good time to work on my pedal stroke. In other words, it's a good idea that I'm committed to, but I don't like it at all. Just for 2 weeks, though. I'm sure I'll survive.

One of the reasons that I have not written much- or rather, haven't published much- is that I have been dealing with some depression recently. There are a lot of reasons for this, and inflammation never helps. (In fact, one of my biggest problems with wheat is that I will have increased depression/anxiety symptoms- which sounds crazy even to me, and I'm experiencing it!) The fact that I am mentioning it now means that it is significantly less. Since I am feeling less overwhelmed, I am ready to tackle the components that I can. There are still other things that I can't control, but every little bit helps.

Okay, is this the most boring post ever, or just close to it? I will say that I am really excited about some ideas of mine for work are moving from a theoretical stage to actually happening. I don't know where it will lead, but I'm extremely excited about going after it. (So sorry that the nature of this blog keeps me from being more specific!) I'm also very excited for someone I know that her husband, who was pretty much on his deathbed from cancer a couple of months ago just got a scan back that 98% of his cancer has cleared. They don't know why, but they are going to celebrate!

The plan is to try to think about writing something that's a little less stream of consciousness, but I had to start somewhere.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Welcome, 2016

One of my goals for this weekend is to spend some time looking back on last year, and looking forward a bit to the new year. Seems an appropriate way to celebrate, right? Also I can't go to New Year's parties because the siren call of bed is too strong. Y'all, 2016 will come in just fine with me asleep where I belong! (I'll be doing good to make it ALL the way through 7:00 Mass tonight!)

I used to like the whole resolution thing. Even if I didn't keep it, I loved the idea of a fresh start. Now, I don't really do it so much. I love that there is a moment in time to stop and reflect, but I find that there is a fresh start every morning. Each day is an opportunity to grow, and since I started seeing life that way, it's super fun to look back at a year, because 365 days of growth leads places I never expected! So, I will take some time to dream tonight about what I want my life to look like, to see what's moving me in that direction and where I might need to adjust that is the plan.

There are two things that I realize tonight as I'm doing a little reflecting. One is that I am stronger than I have ever been, at least physically. The other is that I'm not strong enough. I am not strong enough to stay faithful to God, my family or myself in the midst of emotional fatigue. I am not strong enough to keep facing days and nights alone. I am not strong enough to keep fighting to live this life that I am given to the utmost that I can in this moment. I can't, and I don't want to. Luckily He is strong enough. Honestly, the thought isn't enough to bring comfort, but I don't have to feel it for it to be true.  What I do like about this, though, is the reminder that it's not about me, I'm not in control, and I don't have to be.

That's enough of the past, I am excited about the new year. I am excited to keep looking for new things to try personally and professionally with the fabulous, fun, geeky world of movement. (I'm going to be participating in a movement challenge for 4 weeks on instagram, so if you want to see me attempt some new stuff, it'll be on there!) I also want to spend more time on my bike. I am excited to reconnect with some things that are important to me, but that I haven't done enough of this year. For example, photography and climbing. Also, I need to do a better job of getting back to daily Mass.

I also want to try to find some ways to make my day to day activities fit my overall life goals. For example, I love me some screen time, but I don't want my life to be swallowed up in thoughtless electronic consumption. I may have to cut Netflix. It won't save me much money, but I get sucked into marathons, and there are so many other ways to spend my time! I also have a goal in terms of streamlining my life a little bit. I like the minimalist movement, and I saw a great goal to get rid of 2,016 things in 2016. If I would have waited to start my cleaning out until now, that would be easy. I'm guessing this will be a challenge, but that's what makes it fun! Minimizing things like Netflix (if I do that) and some of my stuff is not about those things being bad in and of themselves. It's far more about taking the time to make thoughtful decisions about where to put my time and energy.

What about you? Any dreams/goals/resolutions? Is the new year a good thing for you, or another day on the merry-go-round? No matter what, I hope you have a wonderful and blessed 2016!

One of the more spectacular new days of 2015 with the morning sun lighting up a rainbow.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

God Is With Us

So, I haven't posted a whole lot this month. Or this year, really. No particular reason or plan to that, it's just how it's happened. Part of that is because I have been busy immersing myself in the fascinating world of human movement. Part of that is because I just don't know what to say. And part of it is because my computer and internet make me crazy sometimes and won't load things when I do want to post, so then I give up. there may be other reasons, but why waste time with analysis? It is what it is.

But here I am, posting. Partly because I have a boat load of food to cook for the next few days and this sounded easier (and I just told my mom that I don't procrastinate as much as I used to... maybe I should call her back!) But more because there was something that I was thinking about in terms of Advent and Christmas this year.

I have shared before that the holidays for me are... interesting to say the least. I have always loved this time of year, so there is part of me that still gets a little giddy about lights and tinsel and sparkles and cinnamon scents. Yet, my very love for this time of year also makes it one of the toughest times of the year. There is nothing like the holidays to highlight the wonderful joyous things that are in your life, but there is also nothing like it to make you feel all the hurts that much more deeply. I never know from day to day how it's going to go.

All year, and especially from Thanksgiving on, I have just been feeling a certain emotional fatigue. I'm just so tired of being alone. I have wonderful family and friends, so I'm not totally alone, but probably more than some people think I am. When I am with people, I am not merely acting like I am enjoying myself, I usually am having a good time, but when I am alone, I am so over this.

I didn't start to write this post to whine. I am here to tell you what I have learned this particular Advent season. I was talking to a friend who is in a similar situation in a way. We discussed how the holidays can be extra hard, but I told her that as tired as I was and as much as I sometimes don't feel like I have any fight left, I was still determined that nothing and no one were going to take away the holiday celebration from me completely.

By the grace of God, there is something extra special about this holiday season for me, something a little unexpected. No, it is not any change in my circumstances (darn it!), but rather a still, small voice. Two bloggers (sadly, I don't remember the exact posts to link you to) towards  the beginning of Advent said some things that have been sitting with me. One was struggling, but mentioned that putting up the Christmas tree and other decorations helped because every time she looked at it, it was a reminder that Christ is with us. The other mentioned bringing everything we had to the manger to the feet of Jesus (in particular through the St. Andrew's novena). Those messages caught my eye a little bit, since I remembered them, but the messages have worked their way slowly to my heart.

Christmas is the fact that Jesus came to this earth in human flesh. He is "Emmanuel", translated as "God with us". That in the recent days has become my celebration of the holidays. My celebration doesn't have to be that everything is perfect with lots of traditions and everything that I love about that. My Christmas doesn't have to be about all things joyful and happy, it can also be about the parts that are less wonderful, and the parts that we don't want to talk about. Because the important part is that 1) God is with us, and 2) we can choose to bring all of what we have and offer it back to Him.

I just want to say an extra special thanks to my prayer buddy this Advent. I feel like God's grace is working into some of the places of my heart that have been a little hardened by this fatigue, and I am grateful for that. I feel a little more willing to let go of what I want for my life, and trust whatever it is that He's doing (even though I'm still freaking tired of it! ;) ). On the other hand, I also feel a little more able to specifically pray for my vocation in life, even while letting go. Anyway, thanks for being a part of that.

Whoever is here and happens to read this (since I know that most of you are WAY busier than I am these next couple of days!), know that for those of you that are rejoicing God's abundant blessings this Christmas, I am rejoicing with you. I am truly happy for you. For those of you that are in pain this Christmas, I am praying for you. I know that pain this time of year is not quite like anything else, though I may not quite know your particular pain, I am hurting that you have to carry this. Many of us are in some kind of in between, and that is okay, too. Not every moment of your holidays has to be jolly and bright for you to succeed as a human being (or am I the only one that feels that kind of pressure?) I hope for all of us, wherever we fall on the spectrum are able to either rejoice or take comfort in the fact that because of this day, God is with us.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

How was your Thanksgiving? As you may have seen, I was a little bored part of the week, but I was afraid that would happen. It was worth it. That part was necessary if I came the weekend before to catch up with some friends. I hadn't seen them in far too long, and it was absolutely amazing! I miss seeing them, I miss playing with their kids and seeing them grow up. I miss the town I used to live in. That doesn't mean that I want to move back, but those friends and that place are a part of me that I am so grateful for. I would not be who I am today without them.

Once we got into the actual Thanksgiving holiday, I was much better off. People weren't all running around doing other things, so we got to spend time together and it was great. My sister and I saw to it that the entire Thanksgiving meal had no more than 1/4 cup of sugar added, and that included dessert! We didn't start off with that intention, but most of the stuff didn't need sugar and the stuff that did, didn't need much, so we worked to keep it there once we saw that was probably going to be it. I made a sweet potato pie. That's the first time I'd ever done that, and it was good. The sweet potatoes had enough sugar in them that added sugar was not particularly necessary.

Can we also talk about how my much younger sister (as in, she could have been a flower girl or a junior bridesmaid at my wedding if I had gotten married when everyone else was) told me about her boyfriend this week? I had to remind myself when I did the math that she's plenty old enough, and he sounds like a nice guy. I truly am happy for her. It's far too soon to say that it's serious (as far as we know, and she isn't saying much about that). I wouldn't change a thing. For her. It did poke a few tender spots for me at times, but surprisingly not as badly as it could have. I am grateful for that. For me, I am just tired of doing this things called life alone. I just want someone to share it with. Okay, enough of that.

I did put up Christmas decorations today. I know, not very Advent-y of me, but I can't say as I care. While I did it, I was listening to a podcast about mold (I know, how festive, right?) Anyway, for several reasons, I have already been thinking of moving. But after that and thinking of the basement flooding problems, I'm not sure that I want to stay here when my lease is up this summer. I have no idea if I can find the kind of place that I want, though, or not. We'll just have to see. I both love and hate the thought of moving. I love the idea of downsizing. I don't need all the room that I have. Maybe I could make things a bit cheaper, though moving is always kind of expensive. However, it's such a pain all the time as well. I would be able to take the opportunity to get rid of a lot of stuff, so that would be nice at least.

How was your holiday kick off?

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Weirdly Bored

I have not been bored for a long time, but today I definitely am. Usually I'm home and have lots to do. I'm currently visiting my family, and my brother's doing homework, so he's no fun. My dad and sister went to the big city to get some shopping done, but I said no because I was not about to spend more hours in the car after all the hours to get here. My mom's running errands, and I'm bored. As you can see, it is somewhat my own fault for not getting back in a car, so you are under no obligation to feel bad for me. Also problematic is the fact that I don't want to sit AT ALL, so reading and watching movies are possibilities, but no, thank you. Technically, you could do both of those things without sitting (and I have, or I sat on the floor, or I stretched while the move was on), but I'm just not feeling it right now. I did walk for 1.5 hours earlier, so it helped some, but I have really not moved enough in the last couple of days. It's amazing how much visiting involves sitting and not moving! I am standing now as I type this, though it's still killing me a little to be this still. (Yes, I'm fidgeting. No, it's not enough.) I was hoping to help my parents with stuff on their acreage, but the weather is NOT having that. So, here I am.

Anyway, the fun part was that I got to see a bunch of friends and their kids. One of the 5 year olds watching me at meal time exclaimed, "You eat a lot!" She had no idea why we laughed. I told another 5 year old that he couldn't lick his own elbow. His eyes got huge and he set out to prove me wrong, but he could not. The best was my friend's 2 year old who asked if I could stay at her house for "happy Thanksgiving." I would have been so happy to say yes!

Okay, my mom's home, so we'll start cooking now, I'm sure. Hope you're all having a good Thanksgiving week!