Thursday, August 29, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 193)

1) First off, thank you SO much for the prayers for my friend. It's not someone that I'm very close to, so there's not a lot that I can do for her but pray for her, and I knew you would all join me.  It's interesting because I don't think that the person that told me believes in God (again, not all that close to her either, so it's not like we've discussed things like that), so she was all "we really need to keep her family in our thoughts."  To which I was all (in my head, of course): "To heck with 'thoughts', I'm unleashing the prayer warriors on this."  Thank you all so much for being a prayer warrior for them in this time.  I'm not sure how many they have in their lives, and I have tears in my eyes about your willingness to pray for someone that you don't know, just because you know they need it.  You. Are. Awesome.

2) This did bring something to mind that I'd never thought about before.  The person that was telling me about this was sincere about "keeping them in our thoughts."  It was interesting, because it seemed that she could tell this was very important, though she also seemed to feel that it wasn't quite enough.  Perhaps because will undo what is, that is why it's not enough.  But maybe she recognizes the need for prayer, though of course she could not or would not acknowledge it as such.  Yet, anyway.  In any case, whether she recognizes it as prayer or not, I'm pretty sure God will recognize and honor it as such.  And I need to remember to pray for this friend as well, because I think she would love God a whole lot if she could come to know Him.

3) My brain is fried.  I do not feel quite as burnt out as I have been, but I think the crazy ridiculous schedule is going to continue for a while, which will be difficult. At least this week has been much less crazy than anticipated and I've had a couple of things come up where I'll be taking a couple hours extra off work.  It's not much, but it'll help. (Especially since we're working on Labor Day. Really?  I could take it off, but I'd rather take a less busy weekend off.)

4) Part of the brain fry is the studying.  There are the con ed units that I need.  I'm currently studying hamstring injury, but I'm finding it a little boring and too isolated.  I'm also doing a LOT of studying about chronic pain.  Now that is freaking fascinating.  I have treated a number of chronic pain patients through the years, and I can only make limited headway in treatment; and that seems to be easily lost.  It's almost as frustrating for me as it is for the patient.  And here's something that may help significantly more.

5) Seriously, the chronic pain stuff is fascinating. I may have talked about this some before, because it's been a focus for the last several months, but the part of the brain that gives us the "fight or flight" response (and more recently recognized is also the "freeze" response) can get triggered by a number of things that lead to chronic pain.  But it can also be a little ramped up in most of us due to the chronic stress in our lives.  It is amazing what this part of our nervous system affects: ability to sleep, increased trigger points (tight knots or painful areas in the muscles), mental fog, change in hair and nail growth, hormones, blood flow, heart rate, blood pressure, suppression of reproductive systems, TMJ and on and on. I know that since I've been learning how to manage this for my patients, I've been able to decrease the amount of pain that I have from those chronic stress spots and headaches. And I'm possibly the least traumatized person out there. Which means that there is something that could potentially benefit everyone. I think I've mentioned before, this is dealing with- in a very concrete way- where the mind/body connection occurs and causes physiological responses.

There's so much that I want to write about this, but I don't know where to start.

6) My charts are all kinds of messed up. I think there may be an infection because of new stuff I've seen in the last couple of charts, but I also still think there's low progesterone.  I'm not too worried about that part right now, but I'd still like to talk to the dr. about it.  Of course, this will all be a simple matter of picking up the phone and setting up an appointment, right? Riiight.  I hope so, but it's going to involve a fairly long distance drive, because there's obviously no point going to anyone but a Napro dr.  I'm not as far away as some people, but there are still too few around. I'm not going to one of the regular ones that just wants to do an annual, offer BC pills and kick me out the door.  Nor do I want one that looks at the fact that I'm fairly regular, so all's well and that's that.  I want someone that can actually look at my charts and recognize that they're not pretty, and I don't want to have to try to explain it or convince them.  In fact, I would like to see someone that knows more about it than I do. So, drive it is.

I know this is more info than some of you want, but I do keep sharing because I only know about all of this because of other people being willing to talk about it.  So here's my addition to the conversation, and hopefully we will continue to learn more and get some REAL understanding of women's health.

7) These are kind of long, so how about a couple of pictures?  These are from about a month ago. Have a fantastic weekend and head over to Jen's for more Quick Takes!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Prayers, Please!

Hey, guys, please pray for someone that I know that just found out that she lost her baby at 7 months and is having to head to the hospital for the stillbirth.  I can't even...

Friday, August 23, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday

1) I bought a new toy last weekend.  It makes me think I'm old that I'm this excited about something like this, but I am.  I got a Food Saver, and let me tell you, I have been Saving! All! The Food! Perhaps I just love it so much because it's not cheap, so I am obligated to love it or I am forced to admit that I overspent when I could have just bought freezer bags.  Yet, the things in my freezer that are all nicely vacuum packed look much more tempting than the things in my freezer that are covered with fuzzy ice. I may have spent an inordinate amount of time in the kitchen last weekend preparing lots of stuff, but it has been nice this week to just pull something out of the freezer and heat, rather than coming home and cooking stuff.  This is fantastic because I can cook food the way that I like it with fresh fruits and vegetables and good quality meats, rather than getting frozen meals... Let me tell you, it's hard to stay gluten and dairy free with frozen meals from the store.

Added bonus: Since I have a good way to keep things from spoiling so fast, I can get lots of different vegetables and actually use them rather than tossing them.  AND I put them in appropriate serving sizes.  Which is key, and not an advantage that I had considered.

2) Comments on blogs are the joy and bane of my existence.  On my own blog, receiving them is the joy, and crickets are the bane.  But this take is more about leaving them on other blogs.  I like to leave comments.  Sometimes, I inadvertently say something stupid, and I apologize for that.  But name one blogger who doesn't love to know that someone is reading and engaged on some level.

BUT.  Oh, people.  If it wasn't so stinking hard to leave comments!  I nearly weep tears of joy* on those blogs where I write a comment and then hit publish... and the comment publishes!  Or goes to comment moderation.  Either way, I don't care, because my work is done. I hate, detest, loathe, despise word verification.  It's been a little less overpowering recently, but what a pain in the butt.  And now wordpress commenting forms are even worse than wv!  Name, email, website.  Okay, that last one is optional, but I usually do fill it out.  Then on some you have to check a box. THEN, on one blog that I was reading that was new to me, I hit "publish" and it said that a first time commenter was "not allowed" to leave a website, and that I needed to go back and erase it, and then publish the comment.

Dude, it's your perogative to set up your comment policy whatever way you want.  I don't even really care that I can't leave my website, and I get it, because there are those people that leave one comment to let you know about their website and then never come back.  But this first time commenter became and never time commenter, because it was just one too many hoops to jump through and I was done.

Don't even get me started on my current issues with disqus.  We're in a fight and I can't leave comments even if I want to, because it apparently wants me to register, but then says that I am registered, but then it doesn't recognize me, and I'm sure there would be something that I could figure out if I tried harder, but like I said, there are only so many hoops that I will jump through in order to leave a comment!!

3) Well, that was kind of a long take.  Clearly I have spent WAY too much time thinking about this.

4) I have been giving my siblings a little bit of crap for not writing! all! the! posts! on the new blog yet.  It's their fault, really.  I'm loving the little bits that they are throwing, but I want more!  I kind of knew my brother was much more aware of current events than I am (which is practically not at all), but I was interested to read a little background of what's going on in Egypt from his perspective (as someone who is paying some attention, not as an expert). So then I had to write about rock climbing here.  Partly because I've been wanting to write about it, but I decided to post it there because I'm finding it interesting to read their stuff and thought they might be interested in some discussion and photos about rock and why I love it, since they know I do it, but it's not something we've done together.  Or they'll be bored.  Anyway, now it's linked so you can read it if you're interested.  Or not. I love that you stick around to read one blog, and I don't want you to get bored with two unless you just really want to!

5) I know there are too many exclamation points and way to much bad grammar here today.  Sorry.  Sort of.  (Honestly, if I cared that much, I would change it.) I guess that's just the kind of (poor) quality you can expect around here.

6) Still fighting the burn out around here.  It's funny.  I was doing fine, and then just a couple (seemingly smallish) things got added to the plate that was almost too full and now it's chaos.  Such is life.  Doesn't matter what stage of life you're in, it happens. I have been cutting things out right and left that are adding to the stress (if only I could do that to work!  And not even all of it; I'd be happy just to cut it back by an hour or 2 per day.)  Work is by far the worst offender in all of this.  Paperwork has been sucking my soul for months in that I rarely get it done during the day and often have to work on it in the evening, or in the morning before work, or on the weekends. Now I realized I have a lot of con ed that I need to do by December or lose my athletic training certification (I don't use it much, but it is definitely nice to have).  And I have a presentation that I need to prepare for that I'm probably over studying for, but it's really complex and fascinating stuff.  And then there's the non work related full evenings with kids climbing and I really want to help with RCIA, just so I can finally start to get more involved in my church.  And finding quality time in the mountains.  I'll hike this weekend, but I won't be able to spend all day in the mountains, which is sad.

Ugh, sorry to be such a whiner.

7) Let's liven things back up with a photo, shall we?

Apparently this is some sort of wild onion.  I just love that it looks like fireworks exploding.

Have a great weekend and head over to Jen's for more Quick Takes!

*It's possible that there may be a slight exaggeration here.

Monday, August 19, 2013


I'm writing to you today from the land of burn out from the middle of a novena to St. Monica.  Things are occurring to me today, some crazy things that have either somehow never ever occurred to me before, or I have forgotten them so thoroughly that they now appear like bright, shiny, brand new thoughts.

Like the thought that St. Monica was likely burned out sometimes, too.  Over the course of 30 years of praying for her son, she may have been burned out months or years at a time.  Somehow I have this vision of her always complacently praying for her son.  I'm pretty sure she was human, though, and would have had some of the same burn out that we all have, feeling like what she was doing was absolutely pointless.  Why pray the same prayer over and over and over again with no results?  God said "Ask and ye shall receive," yet for all her asking, she went years with no answer and received nothing.  Well, I'm sure she received a great deal of grace, but she had to wait a long time for what she asked for.

Chances are good that she sometimes asked God why He wasn't listening.  I'm sure there were times that she was so sick at heart that she could barely keep going with her prayers.  Yet she did, and we all know of her faithfulness to this task she was given. Her love for her son and her trust in her Savior kept her going when she probably couldn't do it on her own.  And then we all love the end of the story: not only did her son convert, but he became a great saint himself!  Woohoo!

But wait.  This story goes farther than I ever stopped to realize.  Wikipedia states"[his] writings are considered very influential in the development of Western Christianity and Western philosophy."  So, St. Monica's prayers not only had an effect on her son, but on all who were influenced by her son's life and writings.  Just think! 30 years of persevering in prayer led to 1,627 years (so far) of contributing in a big and influential way to the fruit that is being borne out in the lives of the Church! Crazy, huh? God kind of exploded that His response to her prayer that has to be beyond anything she could have conceived of when she was praying. Not to mention how much her own example of perseverance helps those of us still in the trenches.  And yes, it took a long time for Augustine to come around.  But those 30 years and those experiences that he had prior to his conversion would have shaped a lot of how he saw the world, his thought processes and his writing.

Burn out is not fun, but it is a part of life.  It's not easy to keep praying in the middle of it, but I learned a secret this weekend.  I had so much to pray for and no idea how to even pray anymore.  So I went to Adoration, and no shining light showed me the path to how to pray.  But I realized something.  I was there and He was there, and that was enough.  So the secret that I learned was to show up. He's taking care of the rest.

My prayer in this novena is that all of us will fulfill our primary vocation to holiness.  And that He will fulfill whatever our vocations are to religious life, marriage and family, etc, (either in bringing that about in our lives or helping us to always live it more fully and faithfully) but according to His will such that if He needs to use our pain and prayers for some sort of crazy explosion of grace that it will be done.

Friday, August 16, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 193)

1) It appears that I have failed yesterday in writing a post about Mary.  Judge not, ye judgers. (Okay, I know you weren't judging in the slightest, nor did you even notice.)  But the point of this take is to let you know that I did write a post about Mary, and posted it elsewhere.

2) I am one of six siblings.  Did you know that?  Probably.  Anyway, I am, and though are ages are wildly spaced apart and we live all over the place, we are still pretty close, considering.

3) Believe it or not, #1 and #2 are related, I'm just low on things to say today, so I'm spreading this out as loooonng as possible.  I'm good at taking a long time to say something that should have only taken a few minutes to say.  It's a talent, what can I say?

4) Anyway, my older brother texted me this week and said that he and one of my sisters have been talking and that they wanted to start a blog about stuff and life, and mostly about how stuff and life relates to our faith as Catholics.  At least I think that's what they wanted it to be about.  Texting, ya know?  It's hard to have an in depth conversation about anything, even when it spans a large part of the day.  He brought it up because he wanted to know if I would be interested in participating if they did it.

5) Blog?  Did someone say blog?!  Of course I'm interested!  Where do I sign up?  Let's get this bad boy started!  In the last five years, I've become addicted learned to really enjoy and appreciate blogging.

6) I'm excited for two reasons, the first being the biggest and most important.  That is because I love the idea of my siblings blogging and I can't wait to see what they have to say.  The two that wanted to start are very thoughtful, and I know that they will have some great things to say.  I'll be honest, though, there's a good chance they'll probably be pretty formal in tone.  My brother writes the most formal emails you ever saw in your life.  And my sister is much the same in writing.  Must. Say. All. The. Things. Well.  ("Sentences" like that? Forget it. Fragments and parentheses abounding? Probably not so much.)  It's not a bad thing at all, it's just obviously different than the way I write.  I'm mostly giving them a hard time because I can't wait for them to get a post up, and it will take them a while because they don't just blurt stuff and then hit "publish". (Unlike some people who get excited and throw words on the screen and publish, hoping they make sense.  Writing is a process for me, it's true.)

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot the second reason.  Because it gives me a place to focus a little more on Catholicism as a theme.  I do that some, here, of course, and still will.  However, I like the idea of having a place that will be more specific.

7) So, we have a blog and those two do plan to post, even if they haven't yet, and I don't know yet how much the younger two will want to write, but I'm hoping for the best.  I did post, as I said, but I'm more excited that one of my other sisters has also posted, twice! Both here and here.  There's not much there yet, but I'm excited about it anyway!

Have a great weekend and head over to Jen's for more Quick Takes!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Ignorance IS Bliss

And I'm no longer the happiest person in the world.

Back in April/May, my doctor told me my sinuses were all inflamed and that I should use a spray that had a steroid in it.  That worked well, but I didn't want to keep taking it all the time.  But as luck would have it, I didn't feel much of a need for it long.  Sweet! Lucky break, right?

I've been noticing things are getting bad again recently, both with that and my airways being a little more reactive. I've had to use the inhaler more and I've at least thought about using the nose spray again.  I've also had less energy than I did at the beginning of summer. I was all ready to blame it on allergies, but then I realized something.

May and June, I was on the paleo diet and avoided grains and dairy.  In July I started eating some of that stuff again, and I've eaten wheat and dairy as I wanted to more and more recently.

Dang. It.

You mean staying gluten free and dairy free really was making that big of a difference?  I didn't mind it too much, but sometimes I just want to be lazy! And sometimes I just want REAL ice cream.

I blame the bloggers.  This particular revelation is even more to be blamed on the incomparable Sew, whose recent post inspired me to do a little reading about thyroids... Leading to even further understanding of how these foods could make a difference, but also confirming that it would really be better for me to become one of those food freaks that avoids gluten and dairy.

So I will thank you for helping me to be healthier overall.  But forgive me if I grumble a bit over lost pizza.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Get Over Yourself

So, I've had an off week.  I'm feeling burnt out about everything.  For some reason I was extremely tired all week long, and I don't think I was sick, but maybe I was fighting something off. Anyway, work was annoying, including my coworkers that I generally like a lot.  I didn't want to do any of my normal physical activities... And didn't do any of them.  I let my housework go.  Seriously, none of you are invited to my house right now.  It's not you, it's that I don't want you to see the filth and get grossed out by me.

And the ache... Oh, the ache it is back with a vengeance.  It's always there, but it had been at a nice low level for months until this last couple of weeks.  Suddenly it's there in all its glory.  Or whatever. That's not the best word for it, but what do I call it?

Today, sitting in church alone was practically unbearable.  Worse was the idea that it would never change.  I have been flipping through one show after another, playing endless games of Spider and trying occasionally to read. All in the attempt to ignore it until it subsides a bit (I would say "until it goes away" but I know better... It doesn't go away so much.)

I briefly had the thought, "Why me?  Why does everyone else get to get married, and many of those have children, but I sit here year after year and watch those dreams slip farther and farther away?  Why am I one of the few that has to be different?"

I can't even tell you one of the shows that I was watching today.  It's too ridiculous.  I was watching it thinking, "This show is so dumb, the premise is beyond silly, why am I even watching it?  And enjoying it?"  I still don't have the answer to that question, but I can tell you that the main character was questioning why she had to be such a freak.  So her guardian angel (told you it was a goofy show) points to specific people and tells her about some of their various quirks and how those quirks helped them to be better people.  She's all, "your point is...?" And he doesn't tell her how her quirks make her a better person or any of that.  He just says, "Get over yourself."

Everyone gets burnt out.  Everyone wonders what the point is in what they are doing with their lives.  Everyone gets to the point that they just can't handle "it" anymore, whatever "it" happens to be in their lives.  I am no different in that respect.  I think sometimes we don't even need to know the point or to feel that there is a purpose to it all.  I think sometimes we just have to try to push through it anyway, point or no.  And I do think there is a purpose in the end, but it just isn't going to feel like it all the time. It's like that saying of Mother Theresa's (I think, too lazy to look it up, though) that we're not called to be successful, just faithful.

I am praying for other single people who feel that they will never find someone special, but keep on trying to date and meet people anyway.  For those that are trying to conceive even though it's much more work and agony than it ever should be, but are trying anyway. And for those that have made the decision to let go of their dreams of children and are finding other ways of being faithful.  For those wonderful mothers who just cleaned up a poopy diaper and now have a blow out to go deal with.  And who can't tell their toddler again the same thing they just told them 16 times in a row but have to say it a 17th time anyway (and for those parents dealing with the same issue with their teenagers!)  For those who have not found solace in church for weeks, months or even years, but keep going anyway. For those that can't keep praying a string of seemingly useless prayers for a loved one that has lost their way, but keep praying anyway. For those dealing with chronic pain who get out of bed every day anyway. For everyone that is burnt out and can't go any further, but takes one more step anyway.

It's not just me. Sometimes it's easy to tell myself that it is me, poor me, and no one else has to deal with that crap.  But that's a lie, and sometimes God has to wake me up with a C-list actor playing a guardian angel on an absurd show.

(So, I would rather write a witty, amusing blog post about nothing, but all I got is sappy life lessons from watching too much TV. Peachy. I'm out.)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Having It All? Or Giving It All?

I read the start of two different articles in the current issue of "Time" (I would have had to pay to read more, and I didn't want to do that!)

One was about the people that want to "have it all" by not having children.  Good luck with that.  The thing is, you can indeed have fulfillment in life without having children.  But you can't find fulfillment in self serving.  If you are avoiding having children SO THAT you can sleep when you want, travel when you want, make/save lots of money, have adventures and experiences, relax, chase that career alllllll the way to the top, I'm going to go ahead and guess that at some point it'll all fall short.  You'll get insomnia, you'll realize that traveling is great... but now what? Money can be lost quickly, or you find that spending it all doesn't fill the hole in your heart, and the career can either end or you realize that you were so busy working you never started living. Or, you'll have it all and it still won't be enough.

Guess what.  I get a lot of those things (not the lots of money, because my career doesn't have a top dollar earning potential at the top rung of some ladder) and they're nice, but they're side things.  I would give them up in a heartbeat for the chaos and the noise and all the insanity of having a large family.  I wouldn't love the poop, snot and vomit, nor would I enjoy the fact that my introverted self could never find enough time to recharge.  But they would be so worth it.

Fulfillment doesn't come in having it all and getting it all and avoiding as much pain and unpleasantness along the way as possible.  It certainly doesn't mean going after what I want, when I want it.  Fulfillment is found in recognizing this one important truth: "It's not about me."  If I don't get what I want (husband, children, etc.) but I use my time and my pain and my life for whoever is in my life, then I will find fulfillment.  I will still be able to die to myself and give it up for someone else (not that I always do, but the opportunity is there).

If I do eventually get married and have to die to myself in whole new ways, it will also be beautiful and I will (sometimes remember to) offer up the things that I hate- like poop and pee and vomit and lack of sleep and privacy- (and hope that I haven't complained so much that there's not much of worth left).  Either way, there are ways of giving of myself than I ever thought were possible. And that is where the fulfillment is for any of us, whether we have children or not.  Whether we make all the money and travel to all the places.

If I seek fulfillment in giving up myself then I will be able to find happiness in all circumstances. Not always, but eventually.  If I seek fulfillment in having it all, it will never be enough.

I was going to write about the other article, too, but I think that's enough for now. Besides, I'm tired and have no idea if any of this makes sense but I'm not about to do anything drastic like reread it and make corrections.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

An Observation

Sometimes thistles can be pretty, too.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 193)
1) I'm thinking it's the perfect week for a birthday.  All the cool kids have their birthdays this week.  Okay, maybe not all, but many.  Mine was Monday, M.'s was yesterday, my brother and one of my amazing friend's birthday is today, and I'm sure that I'm missing some, too.  Apparently my cousin's birthday is today as well, according to fb.  Which is odd, because I thought it was yesterday.  What do I know?

2) My brother left me a message on my birthday and asked if I'd taken the day off, or just celebrated on the weekend.  Silly boy!  Both, of course.  Now, the world does not have to revolve around me on my birthday.  But I like it, and I'm going to celebrate.  On the weekend, I did a getaway with some friends that involved hiking and hot springs (climbing got rained out).  To be fair, my birthday was really more of an excuse than anything.  We tend to do that kind of stuff, anyway.  As far as the day off, I have found that it annoys me to work on my birthday.  So I don't.  I went to Mass (at my previous church, and they apparently have a new- completely awesome!- priest), got a massage and did what I felt like doing (mostly blogging and watching Person of Interest. Excitement r' us around here, but it's what I wanted).  Ooh, and I totally ate horribly/wonderfully all weekend long!  It was great!

3) The pope's remarks... Where do I even start.  The media's having a heyday over Brand! New! Thoughts! Whereas Catholics who know their faith heard what we've been hearing for forever.  Poor media, reporting once again on non-news with a frenzy that only a 24 hour news cycle can produce.  I can afford to put it in the Quick Takes rather than writing a whole thing about it, because I'm linking to Cardinal Dolan, who did write a whole thing about it after spending the week with the pope at WYD.  His take is simple, and true. (The part about the post that had me hyperventilating a little bit is the first comment.  Someone please tell me if that's for real or not?!?!?!)

4) Let's see... Apparently I'm out already.  Lovely.  Lucky for you, I'm behind on pictures, so let's just do a few of those instead.

5) Flowers! (No shock there.)
I love paintbrush!

Went on a hike a couple of weeks ago and found these.  I had never seen them before, ever.  Some kind of lily.

6) LOVE hiking in aspen groves.  This one had hordes of butterflies (and even greater numbers of mosquitos, but let's focus on the good, hmm?)

7) A friend of mine showed me a new trick with pictures of waterfalls.  My pictures aren't perfect yet (because I'm not a tripod... But wouldn't it be an awesome trick if I were that steady?)

Head over to Jen's for more Quick Takes!