Category Archives: Faith

Rainy days

It’s raining today. Storming, actually. It’s been awhile since we had a thunderstorm during the day like this. We’ve had a couple overnight, but those are no fun because I can’t hear the thunder. I don’t wear my cochlear implants overnight. Usually my daughter tells me all about the storms the next day because though she usually sleeps soundly, she is sensitive to the noise. That and she worries about lightning striking and all that. So it makes for rough nights for her, while I secretly envy that she can hear the thunder.

So. Today’s storm is nice. It’s dark and cloudy though, which makes me want to go back to bed (which I did) and stay in my pajamas all day (which I am). I’m also roasting a butternut squash to make soup, so the house smells like autumn. My sister and I have our annual retreat to the monastery this weekend, and this year we decided against planning an elaborate menu and instead are each bringing a homemade soup. We think between soup, salad, and snacks, we should be set for the weekend.

My plan for this year’s retreat is to get a big head start on my book. I want to read through the past five years of journals in order to get an outline or map of sorts of what I’m going to say. That’s a giant task and not something I feel like I can do sufficiently while I’m here at home. Distractions and all. I am very easily distracted.

I still feel like I have this nagging voice that tells me I can’t write a book, not one worth publishing anyhow. That voice I need to just keep telling to shut up. Lots of people less qualified than me have written books so I have no reason to believe that voice.

What else is going on? I started leading Financial Peace University this week for my church. We have a small group but it happens to be very diverse. People from every walk of life. Newlyweds, single, married with kids, empty nesters. It should make for some really interesting discussions as the weeks go on. I’m very excited to be doing this class. For one thing, I needed the refresher, for sure. But also it just feels good to be able to give back and serve God in an area I feel like He’s given me a passion for. I was a ball of nerves this first week, because my vision loss and difficulty hearing still give me great social anxiety, but everyone was extremely understanding and gracious. I’m confident it’s going to be a life-changing class for everyone.

Speaking of social anxiety, I’m also in a women’s weekly Bible study and yesterday was my first time going. I attended last year and loved it so much, I’m doing it again. However, I had a lot of trouble hearing people in the discussions as well as reading the materials they hand out every week. There’s not a whole lot I can do about the discussion because you can’t expect to completely retrain people to speak a different way just for that one hour a week, so I’m learning this is an area I have to accept not being able to hear everything. I just have to accept and be thankful for the words I CAN hear.

As for the lesson handouts, I had been scanning them into pdfs every week so that I could read them in high contrast on my computer or tablet. That was kind of a pain, but it worked well. It only occurred to me after the class had ended that I should have been scanning my answers to the questions as well, because every week I would get to class and struggle to read my answers during the class discussion. This year I am super excited because they offer the lessons and questions in pdf format, so I don’t have to do all the scanning! It may be hard for others to understand my level of joy here, because until you’re faced with the daily difficulty in seeing and hearing things, you just can’t imagine it. I know it’s something I took for granted, for sure. If you are reading this and you have fully functioning eyes and ears, will you please just take a moment to thank the Lord? Because not everybody has that luxury. It’s so hard, people. Not impossible, just hard.

Well, my squash is roasted so I need to go saute some shallots and garlic and get the soup assembled. After that perhaps I’ll do some crocheting. I’m on my third of thirteen afghans for each of the nieces and nephews. A perfect rainy day activity, wouldn’t you say?

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Sleep

I sleep pretty well these days. I don’t have the burden of sound that most people have. I never have to worry about being woken in the middle of the night by the dog barking at a neighbor heading off to work the third shift, or a thunderstorm passing through. I don’t even have to worry about my husband’s snoring anymore, though I had been married long enough when I lost my hearing, and I had already learned to sleep through it.

My kids started school today. My son started middle school, which starts earlier than the elementary school does, and is located quite a bit further away from our house. Those two factors mean the school bus comes a full hour and a half earlier than his younger sister’s bus. It makes for an early morning, but it went surprisingly well today! I woke up at 5:30 to give myself time to brew my coffee and wake up a little before waking him up (He had set an alarm but slept right through it, as I had expected he would).

Y’all, I was really dreading 5:30 am but I woke this morning feeling surprisingly rested. I checked the sleeping log that connects to my watch and it said I went to bed at 11 pm and had over 3 hours of deep sleep. Six and a half hours of sleep, 3 of it deep sleep. This really surprised me because I generally sleep a full 8 hours or more and get almost 3 hours of sleep. So getting more sleep apparently wasn’t really helping me? I guess it’s all about quality, not quantity, because I had a full, busy day today and did not feel the overwhelming urge to nap. I survived an entire day that started at 5:30 am with NO NAP. What?!?! I don’t know if this is a fluke or what, so I’m going to see if I can keep it up, going to bed at 11 and getting up at 5:30.

I have to say, I really enjoyed 5:30. It was super peaceful in the house, and I was able to wake up at my speed (i.e. slow as molasses). I read my devotional, and just eased into the day. It was really nice. It was just me and my coffee, and Jesus. I’m looking forward to tomorrow morning!

Running out of gas

I think this week I’ve been approaching a wall. Lately I’ve been doing really well, energy wise, but this week I’ve noticed myself dragging quite a bit more. I am not the Energizer Bunny. Monday I slept until 11:11. That’s about 4 hours later than usual. Every day I debate whether to push myself or to take the hint and rest. I feel like I’ve found an okay balance between the two options, but I still have that nagging feeling that I need a major reset. Each night I go to bed hoping that night’s sleep will be the reset button. Maybe tonight! We’ll see.

Oh! I’m running a fun 5k on Friday night. It’s not chip timed, so it’s not exactly competitive. However, everyone will have squirt guns so it should be fun. I’m a smidge nervous because I won’t be able to wear my cochlear implants, but I’ll be running with a friend so I’ll have her to keep an eye out for me in case anyone is shouting at me to move aside or something.

I’m still seeing a counselor for my anxiety and she’s still really helping me. I don’t go as frequently now but I still have her suggestions to take with me throughout each day, and I’m constantly analyzing my inner thoughts to retrace how I got to each state of anxiety, and that’s actually really helping. I tell myself a lot of lies, apparently. So it’s good to be working that out. I’m taking every thought captive, just like that Bible verse in 2 Corinthians. Make each thought obedient to Christ, as in make sure it’s truth!

I am making a LOT of new friends at our church, and that’s been exciting. It’s nerve-wracking at first, because it feels scary to put myself out there and introduce myself to new people who didn’t know me prior to my hearing and vision loss. It doesn’t help that I keep introducing myself to people I’ve already met. The handful of people I’ve done that with don’t seem to mind. They just smile, shake my hand and say “we’ve already met, but that’s ok!” I’m leading a Financial Peace University class in September so I’ll have even more opportunities to re-introduce myself to people! Keeps life interesting, I guess.

Summer is half over, I know, but I’m just now getting the hang of it, I believe. We have a couple trips planned in the next month or so, stuff the kids can look forward to, but with enough down time in between to recover from all the fun we’ll be having. And then before you know it the kids will be back in school. Our son is starting middle school this year so he’ll be on an earlier schedule than his sister. He’ll have to be at the bus stop by 6:30, so we’ll have to get him used to waking up super early. I have been joking with him that he’s on his own here, that no way I’m getting up that early, but we all know I am too much of a control freak to let him fly without any supervision. So I’ll have to start getting used to being up early, if only to supervise for awhile.

Well, I have CrossFit in the morning so I need to sign off for now. Good night bloggy people!

Every day.

This is just a theory, but maybe God does His best work in us when we stop trying so hard. When we decide to take a moment or two every day to sit and listen, and ask for his help. Every day. Over and over and over. Now, we do lots of things on a daily basis – brush our teeth, go to work, do laundry, wash dishes – and we don’t think about it. We just do it. Because it’s important. So why does spending time with our creator and savior seem so difficult sometimes? I’ll never know the answer to that, but dang it I’m gonna keep at it. Because I need Him. Like the air I breathe, I need Jesus. Every day, all day.

Cherishing the silence

I’m finding that I do my best thinking when my “ears” are off (my cochlear implant processors). Even at night, when the house is quiet. It’s just a whole different kind of quiet, because all I hear is the low ringing tones of tinnitus and absolutely nothing else. You probably don’t realize there is noise to be heard, but just try plugging your ears for a few seconds and you’ll see what I mean. There’s a word for that noise but I can’t think of it at the moment. Ambient maybe?

What’s funny about me enjoying this silent existence is that it used to terrify me. So much so, that I needed medication just to sleep at night. But 4 years of deafness and now I welcome the silence. It’s helpful to retreat into myself, to focus my thoughts, but mostly I embrace it because it’s now my favorite time to talk to Jesus. He meets me here in the silence. He was here with me every day while I wrestled with hearing loss and vision loss back in 2013, and he’s never left me since. I don’t share this info often, but there was a song I used to sing during that time, over and over and over mostly in my head, and it brought me peace and comfort when not much else did. I’ll post the lyrics below because you might see how unbelievably appropriate it was for what I was going through. The interesting thing about it, no – miraculous – is that prior to losing my hearing, I had only heard that song one time that I can recall. It was in a movie that I watched once years ago. How on earth could I have remembered that song? Only God knows. But boy, did that song ever save me from a really ugly and scary time in my life, and I believe it will now forever be my theme song.

Losing my hearing and vision was an enormous life changer for me, for obvious reasons, but God has used it all to bring about incredibly wonderful changes. The biggest change, and the one I am most grateful for, is that it solidified my faith in Jesus. He showed me through that song, through the support we received from family and friends, through Scripture, through the fact that we survived it all, that He will never leave me.

So. When I’m settling in for the night and am taking off my ears and entering the silence, I am delighted to talk to Him. He is my peace, forever and always, amen.

Jesus, Lover of my Soul

Jesus, lover of my soul

Jesus, I will never let you go

You’ve taken me from the miry clay

Set my feet upon the rock, and now I know

I love you, I need you

Though my world may fall, I’ll never let you go

My Savior, my closest friend

I will worship you until the very end

Lazy Sunday afternoon

Lazy Sunday afternoon… I feel like that’s a song lyric but I can’t seem to place it with any memorable melody. Oh well.

I finally have my computer back, as of last night. I ended up restoring it to the factory defaults, which took a good day and a half. Then I had to restore all my files, which took another day. So while it felt like FOREVER it wasn’t so bad. And I’m pretty sure I have everything back. This computer is not that old so it shouldn’t be having so many issues, in my opinion, but I am glad to have my backup so I don’t lose my photos and documents. Technology is amazing, when it works.

And it is working, that’s for sure. I was able to scan my Bible study notes, so I can get caught up on my lesson homework for this week. We are studying the book of Romans, which is an amazing book. Lots of practical truth in there with a good dose of conviction, grace, and humility. I’m loving it.

Yesterday I ran the 2017 Hot Cider Hustle 5k with some awesome ladies. I had not trained for it so I had some really low expectations going in. Then when the forecast showed rain for the day, my expectations dropped to another level. My new goal was twofold, finish before sundown, and have fun. My chip time was 43:45, which I don’t think was too bad considering the lack of training and the rain. I think my 5k times have usually been around 38 or so. I have to give a shout out to my sister who came and ran not only a PR, but placed 1st in her age group! Last year it was my brother placing 1st in his age group. I think that is some kind of weird and awesome tradition.

When I ran this race last year I had so much trouble with the route, so I wasn’t going to run it again. But then I saw that they changed the location altogether, with a much safer looking route, so I couldn’t resist (I’m totally in it for the swag – hoodies, coffee mugs, hot cider) and it’s just a fun race so I hope to be able to run it every year.

We became official members of our church today. We’ve been attending there for well over a year and just hadn’t really gotten around to it. But things finally did slow down and we were able to make it happen. We love this church. Everyone there has been so welcoming and genuine – both with their personal faith and with their hang-ups – that we feel like it’s a great place to have some healthy encouragement and accountability as we work to become better followers of Christ. That and they have free coffee 😉

This concludes my lazy Sunday update. I hope everyone is hanging in there. HUGS!!

New goals and stuff

Just real quick folks, I’m checking in to let you know today I am committing to every day – every day – starting with two things before everything else. One – time with God, praying and reading the Bible. Two – 30 minutes of exercise, walking, running, sit-ups, whatever. Those two things, in that order, must be completed before I do anything else each day. So if I know I have plans for the day that could interfere, then I just have to get up a little earlier to make room for those two things. Gah! We’ll see how this goes. This is certainly not the first time I’ve tried to get back to basics and keep these priorities in my life (well maybe for the first item, the second one is a more recent addition). So I’m not telling you because it’s new, but I’m telling you because if I post it here maybe I’ll remember that it’s here and that I made the commitment.

I think this will help me. I have been storing up a lot of anxiety lately over all of the details. Piddly little details, and I’m all worked up over them. So I’m just trying to get centered. Again.

Today I’ve completed those first two, even after going back to bed for the majority of the morning, and now I’m onto the next. Toilets to be cleaned, floors to be vacuumed. And I’m sporting my phone on my arm like a runner so I can groove to my techno station. Gotta make it fun, people!

Oh, and coffee. Another cup of coffee is in the works.

Wait, I forgot to mention – today my son turned 10!! That’s a really big deal (at least it is for him, and I still remember turning double digits myself) and I totally ignored it with this post, didn’t I? I think I’m supposed to share a nice photo and a story of his birth, or something like that, but nah, forget “supposed to”. We have celebrations planned for him, dinner with the family tonight and a party on Sunday. So I’m sure you’ll hear more about it from me soon enough.

Now back to the toilet business. *Focus, Mindy, focus.*