Category Archives: Food

Distraction

Can I just be honest right now? Because of course, everything else I’ve written on this blog is completely made up.  Just kidding. But seriously. I want to be lazy. I want to abandon my responsibilities and sit, curled up on the couch all day crocheting or reading or playing Farmville. But there’s this nagging voice, and my hunch is that it is the Holy Spirit and I don’t want to admit it, that says I was made for more, and that being lazy is not God’s purpose for me. I know that God places value in rest, that He commands it even, but how do I know when I’m taking it too far? I wish I had a cut and dried prescription that says you need ‘x’ amount of rest on these days, and ‘x’ amount of time you ought to be working. It’s probably true that I need more rest than the average 40 year old woman, since I have MS, but that doesn’t really make this dilemma any easier to solve. I’m in better health than your average woman with MS, so there’s no template for me to go by. Not that I think there should be one. I’m just thinking out loud here.

Journaling is very helpful. It helps me focus, and especially helps because I treat it like a prayer. All of my journaling is really just a conversation between me and God, and He often speaks to me through my journaling. He probably speaks to me a lot more often than that, of course, I just don’t hear it because I’m distracted by everything around me. But when I’m typing, there’s no distraction. I’m entirely focused on the conversation.

So what I feel like God has been whispering to me over the past several months (yes, I’m a slow learner) is that I am too distracted. So I asked for His help and guidance with life and time management and finding a balance between work and rest and all the other stuff I want to do, like writing my book, running, baking cookies and crocheting.

This is so silly, but the biggest distraction I’ve allowed into my life is a little game called Farmville 2. Heard of it? It’s super addictive because there are always things to do, missions to complete, challenges to meet. And it’s fun, but it sucks the life out of you. Or at least it does for me. I’m sure there are people who are able to balance games like this with real life, but I’m not one of them. I am the demographic they built this game for. I know they devote lots of money into research to know how to keep people addicted to their games in the hopes they will spend money, but I never spend money in the game. I am firm about that rule. So the joke’s on them, right? Wrong. Because I have still let it steal hours and hours, days even, of my life. I’ve decided I’m done with it. For good, I hope. Please.

Romans 7:15 ESV “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”

Hebrews 12:1 NIV “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

I feel better, I think. Last time I uninstalled the game I think I made it a full three days. We’ll see if I can make it longer than that this time. The last time, I hope. Gee whiz.

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I’ve been crocheting

I’ve been busy, but not really busy. What I’ve been busy NOT really doing, is all the things I want to do, like taking care of our home and writing my book. What I’ve been doing instead is playing Farmville. And crocheting. But at least the crocheting serves a good purpose. See, I’m making hats with all the leftover yarn in my possession, and I plan to give them to the cancer center where I get my monthly infusions. I noticed this last infusion that they had a bunch laid out for people to take and when I asked about them they said they were from volunteers, and they can always use more so they would be happy to have me donate. Hats are fun because you can play around with different patterns and if you don’t like it, you know quick enough and you can just undo and start again with a different pattern. And I’m so thrilled I found a place to make them for. I love crocheting, it’s like therapy for me, and even better if it’s going toward a good cause.

I went for a run yesterday after a sort of long hiatus and it felt really good. I need to get better at running on a regular basis. A friend and I are planning to run a half marathon together next fall so I have something to work towards. I think she’s been a lot more disciplined than I am at the training, and she has five kids! So I have literally zero valid excuses. Unless you count the MS, but I don’t ever like to give it that much credit. There may be some day down the road MS decides to take away my ability to run, but until then, I need to do it. Because I can. And because it’s good for my physical and mental health.

As for the book, I am still writing it and I suppose you could say I’ve made good progress, but I kind of got stuck. I don’t know where to go next. So I’m giving it time and praying that I get some more inspiration to write more. There’s no question I have a lot to say, and the story I’m ultimately trying to tell has lots of details. It’s just that my mind doesn’t work as well as it used to and it’s hard to make connections. Disjointed, I suppose is the best description of my cache of memories. I’ll get there though. I’m persistent and stubborn and I refuse to give up.

So we are in December, folks! Did you know? Which means Christmas and time with family, and snow. We’ve purchased all our gifts for the kids via mail order (hello Amazon Prime!), and I believe most of them have arrived, so I think I might wrap them up early so I don’t feel like I have to rush to do it at the last minute. Plus I love the look of wrapped presents. We tried not to go overboard with the kids this year, but I’m still excited for Christmas morning. We all understand and recognize that Christmas is all about celebrating Jesus, but we are still human and enjoy seeing our kids light up when they open their presents. I kind of feel like God has a similar sense of joy when He gives us good gifts. Maybe. I’ll have to ask Him some day.

What else? I’ve still been baking cookies. It’s been a lot of fun to get that love back, and I have a lot of people around who love cookies and can appreciate them. I’m a one trick pony with the chocolate chip though. I tried to make something else and it totally flopped. Tasted fine, but didn’t set up like they were supposed to. So, kind of a literal flop. But I suppose cookies don’t really have to look good as long as they taste amazing, right? It’s all about the flavor. I’ve got that awesome vanilla from Mexico and dark chocolate chips so I’m due for another batch or three in the next few days. Come on over! I’ll make cookies and coffee!

Lately. Oh, and cookies.

My son woke me up an hour early today, as payback for waking him up Monday when it was a snow day. Not cool, bro. Not cool.

So lately I have been doing okay, I guess. I feel a bit like I’m hanging on by just a thread, but at least it’s a strong thread. My faith, my redeemer Jesus Christ, sustains me and keeps me from going all the way crazy. So I’m extremely thankful for that.

Things have just been busy, moving from one event to the next, and I have a hard time keeping up with the activity. Because it’s not enough to just be there. I also have work I’m responsible for, between housework and volunteering for the church. So I sort of worry that my body will fail on me and leave it all hanging. And I know I need to rest and pace myself, blah blah blah, but it’s a never-ending life lesson, I suppose. I’ll get there. Maybe.

I’m not complaining, by any means, because I still remember when I was sick and couldn’t do most things on my own, and I’m thankful for my recovered abilities. It’s just the adjustment that takes time and lots of patience. Recovery is tricky. Disability is a whole new world.

I absolutely love paying bills and balancing a checkbook, and I am only able to do these things thanks to technology. My computer and apps on my phone allow me to view things in high contrast, which works well because white backgrounds seem to make the print disappear for me. Which is why I don’t read paper books anymore. All my reading is done with the Kindle app, with a black background and white font. It’s wonderful. I am very thankful that I’ve not lost my ability to read, because it’s one thing I’ve always loved. I have lost a lot with vision loss and becoming deaf, yes, but I’ve been able to hold on to so much too. And for that I am grateful.

I’m still working on writing that book, and it’s exciting and scary all at the same time. This is going to be a slow process but I’ll get it done. I’ve been able to find time for it here and there, so… eventually, right?

Now I just need to find time to bake some cookies because it’s that time of year and I have a giant bottle of Mexican vanilla calling my name!

Cookie Magic

Long ago, before I got sick and lost my hearing and vision, and perhaps even before that when I was swamped with college and work, I used to bake a lot of cookies. I was good at it, and people loved my cookies. Not any special or fancy kind of cookies, but plain old chocolate chip. I have my secret tricks for making them the perfect, delectable texture (crispy on the outside, soft and gooey in the middle). Of course when I lost so much function of two primary senses, hearing and sight, I lost my touch. I’ve since tried to make the perfect batch of cookies but every time they just don’t seem to come out the way I remember them. Until yesterday.

I was commissioned to contribute a snack for my daughter’s Halloween party at school so I offered to send cookies and carrot sticks. My son thought I was nuts to send carrot sticks and doesn’t think anyone will eat them, but I sent them anyway. You never know. If nothing else, the kids with allergies can eat them. Anyway, I baked these cookies just the same way I used to but this time… this time they turned out amazing and perfect and EXACTLY the way I remembered them! The problem was, I couldn’t EAT them! Because there were just enough for the kids in the class, with that one to spare for me to taste test.

It made me a little sad, but also kind of excited to think that maybe I got my cookie magic back. So now I am trying to think of all the people who will want to eat these cookies so I have a good reason to keep baking them. I will probably start by baking them for all the friends who drive me around on a regular basis, to offer my thanks. Now I just need to stock up on the supplies. I’m looking at you, Amazon Prime 😉

Souper hobbies

I have recently discovered that I love making soup. Something about the slow pace of the process, and the room for creativity (i.e. mistakes) really appeals to me. And then the satisfaction after all that work and waiting, when you have a delicious meal to enjoy! And at my house, since no one will eat my icky vegetable soups, I get to enjoy the leftovers for days!

Last weekend my dad and stepmom were in town for my son’s football game and I invited them over afterwards for beef stew. I had most of the ingredients but still needed to prepare everything. They both love to cook so they helped me put together an amazing stew. It was so much fun to work together as a team. Not rushed, just chatting in between tasting and smelling. Soup-er fun.

So, it’s been ridiculously warm for October lately. Seriously, 80 degree temps is nuts, even for Michigan. However, it looks like the cold weather is finally moving in as of this morning. It is currently 39 degrees, right where it should be. I turned on the heat, of course. Earlier this week I had the a/c on. This makes me chuckle, a little. I made vegetable soup yesterday and so of course I’ll be eating the leftovers today. Cold days are perfect days for eating hot soup.

But! As excited I am to eat some hot soup and snuggle on the couch with my crocheting, I’m nervous about running a 10k race tomorrow. That’s right, the 10k is finally here! I decided on my 40th birthday in March that I wanted to run a 10k, and though for awhile I wasn’t sure if I could do it, I know now that I can. Training works! This cold weather has me a little nervous though. I had my race clothes all picked out but now I’m wondering if I need to wear something warmer. Will I need gloves? A hat? Will my headband keep my ears warm? See, I don’t have much experience running in cold weather because the cold weather hadn’t yet come. So maybe today I’ll go out for a trial run and see how it goes. Yes, that’s what I will do. Practice run, and then cuddle up on the couch with my hot soup.

 

Whatcha doin?

It’s been a week, and my fatigue is finally lifting. I’m back on the vegan diet, I’ve pushed through to get a couple good runs in this week, and I’ve been napping a lot. All of that, combined, seems to make a big difference. I also have my next Tysabri infusion on Monday so that should help as well. The fog is lifting! Hooray!

So, what have I been up to? I think I already mentioned I’m leading a Financial Peace University class at church. We are three weeks in and it’s going pretty well! Every one is really excited to be there and we have great discussions every week. I’m really hoping this class becomes a regular thing, because I know there are people who expressed interest in the class but weren’t able to sign up for this one.

I made homemade granola bars the other day, for the first time ever in my life, and I was really surprised at how good they turned out! I have a couple ideas to tweak the recipe, but nothing major. I didn’t measure anything as I was just going from memory of a recipe I had read earlier in the day. Oatmeal, peanut butter, honey, and chocolate chips. I was surprised at how easy they were to make and how many bars it yielded. So much cheaper than the store bought ones, by far. I’ll have to remember this and make another batch soon. Aside from the honey, these are all ingredients I almost always have on hand, so it would be nice to be able to throw a batch together to have snacks to feed the family for when we are running around and don’t have time for proper meals.

I’ve also been doing this weekly Bible study and we are currently reading the book of Joshua. The Old Testament has always been a bit difficult for me and while it’s a challenge, it’s nice to be able to tackle that challenge with other ladies who are usually equally confused. I’m learning a lot and that’s always a good thing.

Alright, now I’ve typed a bunch of things and I still feel like I’m forgetting something. I’ll go back to my crocheting, or my Farmville, and maybe it will come to me. Or not.

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?