Category Archives: Hobbies

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!

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.

 

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?

Dang it all…

I could not come up with a better title than that. Because, well, it’s after 10 pm and my brain is mush. So yes, I’m going to write a blog with mush-brain and see how you like it. Ha!

So what’s happening lately? Well, the kids are back to school, sort of. We had a big fat snow day on Friday and then a scheduled day off to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Of course nobody went sledding because it’s cold man, and all the wifi is indoors. I’m still working on getting my routines back, aka my groove.

I’ve got a new responsibility I’m pretty excited/nervous about. I had been praying for some time about wanting to get back to doing what I enjoy, which is accounting. I miss it so much I obsess over our household budget and I balance our checkbook way more often than necessary. But alas, my prayers have been answered! My pastor called me last week wondering if I could help out the church with some bookkeeping and payroll. Heck yes, I said, I’m on it. I warned him that I was nervous because this is the real-est responsibility I’ve been given since my disability, but he assured me they were very forgiving, and grateful to find someone willing and knowledgeable. I’m stoked. It’s a little scary realizing that my to-do list now holds tasks that must not be overlooked, but I think I’ll be able to adjust just fine. Up until now it’s just been a lot of household junk like vacuuming and cleaning toilets. Which no one really notices if I forget to do.

I’m also doing a lot of crocheting. It’s such a relaxing thing for me, it’s a form of therapy in a way. I was running out of projects so I came up with this insane idea to make an afghan for each of my nieces and nephews, of which I have 12. These afghans are easy to do but they are time consuming so I’m just going to knock them out one at a time and give them away as I finish them. I’m starting with the oldest child first and we’ll go from there. Of course after I had this brilliant idea I found out there were three women in my extended family who are all pregnant, each with their first babies, so I had to put the afghan project on hold in order to make some adorable soft baby blankets.

All this busy-ness with accounting and crocheting leaves me zero time to obsess about food. Which I suppose is good, but it means I haven’t really discovered any new recipes to try and I’m getting rather bored with my vegan diet. No matter, I really can eat oatmeal and potatoes all day if need be, with a smoothie thrown in once in awhile. I’ll get over this hump, I’m sure.

Not a whole lot else going on around here, and if there is I can’t remember what so it must not be all that important. Good night folks, and may you dream of delicious donuts!

In lieu of private journaling

Sometimes I just want to drone on with the ideas swirling around in my head. Normally I reserve those thoughts for my private journal, but today I felt like they were innocuous enough to share here.

Lately I’ve been fairly busy. Not with super important or time sensitive things, but just generally busy. Between doctor visits, Bible study, housework, and spending time with friends, I’ve had a steady stream of activity. And while I don’t hate that, I find it is kind of a new thing for me and a part of me is a little worried that I’ll forget something important. When I was working and going to school I had a million things to keep track of, and it was never a problem. Stressful yes, but I managed just fine. In a way, I think I actually enjoyed staying so busy. Then I was thrust into long term disability – or as I like to call it, early retirement – and now I am learning I need to find new things to keep me occupied.

For awhile I was keeping myself occupied with a responsible schedule of housework. Cooking and cleaning and other general household management activities. However, that was getting so Boring, with a capital B. So now I’m trying to step back a little on those things, because they are still necessary, and make room for some fun activities. However, I never really had many hobbies before, so I’m in what I like to call a brainstorming stage.

I do like to crochet, but I don’t care for the creative stuff, and you can only make so many afghans. Plus, it’s very antisocial because I can’t really crochet with friends. Well, I can, but not like I used to. I used to be able to have conversations with people while crocheting, but now that reading lips is such a crucial part of listening for me, I can really only do one or the other. Listening takes a lot more effort than it used to.

I’ve heard that bars around town have trivia nights, and I think that might be fun to try some time. I am convinced I would absolutely suck at trivia because my memory is horse dookey, but I think as long as it was with friends it would be fun.

I really, really want to try karaoke. I’ve done it twice in my life, and I know people groan when you talk about karaoke, but those two times were very memorable and fun for me. I was never the best singer, and of course I’m even worse now, but I still think it’s fun to sing along while everyone watches and laughs. My husband says I should warn people when I get up on stage: “Hey everyone, I’m deaf. And once you hear this, you’re gonna wish you were too!” You have to be able to laugh at yourself once in awhile, right? And isn’t that what karaoke is all about?

I discovered last night that my favorite afghan has some pretty significant holes in it, which are like cancer to a crocheted blanket, so it’s on it’s way out. This was the first afghan I crocheted with my favorite pattern, so it’s a little sad that it’s dying. BUT, I made it with really cheap yarn and I’ve improved working on that pattern over the years, so maybe it’s time I start a new one, just for me. A new favorite.

When I woke up yesterday I put my cochlear implants on and discovered the right ear processor would not connect. Checked all the cords, and everything looked fine. Tried the left processor on the right side and that worked fine, so I knew it wasn’t my head (the lady in customer service laughed at that). So I’m down to one ear until the manufacturer sends me a replacement. I can’t believe I made it through that phone call with one ear! Pitches are much higher with just the one processor, so everyone sounds like chipmunks. Funny not funny :/ I am not complaining, but it really did spoil most of my day yesterday. It took me a good while to come out of that funk, but I’m better now. I’m finding that with just the one, every day sounds are not as harsh or bothersome, so that’s something to be thankful for. Still, I will be happy to have that second ear back.

Kids have a half day today so they’ll be home soon! Peace and hugs….