There’s a new sheriff in town

For the past week and a half I’ve been allowing my kids to sleep in and stay up late, playing video games in their rooms all day. However, I’ve been listening to Celebrate Calm parenting podcasts and now I’m feeling motivated to be more intentional and proactive with engaging my kids in healthier daily activities. We will see how I feel about it in the morning, but after talking with the kids this evening, I think they understand that their state of total freedom is ending. They were laughing and joking and even offering up ideas for activities. So tomorrow I’m going to try to stay up when my alarm goes off at 7 am. I’ll have my coffee and devotional time with Jesus, and then I’ll scribble out a daily plan. Hopefully a plan better than the one I proposed this afternoon (pictured below).

I’m going to try to make this a fun, adventurous time. I’ll still want them to incorporate some official schoolwork, using the resources their teachers have been sending us, but I also want to capitalize on this time I’m having with them. This is like bonus time, and I want to take full advantage of this and use it to get to know my kids better. I’m looking forward to this and I’m praying God will bless this time. If all goes well, they will look back on this year with fond memories*.

*I wanted to call this new endeavor “Corona Camp” but my son didn’t think that was a very good idea. Not age appropriate, or something, I guess. I’m open to other suggestions if you’ve got any!

Another List?

Things I’ve learned about myself in the past couple of months:

  1. I really like the band Cake. Like, a lot. Pandora keeps playing their songs and I have loved every single one of them. Most of them I had never heard before, so it’s cool to find “new” music that is also enjoyable (with the cochlear implants and all…)
  2. I feel a lot more human when I’m wearing a pair of jeans. As opposed to skirts or leggings or khakis. I know some people don’t find jeans comfortable, but I’m not one of them. Jeans are good. I’m keeping them.
  3. That’s it. Just those two things. So not really a list, I guess. Sorry if I led you on. I’ll keep writing stuff for you to read, don’t worry. I’m thinking my next post will probably be about food and my wonderful cooking. So stay tuned, I am here for you!!

Slowing down has its perks

When times are tough it helps to look at the positive right? The proverbial silver lining. So here is my list of things I’ve enjoyed about this mandated social distancing:

  1. All meetings are held online, so I don’t need to concern myself with arranging rides.
  2. More time to crochet blankets, hats and coasters.
  3. More time to read the ridiculously long list of library books I’ve started reading and wasn’t able to finish before the loan expired.
  4. I don’t have to arrange the family dinner around evening activities.
  5. I can make breakfast for my family on Saturday mornings.
  6. Walks around the neighborhood with my kids (well, so far 1 kid and the dog).
  7. Running nearly every day.

I feel like last all last week I had a lot to say, a lot to blog about, but it didn’t feel right to publish anything just yet. I wanted to hold it close for awhile and see how I felt about things first. The first part of the week was busy because we had to do all our BSF meetings online. It was a little nerve-wracking but it all worked out very well. The second part of the week was a whole lot of nothing, giving me more time to really process the gravity of the situation we are all in. So now I’m feel a little less unsettled. Now I can comfortably get back to boring you all with my daily minutiae. I’ll probably keep talking about running, crocheting, and maybe even about the books I’m reading. I’m sure I’ll throw some tidbits in regarding the dog too. Be on the lookout!

Socially Distant but not absent

So, there is a coronavirus pandemic in full force. For the past week, we’ve been practicing social distancing. This a term that one week ago had to be explained. Now it seems everyone is using it as if it’s been a common part of speech all our lives.

As a mostly introverted person, social distancing is not very difficult for me. Mostly. I’m happy to stay home. But even for this introvert I’m concerned. I wake up each morning with a panic rising in my belly. I worry about how long this is going to last. Is it even working? What upcoming events were we looking forward to that will need to be cancelled or drastically altered? How will my kids be affected? Am I going to have to start homeschooling them? What activities and experiences are they missing out on? And the biggest question – how can I continue to parent well and keep my panicky feelings from spilling out on my children? I do not want them to be negatively affected by this. I want them to become strong, resilient human beings. The way survivors of The Depression and World War II turned out to be incredible human beings.

The real truth is that almost all of my nagging questions are things I can do pretty much nothing about. Worrying is futile. And all it does is feed that panic, allowing it to rise further. So, knowing this truth, I repeat it to myself and I remain rooted in my faith in Christ. He knows I’ve lived through uncertain times, and He was the one who helped me live through them and come out stronger. I have no reason to believe He won’t do the same thing again, for all of us.

Stay home. Stay connected. Stay well.

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14 NIV

2nd Mondays

It just occurred to me that today was in fact Tuesday, not Monday. I’m not sure I’ve ever gotten those two days mixed up before. If that tells you anything about where my head is at. To use a phrase from Teri Garr’s character in Mr. Mom, I’ve been feeling kind of floopy.

I have made some sloth like progress on my memoir, in that I’ve done more research on HOW to write one, and have almost settled on a writing program to keep all my notes and chapters, and I’ve started writing my outline. I will share it with all you readers because I love ‘ya:

I. Introduction
II. First Act
III. Second Act
IV. Third Act
V. Conclusion

I still need to write a one sentence premise that includes the character (me), the situation (loss of hearing and vision), and the lesson (still narrowing this down). And of course fill in all the blanks in the outline. I might take the advice I gleaned from one of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott, in her book Bird by Bird. She advises her writing students to use the following format when they are writing: ABDCE: Action, Background, Development, Climax, Ending. Which looks like more like the beginning of a workable outline, if you ask me.

So, I can’t say I’ve written anything lately, but I do feel like I’m making progress. And that is all that matters. I’m gonna knock this book out, bird by bird. You’d have to read the book to get the reference, and I highly recommend it if you are also a writer.

The other thing I’ve been up to is crocheting. I finished a nephew’s blanket and am already started on the next nephew’s. So far each kid has chosen very different colors from all the others so it’s been really fun to see how each blanket turns out. This one I’m working on is yellow and orange and with spring right around the corner, I’m in a springy sort of mood.

Or, I guess you could say I’m feeling floopy.

Good days

I came back from tonight’s Financial Peace class really energized and excited. It was the baby step 2, dumping debt lesson, and that one always gets me a little emotional. We had really great discussion and everyone seems to be coming from very different places in their financial journey, yet we were able to have mutual respect for each other and a cohesive, lively discussion. I’m super stoked and looking forward to next 7 weeks.

Also, I’ve been working hard to not hate cooking lately. I get myself psyched up for each meal by streaming music to my cochlears and I wear a fancy apron and I dance while I’m cooking and stirring and measuring. When I started this ritual a couple weeks ago I made several really bonehead mistakes and screwed up some of the easiest dishes. Tacos, mashed potatoes, rice, stuff like that. My family takes it in stride but I think only because they love me and I laugh with them when they are laughing at me. It’s all good. Tonight we had baked herb chicken with salad and stuffing. I didn’t mess anything up and nobody complained so it’s a half win. If anyone had raved about it I would have called it a winner and made a note to add it to the list of regulars, but it was just meh.

I’m doing really well lately, all around. I’ve got some minor health issues but I’m working with my doctors to get to the bottom of things and I’m not in any pain or discomfort. For now, anyway. It comes and goes but it’s nothing serious.

That’s a little cryptic but I’m leaving it there. I’m trying to focus more on positive things that are happening around me and less on the other stuff. For now. We’ll see how long I can keep up with it. Ha!

Oh! I’ve been stuck writing my memoir but I received some great encouragement from other writers. One, it’s a very long process and I would do good to stop rushing myself. Two, I need to keep my primary purpose in writing the book front and center. And three, I need to write an outline. That last one seemed so simple, I was kicking myself for not having thought of it, but sometimes it’s hard to see clearly when you’re in the middle of it. So this week that is my writing goal. Start writing an outline.

That’s all for tonight folks. I leave you with these nuggets of wisdom given by our guest preacher at church today:

“Wilderness living is designed to make us willing.

Even Jesus had to be perfected through suffering.”

Rosacea

Rosacea is that annoying, broke friend that moved in without invitation and just won’t leave. Except that you were never really friends.

I have type 2 rosacea. According to Everyday Health, “the second type of rosacea is called papulopustular rosacea or inflammatory rosacea. Its key symptom is chronic redness of the face, as well as an outbreak of red bumps and pimples. These bumps, known as pustules and papules, are different from actual acne and require a different treatment.” This doesn’t mention the pain it causes, but I can tell you it doesn’t feel great. It’s itchy and uncomfortable, and often painful.

I was on the antibiotic doxycycline for awhile, and that seemed to clear up the redness and most of the pustules, but I was still having the occasional break out and a growing concern for the health of my gut and other internal systems. Because antibiotics, yuck. I was on them often as a child and I have always wondered if that’s why I’ve developed all these autoimmune issues. Multiple sclerosis is autoimmune, my hearing loss was determined to be autoimmune, and rosacea is also an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune disease basically translates to mean your body is attacking itself. My tagline is, if anyone can kick my butt, it’s me.

But back to the rosacea. I was tired of taking the antibiotics so I talked to the dermatologist about an alternative, one that might work as well or better than the doxycycline I was taking. He prescribed a sulfur cleanser and an ivermectin cream. This was late last year. The cleanser wasn’t covered by insurance, but they only charge me $35 for a ginormous bottle that lasts me a couple months. The cream was covered, and since I had already met my maximum out of pocket cost for the year through my insurance, I didn’t even have a copay. Fast forward to January – I sent my husband to the pharmacy to pick up a refill for the cream and they wanted $50. For a tiny little tube, they wanted $50. He came home without it and I got to work finding an alternative. This ivermectin cream, called Soolantra, I believed was working, so I headed to my Facebook support group to see if there was a generic version. What I found was astounding.

There is not (yet) a generic version for Soolantra. But the good news? I was not the first to encounter this dilemma. It’s a very expensive, yet effective, product. The active ingredient, as I mentioned, is ivermectin. Ivermectin is a common medicine given to horses for deworming purposes. And since it’s given to them orally, it’s apple flavored. It’s also sold on Amazon. For cheap, and without a prescription. Which sounds a little iffy, right? Maybe something you don’t want to risk? But y’all, there was an overwhelming number of people on this forum, as well as on Amazon, reviewing this stuff and saying it was a total game changer for type 2 rosacea. (As a topical treatment, not to be taken orally, as one Amazon reviewer made the mistake of doing. ) I was really frustrated with the state of my face, so I took a chance and bought it.

I have now added to my morning and evening routine of brushing my teeth – I wash with the sulfur cleanser and dab my face with ivermectin paste. Ivermectin! Not just for horses! I haven’t been consistent with it long, so I still have the occasional spots popping up, but from everything I’ve read about any successful rosacea treatment, it typically gets worse before it gets better. Because I guess the really effective stuff makes the microscopic gremlins run for the hills, so to speak. I can deal with a blemish here and there once in awhile, so I’m not worried about it. I’m just glad about how my face feels. I don’t have those burning and itching sensations anymore. It just feels, well, CALMER.

I should note that I have some colorblindness that came with the vision loss from my MS relapse in 2013, so I really can’t see the full effects of the rosacea, nor can I really see when it’s getting better. I can really only gauge my progress by how it feels and when people tell me they notice a difference. So if you see me around town, feel free to comment on how it’s looking. I’m really not offended. Unless you think I’m just downright ugly, then we may have to battle.

Finding a writing space

Writing has not been happening like I would like it to, but I’m not giving up. Just working on finding my groove. I joined an author’s group on Facebook, and that helps to give me motivation. A lot of it are posts from fiction writers, but it’s all like-minded people so it helps to at least keep the subject of writing in the forefront of my thoughts.

I huge obstacle I’ve been facing has been not having a good physical space to write in. I don’t have a separate office in my home, though I somewhat secretly look forward to when the kids have moved on so I can hijack one of their rooms for this purpose. I do have a corner of my bedroom with a secretary hutch I use often for paying bills and church bookkeeping. Across from that is a cabinet with all our filing and on top of that, our printer. So you could say a sliver of bedroom space is my “office”.

With that said, I think I’ve finally found a spot in my home that is comfortable yet encourages me to be productive. My son has one of those big pillows with arms that are nice and firm so you can sit them on your bed and sit up and do whatever, like read or play video games. Or write!! So I have it sitting on my bed, my nightstand is holding my cup of coffee and water bottle, my laptop is plugged in next to my cochlear implant and phone chargers, and as long as the laundry is caught up I feel like I can relax and have no major responsibilities tugging at my time. That and if the door is closed, my family *should* know not to bug me.

I’m hopeful, but we will just have to see how it goes.

Nearly 2 months

It’s been a long time since I posted. I know. And it’s been a nice break, I suppose, but the wheels start turning again, and I have stuff to share, if you care to listen.

For starters, I left off talking about the memoir I’m writing. Progress is not at a complete halt, but it’s really slow going. I’ll get there, I’m sure of it. I’ve been focused on a lot of things that are happening now, so that detracts from the writing about the past. It was tax season for awhile there, so I had a lot of tasks to complete for the church. Getting W2s and 1099s out, filing them with the appropriate agencies, that sort of thing.

I’ve also been fully immersed in my daughter’s involvement with Girl Scouts, including some meeting planning and selling cookies. Being a part of this troop gives her a number of opportunities to reach out of her comfort zone and discover what she’s really capable of. When she does, she oozes with pride and I am one proud momma for sure. My son stays busy with wrestling and he always works hard and is continuously improving, and that also makes me proud. We try really hard to raise good kids but we can’t take credit for most of what they do well. We just stand back amazed and thank God, praying that we don’t screw it up.

I’ve been running a little bit. I joined a free good form walking/running class with a friend of mine, so two afternoons every week we get to learn how to walk and run properly so that we don’t injure ourselves. In four weeks, when the class ends, we’ll all participate in a 5k race together. It’s been a lot of fun mingling with other like-minded people and I’m learning a lot. I hadn’t realized I had sort of lost some of the joy of running but this class is helping me to rekindle it.

My fatigue level was pretty high there for awhile following the holidays but it’s getting a lot better. I have no doubt the regular running is helping. I’m still quite tired a lot of the time, meaning that I’m sleeping a lot more, but it’s manageable. It’s hard to explain the difference between fatigue and being tired. I guess I only know the difference because when I’m fatigued, I’m not yawning or wanting to sleep. I just can’t seem to move my body. My legs are heavier and walking up the stairs takes considerable effort, but I don’t feel like I could sleep. When I’m fatigued, my mind is often still very active, so I sit a lot and think about what needs to be done, and strategize how to get it done in the most efficient way. So I guess it’s not all bad. You’ve gotta look at the bright side, or the clouds will consume you.

One of the things I’ve been doing a lot more of is crocheting, because that’s something that doesn’t require a lot of thought or energy, so it’s the perfect activity for when I’m fatigued. I’m finishing up an afghan for one of my nephews, and when I’m done I’ll start on one for the next niece or nephew. I have 14 nieces and nephews, so I’ll be at this for many years to come. The plan is to complete them while they’re still in school. I’ve done six so far so I’m not even halfway through. It’s been a lot of fun so far and I just hope the ones who have received their blankets are enjoying them.

I’m starting another Financial Peace class a week from tomorrow, and I’m pretty excited about it. I only have 3 registrations, but two of them are people I met through Bible Study Fellowship, so I’m hopeful they will work the plan and stay for the full 9 weeks. It’s always exciting to watch people go through this class and to see what kinds of things change in their thinking and their habits. A lot of people believe you can’t live without credit cards or a high FICO score or a car payment, and to watch them as they learn the truth of a better way, God’s way, of handling their finances is truly inspiring. I always come away from every week of class motivated to keep on working the plan in our own home, and teaching the principles to our children. I don’t mind doing the class for only 3 members (at least 2 are married couples) but discussion is much more dynamic when you have more, so I’m praying we get more people signed up. We shall see.

I hope you all are having a good year so far. I’ll try to post more regularly to keep you posted on what’s happening in my itty bitty world.

Going back in order to move on

Okay guys. I have intentionally not been blogging because it was winter break and I wanted to be more present and “in the moment” as I spent time with my families over the Christmas and New Year festivities. That mission accomplished, I’m moving on to the next big goal.

I had previously said (maybe not here, maybe just in person to other people) that I was going to run a full marathon in the fall of 2020. But while I contemplated all the training necessary for such an endeavor, I realized I had another big goal I was wanting to accomplish this year. I want to finish writing my memoir. This is very important to me, as I’ve got a lot of stuff to say about my dramatic entrance into this life of disability that I feel God is calling me to share. So I decided I can’t focus properly on both at the same time, and I had to pick which one to work towards first. I’m choosing to write.

I had started writing the memoir a long time ago. I was able to write about what happened, but after 6 or 7000 words I was stuck. And the real problem is that the facts of what happened is only the tip of the iceberg. I need to write about how I felt at each turn, and how we all coped. I need to get real and raw. So even though I’m up way past my bedtime, I made a point to just sit and at least spend 20 minutes writing something. I just started writing, and I didn’t bother with editing or proofing as I went. And here it’s an hour later and I’ve written something, but also I’m in tears. Because I am revisiting some of my darkest, most heartbreaking days. I understand now why I was procrastinating on this. Because I almost have to relive the pain in order to share with others how I made it through. I need to go back to that place if I want my readers to go there with me.

This is going to be really effing hard, folks. Please pray for me, that God would continue to give me courage to rip open these wounds in order to write these words. These words that only He can give me. Because He has called me to share my story, and it is my understanding that He equips those whom He calls.

I may be deaf and half-blind, but I am and will always be… still Mindy