Saturday, September 17, 2011

NOT HOLDING BACK - BE GENTLE AND FORGIVING

September-December: I will be taking a Stress Management class with Utah State University. One of the requirements for the class is that I journal at least two times each week about how I am coping with stress and how I am applying four different stress management strategies along the way. I will be even more open with these posts then I already am and I won't be holding back anything. It is required and I don't want to divide my thoughts between different blogs. So My Stress Management Strategies for the semester will be: Yoga, Massage, Exercise, and Comic Relief, among other things.

A True Gift! Massage Therapy

Have you ever been given something that you really needed? Something that you couldn't do for or give yourself? Well I was given something yesterday that I really needed. Something that I know is going to really help me. I finally made an appointment, and kept the appointment, with my massage therapist. And the massage was AMAZING! I haven't had a massage in a long long time. Not one in a beautiful, quiet, uninterrupted room. Not without my children calling for me or worse, crawling under the table as I tried to relax. And not for an hour!  Next week I'm scheduling a 90 minute!

Now, some of you may know that my massage therapist is actually my husband. This is true! And yes, I feel truly blessed. I feel grateful and blessed that we finally have a place where I can take part in and benefit from the gift of healing that my husband has been given. I feel truly blessed.

If you're in the area of Kanab Utah, my husband owns and operates Desert Springs Day Spa.

Top Ten Stresses?

August 31, 2011: Tonight I'm just going to write and later I'll put things in a list according to most stressful to least stressful. So what am I stressed about these days?
  1. I hate President Obama. Hate is a strong word.
  2. I wish I could either heal and be a normal healthy mother. Or just accept my ailments 100% and learn to work around them and find pure happiness.
  3. I feel like I walk around with a storm cloud within my countenance the majority of the time. I don't laugh enough or smile enough, especially with or at my children.
  4. I still don't know if home school is the best idea. I think Jakob will learn well either way. It all just seems exhausting either way. 
  5. I really want a bigger house. I want rooms with walls and doors. I want coat closets and laundry closets, and bathtubs and more then one bathroom. I want to live on ground level. 
  6. I think we have too many animals. They coast money and they take time that Leif and I don't have anymore. 
  7. I think I'm allergic to the kittens. I'm sad about this because they're so cute and Caleb and Leif love them!
  8. I hate that JJ ate duck poop AND kitty litter today.
  9. I miss Leif's frequent company and help.
  10. I hate that I have piles of laundry and dishes to do.
  11. I wish we had room for the foof chair.
  12. I wish I was able to go alone to the libraries.
  13. I wish we had money to get my hair colored every three months.
  14. I wish life wasn't so expensive.
  15. I wish I could control my sweet tooth.
  16. I wish that I lived closer to my sister.

  17. I wish I felt normal. 
  18. My spiritual wellbeing is very much lacking.
What (new) four techniques do I want to implement into my daily life?
Exercise
Yoga
Massage Therapy
Comic Relief (John Bytheway, Mary-Ellen Edmands)

Stress Management: Detailed Assessment



September 15, 2011
Stress Management 3400
Assignment 1
Grade: 15/15
Professor Comments: "You have had many challenges early on in your life. This has tried your strength, your belief system and who you really are. It looks like you are working on accepting health issues and trying to move forward. You seem to have a positive outlook which can help at times. Although you worry about some things I am sure in time you will achieve some of your dreams. You may want to add Cognitive Reconstruction to your list of techniques and or Behavior Modification. Read what Wayne Dyer has to say in the text about worry. Your physical score was very good considering all of your challenges. It is great to see that you love being a mother and a wife. You will have many rewards from you love. Keep up the good work and take care of yourself during this semester in this class


Ten Stressors – Four Coping Techniques – Who Am I?

PART ONE
                                                                                                           
1.  I wish I could either heal, and be a normal healthy mother. Or just accept my ailments 100% and learn to work around them and find pure happiness: Truthfully, I need to accept the body that I was given and find gratitude in all that it gives me and make’s possible. There is so much to be grateful for about my body. There are many difficulties. But I need to focus on the goodness of my body. What is my plan? My plan is to journal every night at least one thing I am grateful for about my body that day, not mentioning anything negative. I have to find the positive, for I know that it is there! I might even write it by hand instead of typing it… An interesting thought.
2.  I feel like I walk around with a storm cloud within my countenance the majority of the time. I don't laugh enough or smile enough, especially with or at my children: I know that much of this self perception and outward reality comes from a chemical imbalance and bad PMS. I will faithfully take the proper medication. This will help! I will also take the time to listen to funny speakers such as John Bytheway and Mary-Ellen Edmands.
3.  I really want a bigger house. I want rooms with walls and doors. I want coat closets and laundry closets, and bathtubs and more then one bathroom. I want to live on ground level: We live rent-free in an upstairs make-shift apartment that is around 800 square feet. Our three children sleep in the one bedroom that has walls and a door (with a lock from the outside.) My husband and my bedroom is partitioned off by a curtain at night. The office is a closet sized room that used to be the baby nursery. We have lived here 5 years. This year I celebrated the arrival of a dishwasher and mini clothes washer and dryer. I have been given much, but I do dream of a normal house with more space. There is not much to do about this other then practice patience and gratitude.
4.  I miss Leif's frequent company and help: My husband has either been a full time online student or worked a less then full time job for the last five years. He is currently a student in the evenings and working a full time job. I am trying to function and learn how to be without him. I miss his help and his company.
5.  I wish we had money to get my hair colored every three months: This should actually say, “I wish I could look like I did before my five pregnancies.”  Getting my hair done is just one thing that doesn’t take a lot of effort on my part to do and it brightens my self perception for a little while.
6.  I wish life wasn't so expensive: So much of what we need and want takes money. Housing, clothes, cars, home school supplies, travel, etc. I just look forward to a day when the budget isn’t quite so tight.
7.  I wish I could control my sweet tooth: I am addicted to rich ice cream and chocolate. It is a  true addiction, and it  ails me.
8.  I wish that I lived closer to my sister: I wish that my sister and I lived close enough to have weekend visits and cook-a-thons. I wish our kids knew eachother better. I would just love her company.
10.  My spiritual wellbeing is very much lacking: I have improved, but there is still more I could do. I just want to feel the spirit more often.

What (new) four techniques do I want to implement into my daily life?
Exercise: My goal is to exercise during Jakob’s math program, while JJ naps.
Yoga: My goal is to do Yoga at least three nights each week.
Massage Therapy: My goal is to get a massage every week. My husband is a massage therapist who recently opened up a Day Spa. I have had maybe two or three massages in the last several years. I have been too pregnant, sick, or not had a place to put the massage table up to this point. It is time to make an appointment with my husband. I will also have him alternate Cranial Sacral massage with traditional massage.
Comic Relief (John Bytheway, Mary-Ellen Edmands): My goal is to listen to a talk once a week. I will also look for reasons to laugh more. I won’t hold back. I might even pull down Leif’s Calvin and Hobb’s comic books. 

PART TWO

My Physical Symptom’s Questionnaire score averaged 30. I would actually be surprised if it didn’t. I would obviously like to bring my score down, but at the moment the score seems accurate. Luckily, my severity score was in the low to mid range. However, my symptoms have persisted throughout the week. 

PART THREE
Who Am I?

I am a 32-year-old woman. I was a High School graduate. I was a Professional Nanny. I was a Missionary. I was a Single Roommate living in Hawaii. I finally became a wife. I finally became a mother.  I have been married for 8 years. I have been pregnant 5 times. I have six children. I have had one miscarriage. I have delivered one set of identical twin daughters. I have lost that set of identical twin daughters. And I have delivered 3 healthy still-living boys.
I am a daughter, a sister, a sister in law, a daughter in law, an aunt, a wife, a mother, a friend, a teacher, a student, a mommy-blogger, a neighbor, a counselor, a dishwasher, a chef, a laundress, a janitor, a taxi service, a party planner, a financial planner, and a vet.
Right now, I am a wife and a mother. Everything else stems from, revolves around, or takes a temporary back seat occasionally to these two things.
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a mother. As a little girl, I would play with my dolls and play house. When I was old enough I would mother my siblings and friends. I still do this,(luckily that has calmed down a bit). I have always identified myself as a caregiver. And now, I am a mother. That is who I am.
When I grew old enough to notice, I recognized another longing within my soul. It was a feeling far more mature then that of my school age friends. I felt my soul searching for its other half. It was a feeling so profound within me that I often kept it within myself. I didn’t treat my heart’s desire lightly or flippantly. I knew that when I found him, I would be complete. And I was right! I am a wife. That is who I am.
There are a lot of significant experiences that have contributed to who I am today. As well as how I am at who I am today. As a child and into my youth I lived in a high- stress home, otherwise known as a chaotically cohesive family. This has been a huge influence on who and how I am. I served a mission for my church before I was married. This experience influenced me in countless positive ways. I learned about the power of faith in God. I also learned that I was a woman of interest and value, someone that a man could be interested in. Who would have thought I’d learn that while serving a mission? J When I married my husband, I found pure joy and peace for the first time in my life. His love and influence is a constant influence in my life. I had plenty of difficulties leading up to motherhood. But nothing has played a bigger influence on me physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually, as pregnancy and motherhood. And so far, nothing has matched the loss of my girls. This experience alone has altered who I am mind, body, and spirit.
I am many things. But above all, I am a mother. I am a wife. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Too Much Going On

I'm really tired today. So tired that I can't focus on anything for very long. Last night I was talking with my uncle and as we were talking I was struck with just how much we have going on right now in our little world.
Leif is working Full Time at the Day Spa. AND taking evening classes for EMT certification. This means that we only see each other for a few hours total every day. It's no fun and I'm so sorry for those of you who go it alone or see your hubby's less then this. I really dislike this kind of schedule and routine!
I am taking two classes from USU, Home School, and run the house and change the diapers, etc.
We take care of the every day must-do's and the animals and yard.

It doesn't take up much space to write it down, but wow! I am really tired today from it all.

I need to go change a diaper, put some dinner on the table, take a few quizzes, complete two assignments, take an exam, Read for the quizzes and exam, wash the stinking dishes, wash the mountain of laundry, plan and prepare schooling and packing for the upcoming week long road trip (more on that later). Figure out what to do with the rabbits, ducks, and a few roosters (we're downsizing for the winter), ...
... Okay, I'll start with Dinner!  No, Diaper First!!;)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Tenth Anniversary of 9/11: A Day of Remembrance

A few years ago I wrote a well detailed post about my personal experience on September 11, 2011. My experience was unique in one way because I was a missionary at the time and my area was the Great Lakes Navy Base in Chicago. Also known as the NAVY boot camp.... Truly a miraculous experience for me personally.

Tonight however, I want to reflect on the event as a whole. I realized tonight that I really don't know my family member's answers to the most poignant question of, "where were you on that September morning?" So family (or friends), if you're reading this, please send me your answer in the comments section, or an email!

Leif and I watched a video clip on Fox News tonight that showed the news cast of the attacks from the very beginning  through the afternoon. It was condensed of course. But WOW, I was amazed at how very real it felt and everything came back to me in a flood of emotions. And then to know what was going to happen before it happened. It was surreal. And so... speechless... I'm speechless. It still shocks me at the magnitude of the whole day's events and the impact and change that it made in our country and to it's people.

I reflected on the heroes of that day. Particularly the heroes of Flight 93. We listened to President Bush's speech he gave this year at the Flight 93 Memorial. It reminded me of their courage and strength and their ultimate and selfless sacrifice for our country. So many people gave their lives that day to help another person. And so many more have given their lives to prevent such an attack from happening again.

It's hard for some of the people in our country to support the military in the war against terror any longer. It's feels like such a long war and to many people it doesn't feel worth the sacrifice. But can you imagine if we would have given up that day... decided that we had already sacrificed enough lives for the cause? The thought seems absurd. These men an women fighting for our peace recognize that if they weren't fighting and the brilliant minds here at home weren't gathering and sifting through intelligence, all working together, we would not feel safe enough to even fathom stopping the fight. What I'm trying to say is THANK YOU, thank you for protecting us even when it's hard. Thank you for fighting for us even when we're not grateful. Thank you!

I will climb in my bed tonight and listen to the rumbling of the thunder and the pounding of the rain and I can't help think that maybe that's how it felt to be there that morning, thundering sounds and a downpour of dust and debris. And then I will remember my precious sailors and soldiers that I taught the gospel to and how so many of them left for war within the year after that day and some of them are still fighting for my freedom and peace of mind to this day. My guess is that the sound of cracking thunder and pounding rain just might be similar to the sounds of the battlefield. Thank you my beloved friends, for fighting anyway!
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