I have heard talk and seen posts and articles comparing COVID-19 to the Spanish Flu. There is quite the debate about similarities and differences between the pandemics, but one thing that most can agree on is the wealth of resources we have now that didn’t exist in 1918. With all the uncertainty we are experiencing it is easy to let fear creep in. To help ease worry, anxiety, and to just improve mental health altogether we have a whole list of resources below to help. Unfortunately, you can no longer watch that “game” or go to that “party” so maybe you have 10 minutes to try a new meditation app? Or maybe you download a new online video course to learn a new skill set? (more…)
Several months ago I attended a funeral for a bright blue-eyed baby that fought his hardest for his 12 days of life. His incredibly strong parents shared a quote by Washington Irving that has stuck with me since.
“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not a mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition and of unspeakable love.”
Long story short, my husband and I have struggled to start a family. It is no major surprise since it seems to run in the family, but struggled nonetheless. After almost a year of trying, the little stick finally showed two lines – pregnant! My immediate thought was “this is too good to be true” and “it can’t be this easy for me.” I could feel myself becoming over the moon excited for a baby to come this summer.
I repeated the whole pee on a stick thing six times just to really confirm the first positive test. Six times. Just one day after the positive pregnancy test, I had a crib picked out, four pregnancy books bought, a list of my top five favorite boy and girl names written in sharpie (sharpie is a big deal for me), and my eight-week appointment set. I was ready for this baby.
My husband left to go out of town for a week for a work conference. That very day I started to feel a bit off. Over the weekend I started to have some symptoms that are typical for the first few months of pregnancy but also overlap with some symptoms of miscarrying. This being my first ever pregnancy, I had no idea how to tell the difference. I made it through the weekend and on Monday met with my doctor and learned that I miscarried. Devastation started welling up in my eyes and tears began pouring out of me.
My husband was 1,800 miles away. My parents were over 2,000 miles away. And, since I parked in the wrong parking lot, I had to walk almost a mile to get back to my car. Balling my eyes out. Washington Irving’s quote came to my mind and this salty water coming out of my eyes started to take on a whole new meaning.
Lessons from my tears
- Tears are sacred. The tears that were continuously streaming down my face were in respect and reverence for our little family’s loss. We were overjoyed at the thought that we would be starting our own little family. The tears were not just salty drops coming from my eyes because of my hormones or because the nurse that drew my blood said something insensitive, but in respect for what could have been. We could have had a child together this summer and knowing that it wasn’t going to happen was overbearing. My tears meant something. My tears are sacred.
- Tears are powerful. My husband has not actually cried since his grandmother passed away over 5 years ago. He’s been teary while watching a Nicholas Sparks movie or two but has not legitimately cried since 2014. As I listened to him cry over the phone I did not associate his tears with weakness. All I could think about was the power that comes with becoming a parent. Granted, parents are not perfect, they are human and make mistakes, but regardless of those faults, parental power carries some major weight. His tears over someone he had never even met yet showed me the power of love that can come with becoming a parent. Tears are powerful.
- Tears speak. I had a kidney stone a few months ago and I shed many tears as that little sucker was making its world debut. There is something definitively different between cries of physical pain versus cries of emotional pain. Instead of my kidney bursting, my heart ached like it had never ached before. I already loved that 5.5-week, sesame-seed-sized, little human and the thought of never getting the chance to meet him/her was too much that all I could do was cry. I love the segment in Irving’s quote “[the tears] speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.” I didn’t need someone to give me a bunch of advice, nor did I need to explain to everyone how I was feeling, I just needed someone to sit and cry with me.
I used to think that if I was not physically hurt, then crying was not needed – that it was a time that I just needed to “suck it up” and move on. I have learned that tears are not only meant for scraped knees or kidney stones, but for emotional pain too.
Starting at the beginning of this month I have been writing down three things that I am thankful for everyday. I didn’t have all these amazing reasons of why I started, I just started writing in hopes to jumpstart the holiday spirit in my life. (And yes, I am one that starts listening to Christmas music and watching Hallmark Christmas movies in October).
Also, in the back of my mind, I knew that I had read several articles listing the benefits of doing so and I thought “why not test it out?” My goal is to write 3 things that I am thankful for each day. My standard for the items I write down isn’t high, I just want to get something down on paper EVERYDAY; consistency is key.
Each morning I write in the corner of my journal/planner “I am thankful for…” Doing that each morning just sets my focus to look for things that are good in my life. Some of the things I have written down include “crockpots” “cozy socks” and “the gym” just to name a few. These are not earth shattering items that should make me jump for joy, but just recognizing small highlights each day has definitely increased my positivity.
I had a crazy week of taking care of two family members and I was starting to feel stretched. I was bringing dinner to two different houses, other than my own, and was not feeling all that positive. When the power went out as I was leaving the house for work, I realized that my dinner would not cook and so I called an audible and dumped everything in my crock pot and brought it to work to cook for 8 hours. Instead of looking at the inconveniences of my day, I looked at the positive. I was thankful for crock pots, especially the kind that have a lid that locks to prevent spillage.
Do you have that one thing that just makes you feel like you have your sh*t together? Maybe it’s when your nails are done? Or when your laundry is washed, dried, and put away all in the same day? Or when your bed is made prior to you walking out the door? Whatever that “thing” is that makes you feel put together, writing a few things down each day that you are thankful for can give you that feeling that you have it altogether. When I feel like I have it together, I tend to hold my head a little higher.
I feel like my confidence wanes when I compare what I have to others. I look at what I don’t have and immediately feel less than. So-and-so has a pinterest-esque house. So-and-so has the cutest family. So-and-so has this and that; it can go on forever. BUT, since I have been writing my thankful three each day I have been busy looking for all the things that I do have in my life that I haven’t paid much attention to what I’m lacking. That doesn’t mean that I never compare myself, but it has lessened this month and my confidence has increased because of it.
Raise your hand if you are the person that lays down at night and starts to list the to dos and/or list what didn’t get checked off that day and has a hard time falling asleep because your mind won’t turn off. Well put that hand down and maybe try taking a few minutes before bed to jot down a few goods you have in your life. Instead of thinking of what you need to do, your mind is being directed toward things that you are grateful for. This can help settle that mind of yours, instead of ramping it up, so that you can get some sleep!
I used to be a list maker prior to heading off to bed in hopes that it would set me up for the next day, but I’ve learned writing my thankful three and reading a few chapters is the best sleep routine for me.
Three things a day. Just give it a try for one month and see if your positivity, confidence, and sleep are boosted. Each morning make a note to think about people, events, food, etc. that you are thankful for and finish your day off with writing what has come to mind. Maybe this will help jumpstart your holiday spirit?
20 girls. 7 female leaders. 2 male leaders. 1 houseboat. Many lessons learned. (more…)
I just got back from trek. Trek is a church activity that spans a couple of days. Teenagers along with their adult leaders dress up in pioneer clothes, put their very few items that they can bring in a 5-gallon bucket, toss the buckets in a two-wheeled handcart that they then pull for miles each day to hopefully help them understand just a tiny bit of what the early pioneers felt as they walked across the plains to get to Utah in the 1800s.
As you can imagine, most teenagers are not excited to throw on their bloomers or khaki pants to pull a wagon for several days in the summer heat, and I was feeling that same way. I realized the night before that I cannot have a bad attitude going into this because that will not help the 200 teenagers that are going to be dragging their feet. I thought to myself that I am going to smile and learn something!
I am glad I changed my attitude. I learned a few lessons from trek that I thought I’d share.
Make unexpected happenings into an Adventure
By the second day of the trek everyone was pretty worn-out. We had walked 15 miles in 2 days and we all just wanted to sit and relax at our campsite. We had just trekked into camp when we see the darkest clouds making their way over to us. Seagulls were flying all around in a frenzy which made all of us begin to panic, and just like a switch that gets flipped on and off, the rain was flipped on, and it was turned on HIGH.
Huge raindrops, loud thunder, and intense lightning came for us. We had 3 easy-ups that had been set up around our food area and it was a race to attach the side panels to create a more rain resistant shelter. One of the amazing youth leaders was running from side to side attaching the Velcro with the biggest smile on her face. She came back under the easy-up with her hair stuck to her wet face and her arms raised up in the air shouting “this is an adventure!”
If I was her, I’d have slumped back under the easy-ups with nothing but negativity. I would be focused on how wet I was and how dinner preparation was not going as planned, but this amazing leader took a completely different approach. Instead of being down-trodden she was excited to figure out how to prepare dinner in a different way than was planned.
Dinner was made and it was delicious.
I know it is so hard to have a good attitude when plans don’t go as we expected, but there is so much good that comes when we see “Plan B” as an “adventure” rather than a “back up.”
Wearing the right shoes is imperative for support
We had a sweet girl that decided to wear boots instead of her trusty tennis shoes and it showed by the end of the first 8-mile day. Her feet were covered in blisters. A member of the medical team we had there even said that she may not be able to trek the next day. Needless to say, she had a whole lot of duct tape and moleskin on her poor feet.
Yes, the combat boots went better with her floral skirt, but the tennis shoes would have been able to give her the support that her feet needed. While I was trekking along I was thinking about support systems as I was thinking of this poor girl’s feet. If we surround ourselves with the support system, we can avoid a lot of hurt.
My mind instantly went to the movie MEAN GIRLS. When Lindsey Lohan, the main character, hangs around the mean girls she just ends up getting burned over and over again. She finally learns her lesson and surrounds herself with her family and people that care about her. Now, life will not be easy, but we can definitely lessen the amount of blisters we get on our feet depending on the support of our shoes.
make the unexpected into an adventure! No more sitting around and ruminating over the changes – embrace it. Also, make sure to surround yourself with a support system that will prevent the blisters, rather than cause them.