Month: January 2014

Don’t get me down …

One of my goals over the past several years is to not beat myself up over things, especially little things that I have no control over.

This has not been easy.

And, there are days where I definitely still struggle.

But, just over the past couple of weeks I’ve had some examples of me actually accomplishing this goal.

I recently made a mistake when reserving my car for my business trip. It was a pretty easy error to make, but kind of stupid. I could have let it completely ruin my whole business trip worrying about the slightly extra expense. But, I was able to shrug it off. It’s not something that I could fix. It’s definitely something I’ll be more mindful of in the future.

My handle on my suitcase broke when I got home to Nashville. Thankfully, there were some people in the airport who were willing to help me navigate my luggage from the baggage carousel to where I had to catch the shuttle. I haven’t figured out if it’s broken permanently or if something was preventing it from extending.

I left something in my rental car that will be annoying to replace. It’s not super expensive, but expensive enough that it wasn’t just something casual to lose either.

These types of issues run very deep. One of the reasons I hate carrying cash is that I’m so afraid I’m going to lose it. I remember one Saturday when my mother had given me a few dollars to buy bread and somewhere between home and the checkout line, I had lost the money and had to leave the bread at the store. I got in so much trouble that day for what was a very small mistake, and it was frequently brought up as an example of my “irresponsibility” — even years later.

I continue to work to fight against those old messages and show just how awesome I am.


Getting off track in working towards my goal

My goal this month was to write 25,000 words. Part of the process in getting towards that goal was to write a minimum of 500 words per day. 

So far, of the 28 days of the month, I’ve only successfully written 500+ words on 13 days. There were another 7 days that I wrote words but didn’t hit the 500 word goal. There were 7 days that I didn’t do any writing at all. 

I did a horrible job this month of “sitting in the chair”. 

I think I’ve produced some good work this month across all three blogs, plus some writing for other projects. 

That good work just wasn’t consistent. 

Add to it that I did a really horrible job writing while I was visiting Maryland for work. 

I plan on participating in Jon Acuff’s 30 days challenge next month, and again my goal will be all about writing. 

Being patient with the process

When I wake up in the middle of the night or early in the morning with a migraine, especially one caused by my neck being subluxed, there is a very specific process that I have to go through to get “better”.

  • I have to find Advil. This morning, that involved walking from my hotel to the gas station next door to get Advil.
  • I have to eat something. It can really be anything, but I have to eat something. Eating something with a migraine is pretty difficult, especially when the nausea is bad.
  • I have to wait until the food settles a little bit in my stomach.
  • I have to drink a bunch of fluid.
  • I have to wait until the advil settles a bit.
  • I can rest a little.

This is the process. Rushing any step in the process can cause more problems than the migraine.

I am not patient. There are days when I just want to grab the Advil as quickly as possible and get the migraine to go away.

I am not patient about a lot of other things in my life as well.

I want a quick fix to my pain.

I want a quick fix on my religious path.

I want a quick relationship fix.

I want a quick fix on my weight loss journey.

But none of these fixes are quick. All involve a process and a journey. And, some of them, like a quick fix to the chronic pain, may never happen. It’s my attitude about the pain that needs to be fixed.

On each one of these, I’m working through a process and trying not to jump ahead on any of the steps.

Thoughts on the Parable of the Rich Fool

I’ve been thinking quite a bit since I got back from Utah about the Parable of the Rich Fool from Luke 12, specifically Luke 12:19-21 …

19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

There’s also an LDS version of this from the Book of Mormon which I grew up hearing. From 2nd Nephi 28 …

7 Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us.

8 And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.

Right now, in many ways, I feel like I’m living the life of the Rich Fool. I’m choosing to live my life a certain way and to worship a certain way. It’s easier. I don’t feel conflicted all the time. I don’t walk around feeling like I have this cloud of guilt hanging over my head because I’m not “good enough”.

I had a conversation in Utah with someone whose opinion I respect a lot. She said some things about this life being short and eternity being long, but how important the choices we make in this life are for eternity. She also reminded me about certain promises and covenants I’ve made that I do take seriously.

I’ve struggled for several years with trying to reconcile my feelings and feel like I belonged where I was, and all it seemed to do is move me further and further away from God. For the first time in a very long time, I feel like my spiritual path is taking me closer to God. I’ve felt closer to God in prayer than I possibly ever have. I feel like I’m getting the knowledge from the Word that I’ve never received.

But, being on this path is taking me further away from the covenants that I made as part of my relationship with the LDS Church and that’s hard for me to acknowledge. I’m struggling so much with the idea that the path that seems to be taking me closer to God is taking me further away from the LDS Church.

My plan is to continue on the path I’m on and see where it leads. I hope that I will have acceptance from those in my life that I care about and love.

Book Review: Timebound by Rysa Walker #emptyshelf

Rysa Walker is a new author and Amazon had her book listed on the free or almost free list, so I thought I would give it a shot. It had pretty good reviews, and the only downside if I didn’t like it is what I would need to delete it from my Kindle.

Thankfully, I liked the book a lot. The book is the first part in a series (the other books haven’t been released yet). It’s a good stand-alone book, but also sets up several plotlines for future books well.

The book’s main protagonist is Kate. She is a teenager living in the Washington DC Metro Area who attends a fancy prep school and splits her time with her divorced parents.

The book has a very strong sci-fi feel and is all about a group of genetically linked individuals who can operate time-travel equipment made in the future. A handful of those people have been travelling back to the past to change history in nefarious ways. Kate and her grandmother are working to prevent these changes from happening and protect the future.

My only main criticism of the book is that at times the “changing of the timelines” and how that affects certain people’s story arcs is a bit confusing. In one “timeline”, Kate has a relationship with another person that can time jump that is treated throughout the book as very important but then hastily explained towards the end of the book. The grandmother’s fate is also confusing.

Also, maybe it’s my Mormon sensitivities shining through, but the cultish church in the book feels eerily similar to Mormonism. I’m not sure if that is Walker’s intent, or if I’m reading too much into it.

If you haven’t read the book The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson about the Chicago World’s Fair and the serial killer that was killing women at the time of the fair, I recommend it before reading Timebound. There are some plot points in Timebound that made much more sense knowing the backstory about what was happening during that time.

The book would be a good read for an older teenager, especially one interested in history. There’s just enough romance and passionate feelings expressed in the book to make it lively, but not enough to make it a romance read.


My choices tonight

As my afternoon progressed today, I was trying to decide what to do with my evening.

Prior to leaving for Utah, I was spending most my Mondays training at the gym. But, the gym workout for tonight was “Lower” and that’s not how I wanted to kickstart my week. I signed up for Tuesday’s upper class, and I’m excited about that choice.

My other option was to attend my small Lifegroup.

But, as the afternoon wore on all I really wanted to do was crawl into bed and read my book. I know when I get these thoughts, it’s important to listen to them. Since moving to Clarksville, I have been pushing myself to ignore them and “be social”, “go out and do things” … but, I’ve also paid for that with my autoimmune issues kicking my butt on more than one occasion. I’ve had the flu twice this winter. I really don’t want to get the flu again or push myself too hard that my muscles start reacting negatively.

I scoff a bit at the phrase “self-care”, but as an Introvert I’m conscious of when I do need downtime.

Starting on Friday, my life is going to be full of very little downtime for 8 days. I’m going to be on an airplane — never a great experience for me. And then I have plans with a friend in Baltimore once I arrive in Maryland. Saturday is our big holiday party with all of my coworkers. Sunday will be a day of rest in more ways than one. Monday & Tuesday, I’ll be working from our Maryland office. That always involves a lot of interaction. It’s really great to be in the office, but also draining. On Wednesday, I’m spending my day with one of my clients — followed by a dinner that night with the same client. Thursday, we’re doing a big happy hour for our clients and friends. And, on Friday, I get to get back on an airplane. Oh, and I’m also sleeping in two different hotels, driving a car that’s not mine, and having to deal with DC traffic on at least two of the days I’m in town. It’s going to be a great week, but it’s going to be a long week.

Also playing into all of this was that I had a pretty blah week last week. It wasn’t really horrible. Nothing bad happened. But, it was a great week either. Client work was slow, which I hate. I billed more time to “admin” / nonbillable time than I like. Because of the weather, I wasn’t able to see my chiropractor early in the week, so my pain levels were really high — including a headache that was constantly aggravating all week long. Because my pain levels were high and also partially due to the weather, I didn’t make it to the gym, which was disappointing. And, I was feeling the blah feeling I get anytime I leave Utah after an extended stay.

So, tonight, when my body and my brain said “rest” & “read a good book”. I listened.

How we choose to live with illness

In between all the tweets about the Golden Globes, my Twitter timeline was literally blowing up tonight about a certain issue.

Some background:

  • Lisa Boncheck Adams is a woman in New York living with Stage 4 breast cancer. She often tweets and blogs about her daily life, treatment she’s receiving and other issues.
  • Emma G Keller is a writer for The Guardian. She wrote this article about Lisa’s use of social media. She compares Lisa’s use of social media to funeral selfies.
  • Bill Keller is an opinion writer for the New York Times. He also happens to be married to Emma G Keller (previously mentioned). He wrote this opinion piece over the weekend about Lisa’s use of social media and her “fight” against cancer.

I believe that Lisa has every right to not only seek out any treatment that can help her live and to document the process in whatever way she wishes.

My biggest problem with the Bill Keller opinion piece is his comparison between Lisa’s fight and his father-in-law’s choices about cancer — as if one is better than the other.

I have been criticized in the past, even by some close to me, for sharing too much information about my health struggles. In reality, what most people don’t realize, is that I only share a fraction of what I deal with every day. I try to keep my social media channels upbeat and not full of negativity when some days being negative and a big grouch is all I feel.

I also have chosen, at the moment, to live my life medication free. I could be on a whole pocket of pills for the pain, muscle cramps, acid reflux, digestive issues, poor moods related to the other issues. Instead, I’m choosing to live a medication and pill free life. This is my choice.

Does it mean that the pain is higher than it could be if I was on something stronger than Advil? Yes. But, I don’t like what pain medication does to my brain so the pain is a better trade off.

Does not being on anti-depressants mean that my moods are a bit more variable than they would be if I was on pain meds? Yes. But, I was tired of dealing with the side effects of the anti-depressants — including the weight gain — and also feeling like I needed to be on something to live a normal life.

However, I know many people with EDS and other conditions that cause chronic pain, mood issues and other programs and I applaud their efforts for getting the treatment they need to make it through their day. I feel so bad when I hear stories about medications being taken off the market or restrictions being put on medication that makes it harder for people to get treatment they need.

We all have the right to face life and death in whatever manner we choose. If anything comes out of the discussion over Emma Keller and Bill Keller’s pieces I hope it is that there is no right or wrong way to deal with illness.

Getting a DAR application together

One of my projects for this year is to put together an application for Daughters of the American Revolution.

This is a little tricky because I’m eligible for DAR through my father’s line. There are actually two patriots that I’m related to. Because of the adoption when I was three where my birth certificate was changed and my father was listed as John Robert Reed, this is a little tricky. I have to collect evidence that shows I am the daughter of Vernon Benton Leonard.

If Lee were still alive this would be a little easier because he could submit an affidavit that I’m his daughter.

I also have to provide other evidence that links Vernon (Lee) to his ancestors.

The following is the list of things I need:

  1. Dated copy of Lee’s obituary where I’m listed as his daughter
  2. Affidavit from my half-brother confirming Lee as my father.
  3. Certified copy of Lee’s death certificate.
  4. Death certificate for Lee’s father — Vernon Benton Phillips — from California.
  5. Death certificate for Amos Williams Phillips — Lee’s grandfather — from Oklahoma.

There may be other secondary things I need to prove my link to Lee.

The cool thing is that once I get Lee certified as a descendant of a patriot, my half-sister and half-brother could also use that. While my brother obviously isn’t eligible for Daughters of the American Revolution, he has a daughter and granddaughters who could apply in the future.

My biggest challenge with the #emptyshelf challenge

In 2014, I’m committed to reading more books. Jon Acuff challenged folks to empty a shelf and put all the books they read in 2014 on to that shelf.

My biggest challenge with the #emptyshelf challenge?

People keep posting awesome books that I want to read.

Right now, these are the books that I’m either in the middle of reading or are high on my priority list to read:

  • Body of Work by Pamela Slim
  • 1913 (a book about the year before World War I)
  • Timebound by Rysa Walker (It’s a young adult book that is the first book in a series. The next book is due out in October).

I’m trying not to get new ideas from the #emptyshelf challenge Pinterest board.

Should I cut my goal in half? #30days

Yesterday, as part of the #30days to hustle, Jon challenged everyone to cut their goal in half.

My goal for the #30days to hustle is to write 25,000 words in January. To keep on track with my 500,000 word goal for the year, I should actually be writing more than 25,000 words this month. If I only write 25,000 words, I’m going to be behind and not on track to get to 500,000 by the end of the year.

I believe goals should be SMART, but they should also force you to stretch.

Could I write 12,500 words instead of 25,000 – almost definitely. But, 12,500 words is only about 400 words a day and would allow me to slack off and not necessarily write every day.

Between #30days to hustle and #my500words, I’ve already written almost double what I wrote in December and we’re only 10 days into the month.

One of the other interesting discussions on the #30days to hustle facebook group is people that set up goals to do something every day — like read the scriptures, write or some other activity. It’s interesting to see the discussion about whether they should just do something every other day or somehow change up their plans.

For now, I’m going to stick with my goal of 25,000 words for the month. I feel like that’s attainable, but also a stretch.