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Welcome to my little haven of creative writing, passionate ranting, and thoughtful learning.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Essential Oils, Harry Potter, & Feminism [January Learning]

The first month of 2017 is at an end, and that means time for a collection of learning! Here's what I learned in the month of January.


1.) Harry Potter in Concert



There is a tour that brings the first Harry Potter movie to a screen with a symphony playing the soundtrack alongside the movie. It's coming to Columbus in March. It looks amazing.

2.) Some of my social media friends still have no idea what feminism actually is.

With the women's march taking place the day after inauguration I was shocked to see how many of my friends were posting that night and the next day about how they "don't need feminism" and are "so sick of feminists" and that "feminists do not speak for them."

Because I can't summarize it nearly as well, please enjoy this quote from Aziz Ansari:



3.) Essential Oils 

I started a small collection of essential oils, and this month have discovered how useful they can be. Diffusing lavender in the evening before bed helps me to feel calm and ready to sleep. Using tea tree oil on pimples (diluted with coconut oil) does appear to help them. Do I actually believe that a combination of 6 oils is the magic fix for a lack of motivation? No, but it also does not hurt and smells lovely.

4.) Doing nothing isn't an option.

Less than two weeks in office, and thus far Trump has "tried" to fulfill his campaign promises, and I'm not about to sit idly by and watch it happen. So from here on out, I will be participating in #takeactiontuesday where at least once a week I will be doing something to fight back. Because climate change is real, the government shouldn't control a woman's uterus, alternative facts are fiction, and this country was built on immigrants and religious freedom, to build a wall and ban the Muslims is simply un-American.

2017 Goals Update:


I laid out goals for myself this year, and what better time to check in with them then my monthly learning post? Here's where things stand currently.

1.) Read 50 books!

Current Status: 



Also worth noting, I have a book type. Fiction, authored by a woman. So in an effort to mix that up, the book I'm currently reading is nonfiction authored by a man.


2.) Achieve and maintain goal weight.

Current Status: Losing. Weight. Sucks.
I'm an emotional eater who deals with stress, and feelings and rejection with sugar. However, I joined a gym, I'm tracking my weight, and in the month of January I lost 4 pounds. That's progress, no matter how small.

3.) Meditate daily

Current Status: This was way harder than I anticipated. I figured oh, a beginners meditation can be done in five minutes. If I had to guess, I'd say I've meditated approximately twice a week all of January. But February is a new month!

4.) Maintain Blog

Current Status: I set this goal and said to "maintain" the blog, I needed to post at least twice per month. Well, say hello to my sixth blog post this month guys, if there's a goal I'm currently crushing, this is it.

5.) Write!

Current Status: I think I needed to give myself some better parameters on this one. I've written blog posts, and hand written letters to friends. But I've not written one poem, or short story, or creative piece. So, let's refine this, once per month (11 times this year) I'm going to submit something to a journal/newspaper/other publication.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Self Care (when the world beats you down)


1.) Reach out to those hand-picked friends

The ones who won't give you platitudes like "It'll all be okay." The kind that will let you be pissed off, that will simply listen to you, validate your pain, and build you up. The ones who don't judge you for not being able to always be optimistic and plucky and "keep the faith." Those friends, the ones that let you be real, are the most valuable asset you have when the world is crushing you.

2.) Keep plans anyway

Even though the only thing you want to do is curl up in your bed with a glass of wine and pint (half gallon?) of ice cream. If you have plans on your calendar, keep them. Go out to see that movie with your spouse, keep that library date with your kid, go meet your coworker for lunch like you planned even though you feel like terrible company. Because as appealing as your bed is, staying there too long doesn't do anything to help you.

3.) Rock out

Listen to those feel good songs. It doesn't matter if your feel good songs are a collection of Avril from the early 2000's, musicals like Chicago and Moulin Rouge, rap, Weird Al, country, Taylor Swift. Whatever it is, listen to it. Enjoy it. Be transported by the memories that songs hold.

4.) List the good

When you're ready, make a list of the things in your life that are good. Everything, from your job, your family and friends, that book you just picked up from the library, the piece of chocolate you savored on the drive to pick the kids up from school. If it's something good, something that brings about positive emotion no matter how small, list it out.

5.) Rally

When you've taken some care of yourself, and when you can, rally. Scrape together every bit of anger, resilience, drive, stubbornness, and energy and push forward. Make your plan to fight back on whatever has been crushed.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Thanks Obama

My title is not sarcastic, and I didn't realize how thankful I was until the votes came in to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Am I saying it was a perfect system? Of course not. But now it's going away, and there is nothing going in to replace it. This directly affects my family, it impacts our future, and what kind of future we get to have.

Thanks to Obama, when Nathan and I were married in 2011, Nathan was able to remain on his stepfathers insurance. Our entire marriage, Nathan has been able to stay on good insurance, insurance that has effectively kept him alive. Insurance that severely reduced our burden when his Crohn's disease got worse, when he needed major emergency surgery, when he spent weeks in the hospital. It's no secret that we struggled financially in that time, that we barely scraped through when he was unable to work for nearly a full year. But when the medical bills came with scary numbers, like $53,000, our responsibility was reduced to closer to $2,000 or so.

Nathan is turning 26 anyway, so he would no longer be able to remain on that insurance, but this repeal brings a new issue. Insurance will now be allowed to discriminate based on a "Preexisting condition." Nathan has Primary Scholarosing Cholangitis, which is a rare disease that means his liver WILL fail. There is not an if, it is a when. We will live with and plan for this for the remainder of our lives, which let me just tell you, is a scary place to live. But now, will he even be able to get medical insurance? In May we had intended for him to get insurance through his work or to add him to my plan. Will the insurance companies accept him? Will they accept him and raise his rates so much that it will break our family?

Not having medical insurance for Nathan is not an option. As stated earlier, with him, it's not if something goes wrong, it's when. If we're unable to afford insurance and he needs surgery, those bills for $53,000 will no longer be reduced to a co-payment. They will be $53,000, which will end up in collections, destroying our credit, destroying our ability to buy a home, to provide the life we are willing to work to have for our son. We will become the family that sets up a GoFundMe account to survive.

I am afraid right now. I am afraid for what these politicians with their government funded insurance are deciding for my families future. And I am truly, fully grateful for the last 8 years where despite our medical trials, we at least did not have to worry about having insurance. Thank you Obama, for keeping my family alive.


Want to do something about it? Contact your local representatives:

http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?OrderBy=state 

Express any concern you have with removing the ACA without a replacement plan ready to be implemented.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Things I'm Loving {January '17}

Welcome to the first link up of 2017! Each month on the 15th I will be posting a blog dedicated solely to things I'm loving, things that bring me joy, and just adding a little intentional positivity to my little corner of the world.

If you're a fellow blogger, please be encouraged to join in and spend a little time thinking about what's happened in the month that's bringing you happiness!



1.) Muscle Memory

I finally got back into the pool this month, and was surprised at how quickly my body jumped back into  the movements and rhythm of swimming laps.

2.) Gratitude Journal

In an attempt to be more positive, there's a theory that you can retrain your brain to think less about the negative. so I picked up a journal that contains prompts, quotes, and reminders, and the idea is that each day I jot down things I'm thankful for. And honestly, I have noticed a difference by making the effort to notice something good, and take the time to write it into the book. At the end of every day, even if there are only two things noted, that's two things that made me thankful and happy.



3.) More regular yoga practice

I've written before about how much I enjoy yoga, but meetings and business and generally not making it a priority means it fell by the wayside. So far in 2017 I've gone to yoga sculpting class I've gone every week and the upcoming week looks good to make it for week three!

4.) Black Mirror 

It's a series on Netflix that's being hailed as the new Twilight Zone, which I used to enjoy watching with my mom. I'm almost finished with season 1, and thus far I'm finding it strange in a satisfying and addicting way.

5.) Reading Challenge

One of my goals for this year was to read 50 books, and having that goal has made me more intentional about finding the time to read. Thus far I've read three books, and I'm hoping to keep up this momentum, because exceeding my goal would be just peachy with me!



If you decide to join in, please add your link below! 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Honoring my Mom

My mom has been living in Florida for a few months now, a 16 hour drive for normal people, apparently a 13 hour drive if you're my dad. 

And as I've adjusted to her distance, and been able to visit her new home, I've realized how much I am like my mom, and how much that has become my goal.

My sister and I text my mom on a near daily basis. Her cochlear implant isn't fine tuned enough to allow us to call her on the phone, so we text, send pictures, and occasionally email. When something goes wrong, she's one of the first if not the first person I text. The same is true when something goes right. 

That's what I want.

Right now, that's easy. Jace lives in my care, I tuck him in every night and and spend the majority of my not working time with him. But what happens when he's 18, 21, 30 years old? I want to have the relationship with him (and any future babies) that my mom has worked hard to have with us. I want to be someone he wants to talk to, not that he communicates with out of obligation.




 Nathan is one of her kids now. There's no real distinction in how she treats him over her biological children, because when I chose to marry him, he became her son. He gets the same cheesy birthday cards and texts (actually, she's yet to forget his birthday, but she did once forget mine!). 

I intend to do the same.

I've written about it before, and I've told Nathan he better hold me to it: Jace's spouse will become one of my children. Welcome in my family, loved, and treated as one of my kids, complete with being embarrassed and hugged on.



Questions, no matter how awkward, uncomfortable, or strange, got an answer. Specifically, anything regarding sex. She made a very strong effort to let my sister and I both know that we could talk to her about anything, we could ask her anything, and we could tell her anything. The end result? I don't get backward and shy now talking about sex, or porn, or other tough topics. Honestly, I think that open dialogue with my mom is one of the things that helped me to be as transparent and honest as I am on this blog. 

So Jace, bring on the awkwardness. 

Is it going to be easy? I highly doubt it. I don't know what age Jace is going to come to me with questions about sex, or girls, or anything else, but I know that I'm going to do my absolute best to make sure he knows he can keep coming to me with his questions.



However she worked, she worked hard. For the majority of my life, my mom was a stay at home mom. I don't think I ever would have said my mom didn't work, because it was both her joy and her job. Our house was always spotless, dinner was always homemade, and she was so involved with us. When my sister and I were little, it was playing Play-Doh and coloring with us. As we got older the activities varied, but it was always clear that she intended to connect with us. When we got to school teachers asked where we had gone to preschool as we were doing so well, but we'd never attended preschool, we spent every day with mom. As teenagers, we had an unofficial family book club where all three of us would read the same book and discuss it. Would a 40 year old woman typically pick up a Harry Potter book? Probably not, but she read them, actually loved them, and held dialogue about them with us. Because they were important to us.

I pray for Jace to say the same.

I'm not a stay at home mom, but I work hard to be a homemaker. Laundry is done, dinner is cooked, family outings are planned, and I clean almost as regularly as my mom does. In my own experience though, I've also taken Jace to work with me. I've let him see my office and try to understand that each day I come here to earn the money so we have the food that I cook and the outings and vacations. I like to imagine that, even if he can't see it now, he's learning the value of work.

Finally, she takes her role of mom seriously. She taught me that a mom loves her children, no matter what. When I was a teenager, we fought, I screamed I hated her a handful of times, and dreamed of moving away from her rules. She wasn't my best friend as a teenager, she was the warden. Looking at it now, it was because she loved me. Because she wanted me to be safe, protected, and because she was doing the best she could at this whole "mom" thing that does not come with an instruction manual. And now that I'm older, I am grateful for it. I am so grateful for how I was raised, with respect, with a work ethic, for the priority she placed on time with her family. I'm grateful that no matter what my attitude, I never once doubted her loved and never doubted that I was wanted in her home and life.

I want the same for my family.

Sometimes, to be a good mom, I will have to be a mean mom. I will have to say no to parties, or activities, or events. I will have to enforce chores, limit screen time, and restrict access to websites and shows. Sometimes, my babies will tell me that they hate me, and if I'm doing the right thing for them, it will be something I can live with. Because my mom did it, and even if I didn't like it at the time, my mom was right. And I can be that mean mom, while still fiercely loving my child. 



So mom, thank you. Thank you for showing me what it truly means to be a mom: with selfless love, wearing hand me down clothes from your kids, driving to new states for college interviews, enforcing a curfew, making our home the place my friends always wanted to come hang out, being there to listen to my day, creating the Harry Potter dance, teaching me how to laugh at myself, and just being you. I hope it makes you proud to know that my mom goal is you. 



Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017: Flourish

Last year, I chose to persevere. That was my word and my intention for 2016, and despite it being another year of challenges, I did.

Things got hard, just as I predicted they would, in ways I couldn't have imagined. But I kept on, I didn't give up, and I truly persevered.

Thinking to 2017, I wanted more than that. I thought hard which word I wanted to use to define my year, and this is where I landed:

flour·ish
[ˈfləriSH]

VERB


  1. (of a person, animal, or other living organism) grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment:
    "wild plants flourish on the banks of the lake"
    synonyms: grow · thrive · prosper · do well · burgeon · increase · 

  2. (of a person) wave (something) around to attract the attention of others:
    "“Happy New Year!” he yelled, flourishing a bottle of whiskey"
    synonyms: brandish · wave · shake · wield · swing · twirl · swish · 

NOUN


  1. a bold or extravagant gesture or action, made especially to attract the attention of others:
    "with a flourish, she ushered them inside"

  2. music
    a fanfare played by brass instruments:
    "a flourish of trumpets"

Rather than spend another year just getting through, this year I want to flourish. I want to take what comes my way, meet it, and exceed what's expected from it. 


This year, I have goals, and I intend to put forth power to meet them.
1.) Read 50 Books 
2.) Achieve and Maintain Goal Weight 
3.) Meditate Daily
4.) Maintain Blog (Minimum 2 posts per month)
5.) Write! 

What goals do you have for 2017? What is your intention for the year?