Saturday, July 25, 2015

I think I want a do over.

I recently started reading "Do Over" by Jon Acuff.  This is coming to me at such a great time.  I don't have kids' activities to run around for.  I don't have a spouse who expects meals on the table at a specific time.  My time is my own.  And I really want to take advantage of this season in my life to pursue a lifelong hobby.

I'm not going to spell out the book word for word.  But it explains that as kids, we knew we had the power to yell "Do over!" and we'd try again.  Why can't we do that still as an adult?  If you want to read this book when I'm done with it, let me know!

The good news is it's never too late to declare a Do Over. [Jon Acuff, "Do Over", page 19]
I also recently joined a really positive group on Facebook called "30 Days of Hustle."  It's more than 14,000 people who are 'hustling' towards a goal.  Their goals are anything from learning sign language so they can communicate with their deaf toddler to learning a new skill that makes them more marketable in their careers.  They spend their free time learning these skills for a purpose.  And I've joined them.

I've always enjoyed writing and have decided to learn more about freelance writing.  My hopes are that I can improve my writing to a point where I'm earning some extra money doing it.  My initial financial goal is to save 3-6 months of living expenses (Dave Ramsey's Baby Step #3).  But ultimately I want to be contributing more to my retirement (Dave Ramsey's Baby Step #4); I just feel like I've been lax on this up to now and I don't want to struggle to survive in retirement.

My HUGE goal is to replace my current income with my own freelance writing career.  I don't expect that to happen the day after tomorrow.  But I'm willing to work at it for a few years.  I want to know if I can own my own business and survive at that.  But even if I don't ever feel comfortable living off that income alone, it should be an excellent side business to help me save up for specific things that are important to me.

So if you know anyone that has a website that needs a blog... If you know anyone who needs a website with excellent content to drive customers to their site... If you know anyone who needs articles or editing or any other writing support, pass on my name... or pass their names on to me.  I'm willing to take them on as a client to build my writing repertoire.

Friday, July 24, 2015

I like coconut frosting.

I've had a relatively bad day.  Sure it could have been a lot worse.  But heck, I was only going to the office for four hours and then running a few errands.  It should have been a GREAT day.  So what the heck happened?!

I spent all day Monday working on this data analysis project.  To be honest, I've spent WEEKS working on this data analysis project.  Hours upon hours!  But this was to be the last day (or so I thought) that I'd be dealing with this data analysis project.  I was scheduled to teach ERP Tuesday through Thursday.  But my data analysis project bled over into my ERP training time.  Shocker!  My fellow instructor hates it when things like that happen and they seem to happen every time I'm scheduled to teach.  And he makes me feel bad for it every time, like it's my fault that I'm over-extended at work.  But that's not my point.  My point is, I worked 12 hours Monday and ten hours both Tuesday and Wednesday.  I worked exactly eight hours on Thursday.  And the plan was to go into work for four hours today to finish a few things that I wanted to clear from my desk that I didn't get the chance to do all week.

First, I had several classes to add to the Master Schedule.  It's not important what that is, but it is important that I needed an NMCI PC to get it done.  I have one sitting on my desk now... but for whatever reason, it won't allow me to update the Master Schedule.  I tried all kinds of things to make it work.  Still no luck.  Very frustrating.  I swear I must have rebooted that thing a dozen times.

So I stuck with processing course evaluations.  It's a boring way to spend four hours in the office, but it has to get done and no one does them but me.  So I did them.  They're done now.  All seven of them.  "Yea, me," she says with mock enthusiasm.

I expected my short, but productive day to feel good.  It didn't.  I was frustrated and bordering on angry all morning.  I couldn't wait to get out of there and get on with my personal errands that were sure to improve my day.

So I drove the interstate to Washington, listening to contemporary Christian music that I could sing along with.  I had plans to deposit my check, make a payment on my dwindling medical bills, get my hair cut, and get another gel manicure.  Lucky for me, my stops to the Credit Union and the Hospital went as planned.  But that's where the joy ended.  I don't like my haircut; it's too short and spiky.  And I don't like my manicure; she got polish on my fingers and it's not all that shiny and even.  What a waste of time and money.  But it doesn't stop there!  I went through the drive-thru at Long John Silvers to grab lunch.  And wouldn't you know it, as I was pulling out of their parking lot, I spilled the entire box of food onto the floorboard of my car.  What the heck was that all about?

I'm telling you, I couldn't wait to get home and just surround myself with bubble wrap and something lovely in my oil infuser.

And then I saw it.  The last piece of coconut cake.  Actually, I think it might be a white cake, but it had coconut frosting.  I ate it!  And I loved it!  I didn't drop it.  I didn't get any on me.  It didn't make me sick.  None of those things.  It was just lovely.  The absolute best part of my day!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Blue Skies for Two Months Straight

It's been two months.  Two full months since my last depressive episode.  I LOVE that!  I can't tell you how good that feels.  And honestly, May 19th seems like more than two months ago.  The difference between how I feel today compared to the way I felt on May 19th is hard for me to even quantify.

On a scale of one to ten, May 19th was a one; today is a ten.

Yeah, polar opposites.

I don't know that I've been doing anything in particular to maintain this emotional stability.  But I'm going to keep doing what I've been doing to try and stay right here.  Light right here emotionally, is pretty darn good.

Remembering where I was a year ago doesn't even bring me to tears anymore.  I'm doing that well.  And I'm oh-so-appreciative, oh-so-blessed.

Lord, thank You for the break from the depression.  I humbly ask for another two months.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Blue Skies

A couple of months ago, I started using weather pictures to describe the way I felt.  Check out this post, and this one, and this one, and this one, and this one.  So today... lately, that is... would be sunshiny blue skies... with flowers!

I haven't had a depressive episode since May 19th.  And I feel GREAT!  Even though we've had inches of rain lately, wind, lightning, flash flooding, and power outages due to nasty weather, my mental and emotional health has been full of sunshine.

I wish I could take credit for it, but I'm not completely convinced that I can.  In addition to taking my anti-depressants, I've been saying daily prayers that speak specifically to my depression and feelings of total darkness.  And I've gone back to taking my doTerra supplements.  I've recommitted to hitting 10,000 steps every day.  And I'm reading my bible most days; my plan is to read the New Testament this summer.  I'm also reading Jon Acuff's "Do Over", which is all about getting a do over in life, possibly changing careers and such.  It's very positive and offers hope.  Maybe those things are working.  Maybe I'm just lucky right now and my brain chemicals are behaving themselves.

I've also taken on an old hobby.  Writing.  And I think it's doing me good.

I used to write all the time.  I'd write journal entries or blog entries, or I'd start writing a novel... that I'd never finish.  I've started several novels that I never finished.  Mostly I did it because I enjoyed it, not necessarily to make money off of it.

But lately, I've been drawn to writing of a different sort... freelance writing.  I've found a couple of free online courses.  I've found a supportive Facebook group.  And I'm learning how to go about writing for money.  Not only is it keeping my mind sharp... and busy... and distracted.  But I figure I can knock out Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps 2 (paying off all debt except the mortgage) & 3 (saving 3-6 months of living expenses) with the money I make.

I don't know exactly what's keeping me on the sunny side of emotional health right now.  But I'm here to tell you, with a smile on my face, that you couldn't PAY ME to stop the prayers, the supplements, and the research and exercises in writing.  Pray with me that this season lasts for quite some time.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Find the Time

I don't even remember how I came across it now.  But I'm doing a Jon Acuff challenge called #DoSummer2015.  It's all about finding a task you want to focus on and improve on.  And stop telling yourself you don't have the time. He's only asking for 15 minutes a day.  That's it, just 15 minutes a day... for three months.  By the time you're done, you'll have 1500 minutes (or 25 hours) under your belt doing what you really wanted to do.

Jon Acuff writes about finding the time, if you'd like to hear it from a professional.

I think this might have started out as a way to better yourself as an employee or make yourself more marketable... by choosing a skill you wanted to enhance.  But I honestly wanted something NON-WORK related.  So I chose walking (which will be good for my mental and physical health) and bible reading (which will be good for my spiritual and emotional health).

We started June 8th and won't finish until we get to September 8th.

If you'd like to see more about #DoSummer2015, click here.  I love it when I have a chart I can update everyday with my progress.  Just like I like it when I have a list of things to do and can cross things off that list.  I don't know, maybe I'm strange that way.

At any rate, find the time to do something to get you closer to the person you want to be.  And enjoy it!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Daily Supplements

In an effort to do what I can to stay healthy, even when I don't feel like it, I take a multitude of supplements.  I believe in doTerra's products and am currently taking their Lifelong Vitality Supplements (the first three items listed below).  In addition, I take the GX Assist and PB assist each for ten days each month to maintain colon health.  They also have a metabolic blend and a women's blend that I take daily.  Read on for more information...

Microplex VMz® 

dōTERRA®'s Microplex VMz® Food Nutrient Complex is an all-natural, whole-food formula of bioavailable vitamins and minerals that are deficient in our modern diets. The formula includes a balanced blend of essential antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E, and an energy complex of B vitamins presented in a patented glycoprotein matrix. It also contains food-derived minerals of calcium, magnesium, and zinc and trace minerals for optimal bone and metabolic health. Microplex VMz contains dōTERRA's Tummy Tamer botanical blend of peppermint, ginger, and caraway to calm the the stomach for those who may have experienced stomach upset with other vitamin and mineral products. Microplex VMz is encapsulated using sodium lauryl sulfate-free vegetable capsules, does not contain wheat or dairy products, and does not include any animal products.

Alpha CRS®+ 

dōTERRA® Alpha CRS®+ Cellular Vitality Complex is a proprietary formula combining potent levels of natural botanical extracts that support healthy cell proliferation and lifespan with important metabolic factors of cellular energy to help you live younger, longer. Alpha CRS+ is formulated to be used daily with xEO Mega and Microplex VMz® as a comprehensive dietary supplement foundation for a lifetime of vitality and wellness.

xEO Mega 

dōTERRA® xEO Mega Essential Oil Omega Complex is a unique formula of CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® essential oils and proprietary blend of marine and land-sourced omega fatty acids. Omega fatty acids help support healthy joint, cardiovascular, and brain health, support healthy immune function, and have been shown to help mediate healthy inflammatory responses in cells. A single daily dose of xEO Mega provides 1000 milligrams of marine lipids with 340 mg of EPA and 240 mg of DHA and a blend of plant-sourced essential fatty acids. xEO Mega also includes 800 IU of natural vitamin D, 60 IU of natural vitamin E, and 1 mg of pure astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant carotenoid harvested from microalgae. The bioavailability of the xEO Mega formula is enhanced through a nanosomal lipid assimilation system.

GX Assist® 

dōTERRA®'s GX Assist® is a proprietary combination of Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils and caprylic acid that help support a healthy digestive tract by creating an unfriendly environment for potentially harmful pathogens that can disrupt digestive immunities and cause digestive upset. GX Assist is formulated with therapeutic-grade oregano, melalueca, lemon, lemongrass, peppermint, and thyme essentials oils that have been demonstrated to have in-vitro antimicrobial properties. GX Assist also includes caprylic acid that has been traditionally used as for its specific health-supporting properties in the gut.

PB Assist®+ 

PB Assist®+ Probiotic Defense Formula is a proprietary blend of pre-biotic fiber and six strains of probiotic microorganisms in a unique double-layer vegetable capsule delivering 5 billion CFUs of active probiotic cultures and soluble pre-biotic FOS (fructo-oligosaccharides) that encourages culture adhesion and growth. The time-release double-capsule delivery system protects sensitive probiotic cultures from stomach acid. PB Assist+ supports healthy digestive functions and immunities and is safe for use by all members of your family.

Slim & Sassy Softgels 

Slim & Sassy Softgels contain dōTERRA’s proprietary Slim & Sassy essential oil blend in convenient softgels to promote weight loss in a healthy, natural way. The flavorful blend of Slim & Sassy contains essential oils known to help manage hunger throughout the day while boosting metabolism and promoting a positive mood.

Women's Phytoestrogen Complex 

dōTERRA® Women Phytoestrogen Lifetime Complex is a blend of natural plant extracts that support hormone balance throughout the different phases of a woman’s life. Phytoestrogen Lifetime Complex includes a standardized soy extract with genistein, a powerful phytoestrogen that binds with estrogen receptors in cells, and the natural phytoestrogens in pomegranate. It also includes and concentrated extract of flaxseed lignans to help manage potentially harmful metabolites that are produced when estrogen is metabolized in the liver. Balancing hormones and managing harmful metabolites by eating a healthy diet rich in phytoestrogens and other essential nutrients, exercising, and managing weight can help reduce uncomfortable symptoms associated with PMS and the transition through menopause and supports healthy bones, heart, breast tissue, and other body structures and functions as a woman ages. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Daily Prayers

I have several prayers that I pray every day.  The intention was that when I was depressed and not feeling well... when I didn't actually FEEL the words... I would say them anyway.  But I try to pray them every morning.  I thought I'd share a few here.

Prayer in Time of Despair (St. Ignatius of Loyola)

O Christ Jesus,
when all is darkness
and we feel our weakness and helplessness,
give us the sense of Your presence,
Your love, and Your strength.
Help us to have perfect trust
in Your protecting love
and strengthening power,
so that nothing may frighten or worry us,
for, living close to You,
we shall see Your hand,
Your purpose, Your will through all things.

Anima Christi (14th Century Prayer)
Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds hide me.
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee.
From the malicious enemy, defend me.
In the hour of my death call me.
And bid me come unto Thee.
That I may praise Thee with Thy saints
and with Thy angels
forever and ever.

Act of Abandonment to the Will of God
(St. Josemaria Escriva, The Way of the Cross)
My Lord and my God: 
into Your hands I abandon the past and the present  and the future, 
what is small and what is great, 
what amounts to a little and what amounts to a lot, 
things temporal and things eternal.  

Act of Hope
O my God, 
relying on your almighty power 
and infinite mercy and promises, 
I hope to obtain pardon for my sins, 
the help of Your grace, 
and life everlasting, 
through the merits of Jesus Christ, 
my Lord and Redeemer.  

Prayer Before a Day’s Work
Direct, we beg You, O Lord,
our actions by Your holy inspirations,
and grant that we may carry them out
with Your gracious assistance,
that every prayer and work of ours
may begin always with You,
and through You be happily ended.

Prayer of St. Benedict Joseph Labre
Eternal Father,
Through the Precious Blood of Jesus,
have Mercy.
Console us in our moment of
need and tribulation,
As You once consoled Job, Hanna,
and Tobias, in their
And Mary,
Comforter of the Afflicted,
pray and placate God for us,
And obtain for us the grace
for which we humbly pray.