Category Archives: Odds and Ends

The Basics for 2019

I’m no good at graphic design, and I don’t know anything about symbols. But today, I’d like to share with you an image that has been a picture in my mind for over a couple of decades. Maybe you’ll let it help guide your 2019 health. When I was about 20 years old and far away from home at college, I hit a really hard time in life. I was imprisoned in a deep, disgusting, scary chasm with sides jutting straight up to the sky, and my feet and legs were mired in a bottom of black, sticky muck.

I knew deep in my heart that I would get out of there, that I would pull myself out. I knew I would have a future, a good one. I knew I would make that happen. I had faith in my long-term vision, but on a given day, it was so hard to see past the despairing, dark moment I was living in. Somehow, I observed that when I ate right, slept right, exercised, and prayed, I could deal with the emotional and psychological mess that was my life. But I had to do all those things together.

At that time, sleeping right meant simply that I went to bed at 10 or 11 o’clock at night, and I woke up at 6 or 7 o’clock in the morning, depending on class schedule. No more all-nighters. Eating right meant that I kept my meals to three meals a day contained on a plate, and I sat down to eat them, rather than binging through the kitchen. Exercising meant that I went to a gym and got my heart rate up for 20 minutes a day. And praying meant I talked with God (usually whining or crying or yelling): in my car, before meals, and before bed.

I started to pull out of the dark, sick mess, and I could feel moments of good and happy. With time and persistence (and people willing to help), I left the lowest, stickiest, sickliest point behind. I could look down and see where I had been. And I PROMISED MYSELF I WOULD NEVER GO BACK THERE. Ever. And I haven’t. I won’t.

Since then, the details of what it means for me to “eat right, sleep right, exercise, and pray” have changed, but the fact that I must be diligent to all these areas has not budged one bit. If I hit a stressful point in life now, I think of this image and ask myself if I am doing what I know needs to be done in each area. Usually, I’m being lazy in one of these aspects.

Happy New Year’s Day to you! I wish you the best. You CAN do it! Pull your head out, keep stepping in the right direction, move back in the right direction when you’ve danced off course, and get your life and health where you want them!

Look at your basics. Are you even doing them? If not, DO THEM. Make 2019 the year to be accountable to the basics.

I wish you the best.

Terri F

“Bomb the House” and Other Christmas Wishes

Photograph, public domain, PD-1923, by Dupons Brussel

I wish for toothspit that didn’t run down my wrist when I brush my teeth– and all kinds of other impossible things! I thought we deserved a little saucy humor (Saucy, not racy. Click away, dear, click away.) to turn up the corners of our mouths this last Friday before Christmas!

I wish everyone I love, and everyone I’m learning to love (Boy, why are some lessons so long?), a wonderful Christmas! If you’re on Earth, then you’re worthy of being here. (At least, that’s what my counselor and Good Book told me, so I’m going with it…)

May your Christmas wishes come true.

Sleeves are the New Rags

Nordstroms, the 79 Sweater, from Nordstrom’s website

I wish women’s clothes designers kept drooling toothspit, dirty dishes in sinks of dirty dishwater, and gas burners in mind when they designed their newest fashions. On second thought, maybe the designers are covertly mocking women. “If they want to do dishes, cook food, wipe off the table, or even brush teeth, let’s just put the rags on the sweater for them!” And we fell for it. And paid for it.

How Many TVs and Microwaves Do We Need in a Lifetime?

I wish when my microwave broke and I called to have it fixed, the salesman wouldn’t ask if I just wanted a new one. No. I don’t. I want my old one fixed. Imagine that. It’s easy if you try.

Is the Internet down? Or Is It My Head?

I wish the internet was just attached to my head. I pay bills on it. I sign up for the kids’ music and sports activities on it. I take continuing education courses on it. Coaches communicate with me on it. I renew licenses on it. I plan vacation on it. Then, if my head wasn’t working, I could just blame it on the internet service, which never seems to work at my house no matter the internet provider. 2019, anybody?

Keep the Microwave. Bomb the House.

The Great Fire of London, with Ludgate and Old St. Paul’s, painting, public domain, sourced from Wikimedia Commons

After having kids, I do wish I had a disposable house. It was really pretty once. But I don’t know what that spot is. Or that one. Or this one. That one is green smoothie. (Kale is good for kids but not the carpet.) Those ten or so are black coffee. All my fault. I take the blame for those. Over there? Too embarrassing to say.

I don’t know what happened to that light fixture. Or that door handle. Or that window. Let’s not even talk about, much less look at–and definitely avoid sitting on–the couch.

Let’s just pack up the microwave and a few belongings and torch the place. “Bomb the house!” Picture us just escaping through the front door together as a family, with the blazing brightness of a house in flames silhouetting our narrow escape…

Closing

I have more. Oh boy, do I! I was just getting started. But this is all I have time for this Friday morning. I’ve got to go work on my lessons (remember back when I started, how I mentioned some lessons were really long–and hard?!). And see if my slouchy sweater unravels when I cut the sleeves off. I mean, I have WORK to do! I might try holding my toothbrush at a new angle today, too. And the house…

Have a wonderful Christmas. I love life, and I love finding ways to appreciate and learn from everything it sends me. That is my Christmas wish for you. That you can learn to embrace life and find ways out of the burning house. There are ways. There are beautiful things and beautiful people everywhere. You do not have to stay stuck.

Merry Christmas!

Terri F

For People Angry at the World (Probably Geared More to Christians)

Sometimes I get really angry at the world. Then, I remind myself that I don’t understand much. And what I think I understand, I eventually find out that, really, I did not understand.

But each day, I think I do understand that I can do better, be better, and love better in ALL places of my life and heart. Because I have been shown how by the story of One who chose to love all people and follow God’s true path, the path that humans had lost sight of, despite the cost. And my anger starts to fizzle.

I don’t understand Him. I don’t understand many of His words and their depth. They honestly confuse me. But sometimes, when I “do it right,” I feel it. I feel something right and different. And I like it and want more.

And when I mess up, because He said so, I know I can get back to that place. That place is never one of self-righteousness, achievement, or condemnation. It’s one of utter humility, oneness, and love of the people around me. I don’t always feel it (Oh, don’t I!), but I’ve felt it. And I like it. And I want more of it. So I seek His ways. And when that right feeling is given back to me, I know I’m on the right track.

Merry Christmastime to you. Eat well. Live well. Forgive yourself. Forgive others. Seek wholeness. The God who heals, fulfills–and replaces anger.

Your health is where your heart is. Explore your heart.

Terri F

 

Image attribution: Gerard van Honthorst – Adoration of the Shepherds (1622). This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1923.

For a Mother Who Finds Mothering is Taking a Toll on Her Health

Mothers don’t have time for self. They don’t have time to chew (their food). They don’t have time for exercising. They don’t have time for God. They don’t have time to take a shower. They just don’t have time.

Motherhood is hard. And while I hear those words tossed about so often, I really, really don’t think that as a society we respect and internalize that truth. Maybe because so many women do it. Maybe because moms listen to each other’s stories and think, “Yep. I do that, too. Yep. I have that, too.” Maybe because we forget as our kids grow up into adults just how hard it was.

For too long we’ve belittled the frustration of motherhood and the toll it takes. It IS a big deal. It IS a huge, overwhelming job. I completely empathize with you! I’m there with you! Look yourself in the mirror today and say, “I AM doing a HARD job.” And then smile at yourself and say, “I can DO this HARD job. I LIKE this hard job. It IS a job like no other. And NO other woman can do this job for my household like I can.”

While I know that motherhood is hard, I know there are so many other women out there that have it harder than I do. Maybe harder than you do. And sometimes that is helpful to hear. It pulls me out of self-pity when I have one kid vomiting on the couch, one throwing herself on the ground screaming and sobbing because the neighbors cut the trees down, one walking in the door with a broken nose from gymnastics practice, and one asking what’s for supper. It helps keep me focused and motivated to remember these are passing moments, and others have “real” problems.

But, well, you know what? At other times, this only serves to drive home to me how frivolous and incompetent I am. Then, whammo, guilt monster, judging, and belittling set in. That is not productive, and it is not health-promoting.

We’re not here to see who can raise their kids better. Who can clean better. Who can cook better. Who can yell less. Who can do more and more while still raising kids.

Listen. Some of us do cook better. Some of us do clean better. Some of us are more patient. Some of us enjoy toddlers more than others. Some of us can work and come home and have energy to help with homework. Some of us can help teach Sunday school without dreaming of the game Whack-a-Mole at night. Some of us do love to shop with our kids.

But nobody can be YOU to your children. Nobody. Ever. So encourage yourself more. Let go of the judging and belittling of yourself and other moms. Find humor. Encourage another mom. Humor another mom.

You are amazing! You have a wonderful skill set! Embrace it! Love it! God did NOT make you like anyone else. Clean house or messy house. Food from the farm or food from the box. Introvert or extrovert. Medical doctor or GED. Award-winning kitchen designer or self-proclaimed artist.

Yes, I know that in motherhood you’re always interrupted! Interrupted you. That’s the story of a good mom’s life! For several years, you may be forced to give up WHAT YOU DO while you mother your children. Today’s world argues against that. For me, it was necessary to give up what I DO in order that I didn’t give up on WHO I am. Does that make sense? Doing too much robbed me of WHO I was. I was losing touch with myself.

Well, I’ll close. But today I would like you to consider if there are a couple of things in life that you might want to give up so you can be the mother and person you want to be. Maybe it’s as simple as not answering the phone when it’s that best friend who talks for an hour. Or maybe it’s the frequent trips to visit your sick relative. (I know that sounds very harsh.) Maybe it’s the extra class you’re trying to squeeze in.

I just don’t want you to lose YOU! And I also want you to have a great relationship with your children! As two of my children have entered the teen years, I am just so struck by how they are so amazing. And I’m so glad they like being around me and even confide in me at times.

And I know I am temporarily giving up a lot of WHAT I do. But because I have kept true to WHO I am, I know I can look forward to a future doing what I want to do. And doing it as healthy as ever, inside and out!

Have a super weekend!

Terri F

 

 

On Waiting Patiently for What You Want

When the hour comes, find it. Don’t let it pass. But don’t force it. Wait on it. Wait on it. Like waiting to make a left-hand turn at a busy intersection. If you wait patiently long enough, your opportunity comes. Ignore the honking of your brain telling you to, “Go. Go now.” You know the time’s not right. You’d be cutting it too close.

I’m waiting on the routine hour or two of writing time I had in the past for this blog to come back to me. I know it will when the toddler gets a little older and doesn’t need my hands and feet so much from morning to night. I’m waiting patiently and calmly on my “left turn.” I know it will come. Yes, I get a little resentful at times that carving out an hour to write seems to be impossible without throwing the house out of equilibrium too much somewhere else. But it will come IF and AS I am patiently and persistently waiting on it.

Is there a place in life where you need to be patiently and persistently looking for that nice interval to get back in the flow of traffic again? I’m waiting and watching with you. I won’t turn into traffic and crash, and I won’t wait for midnight to make an easy, but too late, turn. I’m on the lookout for that good, timely opening. It always comes if I’m looking for it.

I have been absent here simply because I cannot get to the laptop to research and write. Thankfully, everything in “our little box” (my home) is going refreshingly well, one of those few lulls that life gives you every now and then! I just can’t carve out writing time! I’ve tried staying up late. That didn’t work. I’ve tried going to the library. That doesn’t work. And so on. But, I’ll figure it out. And I hope, in nutrition, health, education, whatever it is, I hope you do too!

Don’t give up. Look for a way. Problem solve. Wait patiently, yet with a steady persistent vision.

Hope to write more soon! But only as traffic and my driving skills allow! Thanks for your vote of confidence in reading what I write. It is valued.

Terri

 

My Experience With Working and Homeschooling

For two years I worked as a physician (as a hospitalist, if you know what that is) and homeschooled. It was a crazy time of life for me, and I didn’t like the chaos. Some of my best friends with kids say that working keeps them sane. Or that it makes them better parents. I kind of wondered at first what was wrong with me. Why wasn’t I a happy and working mom? Or a happy working and homeschooling mom? Was I somehow weak or flawed? Was I just not capable of being a modern woman?

Nah. I know I’m as capable as the next man or woman. But I didn’t want to do it. Homeschooling, “mommy-ing,” and working concomitantly didn’t make my heart happy. It didn’t add to my life. I don’t like frazzle. I don’t like chronic chaos. I don’t like being spread thin. And, notably, I could not make the transfer from work to kids. In some ways, I feel more “man” in this regard than my husband (who is what I call “all guy”), who can walk in the door and be fully vested in us, granting hugs all around.

Not me! Me? Point me to the nearest man cave! After a 12 hour day of work back in the day, I was like, “I’d prefer it if I didn’t see anyone until the Queen (me) has bathed, fully supped, checked her written correspondence, and then, perhaps then, she’ll grant kisses on chubby little hands on their way to bed.”

WHOA! Who wants that woman for a mom? WHO wants to be that woman? Not me! I didn’t like that me! I’m a good, kind, loving, and compassionate mom, and I needed to create the environment that allowed the real mommy-me to shine.

So when people ask me, “Can you work and homeschool?” My answer is, “Of course you can! I don’t want to, but you sure can!” I thought I’d share myself as a case-study for those exploring this question for themselves. Perchance, by seeing some of yourself–or NOT seeing yourself–in me, you’ll be better prepared to answer the question with awareness of yourself.

Yes, this helps…

First let’s look at the properties of my life that allowed me to feel comfortable homeschooling and working for a while:

  • An exceptionally supportive husband
  • Very flexible hours
  • Kind co-workers
  • Only homeschooling one child at first, who was in her early years (kindergarten through about second grade)
  • I kept the curriculum basic and felt 90% free to adapt it to how she learned (which wasn’t how I wanted her to learn…).
  • Living in a warm climate which allowed lots of outdoor time
  • Good friends already in place for my kids to hang out with on weekends and evenings (These friends went to school and were not homeschooled.)
  • A strong homeschool co-op for activities as we wanted them and where we could (and did!) meet new friends when I wasn’t working
  • I sent one younger sibling to a wonderful morning pre-school which she loved, leaving just the baby who still napped, so we could homeschool during morning nap time on my days off.
  • My daughter was young enough to cooperate with some weekend and evening work if we didn’t get things done.
  • My female doctor friends from medical school encouraging me to follow my heart

Mmm. That doesn’t sound pleasant…

Now let’s look at the other side which really began limiting a positive homeschooling and life experience:

  • I was tired all the time and very forgetful. I physically felt bad and wondered what was wrong with me.
  • The part of me that needs alone time to recover was battered, raped, and abused.
  • Work called more and I could give less. I felt guilty because my co-workers were good people who worked too much themselves, and here I was telling them “no.”
  • My kids needed me more and I felt guilty.
  • My husband wanted me and he was last on the list.
  • Physical messes in my home affect me greatly and with me gone working, there were more physical messes.
  • The schoolwork started requiring more time and effort.
  • It just didn’t feel like there was time for the refrigerator to break, the air conditioning to need fixed, fleas to get in the house, doctor’s appointments, sick days—-in general, no time for life to happen.
  • Schoolwork didn’t happen well without me there to guide it or push it along. (I had a recalcitrant student who has now blossomed incredibly.) A sitter or grandparent just didn’t have the same effect as mom.
  • I had a toddler. Toddlers are very demanding.
  • I had a nursing baby.
  • I was perpetually irritable.

Why do I need this?

When working and homeschooling became more than I wanted to piggyback, then I stopped and looked at WHY I wanted to work:

  • I had loans to pay off.
  • Because I had put SO much effort into getting where I was at! Twelve years of my life and tons of delayed gratification!
  • I liked being a hospitalist doctor a lot. Taking care of hospitalized, acutely ill patients is usually very rewarding.
  • Work offered rhythm, constancy, and community. When I walked into the hospital, I knew exactly what to expect. (Yes, each day and patient was different! But the rhythm of the system was the same.)
  • It worked a whole different part of my brain than child rearing and housework, and that felt good. Kind of like a back rub for the brain!
  • To provide a sense of equality with my husband in our household. (I’m a wee-bit competitive.)
  • I felt respected and well-liked.
  • I felt it was a service still being asked of me by my God.
  • I didn’t want to be “just” a stay-at-home mom.

Maybe if…

I often sit around, just for fun, and wonder what would have allowed me to homeschool and work. I think maybe I could have done both if:

  • I had immediate family living in the same town
  • Someone else would have been as good as I was at getting my daughter to do her work
  • If external chaos didn’t faze me so strongly
  • If my life situation necessitated it
  • My husband had a knack for teaching young children
  • The kids weren’t so young
  • I could have lowered expectations in all areas of my life
  • Monkeys flew and unicorns swam

Closing

Many people find my little spot here when they are searching about homeschooling and quitting work. I liked working as a medical doctor, but once I had kids, the same overachieving, perfectionist, benevolent tendencies that allowed me to succeed in medicine are the exact same traits that demanded me to achieve success my way in motherhood. I wish I could have it all: work, kids, homeschooling, a happy me, a happy marriage, exercise, three real-food-meals a day, friends, a clean and tidy house, sleep, a well-decorated house, church, a new kitchen, a dog, a blog, flying monkeys and swimming unicorns.

But I can’t. For me, I decided I didn’t need professional satisfaction or resting on laurels. I did need to keep learning and sharing (so I study and write little articles for this blog on alternative health). I needed to know I could work if necessary or desired (so I keep my licenses up). I needed to know that I was providing safety, security, and a strong psychological, emotional, educational, and spiritual core for my kids (and me!!!!). I needed to have time to foster a relationship with my husband. I needed some semblance of order.

No matter what—I don’t need aeronautical primates or aquatic, horned equines that just don’t exist.

Good luck to you! It’s a “live, studio audience,” so feel free to ask questions or leave comments on your experience.

Terri

Photo attribution:  Sonarpulse. origenal:Huji [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Not that it matters, but I figure if you clicked to get my posts via e-mail or some other technological means, you might be a tad interested. Life has been exceptionally busy the last month or so and will continue to be busy through this next month. All good.

Writing and sharing are favorites of mine, so I’ll be back. (Uh, if you’ve been meaning to throw me in the spam box, better still go ahead and do it.)

Comments are still checked about daily and replied to fairly expediently.

Today, if there’s something you’ve been neglecting to do which you know makes you feel better inside, why don’t you go ahead and start back at it? Whether it’s a shower first thing in the morning, cutting out sugar, or daily exercise, get at it. Or maybe it’s making to-do lists, making your bed, or reading aloud with your kids. Could be 30 minutes of absolute dead silence or calling a friend to offer an apology. I don’t know what it is for you. But you do.

Recently a friend of mine told me that Botox-ing her wrinkles made her feel better.

Ha! I’m not sure about that one. I told her to start eating real food and exercising again. She said she’d think about it. She said she seemed to remember she felt pretty good when she did that last year…

Please do think about it.

You die with what’s inside of you. What’s in there? Are you happy with it?

Take care,

Terri