What I learned about myself…

This last Monday brought my 12-week anniversary of not working. I know it seems a little strange to call it an anniversary -but by definition an anniversary is a “recurrence of a date marking a notable event” (Thanks Merriam-webster dictionary). And thinking over everything that has been and happened in the past – it defiantly was a notable event – at least for me. So, after thinking about it for a little while the thought occurred to me that in my time away from work, I have learned stuff about myself. Not all was new, some just had been put away for so long that they seemed to have been forgotten.

So here are few things I have learned (or re-learned) about myself:

  • I love sleep! Where before it seemed to be a waste of time, I now have a renewed affection for it. Probably helps that I am actually sleeping now.
  • I need a list to keep track of the date and my to-dos. I have always used a list to help me keep track of what needed to be done, but now I rely on it even more to get stuff done. Since I have more time, I seem to lose time…I don’t know – It’s hard to explain.
  • I am enjoying my daughter more – especially with homeschooling.
  • I love to read! When I was working, I was reading all day. Op reports, doctor/nurses notes, rad/lab reports. By the time I would get off at the end of the day I was read-out.
  • I still don’t have enough hours in the day to get everything done.
  • I look back and am amazed at how much I was able to do when I was working.
  • I find that I am happier and have more optimism for the future.
  • I want to be a better wife and mother.
  • I look at being a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) as my job. And I want to do it to the best of my abilities. Sorry I am not a feminist – and that brings me to…
  • Trying to make my husband’s life easier. He is the bread winner in our family and works long hours.

If you were ever able to change your situation – what things do you think you would learn about yourself?

Dawn

Living with Fear

Worried about life?

If you are paying attention to anything going on in the world right now you are probably a little bit stressed by it. Just looking at headlines for the day you can pick up stress reading about war, gas prices, inflation, food shortages, political drama, lasting effects of the pandemic and natural disasters. Not to mention wondering who’s gonna win the Stanley cup, and any extra stress that may be spurred on by your own political beliefs. Sigh. At least hockey’s fun to watch!

All of these topics – and many more – tend to weigh us down. Leading us to ask questions like “Why is life like this?” or statements like “I just want it to be like it used to be.”. That would be wonderful wouldn’t it. I remember December 2019, we heard of a new virus far away from us but life was normal, then. We enjoyed the holidays and one of my last memories before the shut downs is of our family going to junior hockey games. We went out with friends and were enjoying ourselves. Just weeks later everything was shut down and everyone was scared of each other. The time lost and the feeling of loss is sad and sometimes overwhelming.

In times of stress, fight or flight takes over. You either fight thru each day, making it the best you can, or you find that it is too much to bear, and you simply ignore it. Both have their pros and cons. Fighting makes you stronger in the end, but the constant stress can leave you worn out. When you are in flight mode you are ‘mentally stable’ (for lack of a better term) but when you are in your own little world you can be blindsided when something happens.

So, what to do?

A couple years back I went thru a bout of burnout. After weeks of depression, I came across 2 Timothy 1:7 during my daily reading “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” This helped enormously. I kept that saying in the back of my mind and slowly I got better.

So, how can we not have a spirit of fear when life makes us fearful?

  • Don’t ignore it. It, like the pandemic happened. Ignoring it doesn’t make it go away.
  • Find a healthy way to release tension. Exercise, hobbies, reading, watching a movie, play with your kids/animals.
  • Don’t obsess. Just because the news is available 24/7 doesn’t mean we have to watch it 24/7.
  • Remember life is still moving forward. Whether it seems like it or not.
  • Make a plan. What can you do? Being prepared, even a little can help you feel more in control.

I hope this helps. Have a great day!

Dawn

My Journey

As a medical coder I have witnessed disease, neglect and abuse. It still amazes me what and exactly how much people will do to themselves and others.

I have also coded my share of death charts – those are where the patient dies in the hospital, and the coder puts that the patient has expired as the discharge. It’s very final, it affects you, it affected me deeply. And every time I had to assign one it affected me a little more, one patient in particular, affected me much, much more than all the others. I think it will always be with me.

I went through bit of depression after that account. It had pushed me over my limit, and I was burned out.

After months of self-care I was feeling better. I was still burned out, but able to cope. It was in that time that I came to the realization that I was meant to do something else. And after months of prayer and meditation I felt God working in me. Not to just help me feel better but pushing me in a new direction to something better.

I hadn’t always been affected by accounts that way. Becoming a mother had changed me, I had a lot more empathy than I used too. Where there used to be just numbers for an account, now was a person. I don’t even know when it changed in me, it was slowly over time. And the wall that I had built up to keep me “safe” from internalizing the information, was slowly being eroded.

Please don’t think I am attacking the medical coding profession. I’m not, for many years, I enjoyed it. Maybe if I had been able to be in a different type of coding job, I may still be there. It is a good profession, that gave me a lot of opportunities, and experiences, But I changed. And after years of guilt and frustration, I now know that that’s ok for me to change. I want more. My experiences that I have enjoyed and endured have turned me into who I am. I have changed, I will continue to grow and evolve. And that’s ok.

With this new feeling that there is something more out there for me, came fear. Fear of the what if. I had always been the responsible one, the one that did what she was supposed to. But now, instead of thinking of what I am supposed to do, I am thinking of how I want to be. I want to be happy. I want what I do to interest me and grow with me. To be more than just a job.

My journey has led me here – talking to…anyone. I am taking Gods wonderful grace and throwing in a good dash of optimism that what I say helps, maybe even making just a little bit of difference.

Making a day just a bit brighter. A chore a little bit easier. Or life a little less complicated.

I hope you have a wonderful day!

-D

Who are you? – living intentionally

Looking at my own life and the challenges I have faced, has brought me to the realization that I need to be intentional with my life. What direction do I want to go? Who do I want to become? What can I do or start now that will help me get there?

I have always done things because it was what I was ‘supposed’ to do. My father used to say that I was the peacekeeper in the family. I would load excess amounts of work or responsibility on myself just to keep peace in the family.

I have also just gone with the flow. I never made a plan for my future; it was always what I needed to do at that point in time. And on the very few occasions when I did make a plan for the future, I may have been for good reasons to do what I did, but it wasn’t what I truly wanted and, in the end, it left me feeling unfulfilled.

And now, as I am looking at a milestone birthday, I am wondering what all the peacekeeping and lack of planning has brought me to.

So, the question stands – How do you lead an intention life?

Here are some ways that I have used and will be using to help lead an intentional life.

  • Have a heart to heart with yourself – reevaluate who you are, we all change with time – a little self-reflection never hurt.
  • Having a hard time? Reflect on your past of what made you happy
  • Clear the clutter – from your mind, home, emails
  • Reevaluate what you want in life and what’s important? – a big house, new car, freedom to travel, time to play with kids, etc.
  • With all of your to-dos – make ‘you’ a priority
  • Write down what you want – remember this is about you, not everyone else
  • Be aware of what you do and why you do it
  • Make choices that move your life in the direction that makes you happy, find your purpose/your goal
  • Remember sometimes it’s hard
  • Every day choose to live intentionally

I also need to keep reminding myself that it is a process that takes time. Getting to where I want to be won’t happen overnight, it will take some work and patience.

Have a great day!

-D

The FEAR of starting something new

In the next few weeks, I will be looking at moving this little blog forward, I enjoy it – I hope you do also – and am looking to see how far this venture will take me. But with all that excitement and anticipation comes fear…

Have you ever had to start something new? If you had been the one to instigate the change, it came with anticipation and excitement. If it wasn’t your idea, the idea can bring on so many emotions that they are hard to decipher. Fear being the biggest of all.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines Fear as: an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger.

Well, I don’t know about danger, but how about unknown…

Maybe looking at the reasons why we fear can help us move past it, or at least be better able to manage it. Here are some of the most common ‘Fears’:

  • Fear of the unknown – what will the outcome be, loss of control
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of shame or what I consider to be the dreaded “I told you so’s”
  • Fear of wasting time or money
  • Fear of success

I will admit, for myself, every one of these is a valid fear for me. Let me explain:

I am losing my job that I have held for over 12 years. I have decided that instead of working for someone else in a job that I no longer felt any personal accomplishment from, that I was going to try to make it on my own by doing something I love. I am putting my future into my hands (fear of the unknown), what if it doesn’t work out (fear of failure)- what will I do then because I am investing all these resources into it (fear of wasting time and money)? And I can just image what my family and friends would think and say because they already think I am crazy (fear of shame). But what if it takes off and I can’t keep pace (fear of success)?

So how do we overcome fear?

  • Pray/Meditate
  • Figuring out/defining what you are afraid of
  • Fear is uncomfortable, many people rush through and make mistakes because they don’t like the feeling.
  • Reevaluate expectations and adjust them
  • Don’t overthink – having a plan is good, but don’t let your brain get in the way
  • Jump in headfirst – Scared?! Oh yeah, sometimes the best thing to do is just jump in.
  • Remember failure happens and even if you fail, you will learn something, maybe even something about yourself that you didn’t know.
  • Pay attention to how you feel
  • Make a plan/goal – if they are too big, make smaller ones to get you to those big ones
  • Realize that procrastination is fear
  • Allow yourself to daydream
  • Life happens – sometimes it’s not always forward motion, sometimes you have to back up, just don’t stop.
  • Reevaluate goals
  • Give yourself reasons to overcome
  • Find a cheerleader

I can imagine there are many other ways people have overcome their fear. How have you overcome yours?

-D

Thankful and Encouragement journals

Thankful and encouragement journals are great ways to help you stay positive and focused on what’s important in life.

Thankful and encouragement journals

A couple years ago I went through some burn out. I became very cynical and felt that I had lost my hope. I felt stuck. After a little time to just be – I started my thankful journal. I honestly think that, besides Gods good grace, the simple act of taking 5 minutes every day to look for something that I was thankful for helped me the most during that time. Not long after that I started an encouragement journal. Somewhere I could go to note things that made me feel a little better.

I hope that if you are stuck, one, or both of these ideas may help you.

Thankful Journal

A thankful journal is a great way to spend a few minutes everyday reflecting on what happened and looking for something good to dwell on. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

  • Somethings I am always thankful for (my God and my family), and so those don’t get wrote in the journal unless something very special happens.
  • Set a minimum number of items to be thankful for each day – I look for 3
  • Give yourself enough time to think about it.

I write in my thankful journal at the end of the day. That way when I go to bed, I am already reflecting on all the things I am thankful for. I will admit, there have been days that it is really hard trying to think of 3. Those days are when I have truly noticed the little things that really get me thru, and that in any other circumstance I would not have noticed.

Encouragement Journal

An encouragement journal is just that, a place where you can keep things that encourage you. It can be anything, verses, quotes, song lyrics, doodles, pictures, notes, recipes, comics – whatever you want. It can be anything that gives you a little bit of inspiration and motivation. It’s very personal and individualized to you. It is for things that will give you encouragement, no one else.

My journal is divided into 2 parts. One part I keep bible verses, while the other is for sayings and quotes. It really has helped – especially lately – to be able to pull it out and find something that helps lift my spirits and gives me motivation to move on. And to help me realize that I’m going to be ok.

Have a good day!

-D

How to prepare yourself and your budget for tough times

What do you do when tough times hit? Do you freak out, get mad, agitated, or distraught? Well, whatever happens in life it’s much easier to live through if you have a plan.

Everyone – at one time or another – goes through a tough time. Whether its a loss of job, divorce, death, move, or any other hundreds of issues. It’s hard, but being able to have a plan helps. Here are a few things to think about – budget wise and personally – when that happens…

For your budget:

  • Allow yourself time to let the circumstance sink in – give yourself time to let the shock wear off
  • Reevaluate budget
  • Start living on a skimmed down budget – put anything extra into savings
  • define wants vs needs
  • Anticipate bills and save for them
  • Make a list of needs – medications and food comes to mind, but it could go into paper products, even resources for interviews (travel costs, etc.).
  • Stop buying what you don’t need
  • Cook at home using staples (rice, beans, potatoes, and pasta can help stretch a budget)
  • Shop sales/use coupons – only buy what you use
  • Stop paying for services you don’t need
  • Ask for guidance – have a penny-pinching friend? – ask for some advice

For yourself:

  • Like for the budget – allow yourself time to let the news sink in. When I found out I was losing my job it felt as though I was grieving
  • Keep a positive outlook
  • There will be fear – and that’s ok
  • Talk it out – I actually felt better after talking about it, if anything write it all down
  • You will feel out of control – think about what you can control, and focus on that
  • Boost your confidence by listing your strengths
  • Remember what you are thankful for
  • Ask for help
  • Pray, read your bible (or something else that gives you hope)
  • Just think – maybe God’s trying to teach you something or change your direction
  • Remember hard times always end
  • Find your center – I found that meditation helps
  • Feeling overly stressed – go for a walk, take a hot bath, or listen to music

What would be something that you would do, or have used in the past, to get through a tough time?

-D

A Yearly Bucket List

A bucket list is usually for things that a person wants to do before they die, but a yearly bucket list can help you enjoy some of your goals well before hand!

I am not much of a fan for New Year’s resolutions. Most start out with great expectations and intentions but usually only last a matter of weeks – if not days! So, instead of going to all the trouble of making a resolution, trying to get myself excited about it/start it, and then the inevitable crash and burn, I decided to try something different. Instead of what I want to start in the New Year, it’s what I would like to do during the year. My very own yearly bucket list!

Here are some of the items on my yearly bucket list:

  • feel completely and fully ready to move past losing my job (I am almost to my severance date – just a little longer)
  • work on spiritual health
  • work on/grow blog (I have lots of ideas for the future – I hope you stay around and enjoy them!)
  • spend more time on homeschool to-do’s
  • get back into nature and b/w photography AND work on photography for blog – it has definitely thrown me a curveball (all the photos so far on the blog have been mine – they are ok, but I know I can do much better – I have great amount of anticipation of how much better the photos will be.)
  • have FUN – lots and lots of fun – I won’t have a job I don’t like holding me back
  • me time (I have heard the term, but very rarely use it…)

What do you think? What items would you have on your yearly bucket list?

-D

INTRODUCING Morning Chat – January 3rd!

I want to invite you to visit ‘Morning Chat’, that will begin on Monday, January 3rd. It’s where every Monday morning I’ll grab a cup of coffee and sit around chatting about what’s going on in my world, give you insight into the coming weeks posts, and keep you informed of anything and everything new that’s coming up. I will also answer any questions anyone has and give shout-outs to anyone contributing. So, grab a cup of something wonderful and join me!

You work at home…you got it easy

Ever heard those words from someone? I have heard them many a time. Some may not actually say it, but you know that’s what they are thinking because of the way they act.

I used to find it very upsetting and extremely insulting when someone would tell me that my job was easy. Most the time they have no idea what I do. Even if they do, most hadn’t actually done the job. So after a long time – I’m talking years – about hearing this, and a lot of prayer and soul searching. I finally made my peace with it. And how was that you ask? I just let it go.

Really…just let it go. What I came to realize was that it was my problem, not theirs. They had come to the conclusion that I had it easy by something I had said, or done, or implied. It was their perception, even if it wasn’t true. Yes, there are other factors that can influence someone’s perception of you, most of us have self conceived beliefs that aren’t going to change, or will only change with a large amount of work. I recently came across an article that said that someone forms an opinion of you with in the first 7 seconds of your encounter. That is completely crazy to me. 7 seconds. We are such complex and diverse creatures that it seems mind boggling to me to think that someone I barely meet will decide if I am “suitable” within such a short amount of time.

I think it baffles me because I try not to judge, I figure it’s not my job – I’ll leave that to God, He’s smarter than I am anyway. I also wouldn’t characterize myself as a people person, but I try to figure people out. Anyone can have a bad day, I have had my share. I wonder how many people have judged me negatively because I am tired, stressed, worried, angry, or frustrated with all that I have on my plate. Which led me to be preoccupied, and made me come across a different way to someone? In their mind maybe I was haughty or rude.

Someone’s perception of you can make you look better also. A few years ago I was talking with a coworker and a topic came up that I had just recently read about and I mentioned it. They thought about it, shook their head in agreement and asked how I got so smart. My answer was simple, “I read.” In their eyes I was probably an intellectual, even though all I did was discuss an article. After thinking about it a while, I also came to the conclusion that someone can form an opinion of you by the way you hold yourself. Confident, crazy, stressed, snooty, a mess? I am sure that with in just a few seconds you could bring to mind someone to fit into each of those categories. Maybe that’s not who they really are, but that’s how people perceive them.

I guess what is comes down to is that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. If people want to believe that my job is easy, there is probably very little I could actually do to change their minds. And when it really comes down to it the people that are most important to me know the truth. I know the truth.

I hope you have a really wonderful day!

-D

What am I thankful for?

Have you ever stopped and reflected on what you are truly thankful for?

Today I wish you and your families a Happy Thanksgiving!

I think we all have at one time or another in our lives, stopped and took a count of what we are thankful for. Usually its after a health scare or car accident. Sometimes even a near miss gets you thinking about the things that really matter, and what you really are truly thankful for. Though I believe in counting my blessings everyday, this year Thanksgiving is a time of contemplation and reflection along with being thankful. It has been a long year, and I believe it’s gonna get better from here.

Here are a few things that I am truly thankful for this year:

  • God, Lord and Savior – Jesus Christ. He has always been with me. Relying on Him gives me the comfort and peace to continue.
  • My husband – who may drive me crazy every now and then, but will always have my back and he’s my biggest support.
  • My little girl – that reminds me to laugh everyday
  • My dog and ducks – they literally give me a reason to get up every morning.
  • My health – it has been a long year getting to where I am now, but its getting better
  • Losing my job – I know, sounds kinda crazy, but it has truly helped me understand what I want in life – not just a paycheck.

What are you thankful for?

D

5 things I want to do today…

With all the things you have to do, have you ever wondered what it would be like to do something you wanted to do everyday?

My daily to-do list is long. Lately it has become even longer, fall garden clean-up, prepping ducks for winter, blog posts (I know I did that to myself), even preparing for an upcoming surgery makes a busy time even more exhausting. It is fall after all, I love fall. I love the cool, crisp mornings, leaves changing colors and comfy sweaters to be pulled out of the closet. But by being so busy I’m not really enjoying it.

And that, has got me down. Looking at all I had to do made me wonder, what are 5 things do I want to do today? Want, that’s a funny idea, right? Usually it comes down to need, I need to work, I need to get my daughter going with school stuff, need to go to the store, feed the dog, and the ducks, and the husband, and the kid, oh yeah, and me…hey look a bathroom break and family is calling, need to do errands, showering is usually helpful and you need to sleep…if you can. Busy, busy. So where does want come into play?

In reality most of what I need to do I enjoy. I enjoy teaching my daughter, I like going to the store and spending time with my animals. Hey, I used to even enjoy working…sometimes. So, I figured 5 small things to start out with, may at make me feel like I have a bit of a handle on life.

So what do 5 small things look like?

  • coffee on the deck while watching the sunrise
  • read my devotional
  • go to the bathroom/take a shower uninterrupted (if your a mother, you understand)
  • go for a walk
  • my husband taking over kid duty so I can cook dinner

How about you? What are 5 small things that you want to do today?

Life lessons from my ducks…

Back in March we brought home 4 fluffy little ducklings, and a whole new world opened to us. Just a few days after we brought them home we lost one – Lovey – she started having seizures. We found out later that sometimes this happens, and once they start, there is really nothing you can do. Last week, unfortunately, we lost another – Love. (My daughter named both of them) He started thinking he was top duck and well, the other 2 which are almost twice his size, didn’t like that idea.

Other than losing the two, in heartbreaking circumstances, we have truly enjoyed them. And after a very long, trying day they can give quit a bit of entertainment and a good laugh. Here is a quick list of some of the things we have learned from our 5 short months with ducks!

  1. Drink lots of water
  2. Eat a varied diet with lots of fruits and veggies (I’ll skip the bugs-yuck)
  3. Dance!
  4. Be inquisitive
  5. When your happy – show it (wag your tail)
  6. Try new things
  7. Hang out with friends
  8. Dig deep for what you want
  9. Smile
  10. Walk and run (or waddle)
  11. Take a plunge
  12. Don’t be afraid to get your feet (or beak) dirty
  13. Snuggle
  14. Look out for predators
  15. Call for help when lost
  16. Keep clean
  17. Sometimes you have to fluff yourself up
  18. Chase what you want
  19. Just let stuff slide off your back
  20. Make new friends
  21. Stretch
  22. Take each day – one day at a time
  23. Have your own opinion
  24. Listen (ours likes Enya)
  25. Run to someone safe when you are scared