I still act like a child.

We reset our priorities. We made a plan. We made less selfish choices.
It was amazing. Things were good. Kids were happy. We were happy.
Then there was that one day, that one day when I was tired, tired of not getting my way.
It was just a moment. A frustrated moment. I had done all my chores, made all the plans, fixed all the meals. I had paid the pills and fed the chickens. I had listened to stories and read stories, and broke up fights. I had entertained unexpected company because…well… the kids were excited to play with their cousins. I fielded phone calls and messages, fixed problems, boosted spirits, and comforted the broken-hearted. I played referee between an emotional teenager and … the rest of the world.
It was 9:30pm, and I finally had a chance to sit in my recliner and do something I WANTED TO DO. I’ve been working on knitting the same scarf since last fall. It was supposed to be a Christmas gift. Then a January birthday gift. Now, I’m sure my friend is just hoping she’ll get it one day. The stitch isn’t hard, but it requires paying attention.
Thirteen stitches in a child crawls up beside me.
“I haven’t had any Mommy/Bubby time in forever!”
I put the knitting down, hug him, and remind him that we had cuddle time earlier and that now it was bedtime. I tuck him back in, and say prayers again, and sing the song again.
As I walk across the kitchen, headed for my chair, the other teenager flings her foot into my face to show me that her toenail is hurting again….”it has been hurting me for DAYS Mom!”
You couldn’t have told me that DAYS ago, kid?
I was on stitch 13, right?
Knitting
Okay, let’s go find the clippers and hooky filey thingy and some antibiotic ointment and the band-aids.
10 minutes later, I’m headed back for my chair.
My Mr. turns off the tv and says it’s time for bed.
Um… no. It is not. I stomp over like a child about to have a tantrum and with all the force of The Hulk I press the ON button on the tv remote as if force would make it turn on faster. I throw the remote on the couch and plop down in my seat.
“What’s wrong with you?” he dared to ask.
Oh boy. My rant began. Everyone heard it. My childish, angry rant, went from “Why is it I never get to do anything I want” to “I’m sorry, I love being wife and mommy, I just wanted a few minutes to do something I wanted to do.”
Somewhere in there, I yanked my knitting off the table without paying attention, probably flinging it around for visual effect, and dropped two stitches.
Was it the last two I did, or the two I was about to do?
My Mr. eased onto the couch beside me. Found my favorite show on Amazon Prime and pushed play.
“Okay honey, we can knit.”
 
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Check out the new “Basically Clean Club“!

New Plan

Bad mornings, new game plan, and accountability. Wanna play?

I’ve been awake for almost two hours. The coffee and meds are doing nothing for my raging headache. My inability to determine what caused the headache is negatively affecting my attitude. The house is only a half-step away from being trashed thanks to a last minute dinner party for 12 that was thrown together at 5 pm yesterday.
Maybe that caused the headache.
Unfortunately, I’m an adult, with four children and enough animals to start my own zoo. This means I must get up, and get going.
But how do you get going when you were overwhelmed by your to-do list? How are you supposed to make a new plan when you’re head is pounding and your body feels like an old punching bag after a workout session?
I don’t know. I was hoping you did.
New Plan
I dug through my old day planner and found my “Mostly Just The Basics” note cards that I made years ago, when I first started getting sick.  They are a bit of an old standby plan that usually can pull me out of a housekeeping hole when my brain is on overload.
Each day is split into four parts: Morning, Around Lunchtime, Afternoon Before Dinner, and After Dinner. If I remember how I did the math, each section takes no more than an hour….unless I get on a roll, which happens, just not today.
Card “Day Three”:

  • Morning: Collect Dirty Laundry, Start Load Laundry, Bathroom Sinks/Mirrors, Porches, Dust Fan & Lamps.
  • Midday: Dry Laundry, Take Out Garbage, Empty Dishwasher, Make Beds
  • Afternoon: Fold Laundry, Sweep Floors, Gather Eggs & Wash, Quick Pick Up (living room), “Mop” Floors <–totally not what you think
  • After Dinner: Load Dishwasher/Wash Pots, Clean Counters and Table

Not too bad considering the kids can totally collect the laundry, sweep the porches, move the laundry to the dryer, do the bathrooms, take out the garbage, the teen emptied the dishwasher last night when she couldn’t sleep, make their own beds, sweep the floors, gather eggs, “mop” the floors, and I can fold laundry while re-binge watching House on Netflix {It’s too soon to re-watch Supernatural}.
What also helps is that I’m in love with my Norwex and it makes swiping the sinks and mirrors and “mopping” the floors super easy. But this isn’t a sales pitch for Norwex. I’m happy to tell you about it anytime, just message me!
That leaves me with: dusting the fan (they are too short, even with my Norwex wand), folding laundry, loading the dishes after dinner, and fixing them food.  That’s 3 things, and basic survival (food). I CAN do three things today. I’ll probably do more…. once I get going. But somehow knowing that if I start feeling that bad, they can do it, helps me feel less overwhelmed.
So why am I still in bed, sipping coffee and nursing my slowly waning headache?
Because no one is here to tell me to get off my backside. I need a friend, or 15, to cheer on and to cheer me on. Accountability Friends are what really get the “Just the Basics” plan going. Won’t you join me?
Hop over to the Polka Dotted Daisies Facebook Page and let me know you’re on the team and let me know what THREE things you’re going to try and do today! Feel free to copy my “Just the Basics” list above.
When we get 15 people on the team, we’ll have a contest for a team name!
For now, I’ll share a secret to how I feel productive while sitting on my tush:
I start laundry. BWAHAHAHAHA… the sound of that machine churning away makes me feel like I’m getting something accomplished, yet… I am doing absolutely nothing! So, first, I shall start the laundry. Let the delegating begin!  {Can’t wait to “meet” you on the page!}
 
 

It’s not me.

I can feel the crazy. The irrational feelings and thoughts. It’s like I am separated from myself, watching from the inside, while a hurricane of negative thoughts swirl around outside of me, trying to escape. Like a bee stuck in the car, banging at windows trying to find that one opening so it can get out, my thoughts are banging against my brain searching for a way out, a way to be heard.

Sorry not sorry, but dudes… you are not escaping. Not if I can help it.

Why? Because you are not real.

You are a product of some chemical that my brain just got a jolt of, a little too much of, or maybe not enough of, and quite frankly you are not making any dang sense. So before you do any damage, just chill your britches and wait.

I KNOW this is what’s going on because I finally have a few answers and a better idea of why I have been on a slow decline for years. I have a more detailed understanding of the immune system, and hormones, and histamines, and dopamines, and all sorts of other “-mines” and “-pines” and “-ones” and all the other things that work together and apart from all the other things that make our bodies work, or not work.

So I’ll evaluate what I ate. I’ll double check the medicine I took, or forgot to take, and the supplements. I’ll do my deep breathing. I’ll color. I’ll make a list. I’ll tell someone I love them. I’ll lie and say that today I am okay. I’ll wait, for it to pass.

It will.

I woke up this morning, still here to fight the good fight because the fight isn’t over. I know it’s not over because I woke up. God isn’t done with me, so I won’t be done with me.

woman wears gold colored blue gemstone pendant necklace

Photo by Anastasiya Lobanovskaya on Pexels.com

I don’t regret my tattoo.

Several years ago, after many years of discussions and sketches, my sweet husband took me to get my first, and only, tattoo. To say it was a big deal, is an understatement.

Even though I had friends with tattoos, and family with tattoos, there was something very taboo about me getting a tattoo. I knew people would be disappointed in me. I knew there would be people I would feel the need to hide it from. If it was going to cause that much grief, I wanted to make sure it was worth it. It had to mean something to me, something deep.

At the time, I was struggling with the idea that I was in fact a writer. Calling myself a writer, an author, sounded a little too real. It took me beyond just someone who happened to put words into sentences and let people read it. It implied I had a skill and that I used that skill intentionally to reach out and impact others. I wanted to believe I was a writer. I wanted to be confident in telling others, I am an author.

Part of my tattoo is a quill.

The other part, is a simple word, in one of my favorite fonts. It simply says, “Anyway”.

To explain the word, I generally point to the poem that Mother Teresa had on the wall of her children’s home. It’s titled The Paradoxical Commandments, written by Kent M. Keith in 1968.

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

It is so much more than that.

If you think you can’t play Barbies, play anyway.

If you think you can’t play Army Men, play anyway.

If you think you can’t learn something new, learn it anyway.

If you want to sing, but think you’re not good enough, sing anyway.

If you think you have something to share with the world, but no one wants to read it, write it anyway.

If they have given you absolutely no reason to love them, or even like them,

If they have brought you pain, and hurt, and to the point of anger,

If they have no clue the damage they caused, or are currently causing,

draw a line, create a boundary, protect yourself…but love them, forgive them, anyway.

 

For a while, tattoos were becoming popular and accepted in society. Employers don’t always make you cover them up. Few look down on others because of tattoos. Yet, I am seeing a trend returning where tattoos are being frowned upon, and I’ve read articles shaming those who get them.

I do not regret my tattoo. I won’t be ashamed of it. It has opened the door for me to share the story of love and forgiveness that I have received from Jesus. It has allowed me opportunities to explain how I manage to love and forgive despite how little I might feel the offending person deserves it. It has helped me to fully own the title of “writer”.

I write. I play. I try. I sing. I love. I forgive. Anyway.

But, I’ll starve!

Four years ago, a friend, very concerned over how I was steadily feeling worse despite my efforts to eat better and exercise, suggested I try an elimination diet. She had heard of adults that suddenly became allergic to dairy. She had also heard about some sort of beef allergy. Maybe my “healthy” food was making me sick.

“But, I’ll starve!” was my reply.

Taco Tuesday y’all. Beef and cheese and white salsa.  How was I supposed to live without Taco Tuesday?

Like any good stubborn woman, I ignored her questions and ate as I pleased. Some days I felt great. Some days I seemed to be dragging myself around, desperately trying to remember what I was just thinking about.

Last November, I couldn’t take it anymore. There were days I could barely move. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t remember things. I disliked everyone because they all needed me for something and I had nothing to give. I felt like the world’s largest disappointment.

Someone again suggested it was my food. I, again, blew them off. I carried myself to the doctor adamant that it was just a vitamin deficiency, or maybe it was early menopause.

Two pages of blood test results later, there was nothing wrong with me. Everything was perfect, even my dang cholesterol.  I was not in early menopause. I was not deficient in any vitamins. In fact, the blood work that should have been askew because of my auto-immune issue had returned perfectly normal as well! I was still positive for Sjogren’s, but none of the other markers were positive. How could that be?

I returned, sobbing, and desperate for answers. There was only one thing left to check: my food.

In April, I tested positive for a little known allergy called Alpha-Gal Syndrome. It is an allergy to all mammals (except humans and old world apes). The news touts it as a tick borne illness, which is it, but it can also come from other bug bites. We believe mine began years ago from a spider bite, and was intensified in August 2016 by a deer fly bite, and then pushed over the edge this spring by a tiny tick bite.

I had no idea how sick I had really become.

After spending a few weeks cleaning up my eating and cleaning my kitchen to eliminate cross contamination, I was still having reactions. Only, now I could feel them. I had begun to feel better, my head was clearing, and the pain was letting up. Now, when I would come in contact with mammal I could feel the changes happening in my body. But from where?? I had not eaten anything! No beef, no bacon, no cheese!

I had to change my shampoo, my toothpaste, my deodorant. I had to double check labels and triple check my medicines. Even my daily vitamins, made from vegetables, were making me sick because they were in gel caps (made from beef).

After all those changes, after beginning to feel “normal” again, I suddenly was sick all over again. Everything was causing a reaction: sunshine, heat, dust, stress, potatoes, salt, mosquito bites, swimming pools.

I found an expert, and am finally on the mend. This allergy, for whatever reason, wreaks havoc on your system. Having lived with it for years without knowing it, my body’s mast cells have begun to overreact to everything. With extra medicines and double the antihistamines, I am finding relief!

Today, I am taking our daughter to the doctor. She hasn’t been feeling well for a while now, and taking after her mother, she refuses to do an elimination diet unless she has to eliminate food. Her words when I asked her to try, “But Momma, I’ll starve.”

I haven’t starved yet. There was a time of grieving. There have been tears in the grocery store. There have been a couple of times I said “let’s test it” and regretted it the next day. No matter how much I love alfredo sauce there is no alfredo sauce worth the bathroom time involved the next day. You adapt. You learn to not be afraid to try something new.

Unless it’s fish. I tried. Really I did. I’m not trying anymore. {So stop asking <–to my husband}

Food allergies are no joke. This one goes beyond just food. Mammal is in almost everything we use, unless you seek out a vegan alternative. There is no allergy designation on products for mammal. AGers can have chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, and honey. We can have emu and ostrich. We can have shellfish. We can have all of this unless we have a secondary allergy. But, since there is not “No Mammal” label on food, we often have to choose vegan options just to be safe. Gels are normally mammal, but can be vegetable derived, we have to avoid them all or call the manufacturer for clarification. Even then, the ingredient can change from one batch to the next without warning. This bottle of antihistamine is safe, but the same brand’s bottle a month from now may not be. Even vegan certified foods may not be safe. Many contain carrageenan. Carrageenan is from seaweed, technically vegetation, however it’s molecular structure is so similar to Alpha Galactose 1,3 Galactose that it can cause our bodies to react to it anyway.

I am lucky. I have yet to need the Emergency Room. I have yet to need an EpiPen. I did spend 4 hours in bed yesterday because my son put on his deodorant and then hugged me. My arms were bare, and it got on my skin.

If you would like to know more about Alpha-Gal you can check out some of the information here.  If you would like to speak with others who have Alpha-Gal, join us here in our Facebook group.  AG is different for everyone. Many can still eat dairy, many just can’t eat beef, and many still can’t even drive by a restaurant and inhale the fumes. Please help us spread awareness. Research is slow and limited at this time.

Twenty Years

The connection was cosmic. It was as though God had specifically designed us for each other. Maybe He did. We loved every bit of each other, and accepted each other’s imperfections.
My baggage we more obvious than yours. I carried it proudly on my back like an over prepared hiker headed for a long journey. You tried to carry it for me, I was stingy. You offered to help me let go of the unnecessary, I insisted I needed it. You patiently waited, walked beside me while I whined about how heavy my load was, and allowed me to decide when to put it down.
Children were born. We found ourselves blind and wandering in a land between what we were told to be and what we felt we were created to be. We made mistakes with our kids and with our friends and with each other. We learned forgiveness. We experienced grace. We begin to practice mercy.
Twenty years have passed. We sit on the front porch, coffee in hand, and watch the fog roll away off the fields as the sun rises. We turned our lives upside down, traded it all in for a new life in an old place. A place where we could start again, a ‘take-two’ on the scene, where we live loyal to our God and His plan.
 
{This post is a participation in Daily Post’s daily prompt. Today’s prompt can be found hereIn keeping with my goal of writing 15 minutes each day, I have only allowed myself 15 minutes of free writing. }
 

White Salsa – made Alpha Gal safe

I’ve been trying to make Mexican White Salsa for years and years. I tried it once, long ago, before I had Alpha-Gal, and failed. Now that I can’t even enjoy it at a restaurant, I was determined to find a recipe that worked.
I started with Sarah’s recipe found on her blog here: Mexican Restaurant White Dipping Sauce.
Changes:
I don’t have an issue with eating eggs so I don’t mind Miracle Whip. However, I didn’t have any because I prefer mayo. Duke’s mayo went into my Power Chef, followed by Tofutti brand non-dairy sour cream. I substituted out the regular milk for almond milk and left out the hot sauce. I might add it next time, but it IS pretty spicy! I pulled the Power Chef cord a few times to make sure it was blended well, and refrigerated it.
Sarah’s recipe clearly states to make it a day in advance, but I was hungry and ate some after about 4 hours. It was delicious! Especially with my homemade regular salsa!
I’m so excited to be able to eat some of my favorite foods again!

Just try

I always wanted to try.
I couldn’t stay after school.
It wasn’t a class that led to a profitable career.
I should have started in high school, so it’s too late now.
I should have done it in college, so it’s really too late now.
My daughter always wanted to try.
She’s a homeschooler, not many options around.
*keeps looking*
I’ll give it one last try, in this new town, maybe someone will let her try here.
In a blink, we both tried. Clueless, and terrified, we tried. Way beyond our comfort zone, we tried.
Man, let me just say, it’s everything I always wanted it to be.


 
*images from 246 The Main, community theater in Brookneal, VA. Hunchback of Notre Dame and Catch Me If You Can.

I don’t believe you

{This post is a participation in Daily Post’s daily prompt. Today’s prompt can be found hereIn keeping with my goal of writing 15 minutes each day, I have only allowed myself 15 minutes of free writing. }

Please don’t say I’m good, I won’t believe you.

Part of me will want to, and maybe part of me, deep down, will think maybe it’s true. Still, I won’t fully believe you. It will be hard for me to accept it. I will politely say “thank you” and on the inside I’ll be thinking “boy, you have them fooled.”

My self esteem is fine. I do, in general, think I am good at things. My fear, unfortunately, is great. My fear that at some point, some day, some one will call me out and say “you’re not good! You just got lucky! Look at all these other people better at this than you!”

I fear that by declaring out loud and into the world that I am good at something {seriously, anything, pick a skill here folks} that I will immediately discover that I was wrong, and in declaring something so obviously untrue, I will prove myself a fraud. The humiliation would be devastating.

Instead, I just try my best and pray that it was enough. I am humbled by opportunities that arise from others thinking I am good enough to be asked. I will hide my face and say thank you when compliments are given. I will hope that one day, without fear, I will believe you when you say “good job”.

The One Thing I Know About Life

{I decided this week that I wanted to try and devote 15 minutes each day to writing. I posted a request on my Facebook Page, asking for writing prompts. My friend Sherrin suggested this post. 15 minutes…and go…}
The one thing I know about life is that I am worthy. I am worthy of a life, a good life, a happy life. I am worthy of being given a chance to care, to love, to learn, to try, to take on challenges and fail, and to take on challenges and succeed. I don’t deserve anything, but I am worthy of the opportunity to work hard and move forward.
I spent years of my life feeling unworthy. Not good enough to be considered for the team. Not experienced enough to audition for the part. Not naturally talented enough to try a new skill or learn a new thing.
My God designed me, personally, and created me, and He has a plan for me and HE has determined that I am worthy of this life and so He gave me this life and I have His full permission to live and grow and love this life to my fullest ability. I am not worthy of His forgiveness when I falter and succumb to selfish desire or self doubt or anger. He knew I would never be worthy of that, so He sent His Son. Through His Son, Jesus Christ, I am gifted forgiveness.
Guess what?
He made you, too. He designed you, created you, put you on Earth as a living, breathing child of God, and He knows you are worthy, too.
Go out, my friends, and live knowing you are worthy of the life force you have been given. Learn, grow, try something new, change, care for others, set boundaries with some, love all and accept their love in return. Because, you are worth it.