Monday, March 23, 2015

Laundry is Dangerous and Hazardous to Your Health

Three days after Valentine's Day, I went to put sheets in the washer and broke my foot. 

See I told you laundry was dangerous business. It should be banished.

Actually, I really don't have anything against laundry. As one of those mundane-everyday-life tasks, I find it pretty enjoyable. The machines do all the work (no scrub boards or line drying) and I can indulge in Downton Abby and other shows while I fold. Cleaning the shower or dusting on the other hand...

But back to my foot. There is one small step in my laundry room. I must've lost my balance going down it. My left foot turned over, popped inside, and I screamed. (Pretty sure some dogs in the neighborhood howled just then.) My kids and husband came running. 

As I sat there on the floor stewing about not having worked out that day and unlikely to be able to for weeks to come with a busted foot, my husband points out that at least it's my left foot and I can still drive. Huh. True, esp. as my car is automatic. If it was a stick shift...

5 days on crutches and 2 in a borrowed boot later I made it in to see the foot and ankle specialist. 

X-ray says: BROKEN!

On the positive side, the words surgery and torn weren't mentioned. Also, other than the first 2 minutes, I really haven't been in any pain despite the beautiful yellow, black, and blue bruises on my foot that visually try to say otherwise. 

Choice: Boot or Hard cast?

I went with the boot. At least I can take it off to shower and sleep. 

Healing time: 3 months: 2 in the boot followed by 1 in a "sneaker". I'm pretty sure he wasn't talking about he Adidas in my closet. Then, if all is well, we'll see if I need any physical therapy or not and can resume normal activity. Just in time for me to "run" two 5 K's back to back with my kids. Hmm. We'll have to see about that last part. 

All in all, I'm pretty lucky. 

It's just inconvenient. Plus, the novelty of waiting on Mom hand-and-foot and helping out with the housework wore off after the first week for the rest of the family. 

But, I can't do it. My orders are to stay off my foot as much as possible and keep it elevated. 

This is hard for me. 

I'm pretty active. I usually put in 8-10, 000 steps per day, and some days more. Needless to say I've taken off my pedometer until all this is over. I've only considered putting it back on to make sure I'm not taking too many steps. But I do get funny looks at the stores riding around in the motorized wheelchairs. I wish those people could understand that walking would mean more healing time for me and I want to do all I can to heal A.S.A.P.  Not to mention that initially I couldn't do any of my physical therapy for my back which I've faithfully done for over 18 months. 

So, I've taken up chair workouts on YouTube for now. I can't be totally inactive. I'll go crazy. Plus I recently discovered I am healed enough to add three of my back exercises into the routine again. Hooray! I keep focused on my core and arms. Spring looks like it might actually start to arrive which means warm temps and usually for me 2 mile walks daily. Spring can come, but the walk will have to wait. After all, my broken foot is temporary, not forever. 

So, while my house isn't getting all the attention it deserves (like cleaning, painting, and landscaping), being laid up is very good for my writing, editing, etc. That's something to smile about. 

My greatest lament in all this: my first broken bone doesn't have an awesome story to go with it. 

Just laundry. Blech. 

 Feel free to unleash your inner writer and in the comment section below to write me a cool story to go with my broken foot and I may come up with a cool prize. 

Oh, and . . . Beware the laundry!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Glass Half Full of Life Giving You Lemons

You know what, people are funny creatures. We're all completely different, even though we have similarities. We all have different strengths and weaknesses. We all have different trials to overcome. And we all have different reactions to those trials.

I've had a few conversations over the last couple of months that have really solidified my thinking that life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it. I've spoken to people going through really tough challenges who handle them with patience and faith, and to them, those challenges don't seem all that huge. I've also spoken to people who are going through some minor inconveniences who act like it's the end of the world and the sky is falling and all the buildings are collapsing and oh! The horror! To them, that trial is the most awful thing that could be wished on anyone.

Why is it that the huge trial was seen as something small, and the small trial was seen as something huge?

It's all in how these individuals choose to react to them.

And that makes me think. If my attitude determines whether a trial is large or small, why wouldn't I choose to think of all my trials as small? Why wouldn't I choose to be positive, to see things in the best possible light, and reduce the stress on myself?

Where does the ability to do that come from?

Trust in the Lord.

When we're able to look at our lives and say, "Okay, I don't understand what's going on here, but I'm going to trust that the Lord's got this," our challenges become so much easier to face. Why do we fight so hard to fix things that only He can fix? It's like we're determined to beat our heads against brick walls, trying to control things that are simply out of our control. As I've practiced turning things over to the Lord, I've found that things go so much better than they would if I were the boss. Kind of mind-boggling, that God might actually be better at being in charge than I am, right?

My challenge to myself and to each of us is that as we are faced with difficulties, we learn to turn them over to the Lord and then ask Him what our part is in the solution. Usually it's so much simpler than the tasks we try to assign ourselves. Let's seek to face our problems with patience and faith. Let's choose to see them as small setbacks rather than earth-ending calamities. The Lord has this all well in hand. He really does.

Monday, March 9, 2015


I started a part-time job last week. I went into my training knowing full well that it was going to be a suck-fest for the first little while, during the learning curve. I don't know about you, but nothing's worse than being out of your comfort zone and feeling like an idiot at the same time. So, on Day 1 I inevitably felt like a fish out of water. Day 2, I'm feeling good. Really good. Like maybe this won't be so hard after all. Day 3, not bad. Learning a computer program and still doing pretty good. Day 4, snow day. Day 5, up until 1/2 hour before my shift ended, this is cake! Then, at 3:00 p.m. - HOLD THE PHONE. I made a tiny little mistake on Day 1 that has now contaminated all the work I did the other days. What is my first reaction? "Misty, you idiot! You failure! You can't do anything right!"

Needless to say, this teensy little blunder haunted me the whole entire weekend. My trainer wasn't upset about it at all. Only to be expected, she said. Just a natural part of training, she said. But I continued to feel crappy about it. Why? Because I was being way too hard on myself. Not only did I verbally abuse myself with words like idiot, failure, etc., (words I would never dream of using on my loved ones) but I couldn't let it stop there. I had to badger myself about it for the next 48 hours.

Why do we do this?? I actually have the answer! And yes, I went to therapy a few years ago to obtain it. I think therapy is the best thing in the world. Everyone needs someone to get them out of their own head from time to time. The things I learned from my counselor were mind-blowingly simple, and beyond life-changing for me.

Here's what I learned. The Feeling Good Handbook is worth its weight in gold.

If you can get through a non-fiction book that size, good on you. I won't even try. But here is the basic premise:

You identify an EVENT that made you feel something negative. In my case, the stupid Day 1 blunder that set me back.

Identify negative feelings that resulted from this even: shame, frustration, etc.

Record your automatic thoughts: I'm an idiot, I can't do anything right, I'm a loser, my trainer must think I'm so stupid, etc. Rate each thought from 1-5 (1 being I don't really believe that thought, 5 being I absolutely believe it.)

Here is an example of a worksheet in the book. I actually have my very own composition notebook that I use for this all the time. It is red, and my family knows not to go near it if they don't want their feelings hurt!

Now identify thought distortions in your automatic thoughts. Based on the above scenario, mine would be Overgeneralization, Discounting the Positives, Mind Reading, Emotional Reasoning, etc. We all have these, they are hard-wired in us. It took someone pointing mine out to me before I realized my thoughts were unhealthy at all. Here's a list of the little buggers:

Next you go back to your list of automatic thoughts and re-rate them from 1-5 according how much you believe in them still. If you don't feel better after, then you haven't correctly identified the event.

This has helped me so much. It actually changed my whole outlook on being a wife and mother. And even though it is usually in the back of my mind, I find that I need reminding. So if you, like me, find yourself being your own worst critic, then GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK. If that means eating a Kit-Kat while talking yourself down from a masochistic cliff, then go for it.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Finding Hope After Miscarriage by Monique Bucheger

                                                    Product Details

The first week of March has been a little rough for me for the last two decades. In the afternoon of March 4, 1992, my dream of having a newborn baby was shattered when I was informed that the baby I carried was stillborn.

Not sure how to react, or even if I could believe the awful news, I denied it at first, still remembering the clop, clop, clop of the sweet heartbeat from the month before.  My husband and I had teased about “our little pony.” After all, Doppler batteries could drain, doctors could be wrong, and my oldest child would celebrate her 4th birthday two days later. This wasn’t the time to mourn, right?

And yet it was.

It was also a time to live, even though I had days where I would have gladly stayed in bed, curled into a ball, pretending the inevitable wouldn't happen.

But of course it did.  With an almost four-year–old who had been looking forward to a birthday party with all of her best friends as well as a busy sixteen-month old, we had a party to host and things to do while my body took it’s time going into labor.

Looking back, the last week-and-a-half that I carried my second son was a time of both harsh realities and tender mercies. I learned to lean on my husband, my Heavenly Father, and my Savior. Decisions were made, burdens were eased, kindnesses extended.

Ten days after finding out my little son had died, I delivered him. The emotions were many: numbness, sadness, anger, frustration, and many more. 

I tried to figure out why he had left. How would I explain his leaving to our older children, and would I be able to deal with the reality that I would only hold him once?

Losing a baby through stillbirth and miscarriage is an experience only truly understood by others who have gone through it. If the lost child was wanted and hoped for, it can be every bit as devastating as losing a child who was born alive and welcomed into their family. And yet, other people’s reactions to this devastating experience vary from helpful to hurtful.

Sixteen authors share their stories of miscarriage in hopes of strengthening others going through the same trial.  We want to get the message out that when you lose an unborn baby, you’re not alone. 

When I lost my very first child to miscarriage, someone gave me a book similar to Little Boy Blue: Finding Hope after Miscarriage. That book brought me comfort as I tried to navigate around a loss I never thought I'd have to endure. 

When one loses a baby through miscarriage or still birth, there is a lot of guilt and blame--almost always undeserved.

“Is it my fault?”

“What could I have done differently?”

“How do I cope?”

“Will the pain ever end?”

It can be—and is—a scary, painful, devastating, confusing time. 

Along with fifteen other women, coming from all walks of life, with differing experiences with motherhood, I share the story of suddenly belonging to a club I didn't want admission to: Mothers who have miscarried.

Little Boy Blue: Finding Hope After Miscarriage offers a message of hope and connection to other mothers (and fathers) going through a truly unique experience. 

The women in this book share their trials, their pain, and their recovery in hopes they can reach out to others going through the same experience and ease their pain. To offer the comfort that while you may think no one can truly understand how it feels to lose an unborn child, way too many people DO know the pain and hardship. 

If you, or someone you know,  has suffered a miscarriage or stillbirth, Little Boy Blue: Finding Hope After Miscarriage will be well-received. Within its pages you will find that others DO understand what you are going through and these women share their stories of grief and healing to let you know they are there  in spirit, if not in physical presence. 

                                                        Product Details

Monday, March 2, 2015

Who do You Write for?

The other day I mentioned I needed to write a blog post, and one of my friends told me I should write about how people believe it's okay for girls to read boy books, but not the other way around. I pointed out that Shannon Hale had already touched on that subject just a day or two before. My friend said that it's a point that can never be brought up too many times.

It got me thinking. Had I ever experienced something like that? If you don't know what I'm talking about, Shannon Hale mentioned how she'd been to a few school assemblies where only the girls were invited to participate because the books were "Girl books." She couldn't believe it. Her post is here

Anyway, I have seen the same thing happen, but not to the extent that she has. I'll start explaining what my books are about, and the second I mention Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty, the boys turn away. Never mind that my Sleeping Beauty knows how to fight and has to battle rather horrible creatures. Cinderella learns to use her magic to fight her captor.

Don't forget my character, Megan, who has to battle leprechauns, minotaurs, dragons, and all kinds of terrible creatures. Her boyfriend is right there along with her, but it's usually Megan who saves the day.

So are these considered "girl books?" I suppose it depends on who you ask. But really, they shouldn't be one or the other. Both boys and girls can enjoy my books. In fact, I have both nieces and nephews who love my books and ask when the next one will be coming out.

When did we start separating books into who can or can't read them? It's sad, really. It makes me think of Kevin J Anderson's speech at LDStorymakers a few years back. He mentioned how he went home crying because he wanted to read a book that the librarian said was too grown up for him. Thankfully, his mother stepped in and made sure he could read whatever books he wanted.

Shouldn't we be encouraging kids to read? 

I'm a firm believer that if you don't think you're a reader, you just haven't found the right book yet. So what happens if the books that are right for you are the ones that are discouraged because they're not the "right kind?"

As I've been raising my kids, I've noticed I can't pick a book out and have them read the book. It has to be 100% their idea. If they can find a book they want, it's guaranteed they'll have it devoured within a day. If I push, they may never read it. It wasn't until I'd given up on Harry Potter that my thirteen-year-old finally picked them up and read them all. 

Kids are smart. They know what they like. Let them have a the chance to enjoy it.