Dinah’s Rose Tinted Glasses

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Today is just one of those days.

I am recuperating from my emotional response to opening a letter in the mail from our county’s Developmental Disability (DD) dept yesterday. I actually received the letter last week, but waited to open it in dread of what it may read.  Really, I just wanted to open it with a clear mind. That took a few days.

To my surprise, Dinah was deemed eligible for support services, and placed on a level 1 waiting list.

This is a huge deal because I have fought for the last 4 years to receive disability services for her. My issue with the government concerning support for people with disabilities is a whole other story.

I got up this morning remembering the letter and very excited that we are one step closer to getting her some of the large price tag equipment she needs.

Motorized wheelchair. Enclosed safety bed. Lift. Communication devices. Adaptive play equipment. Safety bath chair. Wheelchair accessible vehicle.

Just to name a few.

Then I mentally and emotionally spiraled into what all of this really means.

I started missing markers. (go to my previous post of what Missing Markers means for clarification).

I started wishing that I was pondering different plans for Dinah’s future.

Like her first dance. Prom. Buying her a starter car for graduation.

I started thinking about the conversations we may never have.

About her best friend at school. Her first crush. Her nervousness over her first spelling bee competition. Her excitement about receiving her first college acceptance letter. Her questions about life.

Yes, yes, yes of course she still may be able to do some of these things.

But, when you have a child with severe disabilities it is wise to plan for the worst while hoping for the best.

Because you absolutely do not want to be caught empty handed if worst shows up.

I am a firm believer in the power of faith. And yes, I believe that miracles happen everyday all across the world.

I believe that the fact that Dinah is even here IS a miracle.  Various things have happened in my life that are a miracle in my eyes.

But….I also have to live in the reality of now.  The reality right now is that Dinah does not walk or talk.  The reality is that I have to plan for the probability that this will never change.

This reality is depressing.

The only comforting part of any of this is that Dinah absolutely loves life.  She is such a happy child. She really only cries when I fix her hair, she is hungry or thirsty, during any type of therapy, or when her little sister snatches a beloved object from her.

It is like she wears rose tinted glasses the vast majority (90%) of the time.  You know, the type we all wore before life smacked them off of our faces.

It is comforting to think about her future and always see those rose tinted glasses nestled on her smiling face.

That I can live with.

That makes me happy.  Because most of the things we do for our kids is geared towards making them happy.  Dinah is happy on her own.

That adds a dimension to my perspective of Dinah’s future. Giving it a very subtle, yet effective, rose tint.

Oh Dinah, if only I could view the world like this all of the time.

You inspire me to challenge myself everyday to do so.

To wear your rose tinted glasses no matter what I am looking at.

-Kelley

© Kelley Daniel, http://www.missingmarkers.com, 2014

Oh for the Love of Tea!!!

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Gosh, I need these immediately. NEED!

First, happy Monday! I love Mondays. I only work on weekends, so Mondays are like the beginning of a five day weekend for me.

Second, I have been searching online for these tea mugs for several days, and have yet to find the set.  I hate the feeling I get when Google has failed me.  

Every Monday morning it seems that the girls wake up particularly early. Today they woke up at 0700 (their norm is about 0930). After monetarily grieving for that 2.5 hour bracket of sleep that I will never get back, I switched on an attitude of gratitude and got up to start my day.

I oil pulled for the customary 20 minutes (I will write a post on my oil pulling experience in the future).

I performed my newest morning ritual of feeding the children, walking the dog (we adopted him 2 weeks ago), and cleaning the early mornings’ worth of kid-related messes.

Diaper changes x 2. Full dog poop bag x 1. Chance to catch my breath x 0.

And then, finally, I was able to sit down for my morning cup of green tea.  Exhale.

It seems like a hot cup of tea can instantly transport me to a world of peace (no matter how many times mommy is chanted in the background). A world of fluffy clouds and grass that feels like soft carpet.  A world of heart smiles.

Tea is to me what coffee is to most people.  It gives me that morning ZING of energy. But, unlike coffee, tea does not leave me with the high-strung agitated feeling of energy that crashes the very same way in which it peaks.

Tea is very energizing, yet deeply calming for me.

Tea just is.

I used to be partial to the Organic & Pure brand of tea bags.  My favorites are the green tea with lemon, decaf green tea (for those late night cups of green tea, minus the caffeine), and chamomile tea (for those nights where I want tea right before going to bed).

Then, after the nudging of two of my cousins, I tried Nirvana Tea.

I was in love at first sip.

Nirvana Tea has a luxurious collection of natural and organic loose leaf teas.  My favorites are the organic green tea blend and strawberry rose lover.  I actually like to mix those two flavors.

I love loose leaf tea because the flavors are just so much bolder than the flavors from tea bag varieties. This is due to the quality of the leaves and the fact that I have more control of the intensity of flavor (just add more or less of the tea leaves). And, loose leaf tea tastes very fresh and pure.

Loose leaf tea just is. 

Nirvana Tea redefined my obsession with tea (primarily green tea) .

I have always been a lover of green tea because of its bold taste, the way it makes me feel, and the rather common knowledge that it is very healthy.

People see me with my green tea and they usually say “wow, you are so healthy” (translation: ugh, you are annoyingly healthy).

But, what actually makes green tea healthy?

Here are some tidbits of information that I have gathered from various evidence-based studies.

Green tea:

  • is known to have high levels epigallocathechin-3 gallate (EGCG). This substance has been linked to a reduction of cancerous cells in humans (1).
  • is rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine that have a role in increasing 24 hour energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans (2), which in layman’s terms means that it aids in increasing energy levels and burning fat.
  • has been connected to lowering cholesterol levels and incidences of cardiovascular and liver diseases in people who consume 5+ servings a day (3).
  • is full of a compound called L-theanine that is known to for its anti-anxiety properties.   L-theanine is one of the few compounds that are able to cross the blood-brain barrier.  It  increases GAGA activity, dopamine activity, and promotes alpha waves in the brain. This explains why it is so effective in promoting relaxation (4).
  • is helpful in improving short term memory and may improve overall brain fuction. Studies show that it may also decrease the risk of Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases (5).
  • has been shown to lower blood sugar levels, improve insulin sensitivity; thereby lowering the risk of developing Diabetes Mellitis Type II (6).

This is not in any way a complete list of the health benefits of green tea. I found an exhausting amount of information on Google scholar (see…Google has a way of redeeming itself) that supports green tea being incredibly helpful in promoting overall health.

Green tea just is.

And I love it!

 

Now raise your hand if saying loose leaf tea instantly brings loose leaf paper to mind. **silently raising hand**

-Kelley

 

P.S.

As a nurse, it is my first instinct to always warn the public that this is my personal experience (you knew this blurb was coming). Green tea, in addition to many other natural herbs, may interact with certain medications.  Always speak with your physician before ingesting any herbs, no matter what form it comes in.

 

 

© Kelley Daniel, http://www.missingmarkers.com, 2014

 

A Quick Blurb about Marci Shimoff’s book “Happy for No Reason” –by Kelley

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Happiness for any reason is just another form of misery”- The Upanishads

They say that the pursuit of happiness is the underlying drive of everything we do.  When we pick up even the tiniest scent of happiness, we immediately chase wildly after it. When we find it, we relish it. We indulge in it. We feel it.

Feeling happy is a grand experience.

But, feeling happy and being happy are two different things.

I realized this one day when I noticed that if I was not around my family (who bring me happiness) or doing some fun or exhilarating activity (that generates happiness), I was utterly sad. When I was alone and just doing nothing my true inner feelings bubbled to the surface.

I was not happy inside at all.

This was the beginning of my happiness journey (my most recent one at least).

  • I prayed about happiness daily.
  • I started journal writing daily.
  • I started devouring any book on happiness and positivity I could find. I read several within a months’ time.

And then I found Happy for No Reason, 7 Steps to Being Happy from the Inside Out by Marci Shimoff.

This book absolutely changed my life. I am so grateful that I bumped into it during one of my half-sleep Amazon searches (hey, Amazon Prime is an addictive force).

According to Marci Shimoff (2008), being happy for no reason is “a neurophysiological state of peace and well-being that isn’t dependent on external circumstances.” And “when you are Happy for No Reason, you bring happiness to your outer experiences rather than trying to extract happiness from them.”

Marci’s book does an amazing job of explaining how searching for happiness is okay, but learning how to resonate happiness from within will bring you peace, joy, and harmony.

On her website (http://www.happyfornoreason.com/Products/HappyBook),  she states that

      “Studies show that each of us has a “happiness set-point” — a fixed range of happiness we tend to return to throughout our life — that’s approximately 50 percent genetic and 50 percent learned. In the same way you’d crank up the thermostat to get comfortable on a chilly day, you can actually raise your happiness set-point! The holistic 7-step program at the heart of Happy for No Reason encompasses Happiness Habits for all areas of life: personal power, mind, heart, body, soul, purpose, and relationships.”

Here is a video that she posted that is very very helpful in understanding the happy for no reason concept:

I hope you are able to derive as much meaning and happiness from this book as I have. I recommend it to anyone who has ever felt like something is just missing.

For anyone who has already read this book, please comment with your thoughts. I’d love to hear your story.

-Kelley

 © Kelley Daniel, http://www.missingmarkers.com, 2014

Affirming Happiness Quotes 031814

happiness-1“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
Abraham Lincoln

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”
Marthe Troly-Curtin, Phrynette Married

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
Mahatma Gandhi

“Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears.”
John Lennon

“No medicine cures what happiness cannot.”
Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

Table for 4… (dealing with anxiety)

Me: “Table for 4 please. But, can you please remove 1 chair?

I have yet to encounter a restaurant that understands this request.

They usually say “oh do you need a high chair?”

Even though Dinah is sitting right beside us.  In her wheelchair.

I would assume that it would be common sense to remove a chair so that the wheelchair can fit at the table.

But, my assumptions are probably jaded.

Family outings in any closed environment can be quite a production for us.  On one side of the table 2 ½ yr old Kay is dropping crayons on the floor, requesting fallen crayons be immediately rescued, playing in her food, opening sugar packets, and talking nonstop. On the other side of the table Dinah is very excited, loudly squealing her excitement (she loves food), banging the table with her non-spastic hand, and yelling when we do not feed her quick enough.

We are used to this.  It is our normal.

But, it is not normal for most people.

Usually we get several different responses in one sitting.

The elderly couple that keeps giving us a knowing sympathetic look.  Sometimes if they are in earshot they will say things like

“Well aren’t they just darling?”

“You all have your hands full!”

Then there are the younger people who occasionally look at us with pure undisguised irritation. It’s worst if they are there on a date. (Which hey, I can understand…kid noises do nothing for a romantic ambiance).

Then there are the outright rude people who just constantly stare.  Kind of with disgust. Kind of with intrigue. This is my least favorite response.

I usually give back uneasy apologetic smiles when I can. To everyone.

Meanwhile, I am trying to co-manage the unorganized chaos, make sure the kids both get most of their food in their belly, keep myself from having a negative moment, and still have pieces of conversation with my husband.

The worst thing that can happen is Dinah needing to have her diaper changed. That can be a HUGE dilemma if we are not close to home. Public bathroom diaper tables just are not designed to accommodate a 7 year old.

These are things that just are.

Kaylin will get older. She will stop requesting crayons at some point. She will be able to sit quietly.  This is just the toddler phase. That is uplifting.

Unfortunately, I find myself grasping at straws when I try to have this same type of uplifting glance of the future concerning Dinah.

I start to sweat thinking of her being heavier and taller. Harder to lift. More awkward to transfer to and from her wheelchair.

Eventually we will need a wheelchair-accessible van.  Which is a tough pill to swallow considering that I don’t even like minivans.

But ya know…this is that living in the moment stuff I talk about so often.

Last year I started having some serious anxiety issues after Dinah became too heavy for me to comfortably lift. I started having a horrible dread of the future.  I started to wallow in self-pity.

I spiraled down to having panic attacks on a weekly basis and ending up in the emergency department (which is very embarrassing when you are also an emergency dept RN).

This form of anxiety was completely new to me. It was by far the ABSOLUTE WORST feeling I had ever encountered.

It took lots of prayer, changes in my diet, and most importantly, CHANGES IN THE WAY I COPE AND THINK to overcome the A monster.

I finally realized that this is my life. No matter what the circumstances, it is my life. And I had to learn how to cope with it.

Eventually I overcame the pride that was holding me back and started going to a trauma therapist (I still do not know why there is such a stigma with seeking therapy when you clearly need it!).

She saw very quickly that I had a truckload of anxiety due to my dysfunctional coping skills.

The first thing she taught me was to live in the moment.  To be present here. Right now. And just breathe.

I could write a book about my experience with panic and anxiety. But, at this moment I want to encourage anyone dealing with those issues to see their medical provider right away and also look into therapy.

Anxiety almost always has a root cause.  It could be physical (like electrolyte imbalances or even serious issues like a pulmonary embolism) or emotional (like bottled up stress or a history of trauma).  But, it is not ever normal and you should not have to live with it.

Anxiety and chronic stress go hand and hand. And more and more research is indicating that chronic stress is a precursor to every disease ever known to man.

You can overcome anxiety as I did.  I still have my moments occasionally, but they are not anything compared to the panic attacks I was having before.

Do not put it off. Get help today.

Life is so much sweeter when you are not living in fear.

-Kelley

 © Kelley Daniel, http://www.missingmarkers.com, 2014

Purpose Road

“The purpose of life is a life of purpose.” -Robert Bryne

 

I sat down at my laptop today as soon as I put Dinah on her school bus.

I sat. I waited.

Waiting for a topic, any topic, to come to me that I could write about.

I sat and I waited some more.

Then I just decided to write.

And this is what came out of me:

I have spent my entire life waiting for some flag from the universe. A loud or even soft voice to speak back to me when I am praying.  A directional word from someone else.  Some big marker floating through the sky that says “do __________ with your life.”

I waited.

I was always the screaming independent yet highly co-dependent type.  Bold enough to venture to the crest of the ocean, but too timid to go into the water alone.

I waited.

I always needed confirmation from others that I was on the right track. Running backwards often to get a nod of approval from them.

Going backwards is often worse than waiting.

You see, we were all created with purpose.  Yet our purpose is not a tangible item that is handed to us with our birth certificate when we are born.  Its not written on our high school diploma either.

I believe that our purpose is discovered while we are busy living purposefully.

This simply means that I cannot sit and wait, and wait, and wait, and wait, and expect my purpose to fall from the sky (although stranger things have happened). I have to live, and give, and do, and go, and be, and see, and love, and rise above to discover what my purpose of living, giving, doing, going, seeing, loving, and rising above is.

I believe that this is why God is always so silent when I ask about my purpose.  Wise parents know that sometimes it is better to let their child discover answers on their own.  Especially when the answer is lying right there.

So, I am not waiting anymore.

I am seizing the moment to live purposely…… in THIS moment.

And I am happy to report that my purpose is materializing piece by piece right before my bewildered eyes.

Yeah, I’m kind of amazed at how this is all playing out.

Live, give, do, go, be, see, love, and rise above today!

“The purpose of life is a life of purpose.” -Robert Bryne

-Kelley

© Kelley Daniel, http://www.missingmarkers.com, 2014

In the Now

I absolutely love what “The Positive Cognition” has written about living in the moment. Everything below that is in the quotation marks are her words. There is a link at the end to go directly to her blog post.

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“I decided recently that I would like to share my writing with people. Having struggled in the past few years with my mental health and various issues, I thought by sharing here, that maybe it would help me and some where down the line help others.

So, my plan is to write daily, on regular issues that I come across, and focus on positive ways to address them.  Starting with Now. What are the benefits of focusing on the present?

The Now

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Sometimes, getting up and facing the day can be a struggle all on its own, so when something excessively unusual comes and disturbs our path it can shake us. The main focus is to no get so caught up in it that our original path becomes lost to us. (Easier said than done, it takes practise, but it is achievable! ) When a situation comes and knocks you off balance, stop and take a breath.  It’s okay to be angry, upset and shout. But let that pass over you, take a breath and stop.

Take time to look at the situation, digest it however, don’t let it consume you. Unaddressed issues can eat away at our energy.  Replaying incidents over in your mind lead to stress and often anxiety. If you feel someone has hurt you, forgive them. If it is a case of no particular person being involved and just a crappy situation, forgive life.  Forgiving is not easy, keep in mind, forgiving someone else, is beneficial for you too. Life can be unfair. It can also be very very rewarding. That is where the NOW comes into play.

STOP! Do nothing..

I know it sounds crazy, but give yourself some time to do nothing. That’s it, put the phone on silent, turn off the television, put away the iPad.  So often, we get caught up in distracting ourselves from a bad situation or relationship that we repress our emotions.

While doing “nothing” you’re in the now. Close your eyes and listen to your breathing (if you’re feeling anxious, breathe in for 5 seconds, hold for 3 seconds, release for 7 seconds and repeat, until you feel your body relaxing.)  Become aware of where you are, your surroundings. The strength to move on from the past is with in you. It is outside you. It is this very moment that you are reading this blog. It is Now.

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By clearing your mind in the present moment, it allows for conscious decision making for your future.  Give yourself the best chance to help yourself! Do not afford only compassion, kindness and love for others, but start to afford it to yourself. Your own happiness is important. Treat it so.

“The difference between misery and happiness depends on what we do with our attention.”
~ Sharon Salzberg

I have to say I agree with the sentiment above, however, I’d alter it slightly. “The difference between misery and happiness depends on the intention of our actions”.  We have to ask ourselves, are our actions,  steps towards fulfilling our own needs, bringing about our own happiness?  I’m talking about emotional happiness, not material.

I am an advocate myself for meditation and various holistic therapies (you name it, I’ve tried it). I hope to write about some of my experiences in the future, but for now, I would like to end my first post with a little positive encouragement.  (And some links to other articles that you may find helpful.)

When times get tough, take time to process the situation. Analyse it. Forgive those involved, forgive life. Do not regret your decisions. Try not to focus on the past. Take steps to making positive plans for the future. Make those plans, steps towards your own happiness.”

-The Positive Cognition

Click the link to go directly to her blog post.

In the Now.