Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Old Kitchen Sink

From Happy Housewifery

Sometimes I dream of having a built in dishwasher, ready to accept all of our dirty dishes and clean them all without me scrubbing.  I was just thinking that today as I worked on the 3rd load of dishes through the old kitchen sink.

But then, another thought entered in.

Where would I do my prayer time at?

Each day I stand at the old kitchen sink, with its chips and stains from years of use, and look out the window that overlooks our back yard.  The old double hung window faces west, and from there I can see the storms as they work their way in, or a sky clearing off as a system passes by.  I start my day at that old sink, pouring water into the coffee pot and measuring grounds to make into "instant human".  Right beside the sink I keep close at hand the stand mixer, blender, and coffee pot (and a second coffee pot, the old fashioned perk pot, on the stove top).  My world seems to revolve around those things and the sink.

Lots of time passes by standing at that old sink.  It's not unusual to find me there, washing dishes, preparing various ingredients to put into the day's meals, etc, and listening to the radio.  The time at the old sink allows me to hear bible studies, preaching, and good old hymns.

The old sink has also seen a lot of tears-- tears of anger, sorrow, joy, and the occasional cut finger.  It's weathered my frustrations with a child, anger after an animated discussion within the home, sorrows in missing loved ones or heartaches from circumstances beyond our control, and joys of prayers answered.  It's been the place of many prayers, and it seems more often than not, that's my "prayer closet".  No one bothers me while I stand at the sink, as I'll hand them the sponge and allow them to take over.  So, in wide open view, I am able to stand and pray, quietly while the noises of the home go on, and take my cares, worries, fears, praises, and worship, to the Lord.  Since I average 2 to 3 sink loads of dishes a day, I have lots of time I can spend with the Lord, mostly uninterrupted, where I can talk with Him.

Looking at it this way, that dishwasher doesn't look so appealing after all....

This is an old home, well over 100 years old, and that sink has been there a long time.  I'm sure a couple of other women before me have stood there, sharing many of the same sentiments.  We use(d) what is considered one of many chores, and put the time taken for it to have a dual purpose.  That time with the Lord may not have been there had we popped the dishes into a machine, turned it on, and walked away to find something else to do.

Maybe it's all about perspective......

Shared at:  Darling Downs Diaries, Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth, What Joy Is Mine, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Mom's The Word--Living For Him

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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Two Months with Trim Healthy Mama...and Going!

It's now been 2 months since starting with recipes and eventually plan. When I weighed 6 weeks ago, I'd gained 18 pounds, but had only been doing anything remotely close to plan for 2 weeks. I'd by then lost 2 sizes though, which was cool and even the Dr noticed.
My next weigh in is in a few weeks at my next diabetes check up. I've lost fat off the knees/legs/rear end/belly apron. My face has significantly become less fat. You can actually feel my ribs on the sides even though I look HUGE (can't see them but you can feel bones). Joints are coming to sight that have been hidden a while, and they're huge--part of being built like a tank. You put your hands on my waist you can feel the upper lip of the pelvic bones (short waisted here). They are by no means visible yet but feeling them alone is encouragement--they aren't buried totally under mounds of fat AND there's actually a waist line!
At my largest, I had a 65+ inch waist. I want to say 69 but can't remember exactly. My hips have been usually 14 inches larger than my waist--that'd be minimum 79 inch hip, and bust ran in the 70's. Think about it--that's over two YARDS around the hips. Today, I am in a 16 to 18 on the lower body. Upper body can do a 14/16 depending on cut. I by accident grabbed a bra from the clean laundry basket that looked like mine (sports bra) but was stepdaughters--a 36. It's stretched a little, but it is still comfortable. I've went from a 14 undies to an 8/9 (ok a little TMI but I know some women will appreciate it).
I've also went from taking 6 naproxen a day to be able to walk to now 2 in the morning only. At my largest, my husband suggested I apply for disability because I couldn't move around much, but my conviction was that it was not true disability to be fat, it was something I could change. I am able to hold a job if need be. It's taken lots of work, and there's been down times, cheats, horrible eating, etc, but I've proven I'm not disabled... I still have aches and pains, as my former employments have done a number on joints as has my weight. But each day as the little fat cells scream as they get smaller, the joints get better, and the pain is less. My diabetes has gotten significantly better, from a A1C of 14 at diagnosis down to a 5 to 6 average. Acne has went away (considering I'm 38...I looked like a teenager covered in zits), skin is getting smoother, stretch marks have lightened up, and even the scars where my laproscopic surgery looked like a hernia it was so hard and lumped...has softened and become 2 separate actual scar areas vs the size and texture of a was pushed out by lots of fat under the muscle layer...that has gone down.
In essence, over the years, I was killing my body one bite at a time, stretching it way beyond where it should have ever been.
Even if you're losing slowly, don't give up. It didn't take us a day or two to get to our sizes. It won't take us a day or two to make it to goal size/weight. Stick with it, even if you don't see scale victories, you're getting healthier.

 Don't give up.

 Don't stop when discouraged. 

And don't go back to where you were!

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Friday, February 5, 2016

A Letter To Our Support Staff

Nineteen years ago I started working in a group home setting with adults who had some pretty special needs.  They ranged from 20's all the way to 50's or 60's in physical age, and much younger in "mental/emotional" age.  I never dreamed that years later I'd be on the family side of the coin, with support staff in our home and eventually helping with an adult son in his own supported living.  

Things have changed since I first started working at the ripe old age of 19 (or 20--I forget, it's been a while) with special needs adults.  For my husband, he started out in the 80's working with special needs adults, and things have significantly changed.  Rules and rights have changed for the better, living conditions have changed for the better, and the quality of life for our special needs family members has increased. 

This letter is to those who help make it happen:

Dear Support Staff/Direct Care Worker(s):

Each day you come into our children's lives, whether they're young now or adults attempting to live away from the nest.  You are a part of our family, an extension of our little group that has been grafted in by employment but loved nonetheless by our child.  The days aren't always perfect, knowing how behaviors and day to day needs can be quite challenging, but you persevere.

You are an answer to prayer.

The job you've taken on isn't always easy.  The pay is low.  I really do wish we could give you more, but reimbursements and funding for support goes down each year.  This is something we can't control, but is in the hands of our legislature.  In fact the pay is lower now than when I started out almost 20 years ago.  I don't like it either, I would love to give you much much more, as my child's care is worth much more than minimum wage.  Special people like you who have the heart  and patience to work with children like mine truly deserve more than I or our agency can pay.

We as family, we see how you work odd hours.  You tailor your life in order to help our child have a better one.  You accept the evening and overnight hours, sometimes double shifts, in order for our child to have the supervision that he needs in order to remain safe.  We know you could be doing something else, like sleeping, at night.  What you're doing now, we once did when our child was younger.  We've spent the long nights awake and consoling, entertaining, tending sickies, and so on, and downed many barrels of coffee.  Now that our son is older, it is reassuring that he has you to watch over him and help him stay safe.  He still doesn't understand fully what to do if a fire starts in the night.  He will still be very afraid if a thunderstorm passes through in the wee morning hours.  He feels safe knowing someone like you is there to help him.

Your patience is tested many times.  We all know this, as ours has been too through the years.  Average folks have occasional meltdowns in anger or frustration, and our special needs folks have many many more as they can't express the feelings like we can.  Our son is no different.  You've handled the meltdowns due to fear, anxiety, not wanting to do what's asked.  You've learned to see triggers that show he's ready to blow and been able to calm him when others couldn't.  You've helped him release that frustration and anger in ways that didn't hurt himself or others.  It takes a lot of caring, patience, and understanding to work with children like ours.  Not everyone can do it.  Some days WE don't think we can do it.  But, you're there plugging along even on the worst days.  We see and appreciate that more than you'll ever know.  You don't give up on the hard days, but instead return at your next shift as if nothing happened and ready to start anew.

We appreciate that you're on time, ready to start the shift, and there when you've agreed to be.  We so depend on you, and slight deviations in schedule really affects our son.  It can affect just about any special needs person who relies on routines and schedules.  You don't see how our son stands at the window and gets excited knowing you're coming, nor do you see how anxious he is when something happens beyond your control and you can't be here right on time.  Those latter moments we use for a teaching tool, that things do happen that we can't control, and it's a part of life.   We appreciate so much that you don't call in regularly, that you really do try to be there.

Our son loves how you take him out in the community, to places we wouldn't normally go ourselves.  He loves movies, ballgames, arcades, Walmart, etc.  He loves having someone take him to those places, to spend hours at a time in each place if possible.  In these seeming harmless adventures, you help him practice socially acceptable behavior, and little by little show him how to do things independently.  You help him navigate crowds, handle money, tell time, and once in a while the meltdowns in frustration.  You help him learn how to order food from a menu, how to eat in public without wearing most of his food and burping the alphabet for all to hear (with a huge cheesy grin on his face).  I imagine the restaurants are appreciative of that too.

Thank you for helping him make his meals at home.  The fire department no longer has to be on stand by.  It is good that our son can make something besides a salami sandwich.  It's even better that you're there to make sure he doesn't burn the house down.  You're help with his meals and the planning of them also means he won't spend his entire food budget on candy and Gatorade.  Not that he'd try....

Thank you for becoming a part of our family.  We care about you, about your own family, and want you to know you're appreciated.  We know that you won't be with us forever, but we're glad to have you while you're here.  By all means, share with us your family, how things are going at home, and so on.  Tell us about Aunt Martha being sick, so that we may pray for her.  Tell us about the good things too, like how your own child won an award at school or got on the honor roll.  We do care.  We may share odd and end things with you as well, as there's times we may need that sounding board that no one else would understand.  You are a fresh set of eyes in our son's world, in our family's world, and you may have a view that may help in a situation not completely related to our son's care.

The days are long sometimes, and the pay isn't all that great, but please know, you are appreciated.  Thank you so much for doing what you do.  Because of people like you, kids like ours can live more of a "normal" life, with a home of their own and a job (with supports) that they can be proud of.

  What more could a parent ask for their child?

Shared with:  What Joy Is Mine,

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