Saturday, November 18, 2017

Type 1 Diabetes: Where We are Today 1.5 Years Later

Time to wrap up my 3-part series on Type 1 Diabetes for Diabetes Awareness Month. Missed the posts?

Read what type 1 diabetes is here.

Read about my son's diagnosis and the weeks leading up to it here.

Settling into the routine of checking blood sugar, calculating carbs, and scheduling routine endocrinology appointments happened much quicker than you would imagine. It was no time at all and my son was doing nearly all his checking and calculating with us watching over him. Of all ages to be diagnosed, eleven feels a bit like a golden age - old enough to help in nearly every aspect of his care and still have a bit of time before hormones wreck the picture.

We dealt with a lot of low blood sugars those first six months. My son was so sensitive to insulin initially, and that is typical. The body is funny. Now receiving adequate insulin his body had a breather and his pancreas was able to squeeze out insulin on its own (not enough but some). This is called the "honeymoon" period.

My son took his time coming out of honeymoon, and it was not a rapid, overnight process. He caught a cold in the fall, which increased his insulin needs. Then a growth spurt - again, more insulin. This pattern continued. We would barely adjust dosing needs, something would happen, his blood sugar would raise, and we would respond with more insulin. A year out from the start of that process, my son's insulin needs have more than quadrupled.

Today, our adjustments are fewer than over this past year, but hormones are driving the rollercoaster now. Every day is a surprise. My son checks his blood sugar often, as do my husband and I during the night.

While there are times we are frustrated or just have a good laugh about diabetes, overall emotions are good and my son takes it all with a shrug and a smile. To show you how he is, he once told me he would rather have diabetes than his siblings.

My boy now...

A Day in the Life...

The night before... Bed time was a good number at 118. He came in a few hours later and checked in at 119 around 11:00 pm.

My husband did a middle of the night check because his morning number had been below 100. He was 73. It was around 4:00 AM so we let him go, knowing that the body naturally raises glucose in the early morning hours.

Sure enough, breakfast at 8:30 found him at 132.

Lunch was early. We had been out for confession and were early to the girls' piano lesson so we ate our packed lunch. He was 302. Hmm... he seems to be going high before lunch again. We'll have to keep an eye on that.

Check again a few hours later to make sure he's down. 211. Darn. He doesn't feel well again, he tells you. He seems to be coming down with something since Monday. He does feel a little feverish. Ketones negative thankfully (they were small yesterday).

An hour and half later... He doesn't look so good. He's 54. Treat and retest - 89. Dinner in an hour.

An early dinner at 4:00pm because of dance and CCD, which I decide he will miss because he still seems off, with a possible fever.

8:00 pm - after CCD, he still doesn't feel the best. He's 410. Ketones - trace - are present.

After reading for awhile - he still won't sleep even though he doesn't feel well - he's 269. Correct with insulin and back to bed. Of course, not feeling well means a middle of the night check again. Seems like we are doing more of those lately than we have in awhile. It's a good thing my husband is a night owl.


An interview with my son. I tried to do a video interview, but he would only agree to answering questions.


Do you think about having diabetes often?


What do you like least about having diabetes?

Uh, I don't know. Sometimes the insulin burns. I don't like lows. I feel too hungry. I could eat anything when I'm low.

Even spinach?


Is there anything good about having diabetes?

My kit gives me more storage. [His kit holds all his diabetes supplies, and he takes it wherever he goes. He always has to be prepared.]

Do you mind when people watch you check your blood sugar, give yourself insulin, or ask questions about diabetes?


Do you like to educate people about diabetes?

Yeah, if they want to know about it.

Is there anything you feel you can't do having diabetes?



Twelve year old boys are so expressive.

I hope you enjoyed this 3-part series, and maybe even learned a thing or two.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Advent Calendar 2017

A reader asked if I was making my Advent calendar again this year. Truthfully, I hadn't even thought about it as life seems more day-to-day than thinking months ahead, but Advent is fast approaching so I took bits of time this week to get it done. It was different from the past few years because Advent is so short, and I had space to add in the Christmas season!

Share, use, and let me know if you have any issues. Hopefully this year I have all the dates correct. Oops.

Advent 2017 Calendar (pdf)

Friday, November 10, 2017

Type 1 Diabetes: My Son's Diagnosis

Following last week's type 1 diabetes introduction, I will continue by telling you about the days leading up to my son's diagnosis and our stay at the hospital as well.

As I said previously, there is usually a trigger that sets off the autoimmune response that eventually leads to the destruction of the beta cells in the pancreas and to that emergency situation called DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis). For my son, I believe that trigger was the flu from the spring of 2011. My son was six years old at the time. He was not diagnosed until he was eleven.

My son at age 6 (July 2011).

You can read what I wrote in 2011 about that time, but in a nutshell, my son had difficulty getting over the flu and showed classic diabetic signs. I did not know that at the time however. Thankfully, his symptoms seemed to stop and he recovered fully. I did have him into the doctor for his annual checkup, mentioned what I had seen, and the doctor felt that something might be brewing based on my son's history. He said it could be type 1 diabetes and told me the signs as it could get serious fast. Skip ahead a month and my son had a virus. Same thing happened, but he recovered more quickly. Now it's July and it happened again. After his annual GI follow-up that month for celiac, that doctor also mentioned type 1, and said it could take up to a few years to fully "kill" off the pancreas. He said that I should get my son tested for diabetes when he came down sick again. Bad mom here... Life was busy (new baby), my son was healthy for awhile, and those symptoms seemed to have disappeared completely. Even when he next became sick, I do not remember excessive symptoms as he had been experiencing.

Jump ahead to 2016. We had had a decent winter as far as health. Then Lent came, and my family was hit hard with illness. Was it any surprise that we all were paler, peckish, and cranky? In fact, at the time, I was more worried about my youngest than anyone. She had a rough spell with a nasty viral tonsillitis and was nearly admitted to the hospital.

A few weeks prior to his diagnosis, we celebrated my son's 11th birthday.

On his birthday, March 8th.

As I said, all of us were a little crankier, but my son seemed over the top irritable. In school, he struggled even more than usual with his work - unfocused, not remembering things. I remember in the months leading up to his diagnosis feeling particularly annoyed about both of these "attitudes."

Weekend of March 19/20 (Palm Sunday) - In the haze of illness, I notice that my son is waking up even earlier than usual, and already has a cup of water sitting next to the water dispenser. The kids usually don't grab water until mid-morning at the earliest. An alarm bell goes off (only because of previous "niggle"). I observed him over the weekend - did it seem like he was waking up to go to the bathroom more? Was I just crazy? And as I cleaned the bathroom that weekend: Why can't the boys pee in the toilet and why does it seem so thick?

I remember asking him if he was drinking and peeing more. He hummed and hawed a bit before saying, "I don't think so." 

Then he peed the bed Sunday night - something he hadn't done for at least a year.

Monday and Tuesday pass. Honestly, this was a haze. We were supposed to leave for vacation early on Thursday morning. My illness had progressed, and I was miserably sick with bronchitis. Thankfully, the other kids had perked up by then.

Wednesday, March 23, 2017

I woke up, feeling awful, but at least mostly prepared to head on the road the next day for vacation. My husband was finishing up his work. The kids were excited. I put a call into my doctor for an antibiotic, but he wasn't in the office. The nurse was able to get the other doctor to write me a prescription. Unfortunately, he wrote the wrong one out (I'm allergic to cipro), and that was a big hassle to fix.

Meanwhile, mid-morning, my son comes up to me and says, "You know how you asked if I was drinking and peeing more? Well, I think I am. I'm so thirsty. I keep drinking, and I have to go right away. As soon as I stop I have to go again." 

Alarm bells loud and clear. We're leaving on vacation tomorrow.

I called the pediatrician. I figured at the very least I could bring him in for a urine sample or finger poke. Nope. I was told I had to see a doctor, and that there were no appointment slots for that day. She could schedule us for after our vacation. I said no, I would figure something out.

I had a blood glucose meter at the house then. I have a family history of type 2 diabetes and a bunch of risk factors myself so I like to check my blood sugar randomly. I remembered what my son's first pediatrician had told me: "If he has it, his blood sugar will be high. There's no question about it. It won't just be a little above normal, like 150 or 180, but it will be a lot above normal."

My son did not like the idea of getting poked in the finger, but I told him if we did that and it was fine, then we would not have to worry about seeing the doctor and could finish getting ready for vacation. He was brave - a few tears but that needle does hurt - and then I saw it: 299. My stomach dropped. It was a surreal moment.

Thankfully, I keep it together fairly well in a crisis (I crash after the fact). I called the pediatrician's office back, told them what I had done, his number result, and the receptionist still said they could only see me after vacation. I was not happy with this woman, and I know my tone of voice conveyed that. She eventually talked to a nurse who then talked directly to me. She said I could take him to an Urgent Care or an ER, but if it was diabetes I would have to eventually go to an ER anyway.

After hanging up the phone, I updated my husband on the situation, packed my big purse with a phone charger, medicine for me, snacks, etc. I knew we would be there for a bit, but I thought we would come home. Sure, my son's number was high but not crazy high like the stories I had read. He seemed ok other than the peeing and drinking.

I was wrong.

It was a ten minute drive to our small-town hospital, and we were quickly taken back to a room. Things started moving fast: the nurse hooked him up to fluids and an I.V. and his blood sugar was tested (300 something). I had to walk him to the bathroom to pee in the cup. I don't remember being told this at the time, but later I would find out his ketones were maxed out at 5, which put him into DKA

Ketones are measured with a urine test. For my son, it was a sign that his body could not use up the glucose in his cells and was instead using fat as energy. This is what caused such a dramatic weight loss over a mere few days.

DKA stands for diabetic ketoacidosis. It is the condition that occurs when too many ketones are produced in the body. It is a life-threatening condition. If left untreated, the person would enter into a diabetic coma, and the body would shut down and die. (Note that a normal person can have trace or small amounts of ketones in their urine from certain diets or from dehydration.)

So here we were. My son lying in a bed, exhausted and hungry. It was dinner time and he had not eaten since lunch. Thankfully a game was a good distraction. See how much thinner he had become since his birthday celebration a few weeks before?

The pediatrician on call was nice but a little on the nervous excited side. I guess our small town office does not diagnosis type 1 diabetes often. She basically said what I already knew: "He most likely has type 1 diabetes. We're going to move him to a children's hospital so they can take care of him and show you guys what you need to know. He's not sick enough to fly out of here so an ambulance will take him."

The nearest children's hospital was an hour and a half away. Could we just take him ourselves. He seems stable enough? (Silly us, I know.) You could... But then you would have to go through the ER, pay another co-pay, sit there and wait, and maybe not even get a bed for him. Right now they have a bed and are waiting on him.

Ok... So can we at least ride with him in the ambulance? One of you can ride up front with the driver, but the back is too small for either of you.

Meanwhile, papers are shoved at me to sign, my husband is trying to find a quiet spot to call my in-laws to update them and see about the kids spending the night so he could drive up behind us. 

So much for vacation the next day...

As we were exiting out the hospital, I still had a person wanting payment, but the ambulance people were hurrying so I shoved that person off to my husband who took care of it. (I don't understand why they didn't bill us? Last year my daughter was taken in quickly to the ER and nothing like that happened. I was sent a bill.)

Anyhow, the drive felt so long. By now it's after ten o'clock. The night was dark, the streets were fairly empty, even as we neared the city. I remember driving past a young guy swerving a bit on the highway. He was on his phone. Don't do that people. The lights were on but dimmed in the back. Later my son would tell me he slept most of the way because he had such a headache and was so tired.

At the hospital we were taken into the chaotic children's ER triage area. The ambulance people stayed with us through admittance and transporting him to his room. A wonderful, wonderful nurse was working that night. She was our first educator in the world of diabetes. Plus, she heard that my son has celiac disease, had missed dinner, and of course knew he would be starving from his body not having proper fuel. She had a fridge stocked with tons of "free" foods - cheese, deli meats, pickles, hard boiled eggs, etc. Free being carb free and in this case, gluten-free. What a God send she was. Through the night she showed us everything she did and why.

My son with his bedside set-up. He loved that he could eat as much as he wanted. He kept a book on hand, but that first day kept us hopping.

The first day brought doctors (endocrinologists care for diabetic patients), nurses, educators, dietitian, social worker, financial people, and I don't know who else. It was busy. I don't remember much. My husband was awesome and really took over that day. I was tired from the excitement of it all and still very much wore out from the bronchitis.

We practiced checking blood sugar by testing ourselves. We injected saline solution into each other to practice injecting "insulin." In the room, the nurses were doing all of that up to this point, but they encouraged us to try. We were motivated to get out of there and we took over as soon as we could. He had to be checked every 3-4 hours.

For eating, a sliding scale was given to us. So if my son wanted to eat something with 1-20 carbs, this is how much insulin he would get, 21-40 carbs this much, etc. We had more trouble with the kitchen than anything in that hospital. Multiple times my husband was on the phone arguing with someone about what is gluten-free or not. The person told us we could only pick from the set list of items which were all processed foods, but did not account for naturally gluten free foods like hard boiled eggs, cheese, etc. 

Nighttime was a little uncomfortable. We had a hard, plasticky pull-out. One of the nights the emotions caught up to my husband so I woke to find the two of them snuggling.

Friday was much calmer and quieter. We started the day off with educational rounds. The endo leading them was an older woman, nice but firm. Questions were asked among the group. She told them the patient's mom diagnosed her son because a pediatrician told her the signs years ago. I asked what the chances of my other children getting type 1 diabetes because when my son was diagnosed with celiac I was told it was unlikely, that it's a 1:20 chance, but now three of my four children had it. I heard gasps and saw raised eyebrows and open mouths. I think I even surprised the endo. Of course I did not get a direct answer, and really did not expect to.

For the rest of the day, the doctor and nurses were trying to get us out of the hospital so we could leave for vacation. Usually kids stay in for three or four days (more if they are really sick at diagnosis). At first, one of the doctors was against it, but the other was for it. I think, in the end, our willingness to learn and showing how quickly we took over and understood what was going on helped sway the other doctor to our side, albeit reluctantly. 

We spent the day exploring, resting, and eating. The floor had a room with games and other activities. You could play there or take something back to your room. At one point there was a dog in the activity room to cheer up the kids. 

One doctor let us go off the floor to check out some "visiting" areas of the hospital, but he had us bring sugar tabs with us for my son to take if he felt weird at all. I could see the other doctor biting her tongue when he allowed us to go. It was a nice break from the room, especially as a baby (an older baby by the sounds of crying) had been admitted and was inconsolable. 

With all their hard work - and ours - we were discharged at 4 pm on Friday. Our pharmacy stayed open for us so we could get the rest of our supplies. The rest they did not have we had picked up at the hospital pharmacy previously. We easily dropped $500 on pharmacy supplies alone.

By then, the other kids were at the house. My brother-in-law and his family were watching the kids. We had very little to pack so the kids quickly ate, and we took off that night for vacation.

In hindsight, knowing what I do now, I understand why the first doctor was reserved about us going, but I am also thankful for the other doctor okaying it and for being relaxed about it. We had a blast on vacation. It was a nice moment after weeks of illness and my son's diagnosis.

We still had much to learn (we still do). There would be many ups and downs. In no time, though, diabetes became part of our lives, and we only look forward now. As my son says, "I only think about it when I have to eat. Or sometimes when I do karate because it can mess me up there."

My son two months post-diagnosis, looking so much healthier.

(Original diagnosis post here.)

Friday, November 3, 2017

Type 1 Diabetes: Introduction

November is Diabetes Awareness month. I would like to take the next three weeks to write about diabetes, my son's diagnosis, and where we are a year and a half later.

There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. There are other types as well, but for my purposes, these two make up the majority of diabetics. Even so, of those diagnosed with diabetes, 95% are type 2 and 5% type 1, which means most people think they know about diabetes when in truth they only know about type 2 diabetes.

What's the difference then?

First, let's talk about the normal body. In a nutshell, a normal person eats food, the carbs are converted to energy, and allowed to be used for energy by insulin made in the pancreas, and we go about our day not thinking of this very important, life-or-death organ in our bodies. Small amounts of insulin are made throughout the day, and the liver counteracts with glucose to maintain a stable "sugar" environment that our bodies use for energy. FYI, I'm not a doctor - just a mom trying to explain in laymen's terms.

I like the door metaphor. In a normal person there are cells and glucose is in them (those carbs we eat). Insulin is the key that comes along, unlocks the door, and allows the energy (glucose) out. In a diabetic, something goes wrong. In type 2 diabetes, the keys are there, insulin is produced by the pancreas, but something is wrong with the lock and the glucose remains trapped, raising blood sugar levels. In type 1 diabetics, there simply is no key - no insulin - and no way to unlock the perfectly working lock and door.

For those who like visuals:

Type 2 diabetes is often the result of genetics and lifestyle. It usually takes a long time to develop, and diet and exercise can significantly aid a body in working properly so the key can unlock the door. This is typically done through lower carb diets (less carbs = less doors to unlock), exercise, and sometimes medication. While this is most often diagnosed in adults, children are increasingly diagnosed as a result of our modern sedentary lifestyle. While many people associate type 2 diabetes with overweight people, I think that is a mistake. In my own family, there are three type 2 diabetics that were underweight, at weight, and slightly overweight at diagnosis.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. In any autoimmune disease, something triggers the body to attack itself. That something is partially genetics and environment plus the trigger like a virus. Any part of the body can be attacked. Your body thinks a piece of itself is the enemy and "fights" it by creating antibodies to destroy that piece of you. In Hashimoto's or Grave's, the thyroid is attacked. In celiac disease, the cilia of the small intestine is attacked. In psoriasis, the skin is attacked. You get the picture. In type 1 diabetes, the islet cells of the pancreas is attacked, and eventually killed off. These cells make insulin which is crucial to life. Without the cells, without insulin, type 1 diabetes is fatal. Today, thankfully, with modern medicine, it is not fatal (usually), though it can be serious at different points of the disease.

Though type 1 diabetes appears to come on suddenly (over a few days to a week), there usually are symptoms in hindsight, and occasionally, like my son's case and me being a paranoid mom, years of off/on symptoms. That's because, unless the pancreas takes a direct hit (like an accident), it takes time for the islet cells to die off and for the body to basically be in a dying state.

The symptoms for diabetes is similar for both types, but in type 1 diabetes the symptoms often come on suddenly, and for many, after an illness. They are also excessive, as in, you will start to notice something is going on and say to yourself, "Hmm... I think I need to keep an eye on this." It doesn't come and go. It intensifies as the days pass. Days. I went from the "Hmm..." to I think we need to call the doctor in less than four days. I say this to assuage any worries you may have because your child seems to be drinking more lately.

And the ant and urine thing? That's a first for me. I will say that my son's urine looked like no urine I have ever seen. It was very yellow (dehydration) and sticky like honey which of course was the sugar he was spilling out. That makes sense about it attracting ants, doesn't it?

For more information on diabetes go to the American Diabetes Association.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Day 31: The End

Day 31 of the 31 day challenge.

I missed yesterday. I'm not feeling very well. I can't miss today though. It's the end of the 31 days! It will be short and I sweet. I am not thinking straight.

Instead of following the prompt (how I balance work and rest - ha!), I wanted to say another thank you to Ana Maria for remembering me when she asked a group of women to blog for 31 days. At first, I thought maybe I shouldn't commit, but I am glad I did. Writing nearly every day has helped me remember how much I actually like to write. Following the prompts was also a challenge in pushing myself to write about something I did not always like.

I am glad you came along for the ride.

Don't forget to check out these other blogs:

~~Ana Maria at Bottled Ponderings~~

~~Christine at Epiphanies of Beauty~~

~~Barb at Praying for Grace~~

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Day 29: Three People I'd Invite to Dinner

Day 29 of the 31 day challenge.

3 People (Living or Dead) I would Invite to Dinner:

Louisa May Alcott

Based off my time travels, I would pick Louisa May Alcott for one of my guests. Her books have an innocence, a love of life, and a growth to them that I think speaks volumes about the person writing it. Also, she was not afraid to work hard, had a big imagination, and a perseverance to her personality that I admire.

Elisabeth Leseur

Elisabeth Leseur lived in the 1800/1900s in France. Both her and her doctor husband, Felix, were from Catholic families, but she soon found out he no longer practiced the faith. In fact, he not only not practiced, he was vocally anti-God - an atheist - and he and his friends often spoke against and made fun of religion. Elisabeth lived inside this circle of well-educated, atheistic thought and still held strong to her faith by delving deeper and learning more about her faith. She struggled with physical illness and would eventually succumb to it when she was forty-seven.

What's really awesome about her is that her husband's actions forced her to learn more about her faith, that she did not give up her faith but simply grew stronger, and that by her actions her husband was converted though she was no longer living to witness it here on Earth.

While Elisabeth and her husband were unable to have children, I feel a very strong connection to her and share similar struggles. Having her to dinner is purely selfish on my part for an infusion of strength and solidarity.

If you have not read her diary, you should. Check it out!


I think this is a no-brainer. If Jesus came to my house, there would be no dinner. We'd have to order pizza so we can spend all our time catching up and not wasting it with kitchen distractions.

----->> Who would you invite? I never enjoyed this question in the past, but today was fun and relatively easy to choose.

Don't forget to check out these other blogs:

~~Ana Maria at Bottled Ponderings~~

~~Christine at Epiphanies of Beauty~~

~~Barb at Praying for Grace~~

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Day 28: Desert Island and Missing Life

Day 28 of the 31 day challenge. Saturday morning and it's dark and rainy. The kids trick-or-treat tonight, and it's going to be a cold one. Today's prompt is a fun one:

If you were stranded on a desert island, what would you miss most about your current life?

The big ones (it's simple): family, people, the Sacraments.

In detail...

If I am unlucky and land on an island located closer to the poles than the equator, I would miss a heater. But, those tropic islands get pretty steamy, and I hate to get hot so at times I bet I would miss an AC or at least a fan.

Books - Books are an escape in this world, and if I was stranded with no hope of escape, I would miss them.

Underwear. No explanation needed.

Hairbrush. One can only go so long without brushing and not feel incredibly dirty, no matter how clean the hair is.

My bed... I have slept on the ground recently, and it really hurts. Maybe a hammock would do, one that I made out of vines of course with the knife I somehow had possession of.

The grocery store - Depending on where I was stranded, this could prove a life-or-death situation.

Finally, I would miss boat the most!

That's all the time I have to play. Be back tomorrow. But tell me, important people and things aside, what would you miss most?

Don't forget to check out these other blogs:

~~Ana Maria at Bottled Ponderings~~

~~Christine at Epiphanies of Beauty~~

~~Barb at Praying for Grace~~

Friday, October 27, 2017

Day 27: Given a Time Machine, Where Would You Go

Day 27 of the 31 day challenge - something fun to think about!

As a kid, I loved the idea of having a time machine - go anywhere in history. I always wanted to go back. I most daydreamed of being part of a Native American Indian tribe or the 1800s in general (think Little Women).

I'd still like to visit those childhood dreams, but now I think I would also like to see the future. Waaaaay into the future. I think it would also be neat to visit past relatives. Isn't it interesting how the years shape your mind?

What about you? Where would you go?

Don't forget to check out these other blogs:

~~Ana Maria at Bottled Ponderings~~

~~Christine at Epiphanies of Beauty~~

~~Barb at Praying for Grace~~

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Day 26: Short & Long Term Goals

Day 26 of the 31 day challenge. Today's prompt asks what my most important short and long term goals are. I feel it's rather simple:

Short - get through this day.

Long - Heaven.

Easy-peasy, right?

I'm not a goal planner; as in, next year, this will happen; in 5, this event; etc. Living with chronic autoimmune disease that can greatly vary one day to the next, I have learned - am still learning - that most days I have to let go or change my daily plans.

Some days, a goal is simply to be present for that day. Some days, it's just getting out of bed and dressed. I think working on discipline is more important for me right now than specific goals so some "goals" focus on that.

It's difficult to plan for specific long-term goals, but I do have more flexible ones such as...

...building a house and getting out of this apartment. Tight spaces do teach valuable lessons of personal space, patience, and a need for quiet.

...raising my children.

...keeping the love alive.


Maybe I don't have a ton of material goals, but I do have a few pretty important ones.

This post makes me feel boring. I need a coffee. What about you? Do you have any livelier goals?

Don't forget to check out these other blogs:

~~Ana Maria at Bottled Ponderings~~

~~Christine at Epiphanies of Beauty~~

~~Barb at Praying for Grace~~

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Day 25: How You Enjoy Wasting Your Time

Day 25 of the 31 day challenge.

How I Enjoy Wasting My Time

It's a fine line between relaxation and neglect. "I'll just do that for a moment," I think, and then, without blinking, so much more time has passed. What has such power over me?

Phone Game - I resisted a smart phone for so long. Truthfully, I love it, but it doesn't come without risks. Some of the games are addicting. My go-to is Cookie Jam. Thankfully I'm limited by number of lives before I have to wait for more.

Reading - Give me a good book, and I lose sleep and use every possible moment of the day to read. I'm so glad I can actually focus again to read an entire book! A year ago I was in a much different place.

Sleeping - In a tired spell, all I have to do is sit down a brief second, and then I'm lost to sleep.

TV - Obvious. Whether it's a binge-viewing of a good show, I'm lazy, or I hurt too much to move, TV can fill hours.

Beginning a Project - When I first start a project of any kind, my mind buzzes and adrenaline kicks in. I have tunnel vision. It's all I think about. At some point, I fizzle, and then it takes real work and discipline to wrap it up.

There are other activities I like to do in my downtime, but the above ones are what really make me lose track of time.

What about you?

Don't forget to check out these other blogs:

~~Ana Maria at Bottled Ponderings~~

~~Christine at Epiphanies of Beauty~~

~~Barb at Praying for Grace~~

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Day 24: What Makes Someone Beautiful from the Inside Out

Day 24 of the 31 day challenge. I missed mom's night. I'm not going to whine, but if you could say a little prayer for these auras and headaches to stop, I would appreciate it.

Moving forward...

What Makes Someone Beautiful from the Inside Out

I am sure I'm not qualified to answer this prompt, but I will give it a shot.

...Strong faith.

...Acceptance, but not without hope.






...Inner joy.

Or maybe you should just look up Proverbs 31:10-31. I've a long way to go.

Don't forget to check out these other blogs:

~~Ana Maria at Bottled Ponderings~~

~~Christine at Epiphanies of Beauty~~

~~Barb at Praying for Grace~~

Monday, October 23, 2017

Day 23: Five Things to be Thankful for Today

Day 23 of the 31 day challenge.

Five Things You're Grateful for Today

Someone must have looked at the calendar and thought, "Hmm, the 23rd is a Monday. Better make the prompt a simple one!"

I can easily choose more than five things by simply saying the standard, "God, my family, my home..." Etc., etc. So I'd like to see if I can choose five thankfuls that are only because of today, and I'll look for some silly memes to go with it just because I want to.

Thankful #1: We can sleep in, and I don't have to rush kids out the door to meet buses or drive to a brick-and-mortar school. (Ok, this one applies to any school day, but I felt especially grateful today because I just heard the bus outside, it's so dark out there, and for reason #2.)

(You'd think there'd be more memes about homeschooling and sleeping in!)

Thankful #2: That I'm inside on this dark, rainy morning. 100% rain all day. We need the rain, but I sure am glad I can stay put (until tonight - see #3). (Ok, later note, now that it's lighter outside. It's not actually raining yet. I don't know what I heard earlier. Sure sounded like rain.)

Thankful #3: Mom's night with some local homeschool moms. One of the moms arranged a "massage night." Maybe that'll help loosen tension enough to finally break these headaches I'm having.

(Excuse the language, but I couldn't resist the cats and his stress.)

Thankful #4: My kids art class is today. Actually, I teach it. Yes, it creates a bit more stress for me, but the kids are great and I think they all enjoy it. Today's class is going to be MESSY, and if my own efforts at painting my piece prove true, it will probably be the hardest class this session with finishing their clay pieces by painting them. The kids made pinch pot apple dishes and a pinch pot finger puppet. Some made an owl like me and some did their own thing.

Thankful #5: Headache-free - or nearly so. I feel a slight tightening of tension, but after round two over the weekend of just-kill-me-now pain that left me in and out on the couch with an ice bag on my head, I'll take a just barely there headache today.

(I like cats.)

Don't forget to check out these other blogs:

~~Ana Maria at Bottled Ponderings~~

~~Christine at Epiphanies of Beauty~~

~~Barb at Praying for Grace~~

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Day 22: If Money Were No Object...

Day 22 of the 31 day challenge.

If money were no object, what would you spend your time doing?

Right now? Breaking this headache of 1+ week (that's thankfully waxing and waning so it's not been completely me hidden in a dark, quiet spot for the duration).

In dreams? I'd cook when I wanted and hire someone to do it for the rest of the time.

I'd travel more.

I'd take morning walks with my husband.

This is a hard question for me. As the bread winner, my husband would probably have more to say with this prompt than I do. I'm used to being home, and I can do much more that I want than my husband can. My day-to-day is less limited by money than by family duty.

Don't forget to check out these other blogs:

~~Ana Maria at Bottled Ponderings~~

~~Christine at Epiphanies of Beauty~~

~~Barb at Praying for Grace~~

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Day 21: Your Dream Job

Day 21 of the 31 day challenge.

My Dream Job

I am beyond thankful that my husband has a job that allows me to stay at home with the kids. That's more than enough of a "job" for me! That said, my husband occasionally asks me what I would like to do once the kids are grown (as if I still won't be busy!). However, that does start me to thinking about what I would do if I could do anything - all money, kids, family, health aside.

Own an Allergen-Free Restaurant - though we are only gluten-free, to have a place void of the top allergens full of fresh food and treats would be awesome. I know how it feels to want to go out now and then and often it seems as if we're taking a gamble when we do. Finding a safe spot would be awesome so I want to make others in the same boat feel the same way. My restaurant would have seasonal items, changing menus, and be fresh and family friendly. Note to Readers: you may have such a place in your town (please share!), but alas, in my rural part of the world, we have much less to choose from.

Write a Book - pretty self-explanatory. My vision of writing a book is much neater and prettier in my head than I expect the reality to be. I would most likely write a kid book - teen/pre-teen.

Book Store / Coffee Shop / Soup & Sandwich - this dream is kind of a mash-up. In my head, I envision a safe spot for kids after school, but the work lunch crowd for soup and sandwich (gluten-free/allergen free options naturally). It's small, cozy, and welcoming. This kind of place has to exist somewhere with overall colder weather as I always think of the fall when I dream this dream.

Artsy-Fartsy DIY Studio - I'd like to fiddle more with this on my own, but also create a fun place for kids and adults to explore art, especially for those who think they can't do it. I imagine color, late mornings, groups, and parties for this dream.

Do you have a dream job?

Don't forget to check out these other blogs:

~~Ana Maria at Bottled Ponderings~~

~~Christine at Epiphanies of Beauty~~

~~Barb at Praying for Grace~~

Friday, October 20, 2017

Day 20: Five '+' Changes Right Now

Day 20 of the 31 day challenge. How is October moving along so fast? The days are way too short. My "off" week is nearly over, but today will be fun: lunch play date at the park, a physical for one boy who wants to play basketball, and then pizza and a movie at home this evening.

But's let move on to the prompt:

Five Positive Changes You Could Make in Your Life Right Now

Naturally, as soon as I read the topic for today all I could think of was changing the negative parts of me. Why do we do this to ourselves?

Changes I would make (am trying to make):

Praying More - and not just official prayer at set times with set prayers, but carrying that conversation with God through everything; to be present in the moment with Jesus. Life is so incredibly busy and my mind buzzing with everything that I have to fight to keep God in there, ever-present.

Stop Yelling - I hate yelling, but it comes out when I'm frustrated. Yelling serves no purpose other than to shut the other person out. I'm trying the soft kindergarten voice, but it's not working for me. What's your trick?

Fast - I'm not talking about a major fast, but small, intermittent fasts. It would be good for both body and soul.

Set Sleep Schedule - I had an autoimmune flare at the end of summer, and it's really messed with my sleep habits. It is better than it was, but having that set schedule again would be welcome and incredibly helpful (feeling rested, easier mornings, not falling asleep at some point every day, not needing more than one cup of coffee...).

Sitting in the Sun - or forcing myself outside more. With such busy days indoors (cooking, cleaning, schooling, falling asleep apparently), I often lose track of time and then it is evening. I'm like a plant - I need the sun. I know this about myself. I need to feel the wind on my face, and see the seasonal changes up close and personal. I need to prioritize this. Without it, I lose a piece of myself, I feel further from God, and a restlessness fills me.

So what changes would you make? Looking back at what I wrote I see many are physical changes. How much our physical world dominates us.

Don't forget to check out these other blogs:

~~Ana Maria at Bottled Ponderings~~

~~Christine at Epiphanies of Beauty~~

~~Barb at Praying for Grace~~

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Day 19: How You Try to Make the World a Better Place

Day 19 of the 31 day challenge. Thank goodness it's our "off" week from school. I'm on day 5 of this wonderful headache. It's more of a tension headache now, but if I'm not careful another migraine might come of it.

I really did not feel like writing this morning, but here I am trying to stick to my 31 day goal.


How do I try to make the world a better place?

I am no one.

In all this world, to most people, I am no one. It can feel as if I make no difference, and surely the devil uses those feelings to discourage. If I cannot "go big" then I most definitely should just go home for I am nothing. What difference can I make?

Yet, I am a child of God. I know that if only I existed, Jesus would have died for me. Just me. One "person" making a difference for one other person.

It is too easy to become discouraged if I think that I should be doing more. Often, God calls me to do less. What is it to the world if I do x, y, z, but at home my children are starved for affection and love?What is it to the world if I teach others the faith, but ignore my family's learning? What is it to the world if I feed the hungry, but leave my family to fend for themselves?

I may be little. I may be nothing in the eyes of the world, but here, at home, I am someone. I am mom. I am wife, daughter, sister, friend, teacher. Reaching out and showing God's love to those around me is the best way I can try to make the world a better place. That is where I am at right now.

Naturally, sharing God's love with others first starts with me. I have to better myself in God's ways or what good am I?

(I'm glad I did write this post. I feel a tad uplifted.)

Don't forget to check out these other blogs:

~~Ana Maria at Bottled Ponderings~~

~~Christine at Epiphanies of Beauty~~

~~Barb at Praying for Grace~~

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Day 18: Ten Things I Like About Myself

Day 18 of the 31 day challenge. As an aside, I googled the song I posted yesterday because I couldn't sleep and found this article with a bit of an interview of the singer/songwriter of the band. I'll definitely have to listen to the full album, called Hope. The gist of the song is this:

"Basically the song is about fighting your inner demons. Trying to change and become a better person in life. I write songs to reflect where I’m at in life, and this song is me saying to the world that I’m doing my absolute best right now to be a good person."

Now, today's topic:

Ten Things I Like About Myself

I might have groaned out loud when I read today's prompt yesterday. Mostly, it left me in a funk (darn headache doesn't help). In frank honesty, at this juncture, I'm not liking myself too much. When I was younger, there were a few women I was lucky enough to know for a time, and I thought to myself, "I want to be like her when I grow old." Like her meaning oozing a certain grace and peace to those around you.

I'm anything but grace and peace. I fight an inner anger and impatience. The battle feels so constant, especially as it worsens with stress (bodily or mentally). Oh, how I laugh whenever I think of how "patient" I was when I only had my first child.

Growing older also meant physical changes, and I wanted to be ok with that. But I'm not. I feel robbed of my youth fighting this fatigue and other issues since I was 19. I feel like I am old already, and that scares me. Plus, gaining all this weight with my thyroid has thrown me into a world of doubt and insecurity that I never could have imagined, and all I can think is, "How can a young girl struggle with this weight?"

Sob, sob. That's enough.

I suppose the first thing I will say I like about myself has everything to do with God, not me, because it is the fact that though I am beaten down, I get back up and try again - not on my own, but with God's grace.

I'm an organizer. I love to plan. I don't always follow through, but I do love planning and I think I'm pretty good at it. Organizing goes along with being efficient too, I think. My mind is always jumping to the best path to take.

My mind may be a fog at times, and my memory shot, but I am good at puzzles, especially spatial puzzles like Tetris or rearranging blocks to form pictures or whatever.

I can read fast. That used to be a good thing when I retained all that I read! Now it's a good lesson in slowing down and savoring the words.

I like to be creative. I like that about myself. I'm no Michelangelo, but I do ok for me.

Let's see, that makes 5 things so far. This is hard!

I can cook. Occasionally I try a recipe for something new, but I think I'm pretty good at throwing in this and that and coming up with yummy food to eat.

Read alouds. I do all the voices. Or try to. :)

I can finally stand in front of a group and talk to people without completely making a fool of myself.

I suppose I can teach. Kind of. Sort of. I'm doing it, right?

I still try new things. I don't always like it, but I force myself. After all, I can't grow too old and stodgy in mind as well as body, can I?

What about you? What do you like about you?

Don't forget to check out these other blogs:

~~Ana Maria at Bottled Ponderings~~

~~Christine at Epiphanies of Beauty~~

~~Barb at Praying for Grace~~

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

P.S. Feeling Alive

On the way to the doctor's yesterday, the radio was on in the car. Living in a rural area and heading to the "big city" meant a lot of channel scanning over clouds of static. I stopped on what sounded like a catchy tune, something I would like - upbeat, felt fun, and well, happy. Then I started to listen to the words. I'm still not sure what I think of them. 
Today's 31 Day prompt made me remember this song immediately. Is this guy crying out for help, or is he sending a message that despite this... mess in his head, he's fighting to live - and for a purpose (waiting for his day, not wanting to be alone). I don't know, but this song is stuck in my head now.
What do you think? Check out the lyrics:
Spirits by The Strumbellas
I got guns in my head and they won't go
Spirits in my head and they won't go
I got guns in my head and they won't go
Spirits in my head and they won't
I been looking at the stars tonight
And I think oh, how I miss that bright sun
I'll be a dreamer 'til the day I die
But they say oh, how the good die young
But we're all strange
And maybe we don't wanna change
I got guns in my head and they won't go
Spirits in my head and they won't go
I got guns in my head and they won't go
Spirits in my head and they won't go
But the gun still rattles
The gun still rattles, oh
I got guns in my head and they won't go
Spirits in my head and they won't go
I spent a lot of nights on the run
And I think oh, like I'm lost and can't be found
I'm just waiting for my day to come
And I think oh, I don't wanna let you down
'Cause something inside has changed
And maybe we don't wanna stay the same
I got guns in my head and they won't go
Spirits in my head and they won't go
I got guns in my head and they won't go
Spirits in my head and they won't go
But the gun still rattles
The gun still rattles, oh
But the gun still rattles
The gun still rattles, oh
And I don't want a never ending life
I just want to be alive while I'm here
And I don't want a never ending life
I just want to be alive while I'm here
And I don't want to see another night
Lost inside a lonely life while I'm here
I got guns in my head and they won't go
Spirits in my head and they won't go
I got guns in my head and they won't go
Spirits in my head and they won't go
But the gun still rattles
The gun still rattles, oh
But the gun still rattles
The gun still rattles, oh
Written by Jeremy Drury, Jonathan Hembrey, Darryl James, Isabel Ritchie, David Ritter, Simon Alexander Ward • Copyright © BMG Rights Management US, LLC

Day 17: What Makes You Feel Alive

Day 17 of the 31 day challenge.

What Makes You Feel Alive

Ironic title considering I feel half-alive this morning despite a good night's sleep. Migraines will do that to a person. It's still there - a dull throbbing - and a fatigue that lies on me. At least it's manageable, liveable, and I can carry on with today's plans: a theatre show with the kids (Young Abe), out to lunch with my in-laws, and then energy-burning at a skate rink after with other homeschoolers. It's nice to have a week off.

So what makes me feel alive? I feel the need for a list today.

...the brisk autumn wind on my face.

...a cold winter's night looking up at the stars.

...dashing through the rain.

...seeing something beautiful.

...jolted awake at 3 am to check my son's blood sugar.

...jolted awake at any time in a panic, heart racing.

...jumping into the pool.

...reading a good book.

...watching an emotional movie.

...alone in the church with Jesus in the Tabernacle.

...after Confession!

...after writing.

...doing the dishes (usually).

...standing at the ocean's edge.

...waking up and realizing today you feel good.

What about you?

Don't forget to check out these other blogs:

~~Ana Maria at Bottled Ponderings~~

~~Christine at Epiphanies of Beauty~~

~~Barb at Praying for Grace~~