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What I’ve been learning lately

Woman lying on upper back and holding her lower back in balance. Image Source: Istock

Beautiful woman lying on upper back & holding her lower back in balance. Image Source: Istock

Summer is here and it’s a good time to reflect on and reevaluate how the year is going. You and I may have had bodacious plans for 2020, such as traveling to another country, getting fit and losing 20 pounds, or becoming debt-free. We certainly didn’t expect to be in the middle of a global pandemic and seeing riots, looting, and violence over George Floyd and racism. 

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Anxious, depressed, and stressed during Coronavirus & Shelter In Place order?

Woman with face mask Image source: Unsplash

Woman with face mask
Image source: Unsplash

If you are like me, you have been battling anxiety, depression, and great stress during the Coronavirus crisis and the Shelter In Place order across the U.S. and the world.

My biggest concern is about our three daughters, our grandkids, or other loved ones contracting the virus (as well as concern for my husband Ray and myself). Second, like many people, I’m worried about the U.S. and the global economy. 

I do know that no matter what, God is still on the throne as the King and in control of everything, and I must trust in Him. The Coronavirus did NOT take God by surprise! He’s got you and me in His loving, capable hands.

Here is an article with some good tips for coping with anxiety.

pink peony from our yard

pink peony from our yard

Some of the ways I am coping are the following. I hope they can help you, too.

  • Spend daily quiet time with God, reading & studying the Bible, praying, and worshipping/praising Him. I call this my Coffee With God time and even wrote a book about it, which you can find here at Amazon.
  • Staying connected with my beloved family and friends. Recently, I was FINALLY able to see and hug my precious daughters Heather and Leah and our two granddaughters, Annabelle and Violet. I hadn’t been able to see them for over a month due to the virus and Shelter In Place order in Missouri, where we live. Once it lifted, I had lunch with Leah and went to see Heather and the girls for Violet’s 14th birthday. This made me so happy! Our daughter Eden and her family moved to Colorado this  year, so we haven’t been able to see them since then. We miss them, but I’m glad they seem so happy and recently got their own apartment there near Denver.
  • Having online Zoom meetings is a great tool to do that (also for business and ministry purposes). There is a paid and unpaid version. The unpaid version is limited to 40 minutes and 100 participants (attendees). The two paid versions have other features, multiple hosts and participants. On Monday nights, I join my sweet friend Kim and her friend Allison in Jacksonville, Florida, for Kim’s Bible study on the book of James. On Thursday nights, I attend my speaker/leadership coach/author friend Doreen Penner for her Zoom “chocolate bites” for inspiring words of encouragement. On Saturday mornings at 10:30 a.m. Central Time (11:30 a.m. Eastern Time), I offer a free Zoom “Virtual Coffee & Prayer” time for ladies. If you’re interested in joining us, comment below or contact me here.
  • I’ve been spending 10-15 minutes a day in the sunshine to help my body absorb Vitamin D. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for the body to absorb calcium, and for bone growth, bone healing, and immune system function, which is very important right now with the Coronavirus out there. Spending even a few minutes out in the sunshine can provide your body with the Vitamin D it needs for the day. I notice an immediate difference in my mood when I spend time outdoors. 
  • Journal daily. Writing about your deepest fears can help reduce your inhibited emotions and the stress that comes with them, and releases negative thoughts and feelings. Journaling improves mental health, boosts positive feelings and enhances your sense of well-being. 
  • I take hot baths before bedtime. This helps to relax me. Sometimes I add Epsom salts.
  • I’ve been working in my little flower gardens lately. To my surprise, our youngest daughter Leah bought me fresh Azaleas flowers for Mother’s Day. This really blessed me and I planted them outside this week. I’m fervently praying that they survive and thrive! Last week, I bought purple and white annuals, and still have one pink rose bush that survived from last year. The peony bush on the side of our house which Ray accidentally mowed over came back, and is in full bloom. I also bought some cute fairy decorations for the annuals garden. Pictures of the gardens are below. Some health benefits of gardening are that it burns a lot of calories, it can lower your blood pressure, it helps your body to make Vitamin D, it can relieve stress, and it can make you happier.
  • I am reading more. This week’s books are Switch On Your Brain (Dr. Caroline Leaf), Get Out of Your Head (Jennie Allen), and Broken: A Story of Abuse, Survival, and Hope. Reading keeps your mind strong and healthy, improves your memory and focus, enhances your peace, and alleviates stress. 
  • Recently I’m watching Lost again. We all need down time to help with stress. This is probably the 4th time I’ve been watching the episodes again. I rarely watch TV, but this is probably one of my all-time fave shows. My daughter Heather told me about it when she began watching it years ago. I love it because it’s interesting (mysteries), funny, it has romance, and it makes you think about spiritual things. What is your “show”?
  • I pet and play with my black cat with green eyes, Natalya. She amuses me. I adopted Natalya three years ago from HelpHumane in Belton, Missouri. She was 3 1/2 years old at that time. Natalya’s owners had been in a house fire. They thought she had died in it, but she had just run during the fire. They had to move out of the house due to the damage and gave her to the shelter. Natalya loves me and is constantly following me around the house or in my lap with her soft blanket. I wrote about her and our daughter Leah’s cat in my first children’s book, Nat and Jax, available here at Amazon. Studies show that pets reduce stress and fear, and increase oxytocin levels in the brain. Pet adoptions and fostering has surged during the Coronavirus crisis. 
  • I’m trying to eat healthier, drink more water, take a women’s multi-vitamin and Vitamin D/Calcium, Cinnamon, and Biotin, and do more self-care (such as trying new makeup). During times of crisis, it’s important to take care of yourself as never before. Your cortisol levels increase. Try adding more fresh vegetables and fruit to your diet, increase your water daily, and do stretches or go for a walk. I bought a weighted blanket recently, take Melatonin about a half hour before bedtime, and sometimes use Lavender essential oil, which seems to be helping my struggles with insomnia. There is only one, unique YOU in this world. God created you and me for a Divine purpose and mission. Take care of yourself and let your light shine.

I hope these tips above help you. What are you doing to help with anxiety, depression, and stress during Coronavirus and the Shelter In Place order?

“Trust in him at all times, oh people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” ~Psalm 62:8

Below are some pretty pics of my little gardens that I’ve been working in this past week. I hope they bless you.

pink Azaleas my sweet daughter Leah bought me for Mother's Day

pink Azaleas my sweet daughter Leah bought me for Mother’s Day

sunflower decoration with Azaleas that Leah bought me

sunflower decoration with Azaleas that Leah bought me

peony bush by side of the house

peony bush by the side of the house

purple & white annuals garden

purple & white annuals garden

purple annuals

purple annuals

white annuals

white annuals

fairy decorations

fairy decorations

pink roses

pink roses

flowers to draw butterflies

flowers to draw butterflies

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Blog, Faith, Family, Featured, Fitness, Parenting, prayer, Stress

The waiting room

Leah in waiting room at her physical therapist’s office

Have you ever been in a hospital or doctor waiting room or in a line for a long time? It’s hard. I am there now. So is our beautiful, precious daughter Leah.

As you may have read, near Christmas 2019, Leah fell on ice and snow in her driveway at her rental home and it broke the fibula in her right ankle, which required surgery. It is not an easy, quick fix for the fibula to heal, especially after surgery. The surgeon put a heavy, thick, black boot on her ankle during surgery and ordered her to elevate her ankle most of the time and rest as much as possible. He said that she could not work or drive for at least 6 to 8 weeks, maybe longer. 

Leah's heavy black ankle boot

Leah’s heavy black ankle boot

Initially Leah stayed three weeks with Ray and me after her surgery for us to watch over her (Ray has been a paramedic over 30 years) and to help her by cooking meals, washing her laundry, dispensing her pain medication as needed, taking her to her post-surgery appointments, etc.  She’s now back at her house, recovering.

Leah at our house with her ankle elevated, pre-surgery

Leah at our house with her ankle elevated, pre-surgery

I still help her as much as I can, taking her to doctor and physical therapy appointments, running errands, etc. She is still in her heavy, black ankle boot and she still can’t drive or work.

But yesterday she accomplished a major milestone: Leah is now at 50% weight-bearing on her ankle. She is on her way to walking again! Leah is doing amazing! Praise You, JESUS!

Leah at physical therapy, at 50% weight-bearing on her ankle

 

Leah at physical therapy with her therapist Sam, who rocks!

Leah’s physical therapist Sam rocks! When Leah’s surgeon Dr. Carroll ordered physical therapist as part of her post-surgery treatment, I began praying for God to hand-pick her physical therapist and I truly believe He did! Sam is so nice, very knowledgeable, and funny. He makes Leah and me laugh with his quick wit.

He is a very positive person who speaks LIFE over her, for which I’m extremely thankful. I always agree with him out loud, “Yes!”, when he encourages her that she’ll be walking in no time and just fine!

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” (Proverbs 18:21, ESV)

Leah on one crutch, using 50% weight-bearing on her ankle

 Yesterday Sam had Leah walk with both her crutches and then one crutch, using 50% weight-bearing on her right ankle, as she walked along the indoor sidewalk with parallel bars and around the inside of the clinic. This is not easy after you haven’t been walking for months.

Leah at physical therapy, 50% weight-bearing

One difficult thing is maintaining your balance. She didn’t want to fall over and then put all her weight on her broken ankle, as that could re-injure her. But she did great! She was so excited to reach this progress of 50% weight-bearing.

Two other exercises Sam taught her how to do to strengthen her ankle was squats, rising from a sitting position and putting 50% of the weight on her right ankle (about 15 repetitions at a time, to be done throughout the day). She also puts a blue, tied elastic band inside a door (closing it) and wraps the other end underneath her knee. Then she raises up her ankle/leg for 15 to 20 repetitions at a time, doing the exercises repeatedly during the day.

Sam showing Leah how to tie the elastic band to raise and lower her ankle

Leah doing “squats,” standing up from sitting position

Yesterday before her physical therapy appointment, Leah and I met my daughter Heather at Panera Bread for lunch. It was so good to see Heather, as she works full-time, takes care of her two daughters and her fiance Andy’s three kids, and is always busy. I was so happy to spend time with my beautiful, precious daughters!

My precious, beautiful daughters! Leah, Heather, and me at Panera Bread for lunch

The broccoli cheddar soup and 1/2 turkey-bacon-avocado sandwich I ordered was delicious! Leah and Heather also ordered the “Pick 2” option. Heather ordered the Turkey Bravo sandwich and potato soup, and Leah ordered the steak and cheddar sandwich with mac & cheese. 

Delicious Panera Bread lunch

This week at Heather’s workplace (a convenience store), an armed man barricaded himself in the bathroom. Thank God that Heather had already left work two hours earlier, and no one was hurt in the incident. The man had intended to hang himself in the bathroom, but I think he may have had plans to shoot people first. The police managed to get the assistant manager and all the employees safely out of the store, and took the man into police custody. This is WHY I pray the blood of Jesus over me and my family every day!

Pray the blood of Jesus over you & loved ones daily

As we chatted, Leah talked about the annoyance of her numerous attempts to get state or federal government assistance for her rent, utility bills, food, and medical bills. The government websites are difficult to navigate and confusing. When you call the phone number, you’re on hold for sometimes half an hour or longer. Leah has already received one denial for assistance, even though she’s physically unable to work (on her surgeon’s orders), and has run into obstacles trying to contact other agencies. I’m praying God intervenes in her situation. He will provide for her!

I told Heather that I feel Leah is trying to rush the process of healing her ankle and is being impatient. She really wants her boot off (she has to wear it 8 to 10 weeks post-surgery to protect it) and to drive and to work again. Heather laughed when I said that I understand Leah is tired of her mom “toting” her around, as she puts it.

The waiting room is a difficult place to be. Yet how often God has us in that place to grow our faith in the dark and to teach us to trust totally in Him. 

Leah and Heather.
Leah feels impatient.

I know Leah is tired of using her little green “knee walker” scooter (which I think is an incredible invention! It has helped her to get around so much easier than her crutches!), as well as the crutches. I know she wants to work and drive on her own, and to do the things she’s used to doing. I’ve encouraged her that this is just for a season, God is going to heal her, and she will soon be walking again. Please continue to pray for Leah’s complete, speedy healing. 

Leah at Hobby Lobby on her green scooter

I know it’s hard for Leah. There are things that I am waiting on in my own life. Things I’ve prayed for years and I’ve been waiting a long time. I have felt impatient, too, and at times I’ve been very discouraged that it seems to be taking so long. God’s timing is not like ours. You wonder if your prayers are bouncing off the ceiling and if God even hears your prayers. He does. Don’t give up! Keep the faith in Him and continue praying to God. You will soon see victory through faith in Jesus!

me & our precious daughter Leah at Jose Pepper’s restaurant having lunch

*******

Are you in the waiting room? Don’t quit praying. God loves you and He hears your prayers, and will answer. Check out my book on prayer, Walking With God, available for sale at Amazon here.

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