Thursday, January 24, 2013

Antibiotics and Orphans

Rinsing the antibiotics out of the medicine spoon tonight, I mused at how easy this diagnosis of strep throat has been for my youngest. In under 2 hours, we scheduled and completed a doctor's appointment (complete with lab testing), got diagnosed, ordered, picked up, and drank the first dose of amoxacillin.

In under two hours.

Then my mind went back to the orphans in Kenya, to Susan and Jane, and all the others...

What if they get strep throat? Who is there to notice when they don't act quite right? To touch their forehead, checking for fever? Is there a doctor to examine them, medicine to heal them?

My child is feeling nearly normal after only a day of treatment. Would these Kenyan children suffer, the pain in their throats so intense they couldn't eat the meager portions of ugali offered to them? The fever and headaches sapping all the strength from the tiny bodies?

Would something we can treat in two hours damage their little bodies forever, causing rheumatic fever or nephritis?

My God, how blessed I am to be in the United States, where my children can be healed so quickly. Please Lord, be with those children all over this big world who aren't so fortunate.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Happy National Handwriting Day 2013!

I have a thing for handwriting. Don't get me wrong--I write electronically, too. But there's something about the fluid glide of a pen over paper, or the teeny scratching sound from a sharp pencil that somehow feels right. Sometimes, writing by hand is cathartic in a way that writing on a computer just isn't.

So, when I ran across this project called "The World Needs More Love Letters", I immediately loved the idea, especially for National Handwriting Day 2013, on January 23rd.

The premise is that you write a note to a total stranger, and you sign it anonymously as well. Then leave it in some random place for someone else to find.

That's it. Spread a little sunshine with your words. What writer (or even a non-writer) wouldn't love to do that??

I'd love to hear from you if you decide to join in with that movement, but of course there are other ways to celebrate National Handwriting Day 2013.

Drop in and tell me how you participated!!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Quote of the Day

“A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson (1870)

When you think you can't keep going any longer, just stick with it five more minutes--you can do it!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

How to Recharge your Resolutions

We’re a few days into the new year now. How are you doing on those resolutions? You’re in one of three camps:
  1. You don’t make resolutions.
  2. You are awesome! You made up your mind to change something this year, and you are sticking to it.
  3. You made a resolution or two, and you’ve already thrown in the towel. And you feel guilty because it’s only been a few days.

If you’re still going strong, then I congratulate you. But if you’re struggling, this post is for you. I want to help you get back on track.

To do that, we’re going to use a trick called the 5W Approach. This can be done two different ways. Today I will share the first. This involves taking a problem you need to solve, and then asking a series of five questions (the 5 W’s) about that problem: Who, What, Where, When and Why. These questions will help you pinpoint where you’re struggling, and ways to overcome it.

To start, define your problem. For example, I want to determine why I dread exercising. Then ask the Who, What, When, Where, and Why of that problem. Below is my example of how this works:

Take your problem (I hate exercising) and create a related “Who” question.

Possible "Who" questions:
  • Is there a person that helps or hinders my workout?
  • Do I need an accountability partner?
  • A personal trainer?
Possible answers:
  • I hate to exercise in front of others. 
  • like to run with my best friend.
  • I’d love a personal trainer.
Possible fixes:
  • Don’t exercise at the gym. Try an online workout or DVD at home instead.
  • Run with your buddy and you both get in shape.
  • Have a consultation with a personal trainer.

Even if you identify some issues, continue asking the other 4 W questions.

What: What kind of exercises are you doing? What exercises do you enjoy? What area of your health/body would you like to improve?

You may discover that you are in a Zumba class, but it makes you feel silly. Try circuit training instead. Or maybe you’re in a spin class, when you really want toned arms. Make your plan line up with the goal.

When: Are you working out at an inconvenient time? Are you a morning person or not? When is a convenient time for you to work out?

Where: where are you exercising? (In the garage where it’s cold, the gym where it’s crowded, etc.)

Why: Why do you want to exercise?

Consider the motives for exercising (or stopping smoking, or whatever your “change” is). Is it fueled by negativity (guilt, shame) or something positive (to run a 5K, to be healthier)? You have to want to make the change, or it won’t happen. Trust me—I’m a reformed smoker. I always knew the reasons I should quit. But I couldn’t quit until I wanted to.

Look at your answers to these questions, and make some adjustments to the way you’d been trying to change. Make a new battle plan, and start again. Remember, every day (or minute!) is a new beginning!

My challenge: now you try! Define your problem, and then ask the 5W’s. Thinking through questions in this way will help you identify small changes you can make that will help you succeed. Good luck!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Year Challenge

Undoubtedly, I am the queen of procrastination. I have a SLOW mode that I’m not afraid to use. Spend the whole day in my jammies? No problem. Play games, read, nap for hours, instead of writing? Piece of cake. Promising myself at every 15-minute interval that I will stop gaming/reading/napping and do something productive. But do I? Not as often as I’d like.

Right now, I’m giving myself some slack. I recently buried my dad, so if my heart really isn’t into any particular activity, I’m not pushing myself. But, because of dad, and the dawn of 2013, I have been considering my life and how I’m spending it.

Mom used to call dad “a worm in hot ashes” because he could rarely sit still. There was always something he felt needed his attention. Me? Not so much. Mentally, I feel that way, but my physical response is nonexistent. I’m always chastising myself in my head for being such a slacker. Then I try to rationalize my actions (or lack of them), and bore myself, often returning to whatever mind-numbing activity I was engaged in to end the banter in my head.

The funny thing is, what I am usually avoiding is writing. I actually enjoy writing once I get started, and can often put down several hundred words in under an hour. I just have trouble starting.

Sometimes it isn’t just totally wasteful stuff that keeps me from writing, either. I mean, there’s always laundry begging to be done, dirt on the floor, dishwashers to load and unload, kids needing homework help. I seem to find ANY excuse—good or bad—not to start.


Why do I procrastinate? Maybe because I think I’ll be interrupted?

(That’s dumb. You don’t have any kind of deadline whatsoever. Who cares how long it takes. Why do you think you’ll be interrupted?)

Because I always am.

(Then why don’t you write when it’s quiet, or no one is home?)

I don’t know. What if I write something and it sucks?

(Probably will.)

What if no one reads it?

(They can’t read what you don’t write.)

Blink. Blink.

(What’s the matter—cat got your tongue?)

Shut up.

Fine. So how am I going to fix this?

I’m a rule follower, and I used to be very hard on myself. New Year resolutions were the worst. If I missed one day of my read-the-Bible-in-a-year plan, I felt like a failure and thought I had to wait for the next year to roll in to try again.

What I have learned is that every day is a new chance to start. Shoot, every minute is a new chance to start! Whatever it is that you’ve been putting off—writing that book, joining that gym, cleaning out the garage—join me today and draw that line in the sand.

Someone out there needs what you can offer, if you’d just do it. Today is the day it changes.

Today is the day you start doing what you’ve been afraid to do.

When I have a free minute to write, today I won’t say, “I think I’ll take a quick nap.” Instead, I will fire up my laptop or grab that notebook and pen, and get to work. Because no one can read my words if I don’t write them. You’ll never meet that special someone if you don’t start looking. Your family can’t enjoy that scrapbook if you don’t make it. You won’t ever have the little home office if you don’t clean out the junk. You’ll never finish that degree if you don’t register for the classes. You’ll never get out of debt if you don’t follow that budget. You’ll never make amends with that old friend if you don’t reach out first.

And you’ll never finish any of it if you don’t start.

Whatever you have to do to make it happen, the excuses stop now.

Block the Facebook games. Turn off the DVR and get off the couch. Wake up earlier to get a few extra minutes in your day. Stop tweeting what you ate for lunch.

Get up and start something, so when it’s January 1 of 2014, you can look back and say, “2013 was the year I finally did _______________.”

What will fill in your blank?


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