The Changes We Make

Years ago my mom would come home with these face masks and tell me to wear them for dusty jobs. Hauling hay, cleaning the tack shed, stripping the stall, mowing, and more would come with the admonition that it would be better to wear one.

Flu season would come with the suggestion to wear one in public.

But being cool and not being seen as sick overrode wisdom. In all my teenage glory, I looked at parental concern and care and I scoffed. I was certain that they just wanted to ruin my life and make me look ridiculous to my friends, boys, the world. (Sorry Mom.)

As I got older, the cool thing didn’t play such a role in rejecting the masks, but not wanting to be seen as sick sure did. In fact, I’ve spent a lot of time pretending that my lungs work better than they do. Illness is so often seen as weakness.

Illness made me feel like I had to work twice as hard to prove myself. I’ve failed time and again to bring the proper medications and my nebulizer with me when I knew I’d need more than an inhaler. I’ve hidden in bathrooms using too many puffs from a rescue inhaler, trying to get my breathing back to normal (or at least to where no one noticed) and I could continue an event/activity/outing.

I didn’t want to be seen as less.

My husband has been kind to me these years we’ve been building a life. As he learned how reactive my airways are, he has swooped in to handle all the dusty jobs. When I’m talking about my to-do list or particular jobs, he’s known to ask, “But will it be too much for you?”

I’ve bristled at the question and even snapped at him. I refuse to live like life is too much for me. But I’ve had to admit defeat and that some jobs are hard for me.

Life has thrown transitions our way time and time again, and here we are, facing more 20190627_200812.jpgof them. As I settle into my role keeping the home and farm on target and he travels, I knew I’d have to face some dusty jobs. So, while I was at the store, I bought masks. And I put off the first dusty job for a couple of days because I was struggling with wearing the mask.

The chicken coop – a dusty mess of feathers, wood shavings, and poop. Never a good combination, and an especially bad combination for an asthmatic. For the last two years, my husband has faithfully cleaned out the coop. But with his hours home shorter than we like, I don’t want him to be cleaning coops, I want him to be playing peekaboo with toddlers and driving dirt bikes with teenagers.

I conquered the job, in a mask and all. And I realized how much better it is to wear the mask and protect my airways and still get the job done. I didn’t have to bow out, pass it off, or neglect the task. I did it, no rescue inhaler needed, and the mask wasn’t as bad as I expected. In fact, I plan on wearing one when I tackle the next dusty job.

I’m learning that living with illness takes a measure of embracing that I am sick like it or not, which means taking measures to prevent flares. It also means doing the best I can with what I have, learning to rest when I need it, and learning that denial doesn’t make one healthy.

And we don’t get it all right, 100% of the time. As I was writing this, I was snacking on a bag of Skittles my husband left for me. And I realized that’s not the fuel my body needs to be as well as possible. So I put those up and switched it for carrots because I snack while I write. I am a work in progress and I am okay with that.

Struggling with chronic illness? What preventative (like a mask) or other change can you identify that will help you manage your illness? Tell me about it in the comments below.

 

Happy Trails

Happy Trails!

Content Fatigue

I first heard the term “compassion fatigue” in a meeting for volunteers. It was about not trying to pour from an empty inner cup. Giving is good, but we have to be resting and taking in what we need to have anything to give. Excellent concept – and important for all of us to avoid compassion fatigue so we can say yes when God calls on us.

Then, in trying to grow as a mother, after walking through my young son’s suicide attempt, I sat in the middle of my bed, with books stacked on the nightstand, pod casts sending notifications on my phone screen, books due back to the library, and YouTube channels subscribed to, but the videos mostly untouched.

I’d read some. Listened some. Watched some. And soon the messages were blurring together, I wasn’t uncovering anything that I hadn’t just read/listened to/watched. But I was trying to keep up with consuming all this media to help me grow through this experience.

Good idea, bad strategy. It was too much. I was deep in the throes of content fatigue and not gaining ground in the whole growing-through-pain thing I was shooting for. I was momentarily caught up in so much content that I forgot to reach for even the hem of my Savior’s garment. I’m not really a “self-helper” so my piles of media were Christian based. Or at least Christian sprinkled.

I was overwhelmed and not seeing God in the mess – especially in the part of the mess that I was making for myself. I took books back unread. I deleted pod casts. I unsubscribed to YouTube channels and emails. I even stopped multiple Bible plans in my YouVersion app.

Not all of them, Bible plans are good food for our spiritual journey. But I am a busy mom and I needed to live in the mess, not in the piles of media, trying to become an expert or something. And when I crawled out of the rock pit of too much media, I was able to apply what I’d read, listened to, or watched. I was able to see the hand of God moving in my life, through people, and in the midst of painful circumstances.

Maybe you are drowning in content, not because of a tragedy, but because you are trying to learn something new. Or you are just greatly interested in something. Whatever it is, it’s okay to not consume it all. You cannot consume it all. There is too much content being created and released on a daily basis for one person to consume it all.

Read one book at a time. Listen to one or two pod casts at a time. Watch one or two YouTubers at a time. It’s okay if you don’t “complete” all of their content – get what you can for a while, then unsubscribe. You have to use what you’re learning to keep learning more. You have to apply it before it really starts to sink in.

Don’t beat yourself up because you haven’t watched/seen/heard the latest thing that is a craze. Pick content that makes you more of who God is calling you to be. Pick content that stretches your mind, challenges you and keeps you focused on Jesus.

Until next time,
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Bait and Hook Click Funnel

If you’ve ever set out to learn something online, you may notice that social media starts sending targeted ads about what you want to learn.

For me – I want to turn my writing into a career, through novels, articles, blogging, and more. I set myself up a plan and some pretty good goals. I’ve read a lot about freelance writing and I really felt up to the task and starting the work.

Then the targeted ads started pouring in – join this group, sign up for this training, FREE checklist, paid training, write better, sell more, train, pay, train, pay, and I was signing up left and right for all of the free things. My inbox was getting stacked fuller and fuller – so much so, I couldn’t possibly read all of it in a reasonable amount of time, and the attempt to read it all was stealing time from me actually writing.

It happened with horse training too. Also, my walk with Jesus. It doesn’t take long for those ads to pick up on what we are looking for, and to flood us with content. Baited by free content, and then hooked with an offer to pay to learn how to earn $30,000 a month, just like them!

It starts feeling very scammy – I’m going to collect your money to walk you through how to create a bait and hook, so you can collect money to teach someone else how to do it. I don’t want to bait and hook anyone. I want to participate in real writing opportunities.

So if you’re like me and you are trying to grow in an area of your life, but you’re drowning in content, please take this as permission to unsubscribe, don’t spend your money, and delete the mass of emails you can’t read in a reasonable amount of time.

There is valuable content out there – and a lot of it does cost. Because creators of good content deserve to be paid for their time and energy.

But I’ve never found the best content on social media. I’ve just found the bait and hook click funnel.

Whatever you are working on, creating, or growing through, find resources that truly help you grow, that is important. Remember, not everything will help you along the way. Don’t drain your pocketbook for cheap sells.

Until next time,
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