Recovering, still

Three days later I am still recovering from Friday’s “fun” day out. I spent the day Saturday pretty much in a coma on the couch. It took all I had to get upstairs to the bathroom a few times. Yesterday wasn’t much better, but I was able to take a shower and be upright a bit more. I was hoping that today I would feel better but I am still wiped out. I think the weather is factoring in a lot too. The warm, then cold and snow, now getting warm again. It seems the pressure changes really mess with my sleep and how I am feeling. Still trying to remain positive but when you can’t think straight it is even harder. Just trying to let myself rest like I need to and not have the constant internal fight with my body over what I want versus how it is. That just wastes mental energy I don’t have.

So to focus on being grateful:
I am extremely thankful for my wonderful, loving, supportive husband.
I am grateful for two healthy, energetic children.
I am thankful for birds at the bird feeder.
I am thankful for pretty flowers in a vase to look at and smell while I wait for the ones outside to spring back to life.
I am thankful for Netflix, so I have something to “do” while I lay here with hands and arms too weak to even crochet and a brain too dead to read.

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Today, One of Those Days

Lest you think I am good at living with ME/CFS (is it even possible?) today will prove you wrong.

I have been having a rotten week. Utter exhaustion, not sleeping, pain, brain dead, the works. I have been trying super hard to stay positive. Just as I have been trying really hard to be grateful this year and dwell on what is good and not what is bad.

Well today challenged all of that. I had to go out and run errands. My awesome hubby usually does all of the errands and shopping for us so I don’t have to. But he can’t get my blood drawn for me. So I brought him to work so I could have our car to run my errands. I had made a list of where I needed to go, the times they opened, where to go first, etc. I neglected to remember the slip for my bloodwork though. I was thankful that I remembered before I got to the lab though. So I stopped home to get the lab slip and on my way in to the house I went to grab the recycling bin that was empty at the curb. I stepped on a patch of ice, slipped and fell and smashed my face on the bin. I was now covered in mud and my face hurt. I was happy that my glasses didn’t break (thank you Zenni) and I wasn’t bleeding. So oh well. Didn’t want to waste the energy changing clothes so I grabbed my lab slip and went on my way. I figured my muddy knee would give my story validity so the general public didn’t think I had been in a fight should they ask (no one did).

Once I got my blood drawn and was on my way to the next destination on my list I realized I had forgotten another form at home that I needed to drop off at the kids school. Oh my goodness! Having mush for brains is so annoying. So back home I went, got the form, and continued on my way.

The ramp to the highway was closed because of an accident though so I had to get on heading South instead of North. Now any normal person would have been able to think of a new best way to get where they were going. But today my brain couldn’t handle that. So I got off the next exit and got back on the highway going North. At least I didn’t try to take a different route and get lost.

There were, of course, several other annoying things today like not being able to find what I was looking for at a few stores, which is even more frustrating when you are spending precious energy just getting there. Having to stop at the grocery store even though my hubby went last night because I forgot to ask him to buy something we needed. And of course I bought the gallon of milk that is slowly leaking. And the recycles just went out so there is no extra milk jug to transfer it to. And . . .

So now I am beyond beat. I am in more pain than usual. And I am going to have some nice bruises on my face. But I didn’t end up in the ER. I did eventually get my errands done. I didn’t get lost. And I am at home resting with my family around me. So for that I am thankful.

Hope vs Wishing

It is hard to hang on to hope when you have a chronic illness. It is equally hard not to spend your days wishing things were different. And it is especially hard to not confuse the two.

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I know that when I am feeling especially terrible, as I have been the past week or so, I tend to spend a lot of time wishing I could be doing anything but laying on the couch. Wishing I wasn’t looking like death, freezing, wearing a hat and gloves, under a down blanket, indoors at the end of March.  I wish I could be cleaning or doing laundry even. I wish I could declutter the house. I wish I could go out and run errands. I wish I could accomplish something. I wish I could sign up for that 5k. (Not that I would have ever considered running when I wasn’t sick.). I wish I had the energy and strength to lift this body up and do something, anything, physical. The problem with all of this wishing is that it comes with the knowledge that these things are impossible right now. Which is depressing. And being depressed about my current state of being only makes matters worse.

But how is having hope different? I think having hope means that I can rest in the thought that there will be good days ahead. Not all days, but some. I can rest and not get caught up in what I can’t do right now. I can let things go (for today) and believe that someday, maybe, I will be able to do some of those things again. And this hope is backed up by the fact that when I have listened to my body in the past, and rested like to needed to, I (usually) have had some good days after. Maybe not as quickly as I wanted or even when I expected but they have come.

So I am going to try to rest in hope and not get caught up in wishing. I am going to let go of what I want for today and believe that tomorrow may be better.

Spring IS Coming

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This seemingly endless winter has felt like torture at times. The bitter cold. The snow. For those of us who the cold hurts physically, there is an painful ache in our bones. We are so weary, exhausted and feeling like we can’t hold out any longer. We are desperate for Spring to come. Just like as Christians in this sinful world we are desperate for our Lord to come and redeem what is fallen. Our hearts ache over our need for Jesus.

And just as He will make all things new, Spring will come and the earth will be renewed. We will see the ground being redeemed from the cold and snow. Life will spring up and with it joy. Warmth will ease the aches and pains in our bones. We will plant seeds and be a part of the redemption of the earth just like God has called us as Christians to be a part of His redemption of the world.

We are weary and in pain but Spring is coming. Hope is not lost. We look forward to Spring’s return with hopeful anticipation. We look forward to our Lord’s return with hopeful anticipation. Plant seeds, love as Jesus does.

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No poo

At this point in my life I am convinced that there is very little that baking soda and vinegar can’t do. On the list of things that they are useful for; shampoo and conditioner. Crazy I know.

I have been attempting to eliminate chemicals from our lives for a while now. And one of the things we use every day, shampoo and conditioner, are full of them.

These are the ingredients in the shampoo I used to use.

Water/Eau, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Chloride, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Xylenesulfonate, Fragrance/Parfum, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Sodium Benzoate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Panthenol, Panthenyl Ethyl Ether, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone.

And the conditioner.

Water/Eau, Stearyl Alcohol, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Stearyl Alcohol, Quaterium-18, Fragrance/Parfum, Bis-Aminopropyl Dimethicone, Benzyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Hydroxypropyl Guar, Oleyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Citric Acid, EDTA, Polysorbate 60, Panthenol, Panthenyl Ethyl Ether, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone.

And here are the ingredients in my new shampoo, baking soda.

Active: Sodium Bicarbonate.

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And my new conditioner, apple cider vinegar.

Cider Vinegar

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Now I know that not all of those ingredients in my old shampoo and conditioner are chemicals. But a lot of them are. And no, we don’t eat them so what is the big deal? Well the things we put on our skin soak in and end up in our system. And they also wash off and end up in our water and throughout the environment. The products I was using contain all kinds of chemicals I don’t want in my system, my families system or washing down into the environment or our water. Baking soda and apple cider vinegar are natural ingredients. No worries there.

I had been reading a lot online about going “no poo.” Lots of people have tried it with varying degrees of success. I decided to give it a try.

It took me about a week of using baking soda in place of shampoo for my hair to normalize. Because the baking soda doesn’t strip your hair completely of all of its natural oils it can take a little while for your scalp to stop overproducing to compensate for what the shampoo was doing to it. Now, because my scalp is allowed to do it’s natural thing my head is actually less oily than it used to be. And my hair doesn’t need washing as frequently either.

The baking soda leaves my hair clean but tangly. I also read that using apple cider vinegar in place of conditioner works. So I added that to my new routine. Now the smell takes a bit of getting used to but after a while it doesn’t phase you. I was nervous that I would smell like a salad all day. But it worked really well. My hair softened and detangled very well with it.

I am so happy with my new routine. I have baking soda mixed with water in my shower which I put around the crown of my head and massage through the hair on my scalp. Then I just give the rest of my hair a quick rub with whatever has drained down. I rinse then splash some apple cider vinegar on the top of my head. Let it sit a minute and then rinse. (Note: If you get the ACV in your eyes or on and open cut it will sting!) It works great, my hair is clean and my hubby says I don’t smell like a salad.

Something I feel is worthy of noting is I do not use product in my hair (hair spray, gel, etc.) nor do I dye it. So I do not know how the baking soda and ACV would work on hair that has been. Have any of you tried going “no poo?” What has your experience been?

Seed Starting

I ordered my seeds from the Hudson Valley Seed Library a few weeks ago. I was so excited when they arrived. I love getting my seeds going in the spring. It feels like proof that warm weather is on it’s way. Although, I have a feeling this year it may take a little longer than usual to arrive.

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A while back I came across a seed starting idea on Pinterest called winter-sowing. I had never heard of it before. After reading the blog post on A Garden for the House it seemed to make a lot on sense though. So I figured I would give it a try this year.

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I followed his instructions for putting the holes in the jugs and cutting them. I found that some of my thicker plastic containers were a pain to put holes in with the heated screwdriver tip method so I used my drill instead. I mean anytime you can use a power drill you should right?

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I used a box cutter to cut the jugs, added my soil and seeds, watered, taped and set them outside. We will see how they do. I started lettuce, peas, spinach and marigolds. I plan to put out peppers and tomatoes in April as well.

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I also started some seeds inside, like I usually do. Mainly because I have done that in the past with success and I want to make sure I get seeds going. With my luck it will be a terrible year for winter sowing or something. Inside I started peppers, tomatoes, marigolds and sun flowers.

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The marigolds and sunflowers popped up really quickly. The others will take a week or two. I can’t wait for all of the little green shoots to come up. Gardening makes me giddy.

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Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

For the past four or so years we have signed up for a CSA share with a local farm. If you never have I highly recommend it. It is a wonderful way to get excellent, fresh, local produce and support local farmers. Shares are generally very affordable.  For more info on local CSA’s and what CSA’s are listen to this episode of Connections with Evan Dawson.

I love that every year we get a ton of delicious veggies and fruits and I always end up with a vegetable or two that I am completely unfamiliar with. So we end up experiencing new foods and new recipes. Last year we had fennel for the first time and ended up making a fennel leek soup that was excellent!

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Last year we signed up for a share with The Good Food Collective. The Good Food Collective works a bit differently than a typical CSA. They get produce from several local farms and create shares for their members with the combined produce. The benefit is a more diverse offering. They also offer for sale shares of extra fruit, coffee, ice cream, bread and more all from local businesses. We loved our experience with the Good Food Collective. We especially loved getting a more varied selection of produce. I highly recommend getting a share from them!

There are a ton of local farms to choose from though when selecting a CSA share. To find one ask friends to see if they have recommendations, ask at your local farmers market or check these lists.
Local Harvest – nationwide list
Ecovian – nationwide list
NOFA-NY 2013 CSA Fair Directory – NY list
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle – Rochester area list

You can call prospective CSA farms, or check their website, to find out what varieties of produce they grow, how much you can expect in your share, how many weeks you will receive a share, wether or not they are certified organic and what kind of pest management they use. NOFA-NY has a printable CSA comparison chart on their website that may be useful.

Sign up for a CSA now and get even more excited about Spring’s arrival. It’ll be here soon!