Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Forgiveness


     I'm not the same person, today that I was yesterday or even a few years ago. when I was in high school, I could be a bully or just a brat, and I'm not talking about a sausage. There were things that I did, was mean to people who didn't deserve it, or took things out on people who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

     Now, when I am full of anxiety or worry, I wake up from nightmares about things that happened in my high school years. After a while, I just don't want to go to sleep because I know that I will dream of a certain person and it would just be awful. I have learned that when I talk to that person and apologize, that those dreams go away.

     A few weeks ago, I reconnected with someone that I grew up with. I was not very nice to him, or at least in my adult life, I feel that I wasn't very nice. I messaged him and I apologized. Can you guess what he said?

     He didn't say, "You're right, you should apologize. You were mean and hurtful." What he said, instead had me in tears. "I don't remember you being mean or a jerk. All I remember are fun times and the bad memories never come to mind. Grace and Peace to you, my friend."

     Years of worry and stress and hanging on to the past just disappeared. The weight that I was carrying was lifted from my shoulders and I knew that I was going to be ok. Just as I was forgiven, I was also able to forgive myself. The Bible says in Philippian's 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 
I was so relieved to get forgiveness, but later that day, I was like the man who was forgiven, but couldn't forgive his servant. See, I had seen forgiveness from an old friend and then later that day, I had gotten on my child for something that he did and I can't even remember what it was.

Matthew 18:21-35
The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.[a]
23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold[b] was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.[c] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded
29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’
30 “But he refused. Instead, he went of and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
    It was when my husband said, "Britt, do you think that you're overreacting that the realization had hit me. I was humbled and I asked my son for his forgiveness and that parable came to mind
    Forgiveness, it's more than saying sorry. We've been teaching my youngest that it's not enough to just say sorry. We have to stop the behavior that is requiring the forgiveness. He hasn't quite gotten it yet. Now, when he knows that he's in trouble he shouts out, "I'm sorry! Sorry means stop!" Well, yes, in a way, it does, but being sorry requires an effort to stop doing the offence. It means to repent because if you say sorry over and over again for the same thing, that sorry quickly loses its meaning. 
     In the same way, if you keep saying that your forgive someone, that means that you can't hold that thing over their head. It also means to forget- I mean, you can't always forget something, but if you truly forgive someone for something they did against you, you won't use that in future arguments. You won't bring it up from time to time or say, "I told you so" later. 
     When true apologies are made and true forgiveness is offered, burdens are lifted. I felt so light and happy after hearing from that friend. I had been so anxious about something that happened in the past, dwelling on the anger that I held then and how I transformed it into meanness or witchiness that I was reliving a nightmare over and over again. This friend didn't have to say the words, "I forgive you" for me to be freed. Just to hear that I didn't damage him or any of my other friends in offences that I remember being truly awful to only hear that they were very minor and the good that I did outweighed the bad, made me realize that I'm my biggest critic and enemy. That I am fear and anxiety. You see, I didn't need forgiveness from them, they didn't hold grudges. I needed forgiveness from myself. I needed to let the past go. I needed to remember that I'm not the same person that I used to be and that I can live in the present as a good, Christian woman. I can cast my burdens and fears and anxieties on the Lord for he cares for ME! 1 Peter 5:7
     If God can forgive us, then we should also allow us to forgive ourselves.


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving

     So I really don't have a lot of time to post this because I'm supposed to be putting things together for Thanksgiving, but I wanted to remind everyone that this is a time to be thankful and not political.

     I was playing a game of free Bingo on Facebook yesterday where others were also playing and talking about the snow. I told everyone how magical I thought it would be if it snowed the night of the American Thanksgiving (Some people were from Canada and other countries) to welcome the Christmas holidays and also magical on Christmas Eve and morn. Well, because people are people and some like conflict, one of them says, "Not me, I'm Indian." At the time, the comment flew over my head and was thinking he was referencing the snow. Now that I've had a day to ponder over his comment I realized that he was either trying to be funny or he was legitimately offended by the Thanksgiving holiday because of his race.

     There is a lot to be angry about, and years ago the white people and other races of people came to America and little by little shoved the Native American race to a small corner/area of the United States. Yes, I agree that it was horrible. Thanksgiving may not have happened the way that we were taught in school, where we, the white people, were so glad to have the Native Americans (Indians) teach us how to survive our first few years in a land that we took over. The truth may suck, but you know, I don't think about Thanksgiving that way, anymore.

     I'm not one of those people who helped to push those over long ago. I'm not a slave driver, nor will I ever be. I'm just a woman who is thankful that she can prepare a large meal for her family. I'm grateful that my husband is able to provide for us so we can eat more than any human being needs to eat in a day. I'm glad that my husband has this day off so that we can spend time with him. I'm thankful that I have friends that I can welcome into my home because I have a roof over my head.

     Can't we just all agree that today is a special day to be thankful? "Well we can show that we are thankful everyday to the ones we love." Yes we can and we should! But really, just as we are thankful, aren't we glad that we are eating these special dishes that we only make like maybe once or twice a year? Proclaiming this day as a day of thanks gives us an excuse to indulge- and trust me, as a  dieter half of the year, it's nice to have an excuse and not feel guilty about eating four slices of pie because you must sample them all.



Friday, November 17, 2017

What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Sleep

 

 A couple of weeks ago, I posted a blog about how to prepare for motherhood. Jokingly, I said that there really isn't a way to be totally prepared, but it you bought a cat, you might get a small taste of what it was like as far as lack of sleep was concerned. I thought it was funny, I hope you did too.

     Before I found out I was pregnant, I didn't get the morning sickness or heartburn right away like other women I know who have had babies before me. What I did get, however was exhaustion. Just pure exhaustion.

     My husband and I got married the summer before we were to start our senior year of college. Our families lived on two different sides of Illinois and we wanted to be together when we had to start applying for jobs for after we graduated, that way we wouldn't have to be at separate ends of the state planning for a wedding and a future because we would be together as we planned.

     Well, towards the end of April, the final stretch of senior year, I noticed that I was so tired! At first I blamed the cats and school, we were, after all, preparing for finals. At some point, I wondered why my lady's time hadn't come so I went and got those fancy sticks that you pee on and sure enough, a second pink line appeared.


     I don't know how I made it through the end of semester and passed. I was so tired all of the time. I was falling asleep in my classes and could barely write the 13+ page reports assigned to me and the other students. Studying for finals was also out of the question because I just COULD NOT stay awake. I remember my husband saying, "Britt, you have to study" or "Britt, you need to finish your homework" and me crying because the thought of keeping my eyes open to do something that just didn't interest me at the time, exhausted me even further.

     After my first trimester, I perked up- especially after the morning sickness I also had subsided. I'm so glad, however, that I wasn't that tired for my other two babies. I sincerely think that my IO Psychology professor only passed me because his wife was going through the same thing with pregnancy as well. I was very fascinated with his class and his enthusiastic teaching, but couldn't stay awake. I apologized to him and told him about my condition and he congratulated me and took pity on me. Thanks Prof. W!

     I did pass my finals and my classes, barely! Thankfully, a D+ counted as a passing grade. I had never felt that exhausted before, even after the baby was born. I always knew that having a baby was going to leave me feeling exhausted for a few months, maybe years and that it was something that most parents get used to, but I was not prepared for that level of exhaustion so early on in my pregnancy.

     Did you have a hibernation form of exhaustion with your pregnancy? What did you do to help keep you awake?

Also Like This Post:

What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Love
What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Hair
What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Foot Size
What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Eyes
How To Prepare for Pregnancy- Get a Cat

Monday, November 13, 2017

What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Hair

 

When you see a pregnant woman walking down the street, you'll most likely spot her with her hand over her round belly, protecting and comforting the life that is growing inside of her. If she's very far along, she may even be supporting her back with her other hand as she also waddles along the sidewalk. Her hair is long and gorgeous and she's glowing.



     Strangers smile at her and may even reach into her comfort zone, unasked, and touch her belly. People generally seem to be nicer to her because she is pregnant. She may be snippy, or she may not be. A woman in that delicate situation can be unpredictable. I mean, why not? Her feet have grown, she's developed astigmatism and has already jumped at the 5th bat that came flying at her that day only to find out that it was just a weird shadow that her peripherals misinterpreted, and she's hot.

      That luscious hair that has grown so long and shiny is making her sweat. Not only that, she was unprepared for the hair that grew elsewhere. The hair on her toes has grown, her leg hair is long and unreachable for a shave, and weirdly enough, she's grown hair on her stomach. You read that right, she's practically sasquatch.


According to WebMD:

How does your hair change while pregnant?

Pregnancy can affect your hair in a variety of ways - and not only the hair on your head. Hormonal fluctuations affect different expectant mums in different ways, and you'll probably also find that your hair changes more than once as pregnancy progresses. Your hair will most likely become generally more lustrous and thicker than before. You'll probably find it seems to be growing much more quickly and you're visiting the hairdresser more often. Make the most of it - having thick, glossy locks (unless it's normal for you, even when you're not pregnant) is one of the upsides of pregnancy, but one that doesn't last for long after the birth.
Changes that can prove to be more lasting include a darkening of your hair colour or a reversal of its normal texture - or maybe both. Lots of expectant mums find that their previously poker-straight hair becomes curly, or vice versa, and remains that way. Some naturally light-haired ladies find they're darker-haired in pregnancy and beyond. For some women, these changes are permanent, although there's no way of predicting this.
Lots of mums-to-be notice hair sprouting more profusely all over their bodies, with leg, arm, facial and pubic hair becoming thicker. It can be a bit embarrassing, but is not usually really dramatic. Chances are if you've noticed this happening to you, you're the only person that's very aware of it, with the possible exception of your partner. Any hair overgrowth tends to drop out again unnoticed within six months of giving birth as your hormones normalise. In the meantime, avoid any chemical hair-removal products like depilatory creams as these could get absorbed into your bloodstream and cross the placenta to your baby.

     I got the best and worst of all worlds. The hair on my hair got thicker (that would have been awesome, but I already have thick hair), it grew longer, it was shinier, and my hair started to curl. It made for easy days when it came to styling my hair.  Unfortunately, my stomach began to sprout dark, embarrassing hair, (Sorry, TMI) and have you ever tried to shave when you're far along? The closer to my due date, the more I tried to shave and paint my toes. When I was pregnant with my daughter, my doctor made a joke that she must not be ready to leave yet because I could still paint them... Um... Doc, you have no idea the effort and torture that I went through to get that done for you and everyone else who might be in the delivery room with me.

     Fortunately, for all of us, the hair disappears within a few months after giving birth. When we are ready to go back out into the world and want to make ourselves presentable, again, we won't have to worry about that belly getting in the way and we can stop shamefully shaving those weird places that were just embarrassing in the first place--- Not that anyone else really knew that because we are civilized, after all, and weren't running around in the nude all day.

     What weird things happened to you during pregnancy? Did you grow hair in weird places, too?

More Like This Post: 

What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Sleep
What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Love
What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Foot Size
What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Eyes
How To Prepare for Pregnancy- Get a Cat

Thursday, November 9, 2017

What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Foot Size

   

So the other day, I posted about Astigmatism and how it can be an unknown side effect to being pregnant. We always think about the glow, the morning sickness, the heartburn, but there are some side effects that some women don't know about and they wonder, "What on earth?"

     I am only 5'4'' in height. The average height in women (from what I just looked up) is 5'4''. I think it used to be 5'5'', but I guess that's changed. When I typed in the question, "What's the average shoe size for women" this is what popped up.

American women, on the average, wear a size 8-wide shoe (American men: size 10.5) - Approximately 68% of American women wear shoes between the sizes of 6.5 and 9.5.
     Can you guess what my shoe size used to be? You would probably guess in between those numbers and you would be incorrect. Before children, I wore a size 10. The highest woman's average is 9.5. Do you know how hard it is to find some cute shoes or any shoes in a size 10? Shoe shopping has always been kind of depressing for me. Stores don't always carry the same shoe in a 10 as the do for a 9.5. There is only a half size difference. It's like shopping for plus size clothes, we size 10 shoe wearers get the short end of the stick. We get the ugly or plain shoes while you size 8s get the cute sneakers or dress shoes.

      Guess what size I wear now? After giving birth to 3 children, my feet have grown a whole shoe size, size 11. My feet are so disproportionate to my height. Why does a 5'4'' woman need bozo the clown size feet?

     You may be wondering why this happens or if the size of your feet really change. I mean, why listen to someone you may not know very well? Someone, however did research, and if you really wanted to look into it, I'm sure that you could find even more research studies about it. You can check out the article here  or you can read part of this snippet.

The change in foot size may be due to the extra weight women carry around during pregnancy, which puts greater stress on the feet, and, thus, may flatten the arch, the researchers said. In addition, pregnant women produce hormones that increase the looseness of the joints and ligaments (tissue that connects bone to bone), possibly making the foot structure more malleable. 
Most of the women involved in the new study who experienced changes in their foot length and arch height were first-time mothers. Women had given birth to two or three children did not experience such significant changes. This result suggests that a woman's first pregnancy may have the greatest impact on foot size, the researchers said. But a larger study will be needed to confirm this, Segal added. (Twenty-nine of the women in the study were first-time moms; 17 were second-time moms, and three were third-time moms.)
     All I know, is that it got even more difficult to buy shoes. I'm probably closer to a size 10.5, but you know what, I have never seen that size in stores. So, when I wear my shoes, if I wear a size 10, my toenails feel like they are going to fall off, forget about even running in them. If I wear a size 11, my shoes will mostly fit, but my feet slip around and sometimes that causes some serious heat from the friction it caused. What do I value more, toenails or soft feet? Cute shoes or comfort? I guess, for now, I will just not exercise as much (keeps the heat at bay) and just settle for granny shoes.

     Have your feet changed in size? Did they ever go back to the normal size?


More Like This:

What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Sleep
What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Love
What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Hair
What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Eyes
How To Prepare for Pregnancy- Get a Cat

Monday, November 6, 2017

What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Eyes



   There are so may things that are associated with pregnancy. Things that most people know or think of when you think about what could happen to a woman when she's pregnant. For instance:

     Pregnancy glow! When you see a new mother, what do you hear in movies or say in real life? Girl, you're glowing! That could be from happiness or sweat from your body temperature rising. It's usually meant as a compliment when someone tells you that you're glowing, but I was in the percent of women who perspired more than I would have liked, so I just would roll my eyes while thanking them.

Not my best pregnancy glow picture, but there is definitely a baby in that belly (Look at that bad perm choice!).

     Another thing that people associate with pregnancy- Cravings!!! Pickles and ice cream anyone? Ok, that was never me. I usually craved chocolate milk or jalapeno poppers.

     Morning sickness- Ok, so not all women get that- lucky you! I had morning sickness all day until like 4:00 PM during my whole first trimester and for a short time in my second trimester. I was lucky to have my grandma, who took such good care of me, live so close. Without her care, my oldest child would have probably set the house on fire or something while my head was in the toilet. Yay retirement!

      So... What are some things that you don't really realize or understand until it's happening to you? I'm going to write a little miniseries about those horrors and, hopefully, it will be funny. This first one, however is about...


Astigmatism!


      So, what is astigmatism? Astigmatism is when your eye isn't rounded the way it is supposed to be so when light enters your eyes, things can appear blurry or distorted. Let me highlight the symptoms that I have from the following list:

Symptoms

  • blurred or distorted vision at all distances
  • headaches
  • excessive squinting
  • eye strain, especially when the eye has to focus for long periods, as in reading from paper or a computer monitor
  • difficulty seeing at night

     Along with telling me that I have a really cool birth defect in my eye (a random speck that everyone has but it normally goes away at birth, but mine didn't and it was totally awesome for him to see), my doctor told me that I had developed a slight astigmatism. I can wear contacts that are developed for astigmatism since I already have near-sighted vision, but he said that the likely cause of developing this astigmatism at my age was because of my pregnancies. Do you remember that pregnancy glow that I was talking about earlier? Women get to have like double their volume of blood during pregnancy or something like that. All of that extra blood actually changed my eye shape a little bit. Don't worry, though, this doesn't happen to everyone. It probably happened already because I already had eye sight problems.

     This is how it has affected me: If I'm wearing my glasses when I'm in a dark room or outside, you may see me randomly duck or get startled by something. That's because the shadows that come in through my peripherals made me see a shadow that made my brain think that a bat was flying towards my head. My latest astigmatism figment of my imagination was when I was standing outside at my parent's house during their housewarming party. I think I might have even been wearing my contacts at the time. I was talking with my brother-in-law (I think) and I jumped, might have even screeched because the power box on the pole that I was standing next too in my parent's yard, looked like a random man standing beside me and he hadn't been there before. I of course figured out what had happened at the time and had to endure the endless mocking.

     I'm also more granny like when I drive at night. It's better with my contacts so I try not to drive with my glasses, but some nights I forget. I used to love driving in the rain and at night, but now, not as much because random ghost bodies appear (not really) but it is a hazard.

     If you suspect that you might have astigmatism and haven't been to the eye doctor in a while, get your eyes checked out. Contacts are life savers and if you must drive, it's better to drive with contacts vs. glasses.

      Have your eyes changed since pregnancy? Do you see random things that aren't really there? Tell me your weird pregnancy stories!

More Like This Post:

What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Sleep
What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Love
What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Hair
What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Foot Size
How To Prepare for Pregnancy- Get a Cat

Saturday, November 4, 2017

How to Prepare for Motherhood- Get a Cat

 


  Not everyone who is a mother always wanted to become one or was at least ready when it happened. The thought of having children used to make me cringe. I wasn't good with little kids, but I was good at working with teenagers. I used to joke that if I were to become a parent, someday, I was just going to adopt teenagers. Who knows, maybe some day, I will.
 
Sightings

     Right after or maybe before my husband proposed to me, babies were sprouting up everywhere. I lived on a college campus, so baby spotting shouldn't have happened so much, right? It happened anyways. Families would bring their children to college games or whenever we would venture off campus, babies would be in the restaurants we were in or crying in the store. My heart softened towards kids and whenever I saw one, I looked to my husband/fiancĂ© and chanted, "Soooooooon".

     It started to become a joke and whenever he would see a baby, he'd hold his hand up and say, "Not yet."When we finally got married, the question was asked all of the time, "So, when are you to going to have a baby?" We'd respond that we were waiting until we were financially stable or when we finished college. (Likely excuses)

      No matter how ready that I thought I was to have a baby, there was no way that I could be prepared to have one, especially as a college student. However, I did find a way to get it started.

       One day, I remember taking my sister out to PetSmart to get a fish for her dorm room. My husband and I were married and were attending our senior year in college. What was supposed to be a trip for her, ended up being the trip that I met Ella. She was a tabby kitten with part of her tail missing. She had those Puss in Boots eyes, the ones that begged you to pet her. I convinced my husband to let me bring her home. She quickly filled up the spot in my heart that made my womb call out for children. That itch had been scratched, for that moment and the urge to have a baby lessened.



     However, I didn't know what I was getting into. A cat that age needs attention. I am a light sleeper and have always been a light sleeper. Ella was a restless and noisy cat. She would crash through our apartment all through the night. I was TIRED ALL OF THE TIME!!! 

     There was one week when my brother-in-law came to visit. He had just gotten a new kitten and we encouraged him to bring her over so she could play with Ella. That was the first night that I was able to sleep well in months. She was so busy with this other cat that she actually slept and left me alone during the night. So, I convinced my husband to let us get another cat. 

     So now we had Ella and Char. It took them a while to get used to each other, but for the most part, they got along spectacularly. I thought that I was off the hook, that I was going to sleep again- until that night happened. Ella's food bowl was out. She climbed onto our bed and laid on my face. For every second that I ignored her, she would tickle my nose with her whiskers. I eventually had to get up to see what she wanted and noticed the empty food bowl. That became the ritual. The same time in the middle of the night, she would come wake me. If the litter box was full, I was not exempt. If the water had kitty litter in it because one of them was messy, I was not exempt. I was constantly woken up throughout the night because my cats needed me. Eventually, we locked our door so they would leave me alone. 


     It was probably about the same month that we got Char that I found out that I was pregnant. I was already getting used to the cat's high demands. I almost knew what it would feel like to have a baby, how it would feel to be super pregnant. 

    If you want to prepare for motherhood, get your body used to what it would be like, get a cat.... or borrow a friends.
    
     More Like This Post:

How to Have an EASY Thanksgiving With 7 Easy-to-Make Side Dishes

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday (political things put aside) to celebrate each year with your family and friends. When I was yo...

Follow