Self care day 5:Cookie monster

Thank you for joining me on the grand undertaking. There is going to be a lot of work for me and  I hope to be able to keep up. Please make sure to comment, share and follow along as I share some simple things to better your life!

I am not a big sweets eater. I have been known to only eat a small amount of desserts most of the time. I cannot stand Oreo cookies (egad the horror!). But I cannot deny the small of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies as one of the best smells in the whole world.

Whether its memories of being at grandma’s house or a certain time of year like around Thanksgiving, the smell of cookies baking is amazing. Researchers have said smell is one of the most powerful memory triggers. The Fifth Sense tells us:

The sense of smell is closely linked with memory, probably more so than any of our other senses.  Those with full olfactory function may be able to think of smells that evoke particular memories; the scent of an orchard in blossom conjuring up recollections of a childhood picnic, for example.  This can often happen spontaneously, with a smell acting as a trigger in recalling a long-forgotten event or experience.  Marcel Proust, in his ‘Remembrance of all Things Past’, wrote that a bite of a madeleine vividly recalled childhood memories of his aunt giving him the very same cake before going to mass on a Sunday.

Now, while we know the smell of cookies very well, we also know the time, effort, and skill it requires to make that delicious cookie. I myself, while a small talented baker, sigh at the thought of making such a mess in the kitchen. So instead, find a place that delivers cookies.

My daughter watches more cooking shows than I knew existed and one of the coolest shows I saw was when they showed people who started a bakery and they delivered soft warm cookies to the doorstep. They showed how they slow bake them so when they arrive at your doorstep, the cookies are “fresh from the oven”.

I did a quick search of my local area (Dallas, Tx) and found MANY places that deliveries cookies. Think of being at work and having cookies delivered to you. I dare say that most of your coworkers will be jealous (order enough to share!).

The best thing I saw was a spot on Insomnia Cookies. They are a baking company that ships cookies around the US and the local bakeries were shown to deliver cookies until 3 AM!! The thought just made my mouth water.

Cookies can be fantastic. Valentines day is coming up. Why not “treat yourself”, aka Parks and Rec style, and get yourself some cookies. Put a smile on your own face.

And hey send me some cookies while you are at it. Regular chocolate chip. I’ll wait.

#hugapony my friends.

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Self care day 4: Finding your towel.

Thank you for joining me on the grand undertaking. There is going to be a lot of work for me and  I hope to be able to keep up. Please make sure to comment, share and follow along as I share some simple things to better your life!

Taking care of yourself involves so much. Mental and physical well-being should be considered crucial in keeping you healthy as a person. Sometimes, in my opinion, it can all come down to something as simple as one thing.

Do you know were your towel is at?

Towels are amazing. They provide warmth and comfort. They can be associated with going to the beach or swimming. They also make a great reference to Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

One Christmas, my dad decided to do a present to each member of the family. He did not tell anyone, even my mom much to her annoyance, what they were. These large light boxes were stuck under the tree, shaken daily as we tried and tried to guess what they were. Christmas morning arrived and we all dashed to see what these mystery gifts were.

They were very large, soft towels.

We sat around confused at such a gift when my father explained how we have had ragged old towels for awhile now and being something that we use (or should use) daily, why do we keep using them? Why not have a bit of luxury in having nice, big, soft towels.

With this simple message in mind, I bring it to everyone else.

Part of self-care for everyone is cleanliness. I know with some mental and physical disabilities, it can be very hard to get the energy to clean yourself. I wrote a post a few weeks back on a picture on Facebook that I got angry at for the tone of it. One of the items them mentioned was bathing. While I did not agree at all with the tone, I understood the message that cleanliness is an issue.

Why not motivate yourself with a new towel?

Here is an item that is used so often but how often do we think of buying a new one? When the old one rips? When it is so thread bare it takes another towel to finish the job? Do you have that nice towel the whole family fights over because it is so nice? Why not take a time and find a nice luxurious towel for you.

Knowing that you bought yourself a new, soft, warm, beautiful towel can be the thing to motivate you to take care of yourself.

It can all come down to just a towel.

#hugapony my friends

Self care day 2: Candy day.

Thank you for joining me on the grand undertaking. There is going to be a lot of work for me and  I hope to be able to keep up. Please make sure to comment, share and follow along as I share some simple things to better your life!

We have all had bad days. The work meetings or doctor visits that we know and dread that come up. The day tax returns are due or days we know we are going to have to work late. That test coming up that we have studied so long and just want to get it over with. What can we do to help ourselves through those days?

Candy.

You may stop and say that this is a ridiculous notion of stopping by the store and impulse buying a candy bar. To this I say that you don’t make it an impulse. Go out and buy a Snickers bar or Skittles or any of your favorite treat and leave it on the pillow for when you get home. Preparation is one of the keys to this. When you prepare and know that you have that waiting for you, it removes the guilt we may feel. It also is something you can tell yourself that you having waiting for you.

When all you want to do is just want to collapse and rest in your bed, what is that waiting on your pillow? A treat! Some days you may forget all about it and it is a pleasant surprise. Others, it may be the one thing that gets you through the day.

I am reminded of a story the late comedian John Pinette would tell. He spoke of when he was told by his doctor that he need to lose weight due to help with his health problems, he would go to the gym, get on the machine of his choice and start to workout. While working out, he had a chant that he would use to get him through the workout. He said he would tell himself, “John, you get through this, when you get home, you can have raviolis and a nap.” He would chant this to himself over and over “Raviolis and a nap, raviolis and a nap.” This became his mantra.

Maybe all we need is a candy bar to get us through the day. Maybe all we need to tell ourselves is “I have a candy bar waiting for me on my pillow.”

Simple things to get us through the day. Ways to make us happier or feel better in stressful times.

Isn’t that what self care is all about?

#hugapony my friend

Self care Day 1: Valet parking.

Thank you for joining me on the grand undertaking. There is going to be a lot of work for me and  I hope to be able to keep up. Please make sure to comment, share and follow along as I share some simple things to better your life!

To kick off the month of February, the month of love, I decided to focus on self-care. I have always felt that self-care is important but have struggled to do so in my life. I am issuing a challenge to myself to do each day’s activity this year so I can experience them right along with you. I tried to make each item simple, cheap, and easy to do. I hope you enjoy them all.

My first one is 10 valet parking. I am not sure how many of you have had the opportunity to do it before but it is fantastic. My wife and I, during a cold Christmas season, were going to a large mall nearby to finish some shopping and catch a movie for a date night. Being the holidays, the parking lot was packed from the one side to the other. Cars circled the parking lot like vultures, waiting for that open spot. Several screaming matches were seen as I too circled the area. Stress was building, ruining a nice evening as a few select words threatened the evening.

I looked over near the entrance and saw valet parking available. I looked at my wife and commented that I should just have them deal with the car so we can enjoy our evening. She looked right back and said “Why not?” I had never used it before and I thought to myself “Hey $20-30 dollars would be worth the stress relief right now.” I pulled up to find it was not $20-30 but instead it was $8! I was overjoyed. I gave the keys to the gentleman, was given a tag, and we went onto our evening. Later that night, we came back outside to a very cold scene. People dashing to their car to escape the chill and walking seemingly miles away to the vehicles located at the end of the lot. I walked to the valet, handed my ticket to the man and soon the car was brought to us, warmed up and ready.

It was an amazing experience for the cost of a total of $13 dollars (I tipped $5). My wife and I talked about it on the way home. The relief of not having to stress out over parking was worth its weight in gold, the heated car and not having to carry bags was an added bonus! How many times have we dreaded the mall due to the hassle? How about going to a special dinner or event and finding the evening ruined due to being cut off from the space you clearly were waiting 5 minutes for and the other person clearly saw you but took the space anyways.

I am not going to lie. It felt so special to have someone bring my car to me. I felt like a movie star.

A simple thing to make life easier or to make you feel special. A simple way to show to yourself that you are special.

I hope you try it.

#hugapony my friends

 

Ikkikon 2017.

I will be at Ikkicon 2017 and I will be doing a panel on invisible disability on Saturday Dec 31st at 6 pm to 7 pm. Come join me as we talk about living with invisible disabilities and share in a safe space our experiences and ways to help each other. I will have a special prize for the first two people who come up to me in the panel and say “clumsy draconequus” will get a small prize!(Kudos for those who get the reference).

I cant wait to see you all!

Come out and hug a pony with me!

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PS – Picture from http://tygerbug.deviantart.com/art/Hug-Life-Shirt-319992930

Happy Holidays

Winter has come and brought its dark skies and cold nights to us. In this time of joyous celebration and hot cocoa, Let us all take some time to pay attention to those around us who may need some help. From single mothers and divorced dads, to those who illness is worsened by the cold, to the quite children who don’t get swept up in all the bright festivities. Someone will be in your life that will need a little encouragement.

It amazes me that so many people can go through life and not realize what or who is around us. I watch as people ignore anything that does not pertain to them. Working retail makes this abundantly evident as people respond to your greetings with abrupt dismissal. We become so focused on what are doing, who do we need presents  for, how am I going to make all the parties that we tend to not see those of us who need help around us. In this spirit of giving and merry making, we miss those who are not able to enjoy the holidays.

I encourage all of us to go forth and find someone to help this holiday. It could be the single mother with 3 kids who just needs a night off. It could be the recently divorced dad who isn’t going to be able to spend time with his kids for the first time. It could be the person with the illness who cant make it to that party they always used to enjoy. Chances are I have described someone you know. You are thinking of them right now.

Act on that.

Stop doing things.

Start on being this holiday.

#hugapony

PS I have not had much time to write and for that I apologize. I have my next few posts planned to carry me into the new year. Thank you all who read this blog. As a reward, a small comic i found that speaks to me in so many ways.

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Truth and Vindication.

It has been a couple weeks from my last post. I have struggled greatly at what I have wanted to do next. I have thought long and hard about continuing my blog and how I help others. I thought upon my own condition and the battles I have fought. My own demons have been at battle in my body in my own mini civil war. I have been seeking answers for several years now.

And now I had them.

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Knowledge is a double-edged sword.

I have something I can look in the eye and know what I am battling. I have official paperwork and can show people that yes I am sick. I have been examined by a medical professional and have been given the answer. I can proceed on to the next steps and, hopefully, get the proper help.

It also cuts me deep. I cannot deny or excuse myself. I have to admit to myself that “Yes, I am sick.” I was not as prepared for the answer as I thought.

In some small part, I must have even had doubts myself. Who wants to admit to themselves they are broken? It goes to show that even I had doubts about myself. No one is safe from their own inner voice.

I am broken.

And that has to be OK.

I feel like I have run one of the biggest marathons in my life. I have worked hard at research into what is wrong with me. Consulting my doctor, friends, and family for information. I have used my unknown to help countless others. It has been the fuel to drive me to reach my hand out and pick people up. Now that I have the answer, am I out of gas? How do I go on from here? What changes now?

I have spent 2 weeks trying to answer these questions. I am no closer to a solution than I was then. But, I have not thrown in the towel.

Where one journey ends, another begins.

I find myself confused at the finish line I crossed. I feel like I stumbled through the tape and am now in a daze. My journey has been about answers for myself and others. Now instead of seeking answers, I will be looking for help and treatments. I will be walking down a slightly different path. A new race has begun.

I hope you all can join me on this journey.

May all your plushies get hugs.

The weekend in review.

It was a long weekend. It started on Friday with my van and the water pump exploding inside of it. Being that this  our only vehicle we were kind of in a bind because we were not going to be able to make it to work on Monday. This was also our only access to most of the outside world. Now while I am an introvert and I would be content to stay at home, this did not mean that I would be permanently founded in the apartment. 

Things were not looking up. 

I then received a message that my mother was in the hospital. She has had issues with migraines and we had not been able to get a cause of why. Of course, with the added stress of the rest of life, I did not take the news very well. So I did what I do best.

I stopped and prayed for a miracle.

I did not get one.

I got many.

My wife and I went to a local dealership to look at vehicles. We have been rebuilding credit due to a bankruptcy and I knew it was going to be a painful process. I had gone online and found a decent car for the money. When we arrived, the salesman and the car was waiting for us. We were the rushed into the test drive. The car was small, very small back seat so not good with a baby on the way, and was beyond basic. While, we really needed more, we did not have a lot of options. Upon arrival we told the salesman that we would have to think about it. He brought in the manager to close the deal. He came in ready to pander and please and my loving wife put a stop to it. The manager completely rubbed us the wrong way and was not what we needed at the time. We left soon after with a very bad taste in our mouths. 

It was after this that I received the message that mom was in the hospital. Not much information to go on but needless to say, it was a terrible time for everyone. I prayed.

My dear brother in law stepped in and saved us. He and his wife are some of the kindness people I know. They knew our situation and stepped in and called to say they wanted to help. This opened so many avenues for us. I was close to tears. Hope was not dead.

The next day we had been prepared to go look elsewhere when a dear friend suggested we go back to the same dealership, talk to a very specific salesman and only work through him. I was reluctant but I decided we would. 

Upon arrival we asked to see this particular individual and he created warmly. He asked what we needed and we told him flat out our needs with kids and one on the way. He was the only person to congratulate us on that fact the entire time. There was an instant liking. We also told him of our displeasure from the day before and he agreed that it was not right. He then lead us to a path on a much better car that had been a loaner but was still considered new. It had so many fancy features and a back seat that could hold 3 grown adults comfortably. Just upon seeing the car, my wife and I were filled with hope. This was the perfect car.

The next two days were filled with better news. My mother came home and was feeling much better. We got an idea of what was going on with her. Knowledge is power and this help tremendously. 

Miracles happen.

We went in finally on Monday and got the final paperwork ready for the car. We had one last barrage of last minute add-ons that the car that we were being pushed to buy. My darling wife batted the numbers aside and in the end we ended up getting all the add-ons with no extra cost. 

We now have a car. A new car. Something I have never had. It was the first time in many years that I did not have the fear of if the car would start. I had a vehicle that did not have a warning light on the dash for the first time in 5 years or more. Relief flooded over me and mine. 

I cannot thank enough my friend that convinced us to go back and also let us borrow a car to do so.

I cannot thank my brother in-law and his wife enough for help us out in a time of need. 

I cannot thank a competent salesman who took the time to listen and care.

I cannot thank the doctors who helped my mom enough.

I cannot thank my wife for being strong and standing by my side.

I cannot thank my God enough for providing it all.

I am beyond blessed.

I still have hardships and trouble that I deal with daily. In the month of Thanksgiving, however, I recognize the need for praise and thankfulness. I am truely blessed.

What are you thankful for?

#huga pony my friends

Positive Power Thinking

It has been hard to stay positive in the past few weeks. With the hate going on for the election from almost everyone, to the pain of life and body with me personally, to the fears of issues with my car and apartment, it has all been trying to distract me. Being focused on the positive has been exceptionally difficult.

But I have been here before.

I know this walls and darkness.

I can do better now.

One of the positives of coming off one of medications is my brain fog has lifted greatly. This has given me the ability to focus and think much more clearly for the first time in almost 2 years. I am not saying I haven’t been myself in that time, more of, I can do so with much less effort. I have always considered myself intelligent, and have been told so by others much more intelligent than I, and I feel like that part has been robbed from me in this time. Now it has taken quite a bit more to do my pain management as it takes a lot out of me to focus on not letting it effect my life. It is nice switch from focusing on my mind and thoughts to focusing on my body.

Looking ahead I have felt with the upcoming holidays, the presidential election and the results, and some more conventions, I am looking into spreading that positive thinking and prayer onto other people. In these times of holidays and the winter months, depression and loneliness can come over everyone. I am looking into a project that I have wanted to do for awhile.

It is no small task however.

I am wanting to go through my friends list on my personal social media sites, the email list of this blog, and all other outreaches I can and write at least one letter telling that personal that they are special and loved and that I am thinking and praying for them. I want to spread more love and joy to others.

And this is on top of my life, work, and writing on my blog.

However, I think the results would be more than worth it.

I am so thankful for what I have been given in my life. Yes, I write about my hard times and troubles here on my blog, but this is a great place to vent and to show others they are not alone in hardships or so that they know what someone living with invisible disabilities goes through. I have tried to show the opposite side of the coin and show the life and joy that can be had in spite of these trials. I have tried to bring something positive into this world.

I am trying my best to have an impact on this world, at least those in my reach, and be the most wonderful person I can be.

I ask you all, dear readers, that if you want to be part of my and joy making, I would ask you join the email list on my blog, follow my twitter or you can leave a message on this post or any others. I will see and respond. I will keep all information confidential, unless you say I can share it with others.

Lets bring back love for each other. Lets spread some joy.

#hugapony everyone.

Happy thoughts.

It was a rough week last week. I cut out the primary pain medication I have been taking for almost 2 years. I am writing a post on it but it is still very emotional and painful for me to write about. In the meantime, I decided to write about something positive. Thinking positive in efforts to help those around me.

Today was Halloween and I was able to be with my wife and kids for most of the day. That alone is a positive. I have missed quite a few family events due to work and I was able to capitalize on this one, mush to my joy. It made me very happy.

I also was able to put on my ears for work. Being Halloween, they allowed some dress up. I personally try to seize every opportunity to have some fun and inject some craziness into everyone’s life. It reminded me of when I was a teenager.

In my teens I worn a rubber dog nose everywhere. Literally everywhere. I wore it for such long periods of time that the string broke. I wore it so much my face would have indentations for hours afterwards from where the plastic would have embedded itself in my face. I wore it to school, I wore it to go shopping, I even wore it to church! Why did I do it?

To make people smile.

Some of my favorite times were when I had a child or a grandmother smile because of what I was wearing. Seeing their faces light up with joy always brought a smile to me. Some kids would point and laugh and that’s okay some of them weren’t old enough to understand what I was doing. I just wanted to bring a little joy and light into the world and I felt I did by just wearing a simple dog nose.
Oh I had some of the older folks frown on me and tell me that I was doing something wrong which never made any sense to me. The occasional mother who would hush your child from having a laugh at my expense which was perfectly okay in my opinion. Still the mothers quieted the children because they did not want to cause a scene or any type of attention to what I was doing. It would always make me sad seeing somebody frown or look down upon me because of something I was doing. All I tried to do was just bring a little joy and light into everyone else’s lives around me.

When I worked at GameStop, I made sure to go out of my way to do you things, again, to bring a smile to people’s faces. Dressing up for a special event, or wearing the silliest hat to make people stop and laugh. Joy is something best spread around in my opinion and so I did my best to spread it around as much as I could. Being able to turn someone’s bad day into a good day was always a great feeling for me and I’m pretty sure it was a good feeling for those who I helped as well.

So tonight when I came into work I decided to throw on my ever so loved ears that I wear, again, pretty much everywhere. My co-workers all gave me a smile and said I was being silly. I told them right back that this is something that makes the night go by faster when you’re working. I had four or five customers come up to me and tell me how much they like my hat and in my opinion that’s me doing a good job and providing excellent customer service. Any chance of having a little silliness or having a little fun, especially at work, is a chance I always try to jump on.

And so dear reader, I hope that by sharing my story, I inspire you to do something to make someone else smile today. I welcome any and all comments in which you’ve made someone else’s day a little bit brighter. In this time of election, where the country and families seem to be torn apart by anger or hate  it seems only fitting to try and bring joy into other people’s lives. One of the things I’ve always noticed about bringing a smile to others is the smile that comes back to me. I do hope my story cheers you up a little and that you have a wonderful day.

#hugapony my friends.

I dedicate this post to JL. I hope I bring a little smile to you with this post.