Posted in grace, grit, happiness, Life, self care, strength

Coloring

Today, I’d like to take you back to when you were in kindergarten. Did you love to color, like I did?

I loved my coloring books and crayons. I would color for hours; choosing the perfect crayon and concentrating so I stayed within the lines.  There are times now I wish I had colored outside the lines, but I digress. 

Some days I would be so “into” my coloring it felt as though I was lost in my own little fun-filled, peaceful world. My tongue would even hang out the side of my mouth I was so focused on my creativity. 

On the first visit to my therapist’s office, she had a clipboard with mandala coloring pages and a little box of colored pencils. There was a written invitation to “feel free to color while you wait.” So I did just that. 

During a later session…on a day I was very anxious…she had me color while we talked. As we chatted and I colored, I mentioned I had coloring books for adults and colored pencils at home, but I had never used them. 

She suggested I go home and begin using my books and pencils. She instructed me to concentrate only on the end of the pencil while I colored.  I thought, “that’s a little strange, but okay.”

Willing to do almost anything to relax and get rid of negative emotions and anxiety, I went home and pulled out my coloring paraphernalia stash. I chose an intricate pattern, the perfect color of pencils and away I went. I focused all my attention on the tip of the pencil as it moved along the outline. 

Believe it or not…you can believe it because it’s true…before long my tongue was hanging out and my mind was cleared of all thoughts except the pencil! Just like when I was a kid, I was in my own calm, peaceful happy zone. 

It’s funny how as adults we forget the little things that brought us such joy as children. We get so caught up and bogged down with life we forget to do things just for fun. We all could use a little more fun and calmness in our lives, right?

If coloring isn’t your thing, you can pick a game you loved as a child; Etch-A-Sketch, Barrel of Monkeys, Jacks (I’m aging myself here, but who cares) and focus on fun. Even ten to fifteen minutes can do a spirit good. 

That’s it for today. Now, you go get your game or coloring book of choice and have a great, stress-free time playing with the joy and wonderment of a child. 

Diane💙

Posted in grace, happiness, Life, self care, strength

ABCDEFGratitude

The definition of gratitude is”the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation.”

Gratitude can be shown in a multitude of ways; from a simple thank you to telling someone how much you appreciate them or being of service to others. 

One way I express my gratitude is by keeping a gratitude journal. I have a spiral notebook and almost every day (sometimes, I forget…just being honest here)…I take out that notebook and write the letters of the alphabet in a list down the sheet of paper. 

Next, I think about things or people I’m grateful for and list them alphabetically. For instance:

Angels

Beauty

Counselor

Dogs

E, F, G and so on until I reach Z, which is hard, but I am grateful for zebras, because they’re interestingly beautiful, so the first “Z” isn’t so difficult. 

My gratitude list does several important things; it helps clear my mind of negative thoughts, calms my anxiety and helps with my depression when I read the things I’ve written for which I am thankful. 

For “gratitude on the go,” I carry a notepad or a small journal in my purse. When I’m waiting patiently for a doctor’s appointment or in a stressful situation with time on my hands, I pull out my notepad and begin writing. 

This is helpful as it gives me something I can physically see and touch, keeps my mind busy and my thoughts distracted from anything other than gratefulness. 

Keeping an alphabetic daily journal of gratitude is a great way to end, start or get through your day, relieve stress and is a gentle reminder that there is always, always something to be thankful for. 

That’s all for today. Thanks for taking the time to visit and read. See, I’ve got my “B” and “R”  for today…”Blog” and “Readers!”

What are your thoughts on this practice of thankfulness?  Leave a comment and let me know. 

Diane💙

Posted in friends, happiness, Life, self care

Ten Pins

Two of my good friends (Anita and Mary Beth) came to visit me last month. Instead of our usual go to lunch or get a pedicure, I suggested we go bowling. They agreed, so off to the bowling alley we went.

I can’t remember the last time I went bowling, but I did remember to bring socks and that I had to rent shoes. So did my friends.

After paying to bowl and ordering food, we found our assigned lane and put on our attractive bowling shoes. Then the search for just the right ball began.

Searching for a ball I could actually carry and fit my fingers in was a chore. Low pound balls were hard to come by, but my friend Anita found an 8 pound medium, which we decided to share, and Marybeth had no problems finding a ten pounder.

Once we had our balls, I entered our names into the automatic scorekeeper and we were ready to begin our bowling adventure.

We all three got off to a slow start with gutter balls, if I remember correctly. Despite the gutters we high-fived and gave fist bumps after every roll of the ball. And we cheered one another on.

Anita commented she had never been cheered on in a sport and how she really liked it. We all liked it. Three friends out for an afternoon of sporting fun, loving and supporting one another.

We barely paid attention to the scoreboard because we were too busy laughing and cheering. Suffice it to say, the professional bowlers have nothing to worry about with the three of us. We don’t care.

What we did care about was being together and doing something different. In case you’re wondering which of us won, Mary Beth and Anita said I did. But who’s keeping score.

Diane

Posted in Life, self care

Panic

Last week, I felt off kilter for a few days. Panic attacks were daily visitors. Exhaustion my enemy; sleep my friend.

I wrote the following when I was in the midst of a panic attack to try and distract myself and to document what happens to me physically when one occurs:

  • My ears are ringing.
  • My hands are numb.
  • My vision is blurred.
  • My stomach is churning.
  • My head hurts.
  • I feel dizzy.
  • I can’t get enough air into my lungs.
  • I feel something horrible is about to happen.
  • I want to flee my home.
  • I’m in a full blown panic attack!
  • There’s nothing anyone can do to make me feel better. Time is what I need. It’s time I want to speed up, but I can’t make it do so.
  • I just took medication to help, but the 15 to 20 minutes it takes to start working is really going to suck.

Yes, it really sucks to live with panic. I am lucky in that I have a strong support system in place. Mainly my husband who knows while he can’t stop the panic he can be patient and loving while it’s happening. That’s a big blessing to me.

The difference between anxiety and panic is anxiety is situational while panic comes out of the blue for no apparent reason. One minute I’ll feel perfectly fine and the next panic strikes. I have both anxiety and panic.

I’m usually a happy, optimistic person except on the dark days. During that time I’m all over the map emotionally.

I know I’ll be alright. During this time I need to rest and get back into a positive mindset as I know this too shall pass.

Diane

Posted in friends, grace, happiness, Life, self care, strength

Blank Pages

The blank page taunts me. The cursor on the page blinks incessantly as I try to reach deep inside and pull out words to write.

Sometimes the words pour out. Other times not so much. Those are the times I stare at a blank page and feel like I have nothing to say.

I actually have a lot to say. However, some of what I have to say is not ready to share in such a public forum. It’s a long, painful story with no end in sight. So for now that page will stay blank.

What I can write about today is having grace; the exercise of love, kindness, mercy, favor disposition to benefit or serve another.

Each of us possess the ability to have grace. Unfortunately, not everyone practices it and many show it by posting on social media.

Everyday I come across a post, a tweet or Instagram story by or about unkind people. Racism, homophobia and just downright meanness are common themes in my newsfeeds and in the media. It’s very disheartening.

Despite the negativity and unkindness, I still believe the world has more people who love, are kind and willing to help others than not.

These are the people I want to (and do) surround myself with. The people I’m drawn to. The ones who lift me up, who inspire, who challenge me in a kind and loving way.

We can choose to disagree on a topic or belief and still remain in grace doing so. I will calmly listen to you with an open mind. In doing so we may discover things on which we can agree. Wouldn’t that be great?!

I choose and try everyday to stand in grace with everyone I know and meet. Myself included.

Diane

Posted in friends, Life, self care

Make Me Laugh

A few days ago, I was speaking with a friend who was going through a rough time. She cried a bit as we talked then she asked me to make her laugh.

“I bought a new pair of running shoes,” I said to which she responded with lots of laughter. She knows my lack of love for exercise and I knew she would laugh at the thought of me running.

My new running shoes are due to my friend Stephanie who is on the move, quite literally (walking, running, swimming, yoga), and is encouraging others to do the same.

There was a time when I walked and ran every day around a gorgeous lake. Once we moved from the lake I stopped walking as the view wasn’t the same and if you miss one day you’re almost destined to miss two then three, etc. At least that’s how it went for me.

Since Stephanie started moving and posts her daily progress and inspiring quotes on Facebook, my feet have started itching to move too. Hence the new shoes.

As I write this I’m waiting on the shoe’s delivery, which is expected any day. When they do arrive, my plan is to start walking. My husband agreed to walk with me.

The shoes may sit in the box a few days while I get my mindset right off my lazy butt. I know this about myself and own it. However, my intention is to start walking again and even running once I build up my strength.

I have Stephanie to thank for encouraging me to get out and move and new shoes for giving me something to make my friend laugh.

Diane

P.S. – My shoes arrived. They sat in the box after a “try-on” for two days. Stephanie came by Wednesday to take me walking. We walked a mile! Yay, me!!