Monday, July 11, 2016

Trusting God: Even When You Don't Feel Him

"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials. Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience." James 1:2-3 NKJV
I was reminded of this verse a couple days ago. My first reaction was to throw it to the back of my head. Why? Because I didn't want to have that accountability, I did not want to be reminded that in this time of trial I needed to trust God and somehow find joy in this hard time, because how could I find joy in the midst of pain, in the midst of suffering? 
A little backstory, the past two weeks I have been struggling with my health. I have two chronic health conditions, fibromyalgia and what is called nonneurogenic neurogenic bladder. I know that was a mouthful. Firstly, fibromyalgia is a painful muscle condition that can cause a multitude of symptoms. The most prominent symptom is muscle pain, usually widespread. Other symptoms that can accompany those with fibromyalgia include, fatigue, especially after not much activity, brain fog, loss of appetite, headaches, anxiety, depression and the list could go on and on. Those are the most prominent symptoms I struggle with. 
Now, the nonneurogenic neurogenic bladder also known as Hinman Syndrome, basically is a urological disorder that can cause the bladder to not function properly for some unknown reason. For me this means I have constant urinary retention (cannot pass urine on my own) so I have what is called a suprapubic catheter, a catheter that 24/7 goes through my lower abdomen into my bladder. I also get bladder spasms that at times cause extreme pain and make getting things done extremely difficult because walking is a huge trigger and causes even more pain. This is what I have been struggling with lately. 
By the end of this week I was fed up. The constant physical pain was getting to me and I was becoming basically an emotional mess with trying to just deal with the physical pain while trying to keep up with work where I am on my feet walking and bending over the entire shift. I will be honest I hadn't prayed...I didn't want to talk to God because I did not understand why he was making me go through this and why he wasn't giving me a break. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has felt that way. Finally, I broke and ended up basically yelling at God. Which I think is okay, I think sometimes we think we have to talk all nice and sweet praising God, but I believe that first off he can handle our rants or our bickering at Him, and in the end it brings us closer to Him. In the end I did feel a lot better. Did it make everything okay? No, it didn't take my pain away, but I did have a little bit  more peace and that is the true loving peace that God can only bring. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

First of Goal Setting Tuesdays

I've decided to start something called Goal Setting Tuesdays, where every Tuesday I will set a goal or goals for myself. It can be things such as things to do and get done or personal things I want to work on. Then every Monday I will come back and reflect on how well I did the following week.

Why Tuesdays and not a Sunday or Monday? Well, I don't really have a reason for that, I'm just different.

So, here are my goals for this week...

  1. Actually plan a time to go take my TSI test next week when I get my schedule.
  2. Take care of myself by taking my antibiotics and drinking a lot of water.
  3. Not ruminate while waiting on my doctors call for lab results.
  4. Keep myself busy during the day before work so I don't get depressed. List of ideas to do below...
  • Work on labeling soaps.
  • Make vanilla latte soap
  • Hang up clothes
  • Wash work clothes
  • Walk dog
  • Work on blog posts

Thursday, July 9, 2015

My Skin Care Routine: Coconut Oil

If you know me you know I am a big believer in natural skin care products. Our skin, especially the face is highly absorbent and I just don't want to be adding chemicals to that. I believe we are already subjected to enough of it just through everyday life and the environment.

So what do I use to wash my face? The answer is coconut oil. I know, it sounds counter productive, but for my normal to dry skin it actually works, my face looks and feels moisturized, I have less acne, it's the best product I've found to remove makeup, and no it doesn't clog your pores. I've been using coconut oil to cleanse my face for about three months now and I don't plan on changing this routine. So how do you clean your face with coconut oil? Here are some steps...

  • Get a clean wash rag, get it damp, wring out excess water, and microwave for about 20 seconds. This isn't a necessity to get it warm, but I find it works a lot better than a room temperature or cold wet rag. 
  • Use the warm rag and wipe over face to get face damp and open up pores. Then, set rag aside.
  • Get about a teaspoon size of coconut oil in hands and spread between both hands. I recommend an unrefined, 100% pure organic coconut oil, but it doesn't have to be organic. The oil should melt and become the consistency of regular oil.
  • Now wipe oil with both hands all over face, as if you are washing your face with soap.
  • Once oil is lathered on your face, grab your warm wash rag and wipe off oil. You do not need to scrub hard, just enough to get oil off. You might have to go over the same places twice.
  • Now you can wipe your face with a dry rag to get leftover oil and water off. 
Have you ever used coconut oil in your skin care routine? If not, what do you find works best?

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Blueberries and Cream Dump Cake

For a while now we have had multiple cans of different pie fillings that have just been sitting there so I decided to try making a dump cake. If you don't know what a dump cake is well, it is literally what it sounds like. A cake where you just dump all of the ingredients on top of each other and it turns into this nice gooey, moist, cobbler like cake.
First off, I must warn you this cake is extremely good, you will want bowl after bowl, and it is extremely easy to make. 

So how do you make this delicious heavenly dessert? First, you will need a 21oz can of pie filling, I used blueberries and cream, I also added more blueberries because I felt the filling didn't have enough. I recommend using frozen blueberries, but I'm sure fresh would also work, you also will need a box of yellow cake mix, and one stick or in my case 8 tablespoons of butter or margarine. (I told you it's all so simple.)
Next you will want to oil or spray your pan with non-stick spray. I used a 9x13 inch pan. Then, open your can of pie filling and spread evenly on the bottom of your pan. This is when I then topped with extra blueberries. Your pan will then look like the picture below. 
Now, open your dry cake mix and spread evenly over this blueberry mixture, then either cut up the stick of butter or measure out 8 tablespoons and distribute throughout the top of the cake mixture. 
Once you have finished this step put your pan in the oven and bake for about one hour and ten minutes or until baked enough to your liking. 

Again I warn you, after you have your first bowl you will be coming back for seconds. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Melatonin: The Savior of Sleep

Firstly, I am  not a medical doctor and I am not recommending medical treatment this is simply my own personal experience. For those of you who are not familiar with melatonin  it is a hormone that is naturally found in the body and it is responsible for regulating our body's sleep cycle. Synthetic melatonin is usually taken to help to regulate a person's sleep cycle when they have trouble staying asleep and/or feeling rested in the morning. 

For me the problem was I was not feeling well rested in the morning. I've always been someone who goes to bed early. On average I am asleep by 10:30 or 11:00. I on average only wake up once a night, but wake up feeling like I didn't get any sleep. This is most likely due to my fibromyalgia; it is known that those with fibromyalgia and restless leg syndrome which I also have usually don't go through the full sleep cycle. I also have back and neck muscle pain due to the fibro and I just carry my stress there in my body and it's always worse in the mornings once I wake up and I think it is the way I sleep and just never getting a well rested night. 

I was looking up natural more homeopathic ways to deal with fibromyalgia because I've tried multiple medications such as gabapentin, baclofen, cyclobenzaprine, nsaids, tylenol and the only thing i ever even felt helped somewhat was the nsaids, which I still do take maybe once or twice a month, but I'm someone who I personally don't like taking prescription medications and would prefer something more natural. Also, I just want to avoid the possible but rare side effects of those drugs. I was going to try 5 htp because I also struggle with depression and anxiety and I used to take antidepressants and anxiety medication, but it was a little more expensive than the melatonin so I thought I would try this first. 

I've tried melatonin once before about three years ago and honestly I didn't feel it helped then, but I thought for some reason that I would give it another try. I decided to instead of getting the pills that you swallow I would get the ones that melt under your tongue so it will get in my system faster. I bought the 5mg ones because in reality your body doesn't need a huge dose of it, with melting ones more will get in my system, and I am just a small person so I probably don't need a huge dose. I had been taking ambien 10mg as needed, but I hate the way it makes me feel in the morning.

Surprisingly, I felt a difference after the first night of taking it. I've taken it almost every other night for almost two weeks now and I still do get worn out during the day, but I can definitely tell a difference in my energy levels in the morning. I know you shouldn't take melatonin all the time and they say not to take it continuously for more than two weeks. So I think I will stop taking it for a few days and see how I feel. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Day at SeaWorld

How many of you have been to SeaWorld? Well if you haven't it is basically an amusement/waterpark, the unique quality of SeaWorld is that they have the famous orca Shamu and other water animals such as sea lions (maybe you saw it on the documentary "Blackfish") I know I'm horrible for going, every time I watch a show there even though I enjoy it I find myself wondering how these animals live, asking myself if they are happy or not. Note to self: Work on living out your convictions.

Besides that sad note it was a fun day. I got to wear my new bathing suit that I only paid $6.48 for. You just have to love bargains! I went with my godparents and their three year old grandson. They had a bring your friend pass so I tagged along. We started out at Aquatica, the water park, and spent a little over an hour there. Then, we stopped to eat lunch. Unfortunately, it ended up being a pretty lame lunch. I got a kids turkey sandwich because I didn't want anything huge, well I soon realized it was not the same turkey sandwich that was described in the adult meal with cheese and spread instead it was simply a sandwich on a white bread that looked like a hamburger bun and just turkey meat and I got some grapes and lemonade. Kind of disappointing but at least we got food. 

After eating we went to see the show Sea Lion High. Basically it is a show with two sea lions. I'm blanking on their names and they are in high school, but can't graduate because they did not finish a number of classes so the entire show is them going through the final school day going through these classes to make them up and graduate and the sea lions do a bunch of cool tricks and dance moves throughout the classes. It was entertaining. 

After Sea Lion High we made one last trip to Aquatica and made three laps around the lazy river. It was really funny because my godparents grandson was wearing one of those kids life jackets and it had a long black strap thing hanging on it so he kept saying "Ashalyn (my name is Ashlynn) tether the rope" so I would grab onto it and he would just keep repeating "I will pull you back." "I can't do this by myself." "Don't let go, tether the rope." It was hilarious! 

So now I am definitely exhausted. I ended up eating 15 pizza rolls when I got home. I'm not sure how I'm not extremely full right now, but hey I will take it. So  now that I am all showered, in pajamas, and my parents aren't home yet I think I will start applying for college loans. Fun. Fun. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

This is Me and My Blog

If you are reading this, welcome! You may be asking yourself what is this blog even for? Well, it is for me and my thoughts. It is for me to document my journey, my struggles, and my triumphs. My goal is to become a certified Child Life Specialist. I will be starting my first year at Texas State University as a freshman majoring in Family and Child Development this coming fall.

Why did I choose child life? Well, I could easily go into a long story (ask anyone that knows me I do that frequently). The short version of why I chose child life is as a kid I spent a lot of time in the hospital whether that be for an admission or just appointments and I have now been diagnosed with fibromyalgia.  So I grew up around doctors, nurses, and needles. In an environment where most children and adults usually are very tense and nervous I was content. Instead of being nervous I was curious. I was the kid that wanted to know the in depth details of every little object and test.

At the age of 14 I learned what a child life specialist was and ever since I've been fascinated. I've always been interested in psychology and I've always believed that physical health will affect your mental health either positively or negatively and vice versa and we can't just ignore one or the other. I believe that this becomes extremely important when one is in the hospital and for children this is when play therapy and education about illness, tests, and procedures are beneficial.

I hope I did not bore you too much. So this is the start of a journey for me. On this blog I will document my journey of starting college, striving to be a CLS, dealing with chronic illnesses, and just life in general. I hope you will follow me on this journey,