Home business, home education and health challenges: what makes us tic?

Posts tagged ‘Thoughts on Faith’

what i believe

This is beautiful, and so appropriate.

a diary of a mom


Good morning, my friends. Last night, I posted the following on Diary’s Facebook page:

Screen shot 2013-10-15 at 5.12.42 AM

This morning, that number was 17,163.

I have no idea what to say. Well, other than, “Welcome,” to those who have just joined the party. People often ask me, when they’re first starting a blog or a group or a Facebook page or a drumming circle for autism, how to attract followers. My friend, Kate, without knowing it, provided the answer last night when she very generously wrote about Diary on her own Facebook page.

“Speak the truth and they will find you.”

That’s always my answer to those who ask.

My truth isn’t always pretty. In fact, it can be downright messy. But I lay it out here in hopes of creating a dialogue. In hopes of dragging it, even when it’s kicking and screaming, out of the darkness and into the light…

View original post 1,499 more words


Empty arms: ten things I learned from my miscarriage (not recommended for sensitive readers)

changes-and-mistakesRecently, a friend of my suffered the devastation of a miscarriage. The timing of her pregnancy wasn’t perfect. (It never is). The circumstances weren’t ideal. (Is there such a thing as “a good time” to have a baby?). Many people view it as “fortuitous” that she has “been spared” some of the tough decisions that lay ahead for her. Thankfully, they’ve had the discretion to keep that opinion to themselves, and they’re right to have done so. In light of this, I felt it time to share the following story, and some thoughts on losing a child you never had a chance to know.

I feel your pain

Some years ago, a lady found out she was pregnant. The timing was terrible. It often is. But this was particularly bad, at least to her mind. She had recently lost her business, and her husband was unemployed. They’d just moved into a house they couldn’t afford, and they had two small children to feed, clothe and educate. They had no medical aid.

To make ends meet, husband and wife had both taken freelance contracts wherever they could get them, and were working around the clock. They had no rest, no money, no health and no time. The family was subsisting on popcorn and el-cheapo peanut butter, lubricated with heavy doses of caffeine. The stress of survival was taking its toll on their marriage, too. The thought of bringing another person – a completely helpless, needy, dependent person, deserving of love and care – into that mess was unthinkable. Wrapped in silent misery, this lady kept her secret, crying quietly to herself when she thought no one was around.

About eleven weeks in, there was a flutter. Something stirred in her protruding belly, and for the first time in months there seemed to be a faint flicker of light and hope at the end of a very dark, lonely tunnel. She began to imagine names. She wondered about the baby’s gender, and imagined how he or she might look. The tear streaks on her haggard face began to fade, and a dim light returned to her eyes.

One morning every one had left for work and school. Working away at her computer, she felt a sudden, very sharp pain in her abdomen. She tried to get up and stretch, and fell to the floor in agony. She could hardly walk. The spasms were blinding. She began to be aware of a damp sensation she hadn’t had in months, and knew instinctively what would come next. In a haze of cramps and fear-fuelled resignation, she made her way to the bathroom. She hoisted herself onto the loo, and let nature take its course. Sobbing with a mix of pain and despondency, she looked at what she’d lost, and saw her child just once.

Then I flushed the loo, and buried that day in a box somewhere hidden from everyone. Because this is my story, and that pain was mine, once, too.

It’s taken more than four years to find healing. It will probably take the rest of my life, and it has impacted who I am in so many ways.

10 things I learned from my miscarriage

1. It’s not your fault.

I blamed myself. I was foolish enough to fall pregnant in the first place. I was careless with my health and I killed my child. That line of thought haunted me for years and sapped my will to live. Eventually,I had to realise that there was nothing I could have done. Sometimes bad things happen.

2. You’re not being punished.

I blamed myself for making the bad decisions that led to us being in the position we were in. I felt that my foolishness and my failure to heed the warnings in God’s Word created the situation I was in. My friends, God is not cruel. He is not vindictive. He created nature and a natural course of events, and He allows that to play out to its logical conclusion. But He doesn’t hurt us in capricious and senseless ways.

3. Biology happens.

The fact is, nature takes its course. Pregnancies happen. Births happen. Miscarriages happen. People die. These and a million other details are what make up LIFE. We live it every day until we stop, and then we’re dead. If only the best planned, most loved children were born, and the mistakes were always intercepted by a heavenly force, a nine-year-old in Brazil wouldn’t be a mom right now. A loving couple with ample means wouldn’t be barren. It’s not cruel or fair. It just is what it is.

4. Don’t take on the guilt.

Understanding that these things sometimes “just happen”, don’t allow anyone to add to your guilt. Furthermore, let your guilt go. It doesn’t help you. It will not heal you. You don’t need it or deserve it, so let it go.

5. It’s okay to be relieved.

When it happened to me, I felt an avalanche of emotions. I was overwhelmed. I was exhausted. I was devastatingly sad. I was transported by relief. The relief was the killer, though. As if I didn’t feel guilty enough, I now felt even more responsible for my baby’s death in that some part of me – however infinitesimally small – could see the upside of the situation. Sometimes there is an upside. Sometimes you see it. That’s okay. In fact, that can keep you sane. It doesn’t make you a bad person.

6. Talk to someone.

Get the help you need. Unburden your heavy heart, and find someone who will hear you and love you. It took me a long time to do this, and I damaged a lot of things on the way as a result of my own brokenness.

7. Give yourself time to heal.

Don’t expect to be better right away. Sometimes you’ll never be “better” in the sense that some people mean it. You will probably never again be who you were before. You may be better than you are right now, and you may be a better person than you were before – I know that is true for me. But I can only claim to be healed by the grace of God in my life. I certainly cannot claim to be “whole” in any other sense. Expecting that is setting yourself up for disappointment. I chose to embrace the change and see where it led me. So far, so good.

8. Let yourself grieve.

You have lost something, after all. Even the worst things we lose cause us some grief at their passing. It’s not that we miss the ‘thing’, necessarily. Rather, it’s that we miss the familiar. Now, an early term miscarriage hardly robs us of the familiar. But it robs us of a very specific and clear hope. The baby I don’t have is a specific person who is not sleeping on my lap as I type. It’s a particular body not sharing our dinner each night. Just because I didn’t know that person doesn’t mean that I didn’t want to – no matter how ludicrous that truth may seem. I’m allowed to be sad. You are allowed to grieve. The pain and the loss are real. Bottling it up will make it worse. Trust me.

9. Don’t rush into anything.

Many years ago, the popular thinking was that the best way to heal after a miscarriage was to rush ahead and fall pregnant right away. There are a number of reasons that this is bad advice. For one thing, you lost that baby for a reason. Get checked out before you subject yourself to a repeat performance. For another thing, your body needs time to recover from what is truly a significant trauma. Thirdly, your heart needs time to repair. Furthermore, relationships can take strain in the wake of a miscarriage and a strong relationship is essential to weather the potential storm of another pregnancy – whatever the outcome may be this time around.

10. It’s okay to be angry.

Yes it is. Feel it, accept it. Then move on. Be angry, sure. But don’t stay angry. It helps no one and hurts you. You have enough pain: don’t add to it.

I am not a counsellor or a therapist of any kind. I am compulsively fasicnated by how people work, and how I work, and how life works. This blog is a chronicle of my journey to understand it, and hopefully some of what I have learnt or experienced over the years will help someone else. To quote a favourite saying,

“If I can’t be a good example, perhaps I cna serve as a horrible warning.”

If you have thoughts on this or have experienced miscarriage yourself, today I’d be grateful if you shared your story in the comments. I really have hardly mentioned this to anyone, and it feels a little strange to share it in such a public forum. If it’s helped in anyway, let me know. If you disgaree with anything I’d really be interested in what you have to say. Let’s discuss it. Thank you for reading.

– Vanessa

Accepting the immovable walls

The past few weeks have yielded revelations of long-denied truths, valiantly hidden from the forefront of my consciousness. Accepting the truth of the situation has been liberating in some ways and heartbreaking in others. It deserves it’s own unveiling, and will have that in the days ahead. But to start off with, this profound statement by James Gordon Gilkey has helped me strategise a personal response.

Only as we yield to the inexorable, only as we accept the situations which we find ourselves powerless to change, can we free ourselves from fatal inward tensions, and acquire that inward quietness amid which we can seek — and usually find — ways by which our limitations can be made at least partially endurable.


Why is [this] so difficult for most people? because most of us were told in childhood that the way to conquer a difficulty is to fight it and demolish it. That theory is, of course, the one that should be taught to young people. Many of the difficulties we encounter in youth are not permanent; and the combination of a heroic courage, a resolute will, and a tireless persistence will often — probably usually — break them down. Bu tin later years the essential elements in the situation change. We find in our little world prison-walls which no amount of battering will demolish. Within those walls we must spend our day — spend them happily, or resentfully. Under these new circumstances we must deliberately reverse our youthful technique. We must gain victory, not by assaulting the walls, but by accepting them. Only when this surrender is made can we assure ourselves of inward quietness, and locate the net step on the road to ultimate victory.

Read more about this author and his book, “You can master your life” on the ever-awesome Brainpickings.

– By Vanessa Davies – daily discovering Joy on a Shoestring.

Do you agree? Have you accepted certain immovable walls, or do you work to break down the walls that bar your way? Let me know what you think.


Opportunity Knocks

opportunity looks like hard work

Bad Mama

Some days I manage to hide the fact that I’m a terrible parent. I manage to be what I should be and follow the ideals of what I believe about parenting. It helps enormously to start with the Word of God and prayer, because then I have the Right Way sort-of programmed into my heart. Some days I can turn away wrath with a soft answer. I can study to answer, rather than rushing in with the mean and cutting words that are fighting to get out at my foolish lips. Some days, my lips are a tree of life to my family.

Some days.

But some days, the abundance of my heart speaks. And the abundance of my heart is evil.

When I am tired and sick, when the creditors are literally banging down the door and burning up the phone lines, when the milk is finished, the larder is bare, and there’s nothing I can do to fix it, when my “to do” list for potentially paying clients is so long that it rolls off the table, across the room and out of the door, when those clients haven’t paid (despite promises), when the house is a tip and no one helps to clean it (even just by putting their own things where they belong), and then, on those days, when a simple maths problem like 70-28 takes an hour and a half to solve, and still comes out wrong – well, on those days I need to put a bit of space between me and EVERYTHING else. It’s time to take a walk, get some perspective. Breathe. Pray.

It’s not the words I said that cut so deeply, it was the way I said them. The frustration, impatience. The fear that because we are now so far behind today’s schedule, I’ll never get done what I need to do and thus never get paid and we really will lose everything. The complete failure to understand how it could be, in which dimension it could happen, that 70-28 could ever equal -18. The shouted “are you stupid?!”, never uttered, but written all over my face. The pain and bewilderment in her little eyes.

How could I be such a bad mama? How could I believe I was anything but? How could these precious souls have been entrusted to me? Of all people?


Procrastination. Not always useful.

Procrastination. Not always useful.

I am a procrastinator. Unless I have ALL the facts and resources, and NO distractions, I battle to focus on the task at hand. (I’m told it’s genetic – more on that later …).

I found this saying on the subject interesting and thought-provoking. Not sure, yet, if I agree entirely, but it does open the channels for debate.

“Procrastination is the fear of success. People procrastinate because they are afraid of the success that they know will result if they move ahead now. Because success is heavy, carries a responsibility with it, it is much easier to procrastinate and live on the “someday I’ll” philosophy.” – Denis Waitley (1933-…, motivational speaker and author of The Psychology of Winning)

Any thoughts?

12 ways to get more time.

I have a confession. I don’t read newsletters. This is kind of a big deal for two reasons. The first is that part of my job includes creating newsletter for clients. I write, design and send them to mailing lists of interested parties, hopefully intending to keep them interested. The second reason that it’s a big deal that I don’t read newsletters is that I have subscribed to a lot of them. Obviously I get all the ones I create. But I also get newsletter on health, recipes, gluten-free living, home education, parenting generally, writing, PR, web development, graphic design, local events, nutrition, multi-level marketing, freelancing, entrepreneurship, staff relationships, Faith-related topics, news, marketing and many other topics. Most of my “correspondence” time each day goes to dealing with these newsletters.

What I do with them is file them safely and specifically, intending to come back and read them later. Sometimes, I really do go back and read them, and when I do I am reminded why I subscribed in the first place.

That happened to me today. A newsletter I pretty much never read, and almost never file (sorry, trash can, here comes another one!), is called The Self-Improvement newsletter (I don’t need to improve, see? Ha ha!). Today I came across one of these with the subject, 12 steps to getting more time. I really need more time, so I took the time (see what I did there?) to read it. I’m so glad I did! It was very useful, so I thought I’d share it here:

*** Article: 12 Tips to Help You Claim More Time for Yourself- By Marquita Herald ***


Whether you are feeling overextended, overcommitted and overwhelmed, or just ready to do a little spring cleaning to free more time for summer, the following tips can help you take the first steps toward conquering your time crunched lifestyle find more time for “off the clock” fun.

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” ~ Peter F. Drucker

1. Begin by learning the difference between “Do I need to do this now?” and “Do I need to do this at all?”
Just because you are busy and getting things done doesn’t mean you are actually accomplishing anything significant. As you plan your day or week, really think about the things you have to do as opposed to things you think you have to do. A lot of to do’s are not necessarily things we have to do. Often times the lines are blurred because we over commit or feel obligated to things that aren’t in line with our goals and rob us of valuable time.

2. Organize future events with a monthly accordion file
Put birthday cards, directions to a baby shower, a note to check on furniture deliveries, even vacation brochures in the appropriate months for quick reference and retrieval.

3. Create a “just in case” box for the car trunk
umbrella, cheap rain ponchos, scissors, big black marker, tape, paper towels, plastic bags, extra kids’ socks and a one-size-fits-all T-shirt, sweatshirt and pair of sweatpants for adults, another for kids.

4. Go digital with record keeping
Instead of printing every report, article, recipe or document you think you might need or want some day, burn records onto CDs for storage. You will be amazed about the amount of space you’ll save, not to mention printer ink and copy paper – and as an extra bonus you’ll be saving LOTS of trees in the process!

5. Take control of managing your bill paying schedule
Rather than having to constantly trying to keep track of when various bills are due each month, ask creditors to shift your due dates to lump them all together or to split them between the two pay periods of each month.

6. Make your home office an actual work space
Attempting to work at a cluttered table or desk may not be the sign of a cluttered mind, but piles of disorganized faxes, bills, receipts and mail are definitely off-putting when you’re trying to work at home. You need to be able to sit down in your home office and go to work, without having to clear a space or hunt for a particular piece of paper. Getting your home office organized and keeping it that way prevents distractions and time-wasting. Buy an in and out basket and use it, invest in a filing cabinet, and have a wastepaper can handy so you can clean up when you close up for the day. Keep all your relevant working materials in your work space. Having to walk into another room to retrieve a file can be a serious waste of time.

Tip: Having an actual “work space” also helps to get across the point to family and friends that, even though you are at home, you are working.

7. Practice Chunking
This strategy refers to completing similar types of work all at the same time. For example if you typically field a large number of calls and or emails each day – instead of dropping everything to take each call as it comes in or each email as it arrives, set aside specific blocks of time dedicated to returning calls and responding to emails. It’s more effective and a better use of energy, where possible, to accomplish similar tasks all together. Same goes for writing, scheduling clients, etc. Tip: I know, being needed is so gratifying, but so is self-preservation. It’s especially for us ‘control freaks’ to let go of control and allow others to make decisions, but if you try just testing the waters, you’re likely to find very few true “emergencies” in a given day. In fact, you may be pleasantly surprised at how often problems are magically solved without your able involvement – which leaves you the opportunity to heap praise for a job well done!

8. Be prepared before making phone calls
Before picking up the phone, make a list of things you need to talk about and questions you need to ask. That way, you won’t waste time calling someone back because you forgot to ask an important question. I even do this when I call my relatives if I have a lot of things to tell them.

9. Use templates & swipe files
You can use templates and swipe files for invoices, letters of introduction, client questionnaires, standard email responses, out of office notices and other documents you use on a regular basis. If you have a website or blog consider a FAQ page where readers can easily access answers to the most frequently asked questions about your product or programs. Keep a current copy of your online profile in your swipe file so when you register at a new forum or website you can simply cut and paste.

10. Create easy access to your information
You can use Evernote to capture thoughts and ideas, store notes, swipe files and photos all in one place. Evernote Mobile lets you capture anything you want to remember where ever you are and instantly makes it available on all the computers and devices you use. That doesn’t mean you should work everywhere, or all the time. It means you spend less time trying to locate or transfer files & programs. Less time typing the same responses over and over. Less time stuck inside in your office. Best of all – it’s FREE!

11. If you DARE – use Rescue Time
For those really serious about productivity, Rescue Time can save you hours every week by tracking how and where you spend your time online. There’s no data entry required – a little application tracks what you use, and how much time you spending using it. There’s a free 14-day trial for the full service version, then optional plans ranging from just $6 to $9/month. If you don’t care about all the graphs and reporting, you can opt for the Lite “free forever” version.

12. Finally, plan how you will use your “off the clock” fun time
As gratifying as it can feel to take control of your time and become more productive in the process – if you don’t create a plan for what you’ll do with your free time, it will be quickly lost to whatever pops up. Even if your plan is to finally read that book that’s been gathering dust on your nightstand, schedule your personal time around that so it feels more like a commitment – because it is, a commitment to enjoy more of your life.

So start using these tips and enjoy all the new free time you have at your fingertips!

** To comment on this article or to read comments about this article, go here.

About the Author:

My name is Marquita (Marty) Herald and I am an information marketer, author and editor of the lifestyle blog, IGG – Tips, Tools & Tantalizing Ideas. IGG is for you if you are . . . Compassionate, creative, and trying to do great things in the world without losing yourself in the process.

Won’t you please take a moment to stop by IGG and, if you like what you see, take a moment to claim your free copy of my latest eBook – The Joyful Heart – A Guide to Cultivating Joy.
*** Quotes of the Week ***

Years teach us more than books. – Berthold Auerbach, 1812-1882

In the hopes of reaching the moon men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet. – Albert Schweitzer, 1875-1965

The searching-out and thorough investigation of truth ought to be the primary study of man. – Cicero, 106 BC-43 BC

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