Rest In Motion(Pt.2 in Self-care series)

Rest in Motion seems to be a contradiction of words and ideas but according to Sir Isaac Newton, who was a pretty smart guy, and inventor/scientist/philosopher of the Laws of Motion, these two are very much intertwined. Now before you start to worry that I am going to get all-scientific on you and these words start to look like “blah, blah, blah” let me just say that one of the problems we face in the 21st century was addressed by Newton so hang tight and please, read on. Newton’s first law of motion is often stated as:

newton110An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

To me (a non-physics expert) that means we keep doing what we are doing unless something makes us do something different. It’s very true that we get in a lifestyle rut sometimes and we either go to the side of doing NOTHING or to the side of OVERDRIVE neither of which is good for us. I tend to go to maximum overdrive and it is that problem I want to address here  but I think the ideas presented today would be helpful to both sides.

We have been talking about taking care of ourselves–not as a self-indulgent practice or a ME-focused ideology but as a way to: 1) remain healthy longer, 2) be more productive, 3) set an example. We only get one body, soul and spirit and how we treat them is key to being able to fulfil our purposes and destinies here on earth.

Imagine if when you turned 16 you were given a car and that car was yours for the rest of your time here on earth. You would be given no other and buying was not an option.

firstcar

I can only imagine how well I would treat that car especially when I noticed those who didn’t take care of theirs and were forced to walk or hitch a ride everywhere. Their lives would be EXTREMELY limited in range, possibility, and potential. Taking care of ourselves is key to living life to the fullest. I’m pretty sure I want to be able to do just that.

 

Intentionally caring for ourselves is necessary to crafting a more HOPE-full life.

I gave 3 acronyms for restoring health and hope to our spirit, soul, and body in the last post–Finding Hope…Again. They were R.E.S.T. for the body; C.A.R..E for the soul and L.I.F.T. for the spirit. Let’s take them one by one, working from the outside in and start with the body. In the subsequent posts we will cover the soul and finally, the spirit.

REST

Rest is a four letter word and is viewed by some with a snarl, lip-curl, or eyes rolling. It is hard to admit that we need rest. In our fast-paced, 21st century, the-early-and-late-bird-gets-the-worm mentality, rest is not valued or viewed as an asset despite what research tells us. If you are interested, just google “rest and body health” or check out: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/why

 

Here’s my take on this idea of R.E.S.T.

R is for Re-think my lifestyle choices.

I can very easily justify my crazy, non-stop got  days:

I’ve got a full house.

I’ll rest when they’re grown.

They need me.

I want to live a full life.brain-cogs-injury_222

Just one more thing

I couldn’t say no.

I feel guilty just sitting around.

I’ll catch up on my rest later.

And my husband’s personal favorite…If I don’t do it-it doesn’t get done.

This type of thinking is caused by letting someone else drive my car. Their plans and their agenda are pushing me. These ridiculous, unrealistic expectations of what a full and fulfilled life looks like are killing me/us. Our kids, too. Check out the research on that if you dare. We could all sloooooooow down a bit and the world would not stop spinning.

Re-think and re-examine your lifestyle choices. If for some reason your couldn’t keep up all of your commitments and plans what would happen?…?

I totally understand that there are seasons in life, I’ve been there when it’s  just crazy…did I mention the part about having and homeschooling 5 kids (4 of which were born in 5 years). Those are season– not a way to live.

 

E is for exercise.

Our bodies will stay at rest or in motion unless we act upon them with something different. Researchers have found that too much exercise is just as detrimental as too little, however, that has not been my problem. I have been told by my doctor, and read research, that walking is the best exercise. 1/2 hour, 2-3x per week–that’s it. That’s the baseline. Take a walk, no weights, just move your arms and breathe deep. public-domain-images-free-stock-photos-shoes-walking-feet-grey-gravel--1000x666

On those days when I am really tired I amble, meander or stroll–just putting my body into motion is an accomplishment.

If walking outside isn’t an option then try this: http://www.walkathome.com. It’s a great program. Super easy, multi-levelled and fun to do.

 

S is for sleep.

I LOVE sleep. For years I didn’t get much (lots of babies and toddlers), and then when my husband was hurt (see post in March 2016) I was up ALOT with him and then my Mom’s illnesses…

Did I mention I love sleep? I have learned the value of a nap–cat or otherwise. cat-sleeping-funny-photo.jpgI think that’s what sitcom reruns are for. I love to nap to Everybody Loves Raymond because I’ve seen them a hundred times and they are usually funny to wake up to.

If naps worked for Einstein,  then they’re good enough for me. http://www.inquisitr.com/1754670/albert-einstein-among-other-great-minds-proved-the-efficacy-of-micro-naps/

It’s always amazing to me how much better life looks after some sleep. The old adage of “Let’s sleep on it” is based in ancient wisdom and modern research.  Here are some great tips from the people at the Mayo Clinic on sleep.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep/art-20048379

Our bodies/brains do some of their best work while we are sleeping.

T is for time

Nivens-McTwisp-White-Rabbit-Concept-Art-alice-in-wonderland-2010-11205475-563-675

Time is a finite commodity. In other words, we can’t make more time. What we need to do is use it wisely.

Teach us to number our days so that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

I do myself and others no small favor when I slow down to care for myself. I am NO fun when I am burned-out, run-down and over-committed. Jesus, himself, invites us to walk with Him in a way that is easy and light. In the Message translation of the Bible it says that He will teach us to “walk in the unforced rhythms of grace”. Now that’s an invitation I don’t want to miss. By taking time to care for this body, I am honoring myself, my purposes, my loved ones (they deserve the best version of me) and my Creator. If He can take time to REST on the 7th day who am I to argue?

Heidi Mull, R.E.S.T-ing, re-thinking, and learning the rhythms of grace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hope Like A Champion…

Welcome to March. A month of madness, mayhem, and myriads of potential.The epic struggle between winter and spring causes massive weather battles. We see ice storms one day and 62′ and sunny the next. Last night I sat on my couch and listened to the wind rattle the windows and shake the trees as it blew in a spring snow storm. In a few days it will warm up to 65′.  In the snow, I see flowers coming up in spite of the cold. I LOVE the spring because of its wildness and unpredictability…not so much my life.

This month here in America is Brain Injury Awareness Month. We use this time to help people to learn about brain injuries and their survivors and families. A green ribbon is the symbol and color used to spread the message…of hope.Ribbon

Let me tell you the story of how brain injury affected my life and changed my family forever…

IN May of 2009, on Friday the 15th at 11:30 at night, I received a phone call. It was from a family member. They said my husband had been injured and that I should come and get him. I drove 20 minutes not knowing what I would find. When they opened the door, he was there sitting on the couch. Everyone was upset and trying to remain calm. I looked at his face and it was swollen and obviously beaten. I couldn’t get him out of there fast enough.

He kept saying that something was wrong. As I drove out of the driveway, by myself, I was debating and praying. Should I take him to the closest hospital, even though I didn’t know the way, or drive 30 minutes to the hospital near our home?  I choose familiarity and speed over wandering around for who knew how long. Those 30 minutes were the longest I have ever lived even after giving natural childbirth to 5 full-term babies. He was going into shock so I would crank up the heat and talk to him so he would respond then he would get warm and sleepy so I would turn off the heat until he started to shake again…

I just didn’t want him to die before we got to the hospital. For some reason I was resigned to the possibility he might die from shock or trauma …I just didn’t want him to die with me all alone. Why didn’t you call for an ambulance you say? Good question. I guess I didn’t realize how bad he was until we were well on our way.  The needle never went under 90 as I prayed for grace and protection…

Fast forward through several surgeries for his left upper jaw and eye socket repairs: 7 plates and 28 screws, hospital stay, bringing him home with his jaw wired shut, face grotesque and swollen almost unrecognizable, purée all his food, dispense a multitude of medication, etc. We are now 6 weeks into healing. He looks great. The plastic surgeon was a true artist and genius. He gave me back someone I recognized and for that small thing I was grateful. I would have taken him any way–just for the record.

A few weeks later, he is released to go back to work. My husband goes to look for a job (his old job was no longer an option) and in the process of that realizes that something is wrong. He couldn’t follow the simplest of instructions. The symptoms exploded from there: loss of balance, struggling to find basic words, stuttering, insomnia, headaches, fatigue, loss of awareness of self and the time-space continuum…

Back to the doctor we go. The initial diagnoses was post-concussive syndrome which led to neurological testing which led to a diagnosis of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. I hate the mild part but I guess that just means he is still functional and able to care for his basic needs.

Physical therapy, speech therapy, hearing tests…

He got back the ability to walk straight (it took months and a lot of hard work). He has recovered a lot of his cognitive abilities and is able to do some basic chores…on good days. Some symptoms have never left, he has learned to manage them.

I would later find out that he was assaulted and stomped on by some guys who were just bad news-he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. We pressed charges but without any witnesses, we could only get a misdemeanor charge but it was something…

Fast forward to now…we are in the 7th year and define our lives as pre-injury and post-injury–not to be morbid, as we have most definitely not let ourselves be defined by this tragedy, but because we as a family and as individuals have changed, grown, adapted and continue to do so everyday.

We grieve the loss of the man/father who was and are learning to know this new guy even as he is learning to know and accept himself. We are forever changed. We are a family that has chosen to pull together, support and love through an unimaginable situation and learn the power and art of unconditional love. It is not easy and some days we fall really short but I have noticed that we, generally speaking, are pretty stubborn.

As always, in making a long story short, this is but a drop in the bucket of our journey of hope.hopeinsunlight

For years prior to this incident, I had filled the house and my heart with the word HOPE. There were other issues in my life that needed hope and it became such a part of me that when the rubber hit the road, I had a large resource to draw upon. I have learned so much and I hope that I have passed that on to my kids and through this blog have been able to encourage you and provide some substance to the wispy idea of hope. I have learned the power of hope to endorse faith and love in seemingly hopeless situation that may or may not ever change.  I have learned to hope like a champion…

I have tried to end this post without an invitation for you to join me but I can’t so here goes it…

I invite you to join me. Life is hard and wonderful, chaotic and beautiful, wild and unpredictable. I don’t claim to have all of the answers but I have learned some valuable tools along the way that I would like to share with you. Please invite others to join if you think they would like to join us on our journey–that’s what Crafting Hope by Heidi Mull is all about: intentionally crafting, creating, and cultivating a more HOPE-full life.

 

Heidi Mull, still standing, hoping like a champion.woman-warrior2.jpg

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What Comfort is NOT…

We are mid-April with May just around the corner. Tax day is behind us and we could all use a little comfort there.

April is the month of sharing hope through comfort and comfort through giving a gift. Whether homemade (see Tidings of Comfort and…Hope blog for ideas) or through time and care (see On Comforting the Sick or Injured blog post).

I would like to talk about what comfort is not. Comfort is NOT fixing, changing, nagging, lecturing, busy-ness, rearranging, blaming, taking over, or giving advice… you get the picture.

Comforting IS action but it is not an action imposed on another but rather the act of coming alongside where that person is and being there with them.

To offer consolations:

“I know it is hard right now”

“I see you are in pain”

“I’m sorry for your loss, pain, suffering.”

Like the map at the mall or amusement park that says “YOU ARE HERE”. Comfort comes and stands or sits “HERE”. So our gifts say “I see you are…HERE”. No matter how big or small, simple or elaborate, a gift of comfort is filled with hope.

Hope says:

“You are NOT alone”

“This too shall pass”

“Don’t give up”

We don’t have to understand it all or offer wisdom of the sages or do it perfectly. All we can offer is some hope for better days wrapped up in a small gift of comfort.

small gift box

Heidi Mull, letting go of what I can’t fix…

and fixing up a small gift basket for a friend who is grieving the recent loss of her father.

Next stop…HERE.

Finding Perspective

monica well pix

March is almost over and spring is working its way here. I hope that you have made time to look around and see what brings you hope and maybe took the step of engaging in our craft for this month.

I, myself, have been struggling with hope this past week and I think I have found out why…

I love our big picture window in the living room. The view always refreshes me when I start to get cabin fever. Sometimes, though, I just have to go outside, take a walk and get out of the house–to take a step away from “all this” (gesturing at my house , life stuff and family responsibilities). I can get a bit neurotic and weird so a change of scenery is helpful. I know it’s all there when I come back but I have been away and have gained some…perspective

When it hurts to have hope I know that I have lost perspective. I am adrift in the sea of life and can’t get my head above the waves. I wrestle with the idea of accepting that  ‘this is just how it is‘.

I begin to look for something to anchor to when life says:

Give it up.

You aren’t going anywhere.

Things won’t change…ever

Instead of panicking, I let myself just go there…

What if it doesn’t get better? What if things don’t change? What if this IS it…?

Can I be okay? Can I reach down deep inside and find sure footing?

Can I find the hope that stays with me and helps me to make a good life HERE?

It is in this place that I begin to search for my lost my perspective and I must first remember that:

hope isn’t dependent on my circumstances changing (even though I want them too badly),

hope isn’t tied to another person becoming healthier or nicer (even though that would be wonderful),

hope doesn’t wait on “If only” (even though it’s tempting to dream).

Hope is patient expectation. In other words, it is packed with promise and potential for a good outcome.The definition of hope as a verb–an action word-is:  to place confidence (faith) in; to trust (have faith) in with confident expectation of good. (For more on the definition of hope see blog titled: Hope is the thing with feathers). Hope that is grounded, anchored and focused requires an element of faith–a faith in something or someone greater than ourselves–otherwise, it’s like hoping that cotton candy will have some nutritional value as it is consumed.

Hope without faith is like a picture out of focus and perspective.

I have a deep faith in God and as I searched to find a place to stand in hope, I came to a crossroads of faith and I asked myself, “What DO I believe?”  Here I find my perspective is changed –just like when I take a walk or go for a drive.

Just as a picture frame can help to bring the picture or painting into focus and “frame” it so my faith helps to surround my hope, anchor it and give it something to hang on. It brings it all into focus and helps me gain much needed perspective.

Heidi Mull, putting on my jacket for a long walk & wondering if I need a bigger frame.

Please allow me to introduce myself…(Blogging 101)

Welcome to March… and my blog, Crafting Hope by Heidi Mull.

For those of you who already know me, this post is an opportunity to get to know me better. I am currently enrolled in a blogging class to help me grow and improve. This is an assignment for that class.

For those who don’t know me… please allow me to introduce myself.

I am a forty-six year old, wife of 20 years, mother of 5 and “Gi Gi” to one grandson. I was raised in the same town I live in now but I went away to college and have lived on both coasts. I have a BS degree in Psychology with a minor in Social Work. I have spent the last 17+ years homeschooling my kids and being Mom.

In my life I have

babysat,

worked in retail,

customer service,

delivered singing telegrams,

worked as a case manager,

sang in church,

taught other children from ages 2 to 15,

worked at the US post office,

attempted various in-home sales businesses,

cleaned houses,

written poetry and short stories (unpublished to date).

I am caring for a husband who was assaulted and still suffers from Traumatic Brain Injury. I was primary caregiver for my Mom as she fought ovarian cancer and lost.  I have witnessed several births and been present at as many deaths. There is much more I could list  but all this is to say that I have lived.

I have sought for and fought for hope throughout my life. I learned, at an early age, the joy that comes from creating or crafting…anything. In these times of creating, I have developed a timeless connection to the Creator and the creative force inside of each of us. As a result, I have found that hope can arise out of chaos and pain. And that having a hope-full life is part journey–part process but definitely intentional. I invite you to look back at my previous post called “Let’s get started” to get an idea of how crafting hope works.  Thanks for reading and I hope to hear from you as we join together in this journey of crafting hope.

 

Heidi Mull, who I am and why I am here.