Have you ever heard of Dr. Gary Chapman's best selling book "The 5 Love Languages?" I'm sure most of you have, but if you haven't, it's a very interesting perspective on how we show and share love. I was first introduced to Dr. Chapman in college while taking psychology classes, and it opened up a new way of thinking about relationships. To sum up his opinion he believes that there are five basic ways that we show and receive love. The challenging part of his perspective is that we should understand what our partner's, child's, friend's love language is in order to understand how they are sharing love. To me, that's the hardest part of relationships- platonic or intimate. Taking ourselves out of our own bubble- so to speak- and really thinking about those around us. It's so easy to get upset when your partner isn't showing you love (the way YOU show love) when in actuality they could be showing love in THEIR way. For example, my husband's love language is acts of service. He shows the boys and I that he cares for us by doing things for us. During the Rona, he's cut down trees to make more sunlight in our house, he's painted rooms, he's redone the flooring in the boys' bathroom, he's helped rearrange furniture in several rooms, he repurposed all the door knobs and ceiling fans in our house- the list goes on. While I'm very grateful for all that he's done, I wouldn't have even noticed (for example) that the baseboards in the living room didn't match. My two main love languages are receiving gifts (which to me means giving gifts) and words of affirmation. Now- if I didn't have an understanding that my husband was showing us all that he loves us by doing acts of service- I would be hurt because he isn't giving me little gifts to show that he cares or giving words of affirmation. The tricky part is that acts of service is the lowest on my love language scale. (You can take a quiz on the 5 love language website- I'll post the link at the end of this blog). While I appreciate all my husband has done for us, and I know he's showing his love- it is REALLY hard for me to show him that I care- using his love language. But I do and gently remind him of my love languages. Wouldn't it be easy if we both shared the same love language? In the ocean of the Rona- how are we sharing and receiving love? Does the Rona make it harder or easier to show and receive love? I guess that's a question we all have to ponder.
Those of you who know me well- know that giving gifts is how I show I love you. Nothing makes me happier than finding or making the perfect gift and giving that gift. I shop for special occasions all year long. During the Rona, I've started projects that will be given as gifts for Christmas and have even started the boys on projects for the holidays as well. Life has slowed down and now we have time to reengage in those interests of ours that got lost in the shuffle of life. If this Rona has taught me one thing- it's that my life was TOO BUSY and TOO CHAOTIC. Too busy to create a thoughtful gift for a love one. Too chaotic to enjoy a hobby that was once a favorite pastime. That's not acceptable to me anymore.... But in the meantime- we do have time to share our "gifts" with each other and share our love languages.
One of my favorite pastimes is sewing and I'm so grateful to have the time to create projects again. I'm also so grateful to be doing something on my sewing machine that is needed, while showing my family and friends that I love them. I know I'm just one of the many people making face masks, but it gives me some purpose, while doing something I love, while giving them to my friends and family as a way to show my love. WIN WIN!! I can't say enough great things about Joann Fabrics. They have done a bang up job in making materials available to create masks (they even have free materials to make a few masks and then they collect the finished product and give them away) If you go to their website (I'll include the link at the end) they have materials categorized by mask making materials, including curbside pick up and videos and PDF instructions on how to make different styles of masks. Before Easter, I made a curbside pick up. It was so easy and quick. The sales person came out to my car with my bag of goodies, but also an extra bag. She asked me if I wanted a free gift (the women whose love language is receiving gifts?) oh heck yeah!! When I got home- and opened the bag- it felt like Christmas. Joann Fabrics showed that they cared for their customers by giving gifts! Brilliant! Maybe today, on this dreary, rainy day we can give some thought to how we show love and receive love, think about your loved ones, co-workers, and maybe even customers (if you have any) and try to show them some love the way they receive love. You may find it harder than it sounds.
Much love and gratitude
My beautiful friend Jen with the face mask I made her (we all having matching masks) Also lots of gratitude to her and all the health care workers.
5 Love Languages:
As the days move on in the haze of social distancing- I find myself feeling like I'm trapped in the movie Groundhog's Day. Feeling the stress and anxiety that Bill Murray displayed in the movie is becoming common place among the masses. So what do we do? There are people who "have been preparing for this their whole lives" and then there's me. I was a latch key kid and a Gen Xer- so yes I remember being forced to stay home until my mom got home. My own mini quarantine.... that included long hours of soap operas, chipped beef on toast, and intense fights with my brother. The other thing that those mini quarantines provided in my youth, was the beginning of my interest in crafting.
There wasn't a time that I don't remember the women on my mother's side doing a craft. It was just common place to me and normal. I thought everyone's grandma crocheted beer can hats or that their mom made their clothes. As a young girl I remember hours of standing still as my mom measured me and the new outfit to make sure it was the best fit (sometimes she even got me with pins)
Was the reason my great grandmother, grandmother and mother (and their mothers before them) did "crafts" because that's how they lived? You need a blanket? Well- I'm making a quilt. You need a hat? I'm croqueting one. Need clothes- get out the sewing machine. Many of you know that I come from the McCoy line from the McCoy and Hatfield feud.... in the heart of West Virginia and Kentucky. I did minor research on the Appalachian history of crafts and it does seem to be "a thing." I'd love to do more research- but had a hard time finding info. If anyone out there has more information about the history of crafting in that area and even more specifically on McCoys- I'd love to hear it- please reach out.
This is the quilt my grandmother, Quinncy McCoy Chambers made me when I got married. I treasure this and will one day pass it to my boys.
How do I bring this all together? A latch key, Gen X kid who comes from a family history of crafting during a lockdown that feels like Groundhog's Day? I bring out my crafting supplies. The first photo on this blog was my first attempt at making face masks. It isn't perfect, but I learned new things and will continue to change the pattern to suit my skills and materials.
Next time- I'm going to share more about face masks (CDC recommends that we all wear them when we go out in public), getting craft materials during the Rona, other craft ideas, and favorite people and websites that I have used during this pandemic.
Today- let's do something that changes the day from Groundhog's Day to something out of the ordinary. It's Good Friday-and if you believe- we can meditate on what that means in our life- the sacrifice that was made for us. When we put all of this short lived discomfort- in perspective- it's ok that some days feel like Groundhog's Day.
Much love and gratitude
Yesterday I was cautiously walking around in my local grocery store noticing many changes since the Rona swirled in and changed our lives. Of course we all know the obvious changes by now- social distancing, plastic up protecting check out workers, gloves, masks, and one I was shocked with- NO FLOUR! But aside from those changes, another change I noticed was people with past due hair appointments. In our house we are all past due on hair cuts and colors- except my husband who shaves his head. Graciously (not) my boys like to tell me when it's time to get my hair done- and it's way past time. I like to call those (gulp) grays- sparkles.. They are my sparkles and boy am I sparkling right now. Over the past few days I've been reading on mainstream news about women who are embracing their gray. Good for them- I haven't wanted to embrace my sparkles until the Rona hit. Previously, I was so embarrassed about these sparkles, and if truth be told, I'm still quite embarrassed. To post a picture of my sparkles and flakes on my site would NEVER have occurred before the Rona.
A few days ago I was sharing my next blog post with a few of my friends ( less than 5 and 6 feet apart). Most of us are in the same boat with the sparkles. They shared some ideas about their hair care and how they are dealing with the sparkles. One of my friends uses a tinted spray to cover the sparkles, another has a powder, and one may think about box color. My response was- I think I'm going to just let it go. Gasp- let it go and grow! Why? I'm typically not a person who must wave a sign and get others to join my cause or agree with me. I quietly hold my opinions and causes- for the most part- to myself and my closest friends and family. This Sparkle Issue is my proverbial sign. I'm wearing a sign, on my head, every day that says- STAY HOME! It's uncomfortable and it's aging and it's difficult- but it's necessary. I'm not judging anyone who box colors or cuts their own hair or their child's hair- I'm not a judgy person, but for me- I'm going with the sparkles. When you think of the word sparkles- what do you think about? I think about celebrations and light and hope. Sparkles remind me of what our Christmas tree looked like when I was younger. A full tree of tinsel. That's what I am- a tinsel, sparkling tree. Standing in the storm of the Rona that WILL end and so with it- the sparkles- maybe. Who knows- maybe I'll like the sparkles, but one thing is for sure.... I can be a sparkle. I can choose to bring light, celebrations and hope to my family and friends when we are all looking for a little light.
Sparkle On my friends- Sparkle On!!
Much love and gratitude
This headshot was taken by my beautiful and talented friend, Kim Mettler. She's an amazing person in and out and I highly recommend her for your family pictures, headshots, or event shots. She doesn't do weddings (though she would be great at it) . Check her out- http://www.mibarefootmemories.com/
Skin Care in the midst of the Rona is something that I've been giving a lot of thought to lately. The above picture takes us all back to a time when hair was done, make-up and eyebrows on fleek and skin care was a top priority. As many of you know, I work at the Spa at Boyne Mountain (in addition to my own business). At the spa I feel pressure to look and present a certain image. There's nothing written in an employee handbook that says we must keep our roots touched up, or have our regular pedis, or keep up our skin care regime. But when working in the beauty business, you are representing yourself and your employer. Some people, in the business, take this seriously and some people seem to come to work like they've been brought in by a tornado. I have found myself somewhere in between. Aside from being a massage therapist, I'm also an esthetician. When I know that I have a day scheduled that are full of facials- I take extra time to make sure my face looks put together. Right or wrong- I feel like the client wants to see an esthetician that has nice skin (even if it's covered in make-up), eyebrows that are neat and waxed, and flawless make-up. I've often been told that my skin glows- but not right now. Before the Rona- the thought of going out in public without a little bit of make-up was a No Go. Fast forward to today... am I the only one who hasn't put make up since we went into lockdown? Washing my face- by the wayside... not to mention the masques that I use to do or the AHA acid peels or leave on exfoliation. Gone! How awful! This is the time- since we have the time- to really take care of our skin. I think that part of this blog today is give myself a kick in the fanny and get back to my skin care regiment! What does that regiment look like? Because I work at the spa- we use Eminence. It's a great, higher end skin care line that is all natural and organic. However, there are great skin care lines that anyone can buy that are great as well. One of my favorites is Paul's Choice! She has a great story and great products. Check her out here: https://www.paulaschoice.com/skin-care-products/best-sellers . Finally, my last favorite product that is my base layer, no matter the season if Jane Iredale's tinted moisturizer. Look at it here! https://janeiredale.com/us/en/mineral-makeup/mineral-makeup-foundation/dream-tint-tinted-moisturizer.htm
Now- I want to talk about teenage boys and skin care. As I try to reenforce with them, like or not they represent me. Do you want an esthetician that has teenagers that have bad skin? No!! Especially if it's something we can take care of with a little home care. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has purchased all the latest and greatest products for your teenager only to find that they aren't using them or not using them correctly? When we first started down the road of skin care with our oldest we had some good teachable moments. For example- Jack's skin (after using the cleanser for awhile) was not getting better- if anything it was getting worse. I finally asked him to explain to me exactly how he was using the products. Eventually, I was able to figure out that Jack was using the cleanser, but wasn't rinsing it off. He was smearing the cleanser on his face and going about his day. OMG!! Thankfully after we resolved that issue- his skin started to improve.
During this time of shelter in place- I've taken to making a list of basic things my teenage boys must do in the morning- EVERY morning. Maybe this idea will help those of you who have teenagers that have seemed to have lost their brains in the shuffle of the Rona. This list is taped to our schedule for the day. It's nothing fancy- just a friendly reminder to take care of their skin and their teeth. Maybe we all need little reminders even if we aren't going in public. Besides taking care of ourselves physically and mentally- let's try and remember to take care of our skin (and teeth)
Next time- hair care and the lack of- during the Rona
Much love and gratitude
I didn't mean for it to happen this way, but my blog today is about how I'm trying to stay mentally healthy- and today is the day we were supposed to be on the plane, on our way to sunny, Florida for an amazing Spring Break with some of our closest buddies. How do you stay mentally healthy when your trips are cancelled, you're losing money (from VRBO and from missing work), you're worried about your friends and family (especially my dearest friend Jen who is on the frontline), etc? The list goes on. Many of you know- I struggle with depression and anxiety. This pandemic is and will continue to hit those of us who struggle with mental health hard. I'm not here to say I have all the answers and I certainly have no formal training in the area, I just have experience.
So what does my experience say to me? If I allow my brain to go to dark places- I will tell myself over and over again all manner of things that could send me to bed and not want to get up. Some of you know that feeling and know what I'm talking about. The easiest thing for me to do would be to climb in bed, pull the covers over my head, and hide (and sleep). The struggle is real and it's not just "made up" or "laziness." That's the bad part of this struggle. I know it's hard to acknowledge those feelings when people are getting really sick, dying, and close loved ones are on the frontline. However, these feelings (I believe) need to be acknowledged and dealt with. I believe (again no formal training) that in these times, we need to take some time to grieve- grieve the loss of the above mentioned things. Take a moment to acknowledge those loses- take a moment to feel selfish and wallow in sadness. I did. I had a really good cry (could probably start crying again if I let myself) and some angry words and that was it. What's next?
What is next? Again- my personal experience and no training- what was next for me was letting go and adopting a positive attitude. I don't know if it's who I am or who I made myself become- but I don't hold on to things. I rarely hold a grudge, I don't stay angry, I typically see the best in everyone, and I try to see the best in most situations. The Rona is testing all my limits but these are some things I've done and will continue to do to stay healthy.
I know that I covered this in my first blog- but it was mostly about staying physically healthy, but exercise does so much for our mental health. Blah Blah science- but here it is. "For some people it works as well as antidepressants, although exercise alone isn't enough for someone with severe depression," says Dr. -Michael Craig Miller, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Exercising starts a biological cascade of events that results in many health benefits, such as protecting against heart disease and diabetes, improving sleep, and lowering blood pressure. High-intensity exercise releases the body's feel-good chemicals called endorphins, resulting in the "runner's high" that joggers report. But for most of us, the real value is in low-intensity exercise sustained over time. That kind of activity spurs the release of proteins called neurotrophic or growth factors, which cause nerve cells to grow and make new connections. The improvement in brain function makes you feel better. "In people who are depressed, neuroscientists have noticed that the hippocampus in the brain—the region that helps regulate mood—is smaller. Exercise supports nerve cell growth in the hippocampus, improving nerve cell connections, which helps relieve depression," explains Dr. Miller.
Besides my normal running, I've been walking with some of my closest girl friends. We stay 6 feet apart and do not go into each other's houses. Lately we've even been bringing the dogs and that's been great for my mental health. Time to exercise and talk... perfect combo.
It makes me feel safe and secure to have a routine. It helps me get out of bed. For me, the most important part of my routine is knowing that my coffee is on and waiting for me downstairs. I know silly- but I prepare my coffee the night before and having that done in the morning starts my day off. After my coffee- I go to my desk. I set up an office space in our sun porch. There's always some business that needs to be taken care of or this blog to write. I love having a space of my own and it's part of my security. The rest of the day goes on pretty much the same every day ( so far). Exercising, working with the boys, project time, puzzle work, working around the house on a project of the day, reading time, dinner, games, movie, bed.
Shout out to Puzzles that Rock! Best puzzles out there... check them out! https://puzzlesthatrock.com/
There are so many free wonderful educational opportunities going on right now it's hard to mention them all. If you're in the profession- these are some of my favorite opportunities. There are several for massage therapists. https://www.amtamassage.org/articles/1/News/detail/3781/free-massage-ce
There are also free waxing courses https://the-wax-chick-academy.thinkific.com/collections/courses?q=
There is a free course from Yale that I'm taking right now and it's called the Science of Well Being. So far it's been an interesting look at Happiness- Which is exactly what I've been trying to do during this shelter in place. https://www.coursera.org/learn/the-science-of-well-being
Nature, outdoor projects
This doesn't need much explanation, just get outside. Look at your yard, watch the wild animals, put bird food in your feeders, think about where you're going to plant some new plants and start them from seed inside. You have time! Get your hands dirty. That's good for my soul.
There are many other ways that we can stay mentally healthy- I've seen a great movement of sewing masks for health care workers and I might start that as well. Find your routine, find your projects, find good books or magazines, find great recipes. Find yoga and meditation. Find what is going to fill your cup and that of your family's. Stop being mad- make the best of it! There are great GREAT things happening all around us.
Tomorrow- beauty in the face of The Rona.
Much love and gratitude.
Facebook has been brilliant lately in getting us through some of our darkest times and those times are called HOMESCHOOLING. Some of my favorite memes are: "Homeschooling today is Dishwashing 101, Honors Laundry, AP House cleaning etc" or another favorite: "If you see my kids locked outside, mind your own business. We are practicing a fire drill" And finally "In school today 2 kids got expelled for fighting and the teacher was suspended for drinking on the job." I am extremely blessed to have 2 boys that get along very well- best buddies so there has been no fighting, however the thought has crossed my mind of cracking a beer at 10am.
Many of you know that for 26 years I was a teacher. I left teaching 4 years ago and the reasons why are for another blog- but one thing I do want to say is that education is one of the most important professions. I believe the profession is so imperative and important that I felt I needed to take a break from it! But along came The Rona... and here I am- teaching.
I want to thank all of my boys' teachers in Charlevoix Middle/High School for keeping up with assignments and posting those assignments online. I've enjoyed seeing how creative those teachers are being and loved seeing my kids interacting with their teachers and friends through Zoom and other platforms. In our house, we have a schedule posted, and it's been a treat getting my boys to follow the schedule (saying this sarcastically). The morning starts at 10:00 am and many times this week I've had to threaten with tardy slips. The work time is from 10-12 in their classroom (the kitchen table), and then we go to lunch in the cafeteria (the kitchen bar), then we have project time that I've created (see pictures below), and then they do something physical and outside (playground, recess). It sounds like smooth sailing, but it is anything but. If you listen in to our conversations, you would hear things like- let me see your google classroom-now! Let me see your googles or I'll be taking your phone. Stop texting. Give me your phone. Focus on your work. Leave your brother alone- he's reading. Stop kicking your brother under the table. Stop laughing at your brother- it encourages him... etc. So those are the not so pleasant parts of the homeschooling. THERE are some really positive things going on.
Along with my boys' school work- we are doing "Mom projects." I have one "academic" project going and one life skill project going on. I feel fortunate to have a teaching background so I've been able to pull from my background. We've done some fun academics and I've learned some things that my boys don't know. For example- propaganda. While doing a project about WW2 and finding similarities to what's going on right now- I found that my boys didn't know what progaganda was. What a great teaching moment. Another example was learning what an oxen yoke was. The latest project we are working on is The Oregon Trail. My boys have taken on identities of emigrants on the trail.. One of them is a farmer and one is a teacher. One of them just got bitten by a snake and one just encountered bad weather- snow and hail. When they were at their jumping off point (Independence Missouri) they were to buy their supplies. Jack didn't buy an oxen yoke because he thought they were eggs. What a great teaching moment that was after Henry and I made fun of him. These are really good things.
Life skills- sewing and cooking. Plants seeds, ironing and playing cards. There have been so many wonderful things we've been able to learn and talk about during these lessons. My greatest hope is that they carry these lessons on through their life so that when a button pops off their shirts they can sew it back on, or when they are making dinner for a date- they know how to measure accurately, or when they want to start a garden of their own- they understand what it takes to start seeds inside. How to play Euchre with their parents when they come visit us when we are older. These are things that I will cherish about our family during this time. NO we aren't on the beach in Florida where we were planning on vacationing and yes I'm freaked out about my future as a massage therapist, but we are making the best of it and I truly hope that you are as well. Tomorrow I'll be sharing what I'm doing during this time (beside exercise) to stay mentally well.
Much love and gratitude
The blog timeline didn't go as I expected. Like many of us- life got in the way. I was too busy or too tired or too lazy to write. Well- thanks to the corona virus that has all changed. So much has changed in our lives in such a short time. It's almost hard to remember a time when our businesses weren't shut down or we weren't separated by 6 feet or taking daily walks or sheltered in place. It's hard to remember when I wasn't looking over my sons' backs at their school work and adding my own projects (more on that later) . One thing hasn't changed- although the venue has- and that's my goal of doing a 10K.
As I promised myself, I did start training for the 10k on the next day of my last (and only) blog post. I have a lot of great things to say for the Couch to 10K and even the Couch to 5K app. https://apps.apple.com/us/app/10k-runner-couch-to-10k-run/id456591673 . It slowly builds up your runs/walks until you realize that you're running longer and farther each week or session. Now- the tricky part for me was that before the Rona (that's what my boys call the Corona and I will call it that from now on) I was "running" on the elliptical machine. I was doing this in part because of a knee issue I had last fall, but also because of the ease. I could jump on the machine any time- either at the spa or at my home gym and be finished with my workout in less than 30 minutes. Right- then came The Rona.
Now I am running/walking outside and guess what? So are A LOT of other people. As I've seen in many readings- The Rona can't cancel nature. It can't cancel exercise. It can't cancel friends walking together with 6 feet separating each other (yes we do it and we take up half the road, but who's driving anyway?) . I enjoy my run/walk every other morning and then my daily walk with my family (or just husband) and our sweet dog, Nya (who by the way thinks the Rona is the best thing that's happened to her) . The other thing that I want to say about exercise is the Peloton app/website. You can sign up right now and get 90 days free- as a trial. I'm sending positive energy out that we will be back in business in 90 days, but you can cancel this program at any time. I know I know- the Peloton ad didn't make everyone happy, but go on the site- you'll find so much available even without the bike or treadmill etc. This morning I did a beginner strength class and it was great. Check it out! https://www.onepeloton.com/app
All this to say:
•I'm still doing the Couch to 10K- now outside
•a lot of people are exercising outside as well- so PLEASE watch for walkers, joggers, and road bikers
•nature and exercise are NOT canceled
•spend at least 15 minutes a day outside (or more- you have the time)
•I (we) don't need gyms to workout.
Here is a picture of one of my favorite running/walking spots.... love it! Nature isn't canceled.
Until next time when I talk about home schooling-
Much love and gratitude...
This is the Year.....
I've never written a blog- never considered writing one, but I'm feeling compelled. Why? Well, I think this would be a great place to blog my forty ninth year. Yep- 49. I keep telling everyone that I am having a hard time with this age, but the person who I feel the worst for is my mom. She will have a daughter, that in 2020 will turn 50.