The Daily Quote: Hurt People Hurt People

“Keep in mind, hurting people often hurt other people as a result of their own pain. If somebody is rude and inconsiderate, you can almost be certain that they have some unresolved issues inside. They have some major problems, anger, resentment, or some heartache they are trying to cope with or overcome…”  – Joel Osteen

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I had an acquaintance comment recently on how patient & kind I am. Another friend said she told someone that I am the most compassionate person she knows, & that I would help anyone. This week, one of my coworkers called me ‘spiritual’ and ‘understanding.’ Most people who spend any time around me nowadays would probably tell you that I wouldn’t hurt a fly; that I would never dare harm a soul. Some would shudder in disbelief at the thought of me angry & shouting, much less throwing things or in a physical altercation.

I am told that I am ‘Loving’ and ‘Sweet.’ I am told that I am ‘Patient’ and ‘Peaceful.’

While flattered, & pleased that people think positively of me, I can’t escape how incredibly uncomfortable it makes me feel; like a fraud.

I am no stranger to anger. I am no stranger to darkness. I come from a very painful past, full of fighting & hurt & anger & hopelessness. I used to be a person who hurt people.

Hurt people hurt people.

I have managed to hurt most, if not all of the people that I love.

Some people left for good. A few loved me even more fiercely because they could see through my anger, carelessness or coldness to the pain & the fear that I carried.

It is an endless cycle. If you knew the truth & the weight of the guilt I still sometimes carry, you would understand why I will probably never feel that I am a ‘good’ person. I live in spiritual & emotional debt, & there is no way that I, alone, can ever repay those I have grieved. The only thing that makes me ‘good’ is the mercy of Allah. The Almighty, the Most Compassionate, Most Merciful, The Forgiving. He hides my sins & allows people to think good of me. He continues to heal the wounds of my heart & allow me to be a light, no matter how dim, to help others & be all of these things that I never, ever thought I could be: Loving. Patient. Kind. Compassionate. At Peace. His Mercy allows me to get up every day & try to be the beautiful person that He allows me to portray. I am still a work in progress. It takes effort & diligence. I want to please my Creator.

Healed people heal people.

I still carry the pain, but it is no longer in the form of heavy chains. It is much lighter now, just a tool; a lens through which I can see past the mask of people like me; people who are hurting. The Almighty has blessed me with a heart that is open to people’s stories, their hurts, their despair. My eyes can see through the smiles to the reality behind people’s eyes. Sometimes it’s challenging. People often don’t wish to be seen & vulnerable, but my lens can see through anger & tough exteriors, especially those of children – where there hides pain & fear & loss. I can spot it, because I have it, too. And I can meet it with the Love that He has filled the holes in my heart with.

To those I have hurt because of my own pain, I am truly & sincerely sorry. My apology doesn’t remove the hurt or the anger, the embarrassment or betrayal you felt. I have not forgotten the things I did. Seeing you keeps me humble & is a constant reminder of who I truly am – that I am not perfect. I am not the picture of humility & patience & love & grace that the Almighty allows some people to see. I am still a work in progress. I am still trying & I have not left behind the wrongs that I have committed.

Some people may never see me for the person that I now strive every day of my life to be. I have already painted a picture in living color for those I have hurt. Only the Almighty can change that if He wills.

This is my truth.

Peace & Blessings ❤

The Daily Quote: Sick

sick-day-lolcats

Sick

by Shel Silverstein

“I cannot go to school today,”
Said little Peggy Ann McKay,
“I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash, and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I’m going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I’ve counted sixteen chicken pox
And there’s one more–that’s seventeen,
And don’t you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut, my eyes are blue–
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I’m sure that my left leg is broke–
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button’s caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle’s sprained,
My ‘pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb,
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow’s bent, my spine ain’t straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is–what?
What’s that? What’s that you say?
You say today is—Saturday?
G’bye, I’m going out to play!”

Today is the first day back at my job after a five day Thanksgiving weekend. Today every one is “sick,” and I am the school Nurse. Granted, some of the children I am seeing are genuinely ill; hiding diarrhea accidents beneath jackets tied around their waists, or green-faced with nausea, or sweaty, pale, & coughing up buckets of mucus.

Mostly, though, everyone is “sick.” I like to call it “I-can’t-itis.” Sometimes it’s more aptly named, “I-have-a-report-due-today-itis,” or a severe case of “Monday.”

I see it every Monday, especially after a long weekend, & fondly recall this poem by Shel Silverstein. Here’s to hoping everyone’s better by Saturday.

Make it a great week. 🙂

The Daily Quote: The Monster that is Depression

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“I can sense it coming on, slowly. I can stand on my front porch & see what’s out ahead of the storm. I can watch the enormous, mile-high black clouds rolling in. There are days of near-darkness before the storm even reaches me”. – Anonymous

“It’s like watching yourself be swallowed by something, seeing its teeth & throat open up & watching yourself be eaten, from the bottom up, inch by inch by inch. I’m screaming inside for days, as I feel myself being swallowed by the monster that is Depression.” – Anonymous

“Slowly, over the course of a few days,  I become like a cardboard cutout of myself. My colors start to fade to beige-brown, & the shape becomes less & less human. This blank, flat, beige-brown piece of cardboard drags itself through my day, raking its edges ragged, soggy & dirty from dragging the ground. It is all that is left in my place. It doesn’t experience feelings. My emotions become jumbled & numb. My thoughts as well. I barely function for weeks, until finally, my normal form begins to return.” – Anonymous

There is a great article called, What Does Depression Feel Like? that accurately describes some of the real, non-clinical symptoms of people experiencing depression. Here is a list from the article:

  • Things just seem “off” or “wrong.”
  • You don’t feel hopeful or happy about anything in your life.
  • You’re crying a lot for no apparent reason, either at nothing, or something that normally would be insignificant.
  • You feel like you’re moving (and thinking) in slow motion.
  • Getting up in the morning requires a lot of effort.
  • Carrying on a normal conversation is a struggle. You can’t seem to express yourself.
  • You’re having trouble making simple decisions.
  • Your friends and family really irritate you.
  • You’re not sure if you still love your spouse/significant other.
  • Smiling feels stiff and awkward. It’s like your smiling muscles are frozen.
  • It seems like there’s a glass wall between you and the rest of the world.
  • You’re forgetful, and it’s very difficult to concentrate on anything.
  • You’re anxious and worried a lot.
  • Everything seems hopeless.
  • You feel like you can’t do anything right.
  • You have recurring thoughts of death and/or suicidal impulses. Suicide seems like a welcome relief.
  • You have a feeling of impending doom – you think something bad is going to happen, although you may not be sure what, and/or…
  • You have a very specific fear that torments you constantly.
  • In your perception of the world around you, it’s always cloudy. Even on sunny days, it seems cloudy and gray.
  • You feel as though you’re drowning or suffocating.
  • You’re agitated, jumpy and and anxious much of the time.
  • Your senses seem dulled; food tastes bland and uninteresting, music doesn’t seem to affect you, you don’t bother smelling flowers anymore.
  • Incessantly and uncontrollably into your mind comes the memory of every failure, every bad or uncomfortable experience, interview or date, like a torrent of negativity.

If you are living with Depression, you know that not all people have the same symptoms, but you can relate to one thing for sure; you don’t want to suffer at the mercy of a disease or be labeled & judged because of a diagnosis. You are who you are. Depression is not who you are; it affects your ability to be who you are. It affects your ability to cope with normal daily situations & responsibilities. It affects your ability to love & be loved.

Depression is both mental and physical. It can be caused by physical & emotional trauma. It can also be caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. Therapy and/or medication can help. Not all people suffering with Depression become suicidal. Some people experience chronic physical symptoms like fatigue, weakness, widespread pain, & headaches, as well as changes in mood & anxiety.

What is Depression?

What Causes Depression?

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK

 

 

The Daily Quote: Snort, Sniffle, Sneeze…No Antibiotics, Please!

It’s that time again – cold & flu season!

As a school nurse, I treat a variety of illnesses & injuries on a daily basis. My door has been a turnstile of ick, sick, & yuck lately. Seasonal allergies, indoor allergies, & cold & flu viruses are rearing their ugly heads…all at once!

My students (and teachers) are miserable. And to tell you the truth…so am I. Sneezing. Sniffling. Runny noses, sinus pressure & headaches, ear aches, coughing, mucus, wheezing, rumbly tummies, chills & fevers, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea…the list goes on.

One important fact remains…

Any and/or ALL of these symptoms can be caused by viruses. Why is that so important?

Because antibiotics do NOT work on viruses.

slapping-batman-virus-meme

Examples of illnesses caused by viruses are:

  • Influenza (the flu)
  • Gastroenteritis (stomach flu)
  • RSV
  • Croup
  • Chickenpox
  • Most rashes
  • Many coughs

Antibiotics do not kill viruses. Treating these illnesses with antibiotics is ineffective & leads to antibiotic resistance. Some viruses, like the flu, pneumonia, & chickenpox can be prevented by getting vaccines.

Some illnesses that do require antibiotic treatment include:

  • Strep throat
  • Pneumonia
  • Many ear infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Sinus infections

How do we treat viruses, if we can’t kill them with antibiotics???

We treat the symptoms while the virus runs its course.

  • Rest – your body may need extra sleep and/or naps while it is fighting an infection.
  • Hydrate – drink plenty of fluids (non-sugary/non-caffeinated).
  • Treat fever, pain, and/or inflammation – Medications like Ibuprofen can treat all 3 of these symptoms. Read packaging & instructions carefully, as some over the counter medications contain more than one medicine.
  • Treat cough & mucus – a different cough medicine should be used for productive cough, to help clear mucus from the airways. A cool-mist humidifier will also help keep mucus thin & soothe irritated nasal passages & throat.

Click here for different types of cough medications & when to use what

  • Treat nausea/vomiting/diarrhea – Replenish electrolytes with Pedialyte or a similar electrolyte solution. Drink water & other clear liquids. Eat light until your stomach feels right. 
  • For the flu, your doctor may recommend you start taking Tamiflu as a treatment, to possibly lessen symptoms & shorten the course of the virus.
  • Non-medicinal treatments – There are a variety of ways to alleviate symptoms that involve no medication at all.
    • Warm compresses – for ear pain, stiff neck, head ache, & body aches
    • Warm soak – for body aches
    • Salt water gargle – for sore throat
    • Ginger root tea (honey optional) – for sore throat, cold, flu, & inflammation
    • Turmeric milk tea – calming, creamy, warm drink, thought to be effective in treating cold & flu symptoms. Turmeric & the flu.

 

Here’s a cute video released by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) just for fun:

The Daily Quote: Hope and Faith

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“Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.” – Vaclav Havel

I find this quote to be incredibly true. Along with a passage from the Bible that became a cherished source of comfort & strength for me seven years ago today.

“Now Faith is being sure of what we Hope for and certain of what we do not see.” – Hebrews 11:1.

These two quotes completely explain a mentality that I have by the grace of God learned & developed over the past seven years, as the Mother of a Micro-preemie.

Today marks my first-born child’s seventh birthday. 🙂 Seven years and 1 month ago, I was pregnant for the first time. At almost 20 weeks pregnant, I was excited, looking forward to finding out the gender of my baby. Sevettn years and 1 month ago, my water broke too soon. I was admitted to the hospital where I spent days & nights wondering if the life inside of me would end, what I might have done to cause it, & praying for her to be given a chance to live. My daughter came 4 weeks later, weighing 1 pound 4 ounces. She was so tiny & fragile, but in my eyes, she was absolutely spectacular. Miraculous. Beautiful. A gift from my Creator.

Several times before her birth, I sat in the hospital room, trying to swallow oceans of information, statistics, emotions, & advice from Doctors, faced with the decision to terminate my pregnancy. The specialists did not expect her to live, and should she happen to survive, they predicted she would suffer with multiple lifelong disabilities and face little chance of walking, talking, or living a normal life.

After she was born, we weren’t able to hold her for the first month. She began having seizures, was sedated, and we were again faced with the decision of ending her care (turning off life support). It was that day that God truly tested me; teaching me & proving to me the meaning & power of Faith and Hope.

I had Hope that my Daughter would pull through if it was within God’s plan. That Hope also encompassed the possibility that she would not, & that God would allow me comfort & understanding in His divine plan & reason for her short life. Hope meant that no matter which way the cards fell, that it would make sense & become clear. That was what Hope meant to me.

I was profoundly tested in my declaration of Faith in the Almighty God. In my choices to hang on by my fingernails, over this cliff of uncertainty, as my daughter’s tiny, short life hung in the balance. As I had watched her survive & struggle to live, all at once I realized that nothing really ever hung in the balance. Faith, as I finally understood it, as it concretely unfolded before me, truly was a sense of certainty in that which I could not see. I had blessed assurance that my baby‘s life was not hanging in the balance, but resting securely in the beautiful, perfect, divine plan of the Almighty. There existed not one speck of insecurity or uncertainty in her situation, but that which existed within Me.

I chose to shed it. Toss it. Let it go.

And I have seen miracles every day ever since. ❤

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The Daily Quote: Gratitude

“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him.
Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God.

-Thomas Merton

With thoughts of the Thanksgiving holiday coming up, I spotted what I think is an excellent new tradition for my family. We don’t always get pumpkins & when we do, there’s always the question of what to do with them after Halloween is over. Here’s an excellent idea. Each day for the month of November, have each family member add something they are thankful for. At the end of the month, it’s a beautiful reminder of all of the reasons we are grateful & blessed. ❤

Thankful Pumpkin

The Daily Quote: A Deserving ‘Yes.’

aaaToday is the first day of November. In just a few weeks, my family will be celebrating my daughter’s birthday. I’ve contemplated all of the many hopes & aspirations I have for her, & how I hope & pray I am raising her to become a knowledgeable, confident, & capable woman.

I like to think of myself as such. Most of my loved ones would agree. However, when I came across this quote, it hit me like a ton of bricks. However knowledgeable, confident, & capable I may be, I have a sickness that a great deal of women I know suffer from. It is a forgetfulness of the self. Denial of the self. Avoidance of the self. At any given moment, I would most certainly rather be caring for someone other than myself. Thus my occupation as a nurse.

I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today.” And whenever the answer has been, “no” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.  – Steve Jobs

As I stared at this quote, I realized that no matter what dreams & good intentions I had for my daughter, the example I live in front of her speaks the loudest. I live my life, day after day, taking care of others, often existing in a stress-induced fog by late afternoon. I don’t have a handful of healthy hobbies or activities outside of being “Mom.”

I asked myself how much joy I was getting out of any part of my life. How much of my daily life & activity is something I would choose to do & enjoy? Or is there something that I need to change? And the kicker was this question: Is this the way I would like to see my daughter living her life? Stressed, weighed down by obligations & stress, but not experiencing joy in her life? Depressed? Neglected?

ggg (2)As my daughter’s birthday approaches, my gift to myself (& her) is to reevaluate my life & the example I am living. Is this how a woman, a mother should honor herself? For all that she does for her children & family? God willing, I intend to take more time for me. Work on self-discipline so that I can be healthier & feel better again. I should be energetic, not feeling weighed down & sick in my downtime from carrying around so much toxic stress. I cannot be a better mother until I am better to myself. I want to honestly look in the mirror & say, “Yes.”

Life in the ‘Ville

Louisville is the city I have lived in for most of my life. I love my town. There’s lots of great things to do with the family – lots to see & enjoy.

Louisville KY skyline

One of my family’s favorite pastimes is visiting the many parks in & around our city. There are 120 parks, with more than 60 outdoor picnic shelters, over 170 Tennis Courts, more than 75 Baseball/Softball fields, over 50 Football/Soccer/Multi-use Fields and over a dozen Community Centers that are available here in our city.

And in the summer, there are over 30 Splash & Spraygrounds for children of all ages (and adults) to enjoy at no charge.

In sha Allah, I will eventually post some of the many photos I have taken all around our town, reviews of the amazing restaurants & family attractions we have enjoyed.