Sunday, December 30, 2012

On the Move

I slept until 9:30 this morning.
Oh, Holy Night!

It was glorious.
Michael gave me a half hour-plus massage last night.

You know what? There is a lot that I have to deal with that a lot of other wives don't. I will admit that I do sometimes wonder what it would be like if it were easier.

I bet there wouldn't be half hour-plus massages.
And, I would miss those.

We are moving soon.
There are small boxes and big boxes stacked in our office and in our living room. And in one of those boxes, I think I've packed my keys. Guess I will find out soon.

This morning, I'm Craigslisting for more free boxes, and contemplating driving to work so that I can start saving stuff off of this computer onto a couple of different hard drives.

I've moved a lot in my adult life. This one is so much more complicated. Moving when you're single is easier than moving when you're married. And, I've never had to completely back up a computer before. What a blessing having a MacBook Pro for work has been!

Soon... I will have my own! A new computer.
A new house.
A whole new life.

The past week and a half has been heavy on the investment side of getting there. But today, after a full night's rest, I am full of hope. I can't wait to get home.

2013 is going to be amazing for us. I just know it.
We have this James Morrison station on Pandora playing in the background this morning.
I told Michael that I love this station, that every single song makes me want to dance with him.
He told me he feels the same way, that this is the "we can get through anything together" station.

I think this will be playing pretty much non-stop for the next 2 weeks or so.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Caring for the Caregiver SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS!

My heart is so full this morning.
I'm so happy to know some very, VERY generous people who want to help caregivers.

A few weeks ago, a good friend - who will remain anonymous - but just know I love this woman! - had this idea. To help a caregiver. To give a caregiver a break. She gets it, because she is a caregiver herself!

So, we put the "Caring for the Caregiver" Scholarship together.
I couldn't wait to bless someone with this awesome opportunity.

Then - something amazing happened! Another amazingly generous woman - who will also remain anonymous - told me to give away TWO scholarships!

I'm not even done, y'all!

Not long after that, another friend told me she wanted in on the giving, too! So, she is contributing a manicure/pedicure or some other sort of spa treatment of their choice to a third winner!  She will also remain anonymous, but she gets it too, because she is also a caregiver!

I'm surrounded by anonymously awesome friends! :)

It is with much joy and anticipation that I announce the winners of the scholarships!  This is a $400 value. It can be used all at once, at a hotel for four nights at up to $100/night, or one night at a time, also sticking to the $100/night price point. You can stay at the hotel, or you can put your loved on up there. You are responsible to make sure their care is arranged for while you are on your getaway.

I'd love to hear about it when you go!  I will e-mail all of you with details on how we are arranging payment.

The winners are....


And our third winner - who will receive a manicure/pedicure or massage/facial (any spa treatment you'd like, up to $75.00) is...


Look for an e-mail from me very soon, and we'll stay in touch.

CONGRATULATIONS to the caregivers who won, and THANK YOU to our generous sponsors and a big thank you to ALL of you who entered. I loved reading all of your stories. I love every single one of you, and I'm so thankful that we are all in this together.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

We Are A League of Our Own

Today is Sunday, but it feels like Saturday. I've spent the last four days at home, two being sick, and now I'm on day two of being a full time nurse.

There have been a lot of tears.

There is a difference between being stressed and being stressed out.

The last two days, I have added the word "out."
Hence, the tears.

If you follow us on Facebook, you know I recently accepted a new job and we will be moving soon. This is good. We're very excited to get home to the Virginia Beach area, in mid-January.

The new job and the upcoming move are great! But, stressful.

Add to that a van that's in the shop, Christmas travel plans, trying to find a new house, trying to find a moving company, getting things settled to break our lease here, and a surprise medical situation that pressed a big fat "pause" on all planning efforts on the aforementioned stressful situations... and a Puggle who helped himself to an entire bag of dehydrated chicken chews...

Insert anxiety attack here.
Commence with hyperventilating, shaking, and crying uncontrollably.
Follow with marital fight before coming together stronger than before.
Top it off with doggie digestion issues.
Bake at 350. In a pressure cooker.

Whew! What a 36 hours or so it has been.

I even had one of those super-realistic anger dreams that was so real I woke up ready to punch someone. I did not punch anyone.

This is what I fear.
I don't want to go where I was before.
The last time we moved, I started a new job, and I was a full time caregiver... I almost lost myself.

But, it's different this time.
Yesterday, at the bottom of my pit, I wasn't alone!!

I was getting text messages all day from my SCI sister friends. Thank you Gentrie, Heather, Cheri and Robin. My sister forced herself past my protective barrier, heard me cry, and sprang into action. She's looking at a house for us this morning. My mom stalked me on Facebook, and made sure I smiled. My sister-in-law checked in on me, too.

Michael held me. And even thought about trying to figure out a way to fold laundry while laying in bed, on his side.

And, I made it.
I am on the other side.

I realized the beauty of being a full time nurse is that when your patient stays in bed all day, that means you don't have to transfer him at night.
Which means another glass of red wine.

I told Michael there will probably be a lot of tears through this adjustment.
He told me there will also be a lot of prayers.
I'm okay with that.

Sometimes this is crazy hard. It's overwhelming, it sucks.
I question whether or not I can really do this.

I watched a movie yesterday. I never do that. But I watched one of my favorite movies of all time, "A League of Their Own." This movie came out when I was 11 years old, the proverbial glory years of my softball career on the Aces, a Rec League softball team my Dad coached.

I bought into all of the sports stuff as a kid. It's those sports lessons, drilled way deep down inside of me, that make me who I am today, I'm convinced.

In my crying, I thought of this famous scene from "A League of Their Own."
Everyone remembers Tom Hanks as Coach Jimmy Dugan yelling, "There's no crying in baseball!"

Look, I'm a crier. I love this scene, and I get it.
But, there's a lesser known scene that I really, really love. It's a little later in the movie, when star player Dottie Hinson is about to quit, and she says, "It just got too hard." It's at the end of this clip:
Coach Jimmy Dugan comes back with, "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great."

Isn't it amazing that what inspires you at 11 years old - to be a better ball player, can inspire you at 33, to push through grown-up stress?

We are A League of Our Own. There is crying, and it is hard, but we have a team, we have a coach, and the opportunity to overcome, to make memories, to do this.

I am so thankful for new mercies this morning. And 22 year old movie quote inspiration.
Are there movies that inspire you?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Mike's Shaving Routine

I'm sharing these pointers of my shaving routine.

You can watch the video here:

  1. Set up with a towel on my lap
  2. Wet cloth with hot water
  3. Rinse beard
  4. Pre-shave oil
  5. Lather with shaving brush
  6. Shave down
  7. Lather again
  8. Shave up
  9. Rinse with cloth
  10. Lotion
 A wet shave is so much better than an electric shave.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Caring for the Caregiver SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITY

You guys.
I have an AMAZING opportunity for you.

If I sound like a crazy sales lady on an infomercial, good.
That's what I'm going for.

Because this opportunity is that good.

Do you know my heart?
My heart is for you.
You, who gets up four hours before you leave for work, because you take care of your husband or wife. You, who never get alone time, so you cherish the time in the shower or the car, because that's all you have to yourself.

You, the caregiver.

An awesome person who totally gets this, has anonymously offered to give one of you caregivers a beautiful gift. Some time away. Some time to yourself. Four nights in a hotel up to $100/night including fees/charges. You can decide how to use this. All at once for a four day stay, or one night a quarter.

We want you to go to the hotel. Or send your loved one there, so that you can enjoy some alone time at home. You're responsible for arranging the care for your disabled loved one. But, you've got that, right?  Talk to your loved one. You can figure something out together.

Because, my dear friend, you need this.
Trust me.
You need this.
Your marriage needs this.
Your partner needs this.
Your life needs this.

Because this life we lead? This crazy life of juggling marriage and a disability, it's insanely hard.
And it's not going anywhere.
So, it's always hard.

You know what else?
A lot of marriages - they don't make it.
The numbers are heartbreaking.

People who dearly love each other, are breaking up all the time, because the chronic stress of this life we lead is just too much.
On the body.
On the mind.
On the soul.
On the checkbook.

So, do this for me, will you?
Do this for yourself.
For your marriage.
For your future.

Click here to fill out a little application.
Send it to me (my email address is on the application) by December 23rd.
I am working with the generous person who came up with this idea and who is sponsoring it to pick the winner. There is no magic formula. Just tell us about yourself.

We hope this is just the beginning of a change for the better.
That this will help you to learn to say yes to help, to take a breath, and a nice hot bath, and charge your battery.

We'll announce a winner the week of Christmas.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Simple Christmas Decorations

Happy Sunday morning.
This post is brought to you by a girl who is sitting in between the light of a Christmas tree, and a snoring Puggle who is snuggled in between two holiday toss pillows.

Ah. Yes.
I finally decorated for Christmas.

It's definitely scaled back this year.
That pumpkin on my porch? It's still there.
We're not doing the lights outside or the lights on top of the cabinet, or all of the little nik naks.

We're keeping it simple.
I didn't even put all of the ornaments on the tree.
It's low key.
And beautiful.

I drank wine and had the tree up, lights on, ornaments on, and living room swept in about an hour and a half.
Michael was super sweet and compliant. He flew low on the radar, stoking the electronic fire.
And when I was finished, he said it was beautiful.
Ah, that's a good man.

He didn't point out the non-perfect stringing of the lights, or the places on the tree where there was an ornament hole.

And you know what? We got the tree up without an argument, for the first time, ever. I believe.

A Christmas miracle.

Christmas really is simple in and of itself, you know. It's about a baby being born, a Savior, who gives us all hope.
It's not stressful and crazy and full of pressure and credit cards.
We did all of that to Christmas.

It's simple.
And so important.
Sitting by the light of this imperfect tree this Sunday morning, I'm thinking about my Savior. And I'm so thankful for Him.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Talking to My Old Self

Dana Brown, January 2006
Have any of you ever thought about how neat it would be to be able to go back in time and interview a younger version of yourself?

Probably not.
Because only people like me, journalists, use words like "interview" while the rest of you would have phrased that question like this:

Have any of you ever wondered what it would be like to go back in time and talk to a younger version of yourself?

You know what I mean.

This blog has been quiet all week.
It's not because I'm so busy in life.
Life really isn't all that busy.

Sure, there was a week of work, and that little national TV show I produce and all.
And there was the commuting, and cooking and all that.
There was not the gym.

But really, honestly, my mind has been overrun with possibilities this week.
Every extra second I've had has been occupied with a lot of mental exercise.
I'm not at a position to share details.

It's nothing bad!
It's not a baby.
It's just that I'm old enough and mature enough now to not go there publicly, until it's the right time.

I have been trying to talk to the younger version of myself.
I need to hear from her.
Her experiences are valuable input for me right now as I ponder.

Time and space have a way of changing what was reality.
In a good way, of course!
Wounds are healed, experiences are romanticized, because they move from the "current experience" file in our brain - to the - "awww, those were good times" file.
You know what I mean?

I feel like I'm chasing the years of my life.
And having coffee with 26 year old Dana Brown.
She's interesting.
She's talented, and going places, and wittty.
But she definitely didn't know it all!

Having a journal and a blog really helps with going back in time and interviewing yourself.
What a gift.

I have a good memory.
But, there is so much I wouldn't remember if I hadn't written it down.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas Clutter Funk

Our living room, last Christmas.

It's nice and quiet in here this Sunday morning.
The sun is slowly seeping through my sliding glass door, noticeably later than usual, and our home is clean.

Pretty much.
I know about the dust and grime and grit that is underneath things and behind things and way on top of things.
And all of that drives me crazy.
But not crazy enough to get on my hands and knees, or on top of a ladder to do anything about it.

Oh well.

It looks clean and smells clean in here, and that is wonderful.

I'm not sure why, but I'm just not feeling Christmasy yet.
I feel like I lost Fall.
My Fall was spent on the campaign trail, covering the Presidential debates. And that was fun, and exciting, but it stole my Fall.

There's a pumpkin on my porch, still, this December 2nd.
And I thought maybe yesterday I would feel like getting the Christmas stuff down, but I didn't.
And I'm thinking about it again today.
But I'm also thinking it's going to be like 60 degrees here today and I might need to get Mr. Wonderful out of the house to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather.

And a trip to Ikea may be in order.
So, maybe after that I will decorate for Christmas.

I'm not a Grinch. I promise.
I've already been to one Holiday Party.
I've already bought a few Christmas presents.
And made magic bars.

I'm just not ready for the Christmas clutter.
Quick, someone please tell me I'm not alone here.

I think I need another vacation. And by another, I mean the 10 day vacation I just wrapped up about a week ago was apparently not enough. I can tell. My mind and body are still so tightly wound.

I wish I had a "relax" button.