Saturday, December 29, 2012

Tips to Recover from the Flu

(When this article was written I still was recovering from the flu.  I was taking a strong antibiotic that wiped me out every morning and kept me in a daze until evening.  One particular evening I had my wits about me, so I compiled some thoughts.)

On Christmas day I contracted Influenza A (the bad kind of flu).  I was contagious and my doctor’s expression was grave and serious.  Sort of a “if you feel any worse you are going to the hospital” look.  Hmmm.  Well, it’s been a number of days now and I have followed her instructions to a tee.  So, between my doctor’s instructions, my family’s advice and my own common sense, I wrote down some tips about how to get over the flu.  (Tips are in no particular order)

Ø Wear a hat, scarf and closed toed shoes.  It’s a funny story in my family about how none of us can get rained on and not get sick.  We get it from our Mom.  If even one drop of rain hits our head or neck, forget it...our sinuses will flare up.  If we are lucky it will be only one day of discomfort; however, if the temperature is cold, forget it again...we will get a cold, slight fever and possibly the flu.

How did I get the flu?  I ran outside in the cold rain/snow for 2 minutes to pull cushions from the patio furniture and didn’t wear a hat or scarf (and I wore sandals).  The moral of this bullet point is save yourself, not your cushions, and take the time to put on the right gear to protect yourself.  It’s worth it; otherwise, you’ll spend 10 days recovering from a 2 minute error.

Ø  Keep plenty of tissue in the house.  For years I’ve followed the practice of buying extra paper products “just in case” I need them.  If you look in my closets, you’ll find multiple boxes of tissue, toilet paper and paper towels.  Well, it paid off when I got sick because I can walk to any room in the house and not have to worry if there is a box of tissue in there.  The flu brings congestion, coughing and sneezing.  Trust me, the “just in case” tissue paid off for me.

Ø  Keep lemon and filtered water in stock.  Another compulsion of mine is keeping plenty of lemons in the house.  It’s amazing how a simple lemon slice in my water makes me happy.  Ha.  When you have the flu the lemon compulsion pays off too because in order to get over the flu, you must drink lots and lots and lots of water.  There’s no way around it.

Ø  Don’t “Man Up” until you’ve been to the doctor.  This applies to men and women.  How many of us dismiss the sniffles, coughing, sneezing, slight fever, headaches and joint aches for days only to wake up one morning completely behind the flu-8-ball?  Don’t do it!! (reverse Nike sign!)  Just practice wisdom and humility and go to the doctor soon after your symptoms begin.  If the medicine gets into your system early it will prevent the flu germ from growing.  Trust me when I say everyone in your life will appreciate you going to the doctor.  We don’t want to catch the flu from you!

Ø  It’s true…You do need plenty of sleep and rest.  I know not everyone has the luxury of a precious house mate named Stanley (lol) who lets you sleep as much as you need (and he sleeps by your side); however, let me just say that going to the doctor isn’t enough.  You must sleep and rest.  Sleep is when you close your eyes and pass out for hours, day after day until the medicine kicks in.  Rest is when you sit on the sofa or chair while avoiding the compulsion to clean your house, cook dinner for the family, do laundry, etc. while you’re home.

If you live with someone who has the flu, don’t expect the Sickly to keep doing what he/she did before.  Instead, you wash the dishes, do laundry, either cook or bring in food for the family.  You be the one who drives the Sickly to the doctor, to the pharmacy to pick up the prescriptions and who goes to the store for soup, lemons, water and 7-Up.  Don’t be a burden to the Sickly!  (ha)

Before I leave this point let me say something to those of us who live with no one but a pet.  We tend to let work be our end-all, be-all.  If on Christmas Day or any day thereafter you are asked to participate in conference calls and reply to a mountain of emails while you have the flu, you just need to put your foot down and say either “no” or “wait.”  A version of “no” looks like this:  “I’m bedridden with the flu.  Please loop Scott in for your answer.”  A version of “wait” looks like this:  “I’m bedridden with the flu.  Cannot respond until tonight.”  Sleep and rest need to come before any transaction. 

Ø  A few of my favorite things (that kept me company while I recovered).  Stanley, Hallmark Movie Channel, Chick-fil-a chicken noodle soup, La Madeleine tomato basil soup, Odwalla orange juice, long hot showers (to stop congestion and coughing), Ugg boots, Advil, hand lotion, body lotion, lip balm, scrambled eggs, and my favorite sofa throw to keep me warm.  A daily prayer to God to heal me and to restore my strength.

I hope you don’t get the flu, but if you do I hope at least 1 of these tips helps you get and feel better.  Be safe and well.


PS:  A heart felt “THANK YOU” to everyone who prayed for me while I was sick.  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Angels, Doves & Halloween

For many years I have kept angel statues in my front and back yards.  The statues are of different sizes and materials, but they all have a peaceful, angelic quality and they add beauty to my yard and garden.   Over the years people visiting my home have commented on how peaceful the atmosphere is, and although I have been grateful for their comments I didn't put two and two together, until recently.

Another figurine that I admire is that of a sweet, gentle bird, so I bought several figurines for the yard and noticed a curious thing this summer.  Birds were spending more and more time in my back yard, and the birds were of a similar type as the bird figurines.  I would find them just sitting around or sunning on my patio, whereas before I didn't have birds.  It is as if the live birds saw the bird figurines on my patio and wanted to dwell there with them.

...and then my eyes were opened.

What if angels...angels of grace, peace and serenity saw my angels statues and took that as a welcome to my home?  Have I invited heavenly angels to my home without even being aware?  If you came to my home you would feel a sweet and kind presence, as I do.

So, what is around your home and yard?  What are you inviting into your presence that perhaps you are not aware of?  Objects around us bring invitations and I encourage you to invite all that is heavenly.

PS:  You never will find ghouls, witches, graves, ghosts, items of blood, terror or destruction in my home at Halloween.  I do not want to extend any invitation to that element, even if it is just for Halloween.  I'd rather have pumpkins & mums.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Please Check Under My Bed....

On Saturday night, I was fast asleep at 11:30pm but was awakened by Stanley.  He was barking (a serious bark...not a "there's a squirrel outside" bark) and was focused on a corner of the bedroom.  Because he was not backing down but kept barking, I told myself that I needed to take this seriously.  I aroused myself and became somewhat conscious.  It was then that I realized that I had heard a noise...something similar to an animal squeezing between the wall and my armoire, in an attempt to hide.  The same armoire that Stanley was barking at.  "!!!!!!," said my head.

I then sat up in the bed and tried to subdue Stanley.  He quietened down and slightly shifted on the bed.   It was at that moment that the entire bed (a heavy bed and with me in it) started to shake and buck up, as if something was caught in the slats in the bed and was trying to free itself.  "Whaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!....I'm freaking out," said my head now.

Stanley was over it.  He cowered down and crawled to my side.  I said a prayer and then had a stern talk with myself.  Are you going to sit here in this room and act like nothing happened....hoping the animal (or whatever) goes away?....or, Are you going to get out of this bed, put your feet on the floor (and risk "it" coming out) and take care of this?!  Well, I wasn't raised to be a coward and my courage began to rise.  I was going to take this on!

I scooped up Stanley in my arm, stepped off of the bed onto the floor and quickly walked out of the room, closing the door behind me.  I hastened to the other bedroom and fully dressed, tennis shoes and all.  We walked downstairs and I called the neighborhood security force, who then called the police.  As I stood waiting for the police to arrive, I begin to pray.  Truly, I needed peace at that moment because being awakened out of my sleep like this was alarming.  Stanley was verrrryyyy close to me (oh, that sweet little doggie).

The police arrived (5 police cars....yes!) and I greeted the team in my garage.  As two police approached I made clear that it was someTHING in my bedroom, not someONE.  The policeman then announced, "We've had an earthquake.  Do you think this could be what caused your experience?"  Like a deer in headlights I stood there...everything in slow motion.  I blinked twice with a straight face and asked, "Would you still check under my bed?"

After a thorough and official police search of my house (thank you wonderful policemen), I was convinced that, yes, in fact it was the earthquake that caused my experience.  Whew.  Wait a minute.....I live in Texas.  We're not supposed to have earthquakes......!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

I Did It For Me

This blog posting may seem a little long, obsessive and silly, but stay tuned to the end.  It all comes together.  :)

In 2006 my hair was long and lovely.  I spent the time each morning to fix it and each morning I left the house with glorious curled and flowing hair.  It was pretty cool, except at the back of my mind I missed my naturally curly hair.  

For many years prior to 2006 my hair was shorter (not short, just shorter) and I wore it natural hair.  I LOVED it.  Of course, I was 40 pounds lighter and more muscular so the shorter, curlier hair looked good on me.  For some reason I decided that the more I weighed the longer and more flowing my hair needed to be. Go figure.

In December 2006 I was on my way to the airport to meet dear friends in California, but first I had a hair appointment.  I don't know how it happened...all I know is that I walked out of the salon with short (to-my-ears-short) hair.  OH MY!  It meant that I could style my hair with its natural curl (it wasn't long enough to wave!), which was good.  It also meant that when my friends picked me up at the airport they didn't recognize me, which is bad.

Fast forward to 2012.  Again, my hair was long (even longer than 2006) and lovely.  In fact, my hair was so long that I couldn't style it by myself so three times a week I went to a salon before work for a wash, blow dry and style.  After a year of this my hair became a burden.  It tangled on everything and I couldn't sleep with it down.  

Months ago I realized that I had to do something because my hair was taking over my life.  It seemed as if everyone was enamored with my hair because of its length, but they were losing sight of the fact that Carleen was under all of that hair. Friends kept saying, "don't cut your hair!!!" as if it would be a crime.  I realized that my friends and family remembered December 2006 all too well, but now I was carrying the weight of disappointing them if I cut my hair.  Crazy.

My hair had its own personality....its own following and I was its slave (this is what I felt like).  Soon, I was resentful of my stupid longggggg hair.

Not long thereafter, I had an epiphany..."Look it, Carleen, cut your hair and live your life.  Spending $650/month on wash and styling fees is ridiculous and your hair is a burden.  Cut it!"  So I did.  I found a style that has swing and bounce and that makes my happy...AND that looks good.  No repeat of December 2006.  I did it for me and no one else.  In fact, I did it for me in spite of everyone's love of my long hair.

Is there something in your life that you keep doing or keep being simply because of other people?  Are you miserable simply because you are fitting in with everyone's expectations?  Don't allow anyone's expectations or desires to be a burden to you. If you want to wear flats instead of stilettos, wear flats.  If you want curly hair instead of flat-iron-straight hair, go curly.  If you like the book club instead of the cheerleading team or drill team, book it.  I'm telling you:  life is too short and you must follow your heart.  Do it for you.

Make yourself happy and go with God.