#WeekendCoffeeShare (January 10, 2021)

Hi lovely blog friends! I’m so excited to be joining in on this week’s #WeekendCoffeeShare. It is newly hosted by Natalie and I’m so glad to see so many people have joined in already. I really need to write my coffee share posts earlier in the future, but oh well. At least I haven’t had my last cup of coffee for the day yet.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that the weather is pretty good here. At least for winter. It does drizzle a bit every now and again and yesterday the pavements were a bit slippery from the ice. I thankfully could still go for a walk.

If we were having coffee, I would proudly tell you that I got in nearly twice as many steps over the past week as my sister. I also broke my active heartrate zone minutes record, which was at 405 for the week of November 9, 2020 and is now already at 426. I plan on going for another walk later this evening, so I’ll add more to it.

If we were having coffee, I’d say that I’m planning on keeping a food journal from tomorrow on. I for now don’t intend on sharing it here and I’m not intending on consciously changing anything about my eating as of yet. It’s just so that I can be completely honest about the foods I eat and how I feel about my choices. I have some type of overeater’s journal and it appeals to me.

If we were having coffee, I’d like to ask my fellow Christian bloggers to pray for me. I’m struggling a bit with my faith in relation to my bad habits, including overeating. Basically, I’m stuck on the rules of Overeaters Anonymous and the like, such as three meals a day and nothing in between. I feel resistance to admitting I’m not in control, even though I know I’m not. I may not be making as unhealthy choices in my life as I was a few months ago, but I really need to credit God for this and relinquish my control over to Him.

In a similar way, I’m struggling with admitting I’m a sinful human being. Remember when, a few months ago, I wrote about grief? I felt like I was intensely wicked on some deep level then. Then I learned about Bobby Schuller and his book You Are Beloved and I wanted so badly to believe it, but the enemy keeps telling me I don’t need Jesus for this. I am struggling to realize that, before I believed in Jesus, I was stuck on feeling wicked. Please, if you’re a Christian, pray for my continued spiritual formation.

What’s been going on in your life?

Sky Is the Limit #SoCS

Today’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday (#SoCS) is “Sky’s the limit”. I was immediately reminded of a story in Stephanie Kaars’ book Speciale mama’s (Special Mommies), in which this phrase inspired a mother to challenge her son, Sky, who had severe cerebral palsy, beyond his apparent limits.

It then made me think of how challenging someone beyond their apparent limits, doesn’t mean expecting them to be “normal”. I mean, the phrase which inspired the mother says that her son is the limit. In other words, each child or adult is their own limit of what they can achieve and this should not be defined by the person’s characteristics, such as disabilities.

I don’t have as severe a disability as Sky. I mean, yes, of course blindness is seen as a “major” disability for statistical purposes, but it alone doesn’t qualify anyone for long-term care. Severe cerebral palsy does. That being said, I do have a significant combination of disabilities: blindness, autism and mild CP.

I don’t think these disabilities, or rather the stereotyped perception others have about them, limits me. I mean, of course my disabilities impair me, but that’s totally okay. I am not limited by others’ ideas of what a blind person (as that’s my most visible disability) can or cannot do. Because, you know, even though I am in long-term care with the highest care profile in the visually impaired category, people still sometimes say I’m quite capable for a blind person. No, I’m not.

I am also reminded of the current slogan for the National Federation of the Blind: “I can live the life I want; blindness doesn’t hold me back.” The old slogan was: “With proper training and opportunity, an average blind person can do a job as well as an average sighted person.” This may or may not be true for the hypothetical average blind person, but it certainly isn’t true for me.

Is the new slogan? Yes, I think so. I could really go to university if I pushed harder, maybe. Maybe not, I’m not sure. However, I have no desire to go to university anymore. Similarly, I wasn’t dying living semi-independently. Well, I almost was, if you count the two medication overdoses I took, but those weren’t due to blindness. Then again, I am happy to live in my current care facility. I may still have things I want to improve on, but I for the most part do live the life I want.

More Time

Today’s Five Minute Friday (#FMF) prompt is “Time”. There are so many things I wish I would make more time for. Today, in five minutes (and I’m trying to do this in five minutes seriously), I am going to share about the things I want to make more time for in 2021.

First up, of course, is faith. I want to spend time each day praying and reading my Bible. I already read my Bible everyday so far in 2021, but sometimes it’s just five minutes before bed.

I have also created a faith-based journal in Day One, my diary app. In it, I want to write down my prayers as well as interesting Bible passages. I think consciously writing them down helps me devote more time to God.

Second is walking. I did a great job of this this past week, getting in over six hours of active zone minutes so far.

I also want to write more. I really aim to blog almost everyday. I would like to say everyday, but I can no longer make that work for 2021. But I can start now.

Then comes reading. I definitely want to read more. I am doing okay in this respect so far.

Lastly, self-care. I didn’t make a resolution about me time or essential oils this year, like in 2020, because I did well enough on it already. However, self-care also means taking good care of my body, and I could certainly improve on that.

By this I mean healthy eating, exercise other than walking, yoga, etc. I could definitely work on a healthier body.

That’s it. I did pretty well freewriting for five minutes flat and I was in fact already sort of done when the timer went off.

What do you hope to spend more time on in 2021?

My 2021 Word of the Year

Okay, the first week of January is already over and people have come to say it’s weird to wish each other a happy new year even if this is their first time meeting in 2021. It may be a bit late for me to pick a word for the new year. Then again, it’s one of Mama Kat’s prompts for this week. Besides, last year I didn’t choose my word for the year until January 10. I had the flu to excuse it with then, but oh well.

Last year I picked “Wellbeing” as my word for the year. I was somehow convinced it’d be a bad omen though. It wasn’t, in the sense that I didn’t end up in a major health crisis in 2020. Then again, the world at large did.

This year, I’ve had a word in mind for several weeks now and yet I keep making up my mind about it. I want to deepen my faith this year, so shouldn’t something like “faith” be my word of the year. That’d be too easy though. Rather, I based my word for 2021 on Bobby Schuller’s book. It is: BELOVED.

I want to focus this year on the creed of the beloved as Schuller outlines it in his book You Are Beloved. It is:
I am not what I do.
I am not what I have.
I am not what others say about me.
I do not need to worry.
I do not need to hurry.
I can trust my friend Jesus.

I also want to focus this year on my relationship with God and with others. After all, “beloved” does not just apply to me, but to my husband and others around me too. The fact that I am a beloved child of God, also, implies that I need to accept God as my Heavenly Father.

Now of course my thoughts are going back to the idea that this word of the year would be tempting fate. I fear that, now that I chose “Beloved”, it will mean I’ll lose my husband or other important people in my life this year. Even if this happens, though, I can show my love for them. I can start to express love right now, after all.

What is your word for 2021?

Mama’s Losin’ It

#IWSG: Turn-Offs in Other People’s Writing

IWSG

Yay, it’s the first Wednesday of the month and you know what that means? It’s the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s (#IWSG) meeting day.

I did pretty well in the writing department over the month of December and early January. I in fact am feeling very motivated to write. That being said, I do feel disappointed about not having realized my bigger writing dream of 2020, which was to submit another piece for publication in an anthology. It’s probably due to fear of rejection. I mean, blogging is a relatively safe way of expressing one’s writing abilities, in that it doesn’t really come with rejection. I mean, if I start a blog and it’s a total failure, I just won’t attract any readers, but no-one is going to directly tell me.

For 2021, I once again aim to submit at least one piece for publication. I just can’t bear to say for another year that I’m a published author because of that one piece I had published in 2015. I can’t control editors’ selection criteria, but I’ll have to at least try one more time.

Now on to this month’s optional question. The question is what, as a writer, turns you away from other people’s books, makes you not finish a book or frustrates you about other people’s writing.

The first thing that came to mind, is not a style issue or a writing flaw, but factual errors in the story. For example, in Rules for 50/50 Chances by Kate McGovern, one of the characters’ mother and sisters have sickle cell disease and the characters keep talking about how this character didn’t inherit “the gene” and how another disease is recessive, as if sickle cell disease is inherited via a dominant gene. Well, I am no geneticist, but I am pretty sure it’s recessive.

It isn’t that such an error stops me from finishing a book altogether if it’s an otherwise good story. I think I even gave the aforementioned book four stars on Goodreads and I definitely did finish it. It was the thing that kept me from giving it a five-star rating though.

In a similar way, I am usually slightly annoyed when authors invent things into their otherwise-realistic stories. For example, I didn’t like the fact that John Green invented a cancer drug for the purpose of the story in The Fault in Our Stars. I did feel better because he admitted it at least.

The one thing that does stop me from finishing a story, is an unrealistic portrayal of certain settings in a story that’s supposed to be realistic. For example, I stopped reading The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork as soon as I read that the character got daily therapy sessions. That’s not happening in any psych hospital. That is, it might’ve happened in the times of psychoanalysis in the 1950s, but currently there’s no money for that.

I think I really need to get more flexible in my approach to fiction. It is, after all, fiction.

Reading Wrap-Up (January 4, 2021) #IMWAYR

#IMWAYR

Hi readers and fellow book lovers! I have been reading relatively much lately, so I can do another reading wrap-up today. As usual, I’m joining in with It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (#IMWAYR).

Life Update

I’m doing pretty well right now. Got a lovely package from Emilia of My Inner MishMash in the mail today. It’s for her readership award. The package contained some great food and non-food items. I must admit though that I ate all of the caramel fudge and am now a bit nauseated (or is it nauseous?).

What I’m Currently Reading

Still reading Hatch by Kenneth Oppel. I had let it lie there for a bit while reading other things, but I started it back up and it’s really intriguing.

I also finally picked up Still Alice by Lisa Genova. I previously finished two of her other books and had started in Still Alice some six years ago already, but never finished it. Obviously, I started back over.

What I Recently Finished Reading

Yay, I finally finished Killer Cupcakes by Leighann Dobbs. It was a great read and the ending and who the killer was sure surprised me. Now even with the most predictable plots I’m no good at predicting what will be next, but oh well.

What I think I’ll Be Reading Next

Oh, I still have so many books I am looking forward to reading! I joined Storygraph yesterday and have been loving playing around with their recommendation feature. It recommended The Choices We Make by Karma Brown. Then I looked over my Bookshare book collection and associated from there. I now badly want to read If I Die Before I Wake by Emily Koch.

Lastly, I was discussing memoirs on another book blogger’s bookish resolutions post. This got me to finally want to buy Brave by Adelle Bellis. I have the preview downloaded onto my Apple Books and love it. However, with Bookshare having such a wide selection of books, I find I’m a little spoiled and get disappointed if I have to actually buy a book.

What have you recently read?

My Bookish Resolutions for 2021

Hi my fellow book lovers! Today, I’m joining in with #SixForSunday. I don’t think I’ve ever participated in this meme, though I’ve known about it for maybe a year. This week’s topic is your bookish resolutions for 2021. Now like I said, I don’t really do resolutions in life in general. However, I think I can safely resolve some things regarding my bookish life. Here goes.

1. Read more. According to Goodreads, I only read like thirteen books in 2020. I may not have set the finish date for some books accurately, so they may’ve been more books. I just set my reading goal on Storygraph to be 20 books in 2021. I think that should be easily attainable.

2. Read a greater variety of books. When I saw some reading challenges come by, it surprised me what types of books people were challenging themselves to reading. I mostly read memoirs, young adult and middle grade fiction. Though I do generally try to get some diversity in my reading, I really need to step outside of my comfort zone.

For instance, though I read some books by BIPOC authors or featuring BIPOC characters, my white privilege still shines through heavily in my book choices. I want to change that. I also want to read more books featuring disability, LGBTQ+ issues, etc.

I also want to step outside of my comfort zone where it comes to genre reading. For example, in 2020 I read my very first SciFi book. I’d like to continue to broaden my horizons.

3. Interact more with fellow book lovers online. I mean mostly in the book blogosphere. I’d really like to write more bookish posts and also engage with other bookish bloggers, though I don’t intend on becoming primarily a book blogger.

4. Do more on Goodreads. Okay, I know some of the book pros are switching to Storygraph now and I got that one too, but it doesn’t seem to have the group discussions etc. that GR has. I just signed up to Storygraph today and so far, I much prefer GR anyway for keeping track of my reading, as Storygraph predictably isn’t as accessible with my screen reader. Storygraph may be able to offer me better recommendations though. Anyway, I’d really like to be active in the book groups I’m in on GR. I’d also like to share some reviews on there rather than just on my blog.

5. Join at least one readathon. I have been wanting to do this ever since I first heard of them in 2019, but apart from a failed attempt at joining Bout of Books last year, haven’t actually gotten down to it.

6. Continue to enjoy reading. Okay, this one is a no-brainer, but I couldn’t come up with anything else.

What are your bookish goals for 2021?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (January 3, 2021)

Hi everyone. It’s the middle of the night and I’m thinking of actually making myself a coffee. I’m too scared though that the night staff will hear me. I do have a Senseo coffee maker in my room, but still it might make a noise. Instead of making a coffee, I’m joining in with #WeekendCoffeeShare. This will be the last week of Alli’s hosting it. From next week on, Natalie will be taking over. I hope it will continue to be a success. Anyway, let’s have a virtual coffee and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that the holidays were pretty good, but I’m also so grateful they are over. I spent new year’s in Lobith with my husband. My oldest sister-in-law also came by for a few hours. It was good.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that, as you can tell, I’m really hyper right now. I tried to go to sleep at around 9:45PM, but soon decided I didn’t want to sleep yet. I texted my husband about the wax melts I’d bought for him and then went back to bed. Still no luck. Let me just say it’s now nearly half past three at night and I’m still wide awake.

I have mostly been reading other blogs. I have a lot of inspiration for new blog posts now. Hope my energy doesn’t dry up soon, so that I can actually write those blog posts.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you too about all the wax melts I bought. I used to have a Yankee Candle Scenterpiece wax melt burner, but I left it in Lobith because it’d be a bit of a hazard here. Not that it gets really hot or produces flames, but I still don’t want liquid wax all over my phone (it almost happened once when I still lived in our old home).

Anyway, now my husband apparently likes to burn wax melts, but he says I’m the scent expert. I am, a little, with respect to essential oils. I wouldn’t say I am a better judge of what are good wax melt scents or what my husband would like than he is though. Still, of course I’m honored.

I bought two Scenterpiece meltcups. These are €5.99 each, but the good thing is their cups can be reused for smaller wax melts. I got the sun-drenched apricot rose and the frosty gingerbread meltcups. The other ones I got are tarts, which are sold at €1.99 each. In total, shipping included, I spent about €27.

It feels good to be able to spend money again. Over the past few months, I’d hardly been spending money on fun things, because I’d worried about my long-term care copay. Like I said yesterday, it will likely increase by at least €70 a month, but my husband reassured me I can handle that.

That being said, it also feels very good to be able to find free stuff, like some books I got thanks to Bookbub. It doesn’t feel like I’ve been living a scroogey life at all.

What’s been going on with you?

Editing to add: I had just published this post when I realized it’s my 600th, woot woot! *Does a little happy dance.* Here’s to many more posts.

Gratitude List (January 2, 2021) #TToT

Yay, it’s Saturday and that means I’m going to write another gratitude list. I didn’t specifically resolve to be more grateful this year, but I already set a goal to do a weekly gratitude list in November. As usual, I’m joining in with Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT). Here goes.

1. I am grateful my extra one-on-one care got approved. The staff and manager will meet next week to discuss how to fill in the hours and whether extra staff will need to be hired for it. So far though, nothing will change for me, as I already had some one-on-one as of mid-November. I’m so glad it doesn’t stop though!

2. I am grateful for financial security. My long-term care copay is likely to increase by at least €70 a month this year, but it’s because my husband’s and my household income has increased. I’m pretty sure I can afford this increase without having to live extremely frugally.

3. Speaking of which, I am so grateful my husband bought a new-to-us car. We used to have a Suzuki Wagon R+, but that one wasn’t too comfortable on long drives. It also needed repairing anyway. Of course, buying another car rather than repairing your current one is rarely the economical choice (my husband calculated that it would be if we bought a very small car). He wanted some luxury though and so do I. We now have a Volkswagen Golf.

4. I am grateful for oliebollen and other new year’s snacks. I didn’t eat too many, but I did have some treats.

5. I am grateful for a relatively peaceful new year’s. My sister-in-law came by. My husband had made it clear beforehand that I could always retreat into the bedroom to go on my phone, so I did that a few times.

6. I am grateful for toast with sausages on it for lunch today. I’d never had this before, but it was good.

7. I am grateful for really good essential oil combinations in my diffuser. I even managed to make one that’s good even though there’s geranium in it. I normally hate that scent (don’t ask me why I bought it then), but combined with lavender, orange and cedarwood, it’s good.

8. I am grateful for a really nice nap this afternoon. I had the aforementioned combination of essential oils in my diffuser and slept like a log.

9. I am grateful the festivities are over with for now for a while. They were good, but I’d like to have some normal weeks now.

10. I am so grateful for still no COVID at my care home! I could post that one every week, because of course each week without COVID is a blessing, but well.

What are you grateful for?

My Hopes for 2021

Hi everyone and a happy new year! Last year was, well, quite eventful for most of us. I really hope this year brings some peace and quiet to all of you. Most of all though, I hope you all stay as healthy as can be.

Like I’ve done for a couple of years now, I’m going to share what I hope to achieve in the new year. I hate the word “resolution” and don’t really want to call them goals either, because that’d be pressuring myself too much. I’ve actually noticed that if I call them hopes, I somehow achieve more of the things I want to achieve. Here are my hopes for 2021.

1. Eat a somewhat healthier diet. I don’t really want to be eating just lettuce and carrots so to speak, but I do really want to make healthier food choices. Like, I want to eat 2-3 servings of fruit each day, like I did in the fall of 2020 too. I also want to choose healthir snacks and maybe I can really get into the habit of eating bread rather than cereal some days. Lastly, I really need to make sure I get in at least two liters of fluid each day. Ideally, these actions combined will lead to some weight loss. I’d like to lose about 5kg, but any weight loss is good.

2. Find other ways of exercising besides walking. COVID permitting, I’d still like to join a gym or go swimming again. I don’t need to get moving more, as I already get in my recommended 10K steps at least half of the time and I don’t think it’s realistic to want to reach the goal more often.

3. Keep up my blogging routine. I did really well over 2020 in writing regularly and really want to keep it this way for 2021.

4. Get stable mentally. In 2020, I experienced crises a lot due to a coombination of factors related to my mental health and adjusting to living in a facility. Like I said on Wednesday, the extra care hours got approved for a year. Hopefully by the end of this year, we’ll be able to conclude that they’ve helped me become significantly more stable.

5. Find more enjoyable hobbies and activities. I don’t need to be able to do them independently. Like, I’d really like to explore crafting and beauty product making more, but I know I’ll need help with those. I guess my hope is that I’ll find joy in more activities even if I can’t do them all by myself.

6. Deepen my faith. I didn’t even mention having become a Christian in 2020 when I reviewed the year on Wednesday. I however really hope to strengthen my relationship with Jesus and my faith in God.

What do you hope to achieve this year?