Joy in July

Hi everyone. It’s nearly the end of the month and this means it’s time for me to update you all on my word of the year. As usual, I’m joining the #WOTY linky, as well as Lisa’s One Word linky. My word of the year, as I’ve said before, is “JOY”.

Early in the month, I had a horrible setback, as I got the news that my now former assigned staff would be quitting her job at my care facility. This caused some major sadness and emotional turmoil in me, but after a while, I was able to channel it into something good by creating something for her – a polymer clay hedgehog. I enjoyed the creative process and the smile I brought to her face when I gave her the gift.

Overall, I did find that my joy or lack thereof was more than in the previous months tied to my material success, in the sense that, if I felt I was failing at a crafty endeavor, I didn’t enjoy it either. The same goes for my blog: I was ecstatic when reading all the positive comments to the poem I wrote last week, but didn’t enjoy writing when I had the idea that I wasn’t “successful” in my blogging.

Similarly, my joy is also more tied to material possessions than it used to be. For example, the day my former assigned staff left, I ordered a stuffed dolphin for comfort. While this did help me, maybe at other times I would’ve been able to seek joy without having to spend money. I am not saying spending money on comfort items is necessarily bad, but ultimately, they aren’t material things that will bring me joy.

Joyful experiences included a visit to the trampoline on the last day my now former assigned staff worked my one-on-one shift, eating out with my husband and a visit from my sister and her family. While they involved material things too, in the sense that we spent money on the dinner and my sister gave me some beautiful belated birthday gifts, the experiences themselves were truly great.

In some good news, I did do some Bible reading everyday again this week, while I’d hardly done any over the rest of the month. It is causing me a lot of emotions.

Overall, the month of July was filled with some high peaks but a lot of deep lows too. I must say though that, considering the impact of my staff leaving, I was expecting much worse. I really hope the month of August will be better.

Things That Made Me Smile (July 11, 2022) #WeeklySmile

Hi everyone. I haven’t been blogging all weekend, because I didn’t feel inspired. I’m still struggling with the fact that my assigned staff is leaving. However, today I wanted to put a positive spin onto it and end our contact with good memories. You see, today she had her last one-on-one shift with me. Despite it of course being bittersweet, the day itself was so good I actually think it deserves a mention on Trent’s #WeeklySmile.

We started the day at 10:15 with two strong cups of coffee. This staff is one of the coffee drinkers among my staff and so she usually brings the full coffee pot to me rather than just pouring me a single cup. My morning cup had been rather weak, so I’m so grateful I was able to have two cups of strong, black coffee. (My soon-to-be former assigned staff drinks her coffee with milk, something I kept forgetting.)

After this, we went for a walk. I initially decided not to put on my jacket, but it was just a bit too chilly for my liking, so my staff ran back up the stairs to grab it for me.

After that, I had lunch. I didn’t indulge in anything special this time, as yesterday for her leave-taking party for the entire home the staff had already treated us all to French fries and snacks.

After she’d had her afternoon break, my staff and I drove to a playground in the village she lives in that we’ve been to before to jump on the trampoline. A few little kids were playing on the trampoline when I arrived, but they were thankfully happy to go play on the other playground equipment and let me jump on the trampoline for a while. I jumped for about ten minutes, but by then my feet hurt like crazy. My inner child parts had the greatest fun!

Then we drove by the supermarket, because I had to get dinner for this evening, as I’d skipped my meal delivery service meal for today. Apparently, they’d had nothing on the menu that I liked. I also got blueberries, stroopwafel cookies and licorice.

Then it was time for two more cups of strong coffee. I chatted some with my staff until it was time for her to go to write up her notes and be there for any other clients who might come home from the day center early at 3PM. She returned briefly at 3:30, as usual, to say goodbye. She said that even though this was her last one-on-one shift with me and Thursday will be her final shift working at my care facility, she’s sure to see me again. I hope she’s right. In any case, she’s after some thought decided to give me her E-mail address. This makes me feel much better about our goodbye than I’d been feeling last Friday, because it means I can still stay in touch with her when I feel like it.

Overall, the day was positive and I didn’t even cry when she left. I might on Thursday, but we’ll see.

Things That Made Me Smile (June 13, 2022) #WeeklySmile

Hi everyone. I haven’t done a gratitude list in a while and, to be honest, have been struggling to find enough things to be grateful for to make a list out of them. Today was another mixed day. However, I did find a major reason to smile in the morning, which I am sharing with The Weekly Smile.

You see, my assigned home staff has a new family pet and a rather unusual one at that. This morning, she invited me over to her house to see it and I actually got to hold the animal. Can you guess what it is?

Yes, indeed, it’s a hedgehog! Specifically, this one’s a four-toed hedgehog. They can legally be held as pets as of 2015 here in the Netherlands, but there are only a few breeders. My staff said she had to go through a whole screening process to see if she and her family would be fit to take care of a hedgehog. The hedgehog, a female named Willow, can only leave its cage for an hour at a time, because otherwise it’ll lose too much body heat.

When I held it, at first it didn’t feel prickly at all. I compared its prickliness to my sister-in-law’s late rough-haired dachshund. Only when Willow got a little overstimulated at the end did it put up its spines.

Hedgehogs like this one aren’t used to living in groups or even pairs, so they can easily be left alone for a few weeks (provided they have enough food and water) to fend for themselves. Even so, the atmosphere did feel cozy because of Willow.

After my visit with Willow, my staff let me jump on her kids’ trampoline in her garden for a bit too. Her husband has an aviary with Gouldian finches in it. They were too quick for us to even attempt to take pictures of them or so my staff said, but their birdsong was quite beautiful.

Gratitude List (April 29, 2022) #TToT

Hi everyone. I am feeling a bit meh today. I don’t really feel like writing a gratitude list, but I do feel like writing something and I can’t think of anything else to write. For both of these reasons – to have something to write and to cheer myself up -, I am going to try to write a thankful list anyway. As usual, I’m joining in with Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT). Here goes.

1. I am grateful for pizza today. Yes, again. Another staff is leaving and she wanted to give us pizza or pasta from the local Italian restaurant as a goodbye present.

2. I am grateful I was able to give the staff who’s leaving her present. I didn’t end up making something for her myself and initially wanted to stay in my room while the other staff gave the presents to this staff, but I am grateful I decided to go and give her one of the gifts the other staff had bought on behalf of us clients.

3. I am grateful for quiet time to write. It’s now nearly 9PM and between 6PM and 7PM, a guy from the home next door was blasting his music on top volume. Even with noise canceling headphones (unfortunately still the ones I have on loan) on, I still could hear the music clearly. I’m so glad it’s quieted down now.

4. I am grateful for a good phone talk with my mother-in-law on Wednesday. I was able to tell her I’m going to discuss entering the process of finding another care home. To my surprise and gratitude, she fully supports me.

5. I am grateful for a nice phone call with my mother on her birthday yesterday. I obviously didn’t tell her I’ll be looking for another care home. We made some smalltalk and it was okay.

6. I am grateful for sleep. Despite feeling quite on edge lately due to a lot of issues, I am sleeping relatively well.

7. I am grateful to have been able to go to the day center for a considerable time twice this week.

8. I am grateful for funny stories to listen to on YouTube. There is a Dutch children’s book author called Jacques Vriens who read his own stories aloud on YouTube. There are also English-language YouTube channels for children’s stories, which I also love, but Jacques Vriens is a childhood favorite of mine.

9. I am grateful I was able to go onto the large trampoline on Wednesday. It was great fun!

10. I am grateful to be relatively financially secure. I won’t go into detail here, but I am just happy my husband and I can handle a little financial setback.

What are you grateful for?

The Wednesday HodgePodge (April 27, 2022)

Hi everyone. It’s King’s Day, so I have the day off from my day activities. This means for me that I don’t have one-on-one support between 1:30 and 4:00PM. This in turn means plenty of time to blog, so I’m aiming for two blog posts today. First, I’m participating in the Wednesday HodgePodge for this week. As the questions went online yesterday and the host participates in the #AtoZChallenge too, her questions are all related to words starting with the letter V. Here goes.

1. What does the word values mean to you personally? Where did your values come from? What are some of the values that have guided you throughout your life?
I discussed some of this yesterday already. Values to me are those abstract qualities that are important in my life. Among my values are authenticity, connection, self-determination and growth.

as for where they came from, I’d like to say I developed them in spite of my upbringing. My parents are very success-minded and more concerned with outward appearance than authenticity. I do think my self-determination comes from my parents though, as they did somewhat raise me to make my own choices.

2. Your favorite vanilla flavored something?
I love everything vanilla really (well, except for vanilla coke, because I can’t stand fizzy drinks), so picking just one is hard. I’m going with ice cream though, yum!

3. What’s something you’ve seen/done recently that you found to be very difficult, very confusing, very helpful, very interesting, or very special. Elaborate.
Deciding to have a discussion with the behavior specialist on the possibility of finding me a more suitable care home. It’s been a very difficult, very confusing time. I thankfully have been able to share my thoughts with most staff, who all have been as supportive as possible.

4. Something you own and love that is violet in color?
I don’t think I own anything that’s specifically violet. I mean, I have a lot of shades of purple in my polymer clay collection, including lilac and translucent lilac, lavender, plum and a couple colors I mixed myself. However, none are exactly violet. I’ve heard it’s one of the harder colors to mix with polymer clay too.

5. Do you have vacation plans on the calendar this summer? Tell us more.
No, I don’t. I was joking around with my husband yesterday about going camping out this summer, but really, we haven’t been on vacation since 2014. I really would like to someday, but I’d go into a hotel then (like we did the last couple of times we went on vacation). My husband is off work for two weeks around my birthday in late June and two more weeks around our wedding anniversary in September. We may plan some extra time together then, but that’s it.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
I just want to share I went on a giant outdoor trampoline this morning. Last year this day, my assigned home staff asked me whether I’d like to go to a playground in a neighboring village that had a giant trampoline and I said yes. I was discussing ways to get out of my room today when I remembered this and so we went again. It was fun!