How To Overcome Your Stress Ball Ways

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How To Overcome Your Stress Ball Ways

I can be a serious stress ball. If there’s a problem, it’s a “crisis.” When things go wrong, I feel like it’s all my fault. Self-chastisement is my specialty.

Getting the kids off to school in the morning is my #1 flip-out trigger. If you don’t believe that I am capable of total lunacy, you have clearly not seen me on a morning when someone’s shoes are missing, someone wouldn’t get out of bed on time, someone doesn’t have a clean Batman shirt, and another someone is taking 45 minutes to eat their ever-loving cereal!!!

Just ask Alan, Jennings, my parents, Alan’s parents, or any of my old roommates. They’ve all seen it.

Can I change the core of who I am? Eh…..

Can you re-program yourself to have a calmer head in tense situations? Hmmmmm

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10 Things to Try When You’re Feeling Achy

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Have you ever felt old before your time or just achy all over the place?  I keep wondering. Is this just getting older? Or is this a problem that can be fixed? And how do you know which is which?

Several of my readers liked the video with the stretching tips for hip pain, so today I’m including a stretching video for heel/foot pain and swelling. This is another nuisance that I deal with that I think is very common.

So I’ve learned a few things, for those of you on the age-speed-train with me.

#1. For the heart as well as the back: Walking. Just walk everyday. It’s good for every single thing about you, so as long as your body allows you to do so, walk.


#2. For the shoulder: I’m ordering this book:


They say that not taking time to do relaxing things can actually cause strained muscles and tendonitis, which my body has in multiple places. Stress could actually be killing us. Who knows? It’s worth a shot!

#3. Swollen heels are often caused by tight calf muscles, so my physical therapist gave me this exercise:

#4. CONSTANTLY monitor your posture. Sit and stand as straight as you possibly can. 

#5. Do something relaxing. Today I am going shoe shopping and eating lunch BY MYSELF. Some of you may not find that relaxing, but for me it is perfect.

Or maybe I should have JD give me a head rub.

Here’s a perfect example of #5, doing something relaxing. JD calmed his cousin ever-so-easily with a little head rub:

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Crying baby, meet John David.

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calming baby

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His work here is done.  


#6. Buy bigger shoes. Never wear uncomfortable shoes or high heels.


my tired, achy, red-arround-the-edges feet…(Truth is, I’m a stay-at- home mom. I mostly don’t even wear shoes.)

Did I just post a photo of feet!!??  I’m seriously all girl, so this one is terribly sad for me. I mostly gave up high heels around 5 years ago, and that kept my feet problems at bay for a long time, but that alone is no longer cutting it. Today I’m buying bigger tennis shoes. It’s important for shoes to fit.

#7. Become a better friend.

I received my very first get well card in the mail last week, and I can’t tell you how much it meant to me. Several people have come up to me at church to tell me that they are praying for me and ask how I’m doing. Wow! How encouraging to know!

I’ve always said that I have the best friends.

From this, I am learning how to be a better friend. This goes back to that lesson about not over-scheduling yourself too because if we are so busy with all of our own obligations, how can we ever take time to encourage anyone else?

#8. Pray and read your Bible! Allow the Lord to go to the mat for you.

The other week, I was at yet another doctor appointment, for even more medical tests. There was some confusion about my appointment time, which threw off my whole schedule, and getting an appointment with this cardiologist is difficult. My results appointment was for Tuesday, so the tests needed to be done before that, or there would be no results to share.

The receptionist said, “There’s no way we can get you in before Tuesday. Well, we could have it done at the hospital, but then that might be hard with billing….”

I was so finished caring, or maybe I cared too much. Either way, I leveled with her, staying as calm as I could, though I’m sure I had tears in my voice.  “I have been through so much this year, I do not care. I don’t care what you do or when you do it, or how. You just tell me where to be, and I’ll be there. I’m going to go sit down in the waiting room.” (I still had another test to do.)

I know, I wasn’t easy going. I was not breezy.  I’m afraid I’m becoming Maxine, way before my time.

OKay. So you’re wondering what this story has to do with prayer. Hang with me.

I sat back down in the waiting room, and I prayed, “Lord, I’m so done dealing with this! I don’t even want to go to any more of these stupid appointments, but Lord, if you could just help me. You fix it. I can’t. I give up.”

It didn’t take long for the desk girl to reappear. “April?”

I slowly walked back to the desk.

“You can come tomorrow. Anytime you want.”

Prayer, people. I’m telling you. Prayer.

“Can I come at 4:00?”

“Great! Thanks!”


#9. Hang out with people who make you laugh.

My people are funny. (Don’t worry. He’s doing the crossed-eyes on purpose.)

Laughter is healing.

#10. Get more sleep.


…because that’s my answer to everything..





Can Open, Worms Everywhere: The Back Pain, The Stress, and The Home Schooling


Such an anti-climactic couple of days around here.

Do any of you have chronic back pain? I sure do. Upper back, lower back. It goes down the side of my right leg. It pops up in my wrist. I’m always hurting, some days worse than others. When I want to pretend like I feel fine, I pop an Advil 800 and head out into the world. When I want to sleep, I take Tylenol PM.

I lay on hot packs. I rub on Panaway essential oil. I have a stash of back massagers, tens units, back braces, lumbar pillows, anything you’d buy to help with your back, I’ve got a few of them.

No one wants to read about other people’s medical problems, so I try not to write about it too much.

Today was the day I got my MRI report back. I was all excited and nervous about this.

Surely I didn’t research every sort of problem that could cause back pain. Surely I wasn’t afraid that I had cancer. Surely I didn’t imagine suitable replacement wives for my husband. Haha! No, no…. of course I am not that insane.

I just have a wild imagination. I’ve never been a worrier, but I admit I went a little overboard on this one. The thing is that I so badly wanted to know what caused my pain. I figured if I knew the cause, maybe I could fix it.

So when the doctor’s office, which I can never ever get an appointment with, actually called ME to schedule an appointment right away to discuss my MRI results in depth, I thought, “Oh! This is it. There was something on the MRI. We’re getting somewhere,” but those thoughts sort of led to, “I hope I’m not dying, or what if I need surgery?”

Therefore, it felt incredibly anti-climactic but also exciting to find out that the MRI suggests that I am fine. They didn’t let me read the actual report, but she said the only thing on there was tendonitis in my shoulder. 

Pretty funny, as I thought the shoulder MRI was a waste of effort. My shoulder itself is fine. It’s the back muscles around it that bother me.

I’m so happy and relieved to know that basically I am okay. Only, I’m not “okay.” I’m all tired, sleepy, lethargic, and achy.

So the next thing they wanted to discuss was depression……

Am I depressed? I don’t think I’m depressed. I have such a blessed life, I have no reason for sadness.

Okay, well, here’s the thing. I’m not depressed in the sense of being sad or lonely or such. However, the quality of life factor became greatly reduced the day I began to home school my boys.

It’s sad that something I wanted to do so badly turned out to be such a mixed bag of blessings and curses.

I love being with my family. I enjoy knowing what they are learning and seeing them succeed.

The thing is that I am not a school teacher. I don’t enjoy teaching, testing, or researching fun things to do. Plus, it hurts. My back hurts too badly to haul them out to field trips very often. It takes me days to recover from that.

Home schooling has been the single most humbling event of my life. I have leaned on my faith in the heavenly Father hard to simply get through my days. I wake up with a sense of dread over having to manage the course of the day for five separate people, while also feeding them all and wishing for a tidy house or time to do anything that I actually enjoy.

When the boys were in school, I relished that time between 8 and 2:30 to lavish love on my pre-schoolers and live at a slower pace. Then we’d pick them up at 3, we’d all head to the park, and we’d do homework and play in the evening. It worked for us.

I am so glad that I tried the home schooling thing. This was one of those jobs I looked at with high ideals and rose-colored glasses. I romanticized it in my mind, but in the end it is not for me.

Many women love it, and they should continue to home school. I should not.

The stress of managing a job I’m not cut out for is making my entire body hurt. Did you know that’s possible? It is. The aching body is making me less capable to take care of my family and my responsibilities.

I believe that the Lord puts inside of each of us a “soul thing”, a thing that we can do, enjoy doing, and bless others with. I have several soul things. I love being a mom, just a mom. Writing is my therapy, and singing is a little extra fun on the side. Those are my soul things. Oh! And when my back cooperates, I can cook like no tomorrow.

Next year, my children will be taught by someone who enjoys it, and I am going to get back to living a life that fits.

We all have a different mold we are created to fill. I’m done trying to fit into anyone else’s mold. I’m ready to get back to being a happier mom, and that will bless my boys and others as well.



“You won’t ever be able to keep up with unrealistic. Unrealistic demands lead to undercurrents of failure. So don’t allow the unrealistic demands of others to march freely into your life.”    Lisa Terkeurst, The Best Yes, page 161

“And this is my prayer:  that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.”    (Phil. 1:9-10, emphasis added)



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