Friday, May 5, 2017

Compensatory Pain Or What Happens When We Overcompensate

I was in the acupuncturist's office and had just finished telling her that I was having pain on the left side of my body. She told me to lie down on the table. I did. Then she started probing around on the right side.

Thinking she had misheard me, from where my head was stuck in the crinkly paper hole, I gave a muffled, "No, it's the left side." Just as I said that, the acupuncturist found a tender spot on my right side and pressed into it, making me yelp.

She laughed. I didn't. "It's called compensatory pain," she said. When one side of the body is injured, the other side has to overcompensate and you can end up with both sides injured.

Compensatory pain might relate to physical pain, but it also is about  emotional pain and space—or lack thereof—in our lives. Let me give you another example.

One of my kids had surgery recently. We sailed through the surgery, days in the hospital, and recovery period. Piece of cake, right? Wrong. A few days after we got home, there was an emotional meltdown over something comparatively minor.

The meltdown was an outlet, a release valve. He'd used up all of his emotional resolve over the surgery and all of the unsettledness that came with it.

Our lives aren't meant to be out of balance. If you get a flat tire, you put a spare tire or donut on the car. It's meant to be a temporary fix, not a long-term solution.

That spare tire is only intended to get you to a repair shop, not take you the distance. If you drive on it for too long, you risk not only damaging it, but also the other tires and the car's suspension.

When driving on the spare, you're supposed to allow extra time for  braking and drive more slowly than usual - because you're not driving under intended conditions.

The same is true for life. 

If circumstances are such that, for whatever reason, you're not at maximum capacity, you need to take that into account.

You need more margin, more white space, for your body and mind.

Don't go barreling down the highway at 80 mph hellbent on avoiding all the rest stops, your body and your mind can't keep that up for a sustained period of time.

To go fast, you need to go slow.

It's easier said than done.

It's often the opposite of instinct or advice. How many times have we heard no pain, no gain?
That may might be quippy motivation for climbing a mountain or running a marathon, but life isn't a race.

The first one finished isn't the winner.

Happy weekend. I hope it's restful.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Raising Unstoppable Kids: Books About Resilience, Grit and Determination

How is it that you can have two people in similar difficult and dire circumstances and one person flounders and one flourishes? What is different about those two people? One had better luck? Better access to resources? Is one person just "tougher"?

The answer is resilience. 

One person may have a few lucky breaks and providential blessings along the way and it would be easy to point to that fortune as the key to their success. Except that strokes of good luck aren't a predictor for success. How many times have we heard of someone in financial straits winning the lottery only to end up worse off than they were before? A resilient person doesn't sit around waiting for a big break, but when the big break happens, they know how to make the most of it. 

Resilience is often the product of difficult or even tragic circumstances. But wouldn't it be great if we taught resilience to ourselves and our kids before times got tough?

Here are books that help us do just that.

The cover of this book is a little text book-ish. But, this is not the stuff you learned in high school. Dweck writes about the growth mindset and the fixed mindset. People that repeatedly and persistently work to overcome have a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset. 

To define the different mindsets, Dweck asks when do you feel smart? Is it when you don’t make a mistake, when something is easier for you than others or is it when you work on something and figure it out? People who feel smart when they’re flawless have a fixed mindset. People who feel smart when they’re learning have a growth mindset.

Can you reform a fixed mindset and hone a growth mindset? Dweck says you can and offers practical, helpful examples on how. She says to offer children encouragement such as: 
  • “That homework was long and involved. I really admire the way you concentrated and finished it.” 
  • “It makes me really upset when you don’t do a full job. When do you think you can complete this?”
The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips For Improving Your Skills, Daniel Coyle
This book is very easy to read; it's divided into 52 short chapters or "tips." Coyle says that it each one of us has talents but we're unsure how to develop that talent into potential. This book is the manual on how. 

All of this advice is research-based and field-tested. Even more than that - it's practical and actionable. For example: 
  • Don't waste time trying to break bad habits, instead, build new ones.
  • Practicing 5 minutes a day is better than an hour a week.
One of Doyle's tips is "Take a nap." How can you not like a book that gives you scientific reasons for a siesta?

The quote from Aristotle at the the beginning of the book says it all. "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit."

These are non-fiction books, geared toward adults. If you're looking for children's books that instill these principles through story, you'll want my list of 14 books that teach resilience and determination. All the books are fiction and the list is divided into picture books and chapter books, so it's easy to find what's best suited by age range. 

Today is the final day the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is available. 

If you're still undecided about the Bundle, check out my post on why the Bundle is an excellent buy AND if you purchase the Bundle (or have already bought it),  email me and I'll send you a PDF of 14 children's books that teach resilience and determination.

Happy May!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Why Bundles are Good Buys For Anyone Who Likes a Good Deal (Or Cheapskates Like Me)

I'm a cheapskate. I need a compelling reason to plunk down cold, hard cash. (Caveat: We once had a friend who refused to order cheeseburgers when eating out because he said the mark-up on cheese was too high. I think a love of cheese is a compelling reason to buy a cheeseburger.)

All that to say, if I'm going to suggest you buy something, I feel like I should tell you why it's a good deal. Case-in-point: this year's Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.

Now, I'm a little biased about the Bundle because my book is in there. So, there's that. But I do think it's a valuable resource. Let me explain why.

What exactly is a Bundle?
It's a collection of resources, grouped together. Think of it kind of like shopping at Costco: Because you're buying in bulk, you get a discounted price on these excellent resources. The Bundle is offered once a year, for a limited time. In this case, the sale runs through Monday, May 1st. 

What's in the Bundle?
It contains a lot of resources—A LOT —106 to be exact. It's ebooks, e-courses, audios, videos, printables, and summits. You can see the full list here

Why is it a good deal?
Many of the excellent resources in the Bundle individually sell for more than the Bundle's collective price. For example:
  • Cozy Minimalist Decorating Class by Myquillyn Smith (This sells individually for $39.00.)(I've been wanting to take this, now I'm going to.)
  • Productivity and Well-Being eCourse by Lisa Grace Byrne ($47.00)(I've been a fan of Lisa's work ever since I bought her book, and I've paid to take some of her classes before.)
  • A Mom’s Guide to Better Photos: A Beginning Photography Class for Moms With Any Type of Camera by Meg Calton ($99.00)

bookroo.pngCultivate What Matters, Faith and Family Bundle.JPGHope Ink | 3 Free Prints.jpg

Those are just a few of the resources. Now, let's talk about the bonuses that are included in the Bundle. Even if you wanted nothing else in the Bundle, the bonuses alone are worth the price. There are 10 bonuses totaling $250. For example: 

  • Free 1 month subscription from Kiwi Crate, $20 value ($15 off $50 shop purchase for existing customers)
  • $15 shop credit from the Cultivate What Matters shop
  • Free 1 month subscription from Bookroo, $18 value 
  • $15 store credit from Strawesome 
Personally, I'm ordering all the bonuses now and will dole them out to my kids over the summer, as needed.

Homemaking, really?
Please don't let the name of the Bundle turn you off. It sounds kind of grandmother-era-ish, but
isn't. It's all kinds of tips and tricks about finances, decluttering, meal-planning, parenting, working from home, and creativity. 

Isn't that an awful lot of, umm, reading?
It is! That's why you have one year to download the eBooks and printables and take the online eCourses, and everything you’ve downloaded becomes part of your permanent library. 

Also, you can gift the books you don't plan to use.  

What if I don't like it?
No problem. There is a 30-day happiness guarantee.

When does the sale end?
Monday, May 1st at 11:59 PM

If you have more Bundle questions, ask them in the comments. Or you can also check out my awkward video here.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Exploring and Camping the Grand Canyon with a Wheelchair

When some friends asked us if we wanted to go camping with them in the Grand Canyon last year, we instantly agreed, only to then wonder how it was going to work with a power wheelchair. It went well - Grand Canyon National Park is surprisingly wheelchair accessible. 

Here are our field notes from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon:

Passes:  If you have a National Park Service Access Pass (a lifetime pass available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents with disabilities), you get in free! We didn't have one beforehand, but got one at the gate with a doctor's letter. 

Visitor’s Center: The Visitor’s Center is wheelchair accessible and has ample handicapped parking. The movie at the Visitor’s Center is a great introduction to everything you’ll see at the Grand Canyon. There are some great views of the canyon just outside the Visitor’s Center, but it’s very crowded here, especially at sunset.

Shuttle buses: Once you’re inside the park, you can ride the free air-conditioned shuttle buses. There are bus stops at the Visitor’s Center, as well as numerous other locations. The buses have wheelchair ramps and can “kneel.” However, the buses cannot accommodate wheelchairs larger than 30 inches wide by 48 inches long. For us, this meant that my daughter’s power wheelchair was a no-go on the bus. Motorized scooters won't fit either. 

Scenic Drive Accessibility Permit: Instead of taking the shuttle, we got a Scenic Drive Accessibility Permit and used our personal vehicle on the restricted roads. In the flurry of activity, we neglected to get our permit at the entrance station but that wasn’t a problem because the permits can be obtained at the in-park hotels and visitor’s centers. Permits need to be displayed on your dashboard and aren’t a substitute for a handicap placard when parking.

Having this permit is a boon. The buses, while a nice service, are crowded and they operate on a set schedule. With this permit, you can come and go at your leisure, all while listening to the soundtrack of your choosing.

The Grand Canyon offers what it calls “windshield views,” which are views of the canyon that you can see from your vehicle. Apparently, many, many visitors experience the Grand Canyon this way. They ride the scenic routes, grab a few photos and then call it a day, having come and seen and conquered. But to experience the sheer vastness and power of the canyon, you need to be able to see it up close.  Get out at the different viewpoints and explore!

Hiking:  The Trail of Time is a 1.3-mile trail between the Verkamp’s Visitor Center and the Yavapai Geology Museum. It’s wheelchair accessible, as are many of the exhibits and informational placards along the way. Parts of this hike are in the shade and parts are in full sun, so plan accordingly.

The Greenway Trail is also wheelchair accessible. You can hike from Monument Creek Vista to Pima Point to Hermit’s Rest on paved trail. Monument Creek Vista to Pima Point is 1.7 miles and Pima Point to Hermit’s Rest is 1.1 miles.

Mather Campground: You can reserve a wheelchair accessible campsite, although know that all the spaces in the Grand Canyon fill up quickly, accessible or not. We made our reservations six months in advance and didn’t reserve an accessible site. Our campsite itself was on fairly compact dirt, but the wheelchair did kick up some dust. This wasn’t a problem, until someone was cooking. Even food cooked outdoors shouldn’t be dusty!

The bathrooms were nearby our space and handicap accessible. The road to the bathrooms is gravel, not paved, which may present problems for some wheelchair users.

Camping is a lot of work, but it was work well worth it. For us, it meant smores and corn hole. It also meant some not-so fun things, like ravens who knocked over anything left on the picnic tables and divebombed our Styrofoam coolers, shredding them to bits and feasting on everything inside (they literally ate everything, including raw eggs and grapes). While Mother Nature foiled us in the form of the ravens, it also awed us. We saw mountain lion tracks in the dirt not too far from where we pitched our tent. Because it was so brutally hot, mule deer came into the camp site multiple times a day to drink from the water spigots.

Laundry and Shower Facility: The showers were about a 10-minute walk away. They are located in the same building as the washers and dryers, and it was often busy in there. The first night we walked to the showers, but it was very, very dark trek, even with headlamps and flashlights. The remaining nights we drove because that felt safer than trying to navigate the wheelchair in the pitch black (even if it was beautiful to see the stars). There is handicap parking in front of the building.

The general shower facilities are paid, but there is family room that is wheelchair accessible and, bonus, it’s free. It’s a fairly large single room containing a toilet, sink, and shower. The shower has a fold-down bench inside of it.  The floor is tile and it gets slippery in there. 

You need a key to access the family room, so you’ll need the employee on duty to unlock it for you. The attendant also provided us with a clean bathmat and towels each time we went. We brought our own personal towels for bathing, so we used the provided towels to sop up the water on the floor.

Many people were charging their cell phones in this building (I’m not sure why as the cell phone coverage was spotty), but we used the outlets to charge the wheelchair.

Lodging: Even if you’re not a camper, all of the lodges have wheelchair-accessible rooms. We didn’t stay in the lodges, but we did go to several of them to eat and the dining rooms were also wheelchair accessible.

Wheelchairs can be rented from Bright Angel Bicycles, located next to Grand Canyon Visitor Center; 928-814-8704

If you're looking for more special needs resources, allow me to suggest my book, Beautiful Paradox: Musings, Marveling and Strategies of a Special Needs Parent.($4.99)

Or you can get the book along with 105 other resourceslike Abby Lawson’s eCourse on going paperless, Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Bullet Journaling for Book Lovers eCourse and the What’s 4 Dinner Challenge Meal Planning eCourse—in this year's Ultimate Homemaking Bundle

The Bundle is selling for $29.99, for a limited time. It has a 30-day happiness guarantee. If you try it out and you’re not satisfied, just ask for a refund within 30 days.

Win, win.

Get yours now, before the sale ends.