Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: A December to Remember

Photo by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas on Pexels.com

I don’t know about you but, it’s been a “doozie” of a year for me. I titled this A December to Remember because it’s a time, a month we should use to reflect on the year and to prepare for next year. You can’t get ready for next year, next year. Well, you can. No pressure. But I suggest taking a week or two to look at your goals and see where you stand. It doesn’t matter what you didn’t do because it can be tabled, removed, or moved to next year. It can be revised and revamped.

Celebrate what you accomplished. Show gratitude.

However, take a bird’s eye view of your life. Where are you? Where do you want to go? Are you on track or off track? How will you get there? You must write the vision and make things plain.

Also, don’t forget your spiritual journey. It’s of utmost importance. How did that go this year? What did you learn? Did you grow?

This month I will probably be blogging more than usual as I share my top 12 lessons and a combination of observations of my year. It certainly was my year of endings as I knew that in the beginning of the year but, I was quite sure how that would unfold. Let alone, how to prepare for it.

~Nikki

How do you feel about your year? Was it what you expected?

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Wondering Why, Longing for Normal

Respect your body when it’s asking for a break. Respect your mind when it’s seeking rest. Honor yourself when you need a moment for yourself. -unknown

GM! The morning after a day of bone crushing pain can be odd. Thanks to prayer and prednisone you physically feel better but, mentally and emotionally, you’re not quite together. I feel deep compassion and empathy for those that suffer from chronic pain or chronic illnesses. Sometimes all I can do is wonder why it must be this way. I enjoyed those years I was in remission from rheumatoid arthritis disease and the days I’d never heard of fibromyalgia. On the bright side for me, at least it wasn’t ill when my daughter was an infant. Also, if I would have known the future, I would have followed ALL of my dreams full speed ahead.

But we don’t have the luxury of knowing the future and I am sure that would not always be a good thing. We’d live in fear and sorrow or dread. With that being said, it’s like how depression and anxiety works. I get so tired of hurting it makes me depressed about the future at times. I get so worried about how the future will turn out at times; I get anxious about it. When the pain is severe as it was yesterday, the only thing I yearn for is to just have a normal life. I know what normal was like before Rheumatoid Disease and Fibromyalgia. I could be tired without pain.

~Nikki

It Finally Got Me

Covid. Fortunately, I have a mild case and by now I am past the initial phase of fever. My most dominant symptoms were extreme fatigue and sleepiness. I could hardly sit up or stay awake. My fever broke quickly as I only had it one day. I did have sharp head pain off and on. But overall, I have been blessed not to have it as so many others have had it. I also pray there are no long-term effects because I have enough long-term health issues for this lifetime.

The body is strange or maybe I should say, amazing? During this time with Covid I haven’t had much joint pain or muscle pain until yesterday. This is an indication for me that Covid is leaving the body. You see, rheumatoid disease and fibromyalgia are conditions in which the immune system attacks itself. This is why they are considered autoimmune diseases. Well, my body still has the “sense” to fight other foreign things when it enters the body such as Covid. For a time, it stopped fighting itself and has been fighting Covid.

This morning has been a slow morning. I feel weak and as if I am dragging along. I don’t think it’s Covid. I think it’s just me as this happens some mornings. It’s very cold here in Memphis today. I can’t tell if it’s physical, chemical, or mental or all of the above. There’s a hint of moodiness and melancholy. Usually, on the bright side, things tend to get better as the morning moves on. I will help myself by doing some yoga and controlling what I can. I may drink an energy drink as well!

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: “Okay. I’m Praying for You.”

When I was a young adult, in my 20’s, I am sure I thought I knew everything or at least enough to make my own decisions. My dad is not one to get in your business. He’s not one to insert himself into his children’s affairs often. But when he does, we listen. We may not follow the advice or heed the warnings because well, we were in our 20’s.

At times we would go back and forth about a thing and my dad would say, “Okay. I’m praying for you.” It took me until now, at age 47, to realize that at a certain point in conversation with a child that thinks they know what they are doing or refuses to heed your warning, you have said all you can say. There was never a shouting match with my dad. When he saw he wasn’t getting through or he had said all he needed to say, “Okay. I am praying for you” would end the conversation. After you’ve said all you can say, beaten a dead horse maybe, there is nothing else to say. All you can do is pray for the child.

I was having a conversation with my young adult and I felt like I was trying to drive in a point to no avail. I found myself repeating the same thing and getting frustrated. Then suddenly, I realized I had said enough and she wasn’t going to change her mind even if she was listening. I stopped and said, “Okay. I am praying for you.” At that moment I realized, I am now my dad and she is me.

~Nikki

No Stress November? Really?

Pathway in the autumn forest

This is the time of the year many of us are wrapping up our goals. The holidays are upon us. There is also the putting away of summer clothing, summer items and putting the fall and winter things where they belong. It’s the organization and preparation of your home for winter. There are events, celebrations, festivals, and family gatherings. Finances and traveling factor in as well. What can we do to make sure we don’t become overwhelmed and “wig out”?

Keep your routine of exercise and eating as healthy as possible. Don’t neglect your self-care routine either. Get a massage to help you with all of the stress or do an Epsom salt soak in the tub.

Keep to your routine of prayer, meditation, daily devotions and religious services.

Make a budget and STICK TO IT.

Remember, YOU CAN’T DO EVERYTHING OR EVERY ACTIVITY. You can’t make it to EVERYONE’S EVENT.

With that being said, decide what you are going to and where you are going to in advance. Also, leave room for adventure. Be flexible to change. We should know by now things don’t always go according to plan and we must be able to adapt. Oh, and adjust our attitudes in the process! Your FUNKY little attitude can affect the group and ruin everything.

Apologize.

Take off your cape and learn to say NO. Take off your control freak cape and delegate things to others. They can handle it and it doesn’t have to be exactly how you want it done.

Take a breather and some time alone. Go for a nature walk or a walk in the neighborhood. Listen to music. Read a book. Stargaze.

Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too. -Mayoclinic.com

Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events or communities. Many may have websites, online support groups, social media sites or virtual events. They can offer support and companionship. If you’re feeling stress during the holidays, it also may help to talk to a friend or family member about your concerns. Try reaching out with a text, a call or a video chat. Volunteering your time or doing something to help others is also a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships. For example, consider dropping off a meal and dessert at a friend’s home during the holidays. -Mayoclinic.com

If you have any tips, chime in!

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Losing My Religion

Losing My Religion is a song by this rock/alternative group, R.E.M and the title of this song is the best way to describe how I felt last Sunday. I was annoyed, irritated about the circumstances at my home church and it felt like a pile up of emotions crashing down and around me. I felt a sinking feeling. I felt literally nauseous in my spirit. Sickening. All of this gave me a panicking feeling as I headed home from service.

I had never felt this intensity of what I felt. I felt like giving up on God. (I know the super-saints or super religious could never relate). I felt like giving up on my religion. I searched for something that explained how I was feeling. It wasn’t until the next day, and I was still feeling unsettled, that I heard a message from one of my favorite pastors that somewhat made sense of what I was feeling. Somewhat.

It wouldn’t be until yesterday morning it came to me. “Let nothing separate you from the love of God.” Don’t let the actions, a person, a situation separate you from the love of God. Don’t get so caught up in things you can’t control, people you can’t control, you become so agitated, frustrated, and angry that you give up on God. This made me see that I had become so engrossed with the “wrongness”, with the grotesque situation, I was becoming ill. I was also losing site of WHO was in control of the situation and that person IS NOT ME. I cannot control people. However, I can let my voice be heard. And there will be a time for that.

You’ll be happy to know that I am okay now and I decided to “Keep My Religion” (HA! THE REMIX). It’s my choice. It’s my freedom. I respect others choices and freedoms because it’s only right to do so.

~Nikki

What to Do When It’s a Friend or Loved One w/Anxiety or Depression Pt 7

Avoid minimizing

People face all kinds of unpleasant situations in life. Some of these challenges have a much broader or far-reaching impact than others.

It’s not for anyone else to say how upset someone should (or shouldn’t) feel about any given type of distress.

Comparing a loved one’s difficulties with problems faced by other people often happens inadvertently, as an attempt at consolation.

You might intend to cheer them up by saying things like, “It could be a lot worse,” or “At least you still have a job.” This denies them their experience and often implies they shouldn’t feel bad in the first place.

No matter how trivial you think someone’s concern is, avoid brushing it off.

Sure, maybe the lecture your best friend received from her boss wouldn’t have bothered you. But you can’t fully understand her experience or emotional response, so it’s not fair to minimize her feelings.

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/emotional-support#avoid-minimizing

My thoughts: When I was younger and I was having these mood swings or thoughts, my parents told me to “pray about it”. I really didn’t understand the whole concept of God and prayer. As time went on, not only did I not pray about it, I did nothing about it for a very long time and it was just accepted behavior or “something is wrong with that one”.

Since I have become older and I finally started to not only get the help I need but, also to understand what it was I was dealing with, my parents seem to have grown as well. They have somewhat of a better understanding and acceptance that praying is necessary but, so is self-help (meditation, reading, exercising, etc.) and therapy.

I figured out who I could talk to and who I could not by the responses of those in my circle. If I was minimized, if anxiety and depression was minimized, if they stared at me as if I had a unicorn horn in the middle of my forehead, or the pompous, “Sorry, I don’t have anxiety. So, I don’t know what to tell you”, I never opened my mouth to those people again. When they ask me what’s wrong, I say, “Nothing.”

~Nikki

What to Do When It’s a Friend or Loved One w/Anxiety or Depression Pt 6

Build them up

Times of personal difficulty, especially ones involving rejection, can bring people down and make them doubt themselves and their abilities.

If you notice someone you care for seems to be a little low, harder on themselves than usual, or going through some self-doubt, a sincere compliment or two can go a long way toward improving their outlook.

When offering compliments, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind:

  • Keep them relevant to the current situation. For example, you might remind a friend who’s upset about a mistake at work about their usual pattern of success.
  • Choose compliments that highlight specific strengths over empty compliments that might apply to anyone. Instead of simply saying “You’re so thoughtful,” pinpoint what makes them thoughtful and share your appreciation for that skill.
  • Don’t gush. A well-placed compliment can make someone feel great. Overdoing it can make people skeptical of the compliments, or even a little uncomfortable (even when you do really mean them).

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/emotional-support#positivity

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Big Mad

I decided to give up asking for a mate and looking for a mate. I am not happy about this but, I have a feeling God is delighted. I feel God was waiting on this decision so that we can move on. While God and all of heaven may be rejoicing, I am not. I made this decision Thursday and my mood has not been good to say the least. However, I was informed that God does not need my feelings to be in tune right now, he needs my ears. He needs me to listen. He does not need my feelings. He needs my obedience.

Ever since Thursday, the day I made the decision, God has been speaking to me in various ways. As I sat on the porch and that night, I heard, “I am here” over and over. I saw the numbers, 3333, 33, and 333 Thursday night and Friday. I listened to a prayer Friday morning and I know God was speaking to me via that prayer and certain scripture. I know God was speaking to me as I read. I know God was speaking to me as I listened to a sermon. My mood was dry. I was in a funk. I was feeling afraid, angry, and confused.

But God was not concerned with my feelings. Oh, God cares about my feelings but, was not alarmed or concerned. God didn’t need my feelings to line up with what was being said. God just needed to know I was listening. God is requesting my obedience to what I am hearing. God knows my feelings will subside and different feelings will arise.

God reminded me that this is evolution. For the most part, it will not be easy and it will not feel good but it has its rewards. In the end, I will want for nothing.

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

James 1:3-4, The Holy Bible (that word perfect in this text means mature, whole)

~Nikki

What to Do When It’s a Friend or Loved One w/Anxiety or Depression Pt 5

Skip the advice

You might think you’re helping someone by telling them how to fix a problem. But, generally speaking, people don’t want advice unless they request it.

Even when you know you have the right solution, don’t offer it unless they specifically ask something like, “What do you think I should do?” or “Do you know of anything that might help?”

If they’ve moved from “venting” to “talking through the problem,” a better approach often involves using reflective questions to help them find solutions on their own.

You might, for example, say something like:

  • “Have you been in a situation like this before? What helped then?”
  • “Can you think of any specific changes that might help you feel better?”

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/emotional-support#avoid-advice

I know you know everything or maybe you know exactly what to do BUT, SKIP THE ADVICE UNLESS YOU ARE ASKED!

~Nikki