Surviving the Depths: Living in the Basement

If there is one think that I have learned in my life so far it is that living in the basement sucks. You do it for many reasons: cheaper rent, cooler summers, the occasional bigger space; But it really sucks.

Recently, I have been blessed with the opportunity to move into an above ground dwelling and I couldn’t be more happy. However, I was thinking that many of you might also hate the basement yet not have the luxury of moving at this time. I thought I would share some ideas to make your basement stay a little more pleasant and give you my thoughts on surviving the depths.

Continue reading “Surviving the Depths: Living in the Basement”

Tips for Dealing with Migraines

Ahhh sweet darkness. You will know what I mean if you get migraines frequently. Although I suffer from pretty consistent daily pain, nothing has made me feel worse than a migraine. My unfortunate journey into life with migraines started a few years back when I returned from a trip to Peru. My doctors do not really understand why I get them, but some guesses might be stress, weather change, or nerve damage. Over the years I have consulted many different people about how they deal with migraines and I have come up with a few myself. I thought I would share some of these tips in case it might help anyone else out. Of course it goes without saying, make sure you consult your family doctor before trying any of these tips. I am not a doctor and therefore know very little about the human body. It is important to ask a doctor so that you can be assessed with all your health history and personal context in mind.

1. Talk to your doctor

I know some people don’t like to see the doctor and I have already mentioned this above, but it is really important. There are certain medications people should not take when they experience frequent migraines and it is important to rule out other more serious conditions.

2. Take Advil (if you can)

I’m not a drug pusher, but sometimes a girl just needs an Advil. If you feel a migraine coming on it can help to take an Advil before the pain really starts. I find that the best time to take the Advil is right when I notice any aura in my vision. Keep in mind that there may be a point in the onset of a migraine in which Advil will no longer help you. I have personally found that once I reach the point that light hurts my eyes, Advil does nothing.

3. Relax

Relaxing is so important if you want to prevent and help a migraine subside. I have found that releasing neck tension really helps the severity and frequency of migraines. You may want to read a book, take a bath, or just sleep!

4. Embrace the Darkness

No don’t become the next Darth Vader, but yes do find a place where you can sit in darkness. Light can be one of the most pain inducing things when you have a migraine. Find a place where you can shut the blinds and turn off the lights. If this is not possible, consider buying a light blocking sleep mask. Resting in the dark for even a short time can help give your body that extra time to curb a bad migraine.

5. Hot or Cold

Hot or Cold can become your best friend when you have a migraine. Typically I find that placing a cold wash cloth on your forehead or over your eyes can do wonders for a bad migraine. Sometimes a hot wash cloth works better. You might even find benefit in drinking a hot or cold beverage. However, migraines tend to have a mind of their own so you might need to do some trial and error to see whether hot or cold works best for you.

6. Water

It is super important to stay hydrated when you a have migraine. Just like any headache or sickness, water helps flush bad stuff out of your body and replenish it. Dehydration causes many problems in our bodies so it is best to drink lots of water to help your migraine.

7. Hit the Hay

If all else fails and you cannot get rid of your migraine, just go to sleep. A short nap could be enough to rid yourself of the migraine. Likewise, sleep is one way the body can repair itself.

8. Keep a migraine journal

Sometimes it is helpful to figure out why you might be getting migraines. Do you get them every time it rains or snows? Does eating chocolate start a migraine? Do you get one if you don’t get enough sleep? Are you feeling very stressed? There are many different types of triggers for migraines and it can be helpful to know what triggers your migraines. If you are able to narrow it down, you may be able to remove some of the triggers from your life so that you can be migraine free.

 

I hope some of these tips might help you. Remember to ask a professional for help if you suffer frequently from migraines!

What do you do to help curb your migraines?

Horror

Zombies, Ghosts, Chainsaws and Blood, lots and lots of blood; these are just a few sights you might encounter as Halloween draws near. Although the things of Halloween or even horror movies seem harmless, I believe that there is much more to them than just fun and games. Let’s be blunt here and state one bias I might have. I am a Christian and my faith guides me away from these things, but I want to talk about this issue for reasons outside of my faith. Despite my stance on horror which was partially formed  because of my faith, not every Christian agrees. Many of my friends do participate and celebrate Halloween. They have no problem with horror movies or books. Their claim is that these things are harmless and do not affect their lives. They explain that being scared is part of the fun as it gives them a rush of adrenaline. However, I would like to explain my side of things. Continue reading “Horror”

Goals for October

Hi everyone,

I am a really goal orientated person and thrive when I have some laid out ideas of what I would like to accomplish. Goals are a tricky thing since you have to be well motivated to achieve them, they have to be attainable, and you have to be willing to possibly fail at reaching them. I have been feeling a little lost since I haven’t had goals set in awhile. Today all that is changing! I am going to make a small list of goals to hopefully achieve this month. I am going to start small and see how that goes. I am also going to try to write about how the goal setting went at the end of the month! (Look at me already setting a goal haha!) Okay here it goes!

  1. Finish the thank you letters for my wedding.

I have no idea how many of you readers are married or have ever been given the task of writing thank you letters. Right now, thank you letters are the bane of my existence. They haunt me every where I turn in my apartment! I am so thankful for all the lovely wedding gifts we have received and really do want to show my appreciation, but handwriting hundreds of cards was a huge mistake on my part. I think my hand is literally going to fall off! This month I hope to conquer the remaining cards and deliver the rest that remain on my coffee table.

2. Write more.

I love to write. I really do. I find that it is the best way for me to express my thoughts and my ideas. I feel more confident when I write and I love to explore where my mind takes me. I have contributed to some published material in the form of editing, but I would really love to pursue some of my own personal ideas. I want to write more blog posts and I want to start writing the books that have been floating around my mind for years. My goal is to write something (non-school related) at least twice a week.

3. Schedule more. 

The past year or so I have been so busy that my brain is fried. I keep forgetting to do things  and I know that I thrive better when I schedule things out. In fact, when I write a to-do list it often relievers stress for me. When I write something down, I feel like I don’t have to worry about it anymore. This goal is basically to use my agenda more. I want to be organized and de-stress myself so that I do better in school, my daily life, and be more healthy in general.

There you have it! Three goals that I want to achieve in the month of October. I think they are fairly attainable goals and I am excited to try them out. I look forward to telling you all how they went at the end of the month!

What is a goal you have set for October? 

Change

As I mentioned in my last post, a lot has changed recently in my life. I have been struggling with these changes and feeling quite down. I am quite introverted which doesn’t always help in situations like these. I tend to think very deeply about things and want to try to think everything out before reaching a solution. However, as many of you might have already experienced, solutions don’t always present themselves right away.

I have been thinking a lot about change and have come to realize a few things about it. I used to think change was always bad. It used to mean unpredictability or chaos. Change caused a lot of anxiety when I thought about it as something bad. Recently I have started to  alter my ideas around change. Change does not always mean something bad. It is just something new. I think about nature and how each season of the year brings something new, but also something beautiful.

In this new season of life so many things have changed, but some really amazing and beautiful things have happened. Marriage is not always a popular thing to pursue. Countless people told me I was stupid to get married, that I would end up divorced, that I am too young, etc. I think they are wrong though. Yes, marriage is difficult, but it is also one of the most beautiful and fulfilling things on this earth. I believe that we are all made to love and to be in relationship with other human beings. Whether that be in a romantic relationship, a friendship or a family relationship, humans are meant to be together. I have learned so much in my first 2 months of marriage and have learned that I can love much more than I ever thought was possible. Adjusting to that change has been hard, but so worth it.

Another big change is a transition from undergraduate work to masters level work. Wow. Am I ever struggling to keep afloat. It is seriously hard to maintain relationships, work, and do school work. I have cried so many times this month about how I will be able to handle it all. Despite these darker times, I can reflect and see good coming from these trials. For example, I have learned sooooo much in such a short time. I am currently in a counselling program and it has opened my eyes to so many things that are personal strengths and weaknesses. I probably would never have learned these things if I had not started pursuing my masters degree.

I am not an expert and I am not sure if this post will be helpful to others, but it has been a good way of reminding myself of the good in depressing times. I am still trying to figure everything out myself. However, I feel better writing out my thoughts and hopefully helping at least one other person with some changes in their life. Maybe I will even continue to post updates about how I am handling these changes if it will help.

~ Katie

Let the Rain Fall Down

Hi everyone,

Today I was thinking about how many stressors I have in life right now. Of course there are people who are much worse off, but lately I’ve been feeling quite burdened. I have a lot of paper work to do in order to apply to this specialized job position I have on my radar, I have to apply for scholarships, I have papers, wedding planning, practicums, the list won’t end! As I was going through this mental list I began to think of what calms me down.

First, removing any stressors I can really helps. Finishing assignments and applications is mega helpful. However, doing that is not always possible. With this in mind I wanted to share two things that really help me focus and relax. Often when I have a lot of work to do  I will put on audio of something that is relaxing, but not distracting. My two favs are rain sounds and some nice jazzy coffee shop music. Check them out in the links below:

 

I hope that these audio clips will help you maintain your focus and relax you as you try to get on with your busy days!

Best of luck!

Katie

What Not to do: Wedding Planning

Hi Everyone!

So maybe you are in the same boat as me and my fiancé and you are planning a wedding. If so then you will understand what I am about to say next: Weddings are STRESSFUL!

Don’t get me wrong, weddings are wonderful, beautiful and happy occasions. I am so happy to be marrying the love of my life in a few months time, but they are difficult to plan. In light of this, I thought I would make a list of all the things I have learned NOT to do during the process of planning. Perhaps it will save you some headaches.

  1. Don’t freak out. Yes there is a lot going on and lots to do, but don’t panic. It will get done. Freaking out only upsets you and your partner.
  2. Don’t plan it alone. You may be tempted to take the world upon your shoulders to make the day perfect. Don’t kill yourself through the stress. Instead choose some trusted people (parents, friends, bridesmaids, etc.) and ask them to help with certain tasks. Get the groom involved too! Maybe he is really into a certain portion of the wedding planning in which case, let him be the king of that area. For example, my guy loves music, so he is the boss of the wedding playlist.
  3. Don’t stress eat. Girl. You need to fit that dress! Don’t eat to relieve the stress of planning. Reduce the planning stress and eat healthy!
  4. Don’t go gym crazy! Girl. You don’t need to lift the groom over the threshold… Don’t exercise so much that it consumes your life and makes you look like someone your groom won’t recognize. Exercise enough to stay healthy and just choose a few areas to work on if you are concerned.
  5. Don’t chain yourself to planning. Do other things too. Your wedding is important, but so is your job, your school work, taking your dog on a walk…
  6. Don’t forget to enjoy it. God-willing, this will be your first and only wedding. Enjoy the experience of planning your special day and cherish the moments with your significant other. Make beautiful memories of this special time!

There you have it! 6 no-nos when planning your wedding. I’m sure there are tons more but I’m still learning as I go!

-Katie

Share your wedding planning No-Nos in a comment below!

The Apartment of Desire

We as humans are defined by many things. For some its our ability to reason, (some seem to be lacking in this though). For others they define it by the state of evolutionary cycle we are in (I’ll talk about that one after I finish Origin of a Species) and even some define it by having a soul (I honestly don’t know if All Dogs Go To Heaven). According to some philosophers and episode thirty eight of Avengers; Earths Mightiest Heroes, we as humans are defined by our capacity to strive for something more than basic needs. Most animals strive for survival and multiplying. Sounds like a nice simple life sometimes.

Today I am speaking on my favourite movie; The Apartment. It’s an old 1960 romantic comedy starring Jack Lemmon. In the movie Lemmon plays insurance accountant C.C. Baxter. A humble, hard worker who works alone, goes home alone and lives utterly alone in New York seemingly without a friend. He is respectful, kind to everyone, and giving to the point of harming of himself (I’m sure some can relate to this).

With his pursuit to make something of his life, and not being able to say no to anybody he is in the unusual predicament with his apartment of loaning it out to higher-up men in the company to have affairs in. He really doesn’t like doing it, but they are pushy and make promises of helping his career. Indeed his career is helped, but at what cost? In all this he strives for a higher position for some self-esteem. And maybe even to make a friend amoung those who use him and call him “buddy boy”.

The other main character of this movie is Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), an elevator girl (yup. It’s that old of a movie) who has made all the wrong mistakes in her life and is stuck living with her married sister and working a dead-end job. The only recent thing she enjoyed in her life was the affair with the company’s boss; Jeff D. Sheldrake (Played by Fred MacMurray). She loves him and tried to call it all off when his wife came back to the city after being away for the summer, but she could not get away. She wanted out, but he sucked her back in for his own pleasure. Now she is a torn-up soul feeling broken and ashamed of her life. The only hope she has is that Jeff will leave his wife for her, which he continues to promise without any intention of doing so.

The other characters of this film, including Jeff D. Sheldrake are the ones classified as “takers”. It seems that this entire building is overflowing with sexual escapades and affairs of people seeking pleasure and self-profit. The men take advantage of Baxter (Jack Lemmon) time and time again, preying on his timid-giving nature. Not to mention all of the women they keep taking emotional advantage of for their own physical pleasure. “Some people are takers, and others get taken”. “That’s just the way it crumbles… cookie wise that is”.

In the end after much drama and a suicide attempt; C.C. Baxter gets his big office and the status to match on the high up floor. Sheldrake gets divorced by his wife who discovered the affair. So Sheldrake and Fran can be together. So the two are together and Baxter can get his office. Win-win right? Wrong. Each one of these characters are seeking the wrong thing in the wrong place.

We are defined by what we seek. Whatever our primary drive is, whatever we work the hardest on, think the most on, spend the most time on; is master of our life. Luke 16:13 says “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despite the other. You cannot serve both God and money”. This verse is specific to money, but it applies in many other cases. Another is Romans 8:5 “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit”. Almost everyone in this movie is most focused on their own fleshly pleasure. So what could they succeed in other than pleasure? This is a pursuit many pursue in life and they find themselves empty after the high, and hopefully; ashamed. Baxter was only focused on business and financial success. This is the basis of which our entire economic structure is based on! So what can we accomplish other than that materialistic and statured success if that is what our life goal is? In the end, we will find that riches and success do not make us happy. They leave us longing for something more, and we can’t take it with us after this short life ends anyway. And Fran was looking for love. What else would she be able to find but love? She almost didn’t even find that. Yes, she did end up with Baxter and it’s a touching happy ending without being too sappy (PERFECT!). But love is fleeting. People toss around the world love like it’s nothing and then lose the love and get divorced. And it’s devastating.

But is that all we are meant to achieve in life? Hollywood makes it seem like all we can ever hope to obtain in life is love and self-achievement. These aren’t bad things. These are GREAT things. But there is some things even GREATER that nobody in this movie achieves. This is the pursuit of salvation and relationship with God. They are by-far the most joyful, long-lasting pleasurable, and most successful thing we can hope to have because they are things beyond the restraints of this crappy world. And even better is the promise in Mathew 6:33 said by Jesus himself; “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”. “These things” refer to our needs. Our need to belong, to have love and purpose. God will provide when we focus on him. So what is best to strive for then?

Gross

It is fall. My favourite season! I love how the colours of leaves start to change and the weather is the perfect temperature. I love how you can finally wear those cute sweaters and boots too! The only thing I dislike about fall is the yearly fall flu. Some years I’m lucky and escape the dreaded invasion, but this year I did not. As a lay here in bed surrounded by assignments, I thought, “Hey! why not write a blog post about it!” So here I am talking to you about the flu and what I do to feel better.

  1. Get some rest if you can. It is super important because it will give your body time to heal.
  2. Drink some tea. I have a badly sore stomach so I’m trying some mint tea right now. However, there are so many great teas to drink that are great when you are not feeling well. The important thing is to keep hydrated!
  3. Drugs. I don’t think you should take drugs if you can do without, but if you are in pain or about to throw up, an advil or some gravol could do some good.
  4. Watch some TV. Netflix is a great choice to occupy time if you are stuck in bed. (If you need some ideas, a blog I follow called Ordinary Adventures has some great recommendations.) If you don’t have netflix, try channel surfing or watching a movie you love.
  5. Read. Sometimes T.V. doesn’t cut it and you might need to engage your mind further. A good fiction novel really helps pass the time and allows you to get your rest.
  6. Eat. It is really important to keep eating even if you don’t feel like it. Soup, crackers, or toast are some good light options when you have no appetite.
  7. See the Doc. If your sickness is lasting too long or there is something unusual about your sickness it is best to see a professional. A doctor can diagnose you and give you better treatment if it is something a bit of rest can’t cure.

There are tons of things you can do to help get yourself feeling back to your old self, but I hope that these few tips will work for you.

What do you do when you are sick? How do you get better?

From one bedridden gal,

Katie