Do Not Disturb

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Do Not Disturb.”

When it comes to online privacy, I abide by a very strict rule:

I absolutely  DO NOT do any online banking.

Yes, it is convenient. I know that. For me though, the convenience isn’t worth the risk of my computer being hacked or my bank’s computer being hacked and my personal financial information being compromised. I have two anti-virus programs on my computer. Norton scans weekly, while AVG scans every day warns me whenever there is a security threat.. With any sort of online presence (Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, etc) there is always the potential for personal information to be out there, but I do try to mitigate that risk as much as I possibly can by having my security options on the highest setting. I also am very choosy about what information I share, including what my status updates are, and what tweets I am putting out there.Like I do not put where specifically I live, and I do not put the dates I will be out of town or in the hospital out there. I do not have a foursquare account because I don’t feel like I need to tell people everywhere I am going and when I am there. I feel like that would just make me an easier target, and I am all about not making myself someone else’s target..I also engage in the practice of not giving out my SSN on the telephone. If someone is asking for that over the phone, that’s a huge red flag for me. Believe it or not, that’s not the case for some people.

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It’s a Text, Text, Text, Text, World

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “It’s a Text, Text, Text, Text World.”

I am one of those people who prefers to communicate via text, email, or messenger, than face-to-face. Being in a face-to-face conversation with someone makes my social anxiety start to kick in. Now, I can send mass emails out every day to 50+ people, like I do with my prayer reminders and it doesn’t bother me, because I am not face-to-face with those people. But being in an in person conversation with someone gets me started stuttering really bad. That’s only something I do when I am anxious. It doesn’t take much for my social anxiety to kick in- just a typical family get together does it for me. I am lucky that my parents (who typically host those get togethers) understand and always have a quiet room I can escape to if I need to decompress and get myself together a bit so that I can go back out and suffer through the rest of the event. You probably think I’m kidding when I say “suffer”, but I’m not. For me it is suffering. I would rather have a root canal than go to a gathering of people.

That being said, in a written way, I have found that I have to be very deliberate about what I say, so that I can convey the correct emotions, and my intent with what I am saying. I can’t say something like, “God, I’m so angry I could kill them in their sleep”, and expect the person I am sending that written message to, to understand that I am not serious about that. I also have learned to be very clear in my meaning of things because, the person I am sending it to may understand that I am just joking or speaking out of frustration (an understand just what a sarcastic asshole I am), but anyone who happens to look through that person’s phone, on their Facebook wall, or their DM’s on Twitter, may not have the same understanding of what I am saying that the person I sent the message to does. When someone doesn’t understand the intent of the written message, whether it is be because they don’t know me or they take everything as literal, that is when problems can occur. So I always make sure to say that I am just joking, or that I would never actually do that and am just venting from frustration.

Age-Old Questions

“Age is just a number,” says the well-worn adage. But is it a number you care about, or one you tend (or try) to ignore?

It’s been a very long time since I have posted here. I know, I know. It’s not that a lot hasn’t gone one lately, because there’s been plenty of things happening in my life. However, I just haven’t felt like I’ve had much to say. *shrugs*

This prompt comes at an interesting time for me. I am six days away from turning 33-years old. Or, as an old friend of mine taught me, in six days I am going to be celebrating the twelfth anniversary of my 21st birthday. lol I am really excited to be in my thirties! The reason I am so excited is quite simple. I was born in 1981 with Spina Bifida and when I was born, I wasn’t given very good prospects for quality of life. If I recall correctly, my mom was told that if I survived I would be a vegetable. I would never walk, talk, feed myself, mentally retarded, etc. Well, I can talk, I walked on crutches until I was sixteen, I can feed myself, I am most definitely not mentally retarded and, most importantly, I am alive. Yes, I use a wheelchair to get around, my joints ache more than they used to, I get exhausted much easier than I used to, and my health is something that I focus on quite often. But the main point is that I am alive! So yeah, I do care about my age since every time I have a birthday, that is one year longer than the doctors expected me to live when I was first born.

Against All Odds

Tell us about a situation where you’d hoped against all hope, where the odds were completely stacked against you, yet you triumphed. Be sure to describe your situation in full detail. Tell us all about your triumph in all its glory.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us LONGSHOT.

A time where all the odds were completely stacked against me, but I triumphed in the end.  Hmm.  There was one time that really jumps out at me. I guess you could say that I triumphed, but I believe that God is the one who triumphed in my situation.  The date was August 2, 1981. That was the day that I was  born. You see, I was born with a birth defect called Spina Bifida. It is a neural tube defect. I have a type called myelomeningocele.  So, not only was my spinal column not completely formed, but my spinal cord and meninges (the tissues covering the spinal cord) were sticking out of my back. In 1981, there was no way to tell if you were carrying a baby with Spina Bifida, or any other kind of neural tube defect. So, when I was born, it was a complete shock to my mom.

Back in those days, the standard way to dealing with Spina Bifida, was not to close the child’s back, put them in a home, and let them die. I am lucky that my mom chose not to do that. I believe that God spoke into her heart to fight for me, and she listened. So my first surgery was when I was less than a day old. My back was closed, but Mom was told that I would never walk, never talk, never think for myself, and be a vegetable for my entire life.  A few weeks after my birth, I developed a condition known as hydrocephalus- which is the build up of spinal fluid on the brain. So, I had a shunt implanted at that point. A shunt is a tube that move spinal fluid off the brain and into the abdominal cavity.  After I had that, I was allowed to go home to my mom and older brother. I have a biological father too, but I don’t have anything to do with Bill. I’m completely okay with that since I have a wonderful dad who, I believe, God picked out just to be my dad!

Contrary to what the doctors predicted in 1981, I walked for sixteen years, until I had surgery to take care of the tethering in my spinal cord. There was a lot of nerve damage caused in the course of the surgery and subsequent complications, that ended up with me being in a wheelchair. While I have had chronic pain for years, I do live on my own (with the help of my caregiver during the day) with my cat, a run a daily email prayer ministry, and I’ve taken college classes towards a Psychology degree. I am a freelance writer and editor- and am working on my first novel, ‘A Miner Prince’.

Some days are more difficult than others and I still have my medical struggles. That translates to; ‘I spend a considerable amount of time in the refiner’s fire’. I feel very, very, very blessed that God has put so much time and energy in  to me. I am absolutely convinced that He has a plan for my life, and part of His plan is for me to be disabled, have Rheumatoid Arthritis, and be a chronic pain patient. Some days I do not like that plan, but He knows better than I do what He is going to do with me in my circumstances.

That being said, I can’t say that I have been the one to triumph against all odds, but God has used me as a vehicle to tell people about Him and share my story with them.

No-Bake Energy Sticks

I’m always interested in new snacks, and this looks like a wonderful snack that I really want to try.

Maggie May's

I’ve noticed that we have become a little reliant on granola and other fruit bars for our kids when we are out and about. They are easy and convenient but I know they are full of sugar and really have no nutrients.

I decided to try these no-bake energy bites and see how they went over at our house.

DSC04936

You can swap out any ingredients you like, but here is what I used.

1 cup oats
3/4 cup almond butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1/3 cup shredded coconut

When you look at the list this way, you realize how great these things are:

1 cup soluable fiber, dietary fiber, and protein (oats)
3/4 cup vitamin E, fiber, and protein (almond butter)
1/2 cup natural sweetener (honey)
1/2 cup antioxidants (raisins)
1/4 cup fiber, omega-3 essential fatty acids, protein, and…

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Daily Prompt: SOS

You’re at the beach, lounging on your towel, when a glistening object at the water’s edge catches your eye. It’s a bottle — and yes, it contains a message. What does it say?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us WATER.

Just by the fact that I am lounging on a towel at the beach in the scenario, says that it’s never gonna happen. For two reasons, actually.

1) Sandy beaches and wheelchairs do not mix. At all. By any stretch of the imagination.

2) I wouldn’t be caught dead lounging on a towel and/or in a bathing suit at a beach.

The latter is just a personal thing. I am much too shy to be caught wearing a bathing suit. I would say, maybe if I weighed 50lbs less, but, no. Not even if I weighed 50lbs less would I be caught in a bathing suit. Some people would say that’s modesty, but I disagree in my case. I’m just shy. I’m even shy in a crowd of people I have known forever, or am related to.

But that’s not the point of this prompt. So, let’s say that I found a bottle with a message in it. The message would say: “The reason most people do not recognize an opportunity when they meet it is because it usually goes around wearing overalls and looking like Hard Work.”

That is one of my favorite quotes. It first appeared unaccredited in the May 18, 1921 issue of Logansport Pharos Tribune. Since, the quote has been commonly attributed to Thomas Edison. To me, that means, if you want something bad enough, you have to put forth the effort to achieve it. If you want a tomato garden, the tomatoes likely are not going to plant themselves. You have to get your gardening tools and tomato plants together to plant them. And then you have to lovingly tend those plants so that they will get bigger and tomatoes can grow on them. Hopes and dreams are a lot like a tomato plant. If you don’t do something to help them flourish, they wither away and die.

Daily Prompt: Quirk of Habit

Which quirky habit annoys you the most, and what quirky habit do you love — in yourself, or others.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us QUIRKY.

It’s hard for me to say which quirky habit I love in myself or others. Maybe it’s because I don’t notice the habits I love….but I sure do notice the ones that annoy me! lol When people snap their gum, it annoys the crap out of me!

I would have to say, one habit will have that annoys the crap out of me, is when they snap their gum! First off, I think people look like cows chewing their cud when they chew gum. When I was younger, this never seem to bother me. I even chewed gum myself quite a lot. When I was a teenager, I would say seventh or eighth grade maybe, I got braces. I also had this torture device put in called a palet widner – one of those things where you turn a key once a day and it widens your palet. Of course an orthodontist would be the one to come up with something like that; I expect anybody that is in a profession involving the cleaning of, straightening, drilling, or cavity filling of teeth can be at least minimally proficient in torturing people. Even if that torture is inadvertent.

Anyway, I have this condition called TMJ. I know what it stands for, but I am too lazy right now to figure out how to spell those words… LOL. So with this condition where my jaw would routinely pop, lockup, or seem to come out of joint (yes that’s painful), I was also put in this contraption that my jaw in line. Including the braces I had, that was a whole lot of metal in my mouth.

So I could not chew gum for a couple of years, and totally fell out of the habit. That was years and years ago- almost twenty years! (Note: God that makes me feel old!) Since then, I have had the urge to chew gum off and on….and I do. But it’s not very often, typically only if I have a blow pop. But I’ve largely fallen out of chewing gum because I feel like I look like a cow chewing it’s cud to other people, like they do to me! I’m weird, I know. lol

 

Daily Prompt: Progress

When you look back at your blog on January 2, 2015, what would you like to see?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us PROGRESS.

When I look back at this blog on January 2, 2015, I want to see that I have moved forward in my life.I do not have a bad life by any means, but I still crave to move forward on some level. The biggest way that I want to see progress is in continuing to have stable health. I have learned over the past 32 years living with Spina Bifida that the status of my health can do a 180° turn at the drop of a hat. The most recent example of this happened at the end of October. I went to see a movie with my parents (we saw Capt. Phillips) and we ate dinner in the food court. I returned back home not feeling very well. I was having a lot of pain in my sternum, which happens from time to time, but I figured that if I would lay down and sleep for a while it would go away. Instead I had thrown up three times in less than three hours; which was followed a couple hours later with explosive diarrhea. I have a colostomy so that made a huge mess. By 10 o’clock the following morning I was rushed to the emergency room via ambulance. I ended up staying in the hospital for four or five days. I was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection, C diff, and costochondritis.

From the standpoint of living standards I would like to be living in a different apartment. I am thankful that God has given me the means to live where I do and do so independently, but the building I currently live in is beginning to be a bit of a dump. There are cracks in the walls, the water pipes leak all the time and the water is turned off about every 10 days to fix a leak, there is an infestation of German cockroaches as well as bedbugs. Not to mention that the neighborhood I live in is getting more dangerous as they gang activity becomes more prominent.

Professionally (I use that word loosely) I would like to look back on 2014, and see that I have finished the first draft for my novel ‘The Miner Prince’. I do some freelance writing and editing work now, but I would really like to do more this year. 

When you look back on 2014, 365 days from now, what is it you would like to see that you have accomplished? 

 

 

It’s been a while

Hi everybody! I know it’s been a while since I last wrote, I had some things come up, and I’ve been distracted for a while.

In early December, I was out with my mom for dinner and to go watch the music, I ended up breaking my leg in two places and have been laid up for a while. I hope that I won’t be like this for much longer, as they said there is a possibility that I will only have to wear the huge immobilizer on my leg for another four weeks.

This evening, some women from church came over to where I live and sing Christmas carols outside my window. I can’t go out right now so it was really nice to have them at the window singing the Christmas carols.

Having them come over even if I could not go outside was really nice. I’ve always enjoyed Christmas carols and having them sing them this time was no exception.

Even with my late being and pain today, and having a really rough night last night, I was still able to enjoy the songs. I feel so blessed that God put it on their hearts to come visit me tonight. I found out a week or so ago that this was planned and I’ve been so excited ever since; I certainly was not disappointed!

I go back to see my orthopedic surgeon on the 20th and hopefully, I will not have to wear this big, bulky immobilizer all the time. I hope that they will be able to put me in something smaller and that I will be able to get around easier. One of the fractures is right below my knee, so I have to keep my knee straight all the time. I’ve never realized before how much easier it was for me to get around before this happened.

I have always been a believer that when something like this happens it is because I am either supposed to learn something from it or minister to someone else. If I am supposed to learn something from this, I would have preferred that God teach me in a less painful manner. Who knows though, maybe he didn’t try but I didn’t listen. I can be stubborn when I want to so that would not surprise me one bit. I just hope that whatever it is I’m supposed to learn from this, I’ve learned so that I don’t have to do it again.

That is all that I can think of for now, but I hope that I will be able to write more often like I was doing. I hope that everyone had a good Christmas and you will all have a good 2014.

I will talk to you again soon,

Erin

PS: I read this post with my Dragon dictating software. I got it for Christmas, and it’s made this so much easier!