I am not

iamnot

 

I am allowed to have an ‘off‘ day every once in a while.  That doesn’t mean that I AM an off person, that means I’m just human.

What?  What happened?  What day is this?  Is it Tuesday- oh, I only say this at 9:30 at night, after I’ve had my bowl of strawberries as dessert and I glance over at my weekly pillbox with the big T full of pills forgotten to take earlier this morning.

weeklypill
And my day never quite got started.
That would explain my listlessness and bewildered looks standing in the middle of the kitchen trying to decide what to do.

Even 20 years since the car accident resulting in a traumatic brain injury I still forget things from time to time.  Just like everyone else, people who even don’t have a brain injury forget things occasionally.
The difference is that I’m so hard on myself, telling myself that this shouldn’t happen, I shouldn’t have forgotten this- what did I just do?  I wasted my whole day!  It was rainy, yucky rainy all day, I left the house to vote that morning, which I guess threw me off.  I read a little on Tuesday, I guess that was productive- but it feels like a wasted day just because I’m not planning on reading that book, I have so much else to do.  What do I have to do? well, we are studying 2 different books in 2 of the other groups in which I devote my time. 

I should have been reading one of those.  But would’ve could’ve, should’ve, Should’ve ain’t never done nothin. 

Don’t be so hard on yourself,  I’m so thankful that I have people in my life who give me self assurance that I need it.  My pastor says that some days we just need to do nothing.

 

 

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Grindstone

Today is a free day.  No plans, perfect to get working, right?

20171102_163134.jpgYa, except this is one thing that would never naturally occur to me.  Instead, I have to have inspiration in the form of a friend to come over and tell me to get to it.  My main job right now is finishing my memoir,  but I’d rather procrastinate by working on journals, crocheting, or anything else.

I AM THANKFUL FOR MY FRIEND who came over to relax and knit, then left for work telling me to get my head where it should be, IN A BOOK. booksheadmy book specifically,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

leaving me listening to Shania Twain’s new CD, NOW shanianow

and with a bit cup of coffee [and more in the pot]  20171102_144915.jpg

 

I AM THANKFUL FOR A HUSBAND TO SET ME STRAIGHT.  And tell me to ice my hip when I’m complaining it hurts from walking around too much.

GET TO IT- STOP COMPLAINING- and get to work!

NO EXCUSES… get that nose to the grindstone!

 

…I maybe wasn’t even supposed to write a blog post…maybe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why?

While pondering this mystery today in a book class that is being held at my church, Messiah United Methodist, we are studying

halellujahanyway

This book discusses the why topic in different ways that most days sparks a deep theological discussion with our Pastor, who is also in the class.

The mystery of why, our pastor would argue that yes, predestination and free will both have a role in the theatrical performance that is called life.  Why things happen, the inquiry that is never quite solved, or goes unanswered mostly.  Is it our place to know the answer?  Is it beyond our level of comprehending?  Our question of why inherently is asked of God, or some kind of higher being that is believed in, why did all of this happen?  I think that the only way for us as human beings are to handle the question of why is in the acceptance.  OK- so this crappy thing happened to me, now WHAT CAN I DO to improve the circumstances?  That is all of the power that we are allowed- the only actions that we can change are OUR OWN.

[drop the mic]

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Bad Judgement Calls

Yes, I still make them.
Mistakes.

We can make a mistake, realize it, and learn from it.
Or we can pout.

Maybe a little of both, but we always learn from our bad judgement calls.

One that I just experienced last night; I have always tried to be a good wife.  Lately I have tried to be a very exceptional wife, being that now I work from home, writing and taking care of our little doggie.  When I had a PT appointment yesterday afternoon, my husband assumed that I would be going to dinner with my Mom, while I assumed I needed to be back at home making dinner because hey, my husband has to eat also, and since I am trying to be such a good wife- I should cook, right?  Oops- that apparently wasn’t the plan.  Matt went out for pizza with his coworkers to watch the Nats game, and came home at like 730.

nats

#Dinnerfail

At least there’s a lesson that can be learned from it…
…..wait, what was the lesson?

Maybe I should be focusing on myself rather than trying so hard to be considerate.

At least Matt was considerate enough to bring home some pizza.

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Best books you’ll ever read

How do you find a book?
hear about it?
movie previews?
magazine articles trying to entrance you?
in a BOOK CLUB!

Yes! Stack Of Books

So exciting!  I am thrilled that my friend from high school just started this

Miles Apart Book Club

bookmilesaparton Facebook,

She lives in Utah, other friends from high school are into it and we are all reading the book then discussing online!  I know they have book clubs like this on Goodreads; but it’s a little different because the group is all people that we know from growing up together!  It’s almost like a high school reunion place we can visit online to actually talk about smart nowwhatpeople stuff with like topics! and not what we were all caught up in in high school- like makeup, clothes, boys,
My So Called Life,
why other people think this way or that, what the HOT people in magazines are wearing,
Jordan Catalano,  boys, what person sitting next to you is wearing, why they smell like that, the football game,  boys, the list goes on…
But in this club, now its like we’re all grown up and we can forget all the junky stuff from high school.

The author of the book that we’re reading this month, Rachel Dawn is a member of this club, so its fun that we can interact with her too!

This week I just began reading another book for a new book group to meet at my church on Wednesday mornings!

halellujahanyway

This book is called Hallelujah Anyway by Anne Lamott

I am just so excited to spend time and fellowship with people

 who will be meetimessiahumcng in this new book group  at Messiah United Methodist church

 

 

 

 

 

 

and get to share thoughts…

 

 

bookshead

 

 

 

 

 

And maybe I’ll even reach my personal academic goal of reading for this year…

AWESOME– I’ve read 10 already- and its only the beginning of September…the goal is set at 18!

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20 years later

Wow.
Just let that sink in.
20 years.
20 years since my life has changed so drastically.
20 years, but does it even feel like 20 years ago?

It does feel different.  Different from what; it seems like this is just something that happened to me.  Something that happened long ago.  Like I grew into it. or grew from it, since I technically am older now than I was when I first got into that car accident.  

It feels different, but I am still me.  The car accident that left me with a  TBI is just something that happened to me.  Move on, right?

I have.

  • Struggling through high school…hey I made it though, right? only 1 year late

  • Going to LONGWOOD college, only 3 years post accident, 3 hours away from everyone I knew- my support system- living on my OWN (which was a big deal for me, concentrating so hard on rehabilitation)

  • I graduated! With a degree in Therapeutic Recreation, my hospital stay and rehab turned out to be a good thing, in the sense that it gave me a purpose

  • Working at Fairfax Nursing Center for 9 years 2005-14

  • meeting a great man, Matt Karst 12/06, and married 09/20/08

  • Buying a townhouse in Burke Center in 2012

  • writing since 2014

  • Involved at Messiah United Methodist Church; organizing the Prayer Shawl Ministry, various Bible studies, Vacation Bible school, helping with a weeekly middle school/high school Girls’ group, co-leading a Sunday school class

  • Longwood Alumni blogger

  • babysitter & caregiver

  • Fairfax Inova Trauma Support Network volunteer

  • Creating traumatic brain injury awareness 

 

I am here for a purpose.  A purpose to bring awareness to the silent epidemic of a hidden illness.  Hidden to the unknowing eye, but we still feel the effects.  Everyday, we know that there is something different than before, or something that people without a brain injury don’t experience the symptoms.  The symptoms do not always need to be a physical injury or something that you can see, but the symptoms are still lasting.  My physical disabilities have gotten much better, though my balance is not perfect, nor is my voice, fine motor control, anxiety and levels of exhaustion.

Remember how far you have come

karst-danielle-after-tbi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Brain injury is unpredictable in its consequences. Brain injury affects who we are, the way we think, act, and feel. It can change everything about us in a matter of seconds. The most important things to remember:
• A person with a brain injury is a person first
• No two brain injuries are exactly the same
• The effects of a brain injury are complex and vary greatly from person to person
• The effects of a brain injury depend on such factors as cause, location, and severity”
The Brain Injury Association of America website

eh

 

 

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Adventures in Babysitting

babysit

For the majority of the past month, (and actually for the majority of the summer) has been focused around kids.   In June, I was organizing the recreation for the preschoolers in the Vacation Bible School held at my church.  a half an hour of 15 four through six year olds, five minute break, and another 15 preschoolers come through.  Having a therapeutic recreation degree from Longwood University, and being equipped with a list of activity ideas  to relate to the Bible theme of the day.  After these days, I go to my job of babysitting the two boys across the street.  We play with legos, and dinosaurs,

 

 

put together puzzles and work on board games.

 

My niece and nephew is also so cute; I spent part of my mother-in-law’s birthday party crawling along the floor with my one year old nephew.

 

ELENA!

 

My dog Chazz and I are able to walk to our good friend’s house frequently- and today we met Erin and Elena in the playground in our neighborhood and played in their backyard.  For lunch we went to Chik- fil-A 

chickfila

Kids are really excited to see you, and super fun to play with, but the good thing is that at the end of the day you can give them back.  

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What am I doing?

balls-of-yarnWe had arranged a meeting to learn to crochet, but ended up talking the whole time.  She has a daughter who is attending Longwood University in the fall, and we discussed my memories from the time I was a student.  I told her I majored in therapeutic recreation, she asked if I am a therapist currently; I had to tell her that I had worked in the field doing activities for residents in a nursing home for nearly a decade and am writing.

Am I doing the right thing now?  I ask myself all the time; I wish someone could just give me a nod of approval or shake their head.  My goal is to give myself 5 years from the time I quit working a traditional job to finish a book, (although now I’m thinking that writing a book takes a lot more time) I am currently:

  • WRITING

    • On my personal blog
    • my memoir
    • I have recently found out about the magic of journaling, and am very excited to search pinterest on topics to record my thoughts, short topics to include in my memoir writing, organizing blog post or just a log of what to have for dinners that week
  • READING

    snoopy-reading

    • It is my goal to complete reading 18 books this year and so far I’m on track!
    • I go to my local library with my 4 year old niece and with the little boys that I babysit,
    • After all you need to improve your vocabulary by reading to help with your writing, right?
  • CARE GIVING

    • Babysitting my neighbors’ kids,
    • I prepare therapeutic recreational activities for them to do, we go to the movies, the library, do arts and crafts, and I help them with handwriting and numbers,
    • filling in for a care giver of someone who has early onset dementia,
    • my dog gets so much more attention now, and also provides fitness by taking him on long walks
  • VOLUNTEERING

    • I am very active in my church,  helping with the Sunday school, Vacation Bible School and coordinating the Prayer Shawl Ministry
    • I am with the Trauma Survivors Network, visiting with patients in the Intensive Care Unit
  • SOCIALIZING

    • I have a group that I weekly meet up with at a coffee shop, to knit or crochet (they are all my age, and not dorky, REALLY) and we get together to do other things like see movies
    • I meet up with my friends and neighbors
    • About once or twice a week, I go up to Starbucks to work on my writing with my friend, and we usually go out to lunch afterwards
  • CREATING AWARENESS OF TBIs

    • What is a traumatic brain injury?  Through my blog I speak of my troubles and give tips on how I handle the problems that arise
    • I have gone to a high school and spoken about the resources that I used to help me learn with a disability and what happened in my car accident.

 

As you can see, I’m not just sitting here day after day watching TV and soap operas [although I do love me some Days Of Our Lives, but it’s not on an every day must see basis].

SO WHAT AM I DOING?  AM I DOING THE RIGHT THING, IS THIS JUST THE LIFE OF A WRITER?  I wish you would tell me, because I have no idea.

question  

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Nature meditations

walkhuff

 

I find it incredibly fulfilling and peaceful to take a walk around my neighborhood with my dog.  Breathing in the fresh of the air is its own type of meditation; the mindfulness as nature surrounds you is so refreshing. When you can totally be in the moment and enjoying the beautiful flowers

surrounding you while you listen to the singing of the birds and the hum of the cicadas (or crickets).  Even in my backyard, while I water the plants, I see a chipmunk scurrying across the patio, and the same robin hanging out on my fence. This robin!  Makes me so angry!  Each year, my heart breaks when the same robin (creatures of habit) comes to build her nest on the bottom part of my deck.  Two sets of baby robins grew up and flew away sucessfully, but then the third batch of robins were eaten by a big lot of ugly crows a few years ago.  I had to put a coffee can in the space where the nest always appeared, so they moved on to create another nest on the next post of my deck.IMG_20170710_081135576 When that batch disappeared because of those ugly crows, a nut can had to go over that potential egg spot.  This breaks my heart.  Again, the coffee can fell during a storm and I let the new nest be built.  I witnessed the miracle of the baby birds emerging from their shells, and saw the black crows gathering in the courtyard outside my house celebrating their new feast of baby birds.

I was #heartbroken
when I found out
about the baby birds.

 Even though this is so depressing, I realize that this is the circle of life.  Survival of the fittest, or whatever.  Even though I may not agree with all of the ways of the world, I still have a desire to help all the people and animals of the world.  To help anyone or -thing to survive, and live a life of leisure to the fullest.  

Concepts such as perceived freedom, intrinsic motivation, perceived competence, and positive affect are critical to determining whether an experience is leisure or not leisure. … The second requirement of leisure as state of mind, intrinsic motivation, means that the person is moved from within to participate.

 

I believe that all populations have the right to a life of leisure, whether the people are young, or old, able bodied or surviving with challenges.  Everyone deserves to have a happy leisure life, no matter how that leisure life presents itself.  One could be an older person who merely appreciates nature, or a young child who has activities and games to keep constantly moving.  Even young children appreciate nature and the change of the seasons, noted from the boys that I babysit.

Even in my babysitting job, I believe provides a few hours of leisure, personally for me, and for the boys.  I enjoy hanging out with them, given that I don’t have any children of my own.  I don’t even have to stay around them all day, I get to hang out and play with them for a few hours, and then I get to give them back to the parents and enjoy a “kid free” evening with my husband.   Our one dependent and third person in our family is our dog Chazz.

IMG_20160718_163952861

Chazz returns us to the state of calmness and  peace.  An appreciation of nature and allows us to pause and reflect upon the current state of the world around us.  I enjoy our walks with Chazz and am very THANKFUL for them each and every day.  

 

 

 

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The mouse ran up the clock

What am I doing with all my time?  Yes, the time that I’m supposed to be “working”

hickorydickorydock

The ADD that I’ve acquired from my traumatic brain injury makes it very difficult to focus.  I’m wasting time away getting distracted with texts, laundry or PLANNERS -my guilty pleasure.  I just love all of the fun effective ways to make a planner functional AND pretty.  A notebook that you are proud to carry around in your purse telling of appointments or just to take notes- a planner can contain whatever you want it to; how you want it.  That’s why I’m trying  like using a good ol’ (fashionably orange) blank notebook like the one I bought on Amazon.orangej

 

Instead of getting to work writing in it or working on completing my book (that is taking FOREVER)

 

It’s been nearly a month since I have bought it, and it now contains some quotes that I’d like to remember, a meal dinner planner for the month, some prayer requests, and some other topics to include in the book on which I am currently working.

Can there be such a thing as having too many journals? 

 

  • I have a journal for all of my appointments, and TO-DOs [compact enough to stick in a purse and carry around with me]

    orangej

  • Another for doodles, and things I’d like to remember [the orange one]

    \

  • a big one, that stays at my workplace at home, that’s kind of like an end of the day reflection of what happened during the day; also containing a box for gratitude for the day

    I can’t lie, the cover did have something incredible weight when deciding to purchase it
    Just look at ‘Life is beautiful’ in french

     

  • a “work” notebook, for containing TBI notes, the notes taken in support group meetings or containing information about my volunteer work at Fairfax hospital

    IMG_20170713_203452742

    This notebook just has blank pages in it, some subject dividers, and seems like it would really be good for a project noteboook- although thus far I’ve used it as a food planner, it’s so compact and easy to fit into a purse when going to the store- easy to write down recipes at when at the grocery store-there it is all contained nicely.  Maybe I need to find another journal for more studious subjects…  The good thing is that this journal has removable pages, so they are easily transferred

    AM i REALLY CONCERNING MYSELF TOO HARD WITH THIS?

    [PLEASE COMMENT, I WOULD LOVE TO KNOW!]

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