Thursday, April 30, 2015

Nurse Aide Class First Day

Today was the first day of my nurse aide class, and it was interesting!  I think I'm really going to like this path I'm on.  It was weird being back at my old community college.  The classroom has hospital beds and life-size dummies.  We will be in clinicals the last week of May, and the last day of class is June 6th.  This combined with my writing job has me optimistic about the future.  I read a comment online from a woman who is a single mom of five kids and put herself through school and earned 4 degrees!  Holy crap!  I have one child and one degree!  She said she used to live in the projects, but now she lives in a half million dollar home.  I don't live in "the projects", and I do not aspire to having a mansion, but a bigger place so that family can come and stay with me would be nice.  I was reading some things online about corruption in CPS, and I am glad I got out of that job.  If I had stayed there long enough, who's to say I wouldn't be doing those corrupt things?  We are all human, and it was a tough job.  The path I'm on now affords me opportunities to make streams of income on my own.  I'm glad. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Great news!

I got my first writing job!  It's with a freelancing group that pays $1 per 100 words.  The last time I applied with this group, I did not get accepted.  This time, I did!  I'm so excited, and the announcement that I got my first writing job got over 50 likes on Facebook!

Monday, April 27, 2015

What's for dinner?

Tonight, I am making the most expensive spaghetti dinner ever. 

Sprouted Grain pasta by the Ezekiel 4:9 company.
Vodka Sauce
Organic chopped onion
Organic sharp cheddar from the 365 company. 

Expensive but good!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Dealing with panic attacks.

As I have blogged about before, I have been struggling with panic attacks.  Most of the time, the panic attacks are near constant and back to back.  They have been debilitating. 
I have learned that aromatherapy helps a great deal.  Aside from essential oils, though, I came across this video.  Teal Swan is a youtuber that is not for everyone.  She's a new age spiritualist, and even my openminded self can't wrap my head around all she has to say.  However, her video on nervous breakdowns was a God send for me.  I especially liked the part where she described a breakdown as the panic attack that just won't end.  Then, the first thing she advises is to give into the breakdown and "let it take you".  This advice was exactly what I needed to hear, and I have been taking it.  I have been accepting my panic attacks and letting them happen. Fighting them and resisting them makes it worse.  Little by little, I hope to get completely better. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

My Career Coaching Session

I decided to hire a career coach for myself, for just a little while, so I can get the feel of what it feels like to be on the other end.  She did ask me several good questions, but now that the phone call is over, I feel like I've completely lost it.  All of a sudden, it feels like I have no direction.  It feels like I really don't have a handle on my future since giving up on helping kids.  Before, with the goal of helping kids, I could have answered all these deep questions like a champ.  I had way more answers then than I do now.  
One thing that stumped me is when she asked me to brainstorm 10 ideas for what to do next in my career.  I don't have 10 ideas.  I may have three ideas but definitely not ten.  She asked me to list some action steps to do until next week.  Because of listing action steps and 10 ideas, I ended up submitting a resume with the March of Dimes, when I normally wouldn't have done that today.  I'm still taking my nurse assistant class starting next week, but there's no room for advancement unless I become a nurse.  I don't want to become a nurse, because I do not want any more student loans.  There is, however, a ton of opportunities for assistants at the major hospitals here in town with decent pay.  
She asked me what I liked to do as a child.  My favorite hobby as a child was writing.  My invisible friends were actually characters.  I wrote my first story when I was in second grade, about a girl who ate so many oranges that she turned orange.  
She told me to consider volunteering, which was not what I expected since I had so many qualms about telling Mercedes to do the same.  
I think the best thing to do is relax this weekend.  Anna has been bugging me to go to Sunday School, so we will probably go to church and that's it.  Again, my apartment is a mess.  I think if someone asked how much of a mess my apartment is, I would say it is as much of a mess as my brain is.  

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

6 questions

One exercise I developed is simple.  It only consists of 6 questions to springboard you off to a good start realizing how far you have come and how far you need to go.  
1.  What goals did you set for yourself last year that you accomplished?
2.  What did you do in order to achieve those goals?
3.  What goals did I set for myself last year that I didn't reach?  
4.  Why didn't I achieve those goals?
5.  What do I want to achieve this year?  
6.  What must I do to make those goals happen?

For me, this exercise is extremely difficult.  I do not feel like I achieved many goals in the last year, because of my severe anxiety and depression.  I did save money and pay down debts.  I also got better from anxiety and depression, but not 100%.  I worked as a CPS caseworker, but decided it was not for me.  
This year, I want to achieve starting my own business and writing a book.  To achieve those goals, I need to study coaching methods more, go through coaching myself, recruit free clients to practice on, and ultimately advertise.  To write the book, this is a good place to start.  

Business Plan

These questions are taken from this book.  I decided to answer them here on my blog.  They are designed to coach the coach in to what kind of coaching business to start.  

1.  What do you excel at?  What are your best skills?  ~I think I'm good at marketing and locating great opportunities that most people wouldn't think to locate.  

2.  What is your niche?  Where do you want to focus?  ~On young adults age 16-25 find their career path.  

3.  What do you do that people are eager to pay for?  ~Positive attitude, encouragement, acceptance of unusual ideas, coaching techniques that help young people discover answers from deep within themselves.  

4.  Who is already attracted to me and sees me as a resource?  ~My cousins, all of whom are 18-25.

5.  What are their felt needs?  ~To earn money, be on their own, follow passions, make a difference, succeed, and overcome naysaying parents.  

6.  What distinguishes you and makes you credible in that area?  ~My training and experience.  

7.  How will people find out about you?  ~Social networking, craigslist, my own website, word of mouth, 

8.  How will they learn enough about you to want to hire/buy from you?  ~By navigating my thorough website.  

9.  What do I need to do first?  ~Create more exercises and lists of questions.  Get free clients to practice o.  Get coaching myself.  

10.  When will I start designing my practice?  By when will I have launched it?  ~I haven't thought of this, but let's say June 5th.  That's the last day of nurse assistant class.  

Monday, April 20, 2015

Two types of career coaching

I'm doing my research, and I've come to notice that there are two types of career coaching- one that models itself after life coaching with mostly thought-provoking questions to get the client to come up with their own answer, and one that advises people on good interviewing and resume techniques.  Most career coaches have either one type of service or another.  What would a balance of the two look like? I think it would look like questioning someone who doesn't know what to do with their life until they figure out what they want to do, and then giving them helpful resume and interviewing techniques.  Also- marketing strategies.  I think young adults between 18-25 could benefit from a coaching business that is 70% the first type of coaching and 30% the second type.  Not too much should be focused on the second type, because anyone can read a book on these things.  But the first type of coaching is a learned psychology.  Unlike a book on a topic, it's interactive.  

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Road Less Traveled

I did a career coaching session with my cousin Mercedes!  I did not charge her because she is family, but I did get great practice.  Coaching is not about telling someone what to do or giving someone advice- it's about asking the correct questions to get them to come up with answers on their own.  I have lists and lists of good career coaching questions, but they are no good unless I practice them on another person.  The person's answers springboard further questions, and you can't sound like you are just listing questions off of a paper.  Mercedes loves pets and is going to become a dog trainer.  She just needs a little encouragement.  I'd love it if she volunteered at the Humane Society, but she doesn't want to, so I didn't bring it up again.  I'm a huge proponent of volunteering.  In many cases, it's better than going to school.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Child Abuse Prevention

Today I want to talk about an organization I worked with for two years called Child Builders.  With Childbuilders, I was a facilitator of the WHO program.  Many times, people would hear the acronym WHO and ask me if I was with the World Health Organization, but it stands for We Help Ourselves.
What I did was travel to different schools around the Houston area to give presentations on child abuse prevention and awareness.  I worked with 1st through 8th grades.  I would have worked with pre-K and Kindergarten, but those presentations involved puppets and I just don't have an animated enough personality for puppets.
Many times, children who are being abused do not know it's wrong, child victims of sexual abuse in particular.  Part of each presentation was talking about what parts of your body it's never ok for a grown up to touch.  We made sure they knew we weren't talking about changing a baby's diaper or potty training a toddler.  Sexual abuse was not the only topic I had to focus on in in a short amount of time.  I had to cover bullying, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and the difference between a secret and a surprise.  (A secret is something you can never tell, and a surprise is something you'll tell later.  Secrets between an adult and a child are not ok- surprises are.)
At home, I still have my binder from the WHO program with the outlines of each grade level's presentation.  I kept it for reference when I am writing my book "The Child Advocate."  I have not kept any other binders or work training materials except for my Child Advocacy University book from Child Advocates and my WHO binder.  I look forward to writing my book, challenges and all. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Book Outline

I am starting the process of outlining my book.  The name of the book is "The Child Advocate", and it is based on my own experiences devoting my career to help children.  I wrote a character sketch for the main character, and in the character sketch, I named her Simi.  In the actual book, her name might just be Danielle, but Simi is what came to me for whatever reason. 
In the beginning of the book, Simi is 20 years old and about to get married in just a few months.  She is tall and slender with long brown hair and glasses.  She attends community college and works in a fabric store.  Her main aspiration is to be a stay-at-home mom and she devises a plan to start her own design business to make generating income from home possible if she has a large brood of children. 
There are two camps of antagonists in the beginning of the story.  One camp is "far right" and is Simi's preacher and church friends.  In their college-age ministry, there is a sermon series entitled "It is Better for a Man Not to Marry" which makes remaining single look more holy and causes Simi's fiancĂ© to dump her.  The other camp of antagonists are "far left" and will either be Simi's aunts or online friends (I have not decided).  They are radical feminists who harshly chew Simi out for aspiring to get married and have children.  A turning point for Simi comes when one of the feminists challenges her to ask herself why she wanted to have children so badly.  Simi realizes that she believes she has what it takes to give children a good life, and amid all the pressure from the story's antagonists to focus on career instead of family, she sets a career goal to help children. 
The rest of the story becomes a healthy mixture of story telling, raising awareness, capturing the main character's demons of depression and lack of self worth, and generating happy and sad tears for the reader.  Throughout her career, Simi does ten main things to help children.  She:
1. Volunteers at a shelter for abused children and later works there.
2. Volunteers short term in an orphanage in Mexico.
3. serves as a child advocate with the court
4. works at the children's museum
5. works for the children's hospital auxiliary
6. works in daycare
7. volunteers very briefly for a wish granting organization.
8. works for a program that travels to schools to give child abuse presentations.
9. works as a tutor in a failing public school.
10.  Works as a CPS caseworker. 

Sounds like me, right?  The problem is changing the names of organizations such as Make a Wish and CASA.  How do I make the story give an accurate description of the work done while trying to conceal the name of the organization?  As far as I know, no one else does what CASA or Make a Wish does.  Many of Simi's 10 main things are done simultaneously or briefly while some are more longer lived and sometimes the only thing she has going on at the time. 

I am not sure how the story will end, but I want Simi to be close to 40 years old when the story ends.  It will most likely end with her experiencing burnout and starting her own organization once the burnout passes.  Burnout in and of itself doesn't make for a very happy ending. 

A Favorite Memory

I was reminded of a summer day almost 8 years ago when I sat at the computer screen holding my four day old baby.  I watched this video over and over again, crying each time.  My pregnancy was difficult, and while most new moms get depressed in the days and weeks following giving birth, I was on cloud nine.  I was so happy that the trials were behind us and we had this new precious baby.  I came across that video again today.  It still brings tears to my eyes.  Really, every day is a new beginning.  The mercies of God are new every morning, and every day is the first day of the rest of our lives. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Aromatherapy in the bath

Aromatherapy has helped me tremendously with anxiety and panic attacks.  I could not believe how good I felt after just two treatments.  I bought a total of four oils; two mixtures and two individual ingredients.  The mixtures I bought were called "peace" and "tranquility" and the straight ingredient oils were lavender and jasmine.  I dabbed a little of each on my neck and chin and immediately felt better.  They were so calming. 
Then, I looked up online how to take a bath with aromatherapy oils.  You put 5-10 drops of oil per tablespoon of olive oil and mix it up.  Throw the mixture into the tub and close the bathroom door and shower door.  I also washed my hair with some psoriasis shampoo and feel so much better.  My skin feels so smooth and I feel so relaxed.  I also shaved my arms and legs which helps the smooth skin feeling.  I feel like there's a thin glossy coat over my skin.  I ordered a diffuser and a basic book on aromatherapy from Amazon.  I hope I get it soon.  Tomorrow after work, I may head to Whole Foods for some more oils to try.  I'm even looking into oils to use for neurological conditions.  Thank God for finding something that works. 

The next big goal

Since deciding to stop working with children, I have needed another goal for my life.  I've been anxious without one.  Well today I registered for a class to become a certified nursing assistant.  It's about 6 weeks long, and I didn't need another student loan.  I could afford it on my own.  The class starts April 30th.

I'm also excited to announce that I have discovered aromatherapy.  Aromatherapy has helped tremendously with anxiety and panic attacks.  I am looking into it more and plan on getting more supplies for it.  Here's to better days ahead.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Nothing to Say

I've been blogging for ten years, but I realized that I don't have as much to say as I did before.  I no longer have strong opinions about stuff- I just accept that whatever is, is.  I don't have a ton going on, either.  What is there to blog about?  Perhaps my book?  Maybe my book should be my "next big goal", too.  When will life get more exciting?

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Struggling a lot!

With stiffness in my arms and legs! Help!  It's terrible and I have trouble walking.  I am not having panic attacks as bad as I was, but this stiffness is getting to me.  I just want it to go away!

Friday, April 10, 2015

worried about Anna

Do you ever get a horrible feeling come over you because you realize your kids will have to live in this crazy world? I am having that. Just thinking about my daughter and realizing she will have to learn all the hard lessons. It makes me sad. My poor babyz. I want to shield her but I know I can't.

It's time for some goals

I know that I've been down for too long and that some big goals are what I need.  But what should they be?  Going back to school is out of the question- I don't want any more student loans.  Starting my own business is a good one, but I can't seem to get motivated to do it.  Tonight, I am going to spend some time brainstorming my next big goal.  One goal is most definitely in order- I need to snap out of it.  

Thursday, April 9, 2015

I want a maid!

Wouldn't it be nice if I could have a maid come over and clean my apartment?  It's a mess, and I don't know where to start.  I just want someone to say, "It's ok, Danielle, I got this, go relax."  And then in a matter of minutes, it's clean and in perfect order.  I could pay someone, but then they would need all kinds of instructions and would not organize the way I want.  I hate living in a mess, and even worse is not knowing how to clean it up.  I start with laundry, but laundry is not all that needs to be done, and I get stuck again.  Tips appreciated!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Goals and determination

I watched a video of one of my favorite youtubers talking about his goals in all areas of life.  I remembered how exciting it was to have lofty goals, and how much more exhilirating it was to achieve them.  These days, I am proud of myself for taking a shower.  I suffer from panic attacks and anxiety and take it one day at a time.  My goal is to have big goals again like I used to.  I want to make one of those videos talking about how much I've achieved.

Monday, April 6, 2015

This is a picture I snapped while chilling on the balcony watching Annalise play with friends.  Yes, one kid is dressed as a Ninja.  I love having chill time that I can really relax and enjoy.  I was so uptight before. 


I hope I am not alone.  There have got to be other moms that go through this.  But lately, I've been having a lot of horrible, intrusive thoughts about something bad happening to my daughter.  I have a lot of worries that something will happen to her at school or at her dad's.  My cousin the shrink says this is normal, but she's not a mom.  I need to hear from other moms that they have this, too.  Can I just put her in a bubble, please?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Light it Up Blue

Today is Autism Awareness Day! Thankfully, the Christian radio station (which I keep it locked on) reminded me this morning.  They did a piece about autism awareness day and explained why many landmarks around the world are lit up blue on the top. I have always believed that children with autism have a gift instead of a disability.  I think those of us that aren't autistic are the "disabled" ones.    They also made this Bible verse part of the story:
13For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. 14I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. 15My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;…

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

To close a door

I feel very good about myself now that I am finished working with children and into another chapter of my life.  I started my new job today, and it feels good.  The people are nice, and the work is easy.  It's all numbers, so it's an exact science.  I am realizing just how much anxiety there was working with kids.  OMG there was so much.  It was a tremendous burden, and I didn't realize that until now.  From now on, I'm just content to write about my past experiences and follow the occasional action alert from the special interest groups in Austin.  Advocacy for children can still be a minor part of my life, but not my whole life.  It's time to smell the flowers.  It's just me, my daughter, and my two cats now.  And an easy job that has definite answers to problems. 

Blog Prompts for April

I found these blog prompts for April.  It's a good way to get blogging every day.  As for today's topic- I am afraid I've never pulled an April fool prank other than the usual "I'm pregnant".  Nonetheless, I hope to use these this month to get the creative juices flowing.