4 things that didn’t work for me in 2019 (and also the best book I read all year)

Is it too late for a 2019 recap post?


What’s that I hear…go ahead anyway?

Or maybe it’s just my itchy “publish” finger leading me on? Ah, well, I’m going to go with it anyway. Here you have it…four things that didn’t work for me in 2019 and 1 thing that did–a great book.

1. Palmer’s cleansing oil || Leading with something so superficial, but it’s also probably the most practical item on this list, so there’s that. After falling down the Instagram hole at like two a.m. into Jamie Golden’s beauty product stories, I decided to try oil cleansing.

I know. Random.

As I recall, I just decided to pick up some oil locally rather than order on Amazon, and they didn’t have the type she recommended, so I subbed Burt’s Bees cleansing oil and promptly fell IN LOVE with everything—the way it melted off my makeup, the way it smelled, the way my face felt when I was done. Dreamy. Well, dreamy except I didn’t love the price. At $15 a bottle it’s certainly not a pricy cleanser, but it was pricier than I wanted to spend since I was going from washing my face with…gulp…liquid hand soap.

Anywho, when that bottle ran out I was pleased to see that Palmer’s offered what looked like a similar oil and I could buy it for about half price on Amazon. Score! I went through several bottles of it with my makeup melting off and my face feeling lovely every night. Facial cleansing oil truly converted me from being a Skip-Washing-Face girl to a religious cleanser every night before bed.

Except I started breaking out a bunch. Some deep, painful breakouts. Ugh. It wasn’t until I recently switched back to the Burt’s Bees oil and my face almost instantly cleared up, though, that I realized the problem—the Palmer’s! I’ve been back to my first love for a month now and am shocked at the difference. I wouldn’t say the Palmer’s oil is bad—it worked beautifully and left me feeling amazing. But something in there obviously doesn’t agree with my face. I spent half of last year trying various things to clear up stubborn chin acne and it was as simple as switching back to a former product. So there’s one for you.

2. Not having time alone || Pretty sure I’ve mentioned this as a problem at some point during multiple years. Seems like a theme, maybe? I’ve never counted myself much of an extrovert or an introvert. I need some time alone and I need some time with people and I can swing in either direction without much difficulty.

But the longer I homeschool the more I’ve found myself CRAVING alone time. Time with adults is good, too, but it doesn’t sub in for time when I’m by myself in a bookstore or a coffee shop or my car or running. When I don’t get time alone I start to feel like I don’t even exist other than invisibly or as a being in service to her family. When I’m alone I start to remember who I am again. I feel a little embarrassed about it when I write it out; it seems so melodramatic. But it’s absolutely honest and true for me, so it gets a mention.

Do other homeschool moms feel this way, too?


3. Looking for a church || After a loooooottttt of thought, we decided we needed to open our hearts and our minds to the possibility of of a new church home. You guys, I hate church stuff. It makes me feel physically sick to my stomach sometimes. Church drama has literally woven its way into so many corners of the story of my life.

After 4 months of looking, here’s what I can say about this process. It sucks. Which caught me by surprise because I wasn’t even that connected or involved in our church. I’m not in any groups. I’ve hardly been volunteering.  And it’s not like we didn’t see it coming a while back. But none of those things seem to matter very much when I’m tired of being adrift and disconnected. Familiar feels appealing and comfortable. Church plays a huge part in providing me with community and a sense of grounding, and I want to have those things back in my life. So we’re still looking but I’m tired of looking.

4. Health anxiety || 2019 was definitely a year of health chaos for us. In addition to the breast biopsy scare, I also had repeated and peculiar bouts of vertigo, a new experience for me, which—OF COURSE—led me to the certainty that I had a brain tumor. Without belaboring the story, there were often other potential benign reasons I might be so dizzy, so I kept wanting to get those things worked out first before I spent a kajillion dollars on brain imaging.

Why do I do this?????? I don’t know.

I should have just gone in at the first bout and had all the tests and it would have been over with so much sooner. Actually, I know exactly why I didn’t. I didn’t want to spend the money. Our deductible is high and healthcare costs have consistently beaten up our finances for the last decade. So I didn’t go because I didn’t want to spend the money on something that was probably just anxiety or impacted ear wax (another thing I had this year) or just a plain old stress overreaction.

As it was, Gabe had a freak health situation later in the summer that completely maxed out our family deductible, so it wouldn’t really have made much of a difference in the grand scheme of the finances had I gone in for all the imaging. But I didn’t know that at the time, so instead I just kept on obsessing over every little symptom like a boss and tried to make the best of it. It did finally push me to find a counselor, so in that sense it wound up producing something good. And Gabe just needed a bag of fluid and to drink more water, so all’s well with him. And my vertigo magically disappeared when I practiced more deep breathing.

Imagine that!

And now, for the good thing…the best book I read in 2019.

Burnout by Emily and Amelia Nagoski. It was truly paradigm-shifting for me. I knew a lot of the individual pieces the authors discussed, but when they put it together in the way they did it really connected with me and sparked me to implement a few healthy changes in my life.

The book has been everywhere in “best of 2019” lists so I’m sure I’m unlikely to be the first to mention it to you, but if you haven’t already picked it up or added it to your library holds, consider this more encouragement to do so. I read it last spring and still find myself thinking about some of its nuggets.

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