The Benefits of Journaling for You and Your School Aged Child in 2023


As parents, it’s our job to help our children grow and develop into the best version of themselves. We often focus on the academic aspect of their growth, but there are many other skills that can help them become successful in life, such as writing and journaling. In 2023, why not start a family journaling practice with your school aged child? Starting a journaling routine in 2023 can benefit the entire family—especially you! 

The benefits of journaling is a powerful tool that can help you and your child process emotions and gain perspective on any given situation. It encourages creative thinking and self-reflection and helps to boost problem-solving skills. Journaling also allows us to express ourselves without fear or judgement and has been known to improve mental health by allowing us to release negative thoughts or feelings onto paper instead of carrying them around inside our heads.

Journaling together with your child is a good practice to start in 2023. It is an excellent way to foster communication between the two of you. It gives you both an opportunity to discuss topics that may otherwise be avoided due to discomfort or lack of knowledge. You can set aside designated time each day for you and your child to write. My favorite time is at night...thoughts tend to flow more as we settle in and are more calm at the end of the day. Or when my girls have had a chance to reflect on the day.

Journaling will give them a safe space—free from judgement—to express their thoughts, feelings, ideas, dreams, etc, while also teaching them how to organize their thoughts through writing. In addition, reading each other's journal entries aloud gives you an insight into one another's inner worlds which can lead to deeper conversations about life experiences and lessons learned along the way. Through this process, both parties can gain clarity on difficult topics while also strengthening their bond with one another as mom and child.

Journaling is a great way for children to express their feelings without judgment. Writing down their thoughts gives kids a safe space where they can reflect on their emotions and experiences without fear of criticism or ridicule from peers. Plus, writing regularly helps build vocabulary and spelling skills as well as improves handwriting. This will help them academically both now and later in life. Journaling also encourages children to think about the world around them more critically, allowing them to gain perspective on how events affect their lives directly or indirectly. It helps develop their imagination by encouraging them to explore new ideas or stories that they might not have thought of before. And it builds self-discipline, which is an important trait for success later in life.  

As a mom, we want what’s best for our children—but it’s also important to take care of ourselves too! Journaling can be just as beneficial for us as it is for our kids. By taking 10 minutes out of each day to write down your thoughts, you give yourself time away from all the responsibilities that come with parenting so that you can relax and recharge. It's a great way to work through any stress or anxiety you may be feeling while also providing insight into how you're really feeling about certain situations in your life.  It's easy to get so caught up in taking care of our families that we forget about ourselves--so starting a journaling routine together could be just what both you and your child need!   

Journaling is an excellent tool parents can use with school-aged children that teaches valuable life skills while fostering communication between parent and child. If you feel your relationship as mother and child needs strengthening and more connection starting a journaling could be the perfect activity. I know it helped open the lines of communication with my daughters when we started 5 years ago. I highly recommend it. It was also one of the reasons I started creating my own journals.

I would be thrilled if you would check my journals out by searching my full name (Lynn Zanidean) in Amazon's search bar. Have fun journaling and discovering more about yourself and your child(ren).

Here's just a few of my recently uploaded little notebooks.

The Isolation of the Unknown: Living Without a Diagnosis


Whenever someone is experiencing an issue with their health, the most common course of action is to get a diagnosis. A medical diagnosis can provide answers, direction and allow for treatment to begin. But what happens when no one can find an answer? 

What if you are living with many physical symptoms that no doctor can explain? Or who simply ignores your symptoms and concerns and says " It's nothing" and doesnt give you the support you need? This experience is not only difficult due to the obvious physical pains, but it can also be incredibly isolating.

When a person does not have a diagnosis, it can be very hard to handle the uncertainty of what might be wrong. In some cases, doctors may suggest that the symptoms being experienced are all in your head or just part of “normal life”. This often leads to people feeling as though they are being ignored or dismissed. 100% the case in my situation. Over time, this lack of understanding from others can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness. 

I am 6 months away from two years from the start of when all of my symptoms started ranging from tremors, myoclonic jerks, headaches, numbness, dizziness, nausea, muscle spasms, weakness, stiffness, spotty vision/sensitive eyes, pain, fatigue, cognitive difficulties, sensitivity to cold, electric like shocks through body, weird sensations (like water was spilt on me or hot spot flashes on my legs), spatial awareness difficulties, difficulties finding the right word/dysphonia (loss of volume in speech), issues with swallowing (dysphagia)...this doesn't even include everything.

Another challenge that I face and people like me face; when living without a diagnosis is the inability to connect with others who may have similar experiences. If someone has been diagnosed with cancer or another disease, there are many support groups available for them to turn to for help and advice on how best to deal with their situation. However, without any concrete information about what is going on in their body, it is much more difficult for people without diagnoses to find someone who understands what they are going through or how it affects them physically and emotionally. I have joined a few groups on social media but without a diagnosis I feel like a cheat.

Being unable to get a diagnosis can lead to feelings of depression and more stress or anxiety due to the uncertainty surrounding your health issues. You may feel overwhelmed by the unknown or frustrated with the lack of progress in finding a diagnosis. I give myself a day saying "this sucks" then get up and move on. The longer it takes for a diagnosis, the closer the "this sucks" days get. Staying positive. Doing things I love and being with people I love makes the difficult days easier.

From experience, living without a diagnosis can be an incredibly lonely experience. I do not wish this on anyone and hope you do not need to wait for the answer but if you are going through something like this it is normal to feel this way. Remember that you're not alone, there are many people that care about you and want nothing more than for you to find relief from your symptoms. Continue to take care of yourself through self-care activities, talking to family and friends until a diagnosis finally comes along.


The Reality of Cognitive Delay from Brain Lesions

Have you ever experienced an embarrassing moment when you forgot a word or were unable to recall an answer? We’ve all experienced these moments, but for those with brain lesions the effects are much worse. After my first MRI in May of 2022 I was informed I had three lesions on my brain and one on my spine. These embarrassing moments are an everyday occurance. Something that I don't talk about cause it really makes me feel less then and like a failure. However, I feel like the more I talk about it the answers to my health issues might come. 

Im not a doctor but have learned a few things so...let’s take a closer look at what brain lesions mean and how they can affect cognition.

Not pictures of my brain. Image found on Google.

Brain lesions are areas of tissue damage or scarring in the brain that are caused by trauma, infection, stroke, multiple sclerosis and more. While not all brain lesions cause serious problems, some can cause long-term health issues such as seizures (for me they show up as myoclonic jerks). These lesions cause difficulty moving certain parts of the body, vision problems, cognitive delays, memory loss, weakness, numbness, shaking/tremor, headaches, stiffness, mood changes, balance and spatial awareness.

Cognitive delays occur when the brain is unable to process information quickly enough or accurately enough to respond in a timely manner. These delays can range from mild to severe depending on the size and location of the lesion and how it affects the brain’s ability to process information. People diagnosed with cognitive delays may experience difficulty in completing tasks that require problem solving skills or recall of facts and information. They may also struggle with concentration, focus, and organization. This can lead to embarrassment in social situations as well as difficulty with daily tasks such as cooking dinner or completing simple chores around the house.

It's not easy seeing this cognitive  change in yourself. Brain lesions have a profound impact on emotions. I myself often experience instant memory loss, difficulty concentrating and processing information quickly.  I have periods of sadness and struggle over the old me that I have lost...work and little things can be challenging but I fight through these difficulties everyday. I am hoping that by understanding this condition more deeply we can come together and provide better support systems for those who are struggling with it daily. You are not alone in this if you too battle with these cognition delays from brain lesions...maybe you aren't aware you have brain lesions but feel these challenges daily too. Know that I understand.

Cognitive delay from brain lesions is often debilitating and embarrassing. Awareness about this topic helps create understanding among us all while providing needed support for those who live with this diagnosis every day. It's time we start talking about cognition delays from brain lesions because it affects more people than we realize - especially mothers who struggle everyday!

How I suvived 2022: A Year of Growth and Resilience


2022 was a year unlike any other. It was filled with both joy and pain, but in the end, it was one of growth and resilience.

Kaitlin turned 14 and started HIGH SCHOOL. How is she going to be 15 in just a month?! 
Sarah turned 13 and learned to adapt to change when a friend moved after losing her mom.
Leah (the baby...but don't tell her that I called her that) turned 10 and started middle school. Did her personality ever come out this year.
I am BLESSED and thrilled to be their mommy and look forward to every day with them in 2023.

Why are family pictures so challenging to take...lol. This is us! 

I celebrated 15 years of marriage with ups and downs, laughter, loads of adventures, connection and love. F I F T H T E E N years. That's huge.

I went back to work for the first time in 14+ years. I was angry that it had come and felt like I a failure...but was pleasantly surprised. Being surrounded with children and playing during my work hours makes me happy, feel worthy and needed.

I packed up a home...the only home my daughters knew. A home we called home and that holds 15 years of memories. We found our dream home in a crazy housing market. If you need a realtor for the Calgary and surrounding area I can set you up. Carlin was the bomb and made the whole house hunting and preparing our home less stressful and enjoyable. She helped us find a home we love and one we will continue to make many memories in. We are still in awe and after 5 months say "how is this house ours".

I created and self published seven books onto Amazon. Five journals and two colouring and activity books. I am busy working on completing my written children's book in my little bit of spare time. It is coming and when it is ready it will be absolutely perfect. I recently connected with an amazing illustrator with beautiful artwork so it is coming. I am just SO proud of myself.

I enjoyed watching and cheering at multiple games as my middle and oldest daughters ran on the soccer field scoring goals, giving it their all and playing as a team.

And for the not so easy part of my year...a year full of tremors, jerks, headaches, body pain and discomfort, MRIs and learning I have brain lesions. Dizziness, numbness, brain fog, muscle spasms, weakness, balance issues, blurry vision, extreme sensitivity to cold, stiffness, perception difficulties, sleep disturbances, fatigue, hot flashes in my legs and more. Most would be beside themselves with this occurring day in and day out and more so when doctors refused to give answers, not listen and say it is "nothing" yet utter words like multiple sclerosis and lyme disease. Through it all I have stayed positive (since the very start in July 2021). Eighteen months later and still no real answers I continue to stay positive but some days are challenging and staying in bed till noon is just what my body needs. I am hoping and praying for more answer soon so I can do my best to heal my body and have more good days.

It was certainly not an easy year, but one that I am so proud to have survived!

A few things that kept me going with the obstacles I faced was acceptance. Even though it felt when I took two steps forward, something would happen that would push me three steps back, I accepted my situation for what it was. This allowed me to focus on finding solutions rather than wallowing in self-pity or beating myself up for things that were beyond my control...I would give myself time, cry and pick myself up and continue. I found the things I was grateful for and focused on them.

I surrounded myself with supportive people (and I am BEYOND thankful for them).
These people lifted my spirits and showed me I have so much to be grateful for. Family members, friends, even co-workers; they all played a role in helping me stay positive even when things didn't always seemed positive. Knowing that there were people rooting for me kept me going.

I took care of myself —mentally and physically. Whether this meant taking time out each day for positive affirmations, self care, prayer, cuddling with my girls, binge watching Netflix, creating my books or staying in bed till noon; whatever gave me peace of mind, body and wellness became a top priority throughout 2022.

In the end, 2022 turned out pretty fantastic. Most importantly, however, is the fact that I learned so much about myself during this journey through growth, acceptance and resilience. 

I look forward to 2023 and walk in with a clean slate and filling the pages with love, more growth and health. 

Happy New Year. Sending blessings, health, happiness and the best in 2023!


A Winter Wonderland of Colouring and Activities for the Family


It's wintertime, and that means it's time to bundle up and get cozy! But there are only so many things you can do before everyone starts getting bored. That’s why I created my NEWLY released colouring and activity book, My Winter Colouring and Activity Book! This book is designed to give moms and kids something fun to do together during those long winter days.

This Winter book is jam-packed with pages of activities that will keep your family busy all winter long. There are coloring pages featuring your favorite winter scenes, word searches to find hidden words about winter, mazes to help hone problem-solving skills, crossword puzzles that will teach your kids new vocabulary words, and more!

But what makes this book special is its focus on bringing families closer together. It provides an opportunity for moms and children to spend quality time together working on puzzles or talking about funny facts. With every page filled with laughter-inducing pastimes and creative activities that require collaboration between parent and child, this activity book promises to be a great bonding experience for all involved. And since it's light enough you can take it anywhere (even on a plane!), you'll never be without something fun to do while traveling...or just staying warm in the house.


If you’re looking for a fun way to keep your family entertained this winter season without breaking the bank or spending hours searching for activities online—look no further than My Winter Colouring & Activity Book—this book is sure to bring lots of smiles (and maybe even a few laughs) into your home this holiday season. So don’t wait any longer - pick up My Winter Colouring & Activity Book today!

 
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