Health Fire! Warning Signs that Keep Me up at Night

The baby was finally sleeping, after a 2 ½ hour battle. My weekend was spent at an amazing Writer’s Conference in St. Paul, MN, where there were meetings and speakers and networking, yummy panel lunches, advice given and taken, and more meetings. The event was fabulous and full, and I was spent.

I was all ready for bed when my husband came in to say goodnight before he went and watched some tv. We heard something that sounded like a chirp, but neither one of us acknowledged it because we feared we’ve heard that sound before. Maybe we were both thinking that we had imagined it or that if we didn’t acknowledge it, it would disappear. 

There was no denying the second chirp, I think it was louder. Yes, it was definitely louder than the first. We looked at each other with a look that said “I wish I hadn’t heard that.” It was 11:13pm and we were both dog-tired. Optimistically, my hubby asked, “how often do those things go off. . . every couple of hours?” He had just gotten that out of his mouth when it chirped again. It was definitely the fire alarm, letting us know that the batteries needed changing. Now.

I asked if we had a ladder tall enough to reach the small white disc (hint hint) and he said yes. By the tone of his “yes” I thought he was going to change the batteries right then and there. So, I continued settling in for sleep. Chirp. Thinking back on the day and the sunshine. Chirp. Marveling at how the speakers at the conference were able to inspire and correct at the same time. Chirp. Certainly, my husband was going to be up any minute with the ladder and new batteries. Well, I was mistaken. I think I drifted off to sleep while waiting, dreaming through the evening about – I can’t remember what. But I do remember one thing. The chirping. All through the night. 

I was so annoyed. I was annoyed that I could hear it while I was sleeping. I was annoyed that it didn’t get taken care of earlier. And worst of all I was annoyed that I was annoyed. I should have been sleeping peacefully! 

When I woke up a very short while later, the fire alarm was still chirping. Every couple of minutes. In fact, I wonder if there is a sensor on them all—when one starts, they all start, because wouldn’t you know it, there were now two chirping devices upstairs. 

When I brought a hungry baby down for breakfast, I was sure I heard a chirping from the basement. Now, I thought, I surely must be imagining things. Can three fire alarms need batteries at the same time?! Apparently, because I wasn’t imagining it. 

As the annoyance started to creep in again, I thought about the gratitude journalI started keeping recently. I’ve been recognizing that when I pause and ask, “Why am I annoyed?” and then focus on what I’m grateful for in the middle of the less-than-perfect situation, the annoyance quickly fades. I recognized that part of the annoyance came from the fact that I too, was very capable of changing the batteries, and I didn't. I also thought about a close friend that actually had a fire in her house. She is incredibly grateful for her fire alarms. They are the warning sign that can save lives and sometimes the house, too.

The Health Connection

Often the body gives us warning signs before a fire breaks out. 

This could be chronic pain somewhere in the body, depression, weight gain, or something else entirely. The solution is rarely as easy as changing batteries, but sometimes it is that simple! For example, consistent exercise is truly a means of fixing and preventing MAJOR health problems. There are countless resources on how to get started, but my suggestion is to start small and get help. Pick the smallest goal you can think of and ask a friend (preferably ahead of you in their health and wellness pursuit) to keep you accountable. 

If you own my book, Living Wellness for Growth Groups, check out page 30 for ideas on how to get started exercising and how to discover your happy movement. :)

The Mayo Clinic* sites 7 benefits of exercise: 

1.    Controls weight

2.    Combats health conditions and diseases

3.    Improves mood

4.    Boosts energy

5.    Promotes better sleep

6.    Puts the spark back into your sex life - and -

7.    Exercise can be fun … and social!

Most people are aware of these benefits, but many end up struggling with exercise anyway. Find your “why” and start slowly.  When you joyfully move your body, think about all of the positives for you, the positive example you’re setting for others, and how you’re being a good steward of the body God gave you.

When fire alarms sound as a warning for our health, we can choose to ignore or be annoyed by them -or- we can be grateful for the warnings and change the batteries.

Have courage and perseverance. Sometimes your warning sign is not as easily fixed by changing the batteries, but have hope that your situation and health can change

I hope you’re fired up now to take on the chirping of your body with gratitude and action and embrace whatever ladder you have to find to get the job done. Today can be the day to make a lasting change that your future self will thank you for!  

Blessings friends, 

Ashley Darkenwald


* Mayo Clinic Website.

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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to diagnose or treat any illnesses or disease. Please always check with your doctor before beginning any new nutritional or fitness program or before making any nutritional/fitness changes, especially if you haven't exercised for a long time, have chronic health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes or arthritis, or you have any concerns.