creative, depression, family, fibro, food, friendship, gifts, gratitude, holiday, home, journey, list, marriage, self care, travel

Octobers are my favorite…

I love the beautiful simplicity of this photo. It isn’t mine, it isn’t us. There is something so beautiful about clasped hands, held together, skin-tight, love all that will fit in the between. After yesterday’s post, I wanted to take a little time before posted something far less significant. At the same time, however, looking over my list really allowed me the opportunity to be intentional about the 30 days still to loom ahead, within the month…

Home:

  • decorate for Autumn
  • more candlelit evenings
  • donate 31 things to charity
  • make candied apples
  • make my Grandmother’s apple butter

Create:

  • paper crafting projects
  • pull out the knitting needles
  • experiment more with essential oils and ways to help others with them

Relate:

  • spend time with my BFF, for the almost-week she’s visiting
  • apple picking and making memories
  • welcome my husband home and connect with him in all of the ways, before life takes us on legs of our own journeys again
  • speaking of journeys- fly to Seattle to spend time loving on my beautiful little granddaughter
  • dates with my mom
  • actively displaying gratitude and support to the staff in the nursing home
  • reaching out to connect with other women in life affirming ways

Personal:

  • (finally) meet with personal trainer
  • stick to a schedule for writing, and progress.
  • continued work with my chiropractor and kinesiology
  • hot baths, yoga and self-care

Read/Watch:

  • American Made. (dying to see this movie, even though I know it was technically as September release.)
  • The Mountain Between Us
  • Goodbye Christopher Robin 
  • Reread Alice in Wonderland
  • Braving the Wilderness 

 

What about you? What are you looking forward to, in these growing and cooling evenings? What things do you look forward to the most? Life is hard and heavy, but we still have the responsibility to love the lives we’re living and try to breathe life and beautiful in the brutal… Some days that may be all we’ve got.

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chronic illness, confession, depression, gratitude, journey

The mystery of a Kit Kat…

I ate a Kit Kat yesterday.

I ran to Target to pick up a couple of things and in my search for one of them, I managed to wind my way through the Halloween aisles twice, and avoided the temptation to pick up any small packages of sugar. It was actually harder than I would care to admit, and I honestly don’t know why.

Is it because Chw is away for so long and I’m lonely? Is it because most of my friends live 2000 miles away? Is it because my kids are far away and I miss them too? Again- is it because I am lonely?

Over the weekend I brainstormed ways to get connected and meet people. And then, like the dawning sounds of a Hallelujah chorus, it hit me: Meet up! I have tried to do Meet Up’s locally before and it has been a bust, BUT this time I could make my own and see hot it goes…

Well, it goes like this: $15 a month to begin and maintain a group. So, it went away in the bad idea drawer. (We don’t buy our friends, after all, and this makes friendship acquisitions seem like a subscription box)

A Kit Kat is 89 cents… (just for perspective.)

Late yesterday morning I packed Elenor, and her favorite toys and treats, up and we headed to the nursing home to visit with my mom. She has really been down lately, (this would be my mom, not elenor) and I always loved taking Knightley there. He brought such joy to the residents days. Maybe it is because she is bigger, maybe it is because I was alone, maybe it is because it was 900 degrees outside- but it was not an easy feet. By the time we made it to my mom’s room (I also brought a box of donuts for the nurses, which complicated things a wee bit.) I wanted to curl up on her bed and sleep for a year.

The meeting of the two of them was childlike and precious, and made the struggle to get there worth it.

That will be etched into my mind forever.

One of the four times that I had to trek the 840 steps back to the front, to take Elenor out to do her business, we encountered a lovely little group of residents who were thrilled to see a puppy coming at them down the hall. I scooped her up in my arms because I did not want her to have an accident out of excitement, especially since the home is in the middle of remodel and the carpet is new. While I am holding her and she is excitedly saying hello to each member of the bunch, a gentleman starts patting his lap aggressively and shouting “BABY!” I explain to them she really needs to go out and he proceeds to grab her back leg and begin pulling her to him…

My puppy has officially been abused by a nursing home resident. Since Elenor plans to spend regular time there, maybe it is a milestone. This sweet little Golden girl who loves everyone was a bit apprehensive of wheel chair riders after that…

The Kit Kat followed the visit, the stressful pet store trip, the long (melting) drive home. It followed trying to cool off with a Hallmark movie and nap. It was after this that I remembered I needed to run to Target.

I passed up a cool lime refresher from Starbucks, (quenching, cold and $4 off a gift card I already have) because it seemed indulgent and I wanted to practice self-control.

I fell in love with a fabric covered pumpkin, ($9) where apparently my resolve did not apply. I purchased a small bag that my mom needed, and a travel make up bag for me, because I am traveling across the country and all. (In like a month and a half, and I’ve done it hundreds of times without said bag, and bag was not on sale.) And then, after passing up sugar for the entire trip, I’m standing in line to check out and there is a Kit Kat for 89 cents. (plus, in my defense, I do save an additional 5%.)

Also while I had been in the nursing home, I passed a man in the largest wheel chair I have ever seen. I can honestly say I have never seen a person so heavy. It struck me to my core really. The writer in me began to wonder why? Had he lived a lonely life? A defeated life? A hard, bruised and broken one? I resolved that I do not ever want to live like that, and I said a silent prayer to God, thanking Him that I could walk and move.

I have been very frustrated because, after losing 130 pounds, I have put on 39. It is depressing and no one knows why. I keep hoping lab work will come up with something that makes us go, “Oh! that’s why!” and a solution will arise. (Currently, eating really well, (better than when I lost the weight) and exercising isn’t cutting it.)

It is that frustration which encouraged me not to indulge in the small, wrapped halloween candy. I would have regretted it, even if something sick in me believed sugar would balm the loneliness as of late. It was also, I’ll admit, the memory of that man…

So the Kit Kat? I don’t know. I didn’t forget. It is almost like I remembered with each sickeningly sweet and not at all delicious bite, yet I finished it anyway.

Ladies and Gentlemen, self sabotage at it’s finest, and I don’t even know why. The one thing I am sure of is that with the rate things are going for me, due to the Kit Kat, my gain is likely now up to 45 or 50 lbs.

beautiful, chronic illness, confession, creative, depression, fibro, friendship, gifts, gratitude, journey, Lately, list, marriage, parenting, self care

the wonder…

Over the weekend I went to Toledo to attend a Beth Moore conference. Of the pages and pages of notes I penned, there is one particular thing Beth said which I have not been able to shake. Don’t misunderstand- She said a lot of truly incredible things. Magnificent and wise things which had my hand, at times, scribbling a million miles a minute just to capture a small fraction of what she shared. This one thing, however, this one particular thing split me wide open and has clung to my spirit…

When you are unable to see the Wonder (of God) anywhere in your life, that’s when it might be time to realize you are the wonder.

I mean seriously- BOOM.

There are times in my life when I have seen the hand of God all over the place, and other times when I would have to simply reassure myself by acknowledging the very miraculous wonder of my journey to motherhood, because nothing else came to mind. As bold and big as that part of my story will always be, there was never a moment when I flirted with considering my own life (or self) as any sort of wonder.

Self care is at the heart of everything I say, anymore, and yet, ironic isn’t it, that I would point to my kids, my spouse and many of my friends as the miraculous wonders of someone Holy, while ignoring the mirrored reflection I posses completely?

No, not me. I have a lazy eye. My hair gets frizzy. I screw up way too much. No one cares about what I have to say. The list can be long and go on, and on, and on.

When I want to be, I can be pretty skilled at finding joy and awe in the moment by moment “small” things. I have journals chronicling my gifts in the ordinary and often pain filled moments. I get it… But what about looking a little differently at these things? It is totally ok for me to see Elenor as a gift, my kids as gifts, my marriage, money, friends, etc… It is an endless list when heading in that direction, but if I reverse it back, it pretty much stops where it began. Am I possibly a gift? Could I be? Could I ever see myself as such a thing, and should I? This goes beyond feeling grateful that, when fibro sore legs throb, at least I have two legs to carry me. This goes beyond when an eye strain headache deblitates me, at least I have eyes to see, to read. But me? I’ll have to question and meditate on such things, but for now I have decided to challenge myself to look a little deeper.

Where is the wonder today?

Today I will photograph.

Today I will write.

Today I will capture.

Today I will create.

Today I will be still.

Today I will bridge a gap and connect.

Today I will…

And maybe it will simply be one capture, one snap shot or one written word. Perhaps my stillness will last three blissful minutes before life sets it. It does not matter the volume, only the intent motivating it. It is in these intentional acts, as well as outside of them, that I will see the wonder.

Some wonder.

Wonder…

chronic illness, confession, depression, fibro, gratitude, journey

My mind isn’t always my friend…

Yesterday was the sort of day when it’s a struggle to find one single thing to be grateful for, which seems a little ridiculous when you think about it, after the fact. I felt so inundated with complexities, loved one’s health issues, my own body’s limitations and dog poop. It was overwhelming, at best, and this girl who very seldom cries shed a lot of tears. I remember a point where I tried to think of ONE thing to focus on, that was great, but could think of nothing.

Not one thing.

That is pretty sad. I don’t feel comfortable with my default being a macro focus on my own short comings and life hiccups. By the time I dared to sleep, shortly after 2 a.m., I was able to think of volumes of amazing gifts that I have, but of course that comes at a cost too. The guilt. The guilt of not being mindful, of taking things for granted. My day, which had been speckled with music I love and conversations with people who I am so grateful for had become a short-sighted list of complaints. Today I want to journey towards preventing that to happen again.

Sure, bad days happen. None of us are free of that risk, but I’m contemplating, this morning, how much more I complicated things by focussing on my own pain and limitations, and then frustration.

Today is a new day!

It began with a great cup of coffee, a nice walk with my Emma girl (who was a huge canine complication yesterday, to the point that I was ready to give her away on the spot!) and an 8000 mile bridged text conversation with the husband. What is there to complain about that? NOTHING!

Now, tomorrow morning I have a too-early dentist appointment, so maybe my Thursday won’t be so great… Ha!

chronic illness, confession, depression, fibro, gratitude, journey, marriage

one, two, three, one…

The mornings are cold, the dogs sneeze around bites of breakfast and I want to stress to them the importance of bundling up and cuddling but they just don’t get it. Emma, the older and grumpier of the pair, (and I say pair, but really, but they are never together and don’t like each other) would pose a threat to my life if I were to attempt a cuddle. Elenor, on the other hand, may be as shivery and sleepy as can be, and the second I attempt to snuggle she becomes a playful and ferocious beast, all teeth and wagging tail.

My husband is getting ready to say goodbye to today, as he is on the other side of the world and it is very nearly tomorrow, there. As he spends this time in the future, I find myself much more aware the time, time zones, timing. Time is a funny thing, at times it crawls, as I fear these next weeks will do. Other times it speeds by so fast, I am left dizzy and altered.

This morning I am pondering hurricane damage, flood and fire brokenness and how, though I may not love Michigan, I am very lucky to be here. So many people I love have experienced such fear and loss these weeks of calamity. The worst thing I’ve had to face, other than my husband’s departure to Australia, is a small cold and a 36 hour migraine. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a whole lot of nothing major.

Here in Michigan it did seem like Fall came out of nowhere. All of a sudden I needed to pull sweaters out of storage, and keep the kettle plugged in for cups of tea throughout the day. Don’t get me wrong, I am not at all complaining. Autumn is my favorite, but I am giving pause. With the arrival of Autumn, (after such a strange summer) i am forced to confront that winter is not far behind.

Over these next few weeks I am focussing on small things. Small goals, moving towards a healthier me, place and perspective. Today I am taking small steps towards those bullseye destinations…  Everyone knows about that one quick way to shed a few pounds, or change-up a routine, or make you an instant morning person, and that is so great. What I’m looking for however are those small things which pave the way to the bigger picture lifestyle of healthy all around. For me, this morning, that looks like an early morning walk, a smoothie for breakfast, and RX bar for snack and a reconnection with my quiet time.

For the week I aim to take in a yoga class, practice tai chi, read a book and write a letter.

Small, attainable, intentional…