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, entertainment, fibro, gratitude, journey, rant, self care

I totally hold Joss Whedon responsible…

On Monday I had a pretty rough day. It was one of those days where, if it could go wrong, it did. I had a few rocky appointments/meetings, followed by some pretty not-awesome (but also not terrible) news from my doctor’s office. The thing about the doctor was that they called when I was getting a massage…

I realize this is likely the point in the story where I’ve lost your sympathy vote. Massage? This girl is complaining about her bad day AND she had a massage??? Yeah, I know how it sounds. Please though, allow me to explain. While it may not be everyone who suffers from a chronic illness’ journey, I can tell you that massages are a necessary evil for me. I have to book in advance because of the type of therapist I have to see. When that date rolls around, it doesn’t matter if I am in a Fibro flare up or not, I have to go. How my body receives the massage very much depends on if I am flaring or not, and what the weather outside is like. Let’s take yesterday, for example… It is really, unseasonably hot in Michigan right now and so my body HATES me. My therapist had to spend an extra 15 minutes just to get my neck and shoulder muscles to loosen a little. My lower back has been miserable ever since the massage and I’ve juggled a headache. THIS is more common than not, how I am post massage. So it’s not really a fun thing.

Anyway, I digress… As I am (slowly) dressing from my session, I decide to listen to the voicemail my doctor’s nurse left. What followed was a very ominous message which left me wondering if this was when they share that I only have a few weeks to get my affairs in order. So yeah, I’m fine,(whew!) but the massage AND the anxiety when 90 minutes passed, after I returned the call and left a message, with no word, took their toll on me.

The day had a few other bumps. Over all I just felt drained physically, mentally and emotionally.

Tuesday was different though. I resolved that I would approach every situation differently. (There must have been something off, in the air, yesterday because people were NASTY!) What I found, instead, was myself silently (and often comically) observing life’s quirky bits…

  • like the conveyer belt, at the super market, ate an elderly woman’s $20 bill. Chaos ensued and I was delivered about a hundred apologies and treated with kid gloves as they attempted to solve the error. Is this the sort of thing someone might get really angry about, I wondered. Instead, I had a lovely little chat with Killian the clerk, who must be nearing his 11th birthday, he was so young.  At one point he shared that he really loved old horror movies, and when he offered up movies from the early two-thousands as evidence, I kindly took my receipt and headed for the door. Oh Killian, sweet small boy, I could be your great-grandmother… I really couldn’t, but that is how I felt. (I also bought a bottle of wine, which he did not card me for, so he may feel the same. Silly, Killian.)
  • Tuesdays at 10:20 a.m. are apparently a major traffic time at the USPS. Who knew? I purposefully avoided it on Friday and Monday because I knew my business there would take some time. People were over all carefree, so I clearly made the right choice as everyone in public, Monday, was behaving like they were straight from a freak episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
  • Starbucks drive thru employees tend to lean strongly one way or the other. You have the ones made of cardboard, who seem more bot than person. Those are kind of fun, sort of. (except probably on Monday. No one was fun on Monday. Seriously.) The other side of the spectrum would be the overly chatty ones. The ones who feel the need to divulge very personal information, OR take credit for your purchase. Of course, I am generalizing… Not ALL of them are like this, but I have encountered one or the other more often, as of late. Today I ordered a peach infused green tea. This is not a drink I am new to, and yet, this barista guy decided to congratulate me on my choice. He was confident I would really like it, and that he is always telling people to order this very drink,and they don’t, so it made his day that I had chosen it and that if I did not like it, come back and he would recommend something else. Um, ok, buddy… Pretty sure it is bound to taste like the other 350* I’ve ordered this summer (*slight exaggeration).
  • Tuna. Tuna… I have loved Tuna forever. Grew up eating Tuna casserole, Tuna sandwiches… I have appreciated Tuna because it is such a great source of protein. I tried to eat Tuna at lunch and got sick. the smell, sight and taste of it is so unbelievably repulsive to me- instantaneously. What? Why? I feel like I have lost a friend. (a smelly friend, but hey- I love unconditionally.)
  • People really do stand in super market aisles, lost in confusion. Maybe this has been me at times, but I have never really noticed it in others. Today’s trip found eleven patrons in such circumstance. (Then again, with the conveyor belt eating money and the talk of “super old horror movies” (SHM!) I am suddenly wondering if Joss Whedon is responsible for this silly day too…)

I have produce sitting in my fridge waiting for me to chop, dice and stir it all into a big pot of soup. The lover of fall in me is irritated and antsy that such rituals have not begun. It is nearly 100 degrees outside and my autumn loving soul just cannot understand. I hear rumors that fall will descend upon us tomorrow and I am holding out hope, stock pot and ladle in hand. (At this point I am going to blame Joss Whedon for the weather too, because, why not? It seems like something he would write.)

There is a spider crawling on the outside pane of my office window. I have killed a half a dozen (after spraying, mind you) inside, over the past week. Apparently the spiders are too on their autumn clocks and heading in-doors because it’s time. (either that or- I hesitate to say it- we are slowly being overrun by arachnids. Dang it, Joss… knock it off already.)

In all fairness, today it is misting out, cooler, and absolutely glorious…

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…

entertainment, family, friendship, gratitude, journey, parenting, self care

Words to live by…

During the Emmy’s on Sunday evening, I took to twitter to solve a mystery. I had to learn what Elizabeth Moss was saying to her mother… I HAD to. (It is things like this which drive me.)

Earlier in the evening it had been Alexander Skarsgård’s lovely words to his own mother which began the evenings trend, much to the delight of mothers tuning in everywhere. When Lizzy’s comment got censored though, my curiosity sky rocketed and I could not let it go.

So, what did she say? She thanked her mother for teaching her that she could be kind AND a fucking badass. 

Amazing really.

I know profanity is a sensitive topic for many, and I apologize if what I am about to say offends anyone, but if my child ever stood in front of anyone and gave me such an incredible credit- my motherhood would be made.

I want to be like Lizzy Moss’ mom, when I grow up.

I want to teach my daughters and son, my grandsons and granddaughter that they need to treat everyone with immense kindness, but to believe in themselves and have such internally rooted confidence that they kick ass in everything they try to muddle through. (And please note, success is not the same thing. It is possible to completely rock all you do, and still fail at things. Failure is learning, failure is growth. It is the wallowing that keeps us down, not the failing.)

Before this part of her speech I had just remarked that, though I have never actually met Elizabeth, she truly does seem like a genuinely kind person. I also had pointed out that her name had been referenced, in gestures of gratitude and accreditation, from the stage just 1- 2 times more frequently than Oprah’s and Oprah’s name was mentioned a lot. ( i mean, she is Oprah)

This small story within the awards show, (ironically, a show for and about stories) became a large and multi-chaptered one for me. In these few words, and the expression she conveyed as she looked to her mother to speak them, portrayed a life time of love and relationship. I am sure there were door slamming days when this now seemingly sweet girl likely told her beloved mother she hated her. I am sure there were hard teenage daughter times, just like in nearly every home across our great nation at one time or another. But those slams and screams do not comprise their story, nor do they do nearly as accurate a job as her one beautiful sentence tonight did.

Forget the dresses and hairstyles, the borrowed jewels or petty little dramas between celebrities, the meat of the moments are when we see these larger than life celebrities as what they really are: people. And this mother’s lesson is one we all need to put into practice and live our own lives by…

beautiful, confession, creative, depression, family, friendship, gifts, gratitude, journey, marriage, self care

Pocket sized self care…

Several years ago Chw and I were doing an intentional dating workshop. We were desperately trying to break our dinner and a movie rut. (Oddly enough, through the encounter and 90 day challenge that followed, we learned that we really like doing dinner and a movie. Sure, we expanded to doing other things, but when we actually enjoyed something, it wasn’t quite a rut we learned.) One of the “dates” were for the husband (Chw) to purchase a small, pocket-sized totem for the wife to carry around. The purpose was to act as a grounding, between the two. Whenever the wife, (in this case, me) would pull said totem from her pocket, coin purse, etc, it would remind her of her husband’s love and her belonging to him.

Oddly, my sweet husband took it literally and thought he had to get something that would actually represent him. I went to my favorite store, stressed out over the pressure of the task that is Chw’s fashion, and purchased a silver dollar sized bracket with a C on it. It was so sweet, and funny and although i ADORE that C, I do not carry it in my pocket or coin purse.

This little task resonated with me. This adult girl with abandonment issues and a lifetime lacking much connection, I was in awe of the simplicity of the task. If you and I are remotely close at all, you have likely received some totem token from me. Perhaps it was a four-leaf clover coin, or a small silver elephant, or something similar. I love them!

During the time stopping six months, last year, that we were separated, I had found tiny, polished wooden hearts. I bought two, and carried one around in my pocket everywhere. (I mailed the other one to Chw.) Every time my hand came in to contact with that smooth and grainy heart, I prayed for him and us. I prayed for my heart. I prayed for love and I felt myself swell up with so much joy and longing for my husband. Within that palm, which I feared would never be held by his again, I clung to this heart.

During that time, as well, one day I was at work and feeling completely without hope. I prayed for something I could cling to, out of habit. I begged God to give me a small, piece of something. Anything. Just something to help me hold it together…  A minute or so later a flat ring was just sitting on the counter in front of me. It’s like the piece that goes behind a bolt or screw. I laughed a little. So, it was a piece of something. In my pocket it went, and for the next six months my pocket and/or palm was never without that little metal piece and my wooden heart…

Totems are important and often litter our lives, even when we don’t realize it. They could be a place, or even a person. Maybe it’s a photo, or a pocket-sized trinket like these. What ever it is, they can bond us to something we feel a need to hold tight to. The flip side is true too though, things can tether us to unhealthy memories, addictions or relationships. I’ve realized, over time, that I have had those too. Maybe not in my pocket, but certainly in my life. Yet another reason to cling to the things in life which I love and bring value, while throwing out the rest.

Self care comes in all shapes and sizes, it is not one-size-fits-all. Holding tight to the things which remind us to move forward while letting go of the things which tie us to an unhealthy past is a pretty universal necessary though.