Showing posts from October, 2012

My Mom's Fault

I sit on my parents' couch, sipping tea and watching news updates on Hurricane Sandy. 

My kids are excited to be riding out the storm at Gramma and Papa's house. I feel blessed to have parents who would take on seven extra people so that we can feel and be much safer than at home with the looming threat of trees falling on our house. 

We have a fridge full of food, a bin of gluten-free goodies, homemade gf pumpkin bread and pumpkin muffins, and games with which to entertain ourselves should (when!) we lose power. 

Words like "catastrophic" leap out from the tv. The wind whistles between the houses. A four year old and a quilt keep me warm as I check on friends online and read a thought-provoking book about spiritual gifts. Despite the hurricane outside and the whirlwind of kids inside, I feel a sense of calm. 

Phrases like "fierce, strong Sandy" and the words "Tracking Sandy" across the tv screen elicit giggles from the younger ones among us. Gramma, …


I creep into the room and quietly close the door, clicking the lock into place. Bumping up the heat a bit to make things nice and cozy, I grab my book and settle in for some quiet reading time.  First I stop, steeping my spirit in the stillness of the moment and in gratitude for small blessings. If I'm lucky, my sanctuary will provide me with fifteen minutes or so of peace and space.  Well, not much space, actually, seeing as it's not a very big bathroom. You see, sometimes, when I do not even need to use the restroom for its intended purpose, I slip silently into the only room of the house where I'm afforded a bit of privacy, seeking balance and recharging my soul. 

Some find sanctuary in a church or in a place set apart for prayer or worship. I find sanctuary in silence, in uninterrupted thought, and yes, in the bathroom. Sanctuary can be found in the washing of a sink-full of dishes or in four minutes of watching the clouds move across the sky while pumping gas. There ar…

A Halloween Tradition I Could Do Without

Last year, Halloween festivities were postponed due to a storm. A BIG storm. THIS big storm.
This year, we have a lot to look forward to. According to the news stations, Hurricane Sandy is heading our way. She may dump lots of rain, possibly some snow, and bring along some high winds for good measure ... just in time for Halloween. Again. 
As a New Englander,  I'm always skeptical of weather reports and whether the weather will be as bad as predicted. As someone who journeyed through Storm Alfred last year, I may tend to take forecasts a little more seriously this year. Thankfully, we have our Guide to, well, guide us. We have flashlights, candles, and glow sticks at the ready. We're tuning up our senses of humor. And we know that, if we need to evacuate our house in the middle of the night, the emergency shelter on the hill is more dangerous to get to than my parents' house forty minutes away - and should we invade my parents' house, we will want to arrive with lots of …


Suffocating under a mountain of stress, I'm finding it difficult to function. 

One financially taxing situation after another is impairing our ability to pay for the basics. And by basics, I mean a roof over our heads and electricity.
My breath catches each time the phone rings as I await liver biopsy, bone scan, and follow up celiac testing results. Ocd adds to my struggle not to worry as I wait.
Sleep is not coming easily and is not of good quality, making my stress all that much more stressful. The energy to deal with all of this just isn't there. 

I sit. 
Focus on what's important. 

Although we're once again struggling financially, my husband has a job, we have food enough to last us through the month, and the mortgage company won't complain too much if we pay the mortgage a bit late. 
Within a week, all the medical testing results will be in and I'll know for sure what's going on with my body - or at least these pieces to the puzzle. 
The sleep-di…

You Don’t See That on the Big Road

I admit it – I’m a planner. And I like things to go as planned. Sometimes I count too much on things going as I think they should. I have gotten better at letting go recently, though. If there’s one thing living with psoriatic arthritis has taught me it is that life is not predictable and nothing goes as planned. 

Then there’s my husband. He doesn't plan anything. It’s a challenge to get him to plan dinner when it’s his turn to cook. When things don’t go as planned, he just goes with the flow. I have no idea how he can possibly operate like this, but he does. I continue to try to improve my patience with him when he's lad back about things when I'm stressing. 

It didn’t strike me as odd, then, that when we passed the exit we needed to take to get to camp and were essentially lost (ok, we had a GPS, but who really trusts those things anyway?), that he didn’t consider it a problem. He simply got off at the next exit and trusted the GPS, which took us on a road that didn’t look…

What to Wear?

Tomorrow is the big day! 

I dropped the kids off at my parents' house this afternoon for a sleepover so I'd have plenty of time to prepare and so Jim and I could get an early, unhindered start in the morning. I stopped at the store for supplies, came home and rested at bit, and then got down to the task of picking out what to wear for the big event. 

Ruling out more than half my wardrobe, I finally settled on something that seemed a good fit for the occasion. It's not as fashionable as it could be, but is very functional. Pajamas bottoms and a comfy long-sleeved shirt are appropriate garb for a liver biopsy, aren't they? If only I owned fuzzy slippers to complete the ensemble. 

Now I go to bed a bit early, as I have to be at the Procedures Center by 7AM. Not exactly a hot date with my husband, but hopefully the biopsy will provide needed answers so I can continue forward with psoriatic arthritis treatment. 

Prayers welcome. 

Pain Relief

There are different kinds of pain. These past few weeks there hasn't been much I can do about physical pain. With concerns about health problems, a busy season in our homeschooling year, and financial stresses brought about by medical and vehicle issues, I wasn't finding much time for me - or for nurturing my spirituality. Emotional and spiritual pain are things I take seriously, and so off we went, to a place of healing, where I could hopefully regain spiritual and emotional balance. A sacred space. Somewhere dear to my heart and good for my soul. 

Camp Calumet Lutheran in New Hampshire.

My heart leapt as I glimpsed the mountains in the distance. Home. I was going home. 

Calumet greeted us with a beautiful, dusky lake. A walk barefoot in the sand was just what I needed - that day, and in the days to come. To feel the sand between my toes, to feel more connected with and to the Earth was a blessing beyond measure. 

Connecting with old friends and making new ones, we settled in for…

Not JUST Arthritis

I have arthritis. Well, that's not completely true. I do have arthritis, but not just arthritis. I have Autoimmune Arthritis. 

People with arthritis often have stiff, painful joints upon waking or after a period of rest. Some have pain throughout the day. Some develop deformed joints, making walking or using their hands painful and difficult. 

People with Autoimmune Arthritis experience that, too, and so much more. They get ten hours of sleep, get up to go to the bathroom, and feel like they've run a marathon. They make a trip to the grocery store and halfway through, out of nowhere, their body gives out. Their joints get painfully swollen for seemingly no reason. Their bodies are attacking themselves.

There's arthritis.

Then there's Autoimmune Arthritis.

When people typically think about arthritis, they usually envision Osteoarthritis (OA). OA is a mild to severe form of arthritis affects primarily the weigh-bearing joints as a result of injury, age, or wear and tear.

Then …


I'm suffering horribly. It's bad. Very, very bad. I lay in bed in the mornings, not wanting to get up. Once up, I just want to go back to bed. When I'm out, I want to get home. When I'm home, I just want to be doing nothing. Not reading. Not wasting time on facebook. Just - nothing. 

I'm suffering from a total lack of Motivation. 

Motivation seems to have packed her bags and left. I know my friend Greg hasn't seen her, because he just posted on facebook that she hasn't been around all week. Perhaps Motivation went on vacation. Can Motivation go on vacation? And what's with taking Productivity and Incentive with her? It's just not right.

Wherever Motivation has gone, she's kept well hidden. Should she ever decide to return, my house might look better, my kids might eat better, and I might get things accomplished. Until then, I'll suffer through the doldrums of doing nothing.

The Brick and The Need

A four year old discovers a brick in the middle of grass and picnic tables at a park. She carries it across the park to where her family is, asking if anyone knows where the brick came from. Her six year old brother excitedly explains that there's a brick walkway not too far away that's missing a brick. The mystery has been solved. The two venture to the walkway, and the four-year-old places the brick back in place, pleased with her work. All is now right in the world.

Our van was broken into - no windows smashed, just a door unlocked and the entire vehicle rummaged through. Food pantry donations, a cup half full of change, and bags of clothing ddonations were stolen. An iPod, a case of cds, and other valuable items were not. A then five year old suggested we fill a bag with food and leave it out that night in case the person was still hungry - with a note saying they didn't need to break into our van, they just needed to ask. He saw not the criminal activity, but the need.…

Good News!

The past week has been one of my toughest yet. Major psoriatic arthritis flare that got better and then much worse. But, as always - and even though I'm typing this post with my thumbs because my fingers are too swollen and painful - there's Good News! There's always Good News, you just need to know how to see it!

Good news - we're putting you back on medication that could potentially kill you so you can get off the medication that will kill you sooner rather than later. 

Remicade is a life-changing drug for me. I was taken off of it for possible liver complications and am finally being put back on it, which will hopefully again provide a vast improvement in my health. In going back on it, I should be able to get off the liver-injuring drugs I'm currently taking to make it through the day. The scary thing about taking Remicade, is that Remicade can be a scary drug. The warnings go on for pages. The possibilities of health complications are seemingly endless. Yet I lo…

She's How Old?

"So Mama, remember I want to be a ...what's it called? Forensic pathologist?"


"Can I start learning it now?"

"Sure! First you need to learn all the parts of the body - there are LOTS - and how they work."

"And I have to wait until medical school to learn on a dead human body, right - what's that called again? Will that be like when I'm a teenager?"

"Yes, it's called a cadaver, and you need to wait until you're in medical school - so when you're 20ish."

"Good. Now I need my mamamilk."

Ah, the joy and insanity of having an incredibly intelligent, somewhat scary, nursing four-year-old.

Much Ado about Bottoms

"Is this a girl skirt or a boy skirt?" asks my four-year old as we sort through a bin of Autumn clothes, looking for clothes that might fit her and her seven-year-old brother and sorting out clothes that were too small and we might give to friends. 
"I don't know ... what do you think?" 
"It could be either, I suppose. But can I have it? I really love it."
"You can have it if it fits."
"Yippee! I'll go try it on now!"
Now I'm going to say something that you may find shocking, so hold on to your britches...
You see, a skirt is a skirt. 
Just like the sky is the sky. 
It's that simple. 

Some people have huge hang-ups about something as basic as clothing, and can't imagine why a boy would wear a skirt, or a dress for that matter. Well, at least that's questionable here in the United States. Amongst some people in the United States, anyway. 

I've seen many boys and men in clothing that meets the criteria of a skirt or a d…