Showing posts from November, 2012


Somebody made the mistake of falling asleep in a house full of rannygahoots.

Somebody else thought he could use a bit of decoration.

Somebody didn't think it was funny at the time, but when somebody else showed him the pictures, he couldn't help but laugh. 
Even in your sleep, the rannygahoots will get you...


I sat here with the computer in my lap for a full five minutes before I even began to contemplate what I was going to write today. My mind is blank. There are no thoughts. None. Nothin' in my noggin, to quote a certain absentminded fish. 
I started typing. Still nothing. 
What I need is an epiphany...which reminds me - on our way home from Pennsylvania, we took a detour through Port Jervis, NY, and when we were stopped at a light, I snapped a picture of a building with an awesome sign. I found it greatly amusing and oh, so what I need most mornings:

That's exactly what I need. Now. Coffee and, as the sign says,  "A Great Awakening." 

Truck Stop Angel

We had been on the road for nearly three hours when a little voice from the back seat said those five fateful words, “I need to go potty.” Not anywhere near one of our normal stops, we pulled off an unfamiliar exit and made our way through a maze of roads to the truck stop. Urging my aching body to move and leaving my husband to fill the gas tank, the kids and I went in search of the restrooms. “Meet me right here when you’re done,” I told the boys, as we parted ways. 
Several minutes later, we found ourselves in front of a glass case – tubs of ice cream apparently screaming my children’s names on the other side. It seems I’d told the kids to meet me in front of the ice cream shop portion of the truck stop restaurant. It was 4:45AM.  My stomach rumbled at the scent of eggs, bacon, and toast- but I knew that half of us wouldn’t be able to eat in the diner due to cross-contamination issues and celiac. I turned to my husband and asked him what we should do about breakfast while the kids b…

Just Say It

If you love someone, tell them - and tell others in front of them. It will make all the difference in that person's life- and yours.

If you have an issue with someone, talk to that person, not someone else, about it. They deserve that respect, and so do you.

If you need something, ask for it. Get what you need and bless someone with the opportunity to help. 

If someone is doing something immoral, unjust, or just plain rude, speak up. Help make the world a better place. 

If you're happy about something, shout it from the rafters. The world could do with a lot more joyful noise. 

If you have something to say, just say it. Don't wait until it's too late. 

All I Want For Christmas...

"What do you want for Christmas?" I've heard the question many times already and it's just now Thanksgiving. Thinking about it over the past few weeks, I've come to realize that there are many things I want - but most of them are God-things. Or win the lottery things (but I don't play). 

1. Sleep. Real sleep. The kind of sleep after which you awake refreshed and renewed. Preferably with a lifetime guarantee.

2. Peace of mind. How extravagant it would be to be caught up on bills, have definitive diagnoses and treatments, have home improvements taken care of, have children in their own spaces, and some semblance of organization and peace in our house? This instead of constantly needing to figure out how to afford necessities, if we're ever going to finish the basement, and whether or not we can make this house at all handicapped friendly...and trying not to worry about my yet-undiagnosed liver problems. Not having to worry about trees falling on our house eve…


Packing and preparing for our annual trip to Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving, my soul feels FULL. Full of gratitude, full of love, full of peace.

I am thankful for my family - for five children who are smart, thoughtful, loving, and who still like to pile in my bed to watch a good movie or read books; my husband whose love for me seems only to have multiplied as our family has grown, who supports my decisions no matter how bizarre they may seem, and who is my hands and my feet when mine are failing; for parents who are supportive in so many ways, whose light shines through their good works, and whose sense of humor has served them, and me, well during this past year; for my in-laws who welcome us always with open arms, whom we don't see nearly often enough, and whose love and care conjures life-long memories for our family even during the briefest of visits; and for family and "adopted" family members without whom life would be lacking in ways to innumerable to list. You al…

And Hear the Angels Sing

Alia is four years old. Like other four-year-olds, she's excited about Christmas and is working on her Christmas list. Unlike other four-year-olds, she has a human cadaver on her list. You see, she aspires to be a forensic pathologist ("a doctor who operates on dead people's bodies to figure out how they died"). Yes, at age four. She's not what you'd call a typical child. I had to convince her that she'll have to wait until medical school for human dissection. She told me a trip to Disney World would have to do ... but that's another story. 

And then our friend Sam died. Alia had all sorts of questions. The conversation went something like this:
Alia: What are they going to do with Sam's body?
Mama: You can't have it.
Alia: *sigh*
Mama: The doctors who tried to help Sam fight his cancer are going to look inside his body to study the cancer to try to figure out ways to help other people with cancer.
Alia: Oh, ok, that's a good idea.  But that'…

Holidays, Family, and the Nursing Child

It's the time of year when we gather together with family and friends to give thanks and celebrate the holidays. It's also the time of year when many mothers of nursing children get barraged with questions from well-intentioned, and perhaps not so well-intentioned, loved ones. 

I started my breastfeeding journey nearly fourteen years ago - just days before Christmas. Here are some responses - some tactful, some not so much - that I've collected over the years (click on each section for easier reading):

 Happy holiday nursing! 

What We Do

What we do to the Earth, we do to ourselves and our children.Treat the Earth with kindness and respect and it will only benefit our future - treat it harshly and our children will reap the consequences. 
What we do to each other, we do to ourselves.One kind action can change someone's life for the better and have a positive impact on countless others. One unkind action can cause a chain reaction of anger or sorrow. When we act with kindness, we feel good, and certainly the opposite is true as well.
What we do to ourselves, we do to our children.Children pay attention, closer attention than we think, to what we do, how we act, and how we treat ourselves. They learn how to treat themselves by how we treat ourselves. Be kind to yourself. Love yourself. Be imperfect and celebrate your imperfections. All the things you tell your kids, "You are smart. You are beautiful. You are loved..." tell yourself also. Out loud. I front of your children. 
What we do to each other, we teach t…


"The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned." ~Maya Angelou

Sam lived out his life with grace, love, and thoughtfulness. Diagnosed with synovial sarcoma in July, Sam and his family had to make many difficult decisions. Throughout it all they walked with faith, with love, and with each other. 

Treatment failing, they decided for quality of life over quantity - to live and love to the fullest.  They wrapped themselves in God's love,  surrounded themselves with family and friends, and did things that nourish their spirits. They accepted help with gratitude. They bore witness to each others' struggles to come to terms with the reality of one continuing on without the other. They said the things that needed to be said to each other, and had authentic conversations with loved ones as well. 

Sam packed his CaringBridge page with not just medical updates, but words of wisdom, "Wee lessons," and an amazing examp…

Liberate Your Soul

What do you like the most about watching someone unwrap a gift you've given? The joy on their face? Their excitement over the gift? How absolutely cool you are for giving them something they desire? Giving gifts often feels better than receiving them. Giving gifts to people who just want to meet their basic needs feels even better and not only produces bigger, more emotional reactions, but has a much bigger impact, possibly changing lives. Not just the life of the recipient - your life as well. 

While reading through Black Friday ads or making lists of the stuff you hope to give to people during the holiday season, please consider giving the gift of love, of support, of security, of knowing someone cares, to someone in need ... in addition to, or instead of, your usual gift. 
I am blessed to be witness to two wonderful and powerful holiday giving programs this year: Mindful Village'sHoliday Helpers Project and Momastery'sHoliday Hands ministry. The essence of both of these i…


It is the unexpected things in life that bless us. 

The other day, the predicted minor snowstorm unexpectedly dumped over eight inches of snow - much of it during my Remicade infusion. Needing a ride home from the hospital and not wanting my Dad to brave the elements, I called a cab. 

I knew I liked the driver with the first non-business words that came out of his mouth, "There should be a ban on discussing the election for at least forty-eight hours after the election!"-this in response to an editorial bit on the AM station he was tuned into to listen for weather and traffic reports. I wholeheartedly agreed.  Brian, the cab driver, and I started talking - about the weather, the crazy drivers, and eventually our families and our faith. He's Muslim. I'm Christian. We both pray multiple times a day and read our religious texts daily. We both meditate when we can. We both have five kids, our youngest, daughters, soon to turn four. We spoke of values, of human potential, o…

Tough Decision

Living with Psoriatic Arthritis involves making many tough decisions. Decisions about medical treatments, mobility aids, and lifestyle changes are just a few. Today has brought another one of those decisions to the surface.

It starts with a certain set of rules that I live by. You see, there are rules pertaining to the watching of Winter holiday movies. The "Cardinal Rule of Winter Holiday Movies" in my household is that we do not start watching them until Thanksgiving night, when we watch "A Muppet Christmas Carol." You see, I'm a holiday movie addict. I do believe I have enough holiday movies in my possession to watch at least two holiday-related movies every day in December without running out. In addition, 41 holiday movies await their turn in my Netflix instant queue and more in my dvd queue. 

Now I find myself in a bit of a predicament. Today I have a Remicade infusion, which will result in a "Remicade hangover." I had set up my dvd queue to send …


There is a member of my family who takes particularly good care of me. When I'm not feeling well, she hops into bed with me and massages whatever part of my body is feeling the worst. She curls up with me and comforts me. First thing in the morning she greets me and makes sure I take my time getting up, encouraging me to linger in bed just a little longer. She checks on me throughout the day, making sure I keep moving my aching joints and applying heat to the places that really need it. She encourages me to take breaks, to rest for a while. She seems to enjoy the time we spend together as much as I do. Her mere presence is comforting; her love, obvious; her patience, tremendous; the joy she brings to my life, priceless. Lola is one of the best caregivers I've been blessed with. I'm incredibly glad we adopted her!

You Can't Be a Good Parent

In a wheelchair at the store, I was chatting with someone while waiting in line when one of the store employees asked me where my kids were. I responded that they were home working on a homeschool project. The person with whom I was chatting asked how many kids I have. I answered, "Five." She seemed disgusted. "Five children? And you homeschool them? Why, you can't even walk and were just saying your hands aren't working well these days either! You can't possibly be a good parent, nevermind teach all those kids!" 

Awesome store employee to the rescue! "Excuse me, ma'am, but you should meet her kids before you say that. They're intelligent, well-behaved, and are the kindest, most helpful kids I've ever met."

I thanked the employee and said to the woman that I had no idea that how well a person's body functions had any impact on the quality of parenting or teaching the person could do - and asked her to please not let Stephen Hawk…

Head-On Collision

I lay still, my mind consumed by pain. Taking stock of the situation, I realize how dire my predicament is. My left arm feels broken. Crushing pain in my left leg and pelvis prove me trapped here with little hope of moving in such a way as to get relief from the pain. Laying still, I concentrate on breathing, but that, too, is painful and difficult. My circumstances are bleak. I may never get to sleep.

I feel as if I've just been in a head-on collision and the pain will not relent enough to allow me to drift off. Even with a double dose of pain meds, a heating pad on my lower back, and with my left arm elevated, my psoriatic arthritis is winning its battle over my body and my ability to sleep. Even extreme exhaustion isn't helping the situation. Pain-induced insomnia reigns supreme. 

Hours later, my husband's alarm sounds. I still have not slept and my pain has only increased. He applies more heat to my back, gives me more medicine, and I'm able to drift off for twenty m…