Showing posts from May, 2013

How I Spent the Weekend on the Couch Watching TV

When you're a mother, or a person living with chronic illness or pain, or anyone seeking a bit of rest whilst taking care of a horde of children, the perceptions of those around you sometimes greatly differ with your reality. The following is a real life example of the vast difference there can be between perception and reality...

What they see:
Mama sitting on the couch watching tv all weekend.

What actually happened:
Saturday, Mama:
- Went to a memorial service and the luncheon following, helping out as needed
- Drove to parents' house, heretofore called "home",  where family was staying for long weekend, picked up coupons, drove to the store, did grocery shopping for the weekend.
- Lugged groceries into the house. Put away groceries. Prepped for dinner.
- Sat down for an hour and a half, watched a movie with daughter, while researching a possible new autoimmune arthritis treatment, health tracking sites, and reading a book about Aspergers/Autism recommended by the doctor.

A Room with a View

Reclining in a comfy chair, watching the clouds go by, I almost forget the dozen or so needles stuck in various places on my body. Occasionally I get a glimpse of a bird soaring free on broad wings and find my mind soaring along, reveling in high flying freedom.

Soothing, those clouds. Their slow, subtle movements calming my mind, quieting my thoughts. As much as the acupuncture, the view helps and heals.


I sit down to write, a million words swirling through my head. But I can't get them to coalesce. I have too much on my mind. Fear. Worry. Sadness. Stress. Too Much.
A dear friend on the brink, calling out for help. I'm doing what I can, but wish it were more. Wish I could take away her anguish, give her peace. 

Another friend, living on hope while being told my all that there is none. Holding her loved one close, as if clinging to him could hold his soul in his body. Living each day to the absolute fullest, even if it's merely full of the everyday.

My son, struggling with depression and hormones and siblings with Aspergers and life in a large family when maybe he was cut out for life in a small family. Feeling out of place. My depressions resonates with his, my out-of-placeness as well, especially recently. I worry and fear for us both. 

My health - a new dosage, a new plan, a new hope, but a new fear. This stuff could kill me, or cause irreversible damage, or put me in remiss…

One More Angel in Heaven

The first thing out of her mouth when she heard that her dear friend Pastor Henry Brau had died was a rousing chorus, "There's one more angel in Heaven. There's one more star in the sky. But Pastor the things that you stood for, like Truth and Light never die!" There is one more angel in Heaven, and quite frankly there was one more tear in my eye after that loving display from a five year old who believes in the immediate and unabashed celebration of a loved one's death. After all, she reminds us, they are with God - the Best Place to Be. This is something to celebrate. 

"Why do people cry or get sad as soon as people find out that people die?" she asked. "I mean, I know they will miss them, but shouldn't they be happy for them first?"

"I guess most of us are just more selfish than you are, my love."

This conversation ran through my mind as I sat in the church sanctuary which bloomed with flowers from the Brau's garden as well a…

Bedtime Stories

From tales of childhood past to favorite storybooks to sacred stories, reading at bedtime is a favorite passtime in our house. Some of us have difficulty going to sleep for wont of finishing just one more chapter ... or an entire book. Damn you Harry Potter!

Every night Coren arrives at my bedside, Bible in hand, asking if we can read just a little. He's reading through the Message Bible from beginning to end. He's seven. He inspires me to explore my Bible more.

Often, my kids ask me to regale them with tales of my childhood, their childhoods, and we find ourselves spending more time than planned sharing I remember whens. I remember when I was little and went on walks with Grampy ... I remember when Alex and Zachary were little and I was pregnant with Haley and Alex decided to move out of the family bed to his own bed in his own room and took Zachary with him and I was so lonely that night and for weeks after that I couldn't sleep and got up a zillion times just to make sure…


Throughout life friends come and go. Precious few are lifelong friends.

I lost a lot of friends earlier this year. Or perhaps I should say, I found out a lot of people I'd thought were friends, perhaps never considered themselves friends, earlier this year. It hurt because I valued these people and they chose to listen to opinions of others over finding out what was in my heart. That I was caught totally off guard with sudden vehement insistence I am a horrible person was brutal. That I still care about all these people and will most likely never again call them friend makes me sad. 

Since this happened, I've heard from many people that they have had at least one experience like this in their lives and that, although painful at the time, it led to only good things and lasting friendships. Perhaps this is the way of things.

In many ways, these people leaving my life was a blessing. I value friendships - real friendships - those friendships where you can royally screw up and the fr…

Things I Should Not Be Allowed to Do

1. Shop at Ikea. Even creating a shopping list at, I end up with several hundred dollars of stuff on my list before getting to the stuff I went there to buy. Like two more bins for a rack I already own and seating for my dining room. Did you know they have solar powered things??? And you couldn't possibly have too many SP├ľKAs,could you? I'm going there on Friday. I will not stray from my shopping list. I will not stray from my shopping list. I will not stray from my shopping list.
2.Rearrange furniture. There are several reasons for this, the first being that I have psoriatic arthritis, usually choose to do these projects when my husband is at work with only the help of small children, because the bigger children would apparently rather sleep than move furniture. The second being that I usually decide to move furniture sometime around 7:30PM, which is not a good time to be moving furniture, and basically assures lots of work left over for the next day.

3. Converse with …

Eggs and Beer

Eggs and beer. I just traded my La Bassine birth pool for eggs and beer.

And playstands for a bench - or if that doesn't work out, a bunch of fresh organic eggs and some gluten-free goodies.

And a learning tower for help with housework for a friend with a back injury. 

How I do love bartering! We've bartered hiking sticks and wands for chiropractic services, veggies for eggs, and babysitting for help with home improvement projects, among other things. 

We love freecycling and thrifting as well, but those finds don't usually come with stories as impressive as "I just traded my birth pool for eggs and beer." How did that come about, you ask? Well, I offered my birth pool - the one Alia was born in in our dining room, the one several babies a year have been born in since then - to some midwifey and doula-y mamas that I know and one very excited friend offered such things as eggs, beer, rhubarb, a cute little dog, kombucha, and lettuce in exchange. I decided eggs and bee…

Five AM

The sunrise this morning was stunning. I know this, because this was one of the words my five year old daughter used to describe it as she lay in bed next to me. She had a nightmare and arrived at my bedside promptly at 5AM begging refuge underneath my covers, snuggling in between her Mama and Daddy. Once settled in, it became clear to me that she was wide awake, and I was doomed. 

I had a horrible night. I must have woken up every twenty minutes due to pain. Hand pain, back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain - you name it, it hurt. The last thing I needed was a visitor in my bed at 5AM on a day I could get away with sleeping in a bit if I needed. And boy, did I need it. 

I lay there feigning sleep as Alia quietly commented on the myriad noises coming from outside. Birds of all sorts, squirrels chasing each other and chattering away, one neighbor leaving for work, then another, after they moved their recycling bins to the curb. 

Then there was the sunrise, which, I was told, you can't lo…

Sporadic Artie Says

Sproadic Artie had a lot to say this past week. Perhaps I should have listened just a little better.
Thursday:  Sporadic Artie says, "Hey, it's time to make your neck a little stiff. I've been going easy on you and you need a reminder of what it's really like to have PsA."
Ok, ok, I'll cancel my meeting and take it easy. Well, as easy as possible wrangling seven kids and doing housework and...and...and...
Friday:  Sporadic Artie says, "You should be taking it easy, you know. Perhaps more pain and less range of motion will give you the idea." 
But...but I NEED to get two kids to camp physical appointments and then we're going to the theater to see Anything Goes. Mostly a lot of sitting, so it shouldn't be that taxing.
Saturday:  Sporadic Artie says, "You're not listening. How about no movement in the neck, and increased pain there and in your shoulders? And maybe one knee just for kicks."
I get it. And I'm getting myself to the emerg…



Insert Mother's Day Ad Here

Ads for Mother's Day gifts litter the internet. Jewelry and flowers seem to top the must-gives, but these are not the types of things I want for Mother's Day.

For Mother's Day, I would like to give all the mothers of the world a hug and let them know that they are enough. That they don't have to be super-mom, don't need to be perfect - that they only need to love their kids, because in the end it's the love that makes the biggest impact. It is the love that's remembered, the love that's passed on to the next generation. 

I want all mothers to feel valued and cared for and loved and to be recognized for the hard work that is mothering. More than that, I want them to embrace their value and fully feel their worth. Mothers do the most important work - they nourish bodies, minds and spirits, giving them deep roots so they may grow and flourish. 

I want those who mourn their mothers to take some time to celebrate them and reflect on some of the things their mom…

Silver White Winters that Melt into Springs

These are a few of my favorite things...

The world is greening up! Winter is gone, trees are getting leaves, the grass is green, and my world is a better place. All silver-white Winter I longed for the world to once again turn green. Nothing quite lifts my spirits like seeing Spring unfold, leaf bud by leaf bud, the world growing greener not only day by day, but hour by hour if you really pay attention. Spring is most definitely one of my favorite things. 
And then there are the miracle working hands of Erica, from whom I've twice now received the best massage of my life. Erica seems to know every sore spot, exactly how much pressure is enough but not too much, and just what to do to help my body get on the path to health and healing. If you're anywhere near the West Hartford, CT area, make an appointment at Outer Peace Wellness. It's worth every cent - and this from someone incredibly frugal with her money. Baking soda. We buy it in bulk bags and use it for everything from c…


This morning I awoke from a wonderful dream. In the dream I found myself helping clean up the landscaping around our church building - raking out all the landscaping in front of the church, worked with my kids filling wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow with debris, helping others clean up along the side of the building, and spreading mulch in the front to finish my portion of the job. I felt the sun on my back and the stretch of my muscles as I worked. Hard work, fresh air, what a wonderful dream!

The dream continued with a trip to a warehouse store with my friend Renee, where I got shopping done and we had good conversation in the process. And then a jaunt to a store for which I had a gift card. Then a quick stop home and off again to two different grocery stores. Once home, I took on the task of putting away a month's worth of groceries and supplies and enjoyed dinner and a movie with my family. 

Usually these dreams of mundane tasks frustrate me because they're my plan for the upc…


There are times in my life when I feel called to do things or go places.

I felt called to go to Susquehanna University, where I met my husband and my best friend - and learned more about myself than I did about any academic subject.

I felt called to send my two eldest to a homeschool theater opportunity one Spring, and as a result we now blessed to have a homeschool co-op home at Epoch Arts, where my kids study everything from Latin to Zombies.  

I felt called to send my kids to Camp Calumet in Freedom, NH, and there we found a second home - a place that calls to us when we're not there, and calls forth a sigh of relief every time we arrive there.

And now I feel called to join a trip to Israel hosted by the pastor of my church. The anxiety induced by the thoughts of long flights, trying to eat gluten-free in a another country, and being in completely unfamiliar surroundings pales in comparison to the pull my heart and soul feel to make this journey. My initial thought when hearing of …

From the Ashes

I've been feeling lost. Sometimes overwhelmingly so. My mind seems in a constant fog. My body teeters between ill and well. My desire to accomplish is overshadowed by my need for balance. 

I no longer know what I want to be When I Grow Up. I wrote that post about a year ago, and still, I don't know what it is that I want to be when I grow up. The fire that fueled my dreams turned them to ashes with that one huge flare that started my downward spiral.

I feel like I'm wandering aimlessly through life.

Yet the more I think about it, the more I think that this is the place I need to be right now. Wandering. Exploring. Getting to know what I can and can't do, what I can and can't be. Understanding that the aforementioned might change from day to day, moment to moment. Going wherever whims and life's demands carry me, even if that's to the comfort of my bed on days my health isn'tcooperating with my intentions. Being in the position where I can say yes to someth…