Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thrift Store Thursday: Comfort Edition

Today let's talk comfort. Through the years, different things have meant comfort to me. Lately it's things that soothe my senses. Some of my favorites are my incense burner, pictured below, and my moose coffee mug, both thrift store finds. The scent of coffee wakes me up, while enjoying a quiet moment or two with a mug of coffee soothes my soul. Incense permeating the air calms and centers me as I move through my day.


My kids know enough that, if they're folding the laundry and my Figment night shirt is in the load, it makes its way to my bed right away so I know it's available for me to wear to bed. It won't be long until this particular piece of comfort disintegrates, but until then, I will relish the instant relaxation that comes from slipping into such a comfy garment. 


And then there's the ultimate in comfort. Choosing from a super-soft fabric sleeping bag-turned-comforter and the beautiful comforter cover that covers a comforter that's older than I am is a nightly luxury. 


What are your most comfy thrift-store finds?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Most Excellent Harmonies

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. Philippians 4:8MSG

Ah, how things seem to enter my life at just the right time. Take this Bible passage, for instance. There it was, on my screen, when I was looking for something different. It spoke to me, saying what my heart was screaming, but couldn't put into words.

Now that there has been a significant ending in my life - the dissolution of something I held dear but can no longer contribute my energy to - I need to consciously reach out and embrace God's most excellent harmonies in my life. Perhaps endings that bring peace and change are part of this. 


One of the most difficult things to do as I struggle with these dark days of Winter is to concentrate on the best and the beautiful, instead of dwelling in the darkness of seasonal depression. I need to fill my mind with beautiful thoughts, practice kindness and forgiveness, and wonder at the goodness God continues to provide in my life. 

This passage provides a good message for us all. May we all move forward with grace, anticipating amazing things as we are worked into God's most excellent harmonies. 



Sunday, January 27, 2013

Shadow

She stands still, tries to be patient until the light goes off. Once it does, she runs a few steps forward and to the side, spinning around to see the shadow she's left behind. "I wish she could come with me and play with me and teach me to see what she sees," she dreams. "Oh, yes!" she exclaims, "shadows can get bigger or smaller or disappear or fly or just be." She wishes her image farewell before it has time to fade away, and we're of to explore more exciting things the Children's Museum has to offer. On the way home, she's quiet, contemplative. "You know what? Shadows are dark, but they're made because of light. That's just too good!"

This past week, I've needed a shadow friend. Someone to remind me that there would be no light without the darkness, no joy without sadness. A reminder that no matter how dark my life gets, I'm surrounded by Light. Light that knows my darkest places and loves me. Light that guides my heart, buoys my thoughts, and leads me in the right direction. Light that frees me to embrace the idea that even in times of darkness, perhaps especially in times of darkness, I'm made because of Light. That's just too good!

"What is it that shadows see that we don't?" I ask.

"Our light, of course! Only our light. Like we see only their dark. I'd like to see everyone's light, without the other stuff in the day. That would be too good!"

"I have a feeling you do already, my lovie. And it is too good!" 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Mail Call

Retrieving the mail from the mailbox, three colorful envelopes peeked out from amongst the usual ads and bills - an unusual sight, for sure. Taking a moment out of my already hectic and stressful day, I sat, a smile creeping across my face as I spied the return address on each envelope. Each card provided just what my heart needed that day, and serve as a reminder that I'm cared for, valued, and loved. How easily I've lost sight of that over the past week, anxiety clouding my outlook and encouraging self-doubt. Dawn brought light into my day, reminding me to take in the warmth of friendship, focus on finding balance, and concentrate on getting through life's trials with grace. I am forever thankful to her for being such a kind, thoughtful friend, and to God for weaving her into the tapestry of my life. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thrift Store Thursday: Footwear Edition

In just one trip to the thrift store, you can travel through time just by perusing the footwear aisles. I had one such thrift store experience.

The first were a tiny pair of toddler crocodile crocs. They were truly adorable. I was transported back to the days Coren had a pair like this. Somehow I don't remember his being this tiny!


Then I stumbled upon this totally rad pair of sneakers. They were shiny. And a big. And reminded me quite a bit of clown shoes. 


Then, there they were. A wonder of teal faux-suede and poly/cotton knit. Like, totally eighties dude!


Not to be outdone by children's or women's shoes, the men's shoe rack came up with these gargantuan, shiny blue loafers. Unfortunately the pointy toes of these beauties got cut off in the picture and my phone battery died before I could take a better photo. Besides, people were starting to look at me a little strangely. 


My personal best, when it comes to thrift store shoe purchases, has to be my brand new Uggs, bought at a church thrift store on 50% off day. They were marked $14. I paid $7, approximately 96% off retail. 

Have you made any fabulous shoe finds at the thrift store?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Unhinged

Drama entered my life a few days ago. The ferocity of words aimed at me when I was simply trying to help caught me off guard. The commotion that followed left me completely unhinged. Angry words and others' opinions about my actions and me as a person flew at me at light speed, cutting to the core. What hurt most is that their anger blinded them from seeing my heart - and perhaps mine, theirs. For a while I lost my self, my way, my heart. I am falling apart, and that is not ok.

Tumultuous days like these leave me drained, feeling deeply empty, yet overflowing with grief. There is no space, no time, for me to process what has happened, and herein lies the danger - there is only reaction, explanation, and groping for common ground. I need time to process, to focus, to open myself to what really matters and leave the rest behind. I need stillness of heart and mind to listen after I pray before I can find my way.

So today I take a deep breath and move on. Today I start to pick up the pieces of my heart. Things are falling apart, and that's ok. I need to let it all go. 

It doesn't matter what others think of me. Helping remedy what I can, admitting and apologizing for my own mistakes and shortcomings, and forgiving others for theirs, I journey forward.  I have done what I can, and that's all that I can expect of myself. Friends blessed me with phone calls and emails reminding me of all the good I've done, and that all is not lost. 

Life doesn't come without conflict and pain, and neither does growth. I choose to learn from this, and pray for better understanding and a new beginning for all.

New beginnings are often disguised as 
painful endings. ~ Lao Tzu




Sunday, January 20, 2013

All I Wanted

All I wanted when I was four years old was to grow up and have five kids. 

I did grow up (mostly) and I did have five children. Five wonderful kids. Five unique, yet all a special kind of crazy, kids. 

All I wanted today was to take a picture of my children. All five of them. All at the same time. I know, I know - that's asking a lot. I ended up taking a grand total of twenty-four pictures of them. Alex, my resident aspie teen who hates having his picture taken was visible enough for it to count in fourteen of them. Of those fourteen, his eyes were open in seven. 

All I wanted was a nice picture. Of the twenty-four photos, one should be usable, right? Well, ok, one came out fairly nicely, and you can see a good percentage of Alex's face in it:


After that one good shot, approximately seventeen pics in, things rapidly started going downhill. The first glimpse of what was to come is right there in the background with looking-at-his-nose boy:



Then the silliness started:


OK...hang on - what's going on with Coren's tongue? That's a bit frightening. Now where was I? Oh yes...


And then it happened. There was no hope for Zachary. I would have tried to save him, but was having too much fun capturing it all on film, or should I say sd card:



All I ever wanted is right there in those photos - five unique, fun, silly, and slightly scary children who clearly love to strangle each other very much.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Short Term

The top ten things that make short term memory problems fabulous:

1. Re-watching an entire tv series from beginning to the present and not remembering much of it at all - and still enjoying it.

2. The amusement of one's children when once again you can't remember why you walked into a room, what you were in the middle of doing when they interrupted you, or why you picked up a certain item.
3. The wonderment of thinking that you really should make dinner soon, only to discover that it's already in the oven/crockpot. 

4. How fabulously organized one gets with lists and post-it-notes - that is, if you actually remember to reference said lists and post-its.

5. Rediscovering young adult fiction because you don't have a memory capable of keeping up with most adult fiction books. There's some really great young adult fiction out there!

6. You get surprised by the little things in life, like your significant other bringing something you asked for, even though you don't remember asking for it, but do remember thinking it would be a really nice thing to have.

7. Re-watching an entire tv series from beginning to the present and not remembering much of it at all - and still enjoying it.

8. Finding over twenty blog post drafts that you don't remember starting, including some really good ones and some that have a title, but nothing more. It's most amusing when you can't figure out what the title was in reference to or what awesome idea inspired the typing of such a title.

9. Your children learning to not ask the same question twenty times due to the fact that you ask your kids the same question twenty times before you remember the answer. 

10. The ever-so-lovely experience of 


Friday, January 18, 2013

To See the Face of God

At church Sunday morning, I had a difficult time paying attention to the sermon. A certain little girl had important things to say. 
"Mama, do you see God's face? I see it when I see the faces of all these people at church. I see God's face even when I close my eyes really tight. I see God's face in everyone I meet. Do you want to know why? Because I love every single person!" (Alia, age 4)

At the movies Sunday night, one line of a song jumped out at me like never before. 
"To love another person is to see the face of God." (Les Miserables)
The world hasn't been quite the same to me, since. How can it be, when I see God everywhere, in every face? How can it be, when I look through the eyes of love? How can it be, when my heart has been reawakened? 

When did I become blind to God in others? Until Sunday, I hadn't realized how closed off my heart had become, how difficult it has been to genuinely care about every human being with whom I come in contact. Chronic pain, illness, and stress has been taking its toll and it has been difficult to get out of my own pain fog to truly connect with others. Getting past the physical and emotional exhaustion to see beyond myself and those immediately around me seems to consume too much of my very limited energy. It took a four year old, and a beloved musical to remind me how sacred every being is.  
"When you look at someone, just look with love, then you'll see that glowy God-spark and you'll know it's God's face, too." (Alia, age 4)
Would that we all seek out the God-spark in others - what a peaceful, loving, better place this world would be. 


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thrift Store Thursday: Epic Edition

During the past few weeks, my husband and I have been thrift shopping together a couple of times. Once was on our anniversary. We've found some truly epic things. Some of them we brought home ... some were just too awesome - or should that be awful? - to make the cut.

We start out with items for the home. 

First we have this lovely little pièce de résistance:

Who can pass up a limited edition collectible McDonalds "Ronald's Picnic" sericel? We can, that's who!

And then there's this slightly creepy, ever-winking doll complete with faded, yellowed, and slightly "scented" hand-crocheted outfit. A fabulous addition to any decor. Well, maybe not any decor. Definitely not our decor.


Decorative items just didn't work out for us, so we moved on to music. 

Here's the first gem we came across:


Who can resist Jimmy Buffet - especially the greatest hits cd with such legendary songs as Cheeseburger in Paradise, Volcano, Margaritaville, and my all-time non-child-appropriate favorite Why Don't We Get Drunk (and Screw)?

And then, there it was. A true classic! The B-52's Cosmic Thing. 

Sing it with me...
Glitter on the mattress
Glitter on the highway
Glitter on the front porch
Glitter on the hallway 
The Love Shack is a little old place where we can get together...

Now that we've gotten that out of our systems ... let's move on to the most epic of all cds, which can't possibly be properly appreciated without first viewing the commercial. 

Yes, friends, we found Freedom Rock! See...???


You'll never guess which of these fabulous cds has/have found a home in our music library. Well, I suppose you could hazard a guess in the comments section, so I won't ruin it for you here. I do know, whichever we now own, you're all jealous. 

So there you have it. Thrift shopping with my honey - a veritable treasure trove of epicicity. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Love Expects Tomorrow


At age twenty, planning our wedding, we chose 1 Corinthians 13 as one of our readings:
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. 
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
We had been through a lot together and had some sense of the depth and breadth of our love. Protects - check! Trusts - check! Hopes , perseveres - check and check! Kind? Of course! Patient ... well, mostly. Our love was solid. Unshakable. 

Enter children, lifestyle choices, work, financial issues, and all the stresses of adulthood. Add in mental health issues and physical health issues, which sent our seemingly vibrant family on a downward spiral. 

Faith, hope, and love were put on trial. 

Through those turbulent times, love was sometimes lost to easy anger and keeping tally of wrongs. It was never out of reach, we just needed to put aside self-serving opinions and reach out for it. We needed to pull it to us, wrapping ourselves in its comfort and warmth instead of instead slipping into the icy cloak of rage. At times anger seemed easier than caring, but anger sees no future, only recalling past hurts and serving selfish now. Anger sucked the life out of our marriage. 

But ... but!!!! love was still there. Love didn't disappear. We didn't instantly hate each other because we'd disagreed. Love stayed with us, expecting good things from us. Love expected us to let go of anger. Love expected tomorrow to come, and with it a new beginning.

When we were able to let go of anger and work toward a better understanding of each other, we were able to cultivate our love. Love, in its infinite capacity for patience, forgiveness, and kindness, infused life into our marriage. 

Now things are different. We've grown in love and learned a lot about each other and about life. I'm not saying that I don't still get angry - I do. I'm not saying I don't fly completely off the handle sometimes, either. But I am able to reach out beyond anger to love. I'm able to feel love more and anger less. For ...

In love is patience always found, for love kind hearts make common ground. From love conceit and pride take flight and jealousy is banished. Love keeps no score of what's gone wrong nor sings a pessimistic song, nor lets regret and guilt prolong, for love expects tomorrow.   ~John Bell, "A Song of Paul"

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Unconventional Teacher

Lola is a wonderful teacher, although she teaches in odd ways. Not one for conversation, she lets her actions speak for her.

For example, every time I sit down, she sits next to me, encouraging me not to just sit down for a moment's rest, but to really take time to relax, to enjoy the moment.

Sometimes, out of the blue, she'll give me a massage. Oh, how relaxing and wonderful! I return the favor, as we're both in a much better state.

Lola lives in the moment. She finds amusement in the little things. She looks forward to seeing and spending time with the people she loves. She teaches me to relax, to enjoy the moment, to soak in the sunlight, and to appreciate the presence of those around me. 


She does get bossy and demanding at times, though. If she wants me to stay and spend time with her, she gets pretty adamant about it and her claws come out, sometimes holding me hostage until she decides she's ready for me to go.
Mostly she keeps my feet warm at night, and my heart warm during the day. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Diagonal Tetris

I can picture it now ... We're going to pick up our kids from their sleepover at Gramma and Papa's house and someone is going to ask us, "What did you do last night?" Whomever it is will not be content with the answer "Daddy and I went on a date to celebrate our anniversary." They'll want details. So I think about the wonderful evening we had ...

We had a very early dinner at a nice restaurant. We talked about diagonal tetris, dead people, and my husband's boss checking him out. We discovered that even after seventeen years of marriage to someone who knows tons of actors and what movies they're in, tons of bands and the songs that they sing, I know one out of every five or six actors that he mentions and continue to be horrible at associating bands with their songs. 

Our free gluten-free chocolate dome with raspberry sauce and fresh berries anniversary dessert was gorgeous - but also too utterly tempting and delicious to stop and take a picture. After leaving a big tip for our waitress because, according to my husband, "she was really nice and her nose sparkles," we decided to go for a walk. The restaurant was in a mall, so we revisited old times by walking around the mall. Malls are definitely no longer our thing, but we did enjoy our ventures into Hot Topic and Blue Moon, two old favorites. We may have to return to do Alia's birthday shopping at Hot Topic, or better yet, get her a gift certificate and watch her eyes bug out at the wall of Nightmare Before Christmas items and the number of items with skulls to be found. 

Driving toward our next destination, we discovered we were incredibly early, so did what comes naturally. We went thrift shopping. Stay tuned for this Thursday's Thrift Store post to see what treasures we took home!

Then we were off to the movies. I was prepared for the fact that I would cry during Les Mis. I didn't think I'd tear up at the first notes. Or at the sight of Colm Wilkinson at Monseigneur Myriel. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, but did have a few issues with it, one of which I wasn't expecting. I do believe Hugh Jackman may have a tongue tie. I noticed it in a close-up of him singing and tried not to look for it for the rest of the movie, lest it distract me from the movie. That may just drive me crazy the next time I see it.
 
After the movie we went home for beautiful cupcakes, a glass of port. and a quiet evening. An unusually quiet evening, given the kids were sleeping over Gramma and Papa's house. 

And now, as I take my last sip of coffee, I give thanks not only for an incredible evening spent with the love of my life, but for the past nineteen years ... a slave of the law ...errrr, sorry, I have Les Mis songs constantly playing in my head this morning... where was I? I give thanks for the past nineteen years of knowing my husband and seventeen years of being married to him. Nineteen years - that's half of my life. How blessed I am to have known and loved this man for half of my life! I'm looking forward to many more years, laughs, and memories together. 


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Walking Together


Walking together in a field near our Sunbury, PA apartment, suddenly you were on your knee saying those four life-changing words. We were twenty years old, our lives stretched out before us.

Walking down the church aisle toward your handsome, beaming face, my heart fluttered, not with anxiety, but with joy and anticipation of good things to come. We were barely twenty-one, more sure of the love we shared than anything else in life. 


Walking out of the emergency room in your arms, devastated, empty, longing for the baby that was not meant to be. We were twenty-three, just beginning to understand, "in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health."


Walking into my parents' house on Christmas Eve, I held our most precious Christmas gift in my arms. I was ever so thankful to be in this place - in every sense of the word - and not just because I thought we'd never arrive due to you driving 15 mph in a 45 because there was a baby in the car. In my childhood home, during this miraculous time of year, we celebrated not just our Lord's birth, but our son's birth. We were finally parents. Days away from twenty-four, we were now not merely husband and wife, but family.

Walking through the door of our house with newly born Zachary and big brother Alexander was a dream come true. At twenty-five, after merely four and half years of marriage, we had not only a growing family, but a home - our home. 

Over the next ten or so years, we walked many places together. 


We walked through the woods of countless parks and nature centers, almost always carrying one child or another on our backs. 

We walked through St. Mary's hospital parking garage, where I stopped every six steps to lean against whatever was close by to breathe through a contraction. What a sight we must have been with two young boys in tow, me reassuring the concerned onlookers that I wouldn't give birth until I got to the birth center. 




We walked a 10lbs 14oz newly born baby from the birth pool in our dining room to our bed, and then did the same with a 9 lbs 14oz homebirthed baby a couple years later. We snuggled our little ones, marveling that just hours before, in this very house, this little person in our arms had seemed more dream than reality.

We walked together through breastfeeding and babywearing, through elimination communication and gentle discipline, through morning sickness and miscarriage, through homebirth and homeschooling. 

We walked together through the mall, just the two of us, trying to figure out how it was that we managed to enjoy ourselves before having kids. 

We walked through SPORKS and through my Lowest Point.

We walked together until I could no longer walk, and then you pushed me in my wheelchair. Somehow we didn't see this happening at 36 instead of 86. 

We continue to walk, wheel, hobble .... journey together through this crazy life of ours. Through Epoch battles, plays, and classes. Through the sanctuary of Camp Calumet. Through impromptu dance recitals, gluten-free test-kitchen creations, game nights, questionable choices in movies, and jokes that only our family would find funny. Through anger, tears, and pain. Through laughter that just won't stop. Through endless glasses - or mugs - of water, hot rice socks, and foot water. And despite the fact that you won't bring the bathroom closer and haven't yet built that thing. 

I will walk with you through sickness and in health. For better or for worse. With canes, crutches, wheels, or my own two legs. Always.

Dancing in the Rain

If there's one thing I'm good at, it's taking care of people. 


If there's one thing I'm horrible at, it's letting people take care of me. Ok, well, I was horrible at it, but I've spent the past two years practicing. A lot.

A diagnosis of a chronic  illness or an injury or surgery can be life-changing. Perhaps the biggest change for some is going from the caretaker role to being the recipient of care. Asking for an accepting help can be nearly impossible for some. The concept not being able to do for oneself can be devastating. 

After I got my psoriatic arthritis diagnosis, it took me a long time to learn that it's A Matter of Perspective

One of the biggest changes in perspective I’ve had recently has centered on my need to slow down and learn how to live with my psoriatic arthritis, rather than fight my body to maintain an unreasonable level of activity. It’s been difficult to go from doing to being. Finding joy in stillness and slowness has had its challenges but has created a sense of balance and the ability to live in the moment. Physical slowness has allowed me to slow down my thoughts and perceptions so that I can move thoughtfully through my day and has transformed my world into one of beauty and relative peace. I notice more of the beauty of the world around me and in the people around me. I have more time to be thankful for the blessings in my life, to let go of the what-ifs and concentrate on the now.

Going from doing to being - how glorious that once sounded! Everyone can use a break, right? Who wants to do housework? Don't we all deserve to have someone wait on us every now and then? Apparently, willingly taking time off to be pampered is completely different from being forced in some way to take time off from normal activities to recuperate. Or is it? Why can we open ourselves to being taken care of if it's our idea, but not if it's thrust upon us? That's where perspective enters the picture.

“When it rains it pours. Maybe the art of life is to convert tough times to great experiences: we can choose to hate the rain or dance in it.”      ~Joan Marques

During my last big flare, when I was having issues with my arms as well as my legs, much of the housework was left to the children, and most of our away from home activities were put on hold. Feeling myself sinking into depression over my inability to feel helpful or effective, I realized a change in thinking was in order. I replaced each negative thought, including dozens of "I can't do anything"s, with gratitude:

I am thankful to have children who can help with housework. My husband brings me hot rice socks, medicine and coffee because he loves me. I can concentrate on life's essentials - love, laughter, nourishment of body and soul - and let go of what doesn't work for me now.  I'm blessed with friends who will stop by with groceries or a meal to help out my family. I can take time to notice and fully appreciate the small things in life - a hot bath, a soothing up of tea, a good book, a heartwarming movie. I have more time to dream

At one point, before major illness hit, I made a list of what I'd do if I ever had time to myself. Because, hey - I had time! I rediscovered that list and I did as many of those things as I could - caught up on reading, tv shows online, got in touch with friends I hadn't contacted in too long, cuddled in bed with my kids and told them stories from my childhood and theirs. I had a wonderful time! 

So during difficult times, take a step back and re-focus. Write yourself a letter as a reminder to treat yourself with kindness and compassion. And dance in the rain.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Favorite Things

I love it when my favorite things conspire to make my day amazing.

Today started with an early morning snuggle with a very special almost-five-year-old. Then, coffee in my favorite mug, which reminds me with every cup of life-giving elixir to Pray Without Ceasing. Saying a prayer with every sip is a wonderful way to welcome a new day and center myself in what really matters. 

As if that wasn't good enough, I got to hop in the Ziggymobile (our 12 passenger van) with six of my most cherished people (aka my family). Singing, laughter and storytelling abounded as we made our way to the first day of Winter semester at Epoch Arts. Homeschool co-op is a most beloved place for every member of our family. A great deal is learned here - not just knowledge shared, but community, friendship, and so much more. Such a wonderful place to move prayerfully through my day. 

Soon we will be journeying home for good food and family time. And maybe another round of coffee and prayer. 



Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thrift Store Thursday: Fashion Edition

 The thrift store can be a very fashion-forward place. Or an incredibly fashion-peculiar place. Most of what we find is fabulous ... in one way, shape or form.

For example, I got two pairs of Birkenstocks last year for $8 and $12 per pair. Fabulous. 


This t-shirt, however, seems a bit questionable to me ...


And then there's this quite obviously spectacular pair of spectacles which came home with us without question.


And this mind-blowing tie dye. 



Alia got this stunning pair of shoes. And another one just like it, only opposite, come to think of it. 

Finally, I leave you with these words of wisdom...


Happy Thrifting,
Amanda





Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Different Way of Life

I don't want to get my hopes up. It's still too early to tell. I mean, maybe it's just the amount of rest I've been getting lately that I usually don't get.

But I think I may just be feeling better.

Why is this such a difficult thing to admit, especially to myself? Why is there a tightness in my chest when I consider the possibility of my health improving? Why is it so scary to feel better? Perhaps it's the possible disappointment, or even devastation that awaits should things prove not to be improving as I think they are. Perhaps it's because whenever this roller-coaster ride we call life starts going up, I can be assured that at some point ahead it will go down again. Maybe it will be just a small dip, nothing too concerning. But the chance that not only will the downward spiral arrive, but that it will take me to depths of physical pain and swelling more akin to a house of horrors than an amusement park ride still scares me. 


It's not that I think I can't handle it or that life will be suddenly horrible if it happens. The idea that I'll once again be able to trust my body instead of trusting that my body will fail is incredibly appealing. But... but...

What if I do feel better and get back into a new, more free, groove? What happens when a major flare comes? What happens when I again need to readjust my perceptions and expectations of life? 

Then it hits me. I'm not afraid to feel better. I'm not afraid to feel worse. I'm having anxiety over change. I've gotten good at sick, immobile, in pain, exhausted, take-it-as-it-comes life.  I'm good at leaving my house three or four times a week for scheduled amounts of time at pre-determined destinations with an array of mobility devices and medications.

If I'm better, things are going to change. The only change I've experienced in a very long time has been a change in the intensity of my illness, not the change from very ill to better. 

Better is a different way of life.