Friday, May 31, 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.
- Made dinner for entire family.
- Collapsed onto couch and watched tv for a couple hours while praying pain meds would kick in at some point.

Sunday, Mama:
- Woke up at 5am. Cleaned up bathrooms and living room. Wrangled children.
- Retreated to couch with migraine in hopes of letting medication take effect and not exacerbating it any further.
- Took eldest and youngest children to church, where youngest joined Mama for most of Coffee and Conversation, and was on Mama for most of worship.
- Arrived back home, supervised lunch, took more medication for migraine, forced self to eat, sat and watched tv for a half hour.
- Went outside and helped with landscaping project: raked clippings out of backyard section of landscaping, mulched that section, raked clippings into a pile, raked clippings out of small section of front landscaping, spread mulch there, picked a zillion baby trees out of front landscaping, raked clippings into piles, retreated into house with severe migraine and hurting hands.
- Collapsed in front of tv, drank lots of water, took pain meds, got out computer and worked on family finances, homeschool assignments, etc.
- Cooked corn-on-the-cob, got out chips, plates, etc. for dinner. Wrangled children while husband grilled burgers.
- Ate dinner.
- Sat down to watch tv while kids played before bed.
- Husband drove home to sleep at our house and shorten his early morning commute.
- Mama sat on couch and tried to watch tv, while answering several hundred questions on who gets to play on what when and can we get this game it's free and can I sleep where this person slept last night and how much are we getting paid for helping and can we go to Target and can we get ice cream at the parade tomorrow and and and ....
- Sent kids to bed.
- Sent kids back to bed.
- Told kids to stop arguing about beds, get into the beds they were in last time, and sleep.
- Confirmed that she really meant what she said.
- Confirmed her confirmation of meaning what she said.
- Informed children that if they didn't go to sleep, Mama couldn't sleep, and if Mama didn't sleep, Maa wouldn't be in good enough shape to go to the parade in the morning.
- Yes, really.
- Finally got to watch tv - got 20 minutes into movie before passing out.

Monday:
- Mama got up, did load of laundry, sorted kids' clothes that were strewn all over living room into their own bags, cleaned up around house. Put first load into dryer, second load of the day into washer.
- Made breakfast for six people, cleaned up, packed water bottles, snacks, blankets, etc. for parade. Drove halfway down hill, parked, walked with kids rest of the way to parade. Spread out blankets to save our spot, walked around. Sat. Had coffee. Walked around more. Sat. Had snack. Walked around more. Watched parade. Walked back up to van. Drove back to parents' house.
- Made lunch for kids and self.
- Did more laundry and more cleaning up.
- Sat down for 20 minutes, cleaned for 10. Lather, rinse, repeat.
- Gave up at 3pm. Husband arrived home at 3:05 to find Mama sitting on the couch watching* tv.
- Mama passed out for an hour and a half due to sheer exhaustion.
- Mama woken up at 4:30 to go home, having "spent the weekend sitting on the couch watching tv."




Perception: Mama spends weekend on couch watching TV.
Reality: Something completely different.

Next time I will sit on the couch and watch tv all weekend. Everyone else can fend for themselves. 

*watching = desperately trying to stay conscious while awaiting husband's arrival home from work



Thursday, May 30, 2013

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.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Enough




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 remission. 

Loss, so much loss, instability, and uncertainty - I'm having a difficult time wrapping my mind around it all. Accepting what is. Letting go. Moving forward in trust that God is guiding my path. 

So I pray. And pray. And pray.

It sit. I breathe in and out. In and out. For a while it's all I can do. Just breathe. 

Finally, my fear, worry, and stress pour out, tears falling to the floor, sobs wrenching my body. I find myself pouring out gratitude also. For my life is FULL of blessings, of good people, of love, of everything I need once I'm able to feel as if I'm enough. And there it is, in all it's truth. I don't feel like I'm enough - doing enough, being enough, feeling enough, loving enough, pouring out enough of my self. I feel too wrapped up in worry to truly LIVE. I need to get out of my head and into God's grace, out of worrying about doing and being and accomplishing and into my life. 

At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, 
     My grace is enough; it’s all you need. 
     My strength comes into its own in your weakness. 
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
2 Corinthians 8-12 

So I pour these words out of my heart and my head and pray to remember that God's grace is enough; it's all I need. I change focus. I journey on, stronger in my weakness. Enough. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

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 as with people whose lives were touched by Henry's generous soul. In those quiet moments before all gathered celebrated his life and mourned his death, I couldn't help but reflect on the impact Pastor Brau had on my life. 

The small things he did live hugely in my mind. That he was a good steward to the Earth, through his own gardening and through the Earthkeeping Team at our church planted the seed of wanting to be a better steward to the Earth myself. His stewardship toward people, from donating a portion of his harvest to a food pantry to the genuine care he showed for all inspire me to be more giving of my time, my talents, my possessions, and myself. 

One memory filled my mind as I contemplated the impact Pastor Brau had on my life. It was a precious ordinary moment. After worship one Sunday, Pastor Brau, placing his hand on my shoulder, asked, "How are you doing. I mean how are you really  doing?" I could tell he wasn't expecting, nor would he be content with, an "I'm fine, and you?" response. As I told him of my struggles with psoriatic arthritis, he asked many questions, letting me know it was my option to answer or not, as he didn't want to ask things too personal. His genuine interest in learning more about the disease attacking my body and concern for my total well-being deeply touched my heart. Knowing that he meant it when he said he would include me in his prayers gave me great comfort. It was a short coffee-hour conversation, but the love and care radiating from his soul left my soul at peace and my spirits buoyed. 

I will forever remember the twinkle in Pastor Brau's eyes as he shared his knowledge, his talents, and his loving kindness with others. His bounteous spirit has forever left its mark on my soul.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

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 you were both still breathing ... I remember when Auntie Jen and I picked boysenberries and caught frogs and built sandcastles during endless New Hampshire Summer days ... And that time we were trying to take a family picture and Alex was resisting so much he resorted to martial arts moves ...  I remember when you were born and your soul wrapped itself around my heart, each and every one of you ... I remember...

These are the precious times. The making memory times. The I may regret it in the morning but it's so worth it right now times. These are the times I'll miss when the kids are more interested in Don't Wait Up For Me than in Bedtime Stories. 


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Friendshipwreck

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 friend will love you anyway. Friendships where you can be literally out of your mind and they'll understand your situation and offer help and hope, not condemnation. Friendships that may not always be easy and may have incredibly rough patches, but that know love and joy and pain and being let down and forgiveness and tears and laughter. 

My best friend is my best friend because she is that person to me. She loves me no matter what, and I love her no matter what. I knew Renee was the truest of friends when she had me committed to a psychiatric hospital when we were in college. She loved me and new it was the best thing for me even when I didn't, and she didn't care if it meant losing me as a friend in the process - as long as it didn't mean losing me, period. Now that's a friend!

On my mind lately have been those people in my life who have had less contact with me in the past few months, but who haven't said to me one way or another whether or not they continue to consider me a friend. I don't know that they know how they feel. This in-limbo state of relationship is as much driving me crazy as it is breaking my heart. I don't deal well with gray areas. I don't know how to reach out. I'm not good at walking into this unfamiliar territory. All I can do is continue to love them and wait.

In this great friendshipwreck, many were lost; some are hanging on, as of yet uncertain of their fate; and a dear few have survived. For those who came through the tumult with me and still love me, I am truly thankful. For those still hanging in the balance - I'm here, I love you, I'm trying to be patient, and I'll understand whatever you decide. This is my love message in a bottle, set afloat, that I pray makes its way to your heart. 

Perhaps that's all we can do when friendships are in the balance ... love, let go, and see where life brings us.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Things I Should Not Be Allowed to Do

1. Shop at Ikea. Even creating a shopping list at ikea.com, 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 people after 5pm. Definitely not past 8pm. My language skills go downhill starting at around 4pm. Word retrieval is not so much good by 5 and pretty much non-existent past 8. My poor husband gets home from work and has to deal with someone who basically calls things by names having nothing to do with even the general idea of the thing or who speaks complete jibberish and points. Really. I have had many conversations with him that go as follows:

Me, excitedly, because I have some sort of brilliant idea or remembered something incredibly important that needed to be said: "Honey!"
Him: "Yes..."
Me: *stares at him*
Him: "It's gone, isn't it."
Two minutes later...
Me: "Honey - the thing with the that we have to do with people. Tomorrow." (Notice I don't pause for him to respond, lest I lose what I'm going to say.)
Him: "Mmmmhmmm...???"
Me: *stares blankly*
Him: "Time for your medicine?" 
Me: *nods*

If you see me doing any of these things, proceed with caution. Or run for cover. Or join in the fun. Your choice. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

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. 

Alia on her birth day
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 beer would do - something we need and a treat for my husband. All for giving my beloved birth pool a good home and an opportunity to help welcome more babies peacefully into the world. Not a bad deal at all. 



Friday, May 17, 2013

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 look directly at once the sun is above the horizon. Dark purpley orangey reds gave way to light bluey yellowy oranges. There were no rainbows this time. Not like the time she and Coren watched the sun rise at the end of a storm and saw not only a glorious sky, but a beautiful double rainbow as well. Just a sunrise. Glorious. Stunning. Sensational. She got out all her biggest, most fabulous adjectives, the sunrise was so spectacular. 


I couldn't help but open my eyes, roll over, and take a peek. I do have to admit that the little bit that I could see was quite impressive, and well worth the minimal effort. And the snuggling was quite nice. Quite a lot better than sleep, actually. I could have just told Alia to go back to bed and resumed my slumber, but I would have missed the best sunrise ever. Was it the most beautiful sunrise I've ever seen? Probably not. But the company and the love are where the real beauty lay.

These precious moments with our children add beauty and joy to our lives if we just let them. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

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 emergency room because this is excruciating. Not exactly the "alone time" I was hoping for today. 

Sunday:
Sporadic Artie says, "I realize you're on lots of fancy drugs now, but don't forget I'm still around!"

It's Mother's Day - I'm going to take my lovely meds and enjoy myself.

Monday: 
You don't even need to say anything. I know. I know. I'm going to my acupuncture appointment this morning and then spending the rest of the day in bed. 

Tuesday: 
Sporadic Artie says, "I'm still heeeeeere! Take THAT! And that! And T H A T!"

I know. I'm taking it easy. I WILL be going to Tuesday Night Sunday School and choir tonight, though. Please cooperate. I promise I'll take it easy.

Wednesday: 
Sporadic Artie says, "Perhaps I'll take it easy on you today. We'll see."

I'll go to the bank and make a quick trip to the grocery store. Then I'll rest. And find balance. Please be kind. Friday is almost here. I'm taking it easy. Really. See?

Thursday:
Sporadic Artie says, "Well, I took it easy on you yesterday, but I didn't say anything about last night! How was that for you?"

*grumble* *sob* *moan*

"Hahahahahahaha!"

You do realize what tomorrow is, don't you? It's Remicade Day!

"Noooooooooooooooooooooo!"

Now I just need to make it until 11AM tomorrow. And somehow ignore the wreck my house has become over the past week so as to not completely overdo it today. Perhaps I'll just spend the day in bed. The housework can wait. My health cannot. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

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 moms brought to their lives that they would like to bring to others' lives. And then incorporate those wonderful things into your own life. I want those of us who will be celebrating with our moms to do the same. 

And those not able to celebrate with mom to call your mother. Now. I'll wait. 

This Mother's Day, I want to celebrate my Mom. Throughout my thirty-eight years, my Mom has taught me many things. Here are a scant few of the gems of motherly knowledge she's imparted to me:

Be involved, interested, and invested. From elementary school library mom to youth symphony board member to high school band parent, she was always involved in my activities and my education. But not only was she involved, but she was also interested and invested in all the activities. I witnessed a huge difference between my friends' parents who were doing things because they felt obligated to, and my parents, who were involved because they were truly interested and invested .

Take alone time, even if your children find it excruciating. As a child, I was not good at giving my mom alone time. That she would be doing something without me - doing I-didn't-even-know-what - was torturous to my young mind. This is probably why my first couple days of nursery school were a breeze, and the following I-don't-know-how-long was not - I had discovered that my Mom did stuff while I was gone. Without me. Later in my childhood she'd locked the door to the third floor of our house to get some quiet time. I couldn't fathom why she'd need time away from us lovely children, but now, as mama to five, I completely understand, and fully appreciate the wisdom of my Mom's example. 

Trust your children. This is the thing I value most about my mom - she trusted me. She not only trusted me to do the right thing, but she trusted me to make mistakes and learn from them. And I made some doozies (sorry, Mom!). She offered great amounts of help when I really needed it, and very little criticism, even during my very rough late-teens and early twenties. 

My mom taught me love. Not just a mother's love for her children or a wife's love for her husband, but a love of others - of everyone. She truly loves her friends, and it shows in her interactions with them. It shows in the way her face lights up when she speaks of them and in the things she has to say about them when they're not in her presence. She has "adopted" several children - from foreign exchange students who lived with us for a couple high school semesters and with whom she continues to keep in contact, to my best friend, who is an expected part of all family festivities. And she taught me God's love - not through forcing me to go to CCD classes in my youth, but through the way she treats others, the way she followed her heart to a new church and new growth in faith, and through her encouragement of me to "come and see." 

She still trusts me, and helps me, and cheers me on, is involved without overstepping her bounds, and even helps me out with time alone by offering her house, my childhood home, as a place of refuge from time to time - or by taking all five of my kids overnight. She continues to love me and those around her and to live a wonderful example of faith. I love you, Mom!


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

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 cleaning to soothing bug bites to personal grooming. It's just one of those things I can't live without. 

Last, but not least, amongst my favorite things: preheated pajamas. Yes, folks, you heard me correctly - preheated pajamas. Have you ever taken a shower in the evening, and hated the thought of the transition from the nice hot shower to your not-yet-so-cozy bed? Try pre-heated pajamas on for size. Simply throw your pj's in the dryer for a few minutes on high, and put them on post-shower, but before climbing into bed. It makes for such a lovely experience, especially for those of us with autoimmune arthritis and other creaky joint issues. 
 
Heated pajamas and wondrous masseuses, a simple product with so many uses, everything turning from grays into greens - these are a few of my favorite things. 

What are some of your favorite things?


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Wonder-filled

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 upcoming day and then I have to do them all over again , but I haven't had such an active day in years so even experiencing it through a dream was wonderful. It's strange the things you're thankful for when you live with chronic pain and chronic illness. Any dream in which I have a functioning body and minimal pain (I do experience pain in dreams) is a good one.


I sat up, willing my body and mind to wake up so I could tackle the day ahead. As I swung my legs over the side of my bed, a sharp pain bolted through my lower back and hip. That's when the thoughts, "I really overdid it yesterday" and "That wasn't a dream" collided and a huge, wonder-filled smile spread across my face. It wasn't a dream. I was my yesterday. Hard work. Sunshine. Family. And the most productive day I've had in years.

As I sit here with a heating pad on my back, I'm sure I'll be paying for it today - but not to the extreme that is the norm when I over do it, I think.

I get up, move around, my body relaxes, and I feel good. Good. And I am once again filled with wonder, as well as a mountain of gratitude. 


Friday, May 3, 2013

Called

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 the trip was not I want to go, but I need to go. My ten-year-old daughter had the same response - a need, she said, as if her spirit was being pulled there.
 

And so I await details, and pray, and try to figure out how on earth we're going to raise $7000. Seven thousand dollars.

But when I think of it - all that money - and what it could do in our lives, from paying bills to home repairs, guilt mocks me for hoping for this. Reason laughs at the prospect of us ever being able to raise the money in the first place. Then God whispers, Go.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

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't cooperating with my intentions. Being in the position where I can say yes to something big and exciting that's been put in my path and praying that God will help me to make it happen. 
Not all who wander are lost.  J. R. R. Tolkien
Perhaps I'm not lost, but instead on the road to discovering a new part of my self. Haven't I always been in awe of people with no set plans who let life carry them where it may? In my dreams have I not imagined that life would be simpler doing more with less, spending time learning and creating and doing rather than sitting and watching and waiting for things to get better? Haven't I spent years encouraging my children to follow their passions? Should I not do the same? 
From the ashes a fire shall be woken. J. R. R. Tolkien
Within this broken down body lurks an ember that needs to be kindled. As I do what I can to journey toward wellness, I will nurture that ember. Wherever I wander, I will carry it within me, share it with others, see where it leads me, and enjoy the view along the way.