Showing posts from February, 2015

Ten: Blunders

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson
So often yesterday intrudes on today. Mistakes - both our own and others' - stay with us through the night and follow us into the next day. And sometimes the day after that and in and out of weeks and almost over a year to where the wild things a...well, you get the point.

How does this serve us? The baggage of our past missteps only helps us to doubt our abilities and to stumble even more. Forgiving ourselves and being done with it is the best thing we can do for ourselves and those around us. 

This goes for those in our lives who make mistakes as well. Their mistakes - the ones that involve us that we hold onto - meddle in loving relationships, causing resentment and stifling love. Leave their lap…

Nine: Love

Some days I feel more lovable than others. Some days other people seem more lovable than others. Some days love is just plain difficult. It's on these days that we need love all the more. 

I have no idea how my husband has done it. By "it" I mean loving me all these years. When we met I was an incredibly broken person, in body, mind and spirit. He helped put me back together. He's stuck with me through mental illness, emotional ups and downs, miscarriages, and diagnosis after diagnosis. He's loved me at a size 8 and a size 24 and every size in between. He has loved me, truly, in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad. He loves me exactly the way I am, right here and now, just as much as he loved me exactly how I was with a functioning body and a not-so-addled mind. I've loved him all the while as well, but I suspect I've had an easier go of it.

It seems that the more I talk to people about love, the more I realize they think love is something you …

Eight: Forgive

Someone cuts you off in traffic. Someone misinterprets your words or actions and holds them against you. Someone bests you or bullies you or beats you. How do you respond - with anger, or with forgiveness?

Forgiveness is often difficult, even challenging; sometimes painful, and always the right thing to do. Always.

Holding onto anger and blame becomes a burden too difficult to bear - and only serves to punish the bearer. Forgiveness sets you free. Forgiveness doesn't condone wrongs, it admits that Love is stronger than any hurt. Forgiveness can only be given no strings attached - with true Grace. 

This Lent, I intend move through life with forgiveness in my heart and on my lips; to forgive myself as well as others; and to breathe out anger and breathe in peace before responding to a situation, that I may more readily bestow forgiveness. 


Forty Days In Thought, Word, and Deed

Seven: Beautiful

My house used to be filled with stuff. Things I thought were important, needed, that I couldn't live without. With mementos, we-might-need-this-somedays, and other seemingly useful objects. Weeks before a birthday party or overnight guests arriving, we'd start to clean the house. Weeks. It would take that long to find places to stash everything that didn't have a place, to catch up on the seemingly insurmountable mountain of laundry that dwelled in our basement, and to make room for places to sleep or for fun to be had. Even then, we'd often end up throwing a bunch of stuff in boxes and stashing it into our basement. Our stuff owned us more than we owned our stuff.

Now, I move through my house and enjoy what's here. 

Over the past few years, as my mobility has decreased, my need to let go of expectations, wants, and stuff has increased. We've given things to people in need, donated to thrift stores, rehomed items with friends who can use them, and bartered our st…

Six: Relax

What I'm trying to do here is get you to relax, not to be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God's giving. Luke 12:29-31We fill our days with to do lists, wants, needs, and worries about tomorrow. We need to make more money so we can get more stuff and do more things. Realistically, many of us our concerned about paying the bills and putting food on the table and not so much about keeping up with the Joneses, but that is always there, too. Wouldn't it be nice to have this? Wouldn't it be nice to go there? Do we have enough? Do we do enough? Can we get enough?

We watch tv and want to get all the things and go all the places. We flip through magazines or pinterest and wish our living spaces looked so coordinated, organized and clean

Why? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why is it so difficult to believe, to know, that our needs will be met? To have faith in God's giving? 

We work ourselves up over bills and groceries, wants and needs. We need to make sur…

Five: Generosity

“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults — unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back — given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.”    Luke 6:38 MSGToday I will Live Generously - I wear my t-shirt as a reminder. 

I will be generous in my actions and reactions, assuming the best of all I encounter. 

Instead of seeing cranky children, I will see children in need of attention, time, food, or rest and act accordingly.

Should someone cut me off while speaking or driving, I will assume that their need to express themselves or get where they're going is more urgent than mine.

When I inevitably find dishes, laundry, or countless other items strewn about the house, I will resist grumbling and choose to take care of them…

Four: Center

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Philippians 4:6-7 The Message
My MRI was Wednesday. My follow-up appointment with the neurologist is this coming Wednesday. I should be obsessing about test results, possible diagnoses, and all such things. Instead, I'm reading this passage from Philippians over and over and finding peace. Whenever I find myself worrying, I turn the worry into prayer and thank God for the blessings of modern medicine, supportive friends and family, and for the good I know will come from this journey. 
At one point in my life, I was consumed with worry. I found out I was pregnant; my husband was in a car accident that totaled the car, but thankfully not him; and I los…

Three: Normal

“Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.”  ~Albert CamusThe energy my two children with Aspergers put into acting normal in public would blow your mind. Even when they are seemingly a bit wild or incredibly reserved, they are doing everything in their power to hold themselves together and act appropriately. 
Some mornings, getting out of bed is akin to running five miles for me. Making it out of the house takes tremendous energy and an ability to move through incredible pain. Then, it takes even more energy to appear as normal as possible. Most people don't realize the severity or extent of my illness because of the cloak of normal that I put on as a matter of habit.
Then there are those who use their energy to appear happy with life, when inside they are being eaten up with anxiety, depression, or other mental illness. Their life can be minute to minute struggle, yet their appearance deceives most.

Many people we encounter on a daily basis are …

Two: Journey

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”  ~ Douglas Adams 

We are all on a journey. Much of the time, we may think we know where we're going. We are moving toward a goal. We're going somewhere. Our path is laid out before us. Plans are made and we tick things off of our list as we get closer to where in life we think we should be.

Sometimes our bodies or our bosses or life circumstances have other plans.

Sometimes God has better plans.

I had a plan. When my kids were old enough, I'd go back to work. Bring in a real income. Help to support our family. And hopefully make a difference in the world somehow or another.

My body had other plans. Instead, I work part time scheduling tests and appointments, researching options for treating my multiple illnesses, and work toward getting myself as healthy as possible. My second part-time job is spent searching out bargains, clipping coupons, scanning thrift stores, and doing everythin…

One: Dust

Ash Wednesday. The day we hear "remember you are dust and to dust you shall return" as the ashes are imposed on our foreheads in the sign of the cross.

But this is not the dust I'm thinking about today. For some reason this morning, I noticed the dust in my house - on the bookshelves, the pictures, the tv. And the cobwebs! It's really out of control. Someone needs to do something about that. But I hate dusting. I don't like it one bit!

And then, this...

Humans and animals come to the same end—humans die, animals die. We all breathe the same air. So there’s really no advantage in being human. None. Everything’s smoke. We all end up in the same place—we all came from dust, we all end up as dust. Nobody knows for sure that the human spirit rises to heaven or that the animal spirit sinks into the earth. So I made up my mind that there’s nothing better for us men and women than to have a good time in whatever we do—that’s our lot. Who knows if there’s anything else to l…

Forty Days: in Thought, Word, and Deed

Every Lent, I do something different. I set apart the season of Lent to concentrate on something, do something, be something. I've sent Love Letters. I've Resisted. I've Let Go.

Amazing - all these disciplines, which were meant to be Lenten disciplines, have continued on through the year and into the next and rooted themselves firmly in my life. I still send love letters when it feels right. I'm continuing to resist, and letting go has become a daily practice as I journey toward minimalism and simplicity. 
What to do this Forty Days?

I've been feeling stuck in a rut lately. My health declining, it seems to be taking my brain power with it. Feeling the need to make a conscious effort to use my mind and encourage my own creativity each day, I need to write, but I also need to do ... something.

So each day for forty days I'm going to carry with me a Thought - a Bible passage or quote that encourages me to live better; I'm going to make an effort to write, inspired…

Shockingly Seven

She's seven. My youngest child is seven years old. Seven: that age that seems oh so much older than six. Six is still little. Seven is big.

Alia: girl of great spirit, wisdom, and creativity;

miniature mama/dictator of her older siblings;

 girl of endless energy and joy and flexibility; 

caring, kind, loving friend to all;

a scary child with a loving view of death and a sense of style to match.

She is herself.
Through the simple act of being herself, Alia teaches us all so much.
She is strong and confident and compassionate and caring.
She is fiercely independent and appropriately attached.
She lives love and forgiveness and justice and faith.
She knows her own mind and her own heart.
She follows where they lead without hesitation.
She is my heart. 

Happy Seventh Birthday, Alia Quinn!

To Make Matters Worse

Living with chronic pain is no picnic. Well, maybe it's a picnic filled with friends and family and love and laughter and red ants. Lots of good stuff gets mixed with the pain. And the pain can ruin everything if we let it.

Chronic pain can affect so much more than just movement. It's the "little" things that we let fall by the wayside or don't pay close enough attention to that can make matters worse. 

Sometimes I take those who help care for us for granted. I feel sad whenever I think of all the times I just expected things from my husband or children and didn't show proper gratitude for their care, and all the times when I got frustrated with them when, in fact, I didn't make my own needs clear. Letting those who care for us know how much they're appreciated and valued is so important. 

Pain infiltrates all areas of my life. Moving, resting, sleeping, eating, showering, hugging - they are all painful activities. I love love love hugs and kisses and cu…

On Days Like This

On days like this..

I need reminders that there are still open-minded people in the world.

I need hugs and snuggles and glances from the cutest angry-eyed two year old/puppy ever.

I need friends to convince me that in at least one situation in my life, I'm not completely losing my mind and am being perfectly reasonable in my thought processes.

I need to laugh at silly things, at my own mistakes, and at my malfunctioning body.

I need pain meds, hot rice socks, frankincense infused foot soaks, my TENS unit, and lots and lots of blankets.

I need memories of warmer days and more beautiful views.

I need to say yes more than I say no, give more than I receive, and choose forgiveness especially when anger is easier.

I need a nap.

I need to pray and give thanks and pray some more.

Dream House

There is a house full of truly fantastic rooms. I knew as soon as I saw it, that I want to live there. Peeking into a window, it looks cozy and inviting.

Once through the front door, the detailed ceilings and ornate decor seem suitable for royalty. 

The kitchen is straight out of a fairy tale - one that I'd love to live in. The woodwork is amazing, and I just love the hand pump sink, huge fireplace, and exposed beams on the ceiling. I could definitely see myself whistling while I work in that kitchen!

And the bedrooms!!! My girls would love to curl up with a good book in this big chair.

 Or in this seemingly magical bed. (I LOVE the wallpaper, by the way!)

This bedroom is amazing as well. I'd feel like a princess getting ready for the ball in these beautiful surroundings!

And what little girl wouldn't dream of a room like this? 

There is even an underwater oasis fit for a mermaid in the attic space. 

And the home theater? How amazing is this?

I want to move in right now. But it'…

Big Plans

I had big plans for today. Big Plans! Cleaning, cooking, shopping, preparations for tomorrow. It was going to be great. I was going to get So Much Done!

And then I tried to move.
Sometime during the night, someone seems to have stabbed me between the shoulder blades with some sort of invisible, non-lethal knife. It's wedged in there fairly well, causing pain when moving my arms, legs, breathing ... that type of thing. 
Thinking it might make its way out if I tried moving and stretching and such, I moved through the pain. Then wrapped myself back up in my comforter and snuggled into bed for a M*A*S*H marathon. 
Did I mention I have a migraine, too? 

Some days are just like that. A lot of days, lately. 
So I've revised my plan. 
I'm doing one or two small things at a time, then returning to hibernation. 

I got dinner in the crockpot and cleaned out a kitchen drawer. Then laid down with a rice sock and read a stack of books to a cuddly two year old.

I finished prepping and packing foo…

Name Calling

Today I was told that I'm babying my children. That I'm sheltering them. That they don't act like "normal" children their ages. They're unschooled. They're different, I get it. But what if? I decided to consider the possibility that I might be sheltering or babying them. I know they're definitely not "normal," whatever that means.

I got the feeling that because I wasn't ordering my children around, but instead asking them what they wanted, how they could resolve a situation or fix a problem, and asking politely if they could do something for me while accepting "no" as an answer to my question, I was somehow seen as not parenting properly. If by babying, you mean listening to them, taking their opinions and feelings into consideration, not expecting them to want to do everything I ask of them, and finding common ground with them, then yes, I am absolutely babying them. A child doing what they want to do, or "getting their wa…