Thank goodness it’s Friday! This week has seemed to be very long and has had some ups and some downs. A big smile was getting to see Shevaun and her not-so-little guy. Baby V will be one soon and it was lovely to play in the sun with him and my doggy while catching up with Shevaun.
Friday also means it’s time for another round of Ask Away Friday! This week I swapped with Beth from Structure in an Unstructured Life. I was immediately drawn to Beth’s quest for organization in a life that can often be chaotic. Be sure to check her out to learn more about how she navigates living with her husband, their two boys, a dog, and a cat.
Here are Beth’s questions for me:
1. Your son is entering the teen years! What are your favorite and least favorite things about this age?
OH MY GOODNESS! I keep asking myself how we got to this point. Like, where did the last 13 years GO?!?! I would say my favorite thing is seeing the young man he is becoming. He loves to read (like me) and is becoming an avid hunter (like his dad). He’s a great student, very intelligent, and extremely polite and compassionate. I do still miss the little boy who would curl up in my lap and ask for cuddles, though. My least favorite thing is all the worry. Worry if we’re raising him to be respectful of women and boundaries. Worry about the culture of today and if we’ve instilled into him all the good values he’ll need to navigate tough decisions. I worry that he won’t have enough time to still be a kid before he’s forced into adult situations.
2. I read you have several angels watching over you. I recently read the book Heaven Is For Real, and am amazed at the pictures it painted of what heaven is like. How do you envision heaven?
What an intriguing question! I’m not sure if I have an absolute picture of heaven. Though I know I have angels watching over me, it’s hard to picture them sitting around a card table in the sky, ya know? I guess I think it’s more like a state of being, the place where our energies go when our bodies are worn out. Just a lovely place of energies being together, sharing what we learned in our lives.
3. I was touched by your post Treat Me Normal, But Don’t. What is one thing you want people to know is the same, and one thing that is different about people with a disability or chronic condition?
Thank you! One thing that is the same? ME. At the core, I’m still the person I was before. I’m still the Tia who loves a good book, who can spend hours with jigsaw puzzles, who loves Linkin Park and Elvis equally. One thing that is different? How I view the world. I used to go through my life so certain of a future. With a life-changing diagnosis, that’s no more. I cherish my time now, and work hard to make new memories so that every day there’s something to smile about.
From my talks with other spoonies around the web, these are pretty universal answers.
4. Favorite dessert of all time?
My immediate answer is ANYTHING WITH CHOCOLATE! Which is absolutely true, but doesn’t really answer your question. Probably my greatest weakness is a fudgey brownie with cream cheese or peppermint frosting. A complete sugar bomb, but oh-so-decadent and delicious!
5. It was so sweet reading how much you love your dog. We got a puppy last fall and I have absolutely fallen in love with her! What has surprised you the most about being a dog owner?
That it could be like holding my son for the first time, I’m instantly in love. Todd has become such a huge part of us and we can’t imagine our lives without his kisses and the little dance of excitement he does when we come home or when we ask if he would like to go for a ride. It’s amazing to me that I can love that little guy like I love my own son, but I do.
6. What books are on your summer reading list?
SO MANY! I often ask Tracie, Dawnie, and Andrea what they’re reading and make a list from their suggestions. I’ve also recently joined a local book group, so I’ll be reading some new selections there. Diana Gabaldon’s newest addition to the Outlander series comes out in a week and that’s HIGH on my list. Also, I find myself drawn to more YA and have decided to read all of John Greene’s books, since I loved Looking For Alaska and The Fault In Our Stars so much.
7. Would you rather have to read only one book for a whole year, or only watch one television show for a whole year?
Oh! Well assuming I could have a series of books, I would choose that. I can re-read books over and over again if they’re really good. It’s like visiting old friends again and again.
8. If you had to choose one cause you are most passionate about, what would it be?
I’m really passionate about chronic illness awareness, both for the world, and for those newly diagnosed. It’s a scary thing, getting a life-changing diagnosis, and it can be extremely isolating. I work hard through my writing and my work with Spoons 4 Spoonies to make sure that we all know that we are not alone. Through those same methods I work to raise awareness about invisible illnesses, or disabilities that you can’t see. People often assume that if a person isn’t in a wheelchair, or if there isn’t an obvious disability, that we’re faking it or abusing the system. It’s important to me that we educate the world to be more compassionate. None of us know what another’s story is until they share it with us. We should be open to hear it instead of passing judgement.
9. You mentioned that you have suffered from depression and anxiety, both of which I am familiar with, as well. I find as I get older, I am finally starting to figure out strategies for managing both of them. What strategies have you discovered that help you to manage these issues?
I’m definitely also finding a better handle on these things as I get older, so that’s helpful. I’m a strong component of therapy. I firmly believe that everyone would benefit having someone to talk to who is completely unbiased. Music also helps me, as does my precious little dog. Lately I’ve found curling up in the sun with a book to be especially relaxing and calming.
10. Lately, my motto I’ve been hooked on is “Make your own happy.” What would your motto be right now?
“Just keep swimming.”
As corny as it is, Dory’s words are a great motto. My health has been pretty unpredictable these last few weeks and these words remind me to just keep going, to not give up.
Here’s wishing y’all have a sunny and carefree weekend!