Tag Archives: family

Mondays Are For Gratitude, Even Sore Mondays

I’m moving a little gingerly today, but I’m really not complaining about it. Scotty and I spent yesterday visiting our friend, Amanda, and her dog, Sprout, at their little farm just outside of town.

Sprout and our little Toddy are becoming the very best of friends, and Toddy looks forward to days where we can go play with Sprout. Usually we go to the dog park together, but yesterday we visited them at home so us humans could play some cards and have dinner together.

After a lovely weekend with Scotty, capped off with a great night last night, I’m in the mood to share some gratitude.

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*I’m grateful for good times with great friends. For laughter over games, yummy dinner, and heartfelt talks.

*I’m grateful for understanding and compassion, for a friend who gets it when I need to rest or move a little slowly than the rest of the group.

*I’m grateful for my doggy, and the joy he brings. For the opportunity to watch him chase a goat, play with horses, and run his little heart out.

*I’m grateful for a weekend to relax with Scotty. For time to wander through some second-hand stores and for the gift card that meant we could grab a cup of coffee together.

*I’m grateful for the ability to rest at home today, to recuperate after yesterday’s fun. I’m eternally thankful that Scotty works so hard to provide for us, and I’m given the freedom to care for myself as needed.

*I’m grateful for emails from my gals checking in on me when they know times have been tough lately. For their understanding when I flake out because life has completely turned to chaos these past six weeks.

*I’m grateful for my youngest sister, who has been creating personalized work out videos for me. She’s taken my health restrictions into account, and is helping me to be a bit healthier in spite of RA.

*And I’m grateful for the love with which I’m surrounded every day. From Scotty and Amanda, from the sisters of my heart. From adopted family, and blood. And from our doggy, who is currently snoring while he naps.

I think I’ll join him 😉

What are you grateful for today?

Chosen Family

Family comes in many forms. There’s the family into which we’re born and the ones into which we marry. There’s also the family we choose.

Most of my adult life, I’ve found myself drawn to people whom I call family, though we share no blood connection. Instead we are bonded by something stronger, a love of choosing, not obligation.

My chosen family has held me up when I thought my life was ending. They held my swollen hands as we learned of my diagnosis, and have walked by my side all through this life with chronic illness. They have watched Scotty and I fall in love, and have celebrated each memory with us these past five years. They will be the ones at our sides this summer when we make our promises to each other, and they will be the ones dancing into the night with us afterwards.

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My chosen family are angels who make dreams come true, who make the impossible possible. They hold me up when I’m sure I can’t stand on my own, and have shown me just how strong I really am. They answer midnight text messages and phone calls, and have held me over the miles as we mourned together. They are the sisters and brothers and surrogate mother I never knew I needed until they came into my life. And now I know I could not live without them.

I will always love the family into which I was born, and the family into which I am marrying, but this family of my heart? They are my heart, always.

Do you have a chosen family?

In Pieces

As I sit holding his hand, my heart is shattering into small pieces. The anguish and worry etched into his face cut me so deeply, I’m sure I’ll perish.

But I must remain strong for him.

I tear my gaze from my love’s face to look at the man lying in the bed before us. Even in sleep, his face is grimaced in pain. There are wires and tubes criss-crossing over his body and the machine above his bed is spitting out numbers that mean little to me- they don’t tell me what is wrong with him.

The room is chilly but there is a trickle of sweat down my back. Anxiety pays no mind to the temperature around me.

It seems like ages before they come to tell us what our hearts already knew. He is really sick and they will be admitting him. My love and I follow closely behind as they wheel this man upstairs to the ICU.

This man is my future father-in-law, my fiance’s sole remaining parent. While I come from a large family with multiple tangents, Scotty’s family is small and few. In fact, it’s just him and this man who looks far too fragile right now.

So my heart is in pieces for him, for them, as I watch Scotty try to hold it together and not show his fear.

His father’s health has not been great for a number of years, but he’s always fought back. In fact, this is not the first time we’ve sat at his bedside like this, with our hearts in our throats. But each new time is a reminder that he cannot fight this fight forever, and we mourn the gradual loss of a great man, as his body continues to fail him.

This time we are lucky, his father will heal.

But my heart is still in pieces, already broken for the day when we won’t be so lucky.

Gratitude Heals

Life has been a whirlwind this past week. After a holiday weekend spent working on projects and playing games with a good friend, our lives were upturned when my fiance’s father was hospitalized Tuesday.

Pops is still in the hospital today, and likely will be for at least another week, though we don’t know for sure yet. So while I wait for a call back from his doctor, I’ll share my gratitudes here, and send some positive energy into the universe on his behalf.

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*I’m grateful for friends, framily, and loved ones who have been sending prayers and good thoughts for Scotty’s dad.

*I’m grateful for the nurses and staff who have been taking such good care of Pops, and who have answered all our worried calls with calm reassurances.

*I’m grateful for a dear friend who’s come back into our lives, who has been my strength this last week. I’m thankful she was able to spend Saturday with us, and provide some smiles when we needed them the most.

*I’m grateful for our doggy and his snuggles. They might not cure what ails us, but they come pretty darn close.

*I’m grateful for an afternoon at the dog park, watching our doggy play and run. That little bit of fresh air cleared our minds and temporarily eased our hearts. It’s the simple things, sometimes.

*I’m grateful for the Dutch Bros. gift card we received for Christmas which means we’ve been able to treat ourselves to hot tea and coffee while we’ve been driving back and forth from the hospital. The little pick-me-ups have been heavenly.

*I’m grateful for the long-burning holiday candle Cathy gave us for Christmas. The scents of cinnamon and pine are extremely soothing while I sit and wait for the phone to ring.

*I’m grateful we were able to make changes to our phone plans last month, so that we now have the unlimited minutes and texts for all the necessary phone calls and messages. We’d make the calls anyway, but it’s nice to know our bill won’t be astronomical when it comes.

*I’m grateful our car has been able to make the repeated trips to the hospital (it’s a 40 minute trip to where Pops is), despite it desperately needing an oil change and transmission flush, which we can’t exactly afford right now. I’m also thankful for lower gas prices which make it not so damaging to the budget to have to fill up the tank over and over again this month.

*I’m grateful for Scotty’s boss, who understands family comes first. Who made sure Scotty had time off to be at the hospital while Pops was admitted, and even paid him for those hours.

*I’m grateful for all the compassion, love, and strength we’ve received from friends far and wide. For the phone calls, text messages, emails, and tweets. For the smiles and hugs. For the prayers that keep coming, and all the positive energy that is flowing from everyone. It is all felt, and very much appreciated.

*And I’m grateful for my own treatment and doctors, who’ve made it possible for me to be able to be by Scotty’s side through all this. I’m grateful my body has cooperated this past week, and hasn’t punished me too badly for the excess stress and worry. I’m grateful that tomorrow is infusion day, and that I will be receiving some blessed relief so that I can continue to stand by his side and be strong for him.

Christmas Is For Gratitude

I know I’ve been pretty quiet this month. My family decided that since my fiance and I couldn’t travel to them for the holidays, they would come here. Which means I’ve spent much of the last month swamped with the regular holiday stuff and then an added side of stress and anxiety. Add in a big dose of my health being wonky, and it’s been busy to say the least.

I had a little mini meltdown last week when it all became too much. After I vented, cried, and snotted all over the place, I was reminded of all the good I have in my life. So here’s a great big holiday dose of gratitude for you, just in case you’ve got a little too much yuck on your plate, too.

GratefulMondays

*I’m grateful for friends who let me send them epically long emails full of my drama. I’m equally grateful for their love and support, and all the wonderful advice they offer.

*I’m grateful for a fiance who, when I’m feeling swamped, tells me to make him a list and he’ll make sure it all gets done. And you know what? I’m grateful for my awesome fiance who made sure that list got done. Every. Single. Thing.

*I’m grateful for friends who send cookies, and for the same friends who don’t mind their cookies being a little late while I battled the crud.

*I’m grateful for Cathy and all her love. For the new sheets and heated mattress pad, which have turned my bed into a haven for my sore body. For her working through her own pain to give me a mini makeover every month so I can look good, even when I don’t always feel it. For her unwavering support and all the very best hugs.

*I’m grateful for the roof over my head, the food in my fridge, for a doggy who loves me and snuggles me, and for family who want to be with me (even if it does cause a bit of anxiety).

*I’m grateful for the blogger friends I’ve made this year, for all the help and advice they’ve given, and for the growth in my writing. I’m grateful for exciting new opportunities in the new year.

And last, but never least, I’m thankful for you, my dear readers. For sticking by me when the writing is thin, for offering support when things are rough, and for helping me celebrate the good times. I’m looking forward to all the things we’ll share together in 2015. Until then, I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas.

Stream Of Consciousness- The Holidays Are Here

I haven’t done one of these in a while, but a few of my loves from the Facebook writing group have linked up. And wouldn’t you know it, about five minutes of freewriting might be all I have in me today. Yeah, I know it’s not Saturday or Sunday, but I really don’t think anyone’s gonna mind too much.

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There is a Christmas tree in my living room. It’s not decorated yet, that will come later this week. But it’s here, with its reminder that the holidays are here as well.

Not that I needed another reminder.

My mother has been calling for weeks, trying to nail down plans for Thanksgiving. In her state, she hasn’t heard me each time I’ve told her that we won’t be joining them for the holidays this year. As much as I want to see my sisters, the stress of dealing with my parents is just too much for me. Not that Mom wants to hear that.

Stress has been really bad here, lately. I’m not sleeping well, the teeth clenching isn’t going away, and I can feel a flare coming. Can’t do much about it, though, cuz I can’t stop stressing.

Stressing about money, about Christmas gifts. About my mom and her drinking. About my health, about my fiance’s health. Whether or not we’ll both qualify for health insurance again this year. Whether my doggy has arthritis and that’s why he’s been struggling to jump onto our bed at night. Stressing about finding placement for my father-in-law. Stressing about the wedding, and how we’ll ever be able to afford anything. How we still haven’t found a venue, how we need photos so we can do save-the-dates.

The stress doesn’t go away.

But in the meantime, there’s apple butter simmering away in my crockpot. And that’s another sign, the holidays are here.

Ten Things For Which I’m Thankful

Yet another prompt from the SITS Girls, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Yesterday we were jarred awake at 2:30 am by a very loud boom and the deafening silence that said our power was out. Though we were able to go back to sleep, the power was still not back when it was time for Scotty to get ready for work, so he got to shower in the dark. The power finally came back to life right before 11:00 am, right around the time I was starting to panic about the food in my freezer and refrigerator.

Anyway, I told you all that to tell you this: You don’t realize how much you rely on things and/or take them for granted until they aren’t there anymore. So here are some things I’m trying not to take for granted today:

*Electricity. The microwave and toaster and TV and my laptop and the router which allows me to have WiFi for my phone. These modern conveniences are vital in my life, and I find I go just a little bit crazier without access to them.

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*Scotty. That man loves me when I’m crazy, when I’m sick and whiny, or when I’m panicky and hysterical over silly things. He calms me down, listens to me rant, and provides chocolate when all else fails. He is my rock, my safe harbor, and I would be truly lost without him.

*Fall. I’m so happy fall has decided to come to my little neck of the woods. Gone are the 90 degree days, and here are days of drizzly rain and cool winds. Now is the time for hot tea and apple cider, oatmeal for breakfast, and soups in the crockpot. This is my time.

My Girls

*Framily. Otherwise known as friends who are more like family. Nolan and Court. Tracie and her family. Teala. Natalie. Cindy-Lou. Fallah. Kerry. Cathy. Cathi. Rene. Rob. Shevaun and her family. Joules. Dawnie. Kristen and Seth. Amanda and John. These people lift me up and inspire me daily.

*My Doctors. And their staff. A medical community that genuinely cares about me. They call to check on how I’m feeling, and answer my litany of questions without any frustration. They help me to live the best life with chronic illness, and that’s no easy feat.

*Blogger Gals. The ladies from Ask Away Friday who have become friends, mentors, and bringers of inspiration. Bloggers I’ve known/followed for a while now who continue to make me want to be a better writer. Please check out the Blogroll in the sidebar to send these lovely peeps some smiles.

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*Jojo. The light of my life. My legacy. His text messages keep him here with me, even while he’s miles away plowing his way through middle school. The fact that he wants to play Fantasy Football with Scotty and I. All the little ways he tells me he loves me, and loves Scotty. His smile which will warm my heart always.

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*Toddy. Our adorable little doggy who loves me to pieces. His tail wags, snuggles, and kisses never cease to make me grin. When he senses I’m not feeling well and cuddles at my feet, like he’s guarding me from the yucky RA monsters. The way he snuffles and barks in his sleep as he dreams of…whatever doggies dream. The little dance he does when we ask if he wants to go for a ride in the car. The sheer JOY on his face when we take him for rides. He is a light in every single day.

*Music. Our extensive music library. The ability to stream music via my phone. That I can sit here and sing along as the words flow. New artists, old favorites, it all blends together to soothe me and encourage me. I close my eyes and let the melodies and lyrics carry me away to a place where the pain can’t quite reach me.

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My beautiful Oregon Coast. This was taken by me, about this time last year.

*Beautiful Photos. Instagram, Tamara’s blog, Facebook. The faces looking back at me from the frames on my wall. They keep loved ones near, show me places I can only dream about visiting, allow me to live vicariously through my friends, and show me glimpses of your lives. They capture memories and inspire me to remember the good, each and every day.

 

What are YOU thankful for today?

I’m Grateful For Love

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve shared a list of gratitude. I had a lovely chance to reconnect with a dear friend this weekend, and I’m feeling the need to share some positives with y’all. What are you thankful for today?

GratefulMondaysI’m thankful for:

*Friends who ask “How are you?” and want the honest truth.

*Cool breezes in the mornings.

*Donuts and football Sundays.

*Friends who inspire you continuously.

*My crockpot, which makes it easy to have comfort food without heating up my whole house.

*Band members who uplift and encourage my fiance.

*Friends who offer their help when I need it most, no strings attached.

*My therapist, who answers calls on her days off and helps me work out a plan.

*Bloggers who uplift one another so that we may all succeed at our passion.

*Friends who offer grace and love, no matter what.

*Hairdressers who are family, and help you feel human with little makeovers every so often.

*A fiance who works long hours to make sure there’s a roof over our heads.

I’m grateful for the love that surrounds me, each and every day. For the friends and loved ones who keep me going, even when life is hard and the pain is too much. For all the people in my life who make sure I keep fighting.

How about you?

 

 

Hello Mother, I Need You To Hear Me

I need to say these things to you, and I need you to really HEAR me.

My health is important. It’s important to me, it’s important to Scotty, and I would hope it would be important to my parents. Your actions recently clearly state otherwise.

I don’t know if it’s because it’s hard for you to see your daughter sick, or if you honestly believe it’s some sad bid for attention. Whatever the reason behind your behavior, it’s unacceptable. I AM SICK. This is not up for debate.

I didn’t choose this, I certainly didn’t make it up, and it’s not just going to go away.

The medications I’m taking aren’t easy. They’re not easy on my body, and the decision to choose them as treatment doesn’t come easy. Ultimately I have to decide if I want to reduce my symptoms now and risk possibly shortening my life span or contracting another (often worse) illness, OR do I live without medication and spend my life confined to bed. I choose to risk the medication, because I want to live the best life I possibly can, for as long as I can. Maybe you’d make a different decision. Hopefully we never have to find out.

I know we’ve talked about this before, but for whatever reason, you still can’t seem to be the parents I need you to be. When you were diagnosed with cancer, my sisters and I were worried about you. I never questioned you, your diagnosis, or your treatment. I took care of you, helped in the best ways I knew how, and tried my best to support you. Is it wrong for me to expect the same from you?

I could sit here and explain the science behind my illness, but it really doesn’t matter. It shouldn’t matter. I am sick. It is a lifelong illness. To date, there is no cure. I’m trying my hardest to live the very best life I can. If you can’t be a part of my treatment plan by being supportive and encouraging, then I must distance myself. The stress and anxiety over this strain in our relationship is not healthy for me. Your phone calls during my treatment yesterday caused my vital signs to freak out, and the nurse and doctor both had to calm me down.

That is completely unacceptable.

So this is me setting a boundary and trying to take care of myself. If I don’t answer your calls, you’ll know why. I can’t let your negativity and nonchalant dismissal of me and my illness continue to affect my well being. It breaks my heart to know I can’t count on my own mother for support while I battle the biggest fight of my life. I can only hope and pray my own son never has cause to feel this way about me…

Ask Away Friday Vol. 10

Today is my favorite uncle’s birthday. And yes, now that you mention it, we have a ton of birthdays in August. And no, I’m not sure how all of us Leos get along. Sometimes we really don’t get along at all.

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Today is also another Friday, and another dose of #AskAwayFriday. This week I got to swap with the lovely lady behind Tamara Like Camera. I met Tamara through the AAF group and immediately fell in love with her beautiful photos. Her blog is a combination of her lovely photography and her ability to tell a story so captivating, you’re left breathless. Please be sure to swing by her spot and see how she answered my questions this week, you won’t be disappointed!

Tamara had some great questions for me, so without further ado…

1. I was so sorry to hear about the autoimmune diseases in your life, as well as depression and anxiety. Focusing on the anxiety, since that is something I have on occasion, what are some things that really help you to ease it, if you don’t mind answering?

Thank you, and I don’t mind at all! Anxiety is harder for me, there never seems to be a clear cut answer on how to ease it. Music often helps, usually something I can just scream along to at the top of my lungs. Cleaning is also good, it eases the OCD tendencies that creep in when my anxiety goes unchecked. I’ve also noticed any activity that lets me have a bit of control is helpful. It’s like I’m latching onto anything that feels like I’m regaining the control I feel anxiety saps from me.

2. Doctor Who question! Who is your favorite Doctor of all? Who is your favorite Doctor in that “hubba hubba” kind of way? And who is your favorite companion? (K-9 counts)

Well since I’m a new viewer, I don’t really have any favorites. My son swears Matt Smith is the best, and has me started with those episodes, so I’ve only met Amelia Pond, and Rory. I’ll check back in soon and let you know what I think when I go back to the beginning. Or as far back as Netflix will let me go.

3. What’s your favorite thing to write about? Or what has been your favorite blog post?

This is so hard! Each post means something to me when I write it, that’s really how I write. (Which is also why there can be gaps between posts. If I’m not feeling it, I try not to force it.) I love writing about the people I love, and sharing my loved ones with my readers. It’s nice to be able to tell everyone how awesome they are without them interrupting me and brushing it off lol! As for a favorite post, I really like my Grateful Mondays posts. It’s nice to start the week off on a high note and put a bit of gratitude out into the world.

4. Got this from Kristen at Mommy In Sports – What blog post were you most afraid to publish? The most vulnerable thing you wrote where your hand hovered over the ‘publish’ button…but you did it anyways?

There are a few posts I’ve hesitated on. I Loved You was written about friends who hurt me after my diagnosis with RA and the resulting fall out. It’s raw pain, and was hard for me to publish knowing they might one day see it. The posts that share my story of being a survivor are also pretty vulnerable. While it is laying myself bare, it’s important to me to share that story. There is a lot of stigma attached to being a survivor, and by sharing my story, I might help someone to know they they aren’t alone and it isn’t their fault. Ultimately, this is my spot to share my truth, all of it, and so I eventually bite the bullet and hit publish.

5. What’s something you have always wanted to do that you have yet to accomplish?

I’ve always wanted to write a book. I’ve had many ideas over the years, but it involves REALLY taking a risk, and so I’ve let the ideas slither away. Like most people, I have a deep fear of rejection. I’m trying to be more brave, but I’ve yet to take that crucial step.

6. What’s a dream vacation you can’t wait to take with your family?

I would love to take any vacation with my family! Travelling has become a bit harder since I got sick, and finances always seem to be tight. We’ve actually never had more than just a day trip with my fiance and son and I together. I’d really love to take us all up to Canada to visit our favorite couple, that would be lovely.

7. What’s been your proudest moment as a mother?

I’ve been blessed, my son is pretty wonderful and has given me lots of proud moments. It could be his first report card with straight A’s or when he flew in one summer and the stewardess told us how well behaved and polite he was…and he was only seven. In fact, it was last school year when he devoted his Wednesday afternoons to tutor younger students in his youth group. There was nothing in it for him, he did it just because he wanted to help. And my heart melted and grew three times just like The Grinch.

8. Do you have any plans to travel this fall or winter?

At this moment, no. I’ll be starting a new treatment this fall, and we’re waiting to see how that will affect me. We’d like to have my sisters come here for the holidays, and limit my travelling while still getting to see them. If not, we might go to see my sister in Bend, Oregon, which is just a few hours away.

9. What’s the wackiest belief you had as a child?

I honestly can’t remember any! My parents weren’t big on feeding the imagination, and I knew there was no Santa by age six. So I really don’t know that I had any wacky beliefs.

10. What’s the best meal you’ve eaten this week?

I made this creamy chicken in my crockpot and served it over rice, with some veggies. It’s a Pinterest recipe revised and I’m in love with it. Three ingredients, six hours on low, viola! Also, the double chocolate cuppity cakes I made yesterday were pretty awesome. Just sayin’.

 

Tamara really had some deep questions, and made me THINK! Don’t forget to stop by her place and say hi, tell her I sent you! If you’d like to join in the Ask Away Friday fun, check out their Facebook group. They’re a bunch of awesome bloggers, you won’t regret it.

I’m off to enjoy a (hopefully) calm weekend with my fiance and get ready for my son to come back on Sunday. If anyone has some extra energy to send my way, I’d love it!