Tag Archives: friends

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.

GratefulMondays

*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 ūüėČ

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.

ChosenFamily

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?

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.

GratefulMondays

*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.

Truthful Tuesday: I’m Hurting

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared some truths. Today the emotions are still running high, so I thought this would be a good way to process some of them.

*The doctor says I have TMJ, that it is related to RA, and is likely caused by my poor stress management.

*While I’ve improved in some areas in therapy, stress management is still something with which I’m struggling.

*What I really want is someone to handle these things for me.

*I not only have a hard time telling people “No,” I also have an equally difficult time saying “I can’t do this any longer” when an obligation or responsibility becomes too much for me.

*Right now, the emotional pain of this diagnosis and the surrounding issues are as painful as the TMJ.

*The pain is impacting my ability to eat the food I want, and today it hurts to talk. Or sing.

*My doggy asking to play will never not bring a smile to my face, no matter how much I hurt.

*My doggy waits until I’m in the middle of a post, and knee deep in the writing mojo before he’s ready to play. And he will not take no for an answer.

*Even while things have been rough these few weeks, I’ve been blessed. I’m lucky to have friends who do so much to enrich my life.

*I will overcome this hurdle, just as I’ve overcome everything up to this point. I may need a few days to process things, but I will prevail. And I will smile again.

Gratitude Born From Pain

GratefulMondays

I woke up this morning with the worst headache I’ve had in at least a decade. Fortunately, I have a great fiance, great medical staff, and great spoonie friends who all came together to make sure I could get over the worst of it and still function today.

So here’s some gratitude born out of the pain of this morning.

*I’m grateful for a man who will set aside his own pain to do anything in his power to ease mine.

*I’m grateful for Christina, my nurse, who answers my calls and all of my panicked questions with calm and compassion.

*I’m grateful for my friend Lana, who also has RA, who never gets mad when I text her with random RA questions and whining.

*I’m grateful for a doggy who senses his mama isn’t feeling well, and spends his morning curled up next to me, as quiet and as comforting as can be.

*I’m grateful for plans that are flexible, and friends who understand.

*I’m grateful for a night out with our favorite couple (who are visiting from Canada). For sharing pizza, and hugs, and selfies. For laughs and smiles, and conversations where it feels like they haven’t been gone these last few months.

*I’m grateful for early Christmas that came with fuzzy pajama pants and a slew of presents to go under our tree when it goes up in a few weeks.

*I’m grateful for the medicines that worked this morning so that I could finally open my eyes without wanting to scream. So I could look at a computer screen without wanting to puke.

*I’m grateful for Andrea and the¬†writing group she started on Facebook. It’s kept me motivated while we all participate in #NaBloPoMo. For all the writing prompts and comments. For the shares and support. For the encouragement and belief that together, we can all achieve this goal.

*I’m grateful for a partner who hasn’t given up on me. Who continues to lift me up, no matter all the different setbacks. Who has embraced this new me instead of walking away from such an unpredictable life.

 

What are YOU grateful for this chilly Monday morning?

My Happy Place

The lovely Echo tagged me this morning to share my happy place.

Much like Echo, my happy place is more a series of moments, little tidbits that make up an overflowing pool of happiness within me. Some are memories, some are actual places, some are dreams yet to be fulfilled, and some are the moments in my days that chase the dark away. These are the things I would think about if I were to fly with Peter Pan.

It’s a cozy chair, a mug of hot tea, a fuzzy blanket, and a good book.

It’s the joy and excitement my little doggy shows when we ask if he wants to go for a ride.

It’s looking into my newborn son’s eyes and seeing my future gazing back at me.

It’s an afternoon in the park, sprawled on a blanket under the sun. A picnic lunch after a trip to the library.

It’s the memory of a drawled,¬†“Hello, dawlin.” and the feeling of knowing someone cares.

It’s a bubble bath, scented candles, and soft music playing.

It’s text messages from my son, little glimpses at his life away from me. It’s him telling me he loves and misses me.

It’s the kisses goodbye as Scotty leaves for work, and the kisses hello when he gets home in the evenings. It’s the texts throughout his day that let me know he’s thinking of me.

It’s an afternoon on the banks of the Puget Sound, a first date with a man my heart had known always.

It’s boardgames, Mario Kart, and popcorn and M&M’s.

It’s nights at Denny’s, sipping hot cocoa and getting to know each other.

It’s all the little things he does to make my life easier.

It’s afternoon naps with my doggy.

It’s hours long chats with the sisters of my heart. The talks about music, writing, life, and more that always leave me feeling loved and inspired.

It’s waking up each day and going to bed each night knowing I am loved, even when I don’t feel very lovable.

What is your happy place? Where do you go when you need a smile?

Come Share The Light

Every description of a Leo personality I’ve ever read says Leo’s love being the center of attention, love the limelight, love being leaders. And for most of my life I have adamantly denied that these descriptions applied to me.

I don’t like to have the light shone on me. (Says the woman who shares her life with the interwebs. Ahem.) But I really DON’T. I’d much rather showcase those around me than to take the light for myself. I get embarrassed and bashful when I’m the center of attention. It’s probably very closely tied with my stage fright, but that’s a topic for my therapist to dissect.

Anyhow, when I started this blog, and started sharing my journey, my stories, with the interwebs, it was as much for me as for anything. It was a way of journaling and processing all that was happening in my life. And if it helped someone along the way, then awesome. I soon realized it was cathartic for me to write my stories, and rewarding to know someone found solace or comfort in my words. I shared more of my path until I realized I had turned some corner and was not only a writer, but an advocate.

Even then, I shied away from praise and the limelight. I wasn’t doing anything special, I was just writing about my life. So yes, when others tell me how strong or brave I am, I still blush and babble about how I’m just me.

Because that’s how I see it. I’m just me.

I’m not strong or brave or courageous. I’m just me, living this life the only way I know how. Because the other option? That’s giving up. And that is NOT an option for me. So it’s not brave that I get out of bed every day to battle, it’s just me being stubborn.

Fortunately, I have awesome friends who remind me that being stubborn is actually a form of bravery (or stupidity, sometimes). Friends who constantly lift me up, who don’t let me brush off the compliments and well-meant platitudes. Because they know it’s important to recognize and celebrate every good thing.

I might just be me, but maybe I’m a brave me. I’m certainly stronger than I ever thought I could be, and stronger than I often give myself credit for. If it’s courageous to drag this cranky body out of bed each day, well heck…I guess I’ll go stand in line with the cowardly lion for my pretty badge.

I say all that to tell you this:

You are stronger than you give yourself credit for. You are brave and courageous. Did you wake up and draw breath this morning? Then you are a rockstar and you deserve some of that limelight. You might feel like me, like you just don’t have any option, but that doesn’t make it any less noteworthy.

It takes tremendous determination to stare a life of chronic pain and illness in the face and say, “I will keep living, despite…” To get up in the morning and LIVE despite the pain and fatigue. To carve out a path to your dreams despite the limitations and roadblocks.

It is an act of great strength to be YOU, in spite of all that would knock you down.

So this is me, asking you to join me in the limelight. Today we say yes, we are strong. We are brave. We are living, in spite of, and we’re doing it better than we ever thought we could.

 

I Found Framily On A Mountaintop

On the Wednesday before Halloween five years ago, a new friend and I headed off for a little road trip. Little did we know our trip would involve a flat tire and being stuck on the side of a mountaintop road for the better part of six hours. Overnight.

Nubs

I met Nolan the same way I met Scotty, in a local internet chat room. Though, to be honest, Nolan and I didn’t chat much. When I finally met Nolan in person, it was in this weird period of time where we were both visiting our significant others and contemplating whether or not to move to be with them.

Since Nolan’s girlfriend and Scotty both worked, he and I often spent our days chatting while looking into relocating. We talked about everything under the sun, though much of our conversations often centered around food.¬†Nolan is a great cook, and I was just starting to consider myself as more than just an “okay” cook. We shared recipes, talked about our favorite chefs, and day dreamed of one day opening a restaurant and writing our own cookbooks.

So on this Wednesday before Halloween, Nolan and I decided to take a road trip together to pick up a few things from our respective home towns to facilitate our moves to this new city. This trip took us damn near all over our great state and just as we were nearing the homestretch, we got a flat tire. On the top of a mountain. In the snow. In the middle of the night.

The car was borrowed, the tools didn’t fit the wheels, we were both dressed for valley weather, and not the snow. I had no cell reception and his battery was dead. We sat huddled outside an abandoned mountain resort office, using the outdoor outlet to plug in his phone so we could call for help. Our help was coming from nearly 3 1/2 hours away, and so we huddled in our respective front seats, occasionally turning on the car for heat. To keep ourselves from going crazy, or possibly giving way to hypothermia, we munched on junk food and talked. Somewhere around 4:00 am, we fell into hysterics. We joked and laughed about things which made no sense. We crafted the nicknames “Nubs and Stubs.”

Most of all, we kept each other sane. And somewhere between our toes going numb and all the Mountain Dew and Redvines, I realized that this guy had worked his way into my heart. I knew no matter what happened, he would always be my best friend.

Help arrived and we got the tire changed. We drove the rest of the way back to our new city, arriving nearly exactly 24 hours after we had left. We were cold, tired, crashing from a sugar overload, and more than a little angry at circumstances. But we had a new friend in each other, and memories to bind us.

Five years later Nolan (aka Nubs) is still my best friend, my adopted brother. We still laugh about that night stuck on the side of the mountain road, though others don’t seem to see the humor we do. Guess you had to be there.

Nolan is family. He will be the one who officiates mine and Scotty’s wedding next summer, and he’s the one I turn to always.¬†There are many who don’t understand our relationship. Many who think men and women can’t be friends without some sort of romantic ish. There are many who swear we’re leading some sort of secret affair behind Scotty’s back. Those people? I feel sorry for them. How sad it must be to not have friends you count as family, no matter their gender. And how horrible it must be to be so mistrusting of those around you. Scotty is more than fine with mine and Nolan’s friendship, he also considers Nolan family. Nolan’s girlfriend, Court¬†(NOT the one from five years ago),¬†is also more than okay with our relationship. She is family. I call her my sister-in-law, and know I can turn to her for anything.

NubsandCourt

Nubs and Court have helped us move three separate times. They come to see Scotty play, and celebrate birthdays with us. We celebrate each others’ kiddos and life moments. They live about an hour away, and sometimes we don’t see each other for months, but it doesn’t change that we are all the very best of framily.

And to think, it all started on the side of a mountaintop with a flat tire.

I’m Grateful For You

It’s a chilly morning here in the PACNW and I couldn’t be happier. Fall is swirling outside my windows with the howling wind and occasional downpours. I’m bundled up in cozy jammies, slippers, and a fuzzy blanket. My days are now filled with cups of hot tea and apple cider. And gratitude. Always gratitude.

GratefulMondays

 

*I’m grateful Scotty has an understanding and emphatic employer. It’s rare these days to find someone who understands that while work is important, family comes first.

*I’m grateful for framily who visits with a gorgeous, air purifying plant to decorate my home and help me breathe better. A fellow spoonie who constantly goes out of her way to make my life better.

*I’m grateful for blogger friends who help me navigate this world as I continue to expand my horizons. Friends who answer texts, even while out celebrating. Friends who answer the call of “HALP! I don’t know what I’m doing!” with a laugh of understanding.

*I’m grateful for a partner who does the little things. The ones he thinks don’t matter, but they all add up to make my days so much smoother and easier. He makes the role of caregiver look easy, though we all know it is not.

*I’m grateful for a kiddo who is honest and upfront with us, even when he’s broken something he knows we can’t afford to replace. He is not in trouble because he came to us and told us what happened instead of trying to hide it, and he is already working on a solution.

*I’m grateful for a doctor who understands my life in pain, and never doubts me. He helps me manage those pain levels without judgement. He never questions me when I tell him I hurt, he just works with me to find me the best comfort available. His staff are all equally caring, and it makes it easy to turn to them for help.

*I’m grateful for framily who send me tools to help me on this journey with chronic illness. And chocolate, because obviously. For cookbooks and letters that make me smile. For notes and lists of treatment options. For a little something that touches the heart and lets me know you thought of me while you were continents away.

*I’m grateful for gift cards and the little I earn from various rewards sites that allows us to keep our heads above water.

*I’m grateful for understanding friends who don’t hold things against me, even when I hold them against myself. Especially then. For friends who know I haven’t forgotten about them, even if it appears I’ve fallen off the map.

*I’m grateful for all of you. All who read my words and offer encouragement and support. All who pass my words on to others. Each of you gives me the purpose to get up each morning and pour my heart out for the world. You give me strength to reach a little further, and share my words among other avenues.