Tag Archives: friendships

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?

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.

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?

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 Negativity

When I woke up this morning, I wasn’t feeling very grateful.

GratefulMondays

I’m currently fighting off a nasty sinus infection that resulted from the chemical poisoning a few weeks back. The antibiotics are wreaking havoc on my body, and we had to push back my next infusion, so I’m flaring on top of everything. Clearly, I’m loving life right now.

But then something on Facebook stopped me in my whiny tracks. And I realized something very powerful.

I’m grateful for all the nay-sayers. For everyone who’s ever told me I couldn’t do something. For all the people that told I’m not strong enough, or pretty enough, or thin enough, or just…ENOUGH.

For the doctors who told me it was all in my head, and the ones who told me I’d succumb to this disease and be in a wheelchair by now. For the nurses who were rude and treated me like a hassle.

For the “friends” who left when things got rough, and the people who never gave me a chance.

I’m grateful for all of this negativity, because I chose to thrive in spite of it all.

I am doing it. I’m living. I’m writing. I’m DOING. I’m strong, and pretty, and my man happens to like my curves, so there! I am more than enough.

It’s not all in my head, and I haven’t allowed RA to overtake me. While I might need a cane sometimes, I’m not in a wheelchair yet, and I have no plans for one.

And those friends who left? They made room for the people I really needed in my life. They opened the doors for my framily to walk through, and so I’m grateful for them.

I’m grateful for everyone, everything, that has made my life challenging. Because it all has made me who I am. And who I am is someone who’s not giving up.

I’m Grateful For Happiness

I woke up feeling pretty puny this morning. I didn’t sleep well due to pain and an upset tummy which means I’m more than a little crabby from lack of good rest. Rather than allow myself to sit and wallow, I’m celebrating all the things that made me happy recently. You should join me!

GratefulMondays

 

I’m grateful for:

*Thunderstorms that break up a two week run of high temperatures.

*Being able to be the bearer of much awaited good news.

*My fiance playing live music again. And the wonderfully supportive band mates.

*Friends who drive 40 minutes one way to come and support my fiance.

*The 80’s music channel on my TV that lets me reminisce while I write.

*Blogger friends who pass along tips and help.

*Doctors and nurses who call to check on me, who take the time to fully explain recent lab work, who go out of their way to ease my fears and worries.

*My fiance’s employer who has bestowed so much kindness and understanding on us.

*Friends who help plan my wedding via text message and Pinterest when they can’t be right here with me.

*Phone calls with my kiddo where he tells me how excited he is to come see us.

*My parents, who are currently spoiling my son with once in a lifetime opportunities. I may be slightly jealous that I never got to go to Disney or Six Flags as a kid, but I’m so happy my son gets to make these memories with his grandparents.

*Getting to share about Spoons 4 Spoonies and The Spoon Theory with new people, especially when they’re open and receptive. It warms my heart to know I’m doing my part to raise awareness and push back at the stigmas.

*Dawnie, who first told me what a spoonie was, and helped me to put into words my struggle. She also gives me strength every day to keep putting one foot in front of the other, to keep living the best possible life, in spite of whatever struggles get thrown my way.

 

What are you grateful for today? Link up in the comments and lets make Monday just a little brighter!

Let Me Help You

One of the things I’m loving about therapy is finding the roots of my anxiety. It’s all fine and dandy to find healthier coping skills for said anxiety, but to discover WHY I’m anxious, and curb those responses is an even greater thing.

Yesterday we had a little revelation.

Well, rather, I had a revelation. I’m fairly certain my therapist saw it coming a mile away. She’s good like that.

I like to help people.

I know, I know, that shouldn’t cause me anxiety. But it does. It does because not everyone is receptive to my help, and that frustrates me. Which means I stress about it, dwell on it, and work myself into a tizzy over it.

I know it seems silly. And when I type it out, it sounds ridiculous even to me, but that’s me.

I’ve lived a lot of different paths in my life, and a great many of them were not easy or pleasant. I wouldn’t change those paths because they all led me to my son and my wonderful fiance, but I’d be lying if I said some of those paths didn’t hurt. A lot. Apparently at the very core of me, I’d like nothing more than to spare anyone the same pain I’ve already lived through. Who wouldn’t want to help their friends that way, right?

The crux of it is that I try to force my hard earned knowledge on others who aren’t usually very receptive. My father-in-law who approaches his life with chronic illness differently than I do, the pregnant teenager who is in for a rude awakening, the good friend who overextends herself to the point of an imminent burnout. Just because I can see their paths are causing them pain doesn’t mean it’s my place to try to force them to change. I can offer them my help, but if they choose to continue on their path, I must allow them to live their lives.

I don’t know WHY I’m this way or why ¬†I let it get under my skin SO MUCH. You would think it would be easy to just let it all go, especially when my peace of mind is at stake. Sadly, it’s a battle for me to walk away and let them be. I want so badly to help them, save them from harm and pain that I fret about it until I’m a mess.

Now that we’ve discovered one of my quirks, it’s time to work on finding a better outlet for my energies. Which means I spent last night contemplating starting a local support group, which I’m not sure I have the energy to take on…

What are some of your quirks?

Truthful Tuesday: I Have Hope Again

I have a million and one things on my to-do list today, so here’s a few truths to carry you over until I can fill you in with a proper update:

*I had a fantastic appointment with my new rheumatologist. She has a game plan for getting my body back on track and helping me live the best life possible with RA.

*My new doctor does NOT believe that RA has attacked my spine but has ordered Xrays to be certain…and to also find out for sure what is causing the lower back/hip pain.

*I am blessed to have a partner who is incredibly supportive, who holds my hand through this up and down life with chronic illness.

*I met a new friend on Sunday and I think we really hit it off. I’m excited at the possibility of expanding my social circle and trying new things. I’m really tired of being a hermit.

*My dear friend Kristen will be moving to Canada in a few short months and while I’m super excited for her, I will miss her terribly. I know we’ll still talk, but my heart is saddened to know she won’t be able to just drop by and chat like she did last night. Those visits warm my heart so much more than I could ever find the words to say.

*There is very little in this world that can’t be made better by singing along with classic rock at the top of my lungs. It might not solve all my problems or erase the stress, but it sure helps in the moment.

*I am loving therapy and my new therapist. I find myself looking forward to my appointments with her and I know this is a good thing for me and my life.

*For the first time in the last few months, I’m really feeling hopeful. I wake up excited to face my day, even despite the pain that still racks my body. Yes, there are still stressors, but I finally feel like I’m in a place to better tackle them. I have hope again.