Tag Archives: love

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?

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Ask Away Friday, All You Need Is Love!

Happy, happy Friday!

This week has been a long one, so long in fact, that I went around thinking yesterday was Friday all day. Which made me look like a bit of a dolt on the old Tweeter machine, but there ya go.

The exciting thing about this Friday is that I’m finally swapping with the lovely Tracie, my sister from another mister. You may remember a while back when Tracie’s husband and Scotty swapped questions, now it’s time for us ladies.

If you don’t know Tracie yet, you be sure to hop on over to her place and get to know her. She’s a pretty awesome lady who shares her voice for survivors everywhere, a home-schooling mama to one fantastic little girl (whom I’ve adopted as my niece), and a writer who can spin her words into the most vivid imagery. I promise you, you won’t be sorry for heading over.

This week Tracie and I decided to get in the spirit of the upcoming holiday, and talk about love, Valentine’s Day, and our very special men. So grab a box of chocolates and put on your favorite chick flick, it’s about to get all kinds of sappy up in here.

1. When you were a kid, and you had classroom Valentine’s Day parties, did you make your own valentines, or buy them from the store?

It’s funny, I can remember making my own valentines, but I think we mostly bought them. Maybe I made them in kindergarten and first grade?

2. What movie or book about love do you….well, love?

Well you know I love the love story in the Outlander series and I still want the “Talk Jamie to me” t-shirt. But, love movies are a different story. Dirty Dancing- Because of his speech at the end. “A person who’s taught me about the kind of person I want to be.” I like that. Love shouldn’t be about changing someone, but you should inspire growth within one another.

3. “There is never a time or place for true love. It happens accidentally, in a heartbeat, in a single flashing, throbbing moment.” ― Sarah Dessen, The Truth About Forever (Full disclosure: I’ve never read this book, but I find the quote interesting.) What do you feel about this quote in light of your own life – is this how love started for you?

In a way, yes. Scotty and I certainly weren’t looking for love when we first started chatting with each other. Instead we found great friends within one another, and then all of a sudden, I realized I was head over heals for him. And it happened completely by accident. I do believe there is a time and a place, in so far as I believe things happen when they are meant to, love included. Had Scotty and I met five years sooner, we would have been different people, and possibly not ready for the love we’ve found.

4. Have you heard of the five love languages? Gifts, Words of Affirmation, Quality of Time, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. Which one best matches your heart, and which one best matches Scotty’s?

LOL My first mother-in-law actually bought me this book to try to help my first marriage. Here’s a tip folks- Books like that only work if both partners are interested in trying it out.

As for Scotty and I, I think we both have two love languages that work together to make us feel loved the best. For him, it’s Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch. For me, Acts of Service and Physical Touch. We both really crave that hug at the end of the work day to feel reconnected, and it’s a pretty good indicator that something is amiss if we go a whole day without a hug or holding hands. But where all the little things he does to make my life easier speak to me, he really needs to hear the words. So I leave him little notes with his lunches, or text him throughout the day while he’s at work. We’re cute like that.

5. Did you ever take one of those quizzes in Seventeen magazine to figure out if “he really loves you” when you were a teenager?

Oh.My.Gosh. All.The.Time!

6. All of us old married (and almost married) people need to keep the spark alive. What is your favorite date night idea that doesn’t cost a lot of money?

I love curling up with a movie or TV show at home. Scotty and I will pop popcorn and share M&M’s. I also like game nights with board games or a deck of cards.

7. Do you believe that love conquers all?

I think so. But a person needs to be open to it. I think people can be hurt in life, and in turn close themselves off to the possibility of love. Which breaks my heart, because there’s so much love out there just waiting to be given and taken. You just have to open yourself up a little.

Okay, a lot.

8. Do you and Scotty have a special song? Is it a love song? Or just a song that the two of you love together?

This song was pretty popular when we started dating, and I just loved how the lyrics seemed to be about us. On our first anniversary, he had a gig, so I surprised him with a party at the gig, complete with his band singing this song just for us to have a dance together. That’s one of my favorite memories, there ❤

9. What is your favorite quote about love?

EmilyBronte

10. What do you love most about Scotty, and what would you say does he love most about you?

His answer when Thomas asked him was:

While it’s easy to say her smile or her eyes (because it’s true), I’d rather focus on a part of what makes her *her*. I truly love her generosity. She always tries to find ways to create pick-me-ups for friends, the time she spends helping others, all the things she does giving of herself. She is one of the most selfless people I know.

Aw!! Right?!

And for me: I love Scotty’s passion. If you could see how his face lights up when he plays his guitar, you would know instantly what I mean. And he has that throughout his entire being. He has a passion for learning, for music, and for love. He has a heart like no one I’ve ever known. Everything in his life, he approaches with an open mind and a heart full of passion. That’s pretty admirable, if you ask me.

Oh goodness Tracie, thank you so much! This swap was loads of fun, and I am so happy to leave my weekend on such a positive note.

I hope you all enjoyed this little bit of love. Now go have a great weekend, and spread a little of your own love. The world could use some 🙂

 

Wordless Wednesday…With Some Words

Because it’s always easier to bear the pain ourselves, than to watch those we love suffer.

JamieFraser

I always say I have it easy being the sick one. While it’s no fun being in pain, and dealing with chronic illness, I would take this any day over watching Scotty suffer. He often has the raw end of the deal, having to hold my hand, without being able to help me feel better.

If it were you, which side of the bargain would you choose?

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.

It’s Monday And I’m Grateful

GratefulMondays

*I’m grateful for five years of love, compassion, support, encouragement, and honesty. I’m grateful for a partner who is my perfect half, the yin to my yang, the balance to my chaos, the arms that hold me up when I want to fall.

*I’m grateful for medical staff who are caring, who listen, who show the appropriate amount of concern for a potentially urgent problem.

*I’m grateful his heart is healthy.

*I’m grateful for friends who can talk to me about our doggies, our crappy over-achieving immune systems, and how to balance treatment options with managing a life.

*I’m grateful for new antibiotics that seem to finally be kicking this massive sinus infection’s wicked booty.

*I’m grateful for insurance that covers the spendier antibiotics required.

*I’m grateful he is strong enough to worry about me. It gives me strength when it’s my turn to worry about him.

*I’m grateful for memories that still ache my heart. They remind me I haven’t become so callous in what is an increasingly negative world.

*I’m grateful for gin rummy, popcorn and chocolate, football on our tv kinda afternoons that help to ease my grief.

*I’m grateful for a son who remembers to text his mama. For a son who still tells me he loves me.

*I’m grateful that I have my son, even while I mourn my daughter.

*I’m grateful for Cathy. I’m grateful for her generosity, her understanding, and for her adopting me into her family.

*I’m grateful for love, in all its many forms, and all the ways it has manifested in my life, especially in the last week or so.

We Are Love

Scotty-

Five years ago you took me on a picnic for our first date and forever changed my life. Next year we will stand before our loved ones and say aloud the promises we’ve already made to each other. Each year on our anniversary, I write a letter to you or share our story. This year, I didn’t know what else could be said that I hadn’t already written. And then, this came to me…

Us

We are date nights at Denny’s, sipping hot cocoa and playing cards. We are drives around this city while we shared all there was to know about each other. We are popcorn and M&M’s, movie nights, board games, and take-out Chinese food.

Ian

You are passion and humbleness, and I am your biggest fan.

We are five years of the highest highs and the lowest lows. We are overcoming any obstacle. We are “you do for family” and redefining who our family is. We are celebrating any achievement, because they all matter. We are advocates for your dad and I am the daughter-in-law he loves, even if I did beat him at Scrabble on Father’s Day once.

We are late nights in the hospital, with you always holding my hand. You are the hard worker who makes sure I’m taken care of, no matter the cost. We are battling chronic illness together, continuing to live this life to the fullest.

Ring

You are the man who proposed to me three times, with three different rings, each of them as precious to me as our love.

You are the man who loves my son as if he were your own, and my heart swells to see you two together.

Family(framed)

We are the parents of a teenager, both terrified and excited. We are talks of school and grades, and debating whether he’s ready for his own cell phone. We are a family of our own, the three of us and our doggy.

We are the sum of every moment of these five years, and yet so much more. We are the promise of a future together, the promise that we’ll always have a partner in this life.

UsWedding

You are the man I’ve dreamed of all my life, my prince, the one I thought couldn’t possibly exist until you came and rescued me. You are the one who showed me who I could be, who saw the beauty inside me when no one else did.

We will be the cute little old couple helping each other along in the nursing home. I will try to not run over your toes with my wheelchair as you repeat yourself for the tenth time because I’ve gone completely deaf. We will be playing Scrabble with our grandkids while we tell them how Grandma is a Ducks fan and Grandpa is a Beavers fan and it’s the only thing we’ve ever disagreed on in our entire lives together. Well that, and the fact that Grandma doesn’t like pumpkin or avocado.

HouseDivided

You and your love gives me hope EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. The promise of our future gives me a reason to keep fighting.

Here’s to another five years, my love, and many more after that. Here’s to making more memories and traditions. Here’s to a lifetime of love.

Ask Away Friday Vol. 12

Is it feeling like fall for anyone else? We’re still sporting 90+ degree days, apparently for some reason, summer is wanting to hang around a while longer here. Someone please send me a rain storm. Please.

This week has been a busy one for me. Lots of phone calls and arranging appointments for both me and my future father-in-law. Which means my brain is hanging on by a thread. Lucky for me, it’s Friday, and time for another dose of Ask Away Friday!

If you’re new to these parts, AAF is where I swap ten questions with a fellow blogger, and then we all get to know each other a little better. It’s loads of fun and I’ve met some great blogger friends.

AAFDanielleCollage

This week I’m swapping with Danielle from Dancing With My Daughter. Besides having the best blog name ever, Danielle shares tales of her daughter, her love, and yummy food. Be sure to pop on over and get to know her a little better, you’ll be happy you did!

Here’s what Danielle wanted to know about me…

1) I read that you’re getting married very soon (YAY CONGRATULATIONS!), how’s the preparation going? Are you excited?

I’m crazy excited! It’s really wonderful to know that I’ve found my forever someone and that we’re going to have this lovely day where we celebrate with all of our loved ones. The preparation is coming along, we’re currently looking for a venue that fits our needs but isn’t crazy expensive. Which is harder than one would think, apparently.

2) What is one thing about your fiancé that you love the most?

I love his passion for music. Scotty learned to play the guitar at a young age, and has pursued music most of his life. He plays with a humbleness, like he honestly doesn’t know how great he his. And he’s pretty great. He carries that creative passion into our relationship by supporting all of my crafting. We encourage that love of creating something within each other, and it’s one of my favorite things. And if you could see the peaceful smile that comes over him as he plays, you’d melt like I do, every single time.

3) What is your favourite thing to do with your son? Do you bond regularly?

I love movie nights with my kiddo. I love that he still wants to have a giant pajama party with popcorn and snacks, pillows and blankets, and a family movie. Those nights warm my heart every time. Because my son spends the school years with his dad, we don’t get as much bonding time as I would like. But the kiddo can text now, and so we have little conversations throughout the week, and that helps 🙂

4) What’s the best dish that you have cooked?

Well I would say my white lasagna, but my brother would say my chipotle carnitas. Scotty would pipe in and say chipotle carnitas with fry bread. Since taco night is always a favorite, I wouldn’t argue. I let a couple pounds of pork simmer in my crockpot with beef broth and seasonings all day on low. When it starts to fall apart, I shred it with a couple forks, then add it back to the cooking liquid along with a couple bottles of chipotle sauce. I let that simmer for another hour while I make fry bread. We use the fry bread as the taco shell, piling it high with our favorite toppings like lettuce, cilantro, sour cream, and lots of cheese. And now that my mouth is watering, I’m gonna have to make some this weekend!

5) Is there a book that you can read over and over again and won’t get bored of? What is it and why?

My usual go-to response here is Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, but I’m going to be a good girl and pick another book that’s just a single. Envy by Sandra Brown is a top pick. It has a pretty compelling story, with some romance, and a plot twist that I didn’t see coming. The intro to the story is probably one of the greatest I’ve read, especially for a lover of a good mystery. It’s an easy read, but not too easy that you don’t stay enthralled. If you have a chance, check it out.

6) If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

There are many places I would like to visit in the world, but I’d only want to live in my Pacific Northwest. We have all four seasons here, there’s such lovely landscape, and the air smells like nothing I’ve ever found anywhere else. I’m surrounded by mountains, I’m a short drive from the Pacific Ocean, and we have some of the greatest food! In my perfect dreams, I move all of my loved ones here, and we spend our days exploring this gorgeous region.

7) Are you excited for fall? What are you looking forward to this cold season?

Fall is my favorite time of year! I love the crisp breeze that belies the bright sun. The colorful leaves mixed with evergreens. I love bulky sweaters and leggings, pretty scarves, and tall leather boots. I love apple cider and baked goods. I love soups in my crockpot and fresh bread rising on my counter. This year I’m looking forward to continued success with my new treatment plan, and the hope that I’ll be feeling a bit more human by the holidays.

8) When you were a kid, did you dress up for Halloween? What’s your favourite costume?

I LOVED dressing up and still do! My favorite costume as a kid was when I was about four. I dressed as Rainbow Brite and my best friend at the time dressed as her horse (unicorn?). They were those vinyl costumes with the plastic masks you couldn’t see out of, but the photo still brings a smile to my face. My favorite adult costume was a few years ago when I went as Medusa. I have crazy curly/wavy/does whatever it wants hair. I wore a silver/gray toga, crazy dark makeup, and had my hair piled high on my head, with plastic snakes poking out everywhere. It was a lot of fun, but I had black circles around my eyes for days!!

9) With the Christmas holiday coming up in a few months, do you have any traditions that you do with your family?

When Scotty and I were first dating, I was working in fast food and not making much money. We agreed that instead of going broke trying to find THE BEST PRESENT EVER for each other, we would just exchange stockings. We made two rules: It had to fit in the stocking, and couldn’t be more than $20. It was so much fun, we still do it every year. Instead of expensive jewelry or electronics we’ll be making payments on forever, we find the little things that have meaning behind them. Each year it’s a great treasure hunt to buy little gifts that tell him what he means to me, that remind us of dates we’ve taken, that will make him smile or laugh out loud. I hope we’ll keep doing this forever.

10) Do you like any sports? If you do, do you get to play it often?

I love football! Love, love, LOVE it! I don’t play- even before I got sick, I was not very athletically inclined. (I’m a klutz. Ask anyone who knows me.) But I love watching football. And Scotty is getting me into watching hockey and baseball.

 

What a great swap! Each week, these girls find things about me that I didn’t realize I hadn’t shared yet. If you’d like to join in the fun, check out the Ask Away Friday Facebook Group. They’re a great bunch who will show you the ropes with all things blogging, so don’t feel intimidated or like you won’t fit in 🙂

I hope you all have a great weekend. Wish me luck with my fantasy football teams, Scotty and the kiddo are killing me!

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?

 

 

Ask Away Friday Vol. 11

Happy Friday everyone!

I know I’ve been MIA this week. I’ve been spending it with my son and my fiance. The kiddo leaves us today to head back to his home in the Midwest. So while y’all are reading another round of #AskAwayFriday, I’ll be at the state fair sending off the kiddo in style. (And trying not to collapse from all the walking around.)

AAFShellyCollage

This week I got to swap with the lovely Shelly from DIYMama. I’ve been admiring Shelly’s crafts and projects since I stumbled onto her blog via the AAF group, so when she said she’d swap with me, I was ecstatic! Make sure you pop on over to her site today to see what tips she has for me to help DIY my wedding, and other things I’ve been dying to ask her 🙂

Now- My answers for her.

1. You said you’ve always dreamed of being serenaded! By who and what song?

I’ve always thought it would be sweet to be serenaded by the one you love, so if Scotty ever decided to surprise me by singing a love song, it would surely make me melt!

2. Since you’re getting married in under a year (whoohoooo!) do you have any ideas for color/theme?

photo (14)

We do! Scotty’s favorite color is orange and mine is teal, so we’re doing those along with copper and turquoise for a pretty summery palette. We’re hoping for a rockabilly tea party, an eclectic mash up of some of our favorite things.

3. What are the top 5 things you want to accomplish on your bucket list?

I’m really going to have to look at stealing your idea and posting a 40 by 40 list on my site. Accountability will help me get going on my bucket list. I don’t know if I have a top 5, but a few things I want to do are: Write a book and have it published. Travel to Europe. See my son graduate from high school and basic training. Marry the man of my dreams.

4. Have you done any (or look forward to) classes with your fiance like cooking or dancing?

We haven’t taken any classes, but you’ve given me a really good idea! Maybe I could get him to go to a pottery or ceramics class with me…

5. If there was one song you could wake up to everyday, what would it be?

“Only Fools Rush In” by Elvis Presely

6. What is you and your love’s song?

“1,2,3,4” by The Plain White T’s

7. What is one thing you’re proud of from before being a Mom?

Oh goodness! Since I became a mom right out of high school, that’s hard. I’m proud that I graduated, and with fairly good grades. And I’m proud that I made the choice to have my baby, even when the odds were stacked against me. He is the greatest joy.

8. Did you do anything fun this summer in the way of trips or weekend adventures?

AviationAndSpaceCollage

We took my son to the Aviation and Space museum, which has been on our to-do list for a few years now.

9. I saw you are into paper crafts recently. Share a few pictures of your most recent craft project!

PaperCrafts

I’ve been on a kick making cards for my friends, it’s so much fun being able to personalize them. I’d also like to get back to scrapbooking, but I really need to be better about taking photos and getting them printed!

10. What is something sweet that your fiance and son have done recently without being asked?

My fiance took my son to buy me a birthday card. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but those little things speak volumes. I got one from each of them, and they lit up my day 🙂

 

Thank you so much for such a great swap, Shelly! Y’all be sure to check out her site for all the latest on DIY tips and adorable photos of her smiling daughter. (You can never get enough of cheeky baby smiles!) I’m off to the state fair for a funnel cake and too much walking. TGIF!

Please Help Me Help You

There are a number of people who have made this life with chronic illness much more than just livable.

From day one, my fiance has held my hand through all the peaks and valleys. He’s rubbed my back as I lay crying in pain and he’s argued with doctors to fight for the care I deserve and need. He’s been my rock, my champion, my  caregiver, and so much more.

From early on, I’ve had friends who spilled their love and support across the interweb lines. Dawnie, Teala, Tracie, Cathi, Cindy, Fallah, Natalie, Andrea, and so many others sent care packages, cards, letters, and any helpful tips they could find.

Cathy, Kristen and Seth, and Kerry have brought smiles to my days. They stopped by with care packages, came to watch movies and chit chat, made me feel feminine with a new haircut, and made me laugh over a game of cribbage. They all let me know they were only a call or text away. They supported my fiance while I was in and out of the hospital.

All of these bright spots in my life have become family. And if I think back, I know opening my heart to find friends who understood my battle all started with Misty reaching out to me. Misty, and all of these wonderful people, showed me that it was possible to thrive, love, and LIVE while still battling chronic pain and illness.

They gave me a reason to not give in and give up. They give me hope.

I created Spoons 4 Spoonies as a way to share that hope with others. I know not everyone who fights this battle has someone in their corner. I know that being sick can be isolating and make us feel so very lonely. I know what it’s like to lay in bed and wonder why I bother to get up at all.

Spoons 4 Spoonies is for all of us who fight something that can’t be seen. It’s for our loved ones and caregivers. At its very core, it is love.

For months now, we behind the scenes at S4S have been brainstorming how to spread that love even farther, how to offer more ways to change lives and better the world. We have a ton of ideas, including care packages, spoon jewelry, t-shirts, and motivational cards created from original artwork. We’ve outlined some initial plans to expand our reach and we’re eager to start as soon as possible.

Since we are just a few of us with a big dream and limited bank accounts, we’ve started an Indiegogo campaign to try to raise funds. None of the money raised is for personal use, every last cent raised will go to Spoons 4 Spoonies’ mission.

As much as I despise asking for help, I need y’all to help. Please check out the campaign. If you can contribute, I will be forever grateful. If all you can do is share the campaign with others, I will still be grateful. Every single act, every single dollar, helps.

We just want to make this world a little brighter, like someone once did for us. Won’t you please help?