Thursday, July 28, 2011

Yeah...I'm Content

I posted a facebook status that said:  "'...I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty...I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.' Phil 4:11-13   Content = an awesome thing to be :-)"

A friend replied:  "Can you teach me????????????"
(Admittedly, the very first thing that popped into my head was, "I could teach you, but I'd have to charge".  I refrained from responding in kind;-) 
Content - adj

1. mentally or emotionally satisfied with things as they are
2. assenting to or willing to accept circumstances, a proposed course of action, etc.
3. peace of mind; mental or emotional satisfaction

Check, check, and check.

When did I begin to feel content?  Just a couple of days ago.  It's okay to laugh.  I am!

Because last year, right around this time...I was in the hospital.  Cardiac floor.  A few abnormal tests earned me a comfortable bed, my own nurse, and lots of sticky stuff...all stuck to me.  I was pulling glue out from bad places for days.  It was a reminder that I've received some of my biggest blessings and learned some of my best lessons in times of trial. 

My health taught me a long time ago that my prayer life isn't the equivalent of a glorified Christmas list.  I won't get everything I want, but I'll have everything I need.  And I do have all of that:-)  Sadly, I just forget that detail from time to time.

I think I'll keep this post handy so that, when I get all wrapped up in myself and feel emotionally overloaded, I can remind myself of how peaceful I felt as I wrote it.  And surely I will say, "okay, who got ahold of my password and wrote that, 'cause it couldn't have been me!" 
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go make a dark berry smoothie.  It's the closest thing I've got in the freezer to a milkshake.
11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. - Phil 4:11-13

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Farewell, MS Magnet!

Some time ago, I wrote about my beloved MS Magnet.  Capitalized, because it meant that much to me.  You tailgate magnets tell an abbreviated story.  A story of me!  I think of car magnets as old skool "colorforms", but for grown ups.  Oh how I loved to play with colorforms.

Admittedly, some folks overutilize.  You've seen this, right?  I was behind one today.  They had quite the collection of hot vacation spot abbreviation stickers and assorted magnets.  I can play that game, too!  If they made stickers that said "WORK" and "BATHROOM" and "HOME", I could put 'em on my tailgate, 'cause those are the hot spots I frequent most;-)  Furthermore, there should be ample space for each magnet.  It's cumbersome to digest as I'm waiting for my light to turn green.  I'll bet when they were kids, they used 2 sets of colorforms, thereby overcrowding and discombobulating the scene they were attempting to create.  But I digress...

I had MS Magnet when I walked from my car to the store.  Twenty-five minutes later, I returned with my groceries, reached for the liftgate handle, and saw a dingy outline of where MS Magnet used to cling.  I let out a fairly loud, "WHAT THE!", followed by, "OH COME ON!  SERIOUSLY???"  I rubbed my blurry left eye, hoping it was a trick.  I looked on the ground, hoping it fell off.  I knelt down to look under the car.  I looked closer at the dingy outline and noticed clean smudges on my dirty car.  Smudges in which fingers were.  Suddenly, it became crystal clear.  MS Magnet was...taken.  I was so angry that I wanted to throw my carton of eggs on the ground in frustration.  Because when I get that angry, I throw stuff.  Alas, I forgot the list on the counter again.  The list those eggs were on.  And so I forgot to buy eggs.  Thankfully...

I bid you farewell, MS Magnet:'-(  I had a sinking feeling that our time together would be limited.  So many people commented on you, asking where it was I got you...they knew someone with ms and wanted you to ride around with them in order to honor that person.  Even my husband has one just like you, which surprised me.  You, him, and ms are stuck together for the rest of our lives.  It's the whole "in sickness and in health" deal.  You'd think the last thing he'd want would be anything ms-related stuck to his truck.  Though he sacrificially offered that magnet to me as a replacement, I cannot accept.  Losing you is hard enough.  I cannot risk a rinse and repeat occurrence.

"Sooner or later in life, the things you love you lose" - Florence + The Machine

"'Tis better to have had MS Magnet and lost than never to have had MS Magnet at all..." - me

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Tears In My Coffee...Happy Birthday, Son :-)

My son is turning 12.  I have but one question:

When did THAT happen???  Right?  Didn't I just give birth to my daughter...and she's older than he is!  I'll lose that baby weight soon.  I'm workin' on it.

Ah, my son.  I can't help but get teary eyed on every birthday and every major moment of his life.  His first 6 years of life were nothing short of uphill...both 10 feet of snow.  He has defied every prognosis, beat every odd, and came out of it all with a deeper and more compassionate understanding of life and what it means to be blessed.  He has never seen his successes as his own.  In our late night chats, he recognizes that it's the Lord's strength he's been on through it all.  One of the most moving things he's ever said to me was in relation to a psychologist's determination that he would "never be...(this, that, or the other)".  My son said, "looks like somebody underestimated God".

To make matters more emo for me on this birthday, he's going to camp for a week.  I've been keeping myself busy with cooking up various foods for him (he's gluten/dairy intolerant), packaging them, anticipating my meeting with the Head Cook to explain his diet and self-sufficiency.  He reassured me several times that I don't need to work so hard, I don't need to worry, and he doesn't really need anything more than what he's already packed...a bar of soap, toothbrush/paste, 7 shirts, 4 shorts, and 1 towel.  For a week.  There was no mention of socks or underwear.  He used my own catch phrase against me.  That phrase?  "I got this;-)"

Yeah.  I know.  He's growing up.  The once-4yr-old who bee bopped down the steps to greet me after work morphed into a once-8yr-old who bee bopped down the steps to help carry my things and grew into the now-12yr-old who joyfully bee bops down those same steps to open my car door and say, "hi Mommy!  Got anything to carry?" quickly followed by, "how was your day?" and often a, "how are ya feelin'?"

My husband laughs at me.  He warns me that our kids are amazing and will grow up to be superstars, leaving the house and finding every success this life offers...leaving me to live with just him.  Key the shower scene from Psycho!  EEE EEE EEE!  Kidding.  I love the big guy, even when he reminds me that our son is growing up.  And that he's far from the sick little boy who required my voracious advocation.  He's turning into a young man.  An intelligent, healthy, handsome young man after God's heart.

Yeah, yeah. 

I've got news for my husband.  These kids will always be my babies.  I have the stretchmarks and c-section scar to prove it.  If my son were to hear me say that, he'd say, "nice, Mom.  Real nice."

So this cup of teary coffee is lifted in a toast to my son!  I know you've said that I was your hero...but you've got that one backwards.  You are mine :-)

Happy 12th, big man...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Walking In Appreciation

Funny how I never really appreciated walking until ms came along.  I suppose it's along the same premise of that old hair metal song, "Don't Know What You Got Til It's Gone".  Or at least until it's in question. 

I know, I know...I totally just put that song in your head.  First "Funkytown" and now a power ballad from Cinderella.  I'm sorry.  Seriously.  As if the songs aren't enough, how about the memories?  No high school dance was complete without someone dedicating this song in a drama-filled moment, right?  We knew they'd never last.  Him and his feathered hair.  Her and her ginormous hair.  Matter o' time.  And I am way off topic.  I really hope scientists do a study that links "going off on tangents that span decades" with "never before seen genius level intelligence".  I'll finally feel understood...

On todays walk, I began to notice things I had always walked past without a thought.  A friend of mine loves to take pictures of weed flowers, and I think I figured out why:-)  God makes really cool things.  I thought I'd share some of them with you, but I don't know their proper names (that part of my brain must have a hole in it, while the "30yrs of music" section operates flawlessly) I call them "really cool (insert thing)".  Anyway, here goes:

Really Cool Weed Flower

Another Really Cool Weed Flower

Really Cool Tree Bark

Really Cool Rogue Naked Tree

Really Cool Purple Weed Flower

Ridiculously Cool Weed Flower

Really Cool Red Berries

Another Ridiculously Cool Weed Flower

Really Cool And Beautiful Sky

So about 1.5 hours and 4+ miles later (yes...4 miles!), I arrived back home with a better appreciation for unassuming things that live on roadsides.  And sweating in really bad places, this time not from a hot flash.  Bonus! 

As much as I would love to be free of ms someday is as much as I appreciate what it's shown me.  I've learned to take nothing for granted, to love hard, to leave nothing unsaid, and to praise God for every day of life, because my life is not my own.  It's His:-)  There's so much peace in that. 

Now that I've listened to several hair band songs on youtube, I can call it a night.  You're welcome:-)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Lightning and MS

Yeah, I'm going to write this post.

Here's some background.  I've been absolutely terrified of thunderstorms since I was about 6 years old.  I hid behind the sofa, under the table, between my bed and the wall...pretty much anywhere I thought the storm couldn't "get" me.  I recall being on a family camping trip, playing with my cousin on a playground at the campsite when a surprise storm came upon us.  I was hysterical and paralyzed with fear.  He stuffed me inside a tractor tire swing and came up with the idea of singing what was then a cool new song, for which we knew every word, over and over until the storm passed.  The song?  "Funkytown".  Obviously, these coping mechanisms became socially unacceptable as I grew older, though I didn't fully depart from some of them.  While I obviously outgrew the inside of a tractor tire, the song was always there.  There was that time I was about 20 or so, out on a dinner date, trying to play that "act right so he asks you out again" game when a nasty storm approached.  I excused myself to the restroom, where I hid in a stall and played "Funkytown" over in my mind until I got my stuff together.  The power of Funkytown.  Who knew?

Now that I've confessed way too much, I can confidently proceed.

Lightning affects my body.  Oh yes.  I'm serious.  It's as if someone turns the paraesthesia knob to "max volume".  I feel the vibrations in my torso, and shock sensations in my head and face.  As the lightning moves out, I itch.  A lot.  All over.  My body actually feels electric in nature.  Not quite the same as when I dismount the lawn tractor and vibrate all over, but with about the same intensity.  Know what doesn't take it away?  You guessed it...singing Funkytown.

Sure, I've been laughed at, mocked, and stared at in disbelief.  To which I've said, "Mom!  It's real!  Stop!"  While my actual fear of storms has lessened tremendously over the past few years or so, my physical response is nothing less than intriguing.  It is pretty funny...Mom has a point!

Thankfully, I'm blessed with a compassionate husband.  When a storm approaches, he calmly goes to the front door and flicks the lock.  He then announces that he has successfully locked the storm out so that it cannot come in and "get" me.  He may not know the words to Funkytown, but you've got to hand it to the guy who locks a storm out of his home ;-)

Maybe he knew why I was in the restroom all those years ago?  Naaaaaah! 


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summertime Remission? That's Just Weird.

In case I've never specified, I'm of the "Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis" (RRMS) flavor.  The definition of which, for inquiring minds, is:  "...clearly defined attacks of worsening neurologic function. These attacks—which are called relapses, flare-ups, or exacerbations —are followed by partial or complete recovery periods (remissions), during which no disease progression occurs." 

It's summertime, which equates to high temperatures and ridiculously bad hair day humidity.  Speaking of humidity, that's what's always seemed to be most troublesome for me.  I've been a literal hot mess for as many summers as I've had ms.  How many would that be?  12 of 'em.

I'm taking a moment in each of my morning prayers to give thanks and praise to God for my current state of neurological peace.  Sure, I've still got the ring finger twitch in my right hand and a sprinkling of black floaters in my left eye, but they've been with me from the beginning.  They're sorta nostalgic:-) 

What's different?  That's what my husband asked...prompted by my nightly cooking and return of pre-dx energy level. 

Well, I've only been working 10-15hrs/wk for the past 3wks.  I switched from refined sugar in my coffee to Sugar In The Raw.  I'm walking about 1.5-2 miles/day.  And I'm spending more time with my kids:-) 

It's an incredible feeling to feel well...and quite foreign!  I have no idea how long it will last, but I'm wasting no time wondering.  It doesn't change how I go about living each day of my life.  I've come to realize that each day is a gift, a day to glorify, and should be counted as blessing.  I can't let that fluctuate with how I may feel on any given day.  The other thing I can't allow to fluctuate?  House cleaning.  Sure, the place is "picked up" and all, but come on...I don't want to terrify my husband.  If the nightly meals sparked his curiosity, a clean house will throw him right over the edge!  I don't want that on my hands...

Be well, friends!