Thursday, December 29, 2011

What A Week... :-)

This week has been one of the best.  Ever.

Entire days with my kids...more time with my husband...Christmas with my cousins and my grandmother...meals out with girlfriends, some of whom I haven't seen in as many as 6 years...plenty of towels in the bathroom closet...homemade meals for my family...desserts baked for my friends:-)

As the week comes to a close, I find myself wishing I could somehow grab hold of time and slow it down just a bit.  I realized, after tripping over my daughter's sneakers, that she has grown.  She'll soon turn 14.  You've got to be kidding me.  As for my son, well...he's just funny.  I took him out this morning to choose a birthday card for a friend.  I had to back into a parking space, due to construction in the lot.  As I put the car in reverse, he said, "oh here we go".  

I'll have you know I only hit the curb once.

See, I am completely fine with driving.  It's parking lots that get me, and do you know why?  Because parking lots are not reality, people.  In any case, we walked through the lot, laughing together about my parking lot shenanigans.  He was nearly hysterical when he said, "remember when you drove right over that concrete parking stop?  Oh my goodness that was funny!"

Yeah yeah...whatever :-)

I can't help but be overwhelmed by the absolute joy and blessing of this week.  What a gift it's been.  What a gift every moment truly is.  While I don't want it to end, I know that I'd miss out on everything the Lord has in store for me...for us...if I did somehow find that 'Father Time' guy and put him into a submission hold.

Relax, kind sir.  You're safe.  While I have thoroughly enjoyed this week, I know that the Lord's best is ahead of me.  And I look forward to that :-)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Experiences Are Golden!

I love experiencing life.

Mind you, I'm not the kind of girl you'll find trying to ride a bicycle for distance or run a half marathon.  I don't climb stuff.  I don't ride roller coasters or bungee jump.  Why?  Well, it's not because I wouldn't want's more because those are things I'm simply unable to do.  I'm not a Weeble.  Oh who am I kidding?  I didn't do those things when I did have the ability.

Experiences.  They're important to me.  What do I call an 'experience'?  Seeing the beauty of the sky.  Hearing my kids laugh so hard they snort.  Admiring my husband as he leads our family in prayer.   Cheering for my daughter as she crosses the finish line.  Tearing up as my son scores a goal.  Laughing with friends.  Chasing the basset hound after he's snagged a piece of food from my plate.  Stuff like that.

Admittedly, people find me a little strange for the amount of importance I place on experiences.

For example, I've been shamelessly harassing my mother about taking me to the Flyers/Rangers Alumni game that's fast approaching.  My Dad wondered why I would want to sit outside to watch an ice hockey game, one in which no one cared about winning, between guys who haven't played in forever, some being his age?


I've been busy attempting to schedule breakfasts, dinners, and coffee outings with my girlfriends while I have the week off from school.  I'm positive I sounded desperate when I excitedly said to one of my dearest girlfriends, "let me know if you want to get together this week!"  This, after we had just finished up a fantastic dinner.  I'm sure she wondered why I would be so overly eager.


I earned odd stares from my husband today when I asked him if he wanted to come along with me to the grocery store, since he also had the day off.  He wondered why I wanted his company on an adventure that I typically attack in a solo fashion.


And last but not least, I embarrassed a friend at the mall this week, because I had casually asked her if she'd like an Orange Julius.  When she responded that she'd never had one, I yelled out...


I immediately rushed to the stand and purchased one.  Her life may not have been forever changed by our enjoyment of the Orange Julii, but I'd like to think her evening may have been just a bit brighter.  Mine was, because of the time I was able to spend with her.  As well as the jovial harassment :-)

While I could never be thankful for ms, maybe I am somewhat thankful for the way it has changed my priorities and overall outlook.  I don't mind being thought of as just a little strange.  I don't mind that some people don't quite 'get' me, be it my humor or my willingness to share with them exactly how much I value them.  And if part of that is earned by insisting that a friend try an Orange Julius, then so be it.

Something that ms has taught me over the years's all about experiences:-)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Stay At Home Me

As I sip my coffee and finish this last bite of egg prior to heading into school for a short bit of work with a student, I find myself thinking the following thought:

I could so be a stay-at-home mother.

Um...let me make some valuable disclaimers after such a statement!  I love my work, I love the fact that I'm able to work, I love my students, and I love to feel as if I'm doing the Lord's work in serving them and their families.  I also need a paycheck.

But yeah.  I could so be a stay-at-home mother.

I know this, because of the fact that I work at a school and have 'summers off'.  'Summers off' means that I pick up jobs over the summer with other employers and I take training courses for my school job, but the hours are less than I'm used to working.  There are a few shorter breaks sprinkled along the course of the year, such as this Christmas break.  Christmas break is my favorite:-)

What do I do with my extra time when I'm not working?  Some form of exercise each and every day.  I care for my household.  Socks and underwear for everyone!  I watch Maury and know that none of those guests are the father.  None of them.  I cook meals on a nightly basis.  I spend more time in the Word, which helps me to not fall into the 'depressed, lonely, sad' pit of lies.  Most of all...I give my all to my kids and my husband.  They are my greatest blessings and always will be.  I'm not too tired.  For pretty much anything.  Basically...

I'm focused on the bigger picture.  My spirit feels content.  My mind feels quick and spry.  My legs feel good.

I. Feel. Good.

I could be this lady.  Wait.  Do you think she's watching Maury?  Doesn't her reaction shot look a little like when they've opened the 7th envelope of denial?  It's not just me who sees it, right?

Hi ho, hi's off to work I back to jump (ok, it's more like a thud and bounce) on my peacefully sleeping kids' beds to wake them in about an hour :-)

Be blessed, friends!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Living One Day At A Time

It's so easy for me to become fixated on difficult circumstances.  Financial trials, poor health, etc...whatever life throws my way.  I have a habit of staring my trials in the face, studying them, digesting them, worrying about them, trying to outsmart them, and ultimately, putting all of my effort into attempting to control them.  As much as I say I will 'let go and let God', I find myself standing in the way.

Money dries up?  I obsess over netbanking and look ahead to pay days so that I can over-analyze, over-plan, and over-worry about the next week's budget.  Body fails me?  I look ahead to the next morning so that I might have a shot at feeling better, wonder if there's anything I can do to stop the symptoms, wonder if 'this is just what it's gonna be'.  In the meantime, I miss the blessings.

Hmph.  Maybe this is more of an 'altar call' than I thought;-)

In any case, I woke up the other morning with only one thought running through my typically traffic jammed mind.  That thought?  "Enjoy my blessings one day at a time instead of looking past them to the next 'whatever'".  I've made it a personal quest of sorts to take each day and just...appreciate it.  

Reminds me of the Serenity Prayer.  Live one day at a time, enjoy one moment at a time, trust that He will make all things right.  His 'right', not my 'right'.  They're often two very different versions;-)

It's taken conscious effort to *not* look beyond today.  To calm my mind.  To surrender these trials to the Lord.  In other words, to take a step to the side and get out of His way.  To enjoy the hugs from my kids while they're being given freely (without any begging on my part), to savor my marriage, to appreciate every moment I have with my family members, and to cherish my friendships...

With all that to enjoy, who's got time to stare at the mountain?

"One day at a time--this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering."

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

MS > Flu

I came down with "the flu" yesterday.  'Tis the season, as there are several viruses running through our school community.  My boss warned me that I may be out 2 days, because one of the toughest teachers known to man was out as long with the exact same viral presentation as myself.

Two days?  Pfft!  Maybe to the 'healthy' person...but I've got ms on my side!

Don't get me wrong, this flu put up a great fight. It threw the major headache, nausea, and aches my way.   I shook from chills, covered myself in 2 giant fleece blankets, and slowly sipped powerade.  I was just passing time...waiting for ms to show up.  Once I lost my legs after about 12hrs of shaking and hurting, I knew it was simply a matter of time.  Sorry, flu.  You brought a spork to a gunfight...

MS is the bouncer in charge of this club. If viruses so choose to enter a body that's used to fighting against itself - daily, hourly, minute-ly? Well then, they get what they deserve.

There's just one problem, however. In place of the headache/chills/nausea, I hear a train bearing down on me in my right ear when I turn my head to the left. I have sunburn across both shoulder blades. And my brain is vibrating on a speed of about 2. Clearly, the bouncer is agitated.

Eh, I've come to work feeling worse :-)

Silly, silly flu...

Friday, December 16, 2011

So Not A Weeble

Little girls dream of being Barbie.  Or a princess.  Or something else that wreaks of vanity.

Me?  I wanted to be a Weeble.

I'm so not kidding. 

Come have the capability to wobble, but not fall down?  That's a super power!  My cousin always wanted to be Superman.  He once tied a red 'cape' around his neck and attempted to take flight from the roof of his porch.  I remember his look of determination, his impressive sprint, the spreading of his arms...the widening of his eyes...the THUD...and the gaspings of, "".  Then and there, I couldn't help but consider how vastly different the outcome would've been if he were a Weeble.  You're all seeing it my way, aren't you.  You're welcome.

Alas, my dream lives on.  Honestly, I've never wanted to be a Weeble as much as I have since about 1999, when I first became ill with ms.  Tonight I was reminded yet again.

I thought it would be nice if I took care of an errand for my husband, seeing as how he was going to be out late.  That errand?  Closing in our chickens for the evening.  I threw on his boots and clomped right on outside, armed with a giant Mag-lite.  My last thoughts were, "I got this..."


Straight down on my left side, emphasis on shoulder and hip.  When I finally rose to my feet, which took a few minutes to accomplish, I pointed the flashlight to the ground and noticed a giant divot.  Did I do that???  Yeah.  You know you fell hard when you cause property damage. 

There are 2 things I've found ms to dislike tremendously - viruses and falls.  I have short circuitry bleeping around from elbow to shoulder to neck to face to shoulder to elbow to fingers.  My face is tingling.  I'm sleepy all of the sudden.  Clearly, I'm more Humpty Dumpty than Weeble.

Praise God for cranial sacral sessions with my main man, Greg.  I see an appointment in the very near future.  But for now, coffee and aspirin will have to do.

I'll never give up the dream...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Rollin' With It...

Allow me to new motto:

If the question is "fight or flight?", I'm fight...every time. 

Except I'm learning that "fight" isn't always best.  I don't mean fighting isn't best in a "suck it up and live my life" sort of situation, because I will always fight under those circumstances.  I mean more in the "fight to change the outcome" circumstances.  I'm learning the hard way that there are times in which I can't control the outcomes.  Lots of times, actually.  I've spent months swingin', kickin', yellin'...but Circumstances (capitalized for effect) treated me like the mean older siblings I never had.  They held my short statured self a giant arm's length away and giggled as I carried on.  I've finally tired myself out.  I got the message ;-)

His yoke is easy, His burden is light.  I may not always be 'happy', but I'm constantly blessed.  Friends and family have rallied around me in numbers.  I am not alone.

I hear You, Lord.  I'm going to be like the guinea pig and take up shop in my little red wagon.  I'm fully and completely at Your mercy, 'cause I can't steer it with my itty bitty guinea pig arms.  I am left to trust.  Fully.  Completely.

As for Circumstances?

They see me rollin'

They hatin'.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

MS - A Parenting Tool?

I come across many articles on parenting.  It's kind of fun for me to read some of them as a child of the 70's.  Who's with me;-)

Article Du Jour:

By Robert Brooks, Ph.D. and Sam Goldstein, Ph.D.

The following is a brief overview of 10 strategies to help parents foster resilience in their youngsters.  (I'm just going to list 1, which happens to be my favorite)

  • Helping our children experience success by identifying and reinforcing their "islands of competence”. 

Just once I'd like to call my Army Dad to ask his opinion on some of these writings.  Can you see it? 
"Hey Dad, shame you didn't have this article to read back in '75. Says right here you could've helped me experience successes by reinforcing my 'islands of competence'. What say you?"


"Yeah? I gotcher 'islands of competence'.................." (I so love my Dad:-)

Anyway, I've often joked that I could write my own articles. No one would read them, as my thoughts are very old skool and "run around the backseat of the giant Plymouth 'cause there aren't seatbelts" outdated, "jump your bike off ramps w/o a helmet 'cause there weren't any" outdated, "spin around on my Sit n Spin til I puked" outdated. Case in point, I've never heard of 'islands of competence'. But this time, I'm pretty sure I've got these fellas beat.

Whilst I enjoyed their thoughts tremendously, I could summarize their attempts at building a resilient child in one sentence. 
"Have a parent with ms."  
If anyone wants to see what resiliency looks like, they can simply look into the faces of my kids.  Yeah, I'd rather they learn it through 'islands of competence'...but having ms wasn't my choice.  At the end of the day, I think we can all agree I'd really screw up the islands.  Be them of competence, incompetence, continence, incontinence, yada yada...;-)

  (My kids in their "King and Queen of The Mountain" pose...they're such good sports:-)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Admitting Is The First Step

I think we should create a group called MS Anonymous.  Until that revolutionary idea is widely accepted, I suppose I'll just begin by confessing the accomplishment of my first step.

Step 1:  I admit that I am not able to work the number of hours I used to.

There.  I've said it.  That wasn't so hard, right?

Wrong.  I had to leave the part-time job.  I have a condition called Overtime Intolerance.  The only cure is...not to exceed 40hrs.  Symptoms of O.I. include exhaustion, brain fry, sadness, and explosive bowel movements.  Ok, not the last one.  I just think it's a great side effect of many televised rx drug ads and wanted to somehow incorporate it into a blog post.

Over the past 12yrs, I've mastered the art of "that's not necessarily ms".  The fact that I don't move with the same fluidity I used to?  Easy. "I'm old" and "I have many past sports injuries".  The occasional dribble I may or may not experience while coughing, laughing, or not getting to the bathroom in time?  Simple.  "I've had 2 kids, and one used my bladder as a piece of MMA training equipment".  That boy's always been a fighter:-)

True as those points of contention may be, the cold hard facts about my inability to work the lengthy hours I used to with ease can only be answered with one phrase - "it is what it is".  And what it ms.

As a psychologist once asked me a minimum of 3 times in just one 5 minute session:  "how does that make you feeeeeeeeeeel?"

The real answer?  Worthless...sluggish...lazy...even sad.  I feel as if I should just push through, but I can't, no matter how hard I try.  I just get more sleepy, more fried, more run down.  I feel like I can't expect my husband to do it all by himself.  I feel like it's all my fault.  I don't even know how to properly identify "it", but I just know it's my fault.

I decided to actually speak to my husband about my feelings, which I do not typically do.  Why?  Because he is just supposed to know.  His response went something like, "I'm actually glad you're not working the extra job anymore, because it was killing me.  I felt like it was all my fault that you had to take it.  I hate that none of my jobs are busy right now.  I hate that you have to work at all."

My response, "well that's stupid...knock it off."  (Army Dad emerges at the worst of times)

His response?  "HEY!"

The comic relief was the perfect wake up call for me, however.  I love the phrase, "emotions can lead you astray, but the Word of God stands firm".  Seems like I fell into that familiar pit again.  I wouldn't say I've shaken the feeling of heaviness that adorns my shoulders, but I know how to battle my way out with some very simple truths.  I'm a daughter of the King!  He has a plan for me...and that always makes my heart smile, even though I don't quite know the details:-)  My children look to me as an example of faith, hope, and courage.  They couldn't care less if I'm able to work 50hrs each week or none at all.  They don't mind if I walk into stuff or put the cereal in the fridge and milk in the pantry.  Bottom line?  I'm their Mommy.

I'm their Mommy...I'm his wife...I'm their daughter...I'm His precious child.  These are the things I will focus on and the things I will 'admit' to myself.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Glamorous Life - a story about toilet seats

Undoubtedly, some of you saw 'The Glamorous Life' and immediately went to Sheila E. circa 1984.  Yeah, me too.

But this is about toilet seats.

Last night, my husband returned home with a new padded toilet seat.  Right now, ms'ers are tearing up.  Non-ms'ers are wondering if I've lost my mind.  Eh...I've got holes in it, but I wouldn't say it's lost.

My toilet seats must always be padded.  Why?  Because I spend a lot of time resting upon them.  And I'm worth it.  You can keep your 'Leo Diamond' and your 'Lexus just in time for Christmas' (does anyone seriously do that?).  Because last night, when my husband walked in with a brand new, thickly padded toilet seat...for 10.99?   

I gasped and said, "it's beautiful!"

Farewell, previous padded toilet seat with torn up covering that ran completely around the seam.  And thank you, mystery angel who provided us a Christmas blessing.  Without you, I would not currently be living...

The Glamorous Life

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Week, Summarized by Donna Summer

Worst week ever.

Seeing as how there was a particular week in which I heard, "you have ms"...wouldn't you say that's "sayin' somethin'"?

To summarize...someone left the cake out in the rain.  And I'll never have that recipe again.

If it could go wrong?  It did.  If a situation required someone to blame?  It was me.  Stretched in 18 different directions, I reached the point in which I picked up the phone, called my mother and proclaimed, "I can't be all the things people want me to be right now, Mom.  I feel like Plastic Man in '79."

Dear Plastic Man, 

Was your scalp also tingling and shooting zingers?  Did your legs go weak, causing you to trip up the stairs?  Lastly, did you feel compelled to stick your face directly against the nozzle of a fire extinguisher in the hopes that you could find a good Samaritan to squeeze the handle and not let go...until it was empty?  Because your face felt a lot like a bonfire?  Please accept my most heartfelt apologies.

Tonight was capped off nicely by the black box of doom that stands at the edge of my driveway, staring at me through the window, daring me to come take a look inside.  This week's score is Mailbox 4 - Me 0.  Tonight, there was a letter from a health insurance company I applied for family coverage with, because we're trying to get a little relief from my husband's $187/week payroll deductions.  Here is a snippet of their response:

"Additional requirements are needed.  Please submit copies of Tina's medical records from her primary care physician and neurologist for the past five years.  A decision will follow after review."

What's that, Mr. Rogers?  "Can you say, DENIAL, boys and girls?"

(Plastic Man?  Mr. Rogers?  Donna Summer?  Clearly I've retro'd...)

Here's the good news.  The week is almost over!  More good news?  My brain is currently operating within the late 70s.  Because when I retro, I seem to go to the very same place in time.  Someday, I will incur a neurologist who can fully explain this phenomenon to me.  In the meantime, I must take a moment to thank Donna Summer for providing my retro theme music.  I still recall Mom taking me to the record store to purchase the 45.  Though she despised the song, she always placed my needs above her own.  In turn, I've haunted her with it.  I've called her and played it over the phone.  I've posted the video to her facebook page.  I've even recruited my kids to do the same.  Turnabout is fair play.  She posts pictures of the monkey with cymbals on my page.  Not funny to scare the heck out of someone with ms, Mom... :-)    

I suppose she did have a point.  Why would someone leave the cake out in the rain?

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Perspective is multi-faceted, right? 

You've got the visual perspective - as in how far away from that door knob I think I am, or that curb, or that snow boulder.  Wrong, wrong, and wrong. 

Then, you've got the mental perspective - as in how athletic I mistakenly still believe myself to be.  Like that I can skip down the stairs whilst carrying something and hop off the bottom step in mid turn 'round the corner.  That ends up in direct proportion to the visual, many times.  I end up face planting into the door.  Told you laundry is the most athletic thing I've got left...

I'm usually all about perspective.  My mind is chock full of cliche phrases like, "attitude is everything" and "where there's a will there's a way".  I recite scripture and remind myself of the Lord's promises.  It's really the perfect blend of being a product of an Army Dad, as well as a child of God:-) 

I didn't realize that I'd forgotten all of that when trials are of a different flavor.  The Lord has a funny way of using my kids to remind me of such things.

You know how, as a husband and wife, you have those conversations that are sensitive...but you speak in code so as to spare your children?  Well that's what we were doing.  I had done a masterful job, if I don't say so myself, until I got careless and mentioned something about a task I needed my husband to take care of on a particular weekday morning.  Our son interjected:

him: "isn't Daddy working?"
me, filling in for husband with deer-in-headlights expression:  "no, he's off."
him: "so that means he'll be home when we get home from school?"
me:  "yeah"
him:  "yay!  Wait, are you off, too?"
me:  "yeah"
him  :::hands in air, celebration dance, woo hoo'ing:::

Try as I may, I wasn't able to hold back my tears.  All the stress and worry over circumstances, all the stress and worry over this impending day...and someone was celebrating it in a way I could've never imagined?  Yeah.  I had to get out of the room quickly, so as to go unnoticed.  I'm uncertain why, but I found myself in the kitchen, loading the dishwasher.  That cued my husband to seek me out and ask what was the matter.  Clearly, I'm not the 'do the dishes' kind of wife;-)  I brushed my tears off on ms, saying they were pseudobulbar.  Hey, I don't play the card often, but how could I explain to him that, when I saw the absolute joy in the faces of our kids over the fact that we would both be the same night?  Well, it reminded me.'s all about perspective.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  - James 1:2-4