Family Matters

Wow it’s been so long since I shared a blog so I must apologize.  Life has been up and down with my Fibromyalgia and I’ve allotted what little energy I have to my family as that’s what matters most to me.

Today I sit here, in Ohio, helping my sister Crystal out as best as I can while she recovers from emergency surgery.  It’s been two years since we’ve seen one another although we talk several times a week.  I feel blessed to have the opportunity to help her and to spend Thanksgiving with her and Jeff although I will miss my hubby and son.  Already in just a couple of days I’ve called back home a dozen times.  Today I even managed to load Skype so I could see my boy’s smiling face.  It’s strange to be away as the longest I’ve left him is a couple of days and now I’ll be away for 21 days.  I’m grateful for the time with my sister but it will be hard not getting cuddles and hugs from my guys.

In less than a year my little family will be taking on a new adventure and moving to Ohio so I’ll be able to see my sister and brother-in-law whenever the mood strikes me.  On the flip side we’ll be three thousand miles away from Larry’s family and so we won’t get to see Grammi and Pop Pop as often as we do now.  There will be air plane rides a couple of times a year to see all my in-laws and to celebrate at least one major holiday.  It will be tricky since one of the reasons we are relocating from California is that it will allow my hubby to fulfill his dream of owning and running a small little bakery-coffee shop.  So we’ll have to figure out a way to run the business and still have time to travel to and fro.

I’m excited about all that is to come and hopeful that one of these days my Fibro will fade away or at least reduce the symptoms to something more manageable.

Life Goes On

I’ve been absent for almost a year.  Life went on, but I feel as though I was just wandering through and not paying as much attention as I should.  It’s coming up on what would have been my mom’s 76th birthday this week, and almost the one year anniversary of her death.  I look back and see all the wonder that she bestowed in my life, the skills and abilities to survive.  And thrive, if I put in the effort.

It’s been hard.  The stress of it all exacerbating my Fibromyalgia causing me additional aches and pains.  And in the midst of it I realized that the pain meds, the short acting opiates, that had been helping me in the past had ceased to be affective.  In this western world of medicine I live in I knew it would be tough to get my team of doctor’s on board with my desire to stop taking them and so I circumvented them altogether.  Tapering myself off little by little like I knew they would have me do if I had included them in my decision.  It took 10 weeks, with bouts of nausea and light headedness throughout but when I came out the other side I felt clear-headed for the first time in years.  Some of the forgetfulness that I’d always attributed to my Fibro lifted and I was able to focus on my life, on what I wanted.

The first thing I had to do was to begin learning all over again how to pace myself.  Accept that I can’t go full throttle all the time, heck even most of the time, but I could move forward if I paced myself.  Little by little my house is becoming the home I’ve dreamed of.  My involvement in Joey’s world has tripled, now not only volunteering at the school, but with Cub Scouts, and Daisies for my niece to be a part of the girl power movement, and baseball.  This year I stepped back, we stepped back, and instead of coaching and managing we are simply parents rooting our son in a pastime that’s overflowing with fun.

I still find myself plagued by pain on a daily basis but it’s no better or worse without the pain meds.  The only real difference is that I feel as though I’m taking my life back and making it into what I want it to be.  In total, family.  It’s what’s most important, the one thing that brings me constant joy and that is not something I just want to coast through.  I want to be devoured by it, immersed in all it’s juicy details.  So far I’m being pretty successful in that pursuit and it suits me to perfection.  I’m back to dating my husband again and going on random adventures with Joey and in doing so, life goes on.

Fall is in the Air

I love Fall for all it offers me and because it’s the one season that I always feel at my best. I get to take nature walks with my son picking out leaves of all colors, seeing if our hands are bigger than the leaves that have fallen from the trees. We get to partake of hot chocolate with those giant marshmallows melted on top. It’s the time of year that we break out the crockpot and have soups and stews and get to enjoy the scent of a hearty meal all day long as it cooks.

I love Fall because both Joey and Larry’s birthdays fall in the month of October and we always have a huge party for my little guy. This years theme is Carnival and he’s so excited because were going to have 10 booths with games (all homemade), face painting and temporary tattoos, and all his favorite foods from the carnival. There will be hot dogs and corndogs, pretzels and caramel apples and of course popcorn and cotton candy. We have tons of family and friends coming and the weather is forecasted to be beautiful that day.

I love Fall because we get to have family nights in front of the fire playing board games or building with Legos. Larry and I get to cuddle under tons of blankets at night as we breathe in the crisp air from the open window. And let’s not forget Halloween with all it’s decorations and the fact that my hubby goes crazy turning our house in a graveyard, or like last year building a haunted house for our neighborhood to enjoy.

As you can tell Fall is my favorite season and I’m so thankful to be living large in this season of delights.

What does God mean to you?

I’m always saying I don’t believe in a traditional God (much to my in-laws disappointment), that I align more with the Native Americans and their philosophy that you give thanks for all you have, treat others better than you’d want to be treated, and show respect to those around you.  Having said that I do believe there is a greater power or being that created this beautiful world we live in and I want my son to grow up knowing that in all it’s forms so that he can make his own decisions when he’s of the right age to want to do that.  We give thanks before going to bed, he and Daddy say a traditional Christian prayer, we talk to his friends about their beliefs, and so on.  As he grows I will take him from church to temple and out into the woods to help him gain knowledge that will ultimately lead him to believe what he wants to believe.  I hope whatever he chooses brings him strength and understanding.  As for me, I’ll go on believing what I believe and respecting other folks beliefs as well.

I came across this essay on one of my Fibromyalgia groups and it just grabbed hold of me because a lot of it aligns with my way of thinking.  In posting this I’m not putting down anyones beliefs, saying one type of religion is better than another, it is simply food for thought.  It is written under the name OSHO.

To accept this simple fact that your daily life is your temple and your religion-just the understanding of this simple fact is going to become a great transformation. Then you cannot do many things you have always been doing, because it is everywhere-the sacred land-and every moment you are dealing with God. You cannot cheat customers; you cannot be possessive of your children, because they are closer to God than you are. Their innocence is a bridge, your knowledge is a wall, a China wall; you can only be respectful to the children. You cannot act in the old way because you are always acting inside the temple, and each of your acts is a prayer. In each moment you are surrounded by God. His presence will be felt even in your wife, in your husband, in your friend, in your enemy, because except Him, nobody else exists…

To make the whole of life a temple, and the whole of life a religion, is the only way of the real seeker. He does not go to look into the holy books. Books are books; no book is holy and no book is unholy. Read them if you enjoy the poetry; read them is you enjoy their prose; read them if you enjoy their mythologies-but remember, no book can deliver you the taste of religion. Yes, a flower may be able to do it; a bird on the wing maybe able to do it; a tree rising high and dancing in the sun may be able to do it. The whole existence becomes your holy book: read it, listen to it, and slowly, slowly, you will become aware that you are surrounded by an energy of which you have been completely unconscious. It is almost like the fish who does not know anything about the ocean, because it is born in the ocean, it has lived in the ocean, and one day it will die in the ocean. It was part of the ocean, just a wave; it knows nothing of the ocean. The fish comes to know the ocean only when a fisherman pulls her out of the ocean and throws her on the beach in the hot sand. Then she knows that she has missed her real home, of which she has never been aware. Now she is thirsty, trying in every possible way to reach back and jump into the ocean. Out of the ocean she becomes aware of what she has missed. People become aware only at the time of death of what they have missed , because death comes like a fisherman, pulling you out of the ocean of life. As you are pulled out of life, suddenly you realize, “My God! I have been alive, and I never became aware of it. I could have danced, I could have loved, I could have sung-but now it is too late.” People become aware only at the time they are dying, that they have been continuously surrounded by the eternal energy of life, but they never participated in it. Your daily life is your temple, and your religion. Act in awareness, act consciously, and naturally many things will start changing.
I’ve come to realize since being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, amongst other things, that each moment is a gift and if I listen quietly and with purpose I can see and hear creation at work.  It also makes me savor each moment for what it is, to slow down and truly appreciate it and this is the gift that Fibromyalgia has given me.  I’m no longer that fish swimming in the ocean unaware of the ocean, I’ve seen land and the fisherman and now know just how delicate and beautiful the ocean is.  OSHO wherever you are thank you for sharing this piece of insight with me, I really appreciate the beauty of your words.
So what does God mean to you?

Fall is HERE!

Finally it’s beginning to feel like Fall and I couldn’t be happier.  The weather the past few days has been in the 70’s with light cool breezes that are just strong enough to ruffle your hair.  I even smelled smoke in the air the last couple of evenings coming from some of my neighbors chimneys.  Fall is my favorite time of year, probably because the weather is kindest on my aches and pains and I feel as though I have more energy thus I get to do more fun things with my family.  Don’t get me wrong, I love all the seasons and out here in California there is only a slight variation between them anyway, but Fall is and always has been my favorite.  I love watching the leaves change color and to see my son have a blast in the piles that we have to rake up.  I love that we now can break out the crock pot and make all kinds of yummy soups and stews and that the chore of dinner becomes easier and as an added bonus the house smells delicious all day from the aromas wafting out of said crock pot.  I love that we can officially turn off the A/C and in turn reduce our utility bill – who wouldn’t love that extra bonus.  I love that sunset comes earlier and so we can watch it go down as a family right from our own backyard.

I’m looking forward to my hubby building us a fire ring so that we can have some fires in the backyard and do s’mores with Joey and all his pals.  Maybe even get one last camp out in even if it is just in the backyard.  Kind of hard to get away for those small pleasures when you have full responsibility for the care of your aging mother who has health issues.  That’s okay though, somehow we make it work with the help of good friends and we’ve adapted to finding creative ways to do the things we like to do closer to home.

 

Malana, Hoss, Joey, and Larry having some fun picking pumpkins

Fall to me equates to baking, cooking, having friends over for a big bowl of stew with some crunchy San Francisco sourdough bread.  It’s a slower season for me as I always seem to pause to take in the changes occurring around me.  The geese flying overhead looking for a spot to nest down for the winter.  Since we have quite a few little lakes around us we’ll be seeing them all through the winter months.  The Halloween decorations went up at our house over the weekend and we sparked a revolution with two other houses on our circle following suit.  We’re not quite done but we’ve gotten a spooky good start.  I’m so happy that I married a man who loves the holidays as much as I do.  Our house is always overdone for Halloween and for Christmas you probably can see our house from the satellite since he puts so many light up.  Plus we do all the others as well, putting up hearts and cupids for Valentines day, shamrocks and leprechaun houses in the garden for St. Patty’s day; eggs and ducks and bunnies abound around Easter time.  Every holiday, big and small, has a place at our house and I love that.  I’m so hoping that Joey will grow up with a love of all things and want to celebrate every special occasion like we do so that he can carry on the family traditions.

I like to sit at the table with Joey and whip up treats to share with our neighbors.  Yesterday we did a chocolate cake for Daddy’s birthday and shared it along with some banana cream pie ice-cream with everyone on our circle.  Joey is already asking if we can make the acorn treats we spotted on Pinterest and some spooky cookies for Halloween.  I think my little man is going to grow up to be a great chef or baker which would be fine by me.

The one thing I could do without at the start of the Fall season – colds, sniffles, and sneezes.  Take today for instance I had set up transportation for Joey to and from school since I can’t drive with this dang cast on my foot and then when he woke up I knew we would not need it as he has the sniffles, snots and sneezes.  Could be allergies but I think it’s the beginning of a cold and I didn’t want to pass his germs onto his school buddies.  I’m sure that this is just the first of many to come since he’s begun going to Transitional Kindergarten this year.  The bonus to it though is I get to spend the whole day with him cuddling and playing and just having some good old-fashioned fun.

Did I mention to you that I love FALL!  Here’s to many more days of cool delight, falling rainbows made of leaves, and good hearty foods.

Sunrise

Sunrise, dawn of a new day and the opportunity for endless pleasures.

I woke up in so much pain that it hurt to even roll over to crawl out of bed.  The first thought was “oh man, this is going to be one of those days” but luckily for me another thought popped into my head squashing that one and it was the voice of my hubby saying to me last night “I put the hot tub on for you”.  Ahhhhh, relief was in sight.  I nudged him and asked him if he could take off the top for me and of course he responded with “sure baby”.  I have one good, good man by my side.  He wandered back in the house and told me it was at 102.  This made me very happy.

I grabbed a towel, and snuck out their in my birthday suit (lucky for me none of my neighbors windows are able to look into our backyard and we have no neighbors at all to the rear of us).  I slipped into that water and into pure bliss.  Is there anything better than submerging yourself in a perfectly warm pool of water?  Well yes there is because my day got even better.  The sun was just rising so I got to watch the colors emerge through our big ol’ Oak tree painting the sky in soft pink and gold, just beautiful.  And then the piece de resistance, my hubby brought me a cup of hot sweet tea.  Now I’m thinking to myself that life is good, really good and aren’t I lucky to have such a loving and caring hubby, to be able to get to enjoy the sunrise and listen to the world as it comes awake.  As my soul awakens the pain recedes some and I think what a great day this is going to be.

After I got out I headed into the shower to wash off the chlorine and enjoy a little more heat and the whole time I’m in their the kittens are just having a great time right outside the shower doors chasing each other, attacking their own images in the bathroom mirror, and basically getting into mischief with my makeup brushes, the cords we have around the sinks, etc.  It was quite fun to watch them.  And then in their exuberance they chased each other in to the toilet room and up onto the toilet itself and oops in they went.  I had forgotten to put the lid back down.  I burst out laughing and luckily they managed to catch themselves before they completely went in so it was only the tips of their tails and a little bit of their hind legs that got wet, but boy if you could have seen the expressions on their face of pure annoyance you’d have been laughing with me.

As I stood there towelling off I reflected that I hadn’t even been up an hour and yet I’d already enjoyed so many simple pleasures.  Isn’t that what life is all about after all, I know it is for me.

Lucky Me

Yesterday was a hard day for me as I had practically no energy and was aching all over, but I didn’t have time for self-care since I had to get Joey to his dental appointment, then on to school, and needed to get some grocery shopping done.  We made the dental appointment – no sugar bugs so we were both really happy and I was extremely proud of how well he worked both with the dental technician and his doctor Miss Jenny, but I decided to blow off school as he’d only have gotten in 1 1/2 hours and it would have meant more running around on my part.  So off he, my service dog Hoss, and I went to the grocery store.  $81.00 later I had a basket full of fresh veggies and fruits and a few staples and we were off to home.  By the time I got done unloading the car and putting everything away I felt like I just wanted to lay down and die but you can’t do that when you have an almost 5-year-old and a 74-year-old mother that you have to take care of.  Joey was easy for lunch since he’d begged for a pizza Lunchable at the store and I quickly whipped up some eggs for my mom along with some honeydew melon.  And by the way, that honeydew melon was the sweetest thing I think I’ve ever tasted; it turned out to be one of my simple pleasures of the day.

While they were eating their lunches I decided to lay down for a little bit.  When Joey was done he crawled up on the bed with me and asked, “Mom do you need a nap?” and I responded that I did.  He said big boys like him didn’t take naps anymore but he could stay in bed with me and watch cartoons on the computer while I had an afternoon nap.  He was so earnest in his statement that it made me almost cry.  He watched cartoons and I got to rest for about an hour.

When we crawled out of my big ol’ comfy bed I told him he had to do school work since he’d missed school that day and he got so excited which made me happy that he was so enthused.  I got out my pre-K school bin and we worked for about an hour.  He did tracing of diagonal lines, circles, squares as well as counting the number of each that he was tracing.  Then we went on to ABC flashcards, which I now realize we need to be doing much more often, and went through them tracing the letter with his finger and saying them out loud.  Then I had him pull out all the letters for his nickname JOEY and spell it out in the correct order.  He was excellent at this last task and I was so proud.  When this was completed I had him trace his proper name six times and he did it nearly perfect on 5 out of 6 times.

I feel so lucky to have a child who loves learning and approaches it with enthusiasm, and to have a child who somewhat understands that Mommy has good and bad days and takes them in stride.  All I can say is “I LOVE me some Joey”.