Wednesday, April 28, 2010

not giving up ...

just taking a break from this blog ... need to regroup, rethink, and re???????!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Santa's "Clean Plate Club?"

Another thing that I'm (STILL) learning is "how much can I put on my plate in a day?" I DO remember from last year that, if I had something happening in the morning, I MIGHT have done something that evening, but the afternoon had been reserved for a long nap beforehand. ... oh, BOTHER ....

I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something I can do. ~Edward Everett Hale

Guess that's what I'm learning ... good quote, but there are SOME things I have to refuse. And I WANT TO DO IT ALL! But ... see above ... I cannot do everything.

Why do I have such a hard time with that? I remember as a small child that my Mother took me to see Santa Claus at Christmastime. After sitting on his lap and telling him of all the wonderful toys I wanted to get, he asked me if I "cleaned my plate" every dinnertime. Of course, I told him 'Yes!' As a reward, I got a Santa button pin with a little jingle bell on a red ribbon, and that made me an official member of the Clean Plate Club! Maybe I'm still trying to "clean my plate."

Sometimes I wrestle and struggle with this. Enter varying degrees of denial, control ... I MUST look at balance! I know I already have many of the "answers" ... set small goals, reevaluate expectations, 'choice' versus 'can't' ... hmmm. Balance. Acceptance. Somehow I feel that I'll be learning this for a long time. In the meantime, I'll eat all of my dinner ... I AM a member of Santa's Clean Plate Club, you know.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I Hate the "C-word!"


Now that's a BIG C-word! I have caught myself on occasion saying, "I can't do this and such."

Those are the times when I have to step back and change my point of perspective. Instead, I try to make a deliberate decision. Instead of saying, "I can't", I really prefer to say, "I choose not to."

I'm still learning my physical and mental limitations, especially since they change all the time. I try to leave a window open for unexpected fatigue and make plans accordingly. I don't particularly LIKE to take naps in the middle of the day, but I choose to nap rather than try to deal with unwanted consequences (i.e. "upright Zombie mode").

I think the most difficult thing for me is not taking on additional projects or commitments. I'm fine with short-term activities, but those tend to give me a false assurance that I can do more! The long-term commitments tend to be the ones that wear me down. I TRY to select things with a flexible schedule (for example, to write a letter this month, rather than writing one each week). Sometimes I forget! Sometimes I over-commit! Then I'm dealing with the consequences.

And I don't like this! So I choose to decide, and try to MAKE WISE DECISIONS! This type of attitude takes the control away from the MonSter and I'm no longer a helpless victim.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Gray Day? Not Really ...

This morning I faced a different direction when outside on the patio and, once again, I was reminded of perspective. I never realized how many hummingbirds sit it the surrounding trees. It's cloudy today, threatening rain, but without those gray skies, I wouldn't have seen the hummers. They are so small and easily get lost among the leaves.

Bright sunny days are beautiful and happy days, but sometimes you need the gray to see close-up things without squinting ... see without the shadows thrown by sunlight which may hide things ... see with wide-eyes what things really are.

I've also watched those hummers drift slowly from branch to branch, reminding me of gentle, floating feathers ... calm, quiet, peaceful .... This is a day of silent surprises.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Baby Steps

Years ago, when I was first diagnosed with MS, I was complaining (whining?) to a dear friend about the fatigue. I couldn't seem to finish things because I got so overwhelmed and so tired. She told me (and I'll never forget this ... it's not verbatim, but the thoughts are pretty much the same), "Set small goals. For example, if you're cleaning the house, set your goal to clean only the living room. If you finish cleaning the living room, you've met your goal. But if you have extra energy and can clean the kitchen as well, you've met your goal, and went beyond."

"Or, like, if it's dinnertime. Set a small goal to make an easy dinner. You have a casserole in the oven, or something in the crock pot, and you've met your goal. But you have some extra energy left over and want to make dessert. You've met your goal, and went beyond."

It was so simple, but she had the wisdom to bring it to light for me. Simply adjust your expectation level. This works in so many areas of people's lives. Many suffer through a burn-out stage. (Myself, when I was healthy, included.) They ... WE ... had such high levels of self-expectation, and wore ourselves to an absolute frazzle trying to accomplish it all. (This is where Delegation comes in!)

What a difference her insight made on my attitude and mental perspective! Set small goals. Take baby steps. Where is it written that you have to leap the Grand Canyon? Do WHAT you can do, but do it WELL.

Instead of beating myself up because I couldn't do as much as I had been able to do before, I became more realistic with my expectations. I did NOT lower my standards because, what I could do, I did well! It helped maintain my self-esteem in more ways than one.

Hans Christian Anderson said, Nothing is too high for a man to reach, but he must climb with care and confidence. I must be careful not to set my goals too low, but I must be realistic, too. My goals should be high enough to challenge me, high enough that I climb with care and confidence, but not so high that they are impossible to reach.

Monday, April 12, 2010

I Hate the "C-word!"

I was thinking about this because I've used the phrase, facetiously, so often. But when asking a couple of friends which C-words they think I hate (many of whom have known me for years), they came up with many different ones which could/would apply! Some words that came to MY mind were "commitment," "competition," and "conflict." Others volunteered additional words like "cynicism," "criticism," "change," "cowardice," "chaos," and "can't." (One even came up with "cat box" ... I think there's something Freudian behind that!) But I'll write about some of those C-words and see where they lead us.

Do I hate Commitment? I think a better verb is that sometimes I'm uncomfortable with it.

I am a 100-percenter. When I commit to something, I like to pull out all the stops, jump with both feet into the deep end (sometimes a very dumb thing to do!), and practically obsess about it. I see where this affects, not only my Commitments to DO certain things, but also affects relational Commitments, as well.

Merriam-Webster (M-W) and I are developing quite a bond, so I thought I'd check to see what the dictionary defines as Commitment. The second part of the definition is as follows:
2 a : an agreement or pledge to do something in the future;... b : something pledged c : the state or an instance of being obligated or emotionally impelled (a commitment to a cause)

Agreement. Pledge. Obligation. For me, that's a promise of something ... and I don't feel comfortable with promising when I do not have full control over my body (fatigue), and my mind (to an extent, i.e. memory loss, cognitive abilities, etc.). This being the case, I'm hesitant to make new Commitments.

Normally, this is not a stumbling block for me, but I have become more conservative (C-word!) with my heart, and more cautious (another C-word!) with situations where I am subject to outside, uncontrollable influences. If I make a Commitment, I want to follow through with it.

With the MonSter, I'm not always able to do that.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


I love the days before Summer's heat.

Traveling out of winter (during which time I was replenished and rejuvenated), I begin a journey of Awakenings.

This is a time of cooler-turning-to-warmer, a time of appreciating Nature as she revives her treasures.

These are precious, ever New-Discovering days that nurture seedlings and buds as they mature and establish the tenacity to carry through difficulties which may lie ahead ... drought, heat, storm ... much like me.

I need these soft days to grow and flourish, days to send my roots deep into the soil, days to develop strength and resiliency.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Conversation with a Praying Mantis

Yesterday, I met a Praying Mantis by my mailbox, of all places! We were on the same eye-to-eye level... perhaps on another level, as well. I had seen mantids several times before, but always "from the top looking straight down." This time, I was more beside him as he hung upside down, and could watch him as he watched me. He turned his head to follow the sound of my voice, my fingers as I wiggled them at him. I almost felt as if I were interacting with him on some intelligent level.

I watched him for some time... taking note of his praying posture, his patience as he could wait, unmoving. I remember reading somewhere that mantids can teach us much about perception through stillness. Time in a linear sense seems irrelevant to them. They move according to inner instinct.

Manny (the Mantis!) showed me how to consider my own patience, my own "perceptions through stillness." Have I lost patience with something or someone? Have I been too patient? I had never considered being too patient before, but realized that both ends of the spectrum can have as detrimental an effect in different ways.

He invited me to reflect on my own perceptions about certain situations and people. He reminded me that I needed to be in touch with my instincts, and move or not move appropriately.

It was an interesting "conversation," one I will long remember. It was more than just "Pandy is talking to a bug again..." It was somehow more, and I am awestruck, once again, by how much we can learn on a personal level from God's Creation.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Daddy's Knees


But, actually, in one of my dreams the other week, I DID have MS. Had my chair with me, and everything. Is that an "acceptance" of my disease?

Maybe. For many years I had almost paraded my denial as a war banner, as if it were my signal (my reminder?) to fight.

But, suddenly, I don't feel as if Acceptance is the same thing as Surrender. It seems, instead, to acknowledge the fact that I have MS, like I acknowledge that my eyes are blue ... no ... wait ... I LIKE my blue eyes! How about: it's like I acknowledge my "knobby knees?" "Daddy's Knees!" I don't particularly like them, I can't really change them, but I don't cover them up with long pants when the weather is warm. They are there. They're a part of me.

MS is a part of me. And, just as I can't say that I AM nothing more than a pair of knobby knees, so I don't allow myself to be defined by the MS. It's an unwelcome part of my life, but I don't have to allow it to label me. I won't. It's there, like Daddy's knees.

You know what? Overall, I wouldn't trade off Daddy's Knees! It's a loving reminder that he was my Daddy ... and gave me these knees!

And even though I wouldn't mind getting better or even cured from the MS (like, THAT'S an understatement!!!), I wouldn't trade off my experiences with it. It has led to so many other blessings -- people I've met and those who have become close friends, experiencing the kindness of others, places I've gone where I never would have gone if not for the MS, slowing down by necessity to discover aspects of myself that I would have blown past before (like a new love for photography) ... things like that.

It's all about Perspective.


I am my own.
So let go the sun
and the hopes
of transient tomorrows,
let go the stars
and their promise of night magic.
I am my own
and will make
my tomorrows
my magic
my life
out of bits and pieces,
scraps and remnants
and it will be worthy
of the glories of the sky.

The Prolific Writers Journal
Vol. 95, Issue 5

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I Need

Lord, I need a burning bush!
I need a column of cloud
and a pillar of fire!
I need a Jordan River to stop flowing
and a Red Sea to part!
I need loaves and fishes!
I need the hem of Your garment!
I need ...
I need ....

"Peace, be still."


Who Am I?

I am a writer; a poet.

I am a Greyhound Mom, a Feathered Friends Mom.

I am a child of God.

I am an intelligent, creative Woman of Worth.

I am a person with a disability.

So often I hear (and from those who love me) that "you can't do 'this and such'," and "you shouldn't try" and "you may hurt yourself."

Discouragement spoken in love. Protection. I understand and can see that the intents of those hearts are only for good.

But what is "good?" It is "good" for whom? Me? Them? Someone else? Who am I? I am not a disability.

I momentarily shift my point of perspective (there's that word again!) to watch the wild birds that fly through the air. I take note of their freedom. What man can spread his arms and fly? Is that a man's disability? From a bird's perspective, it may be. Or, are birds free enough within themselves not to notice ... or care?

Who am I? I am a woman of worth, dependent on others, who holds on viciously to her independence, and yet who tries to discern God's higher plan for her life, and submits in humility.

Ultimately, I am those innermost thoughts and intentions and beliefs. I am my heart. I am my spirit. I am my soul. I am His.

In my weakness, He gives me strength of character.

In my neediness, He gives me what I need to encourage and support others.

During my most vulnerable moments, I choose to love.

Who am I? I am still, basically, the same person I was when healthy. I now have more physical limitations and am in a constant state of learning how to cope, compromise and accept. I am learning to recognize that which cannot be changed, and improve on that which can be changed.

I am ME.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mystery Guest, Enter, & Sign In Please

Pronunciation: i DEN ta tee (well .... that's close ...!)
Function: noun
2a: the distinguishing character or personality of an individual : INDIVIDUALITY b: the relation established by psychological identification 3: the condition of being the same with something described or asserted (establish the identity of stolen goods)

Sometimes it's difficult for a person with a disability or disease to hang on to their identity. People want to help and I, for one, appreciate it. Really.

But, you can lose yourself to other people's best intentions for you. You know, NO ONE does it the way you would. But I certainly don't want to bring this up to anyone ... I don't want to seem unappreciative or ungrateful because I AM grateful! And it feels good that folks want to help me out, which I NEED! But it's still frustrating sometimes ... it's not the way I "would have done it," or WHEN I would have done it, or WHAT I would have gotten .... So I compromise my wishes in lieu of receiving help (which is usually accompanied with love).

As such, I've learned that this can be a lesson in selflessness. Society focuses so much on what you can do for yourself, what you want, getting ahead, self-promotion, success .... Sitting on the other side of the table now (because these traits defined ME when I was healthy), I question those goals. In the end, do they REALLY define who you are? There is a difference between what you've done from the person behind those "accomplishments."

Friday, April 2, 2010


It’s a quiet day today. I go through the house silently, careful not to make any noise, as if a baby were sleeping. The only sounds are from the wild birds outside, and the steady ticking of the clock in the living room. This quiet day seems to be full of unexpected memories, fragile as glass. I remember my brother …


I can now only remember
bits and pieces of his face
as if a jigsaw puzzle
had been turned upside-down
and there! on the floor
is his crooked-tooth smile,
a pair of blue eyes with pale lashes,
a thatch of hair
the color of blond strawberries ....

It’s difficult, though,
to put the puzzle back together,
as if Time and my memory
conspire to fade
the only mental portrait of my brother
that I have.

Oh, I could pull out
any one of a hundred photos,
but it seems that Kodak is cheating
not to have mementoed the power of his stance,
the strength of arms which held love,
his splay-footed walk ....

But worse,
the sound of his voice
and his laugh -- these are growing still.
They are almost
as quiet as ashes scattered
along railroad tracks
in Virginia.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

What can you see?

They say the eyes are the windows to the soul .... I remember when this picture was taken. There were some troubles that were plaguing me at the time, and I really do think it shows in my eyes. A hint of sadness?