Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The End

Boys II Men got it right.  It is so hard to say goodbye.  I hate goodbyes and I rarely say them.  I prefer, "see you later", "until next time", "talk soon".  Goodbye is just so final.  Sadly, the time has come to say goodbye - to Borders.  I've had a hard time going there since they announced the news.  Sure, there are some great deals, but something about all those loud posters shouting "It's the End!" and people walking out with bookshelves, chairs, cafe equipment - it just makes me sad.  I know, you might think I'm being a bit dramatic about this whole thing.  I mean, come on, it's just a bookstore.  Well, to me it's not just a bookstore or it wouldn't pull on the heartstrings so much.

A couple days ago I sat in the near-empty children's section while my kids played with the last of the puppets and bargain books.  I was choked up just being there and started to think about why.  Here's what I got.

I've been going to Borders for over 15 years.  It has seen me through pretty much every stage of adulthood.  Throughout the years, you would find me:

- Writing out lesson plans as a nervous first year teacher, buying too many books with too little of a paycheck.
- In the cafe: corner table, ocean-side, with journal, a hot chai and big dreams as I planned out the next phase of life.

- Listening to the latest jazz album in the music section, wishing I could scat.

- Studying for the LSAT.

- Learning the law (I thought me and my bleeding heart were going to save the world).  

- Having coffee and dessert with my boyfriend, turned fiance, turned husband.

- Studying for the bar exam (with earplugs).

- Buying books on finance, health, buying your first home, owning your own business, living the life God intended.

- Reading What to Expect When You're Expecting.

- On the floor during children's story time.

- In the cafe with 2 daughters, on Valentines Day, an hour before getting a call that I had an abnormal MRI.

- Researching chronic auto-immune disease, diet, health, healing, pain, faith.

- Buying How to Write and Publish a Book - For Dummies.

Yes, Borders has seen me through adulthood.  If they could trace my purchases, the books and music alone would tell a story - a life's journey.  I don't want to be there on the last day.  I don't want to see it empty.  Somehow, I want to remember it bustling with people, shelves stocked, coffee brewing, music playing - full of life, full of stories, full of tomorrows.

Thank you, Borders, for helping me grow and learn and thrive.  It has been an amazing ride.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Half Way There

Last week was a blast - nonstop action and fun.  There were some moments I felt totally "normal". Maybe it was just an adrenaline rush.  I went down the big twisty slide at the pool with my 3-year old on my lap, played at the playground, at birthday parties and at the lake.  I enjoyed every moment of it. Unfortunately, all that action caught up with me as I laid in bed Saturday morning in pain with a flare up. Thankfully, my husband was home and took the girls out for breakfast so I could ease into the day. I guess action has it's consequences these days. Still, I would do it all over again.  

I'm half way through this vacation and so far, it's been great.  Yes, it has taken more planning and preparation, but it has been well worth it.  Here are some things we've been eating.  

Okay, if you like hummus, you have to try this recipe for Sweet Potato Hummus. It is in the Power Foods recipe book, but it's also available online at the Whole Living website (click on the link above). I've made hummus a few times and this is by far the best recipe ever.  I served it with red bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers and gluten-free blue corn tortilla chips.  Deeeelish!  I highly recommend it!  Next time I'm going to try it with purple flesh Okinawan sweet potatoes - it'll be prettier.  

Last night I stir fried some broccoli, red peppers, mushrooms and spinach in a little olive oil and garlic (no butter).

Served it over some brown rice pasta with a green salad (baby romaine, cherry tomatoes from the garden and walnuts - lemon and pepper for dressing).  This plate was for my husband (perfect fuel for a fantasy football draft :)

Smoothies for lunch:  kale, spinach, blueberries, frozen banana, coconut water.

Sunday night BBQ:  fresh corn, red bell peppers, portobello mushrooms.  Served the veggies with quinoa.  So much flavor and you don't have that heavy, uncomfortably full feeling when you're done.  Portobello mushrooms are amazing.  A little olive oil, salt and pepper and these babies are the juiciest, "meatiest" veggies you'll ever throw on the grill.

Thoughts for the day:
1.  I feel like I'm running on clean burning fuel.  My mind is clear, my body feels energized and nourished.
2.  God has given each of us enough gifts, talents, and passion to last us a lifetime.  We don't have time to look at others and wish we had what they have.  Embrace what God has given you and run with it!
3.  Sometimes you just have to laugh (at yourself) and relax.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Day 4 - Fun in the Sun

Started the morning off with a green smoothie (ran out of some juicing ingredients):  kale, romaine, spinach, banana, broccoli stems, ice and water.  Sorry picture is blurry.  I was blurry.  It was early.

Had a picnic lunch at the pool after my daughter's swim lesson.  For me:  Spinach with beets, kidney beans, broccoli, tomatoes, walnuts and almonds.  For her:  peanut butter jelly sandwich and cantaloupe (oh, and a strawberry smoothie for finally doing 10 "bobs" - dunking her whole body).   

After swimming we went to a birthday party.  So much fun in the sun with friends. And in case you are wondering, yes, I was strong.  I crunched on celery and watermelon while everyone else devoured birthday cake and ice cream.  Don't feel sorry for me.  The watermelon was really yummy.

We went to a vegetarian restaurant for dinner.  Ahhh, it's so nice when a menu has codes next to each item:  vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free.  It makes for easy ordering.  

Baked tempeh with garlic mashed potatoes and braised red cabbage.  The combination was surprisingly good.  This vacation is making me think and act outside of my comfort zone and it has been refreshing.

Old faithful:  Pad Thai - the gluten-free, vegan kind.  What a dinner!  Who said vegans can't have fun.  :)

Thoughts for the day:
1.  Change is exhilarating.
2.  There are good people everywhere - surround yourself with them.
3.  Give what you can:  time, money, love, friendship, compassion.  It's worth more when you give it away.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Game Plans and Green Juice

Today I met with my new physical therapist.  She was fantastic and I'm so excited to start working with her.  Several times during my appointment I felt tears start to well up - mainly because she knew a lot about AS and what kind of treatment would be best.  The key is long term mobility, strength and posture.  It seems so basic, but these are the things that someone with AS is fighting for.  We worked on some exercises to help get things moving again, including breathing exercises to open up my rib cage.  It has been a long time since I've been able to take a deep breath without pain.  Anyway, the point is there is a game plan and I'm so happy. I'm not just going to sit back and wait for my spine to fuse. No way.  

It was another great day on vacation.  Believe it or not, the hardest part isn't avoiding certain foods, it's making sure I'm getting enough of everything I need.  No dairy means making sure I get enough calcium from other sources:  kale, broccoli, spinach, tofu, beans, etc.  No meat means making sure I get enough protein:  quinoa, almonds, lentils and other beans, etc.  Most of the time my brain is so busy thinking about what foods would give me a, b, c and d, I don't have time to crave bread and chocolate.  Like I mentioned yesterday, it's all about what's in our default drawer.  Once there's a whole new spread of goods in the drawer, it won't take so much thinking.  For now, I kind of like the mental work behind it.  

Mornings are easy.  Rise and shine with some kale, romaine, spinach, celery, cucumbers, and pear.  I must say my husband gets big props for replacing his morning coffee with some green goodness.  Totally impressed.  

Steamed broccoli, cantaloupe, almonds and water with lemon for lunch.  Completely satisfying and filling.

For dinner, I made a Spinach and Chickpea Soup from the Power Foods recipe book.  It also had shiitake mushrooms and brown rice.  It was really good.  I wouldn't say great, but really good (my 11 month old and 3 year old both liked it). I left out the parmesan cheese that it called for - that probably would've kicked it up into the "great" category.

Thoughts for the day:
1.  Keep learning.  Never stop.  If life is getting boring and mundane, learn something new.
2.  I'm so thankful for new friends.  My heart is full.
3.  Choices are a gift.  Choose well.

With Love,

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Vacation - Day 2

I'm not going to downplay it.  Today was great.  Great from beginning to end (Well, except for my baby hitting her face on a stool and getting a big fat lip.  It was my bloodiest moment as a mom.  Not to worry - she's fine and still all smiles.).

Started the morning off with green juice for two.  How romantic.  

I fill a bowl with almonds (about 1/2 cup) and eat it throughout the day.  It's great for snacking and an amazing power food.  

I didn't have any hunger pains and forced myself to have another green juice at about 2:00 p.m. - just because.  

It's actually really great that my husband is doing this along with me.  If it was just me, I'd probably just graze and not put too much effort into it.  Because I'm cooking for two, it motivates me to find and cook delicious new meals.  

Our tomatoes are slowly but surely ripening.  These cherry tomatoes are so sweet you can eat them like grapes.  I picked these out of the garden today and knew I wanted to use them in our dinner.  

Add some avocado, lime and cilantro...

Black bean and corn salsa

Voila!  A gluten-free, vegan burrito that will make your mouth water.

*  Gluten-free Brown Rice Tortilla (place tortilla in a steamer basket and steam for 30 seconds first - this will make the tortilla moist and avoid cracking)
*  Brown Rice
*  Black Bean Corn Salsa:  1/2 can organic black beans, rinsed; 1 cup corn (I boiled 2 husks of corn for 10 minutes, let cool, then cut off the kernels.  You can do frozen or canned corn as well.); juice of 1 lime; Kosher salt, to taste; cilantro, chopped.  Mix.  
*  Avocado, sliced
*  Tomatoes
*  Garnish with more cilantro and lime


Thoughts for the day:
1.  So much of what we do is based on what's in our "default drawer".  We go to the same restaurants, cook the same meals, shop for the same groceries.  We do it because it's what we're used to, what we're comfortable with.  I don't want to get rid of my default drawer; I just want to add lots more stuff to it.  
2.  Sometimes you have to force yourself into something new and different, but once you're there, it's quite amazing.  
3.  I'm having fun and feeling great.  

Until tomorrow, 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Vacation - Day 1

Okay, it's Day 1 of our exciting gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan vacation.  To read more about why on earth I am doing this, click here.

Let's just say that today was um, well, uh... interesting.  I have already learned a lot of lessons (ie: without a plan, the people (as in me) will perish, or at least starve, or at the very least, be really, really grumpy).  I think the best way to describe the day is by way of timeline.

6:30 a.m. - Alarm goes off.  Super excited to start the day and juice for me and my husband before he goes to work.

7:18 a.m  - Oops.  I guess I fell back asleep. I rush to the juicer.

7:30 a.m. - Breakfast:  Green Juice - kale, romaine, celery, pear, cucumber.  Yum!

Busy morning with the girls.  We just got back from camping yesterday so I'm still unpacking, doing laundry, blah, blah, blah.

9:30 a.m. - Getting hungry.  A handful of almonds does the trick.

12:15 p.m. - Driving home from my daughter's swim lesson.  My stomach is rumbling.  Make the girls lunch but I have no idea what I'm going to eat.  So tempted to scarf down a peanut butter jelly sandwich. Throw together a bowl of random kim-friendly foods:  brown rice, avocado, carrots, tomato and seaweed.  It's not very pretty, but it works.

2:10 p.m. - Ugh.  This requires way too much thinking.  What am I doing?

3:00 p.m. - Searching for recipes (or advice) online.  A little overwhelmed.

3:17 p.m. - Got an email encouraging people with AS to get Medic-Alert bracelets so that First-Responders are aware of our "fragile spines".   Great program, but for some reason, it sort of made me depressed.

3:30 p.m. - Afternoon pick-me-up.  "Green smoothie" - kale, romaine, blueberries, avocado, coconut water.

5:30 p.m. - What's for dinner?  Good question.  Well, instead of beating myself up for not being prepared, the four of us went out to dinner.  Yes, we were able to find a G-free, vegan dinner for hubby and me (yes, he's doing this with me - what a champ!) and some not-so-restrictive meals for the kids.  Everybody was happy.

6:30 p.m. - Thank God for Trader Joe's!  Yes, thanks to Trader Joe's I will not go hungry (or broke).

7:30 p.m. - The fridge is packed and I'm hopeful once again.

9:00 p.m. - Why did I leave that half-eaten carton of mint chocolate chip ice cream in the freezer?  I should have eaten the whole thing dumped it yesterday.  The nighttime sweet tooth is cruel.   Well, no better time to break a habit than the present (trust me, I really don't mean that - I'm just trying to cheer myself on).

Lessons for the day:
1.  Plan ahead.  I can't wing this one.
2.  This is not just about food.  This is about listening to my body, my mind, my spirit.
3.  Mindfulness takes practice.

Until tomorrow,

Friday, August 19, 2011


Six months ago, 180 days ago, I was discharged from the hospital and told to go home and wait for my biopsy results.  I would go home and wait for two phone calls: one would clear me of breast cancer, the other, of lymphoma.  Once that was done, they would go into my spine and take a piece out to see what it says.

Six months ago, my life forever changed.  Although I was cleared of cancer (and diagnosed with something nobody has heard of), the fear that rattled my bones and surged through my veins left a lasting imprint. That fear would eventually be consumed by love, passion and an unshakable resolve to live, and live beautifully.  

Six months ago, my world stopped for just a moment, and when I looked back, I really had no regrets. But then I looked ahead, and that's when I knew.  I had to fight.  I had to believe.  There is work to be done.  There is unfinished business.

Love to give.

Wings to soar.

Hope to spread.

Daughters to raise.

Communities to build.

Words to be spoken, to be written.

Yes, there's too much unfinished business.  So everyday, I find purpose through pain, strength through weakness and I live - beautifully.

Six months ago, my life forever changed.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Packing for my 14-day "vacation"

Okay, so it's not really a vacation.  It's actually a 14-day cleanse, but so much of our reality is determined by the language we use and vacation sounds way cooler than cleanse.  No, it's not a diet.  It's not some weird new age thing.  It's just a 2 week trial to see what makes my body feel better.  I'm not following any particular program.  I've researched and researched, and am pulling together the best from a few different schools of thought.  And yes, I am packing - packing my refrigerator and cabinets with yummy goodness.

Why am I doing this?  Well, my motivation is two-fold.

First, I am determined to figure out what triggers my flare ups and the lovely symptoms that follow.  Diet is a pretty easy and tangible way to start.  Let's just be honest, my ultimate goal is to reach a state of remission - where I have no pain, no symptoms, and hopefully can stop taking medication.  Oh, that would be fabulous.

Second, my immune system needs as much help as she can get.  It's frustratingly ironic.  AS is caused in part by a problem with the immune system.  Normally, your immune system protects your body from infections and certain diseases.  One of the proteins that plays an important role in our immune system is the tumor necrosis factor (TNF).   Yes, TNF is a good thing - when you have just the right amount. People with inflammatory diseases such as AS have too much TNF in their bodies. In other words, my immune system is revving on high and attacking all the good stuff, like my spine. The shot that I give myself every week reduces the level of active TNF in my body, but it does this by, let's just face it, destroying my immune system.  Case in point, last month I woke up with a scratchy throat.  Normally a little boost of Vitamin C and a few extra hours of sleep would nip that in the bud. Well, things have changed.  My scratchy throat turned into a full blown infection that lasted over 2 weeks and required antibiotics.  Ugh. My doctor reminded me that I need to see him as soon as I feel sick because my body won't be able to "kick it" like it used to.  In other words, I'll be the one on the airplane with the face mask and gloves.  I'm sorry, but that's just hard to swallow.  I hate to think that any part of me is fragile (if you know me, you know I'm sort of a tough cookie).  In all seriousness, it just doesn't make sense.  Our bodies are supposed to heal itself.  You get a cut, it scabs up and it heals - all by itself.  Anyway, that's what I'm trying to do:  help my body heal itself.

So, without further adieu, here's what's on the menu for the next 2 weeks:

- Green juice and green smoothies (morning, noon and night)
- Greens, greens, greens:  kale, romaine, chard, basically anything with a leaf
- Broccoli
- Zucchini
- Summer squashes
- Sweet sugar snap peas
- Beets and carrots
- Fresh Corn
- Avocados
- Tomatoes
- Nuts, and lots of them!
- Brown rice
- Tofu
- Seaweed
- Fruit:  Thank God it's berry season!

Now doesn't that sound delicious?  Come on, really, it doesn't sound too bad, huh? See, it's always better to focus on what you can indulge yourself in, not what you have to deprive yourself of.  If I started with what's OFF the menu, you'd probably feel sorry for me.

Here's what I'm taking a vacation from:

- Gluten (that takes care of 50% of the grocery store: breads, cereals, crackers, oats, pasta, sauces, soups, etc).
- Dairy (yup, that means ice cream, cheese, milk, yogurt...)
- Sugar (the refined/processed kind - basically anything in a package)
- Meat (that'll be easy - going on 5 months as a vegetarian.  Woo hoo!!)
- Caffeine (another easy one - I'm not much of a coffee drinker)
- Alcohol (my red wine can wait)

So to break it all down I'll be kicking up the green drinks and eating like a gluten-free, sugar-free vegan.  It'll be a bit of a challenge, especially because I still have to cook some "regular" food for my daughters and husband.  Oh well, I take it as a personal challenge.  Since I can't exactly push myself to hike to the top of some mountain these days, I have to push the envelope in other ways.

I start next week Monday (I was going to start sooner but we're camping again this weekend and what kind of mother would I be if I didn't partake in s'mores).  Does anyone want to join me?  Your "vacation" can look a little different from mine. Maybe it's kicking the sugar, maybe it's adding green smoothies, whatever you think would do your body some good.  Let me know if you're going to join me for the ride.  Fun!

Cheers to Happy Immune Systems,

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dear Body...

I know I don't take the time to tell you how I feel or what I think.  I'm usually complaining about you or wishing you would work better, feel better.  I know, and I'm sorry.  I realize my silence doesn't help matters, so here's what I want you to know.

Thank you for not giving up on me.  Thank you for not throwing in the towel when things were at their worst.  Thank you for getting up every morning, even when it hurts, and for getting me through the day, even when you've had enough. You are more resilient than I give you credit for.  You are stronger than I expected and withstand more than you deserve. 

I know you're trying to tell me something.  You get inflamed and attack yourself and I just don't know why.  Please be patient.  I'm trying to figure you out.  I know the diagnosis must be frustrating for you.  While the shots are helping you move and making you feel better, we're still not addressing the underlying cause of your pain. Please know that I'm trying and that I won't rest until you're made whole again.  

Thank you for teaching me that it all matters:  what I put in my mouth, what I allow in my head, what I feel in my heart - the choices I make all day, everyday, to help you be strong and thrive.  I understand that sometimes you need me to just slow down and breathe.  Thank you for teaching me that you are not disconnected from my spirit or my mind; neglecting one affects the others.  

So there it is.  I am amazed by you.  God knit you together and then breathed life, purpose and vision into you.  I will be thankful for you all the days of my life.  

With Love and Gratitude, 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

You Know What They Say When You Assume

Today the girls and I went to Costco to get our tire fixed.  We had an hour to kill so we walked around checking out the samples and watching bits of Tangled on a $3000, 60" flat screen TV.  Amazingly, I ended up with just 3 things in my cart:  a container of blueberries, some blue agave and a can of baby formula.  As I was putting my things on the checkout counter, the woman standing in back of me said to her friend (in a voice loud enough for me to hear), "I don't understand how a mom can feed her baby formula."  I looked up, a bit pissed off shocked, but she turned away, shaking her head, as though she was disgusted.

Ah yes, what was my initial reaction?  Well, if you must know, I wanted to punch her in the face.  Lucky for her both my hands are inflamed and throbbing today so that wouldn't have worked out well for either of us.  Plus, getting arrested for assault at Costco is a bit trashy (just kidding - sort of).  Anyway, I managed to put a smile on my face, pay for my poison and leave without incident.  I did not open my mouth, even to talk to the cashier, for fear of what might spew out.

If I did open my mouth, it may have sounded a little something like this...

Look, lady, not like it's any of your business but if you knew me you would know that I nursed my baby everyday for the first 5 months of her life, even though my back was throbbing and my arms could barely hold her.  I nursed her even though the doctors told me to stop so they could treat my pain.  I nursed her until the day I was admitted into the hospital because the doctors thought I had cancer.  While I was in the hospital I pumped every 4 hours, around the clock, and dumped my milk because I was on too much medication to keep it.  I pumped in between CT scans, blood tests, biopsies and oncologist visits.  I pumped in the middle of the night while everyone else was sleeping.   Ya, if you knew me, you would know that I continued to pump for another 2 months, sometimes feeding her, sometimes dumping it, depending on what kind of medication I was on.  I pumped until the day there was nothing left to pump.  And then, then I cried.  I cried because it didn't end on my terms.  That was not my plan.  But you don't know me, so you don't know any of this.  But that's why I feed my baby formula.  Do you have a problem with that?

Hmmm, I wonder what she would have said then?

Well, this post is not really about her, although she definitely inspired it.  This post is about what we see, and don't see, when we look at another person.

It's easy to judge.  I do it.  You do it.  I guess it's part of human nature - to look at someone and put them in some sort of box.  We assume circumstances.  We label. We shake our heads because we would never do such a thing.

Well, the truth is... what we see is always just the tip of the iceberg.  We don't see the hurt, the sickness, the pain, the abuse, the struggles. I mean, obviously we don't see it, or we wouldn't be so quick to judge.  Right? 

Today was good for me.  It reminded me not to be so quick to point out the speck in someone else's eye, when there's a plank in my own.  It reminded me that what you see on the outside often doesn't reflect what's going on on the inside. Everyone has a story.  Don't assume you know what it is.  Either take the time to get to know it, or keep your comments to yourself.

A Proud Formula-Feeding Mama,

Monday, August 8, 2011

This Little Light of Mine

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. 
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. 
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant? Actually, who are you not to be? 
You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. 
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that 
other people won't feel insecure around you. 
We are all meant to shine, as children do. 
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. 
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. 
And as we let our own light shine, 
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. 
As we are liberated from our own fear, 
our presence automatically liberates others.

 --Marianne Williamson

I read this quote for the first time about 13 years ago.  It is one of my all-time favorites and has spoken to me in different ways over the years.  I read and reflected on it again over the weekend as I was having some strange feelings about myself (and even this blog).  First let me say that I am so overwhelmed by love, support and encouragement by all of you.  Your comments, emails and messages mean so much to me.  It is a constant affirmation that living this season of my life out loud is exactly what I need to be doing.  Yet, sometimes I wonder if I'm giving the wrong impression, if you think I'm stronger than I really am.  When you say I inspire you, a part of me wants to remind you how weak I am, how much I rely on a gracious God, a loving family, wonderful friends.  But then again, I think you already know.  

So after some thought, here's where I stand.  I'm going to let my light shine - however dim or bright.  I'm going to let it shine because playing small really doesn't serve the world.   And it's not just for me to do, it's for all of us.  I pray that today you would live your life boldly, unafraid to shine, unafraid to love, unafraid to play your part in this world.  Thank you for letting me play mine.

With Gratitude and Love, 

Friday, August 5, 2011

If Only...

Have you ever felt like you were just one step away from being really happy?  You know, just one "if only" away from living your best life.

If only I had more money.
If only I were married.
If only I were single.
If only I had children.
If only I had a different job.
If only I were prettier, skinnier, taller, healthier.
If only I didn't have this damn disease.

The list goes on and on.

While it might be true that some things would make life better (certainly digging myself out of medical debt would be fabulous) do we have to wait for those things to happen to really be happy?  Trust me, I understand the stress of looking for a job, the heartache of not being able to get pregnant, the longing for something, well... different.  I understand.  I'm not saying that we shouldn't want things, and I'm definitely not saying that we shouldn't strive to make certain things happen.  Growth and change are essential to life.  What I am saying is that we shouldn't spend the bulk of our lives one step away from greatness.

In case you're wondering - I'm writing this for everyone, but I'm really speaking to myself.  Please excuse the soliloquy.

Here's my point.  Let's say your position is "If only I had a different job, then I'd be truly happy."  Yup, this is a good one.  I'm sure many of us have said/thought/believed this one.  Okay, now what if I said you could be truly happy right now, where you're at, without changing your circumstances?  I know, I know, you're rolling your eyes and thinking, "She obviously doesn't know my circumstances."  You're right, I don't, but I do know this (from lots and lots of personal experience):  We often get so consumed in our current situation that we can't see the forest for the trees.  The cloud of confusion, and sometimes hopelessness, paralyzes us from even the smallest steps forward and blinds us from our current blessings.

Maybe you really do need to get out of your current job.  You aren't using your skills, strengths and talents.  You aren't being challenged.  You're surrounded by negative people.  Whatever the case is, I'm sure there are lots of reasons why getting out of your current situation would be a good idea.  The problem I have is wasting the weeks, days, and minutes of our lives until that change happens.  Make a plan to transition out of your current situation and be empowered by the small steps you take to make that happen.  Maybe it means taking a class or two, maybe it means networking with a different group of people, maybe it means spending an hour on-line every night looking at job openings and submitting your resume.  Yes, be active in making that change, just don't be consumed (and yes, I think there is a difference between the two).  Your life, my life, is taking place as we speak.  It's not waiting for us to arrive at our "if only" destination.

Life is happening right now.  Take a deep breath and notice it.  Then choose to live it, the best way you know how, right where you are.

Thanks for listening,

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I Can See It Now

Lately I've been experiencing a bit of a fog.  You know, forgetting simple words, walking into the store and completely forgetting why I was there, walking out of the store and forgetting where I parked the car.  It would be a bit of a stretch to blame it on "pregnancy brain".  I'm thinking it's the lack of sleep (a major complaint from most people who suffer from AS).

Anyway, the other day my husband and I were talking about something and I said, "I'll see it when I believe it".  He stared at me, waiting for me to catch my own mistake.  A few seconds later I asked, "Oh wait.  How does that saying go?"  

"I'll believe it when I see it" he answered.  

Hmmmm.  I thought about it for a moment and said it (my way) again, "I'll see it when I believe it."  I repeated  it a few times quietly, smiled and then shouted, "That's it!  It's brilliant!  I will see it when I believe it."  I will see myself pain-free, whole, healthy and strong, when I believe it, not the other way around.  

I don't need to see the evidence before believing.  I don't need to be sold, convinced or won over. 

I see myself running around with my girls, kicking a soccer ball, throwing a football, catching a Frisbee. 
I see myself dancing, twirling, smiling, laughing.
I see myself writing - writing something beyond what I could have ever imagined.  
I see myself surrounded by people I love.
I see myself with outstretched arms, thanking God for His grace and mercy.  
I see myself speaking to others - walking them through their own seasons of fear and pain.  
I see myself growing old, standing tall, looking vibrant.  

I see this because I believe this.  
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
- Hebrews 11:1

What do you see?