This Is What Family Does

This month’s NaBloPoMo theme is Relatives. I agreed to participate and THEN I thought about how many days I was gonna have to write about my family. 29 days! That’s a lot of family. I then began thinking through various ways to write about family and what I might say about each one. It became a daunting task. But then I thought about what is going on around me. We have had quite the eventful month on our street.

We live in a young subdivision on a culdesac. Our culdesac makes up a wonderful group of friends who care about and support one another like family. When one of us needs something all we have to do is ask. Each home represents a branch on the family tree. I’ve always said that good friends are the family that you choose. In this case God chose each of us and planted us in houses next to each other. Now there are some “family members” who choose not to participate in “family” activities. But then that’s really not much different than a family related by blood, is it?

As I said earlier, we have had a lot going on in the court the last few weeks. One family in particular is really struggling right now. I wrote a few weeks ago about one of our neighbors whose 3 year old son had a seizure. This same family is going through another indescribably difficult time now. To remind you Katie (the mother) had thyroid cancer in the early stages of her recent pregnancy. She was able to have surgery to remove it but was unable because of the pregnancy to treat her with radiation or other treatments. A couple of months ago is when their 3 year old had the seizure, which I wrote about at the time. In the last 2 months of the same pregnancy they discovered that her cancer had come back. A week ago tomorrow she had the baby – a healthy baby girl at birth. However a couple of days later the baby began having some problems and was moved to the NICU where she is still staying. In the last couple of days her husband and their 3 year old son have come down with RSV. So, let’s get this straight Mom discovers that her cancer has returned, the healthy baby girl goes to NICU, the dad and son have RSV and is unable to visit. Katie is staying at the hospital with the baby.

And this is where our Cul-de-sac family comes in. We are currently putting together a plan for meals and a means of getting items from home to the hospital for Katie. That’s what family does! When a family member is having a crisis then the other family members step up and pick up part of the burden to make the load lighter.

I really can’t explain quite how great each member of our family is and how vital each family is to the care of the overall group. I’ve never lived somewhere like this. We are bonded. We are family. And this is what family does.

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Let’s Do This Thing

Well, the month of May has kind of puttered out with my 3 in 30 goals. As is typical for me I start strong but by the end of a goal I’m usually barely hanging on. So that seems the be the case for May as well. My goals were to do at least one load of laundry a day, meet a friend for something social at least once a week and to do some research on ways to transition my blog into a way to eventually make some money. I have touched on each of those throughout the month. So, I can’t say the month was a complete bust. But I have not been as successful as I had hoped I would be.

The laundry is my nemesis. If my life were a movie then the laundry would be the arch enemy. I have set my goal each month to be very reachable. I believe you shouldn’t set a goal too big because it would only be overwhelming and easier to give up. At least that’s the case for me. So I set easy reachable goals. At this point any kind of a plan or a hint at any kind of a schedule is an improvement for me. So while other participant’s goals may be more demanding mine are just right for me – which is kind of the point anyway.

I began 3 in 30 in February. I have participated each month except for April. Each month I have had one goal consistently the entire time – to do at least one load of laundry a day. I have not, however, yet accomplished that goal. I have managed to get laundry done each week. But my idea is that, by doing one load every day, I will eliminate the huge piles of laundry who appear to be months waiting to attack. This is a work in progress – sometimes it’s a work in REgress though. That will continue to be one of my goals until it is part of my every day existence just like breathing.

My other two goals for May were to get out once a week to meet with a friend and to begin researching way to improve my blog so that I can move into making blogging a money making venture. I must say that I have given the blog situation a lot of brain time this month. I have improved my blog by working to make it less cluttered looking. It is a continuous work in progress though. And it is no where near the money making stage yet. But the goal was to doing the research. I have done that. There is more to do. But I now have a thought process in the works.

As for meeting a friend each week, that hasn’t quite worked out as well as I had hoped. It wasn’t a flop but it didn’t quite happen as I had envisioned. I intend to continue working toward this goal because it’s one that I really need. A woman really needs to have emotional connections with other women. I’ve learned just how important that is. I’ve also learned how important it is for them to have relationships with a friend outside of their home. Being a wife and mom 24/7 is very fulfilling but it can also be very lonely. If you add in a chronic illness into that equation the loneliness is something of a different deeper level. What makes it even worse for me is that I am naturally a loner. I am an only child. So, for most of my life I have been alone. I have had friends over the years. I have even had a friend who I felt was close enough to me to call my “best friend”. However, friendships change and evolve as time goes by. That is a natural thing. It’s been that way for hundreds of years. That’s why it’s so important to have a number of friends. No person is an island. It’s not healthy for anyone to be alone. So I have been working hard emotionally and mentally to expand my friends “pool”. I must admit that I am enjoying it actually. Reaching out to others can be difficult because of the fear of rejection. But it’s worth the effort. That’s where I am right now.

I have already been working on my June goals. I have them in my mind. Here’s hoping June will be the biggest 3 in 30 success I have experienced to date. Here’s hoping the same for you as well. If you do not participate now I recommend visiting the 3 in 30 site and consider joining in. It gives you something to focus on – something that will help you reach a goal. Let’s do this thing! Let’s do this thing TOGETHER!

They Are “Reasons”…Not “Excuses”…Right?

This has not been my most successful week of 3 in 30. I do, however, have a reason for that. To most people that may be read as “excuse”. But to me it explains why something did not get done and that sounds like a reason to me. So there! My parents came to visit last weekend. YAY! However, that means that I spent 4 days going non-stop well past my threshold each day. Therefore I have spent the entire week trying to recouperate from that. It has taken me until today to feel well enough to even consider getting out of my house. THAT will not happen though because it is raining and nasty and there really is no need for me to be out there in it. Now that is a true “reason” – wouldn’t you say? If you don’t think so please don’t tell me. Just agree with me and we’ll all be happier.

So, I am a bit behind on that blasted laundry. For the first 3 days of the week I didn’t even THINK about laundry (or the computer, for that matter. And that is BAD!). So I am now trying to catch up. Thankfully I have a wonderful husband who jumps in and helps me whether I ask for it or not. The kids, however, I have to use guilt to motivate them. Since I try not to do that then I get nothing from them unless I am physically and mentally prepared for the whole bargaining and arguing thing. I do remember telling Michael one day though that “when the pile of towels in your bathroom hamper reaches the top of the shower curtain rod it won’t kill you to wash a few”. Not sure what method I used there. Needless to say it didn’t work though. So, I am thankful for my fabulous husband. He is my right arm, my left arm, my right leg, my left leg, (“do the Hokie Pokie…that’s what it’s all about..”) and my brain most days. Since I am feeling better today I am keeping the washer and dryer hoppin’ to catch up.

I had plans this week to meet Alli for lunch. But clearly I haven’t been up to getting out. But I spent the entire weekend last weekend out and about with my mom. So I think that counts as getting out of the house and spending time with a friend, right? Let’s just go with that! WOO HOO – A GOAL I ACCOMPLISHED THIS WEEK – even if it was my mom!

When I am in a flare I can rarely put two words together to form a complete thought. So, exploring ways to improve my blog and/or turn it in to a money making venture has not occurred. At least I don’t think it did. It may have though. I was on a forum at some point discussing ways to match up my blog with companies to advertise for. Let’s pretend like that happened during this particular week, ok? Otherwise I’ll feel completely like a 3 in 30 failure. Now I just need to remember what forum that was on so I can go back and follow through with the suggestions. Hmmmmmmmm

Next week will be a better week. I will have a much more positive 3 in 30 update to post next Friday. I am already planning the week out. Let’s just hope my Fibro doesn’t bust through the door and take over my life again. And by bust in I mean like, with a bulldozer, kind of bust in.

Accountability, Support, Goals and Friends

Well, it’s about that time again. I took a month off. But what I found out is that I really wish I hadn’t. I missed it. I missed the accountability. I missed the support. I missed the pressure. I missed the comraderie. I missed the goals. I missed the people. So one month off is enough. Throw my name back in the hate for May. 3 in 30, I AM BACK!!

The 3 in 30 Challenge is all about setting goals and meeting them. To be perfectly honest I’ve never really been one to set goals for myself. I’ve always been satisfied with the status quo. I’ve never been one to really strive for a finish line of any kind. Kinda sad, isn’t it? I’ve been satisfied with living in the here and now with a “whatever happens, happens” attitude. I’ve been the kind of person who is perfectly fine with getting through an entire day from start to finish without getting anything productive accomplished. Honestly, I’m lazy. I admit it. And I’ve always been ok with that…..until now.

The end of January I started seeing a hashtag on Twitter that intrigued me. It is #3in30. When I inquired what it was for I was directed to Ashley’s blog where I learned about the 3 in 30 challenge. It sounded easy enough. It sounded like something I could do in order to start on the road to change. The challenge is to choose 3 goals that you want to accomplish in the upcoming month (30 days). That’s it! I started following the 3 in 30 hosts, Ashley and Meghan, and jumped in feet first.

The biggest thorn in my flesh is the laundry. My goal in February was to do at least one load of laundry a day so that it isn’t so overwhelming. When I get overwhelmed by something my response is to completely shut down and then get depressed. As we all know, it doesn’t take long for the laundry to get away from you. So I knew that had to be one of my goals. I drug that goal along with me into March as well. I have a love/hate relationship with the laundry….basically I love to hate it. I go through days where I stay right on top of it. Then I go through days where I pretend like it doesn’t exist – which leads to that whole overwhelming thing – which leads me to shut down – which leads to the laundry piles getting higher – which means I get farther behind. It’s a vicious cycle!

So when April rolled around I decided to just not participate for really no reason. After about 2 weeks I realized that I really missed the accountability, encouragement, support and the girls. So I determined to return in May. AND HERE I AM!!! Now for May’s goals:

1 – Stay on top of the laundry by doing at least one load of laundry from beginning to end each and every day no matter how I feel!

2 – I have been enjoying meeting friends occasionally for lunch or a snack and just talking and catching up. I would like to meet a friend at least once a week in person for a visit – whether it involves food or not.

3 – Because the kids are one year away from college and it is apparent that my working a regular job is out of the question, I plan to learn various ways I can use my blog to generate some income. I know that will involve me learning about things I know next to nothing about. By the end of May I hope to have something in place here at The Journey Leads Home to start bringing in some amount of money in order to begin saving/contributing to the household and for college.

And that will be my May! Do you need some help in the goal setting department for your own life? Consider clicking one of the links in this post and joining us for the 3 in 30 Challenge! If I can do it – you can do it! I’m ready! Let’s do this – TOGETHER!

Perfection Can Last An Entire Day

Yesterday was Easter Sunday! And I think it was just a perfect day. I made it to church with my family. That doesn’t happen very often but this weekend it did. I am so grateful that it did too. I was proud to walk in and sit with them all by my side.

Together for Easter

Well I should add that as soon as Lauren saw her bestie, Amelia, she got up and went to sit with her. But I had them all with me for about 5 minutes.

My Sweeties

I will admit that I had to tell them to act like they liked each other for this picture. Why do kids do that? I just hold on to the hope that one day they will be the best of buds again like when they were little. I haven’t seen it for a long time. But I can have hope!

Me and my man

He’s kind of a cutie! He makes me look good. I keep him around for that reason.

After church we went to dinner at our friends’, Phil and Jeanie’s, house. We had a great meal and a great time! I’d like to go back for leftovers for lunch.

The day was just perfect all the way around. The service was beautiful. The music was amazing! God was there in our midst and everyone was freely worshiping – including me. If there’s anything I love more than worshiping the Lord I haven’t come across it yet. It was a glorious day to celebration the resurrection of Jesus!

My Perfect Moment Monday entry for this week was an entire day! Beautiful, fun and perfect! You should jump over to Lori’s blog and share yours with us all.

Why I Love My Fibromyalgia

You know! I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my Fibro. I think my Tweeps are to thank for that. I was thinking today that I should come up with a list of reasons that I LOVE my Fibro. You read that right – reasons I LOVE it! I’m not sure how long the list will be. But nonetheless it will help me to focus on something besides the pain for the period of time I am writing this. And then thinking through and making a list would help to put my mind in a different direction realizing that there are things to be thankful for even in this area of my life. Now, I write off the fly – just off the top of my head. I don’t make notes. I don’t “mind map” like Ron thinks I should. (heeheehee) I don’t make rough drafts. I write and post – that’s that! Sometimes I don’t even know what I’m gonna write about till I sit down here and click in the Add New Post box and put my fingers on the keyboard. Ron doesn’t understand it at all. But then he’s a publisher with a million editors who make people rewrite something 100 times. So, here we go, noteless, editorless and draftless. (In case you wonder why I went off on that tangent, it was because I’m trying to come up with actual reasons to put in this post – as is this sentence as well…)

Ok enough with the stalling. Reasons I love my Fibro:

1. It helps me to focus on the good times. If you have Fibro then you know that the good times are few and far between sometimes. Yes, I may get upset, feel guilty and angry that I’m not able to do the things my mind wants to do but when I have a good day I sure make the most of it. Like yesterday I had a very nice FULL day like a normal person! I rarely make it to church these days. But yesterday I made it both times. I soaked up every second. I didn’t squander the time away. I was grateful to be in church with my family and friends. It was the perfect Sunday. The joy of that day will carry me through for a while now. I don’t take those days for granted. I’m thankful that the bad days help me focus on the good days even more.

2. It forces me to look “up”. I am a Christian. I am not a perfect Christian but who is? When I am laying in bed trying not to move so as not to exacerbate the pain even more the only thing I can move (minus the Fibro Fog days) is my mind. When I’m having a great day and am out and about it is sometimes hard for me to remember to stop and pray and thank God for it. But when I am flat on my back the only place to look is up. I find myself praying more. I may not always get to read my Bible because of my headaches. But my prayer life improves, I can tell you that.

3. It helps me to be more sympathetic to those around me who are hurting. I am more aware of them. I feel like I’m more intuned to them and their pain – rather emotional or physical. It would be easy for me to focus only on myself. I could focus only on how miserable I am on the bad days or on how great I am doing on the good days. I don’t know if I always show it to them. I should think about that. But I know it makes me more sensitive to their losses and struggles.

So there are reasons to be thankful for my Fibromyalgia. There are also reasons for all of us to be thankful for struggles we face. The key is to focus less on self and more on how you can change that bad to something good. Please don’t think though that I am one of those people who always see the positive. If you read my first paragraph you know that it took some thinking for me to focus on what things I have to be thankful for. I will say it is good for the frame of mind to occasionally think outside of the pain. It’s good to occasional think of how our lot in life is making us better instead of worse.

What are you thankful for?

When Friends Are Family

I have had a wonderful friend in my life for almost 10 years now. She knows me like the back of her hand and I know her like the back of my hand. There have been times in those 10 years that we have had “issues” as all friends do. Any normal friendship is full of ups and downs. I think that’s how you know you are true friends. Any relationship that is all ups after 10 years seems suspicious to me. I love her and have loved her through all the downs AND the ups. Continue reading