Monday, April 29, 2013


(To blog or not--it had become more complicated than it should have been, in my mind at least. And so I sat out for a while, deciding, reordering, fixing priorities and myself until I could either shut this down for good or continue without what other people thought or said (or didn't say) creating such problems for me that I couldn't write or think about the blog with any decisiveness. I am continuing.)

 When people ask me these days how I'm doing, I give one of two answers, depending on how the day is going. Either "ok" or "well."  "OK" is for those days when to say fine or great or anything else would be lying. I used to do that, but finally gave up the ruse. I am ok, no matter how I feel. At my core, I am doing ok but my body may not be following along. Some people will say, "Just ok?"  Their tone may be concerned or accusing. They may want to know more, or they can't believe that I'm not putting on the perfect face and pretending all is well.

But lately, more and more, my answer has been "well," or "really well." And some people want to know more. "A new medicine?" "What has changed?"

And the answer I give them? Grace. It's just grace. A reprieve, finally. Some time to breath in and out. There are things I do, things I've learned to do that I think help. But I do those same things on the bad days. And so I answer Grace. If they want to know more than that, then I tell them the rest.

I'm taking 4 mg of prednisone and plaquenil. I've added fish oil and turmeric. The turmeric definitely helps with pain, though it is a bit hard on my stomach so I don't take it daily. I've also added some magnesium citrate (a low dose), as I could no longer take any pain medicine without a rebound headache. Guess what? Can take a low dose of pain meds again when I need them! There's a lot being written now about magnesium and our body's need for it. Give it a google. Don't buy the cheap stuff--unless you want to spend your time in the bathroom.

I make sure I get enough rest. This is difficult for me--there is so much that needs to be done and getting extra sleep gets in the way of that! But the less I sleep the sicker I am. If I sleep I have less pain, more energy and I'm happier. I get more done when I am awake. For years I saw my kids off to school every morning, but two years ago, during my shingles bouts, I started sleeping in. I've never stopped. The kids at home are 16 and they get along just fine without me in the mornings. :) 

And, of course, I eat gluten free. I also jump into a paleo diet occasionally. Right now I've cut out dairy for a bit. Only the gf is permanent, but I try to feed my family fresh and organic. Some of them are happier about it than others!

My gp helps me stay on top of my anemia, which I find makes a huge difference in how much energy I have. I take B12 shots every month and make sure my iron stays up.

All of that doesn't mean I'm completely well, but I'm better. I feel good much of the time, even when I'm hurting. My hands won't stand much hard work and my feet won't walk even a mile without becoming really inflamed. But they'll get me through my days without complaining too much. I've gone to most of my kids' activities this year and am teaching a Wednesday night women's class at church for the first time in years!


Yesterday morning I got up early and joined my family in downtown Oklahoma City at the OKC Memorial Marathon. I cheered while most of the fam completed the 5K and my son ran the Half Marathon.

Many wore red socks in honor of those in Boston. My oldest daughter ran in honor of a close friend who died last year.  We were all there together. Even Mom. Oklahoma City seems such a special place at Marathon time, remembering a horrible event but making something so good out of it. I was happy to be to be part of it, even in such a little way, proud to watch those of mine cross the finish line even if I couldn't.

Grace. And more than enough of it.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving. . .and Giving Thanks

Yesterday, as I sat in worship, my 15-year old son took my hand for a moment during a prayer. He is protective, watches out for me. And that small, gigantic gesture swelled his mama's heart so big with love and gratitude that even today I can hardly stop thinking about it. 

As I type this, I glance down at the note his sister recently left on my computer: "I love you beautiful Mommy."

These precious gifts come in the middle of the swirl of teen drama and meltdowns and busyness. 

The leaves turn lovely and fall from the trees, and I buy groceries and cook and watch basketball games and do mounds of laundry and listen to a girl chatter on and play her drums and piano. I walk and limp slightly but walk and walk and bake and talk and read and sleep (and if I could only sleep a little more. . .) and take the college girl to tea and gather with friends for Bible study and prayer and thanks giving. And gratitude lessons.

Last year at this time, I had no idea what this year would be like (do we really ever?). I thought I might not be able to leave my house or take care of my family. ( Granddaddy  Walking a Thin Line)

But this year, quite unexpectedly, I can breathe, and I am not housebound and my RA is at least behaving moderately most of the time. 

And I am thankful. Grateful. None of us ever knows what tomorrow will bring, but today, Today is good.

Thanks Giving. Indeed.

Psalm 34:1-4
I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear, and be glad.
O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.
I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Ahhhhh. . .Summer!

Dropping into my blog for a quick update. . .I've got plans for this place, but not the time right now to implement them. Some little changes coming up when time allows. Soon.

I have been counting blessings this spring and summer.
OKC Memorial Marathon
Husband and kids did the 5K--so proud of them all!

We gave honor to whom honor is due with an anniversary party for my parents. Thank you Mother and Daddy, for everything!

My two youngest painted houses at work camp and then went to church camp. My oldest worked and had an internship, writing BLOGS for a marketing department! I packed gluten-free food for everyone as they came and went and came and went.

My boys went wilderness trekking--my son's dream since I read him My Side of the Mountain in second grade. They summitted a 14,000 foot peak in Colorado, hiking 25 miles in and out! They were gone for just over a week.

The whole group!
And finally, we took a short family vacation to New Mexico. My college girl could barely get away, but we squeezed it in and were glad we did! These times together are getting more and more rare but I so treasure them.

Flowers outside the little house where we stayed! Gorgeous!
Medical update: For those of my rheumatoid friends--I've stopped taking Orencia and methotrexate. No more. So--no more shingles and no more breathing problems. There seems to be no permanent damage to my lungs, though I'm still occasionally short of breath. Though I miss the pain relief, it is lovely to be without the mtx side effects each week--the one day of nausea, fatigue, headache, etc. I would begin to feel sick as soon as I  drew the stuff into the syringe! 

AND. . .I'm actually feeling pretty well! Not perfect. Not pain free. But without the shingles and their viral counterpart, and by sticking carefully to my gluten-free, lots of veggies and fruits diet and getting plenty of rest, I feel pretty good! I'm decreasing my prednisone per the directions of the infectious disease specialist and trying to let my immune system rebound. I'm down to 5.5 mg and have lost a little weight.

And I am thankful, thankful, thankful for the prayers and grace that have brought me to this place this summer. I am aware that without them I would not be feeling so much better. This is the first summer in three years that I have really felt well enough to enjoy it!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Peace. . .and back to March

On my way to a lab appointment to today, I tried to remember the Serenity Prayer. It's been a while since I recited the whole thing, and I stumbled toward the end. I had to look it up when I got home.

God grant me the serenity 
to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time; 
Enjoying one moment at a time; 
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it; 
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life 
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

--Reinhold Niebuhr
There is wisdom for me right now in those words. Learning acceptance, wisdom, enjoying one moment at a time. Courage.
And a phone call from a friend, especially kind words of encouragement, acknowledgment reminded me that some people have a special talent for that. And of this quote which I read yesterday on Momastery.

“The plain fact is that the world does not need more successful people, but it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these qualities have little to do with success as our culture has defined it.” – David Orr

". . .It needs people who live well in their places."

In March,  we finally took our long-awaited family camping trip--the one we had to miss in the fall because I was too sick. And really, waiting was worth it. I am feeling much better right now; I was able to get reservations into a park we'd wanted to visit for a long time.  We had a wonderful log cabin with a stone fire place in beautiful southeastern Oklahoma.

It was precious family time. Our college girl came too--time with all five of us is getting rarer and rarer. And it was one of the best times we've ever had. The younger kids fished like crazy--and caught nothing. But they had so much fun doing it. We played games, rented kayaks, built fires, and spent and hour or two singing one evening. You read that right--singing :)

At first the kids were sharing their favorite songs on i-tunes, but it turned into singing and in the end, they all serenaded ME! We are not a family of beautiful voices, but it was the best singing I've ever heard, and one of my favorite nights with them all, ever!

Peace be with you today.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


I am still trying to process the month of March. I put up a post and took it down. An introvert, I have to think things through before I can really explain and write or speak about them.

The March post will go back up when its ready, with it's sadness, sweetness and glory. But not yet.

My youngest daughter and I were talking about friendships this morning, how different personalities need friends in different ways, but we all do. Her extrovert brother surrounds himself with a big group. She is happy with just a few close girlfriends. I hold tightly to my friends, even from long ago, value them, try to stay in contact. I tell my children--people are always more important than things, than status, than popularity. People are to be cherished.

Each stage of life has brought different relationships, and some stages have brought loneliness. Right now, as I am mostly at home and most of my contemporaries are busy with work and volunteer obligations--as I used to be--I often find myself at lose ends, wishing for more time with friends. 

And yet even now I have a small group of friends who intentionally make time for each other every week for Bible study, who years ago dropped our masks and sat down together to pray and share.  What would I do without them? 

Life is hard, difficult, joyful, even sometimes brutal. And it is not meant to be lived alone. 

What role do friends play in your life? If you have a chronic illness, how well or how much can you communicate about it with your friends? 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Happenings at Home

I didn't want to leave that last post up too long! Thank you, everyone, for your sweet comments. On a more positive note--here are some highlights from our family life of late.  Counting my blessings is easy.

My husband had another birthday--and we surprised him with an at-home fiesta and some of his favorite foods. The kids helped cook and decorate and it was tons more laid back and fun than going out! (I first caught this guy with my homemade enchiladas, so I make them for him every year on his birthday.)

His mustache wasn't sticking any longer!
About that same time we hosted another Japanese student who was just here for about a week. It was her first trip to the United States, and we had such a great time getting to know her! We love you, Miyu!

At an OC basketball game with my girls.
For my son, basketball season ended--and baseball season began. He hasn't played baseball since sixth grade but decided to try it again this year. Their first game was just a few days ago. He's still a little rusty, but he hit an in-the-park-home-run! Of course I'm one proud Mom! 

A friend got this great picture! Look at the ball just leaving the bat!
No pic, but his twin sister, Miss Music, competed in District Solo competition on marimba this weekend. We won't know how she did until tomorrow. . .  But I know she did great!  

I'm really not one of those moms who believes every kid has to have a "thing," but I am glad my two youngest have found activities that they love. Every child is different. Their older sister tried lots of different things without narrowing it down--I think she loved people and socializing more than the activities themselves.

This weekend was Spring Sing at the University she attends (and where my husband works). I think this is one of the most fun and busiest weekends of the year for her and the other students. It's a variety show/competition between the social clubs on campus. It always leaves me smiling-singing-laughing!

Her club's show was about astronauts. She danced on the side
because her foot is still sore from breaking it in China!
Mom's prejudiced but I think she was the cutest Space Shuttle ever!

With the BF, whose club's show was about Mario Brothers.
They placed fourth overall!

The girls--tired and happy!
So you see, as usual, life is going on around here! Wishing you all many blessings--


Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Romans 12:12

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Failures, Flubs and other UnLovely Things

This is our family Christmas card from 2006--the year I first came down with RA.  My husband found them in a box in the garage a few months ago. They were stamped and addressed but somehow, inexplicably unmailed.  I have no idea.

There was also a stack of thank-you notes, written by the kids to grandparents and great-grandmothers and aunts and special friends. All ready to go. Not mailed. Two of those great-grandmothers are gone now, and I am filled with regret. Again, I have no idea.

But these are not the only failures over the past few years. I've missed birthdays and baby showers and wedding showers. The list goes on and on.

I'm lost as to how to even write this. I lost friends. I've apologized to a few, but I'm certain that those apologies have fallen short--I am not the same person I was six years ago, and I cannot go back. Making amends is a long process. To those I've let down without even knowing it, I apologize. I wanted to do better.