Approach life gently. Treat life kindly. Live life fully and with enthusiasm.
Respect life--always.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Heavenly Joy

bad hair dayThere are times in our lives when nothing seems to go right. There are also times when it seems nothing can go wrong. We have all had both kinds of days. When we are in the former, our psyche, our very soul, seems to get beaten down by all the pressures, stresses, and negatives of life.

Then there are those days when all goes joyously far beyond our wildest  dreams and expectations. These are the days we all crave. We get a sort of high. Our smiles become contagious, and we cannot help but be good to one another, just for the shear pleasure of seeing another person smile.

I crave these days just as much as the next person, but with my illness, I oftentimes must work the process in reverse. My days don’t often go beyond my wildest dreams (though sometimes they do), yet I can still feel that rush, that soul healing joy I desperately crave, by first giving and smiling and loving on others.

This is one of the secrets to my joy. Listen closely, now. It lightens the burden on my soul when I give freely of my worldly, oftentimes cherished, belongings.

Have I lost you? Let me elaborate. My physical being is a mess. I have Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, adrenal fatigue, arthritis, migraines, blah, blah, blah. The list goes on and on, unfortunately. Needless to say, I am in constant pain, and this state of constant pain puts a damper on my naturally good mood.

But the Lord is good. He has shown me how to find bits of joy amongst my pain, interspersed with my tears.

Best of all, He has shown me how to get a booster shot when I need it, to energize and heal my soul. It is as simple as giving. Donating. Even tithing (and now I hear a bunch of non-church-goers going, “ugh”). It does my soul good, knowing that something I am able to give can do so much good in someone else’s life.

Ken took a load of building supplies to the Habitat Restore Store this morning.

My heart swelled, and so did his.

Ken took an equally large load to the Salvation Army thrift store.

His smile threatened to push his ears clean off his face, as his mood soared. And mine did, too.

Even with two truckloads gone, we still had a lot to make decisions on. Then I remembered freecycle. It is a yahoo group here in the Portland area. I imagine there might be more chapters around the country. It is worth checking out. We gave away some large ticket items that we simply could not sell. Ken said he would haul them to the appropriate places for donation, but I was feeling so good, soul-wise, at this point that I suggested we list them on freecycle. Within an hour, the first large item was gone, the second is pending pickup tomorrow, and the third, well I’m waiting to hear back as to when she wants to pick it up.

My joy is overwhelming today, even though my body is riddled with pain and my stress level is through the roof.

My stress is so high because we have only a few days left here in Portland before we hit the road, and we have a ton of work to do still. Having access to this “heavenly joy” will allow me to keep on, minute by minute, keeping faith that God will get us over this hurdle. It will allow me to do what little I can to help, with a smile on my face, instead of tears and heartache for all that I cannot physically do.

I wish you this level of joy. I pray that you have instances in your life where the “pay it forward” system of living and giving will touch your heart and your soul with an over abundance of joy and gratitude.

I had a season of being on the receiving end more often than not over the past year or two, and the receiving also blossomed into wondrous joy, as I realized that others did care and did want to help this tired old soul. They lifted me up with a box of apples, boxes of pears, green beans, a car for our use for three months without charge, a hug and friendship when I needed it most, a bouquet of flowers from a neighbor for “no reason,” many homemade meals delivered hot and ready to eat, and so many other large and small blessings.

I am grateful for all the blessings we have received. And I am grateful for every one of you.


Saturday, June 1, 2013


IMG_0625If you only had twenty eight days until "hit-the-road" day, and you knew that at least half those days would be stolen by pain, how would you prioritize your time?

I have a house to go through, making decisions on what to keep, take, store, sell, or donate. Ah, but the good thing is, if we leave stuff behind, the boys (son Trevor and his best bud William) will say, “Score!” They will be taking over the lease on the duplex.

I have friends to say goodbye to, at least for a year, though we will still have email (though sporadic at times) and the good ole tellie.

I have financial and medical/medication issues to magically make "transportable."

I have a neighbor who wants me to finish up our cooking lessons before I jet out of here. She still needs my secrets on lemon meringue pie, yeast dough, and pad Thai.

I have two boys I worry about. I pray we have raised them well enough, Ken and I with Trevor, and William’s parents, that is. I know they are both 21 and I had a kid on the hip by that age, but they are boys and I worry. I pray I’ve imparted enough of my hard knocks wisdom (ha ha) to them to keep them out of trouble, to keep them in their jobs and in this duplex. They do listen. I will give them that. I will miss them dearly when we go. I cannot seem to convince them to move south with us. But I think mama is having trouble cutting the apron strings.

I have my doctor, finally, wanting to send me to a pain specialist, finally. Did I say finally? Only in order to see a pain specialist, I have to be physically available in one area for months, until we find resolve. Finally, he makes this decision, but I only have 28 days left in Portland, and we won’t make it to New Mexico until October.

Winter was not kind to me. Winters never are. I joked often that the week wasn’t complete until I had fallen. Then it was fallen twice in a week. Then it was daily falls. It isn’t funny any longer. I now walk fulltime with a cane.

I’ve added another diagnosis to my list, and we are contemplating yet another, if we can figure it out. Yipee. But if we do figure it out, maybe we could finally get a handle on why my pain has gotten so out of control this past year. It has been far worse than in a long time.

My father passed away on the first of Spring. With the passing of my father, it has been like a major chapter in my life closing. Emotionally painful, yes, and yet there is a release. Maybe this is why God kept us here in Portland for so very long. That and all the surgeries my guys went through. Ken three and Trevor two in the span of two years. It has been a very tough three years we’ve spent in a duplex only slated for one year.

When God closes a door, He opens a window. For a breath of fresh air? A change of scenery? Or to at least have an opportunity to empty the chamber pot. Excuse the humor being a bit crass. It has been a very tough few years, frankly. And a very tough day, to boot.


We will be leaving Portland, Oregon, on June 30, 2013, whether we are ready or not.

Ken has been feverishly remodeling the Raven to accommodate my needs and so that we have the most economical use of space possible. After travelling some over the past few summers, we really found out what would work best for us.

I am sorry I have not been around lately. As I mentioned, winter was very hard on me. The pain and the migraines were too much. I’m trying to find the quality in a life so full of pain, but it is difficult. Life goes on, even with the pain, and so we must get on the road. We must get on the road, especially if we plan on wintering down south this year.

It may be a month before I write again, but I will be back. Thank you for hanging in there. Thank you for all your prayers. I know there must be many souls out there praying for me, because I experience God’s miracles every day. Even in this life so full of pain. I am so grateful for all of you.

Our first destination is actually only about 50 miles away from home, but what a sendoff—spending the Fourth of July at the rodeo in St. Paul! Next will be Neskowin, to say goodbye to some friends. And then we travel in a generally southerly direction until we reach Mexico (at which time we will bounce off the border and stay put in New Mexico or Arizona for the winter).

The St. Paul Rodeo in St. Paul, Oregon, July 2-6, 2013.


See you then!