2018 and Free …

2017 was a year filled with so much LIFE … and I couldn’t be more thankful.

I started 2017 in full recovery mode. My second round of meningitis at the end of 2016 was no less devastating than my first ten years earlier. I knew the healing process I had laid before me. At times that knowledge made it worse. Other times it made it better because I knew what to expect. I think in a way it made me more compassionate to myself. A rarity, indeed. But I wasn’t myself and I loathed it. I spent months in a fog. My days were filled with naps to combat the unrelenting fatigue and lists because my memory was so poor. My anxiety was at an all time high. I dealt with a significant amount of PTSD that came with an intense amount of anxiety. I was frightened I would have another recurrence. And that pain is NO JOKE. Understanding the severity of my encephalopathy was unnerving. No one can figure out how I was functioning “normally” with the amount of brain swelling I had. But I believe that the terrifying drug reactions I had after I got home really pushed me into a whole new level of fear. I literally thought I was dying. I don’t think I had ever been that scared in my life and sadly it has stuck with me. I can still get to that level of panic with even the smallest of triggers. Yes, healing is a long process. But I am happy to have to the opportunity to do it all again. This could have gone a different way for me and my precious family. And I refuse to be anything but grateful. Refuse.

In January 2017 I somehow convinced my doctors to let me train for a marathon. I truly believe that this was a huge part of regaining my strength again. As the days passed I got stronger and stronger. My memory improved and my fatigue got better with each passing day. If ever there was a time in my life to redefine myself, this was it. And it was incredibly liberating. Who could have ever imagined that the very illness that confined me gave me so much room to grow?!?! Definitely, not me!

When I look back on 2017 it is with mixed emotions. My illness and recovery made it hard. But life still happened. And that made it WONDERFUL. I was able to celebrate George’s high school graduation and watch him plan out his future. I was in awe of the growth that I saw in all of my children. Being a part of their daily lives is a gift from God that I will never take granted. NOT EVER. Summer was just straight up FUN. Having all four kids home for the entire summer was something I needed more than anything. Family heals folks, family heals!

Traveling was also a huge part of my 2017. We took lots of little trips and I was blessed with an amazing trip to Alaska. We celebrated birthdays and accomplishments. YAY, I was there and healthy enough to enjoy all of it! In 2017 I even managed to complete all 16 CEUs to keep my nutrition certification. Now THAT was a miracle having struggled with memory issues, HA! There was so much more too. The privilege of having these experiences and all the others often left me feeling overwhelmed. Like “WOW, thanks God! I’m here, alert and actually living this life!” Words can’t capture how I have felt time and time again. “Humbly blessed” comes to mind but it still falls gravely short.

Anyway, my point of writing about all of this is that regardless of the underlying need to heal and recover, life amazingly still engulfed me and took me with it. Despite the tough times I faced I felt an abundance of joy. I loved every difficult and fantastic moment of 2017 and everything in between. And surrendering to my new journey released me and allowed me to redefine who I was … again.

2017 was hard, but it was also beautiful. THAT sums up life in a nutshell. And as long as I have breath I will cherish every moment of it. If 2017 has taught me anything, it was that I do not have to remain tethered to unpleasant circumstances. That my mind, body and soul can still seek and find the freedom that hope gives us even in our darkest of hours.

So I guess that brings me to my 2018 New Year Mantra. Here goes …

Well, I hope you all have a year where you feel FREE!!!


The patience of a saint …

“They” say (again, with those “they” people) that good things happen to those who wait. Oy! I certainly hope so! By the way, I find it very funny that yesterday I wrote about procrastination and procrastinators and today I wrote about patience and waiting. Fueled by two TOTALLY different reasons I’ve had to wait. One by a source of annoyance and the other a source of joy and excitement! Life is just silly that way.

Well, I hope you all have a day (or a decade) where you have the patience of a saint!!!

Home for the holidays …

There is a term that is used around this time of year that I didn’t quite understand until I had older kids who left home. I thought I understood the words, but I didn’t. At least not on a mom level. Now it is a term I use as frequently as life allows. And they are words that fill my heart with a joy I have never known.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you get to go HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS!!!


The one who started it all …

Today is my daughter Sidney’s birthday. She is the one who made me a mom and who helped me find the greatest joy I’ve ever known.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you are the one who started it all!!!


Feeling it …

It has been a long week filled with many ups and downs. But really, what week isn’t? I believe that life is best lived when it is felt with raw emotion. When life happens, good or bad, and we must simply “roll with it”. Those times when we are immobilized by fear and sadness. Or when we are overwhelmed with joy and feelings of being loved. When laughter and tears are experienced without force. All of it, real. Genuine. And perfect for the situation that we find ourselves in. It is in these precious moments that I am most alive. Proof, that I am not missing out on the lessons and gifts that life has for me. I love “owning” it. THIS IS MY LIFE. Ugly or beautiful … I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you feel it!!!


Go with the flow …

Winding down from the past eight days hasn't been easy. Coming home to a house that is down so many in numbers has just been weird. And of course now it's time to get ready for Libs' and Reese's first day of school next week AND their birthdays.

Life is ALWAYS busy. At least mine is. And I love it. I don't mean the busyness. I mean the "life" part. My life is never boring. It's full of change. It's full of happiness and pain. We have great times and we have struggles. It simply amazes me that it all keeps moving fluidly. And we just glide along with all of it mapping out a new course as each day passes.

I agree that times can be hard. I'm currently in one. I'm grieving the changes in our family. I miss my kids and what was. But I know I'll adapt and figure it all out. That is the beauty that comes with accepting life as it is and as it should be. It will come. This time might be difficult but my life is still incredible. I still laugh and enjoy every crazy mixed-up and turned around situation I find myself in. And I love and adore the people who I have chosen and who have chosen me share them with. We drift through this life together like a stream. My life takes many twists and turns. I don't always see what lies beneath the water. Heck, sometimes I don't want to. But it's all a part of this magnificent opportunity we have been given time and time again … to find joy in each new day. And as long as I have breath, no matter what I may be facing, I will seek it.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you go with the flow!!!


A beautiful and imperfect life …

When I pray I don’t ask for a perfect life. But instead, I ask for perfect moments in my rather imperfect life. I do not need an easy life to be happy. I do not need flawlessness. What makes me the happiest are those times when I am with the people I love most, sharing easy conversations, laughs or even stillness, quiet or tears. Those moments when I find myself saying that I wouldn’t trade RIGHT NOW for anything, no matter what situation I may be in. We could be home or on an adventure. At the market or an appointment. We can be going through tough times or good. It doesn’t matter. Opening my heart to accepting that these moments can happen ANYWHERE and under ANY circumstances has allowed me much joy. The genuineness of these moments allow me to feel the closeness that I am blessed to share with others. I appreciate the natural flow of these interactions and the contentment that they bring. They are a reminder that there is a great beauty in just BEING.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you appreciate your beautiful life!!!