Thursday, March 06, 2014

In Loving Memory of Brian Schlador


I was so touched that that my sister, Susanne, asked me to write her husband's obituary, though I felt so inadequate for the job. A few words cannot do justice to describe his bright light. My heart is broken by his leaving this earth so soon, but I am profoundly grateful to have known him as long as I did. 

Brian Wayne Schlador, 49, of Meridian, Idaho, was welcomed into Heaven Monday, March 3, 2014. He died from cancer while surrounded by his wife Susanne and children, Jacob, Kayla, and Tyler. His family was the center of his life.

Brian loved the ocean, body surfing, playing soccer, hunting, and above all spending time with his family.  He is remembered as an infectiously positive, fun-loving prankster, who put others first. He was a man of faith, character, and patience; an exemplary father and dedicated husband.

During his year-long bout with cancer, Brian continued to be an inspiration. In a note to friends and family, Susanne, said, “I have more intense love and respect for Brian today than at any other point in our almost 23 years of marriage because of his perseverance in the face of pain and absolute faith in our Creator’s hand in his life. Why does he stay in the battle? For love. It’s just that simple. He fights this cancer to stay with those he loves all the while knowing that ultimate healing only comes through leaving. Love alone IS worth the fight.”

Brian was born on September 16, 1964, in Encino, California, and spent his childhood there and later moved with his family to the San Francisco Bay Area. He graduated from Homestead High School in Cupertino, California and went on to attend San Diego State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. In his career he worked in various Information Technology capacities for Chevron and Hewlett Packard.

He married Susanne Kooyers in 1991 and they lived in the San Francisco Bay Area until 2000 when they relocated with their young children to Meridian, Idaho. In addition to his wife and children, Brian is survived by his parents Fred and Phyllis Schlador and his siblings Mark Schlador and Jennifer Schlador.

Memorial Services for Brian will be held at Cole Community Church, 8775 Ustick Road on Saturday, March 8, at 1:30 pm. In lieu of flowers, a college savings plan has been set up for Tyler Schlador at www.gradsave.org

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Living it up


Cross-posted to SpiroChicks. 

Over the years, I've written about my suffering and my practice to be grateful in the in the midst of it. (If you’re interested in any of that past history, click on the “Lyme” link under "Labels" at the right.) But this post is about healing. And yes, there’s a huge gap in my posting (like two years). There’s several factors that contributed to that, but ultimately, I think when I started feeling better, I started to live more and ruminate less.

In a way, I think I’m making up for lost time. In fact, I worry that Facebook friends think I’m a show-off posting pictures of myself waterskiing, out dancing, or striking a yoga pose half-way up the climb to Yosemite Falls. And to that, I say, “so be it.” Five years ago, I wasn’t entirely sure I was going to live to age 40 and if I did, I couldn’t have possibly imagined it with the physical ability and brain function I have now. So yes, I am profoundly proud of these moments.

Mostly, I am astonishingly grateful. It took a village to bring me to this place of recovery. To my Lyme doctor, acupuncturist, chiropractor, physical therapist, LENS practitioner, yoga instructor, dear friends--both the Lymies, who “get” everything, and the non-Lymies who tolerate, if not appreciate, my eccentricities--and my family: Thank you. Thanks for believing me, supporting me, accepting me. You have all shared a piece of your light with me and helped to bring back my flame.

I’m so glad I didn’t give up in those dark, dark moments. Where the only things keeping me in this world were a baby and a toddler who needed a mother; a husband whose loyalty and capacity to love me was beyond what I could have ever imagined; and the nagging belief that I haven’t fulfilled my life’s purpose yet.

And no, I'm not "cured," I'm still on medication, watch everything I eat and the thoughts that cross my mind, but I feel myself coming back. I really can’t say it any better than Dana, who was featured in the documentary Under Our Skin: “After ten years of Lyme, I’ve cleaned up and simplified my life. I have retreated deep into my soul and now I stand guard for everything that goes into body and mind. Whatever I have lost to Lyme I have gained ten-fold into my spirit. Life is coming back to me and I am so grateful.”

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

In Loving Memory of Sonia Todd

I lost a dear friend from high school this past Sunday. Her battle with cancer has been heartbreaking. While I feel so inadequate with words at times like these, Sonia did not. In the spirit of "if you want the job done right, you have to do it yourself," she had the foresight to write her own obituary. It is just like her to do something like this. She did it her way, lived without regret, and laughed until the end. I will miss her humor, bright smile, and turn of a good phrase. I'm grateful to have known her and will cherish the memories. She is modest about her life accomplishments and doesn't mention having published short stories and having her own newspaper column. If you want to check them out, see her blog at: http://myfirstlaunch.blogspot.com/





My name is Sonia Todd and I died of cancer at the age of 38. I decided to write my own obituary because they are usually written in a couple of different ways that I just don’t care for. Either, family or friends gather together, and list every minor accomplishment from cradle to grave in a timeline format, or they try and create one poetic last stanza about someone’s life that is so glowing one would think the deceased had been the living embodiment of a deity. 

I don’t like the timeline format because, let’s face it, I never really accomplished anything of note. Other than giving birth to my two wonderful, lovable, witty and amazing sons (James and Jason), marrying my gracious, understanding and precious husband (Brian), and accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal savior—I have done very little. None of which requires obit space that I have to shell out money for.  I also didn’t want a bunch of my friends sitting around writing a glowing report of me which we all know would be filled with fish tales, half-truths, impossible scenarios, and out-right-honest-to-goodness-lies. I just don’t like to put people in that kind of situation.

The truth, or my version of it, is this: I just tried to do the best I could. Sometimes I succeeded, most of the time I failed, but I tried. For all of my crazy comments, jokes, and complaints, I really did love people. The only thing that separates me from anyone else is the type of sin each of us participated in. I didn’t always do the right thing or say the right thing and when you come to the end of your life those are the things you really regret, the small simple things that hurt other people.

My life was not perfect and I encountered many, many bumps in the road. I would totally scrap the years of my life from age 16 to 20 . . . ok, maybe 14 to 22. I think that would eradicate most of my fashion disasters and hair missteps from the 80’s. But mostly, I enjoyed life. Some parts of it were harder than others but I learned something from every bad situation and I couldn’t do any more than that.

Besides there are some benefits to dying youngish, for example, I still owe on my student loans and the jokes on them cuz I’m not paying them. Plus, I am no longer afraid of serial killers, telemarketers, or the IRS. I don’t have to worry about wrinkles or the ozone layer and/or hide from the news during election season.

Some folks told me that writing my own obituary was morbid, but I think it is great because I get a chance to say thank you to all the people who helped me along the way. Those that loved me, assisted me, cared for me, laughed with me, and taught me things so that I could have a wonderful, happy life. I was blessed beyond measure by knowing all of you. That is what made my life worthwhile.

If you think of me, and would like to do something in honor of my memory do this:
-Volunteer at a school, church, or library
-Write a letter to someone and tell them how they have had a positive impact on your life 
-If you smoke, quit
-If you drink and drive—stop
-Turn off the electronics and take a kid out for ice cream and talk to them about their hopes and dreams
-Forgive someone who doesn’t deserve it
-Stop at all lemonade-stands run by kids and brag about their product
-Make someone smile today if it is in your power to do so 


*Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 20th at Trinity Baptist Church, 711 Fairview Drive, Moscow, with a potluck reception following, everyone is welcome to attend.

In lieu of flowers a memorial fund has been set up at the Blaine Street Branch of the US Bank in Moscow. Gifts can be made out to the Todd Boys Educational Fund. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Did Phillip Phillips' "Home" touch you the way it did me?

Phillip Phillips just broke my blogging slump (it’s been more than a year since I last posted and I had even taken my blog down thinking I was done all together).

This morning, as I drove to a doctor’s appointment listening to Phillips' American Idol finale song “Home,” (for the 10th time), I wept.

My journey through marriage, kids, Lyme disease, and the haunting calamities of my birth family past and present flashed before my eyes. I felt overwhelming gratitude for my husband, D.

Hold on, to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road 
And although this wave is stringing us along 
Just know you’re not alone 
Cause I’m going to make this place your home

Settle down, it'll all be clear 
Don't pay no mind to the demons 
They fill you with fear 
The trouble it might drag you down 
If you get lost, you can always be found 
Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home 

Whenever I wig out about people and things beyond my control (which as it turns out is quite often), D gently reminds me that the four people living within the walls of our house (me, him, our two boys) are my family, my team, my home. Thank God he found me and continues to roll down this crazy road with me.

BTW, Phillips didn't write the song. According to The Hollywood Reporter, it was co-written by Greg Holden and Drew Pearson. But, I think his artistry made it an instant hit.



Saturday, May 07, 2011

Happy Mother's Day Mom

Looks like it's becoming an annual tradition for me to post a picture of me with my mom on Mother's Day. I just realized tonight that I have very few photos of just us. Probably because I was number six.

And probably that when I got my own camera at age 16, I was more into my friends than family. It's been said before, and it's worth saying again, you really don't know what your mother did for you until you have your own kids.

This photo in particular touches me. It's the look on my mom's face. It's the tender look of love that I envision when I think of her. The look that tells me she loves me, even though she doesn't always agree with me. That she worries about me. Prays for me. Is proud of me. Cherishes me.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

New Year's Resolution: Love and Gratitude

I first heard about Masaru Emoto back in 2004 when his photographs of water crystals were featured in the documentary, What the Bleep Do We Know. What I remembered from the film was this: water spoken positive words to formed complete, beautiful crystals. Water spoken angry words to formed distorted crystals. The point was: our bodies are 70% water. What are our words doing to us?



I was impressed at the time, thought it interesting, but didn't dig deeper until a few weeks ago. When perusing one of my favorite bookstores, I came across Emoto's bestselling book, "The Hidden Messages in Water" and couldn't put it down. The photographs in the book are impressive in of themselves, but I found his theories on our health and emotions eerily fascinating.

Emoto believes the earth has 108 elements to correspond with Buddhism's 108 earthly desires. Measuring vibrations emitted by different people, he claims that negative vibrations correspond to the vibrations given off by the various elements. "For example, the vibrations created by irritation are equivalent to those of mercury, by anger to those of lead, and by sadness and sorrow to those of aluminum." He points out that science has already made a connection between aluminum and Alzheimer’s (the lonely disease of old age) and we all know the effects of heavy metals on the body.

His answer to our health as individuals--and for our world--is love and gratitude. About photographs of water crystals he says, "The response of water to love and gratitude is nothing less than grandeur" noting that it's both of the words together that create the most beautiful crystals. He says that while the power of love cannot be denied, it needs to be balanced by gratitude. "We must begin by learning what it means to have enough."

My new year's resolution is simply this: to manifest more love and gratitude in my life. Exactly how I'm going to do that is yet to be seen, but I'm going to start by paying more attention to water. The water in my glass, the water in the tub, the water that makes up the bodies of my family and friends. I'll choose my words more carefully. Maybe even say a blessing before a meal, a drink, or a bath.

"When you have become the embodiment of gratitude, think about how pure the water that fills your body will be. When this happens, you yourself, will be a beautiful shining light." -Masaru Emoto

Friday, November 19, 2010

So grateful for my Lyme friends

Last Friday night, I had the most amazing pre-Thanksgiving group-dinner (I can't stand the word potluck) with a few SpiroChicks and friends, to whom I am incredibly grateful just because of who they are: people like me--struggling with Lyme--that you don't have to explain anything to (especially your diet) and genuinly want to hear about the latest health gizmo.

We had a special guest, a practitioner in the Lyme community, join us. Over dinner, I was saying something about how when we're better, we'll be "Wholechicks" (Alix deserves the credit for coining that one). Our guest told us that we already were so powerful. We didn't have to wait until we were well to be "WholeChicks."

A flood of emotion came over me and I cried. I wish I could remember the exact words that touched me so deeply, so that I could repeat them to others struggling with chronic illness. Because in that moment, I felt truly "seen." Not as the parent who doesn’t volunteer much at school; the mom that is too tired to play baseball/soccer/football; the wife with the constant headache; the daughter who doesn't go to church; the sister who “has so many problems”; the flakey friend, the inconsistent blogger, the crazy patient, etc.

This person recognized the heroism just in keeping going in spite of it all (for me that's just getting the kids clothed, fed, and bathed). And saw me and the other amazing women around the table as creative, powerful forces benefiting the Lyme community and even impacting the future of medicine.

THAT will keep me going for a while. Someone thinks I have something valuable to contribute, perhaps because of my shortcomings. And that's where my focus needs to be. On what I CAN do. Not what I can't. That's a new lesson in gratitude for me.

I should add that Alix surprised us with "earthing kits" from the Earthing Institute, (you can watch videos about her earthing research here), and Ashley brought an organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan pie compliments of Cafe Gratitude. The night couldn't have been more perfect. And I'm so grateful. For all of it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Nature, Nurture, and Temperament: It's not my fault!

JB camping: wet, cold and determined. 
I think about how my health has affected my kids. A lot. I don't want to sound like I'm blaming all my bad parenting moments on Lyme, but I will say it's made it challenging to be the patient, creative parent I'd like to be. I'm tired. I'm in pain. I have brain fog. I can't remember things. I have a short fuse. Although I still have good days and bad, all of these symptoms are much, much, better now, nearly two years into treatment.

BUT, now I have a strong-willed, incredibly vocal, intense 2.5 year-old. I find myself beating myself-up (like I need that, too) for my parenting (or lack there of). Too tired and overwhelmed to match his intensity or to be creative in the moment, there's times I just give him what he wants to make the screaming stop. And then I'll tell his big brother to do the same thing. (Ummm, yah, not proud). And then I find myself thinking I've created this monster.

Thankfully, I've got Teacher Annie in my life to tell me "it's not all about me." Turns out kids are born with temperament traits. For the most part, they are who they are when they come out. And if I reflect back, I can definitely say that about JB. He has never liked his diaper changed and to this day fights it like he did when he was a day old. He's also my affectionate kid and I remember being blown away when at just two weeks old he grabbed my hand and held it to close to his chest.

Just as I can't take credit (or blame) for the things he did in the first weeks of his life, maybe I should take a little less now.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The New Supermom



Here I am about a half hour before my son's fifth birthday party (and no my house never looks this clean on a daily basis). Jumpy house was up and we were expecting about 40 guests. I'm washing fruit while Gentimycin drips into my arm via my PICC. I had also just taken a Vicodin because the Gentimycin gave me debilitating headaches and I couldn't take NSAIDs while on it.

I had also taken Ginseng and my daily low dose steroid to give me energy to get through the day, not to mention all the other oral antibiotics, natural anti-inflammatories, homeopathic tinctures, and vitamins that are part of daily regimen that keep me functioning.

I'm reminded of Alix's Ginger Rogers post about how she did everything Fred Astaire did, but she did it backwards and in high heels. That's about how if I feel sometimes if I compare myself to others. It takes a lot of pharmaceuticals and a Coke (I'm off caffeine and sugar so this is a real treat and buzz) to get me through a party. And it took me nearly a week to recover. But I did it. Not sure if that makes me crazy or the new breed of super-mom.



Thursday, September 23, 2010

Learning to Love My Backyard



Ever since we moved into this house four years ago, the backyard has been if not the bane of my existence (which is probably a little overly dramatic), is at the very least, something I think about A LOT. Probably more than is healthy. In JB's words, I want to re-do it SO BAD. I never thought I would have lived with it this long. We've spent our money on other things: our kitchen/living room remodel, my long and expensive journey back to health, and now school. I joke that our kids are going to private school, but they'll get tetanus from stepping on a nail on our dilapidated deck.

But yesterday, I was sitting there, warming my toes in the sun, buying a Groupon, while the kids played joyfully in the sandbox. The creek was flowing, the birds were singing, the ducks were quacking and if you looked closely, you probably would have spied a turtle. I put my computer down, closed my eyes and tilted my face toward the sun and thought, I LOVE my backyard! The deck might be falling into the creek, but IT'S ON A CREEK for crying out loud!

So instead of being so obsessed with what it isn't or what it could be, I'm trying to love my yard for what it is right now: a nature sanctuary, a picnic spot, a good place for a big sandbox, and a lesson in gratitude. And yes, the photo above was taken from the deck.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

John Deere Makes a Better Plow

Do you think my boys have seen enough John Deere videos?



Monday, August 30, 2010

Framable

DSC_1023_2

This is one of those unexpected perfect moments. Last Wednesday, when we picnicked along (or in, as you see) a creek in Yellowstone. One of those perfect moments that is already a well-loved memory.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

My fifth anniversary of being a mother

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Here's Ry holding up the Jets jersey he got for his birthday, much to his father's chagrin (he's a Chargers fan).

I can't believe it's been five years since I became a mother. It's been a long adjustment. I think it was YESTERDAY, that I finally thought that maybe I could let go of the to do list of my life and be content--in this moment--just to be Ry and JB's mom. Quit worrying about what I have yet to personally accomplish, because raising a few good men would be an accomplishment in and of itself.

I'm starting to feel less wistful for "what I could be doing" and am enjoying my boys for who they are right now. In Ry's case that means a fun-loving sports fanatic. He's into NASCAR, soccer, baseball, playing cards, reading and talking about planets, and keeping his social calendar booked at all times. Not always my cup of tea, but you do things for those you love. And he reciprocates by tolerating my kisses, hugs, and requirement that clothes match.

This kid (and his little brother) have brought more joy to my life than I could have ever imagined. That being said, the growing pains of motherhood have not been easy for me. And there's many days that I've spent mourning my former life: before motherhood, before Lyme disease. But as I said above, things are shifting. I'm starting to be content with how things are rather than being so focused on how I want them to be. That's gratitude, I think.

Happy birthday Ry-Ry and happy motherhood anniversary to me.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Old Photo of Dad and Me


Because I'm feeling sentimental these days, I went looking in my baby album for a photo of me with my dad and found this one. I like it for a couple of reasons, 1) I'm about the same age as JB is right now and can imagine how inquisitive I would have been 2) We're in the garden, which is something my dad has always enjoyed and I do, too. 3) It's funny how Zena, the dog, is photographed in full, but Dad's head is cropped off. Nevertheless, it's a sweet, sweet photo. Happy Father's Day, Dad! I love you.

I should end this post here...but can't resist a little debate on whether Father's Day is a family day or a "get out of jail free" card. This of course, refers to my husband, who spent the day at the U.S. Open. Don't get me wrong, he totally deserved it. He's an involved Dad, who works hard both at work and here at home. So I'm not begrudging him the day at all (unless it becomes a tradition). But just curious to know your thoughts, as Ry observed, that on Mother's Day we spend as a family, but on Father's Day, "dads do whatever they want." Should I be rethinking this and heading to the spa next Mother's Day?

Monday, June 07, 2010

Missing Cat: Flushes toilet; answers to Mulligan

Our first "baby" didn't come home last night. We're worried sick. It's true he doesn't get the royal treatment anymore, but that doesn't mean we don't love our Mulligan. I went looking for pictures to make a "Lost Cat" poster and took a trip down memory lane...

Baby picture

Glam shot


Wanting to go along


Showing off upper body strength


Comparing feet with Ry, age 18 months


Clowning around


There's hundreds more photos and I realized what we did before kids: We were amused by the cat. Now we amuse our kids. If I find the video of him flushing the toilet, I'll post it. Maybe that will help someone identify him and bring him home. (And no, we don't let him use the toilet...ewwww...he just flushes it to watch the water run, which is why we close lids in our house.)

Sunday, May 09, 2010

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree


I went searching for a picture of me with my mom in honor of Mother's Day. I was drawn to this one...can't pin point the exact reason but I think it has to do with the fact that she didn't let having six kids put a damper on her sense of adventure. Camping with a 2-year-old? (and an 8, 12, 14, 17, and 19 year-old) No problem.



Here's a shot of Ry-Ry, her 19th grandchild, 35 years later at my parents 50th wedding anniversary camp out. Turns out the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Thanks mom, for instilling in me that sense of adventure. Happy Mother's Day.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

I’m lucky to have these walls. Even if they are not quite the right shade of beige.

I wrote--and published--this post once already today. But somehow (related to me trying to parent and edit typos at the same time) it got deleted. So I'm writing it AGAIN. I'm not sure which is the more downer thing of the day, my post getting deleted or the fact that Ry made me a Mothers' Day present at school but ate it before he gave it to me. 

Last weekend, I got a "get out of jail free" card as my neighbor and friend Elizabeth puts it, to check out the Willow Glen Lifestyles Home Tour. I wrote about the tour for Lookiloos, but what I didn't say there was that as fun as it was to snoop in other people's houses, what made it a literal jailbreak was that I got to spend the afternoon with four other creative, fun, sassy moms without our kids.

On Monday, Elizabeth called wanting to scheme up ways we could make girl-time/house viewing an on-going thing. "It takes a village," she quipped, referring to coming up with ideas and plans to make our houses work for our families. I think she's on to something.

It's one thing to ooh and awe over an impressive home. It's another to be able to instantly share your inspirations with a few girlfriends who are all in the same boat: trying to make the most of our small allotment of space in Silicon Valley.

When we came across a concrete couch in the backyard of one home we toured, all my friends, knowing my affinity for concrete, nodded in unison that a replica belongs in my backyard. They also saw completely within the realm of possibility an add on to the front of my house and helped me digest ideas.

This in contrast with a scene from my house a couple weeks ago. After a loud, busy, testosterone filled-night, we FINALLY get the boys in bed. D goes in the sauna. D takes a shower. D comes out and starts sneaking past me. I'm all "WTF? You haven't talked to me all day!" "I was afraid you were going to talk to me about beds or bedding," he confessed.

Okay, so I'd been a little obsessed over trying to solve the shared boy room space. JB is ready for a big boy bed and I was researching the options--bunk beds, low loft beds, twin beds, etc., ad nauseam. And D just couldn't engage.

What probably would work best in our house is for me to decide what we're going to do and then sell him on it. But here's the rub: I'm a collaborative person. I make decisions collaboratively. In fact I took a test once on my approach to conflict. Guess what? I'm a collaborator. So if I have no collaboratoree...what am I to do?

That's right, take it to my sistas. So I am forever indebted to my dear friend Sunni and my sister Susanne who both took the time to discuss the boys' beds until I came to a resolution. Another reminder of the blessings of girlfriends.

And while I’m talking of blessings, I have to hand it to my friend Holly, who commented on one of the homes, “…the delicate stenciling on the back hallway was like a homage to a simpler time and a gentle reminder to enjoy the beauty all around...even in simple walls...which we are lucky to have at all.”

And yes, I’m lucky to have these walls. Even if they are not quite the right shade of beige. Even if my husband doesn't know the difference between that beige and this beige. Even if he won’t be discussing it. I'm just so glad I have girlfriends who will.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What do Mennonite In a Little Black Dress, Oprah, and NurtureShock have in common?

What do Mennonite In a Little Black Dress, Oprah, and Nurtureshock have in common? They're books found on my nightstand, in my purse, accompanying me to the chiropractor's office, or dare I say the bathtub?

I love reading--when I can. But sometimes it feels like such a solitary thing, which is why people have book clubs I suppose. Anyway, I just thought I'd share a few of the books I'm reading so in case you've read them too, or want to, and then we can discuss.

I'm currently halfway through Oprah: A Biography, the unauthorized biography by Kitty Kelly. I must say I'm a little shell-shocked. For sometime I've considered Oprah a role model and positive force. And I still do. But it turns out she's human. And frankly I'm afraid to say more on record. So call me.

NurtureShock: New Thinking About Childrenis the must-read parenting book of the year. From teen rebellion to language development, to the inverse power of praise, there's some new, interesting, research here that has changed my thinking on some things and cemented it in others.

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Hometouched me in some tender places. Read my review.

What's on your nightstand?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I never thought I'd have an ordinary life

I never thought I'd have an ordinary life. Maybe it's my ego. Or maybe it's that I had an extraordinary childhood. But here I am living in a three-bedroom, two-bath ranch in a decent neighborhood in the Bay Area. A stay-at-home mom to two kids. YAWN.

I especially feel this way after being on Facebook. Seeing former classmates and colleagues' updates about exotic locals they're vacationing in, cool gigs they're working, ultra-chic homes with backyards out of Sunset, amazing parenting feats (sewing Jedi capes for b-day party favors), or people back home shooting things in the mountains I miss so much, makes me feel like everyone is either having more adventure or is more accomplished than I.

If I step back for a second, I realize that this is 90% of the time likely my imagination and I should really keep in mind that country song, "I'm So Much Cooler Online" every time I visit Facebook.

But...lately, I've been feeling resentment toward motherhood and Lyme. I blame these constant companions for if not standing in between me and my dreams, at least making them much much harder to obtain.

And then I read "10 Rules I've Unlearned," by Martha Beck in this month's O. Number 9 hit home for me:

If all my wishes came true, life would be perfect. Check it out: People who have what you want are all over rehab clinics, divorce courts, and jails. That's because good fortune has side effects, just like medications advertised on TV. Basically, any external thing we depend on to make us feel good has the power to make us feel bad. Weirdly when you've stopped depending on tangible rewards, they often materialize. To attract something you want, become as joyful as you think that thing would make you. The joy, not the thing, is the point.

And while my yearnings are not so focused on material things (well, besides a new backyard and anything Potterybarn) and are more accomplishment based (like a novel or a memoir), I look at this photo above and get some perspective. My boys give me more joy than any huge accomplishment or material thing could. Remembering that in the resentful moments is key.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It's Spring. Things are growing....including me

Cross-posted to SpiroChicks.

I'm so excited to use my new spring masthead. Today, I'm even more struck by the quote, "I am grateful for whatever helps my spirit to grow," than I was the day I decided to use it last fall. I wonder if my leaning towards reflections like this is what brings difficult things into my life or is it because there are difficult things in my life that it resonates with me.

Considering our current economic and health care crises, I feel a little awkward talking about my life being difficult. People are struggling everywhere. With job loss, sickness, not being able to afford healthcare, rent, food, or even safe and proper care for their children.

I only have one of those things to worry about. Living with Lyme and raising two small children is incredibly hard--the hardest thing I have ever, ever done. (And I'm particularly wiggy this week because a friend from college posted on FB that her cousin lost her 10-year battle with Lyme, leaving two teenage kids behind.)

But, even so, I have much, much to be grateful for. My insurance is covering my IV medications. Which is huge. HUGE. And as D reminded me last night in my moment of doubt, I AM getting better. He told me not to look day-to-day, but over the course of the last year and half. And there's been major progress: My psoriasis is gone, my panic attacks and rage have lessoned, my brain function is improving, and I've had a few days in which I got a feel for what it's like to be normal.

And while it is hard to tend to active boys and all running a household requires when you have a daily fight with constant pain and fatigue, I'm DOING IT. Sure my house isn't even 5% as clean or organized as I'd like it to be. And I'm not camp counselor Kim cracking out craft, cooking, and sensory projects like some stay-at-home-moms, but...I'm managing. They get fed, they get bathed, they get loved.

And while I wish I could do so much more, I'm working on not beating myself up, letting go of perfectionism, and trying to respect my limits. I have no choice, really. And as I've said before, I can't and won't say I'm grateful for Lyme, but the opportunities it's given my spirit to grow are paramount.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I'm giving away my Bon Jovi tickets for 2/22!

D gave me Bon Jovi tickets for Valentine's Day. We I was really looking forward to it. But...it wasn't meant to be. We have two sick kids--one with a fever that keeps spiking to 105 and the other requiring nebulizer treatments. As a probably somewhat nuerotic mom, I can't make any other choice but to stay home. But oh am I bummed. And I think Jon Bon Jovi will be sorry he missed me, too:)

To my local friends who have been lurking on my blog but haven't commented...here's your big chance to stand up and be counted. Just share your favorite Bon Jovi memory (like what you were doing when you were listening to a certain song) by 2:00 pm PST Monday and I'll give the two tickets to whoever is clearly most deserving. If I can't see the show, I need to get some fun out of this! It's at 7:30 pm at the HP Pavilion.

Late breaking news as of 9:00 am Monday. Babysitter, who I did not take as a Bon Jovi fan considering she is at least half a decade younger than I, says she wants them AND offered to babysit for free in exchange. Soooo that trumps everything and since no one has provided their memory as of yet, I'm giving them to her. But feel free to share your Bon Jovi stories anyway!

Here's a quote from an email I got from my friend and neighbor: "Sorry to hear the boys are sick or, maybe, you just secretly lost the guts to Aqua Net your hair and scream "Living on a Prayer" and concocted this whole sick kid excuse?" Ummm...no. But I was starting to have a minor fashion crisis for my first "date" with Jon:)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My pre-occupations and the future of gratitude365

The BlogHer ad network gently reminded me that I have a blog I'm not writing on. And to that I admit that I've been a little preoccupied. With a PICC line. Taxes. The Olympics. School (public or private? Should Ry "redshirt" kindergarten?). Facebook (read these scary statistics).

I could write a post or two on all of the above...that is...if I had free babysitting, drank caffeine, and my blog wasn't about, uh, gratitude. That's the thing. I know that hasn't kept me from getting on my soapbox before, but lately I'm really struggling with wanting to write about whatever I want however I want to say it and staying true to the essence of what I wanted gratitude365 to be: my journey on learning to be grateful.

It's a conundrum. And I think about it almost every time I think about blogging. So what can be done? Well...I can't maintain more blogs than I currently have. So starting another blog is not an option. So...should I:

A) Rename gratitude365? (Kimmie's Soapbox comes to mind).
B) Get back to the gratitude.
C) Keep the name and write whatever.
E) Start an old fashioned, hand-written diary (i.e. keep my thoughts to myself).

Your input is greatly appreciated.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Country girl can survive?


Whenever we have a big storm and the creek rises and the power goes out I get a little wigged. I'm not sure what gets me more about the power being out: the fact that I keep trying to turn on the light switches, that I have pharmaceuticals and other perishables in the fridge, there's no Curious George re-runs, or that you can't really cook (darn). 

But I really, really don't like it when the power goes out and it happens more than I like. And, after I'm done with this post, I'm going to check out some generators online.

Now maybe you think this is a reasonable response for a city dwelling individual. Or maybe you think the generator idea is a bit much. Well...a little background on my relationship with electricity:

When my family moved to "the ranch" back when I was six-years-old, we had only a generator. It ran for part of the day and was turned off at night. We had even had kerosene wall "sconces" in the ranch house. Unless there was a decent moon, it was pitch black if you got up to go to the bathroom in the night.

A couple years later, my dad and my brother built a hydro-electric system, which ran 24/7 (sort of) but the power load had to be manually controlled by what you turn on and off. I remember trying to explain to my friends why we had heaters OUTSIDE. IN THE SUMMER.

But I'm a city-dwelling California girl now. And have been for the last 18 years. I let PG&E worry about balancing the power load now. But I think it's interesting that I'm sooo dependant on it, considering it wasn't a "given" in my childhood.

It's a catch-22 because I find myself longing to do what my dad did and taking my family "off the grid," where the boys can run with abandon, we could have a expansive garden, and will spend our days canning and skinning things. Like the lines from this Hank Williams Jr. song:

I can plow a field all day long
I can catch catfish from dusk till dawn
We make our own whiskey and our own smoke too
Ain’t too many things these ole boys can’t do
We grow good ole tomatoes and homemade wine
And a country boy can survive
Country folks can survive

But seriously... what would I do without without PG&E, Whole Foods, and Baja Fresh?

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