waiting for the airplane . . .

our flight is delayed
weather in florida
and snow in colorado
we may just be moving into the st. louis airport.

the computer battery is about to die.

hope you had a good thanksgiving.


experimenting with joy: part ii

it is really difficult for me to let people take care of me. i might allow someone to do something i don't want to do. herb knows this to be true. all of the gold stars next to his name, earned for laundry folding and trash-taking-out, can testify. but that is really more laziness than anything else. i am talking about really being honest with someone about a need that you have. and then allowing them to really do something about it.

as a therapist, you would think i could see the value in allowing another to walk alongside me. after all, i make a living by doing that for others. apparently i (and my clients) believe that there is something valuable in allowing another to know your pain and do what they can to help.

it may have something to do with being embarrassed. or nervous. nervous that if i am totally honest about my stuff, that people will judge. and nervous that if i ask for help, and really allow the other to put themselves aside long enough to help me . . . in exchange for helping me . . . that they will in turn resent me.

i know, for a therapist, i am flush with issues.

this is both

but on sunday, for whatever reason, i allowed my friend kelly to respond to my weakness. she, like all of you, knows that i am supposed to be resting my body as much as possible. but what she also knows about me is that i am more likely to keep tromping along like nothing is wrong with me, so as not to be judged as being weak, or more likely, a drama queen. but she decided, on sunday, to give me what i needed. and that was a day of doing nothing. we spent hours on our respective couches. reading and watching movies. mostly watching movies. i did not even feel moderately compelled to get up from the couch when she started cooking lunch. not because i am lazy, but because i knew that the doctor wants me off of me feet as much as possible. and i know that kelly can handle making lunch for me, without my help, without so much as judging me or feeling resentful.

it was surprisingly easy. and i was really happy to have experimented with living honestly out of my needs and weaknesses. it felt authentic and true. and later that evening, around 7 pm, when we finally emerged from the pit of pajamas and films, i felt whole, well, rested, present and peaceful. i was funnier at the dinner party we attended than i have been in months.

it was like i was being rewarded for honoring myself by getting to see more of my true self emerge.

today . . .

(first time messing around with mac photobooth. fun fun fun!)
  1. at my mom's house in st. louis
  2. curled up in a blanket
  3. enjoying the quiet
  4. made some art today
  5. will go back to the studio and finish tomorrow
  6. love that my mom has a little studio near her home
  7. that i can just walk into
  8. and play.
  9. enjoying using bullet points!
  10. going to my brother's b-day party tonight
  11. . . . where all the guests will be getting unicorn tattoos . . .
  12. yes.
  13. you heard right.
  14. he has rented out his favorite tattoo parlor
  15. and they are all getting unicorn tattoos . . .
  16. you know, "straight guy tattoos"!
  17. notice i said "they" and not "we".
  18. my unicorn thing ended in about 7th grade.
  19. okay, maybe 9th.



(from the top: butternut squash soup, braised red cabbage with goat cheese, brussel sprouts with almond and dried cranberries, spaghetti squash with shiraz kissed tomato sauce, and chicken sausage.)

when i was in elementary school,
we had a neighbor babysit us
and she insisted that i

i told her i couldn't.
that i would gag them up.

she continued to insist.

i ate them.

and i then gagged them up . . .
all over her opened dishwasher door.

i have always been a woman of my word,
but eeeewww.

since then, i have expanded my
veggie repertoire
to include what i like to call
"veggies light".

i enjoy spinach salads
(as long as they are filled with nuts and gorganzola cheese!)
i love avocados,

but i don't consider most of those
to be "real veggies"!

last week the doctor told me
that one thing that might really help my back pain
is to really start eating a diet free of inflammatory foods.
one way to do this
is to start eating gluten-free.
well, if you have been following this blog for long,
you know that i have tried that before.
it is difficult, but it is quite doable.

what did not feel very doable is that she
went onto explain that i need to cut out
just about everything . . .
my meals should include meat and vegetables.
my snacks are fruit.
no dairy
no soy
no corn
no sugar
no rice
no wheat
you get the picture.
again, i have tried something similar before.
and THAT was NOT doable for me!

the problem is that while i like
the main event is supposed to be vegetables.

i have spent the past three days resisting
and rebelling.
in fact, i have eaten chick-fil-A TWICE
since being put on this diet.
ahh, rebellion.
sweet rebellion.

but kelly,
being the lovely, caring kelly that she is,
decided that she wanted to see me succeed.

so today for lunch,
she made me the "Festival of Vegetables"!

she called herb after lunch
to proclaim that she had gone
where no man had gone before:
she fed me a mostly vegetarian meal . . .
and i ate it!

they laughed as she described
the look of terror in my eyes
as i sat down to a plate FULL of vegetables.
she explained that she lovingly included
in the middle of the plate
to serve as a sort of familiar "home base"
when i got nervous or freaked out.

but i have to say,
while the sausage was a comforting sight,
i really enjoyed our lunch!
especially the braised red cabbage!

maybe, just maybe, there is hope for me yet!!!


experimenting with joy: part i

i heard a little bit of a stand up comedy routine
on the radio this week.
the guy said,
"yeah, my grandfather was weird.
he used to make me stand next to him
in a small room,
and we couldn't talk.
he said it was elevator practice."

well, lately, i have been practicing
saying "hi, how is your day going?"
when i am in the elevator.

and today i was rewarded with the sweetest gift!
the young woman standing next to me
hardly allowed me to finish my question
before she errupted with excitment:
"i am doing SO good!"
she grabbed her belly and continued,
"i get to find out what i am having!"

my eyes filled with tears!
i told her how excited i was
and thanked her for telling me!
i was still blubbering over her
as she got out of the elevator
and walked into her doctor's office!

what a treat!


well, day three was pretty tough.
i was experiencing some pain and discomfort,
which is normal with spinal decompression.
have you ever hung on a pull up bar at the park?
did you notice that you low back felt sore afterwards?
well, this process is not unlike hanging from a pull up bar.
it is meant to pull my vertabrae apart so that the discs can
be "sucked" back into the place they belong.
it also allows them to get "bathed" in the
water and nutrients that they have been deprived of for so long.
(you should see those sad little discs on my MRI -
they are all skinny and black . . . totally dehydrated! SAD!)

anyway, with the pain, and the difficulty of staying in bed,
i found myself sort of worried yesterday.
i was concerned that this process won't work.
worried that i will get my hopes up
but that nothing will happen.

but then . . .
day four rolled around . . .
and today i found myself very hopeful
as i walked into the building this morning . . .
very thankful
and very confident
that my body

i am grateful that there is a light
at the end of this painful tunnel.
and my heart was full
of that gratitude this morning!

love big RAK Winner!!!!!!!

and with the help of an online random number generator . . .
the winner of my "love big" RAK is . . .

the lovely rhirhi!!!!
alright lovely girl, i will send these out soon!
by the way, rhi made a fantastic video that is on her blog -
go check it out!
so creative . . .
i might need to give that project a shot . . .
i am so curious now about what my day "sounds like"!

love you rhi . . . so glad i get to send these cards to yoU!



yesterday the doctor reinforced the importance
of lying down and letting my back rest
during the next six weeks.

this is not an easy task for me.
i am a putterer.
i putter.
i tried to explain this to the doctor
but he thought i was talking about golf.

i move around.
i try and be productive.
i have nervous energy.

and now i have to lay down.

last night i was worried
about tuesday.
because tuesday is
laundry day.

but with all of the
running up and down the stairs,

changing loads,
bending over and standing up
over and over.
i was concerned.

but i didn't want to dump it on herb.
herb works so hard.
at home.
in the yard.
at work.
and taking care of our rental property.

the last thing i wanted was to give him
another task.
but i knew i needed to.

and he took it graciously.

i love that man.

thanks again for all of the warm wishes,
book suggestions,
and love!

you guys are awesome!



this morning was my first treatment for my bulging disks.
the doctors and staff are all very nice,
though we have a little cigarette smoke issue
that i am going to have to figure out with one of the techs.
it is not fun being strapped down for 30 minutes
by a person who had nicotine for breakfast!
especially if you are sensitive to smoke.
but otherwise, it went really well
and i came home and got right into bed.
well, onto bed, technically.

my heart is both skeptical and hopeful.
i can't believe that i might start living a life
that is not centered around trying to manage my pain!
it is hard to believe.
for years, i have tried various treatments.
i have prayed.
but nothing has changed.
so, it is a little bit hard to let myself fully open my heart up
to the possibility.
but underneath my skepticism,
i am a hopeful person.
so, under the cautious questioning,
i am thrilled!

i can't wait to get to know pain-free cara!
i bet she is a lot of fun!


today . . .

(the makings for chicken tortilla soup)

(chili with a half bottle of honey beer stirred in for extra flava!)

i have spent the past two and a half hours

in the kitchen,
making food to freeze.
most of it is for herb to start taking lunches with him to work,
but it will also help to have some frozen meals
during my next six weeks
of back healing and recovery time!

i used to do this when i was single -
spend a sunday afternoon in the kitchen,
making food to freeze in single containers
so that i would have real meals
to take to work
or to eat at home at the end of the day.
i am all about preparing food ahead of time
so that busy days still have a little
home cooked loving
tucked in!


following through

thank you all for your encouraging
and great suggestions
for passing the time between now and christmas!

i might actually break down
and read the twilight series!

almost a half dozen people have suggested
that i read it while i am down and out!

we'll see.

i went to the bookstore yesterday
and stocked up!

what i can find at the library,
i plan to return.
otherwise, i am set!

you will be glad to know
that i asked for help yesterday!

i am hoping to cook a bunch of food
and freeze it this weekend.

but after my big food shopping spree yesterday,
i was totally wiped out.
so, i asked my neighbor
if i could borrow her girls to unload my car.

it was weird . . .

just sitting on the couch
while a 9 year old lugged in my bags.

she made sure to sigh with every load . . .

in true 4th grader style!
it was pretty amusing!

this weekend, herb is taking a motorcycle course

so that he can be legal when driving his new (bigger)scooter.
so, i am a bachelorette all weekend.

i hope to:

* pick up the house a little bit (especially the art space)

* buy a few new shirts and a pair of pants * check out library books
* write
* make some art

* cook meals to freeze

that should be MORE than enough
to keep me busy.

and since it is 9:30 am
and i am still in my jammies
surfing the internet,
you can see i have not made a very fast go at it!

time to get moving!

thanks again for all of the love!


Edited To Add:
i just finished surfing the denver public library's online goodness,
only to find that they have three of my books available
and the others are available at nearby branches.
i have placed holds on the ones that are not at my branch
and they will email me when they arrive
at the library in my neighborhood!
i love love love the public library system!!!
man, if this is socialism,
then we've got nothing to worried about
when it comes to nationalized healthcare!


bad news has never sounded so very very good!

i had just turned 20 when it happened.
my mom and i were rear-ended . . .
on the highway.
there were no injuries
that i was aware of.

a few weeks later,
i started training at the gym
with my friend stephanie.
we both loved weight training
because it made us feel
like strong women.
(i don't think it is a coincidence
that we are both pychotherapists now.)

during this time,
my dad finally decided
that he did want the divorce.
and an entire year of negotiations
and waiting began.

it is hard to say what the culprit was,
but between an accident,
emotional stress,
and a few injuries at the gym,
i was soon living with lower back pain.

over the next year, the pain crept
all over my back and into
my neck and shoulders.
in the past 6 years,
the pain has translated into hip pain,
shooting pains down my legs and sometimes arms,
and overall discomfort.
not to mention moodiness, fatigue, and brain fog.
oh, and i was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

eleven years later,
i can honestly say
that i have done my very best
to live a full life,
despite the chronic pain.

i have been a swing dancer,
lived in mexico
where i did construction
and slept on a canvas cot,
waited tables at a restaurant,
put myself through grad school,
exercised regularly,
and pursued a career in counseling.

yesterday, herb and i looked at my MRI films
(how on earth i managed to go 11 years
without an MRI is beyond both of us!!!
i have tired so many things,
but never have i had an MRI).

while there,
we learned that i have been living
with two bulging discs.
they are small,
but over the years, they have become
so irritated
that i now have inflammation all over my body.
which would explain
(in MY opinion)
at least part of my fibromyalgia symptoms.
the inflammation is irritating my nerves.

oh, and all of that
"living a full life,
despite the fact that i am in pain?"
well, somewhere along the way,
i have managed to tear the ligament
that protects the discs that are bulging.

so, i have two bulging discs,
inflammation that has become systemic,
nerve irritation,
and two tears in the protective ligament of my discs.

wow, no wonder i have been tired and cranky for so long.

when the doctor left the room for a moment,
herb looked at me and said,
"you must be so happy!?!"

and it is true.
i am.
i am thrilled to know what is wrong with me.
it is hard on a girl's soul to feel sick all of the time,
but feel like she is without excuse.
for so long, i have been wanting a diagnosis.
because most of the time,
a diagnosis comes with a plan.

and a plan i have.
no, i won't be having back surgery.
but i will be following a very involved
non-surgical plan
that will hopefully find me pretty close to pain free
by christmas.

several times over the past year or two,
i have wondered,
"at what point will i just shut down
and say, i'm done? because sometimes i just can't
go anymore. sometimes the pain and fatigue
are so grand that i can't stand another minute
of obligation or even fun things that i want to do!"

but i knew i would never let myself do it -
just close the doors,
crawl into bed
and stay there until i got better.
because i didn't feel like i had a reason.
i didn't feel justified.

but now?
oh, i couldn't be happier to have been put
on major physical restriction!
and while i am nervous about not exercising for a month,
(you know, to protect my bulges and tears and irritation?)
i am thrilled to have been told that i don't need to be doing much more
than doing my treatments,
seeing a few clients at work,
and then going home to lay on my couch.

so that is the plan.
all new clients will be going to interns.
grocery shopping will be done
on the weekends,
when herb can help bring in the bags.
if i need to, i will hire someone to clean the house.
i probably won't,
but i feel total freedom to do so if i need to!!!

what is most unbelievable to me about all of this?
i have never lived a day as a pain-free adult!
the freedom and choices that come with adulthood
have all been viewed and made
through the lens of chronic pain!

the reality is,
while in many regards i am who i am,
and not much has changed since 2nd grade,
i don't know some very real parts of myself.
they have been muted by pain and fatigue.
my creative efforts have been limited.
and my moodiness and irritability
(though my family can tell you are not entirely new traits)
they have been highly exacerbated over the past decade.

my biggest hope is to uncover more of my vibrant self
during this process of healing.

so, this morning,
i am still in shock.
but my heart is beginning to rest.
i am so thankful to finally be on a path
towards whole health!

(if you have any ideas of ways i can entertain myself
while laying down or taking it easy,
please please please leave me a comment!
i have a very bad habit of watching hours of tv
and surfing the internet when i am supposed to be resting.
but i would really love to have some choices
that are somewhat stimulating and productive.
any help would just be the best!)

thanks friends, for reading this part of my story!



Well, it is time for a RAK on this blog!

(set of 8 mini handmade post cards, each says "love big")

The last one was the bike RAK
and that was a little out of control!

(mostly because i didn't know what the give away was going to be!)

SO, In honor of the newest piece of art I have just finished,
(which you can see more of
over at my shop),
i am doing a give away!

why don't you leave a comment telling me about
the most recent creative thing you have done -
it can be anything -
a meal you have cooked,
some art you made,

the way you rearranged the furniture,
even a clever way of handling an argument!

if you have a picture,
throw in the link just for fun!

My random number generator will pick a winner,
who will win a set of 8 mini postcards

from my esty shop!!!



I just got off of the phone with April
from Alternatives Pregnancy Center.
I will be going over there next week for a tour
and to get set up as a volunteer.

I know we don't all have a million extra hours
just floating around
to volunteer
or try to make change,
but I have to say,
I was SO amazed to hear that I can actually
volunteer on their help line

I was also encouraged to hear that I was


people who have called this week
to volunteer
as a response to the election of Barack Obama.
Apparently I was the only one of the bunch
who voted for Obama,
but the rest said,
"Okay, this was not my choice in president,
so now it is time to get up
and do something
so that my voice
and values are heard."

That is so cool!

Alright, now we are off to the mountains to celebrate our anniversary!
What are YOU doing for fun this weekend???

The Risks of Drinking A Smoothie While Fighting

SO, just in time for our anniversary celebration,
i have a great marriage story . . .

So, a week ago, Herb and I were in an argument. It was the kind that we should have taken a break from, because NOBODY was winning. He made a comment that was intended to make me feel heard and loved, but I was so irritated by that point, so I just got angrier. I slammed my breakfast smoothie (homemade, no preservatives . . . ) onto the counter. I noticed a little splashed onto my sleeve and wiped what spilled off of the counter.

Fast forward a few days. I was walking through the living room a noticed that something smelled like puke. I told our roommate/basement renter that there was an odd smell, but that I couldn't figure out where it was coming from. "Yeah," she said, "I thought I smelled something. it reminded me of when my mom would cut up papya - and i always thought that smelled like puke."

Later that night, I smelled it again, but only in the middle of the living/kitchen area. Herb couldn't smell it. All week the smell progressed and seemed to "move around" the main floor. Gross. Herb still couldn't smell it. This morning, he walked inside after taking care of the car and finally, he got a BIG wiff. And when a man whose sniffer doesn't work all that well can smell the mysterious traveling puke smell, you KNOW it is not in your imagination and it is time to get serious!

That is when the real investigating began. We checked the heat vents - no odor. We checked for a sewer back up - nope. I was just about ready to scrub the floors when herb noticed some greyish purple spots on the ceiling above our breakfast bar. We were both thinking some sort of scary mold or something. I climbed up and realized that the spots had berry seeds in them . . . not unlike the berry seeds in my smoothie the morning i therw my temper tantrum last week!!!!

SO, basically, I got angry and as a result, I had fresh fruit ROTTING on my CEILING! Thankfully, we have now located the smell, and JUST IN TIME to prevent me from scrubbing the floors! :)



photo credit: kelly jackson

three years ago yesterday,
we were doing this!

to my man who i do this dance with,
i love you very much.


In Response

NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: This post is NOT intended to become an open debate on any political issue . . . only to try and unify us. So, please note now that any negative or debate related comments will kindly be deleted in pursuite of keeping the focus on moving forward with what we have. Thank you!

WOW! What a week, huh?
Barack Obama is the next president . . .
OUR next president!

There are so many feelings about this
among Americans.
So many people I know are excited
and so many are sad and scared . . . feeling small and hopeless.

I want to thank all of the blogs I have read
of people who didn't want a President Obama,
but have graciously said, "So, now we pray and pitch in."
Thank you thank you thank you.
Not because I voted for Obama,
but because that is the heart we must
ALL have if this is going to work.
Thank you for setting that example for all of us.

My friend Dave asked me if I would be blogging about Obama's win.
I told him that I just wanted to say this:

"Regardless of who we voted for, it is up to us to make change in this country.
Nothing will change if we don't change.

If there will be any change in this country,
we must have a strong leader.
And I hope that is what we have.
But, change will ONLY happen
because of US.
We must all knock the dust off our boots and get our hands dirty.
It does not matter how good a leader
a man (or woman) is.
Unless we contribute,
nothing will happen.
And when we don't agree with him,
that is okay,
we are not impotent.
Then, we must find ways to make our voice, views, and needs
heard, seen, realized.

Either way,
the ONLY way this country will see change
(ANY kind of change)
will be if we jump in."

Then I read this article over at Relevant Magazine's website,
and I just had to post it here because she said
everything I wanted to say with such grace and clarity.

Please take a few minutes to read it (I have posted it below).
It is totally worth it.
AND THEN, please, post a
positive, hopeful comment
about what you might like to do this year
to see the change you want to see in our country!

(ME? I am thinking about volunteering as a counselor with our local alternative pregnancy center, which offers women education and support on options. Because I want to see Obama's charge and desire to decrease abortions come to light.)

Thanks everyone!

America Chooses Obama
By Roxanne Wieman

Well, here we are on the other side. A watershed moment. An historic election. And we, the American people, have made our choice.
Barack Obama will be the 44th President of the United States, and the nation’s first black president. And in elections across the country, Democrats won their seats in the Senate. When Obama takes office in January, he will do so with a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress.

“The American people have spoken, and spoken clearly,” McCain told his supporters in Arizona after the results came in.
But what about you?
Those of you who took our RELEVANT poll yesterday favored McCain: 47 percent of you voted for the Arizona Senator and 33 percent of you for Obama. So, are you disappointed? Will you hang your heads today? Do you fear for our nation’s future? I’m not so sure.
So many of us—members of the widely contested “young evangelical voters”—were divided about this election. Not just as a group, but even in our own hearts. I know which candidate I chose, but it wasn’t an easy decision. And, to be honest, I didn’t really care who won. I agreed with both. I disagreed with both.

What I’m wondering now is where do we go from here?
While the electoral vote and popular vote strongly favored Obama, our country is still largely divided. This was a hard-fought, personal and passionate race. There are wounds on both sides. Can Obama and the Democratic congress heal those wounds? Can we help?

Yes and yes.
Obama ran as a unifier. He condemned our party divisions and championed cooperation across party lines. Many of the Democrats who won seats in the Senate ran with similar platforms. If Obama and the Congress majority maintain that position and “reach across the aisle” in the years to come, that will certainly go a long way in healing our wounds and unifying our country. Karl Rove has already expressed his own wish that the Republicans would do the same, "I hope we will support [Obama] when we agree with him, persuade him when we think his mind is open, and oppose him when we think he is wrong.

"Whether unity happens in Washington or not, the question still returns to us: what can we do to help? As Francis Schaeffer so famously put it, “How shall we then live?” Now that the election is over and Obama and the Democrats have so clearly won, how shall we then live? I believe that we, the young Christian voters, can uniquely answer this question. I believe, in fact, that this is the very question we are so primed to answer. Because this election and its profound life issues has galvanized us to true action.
Yes, we voted. But it’s more than that. Through this election, we’ve become aware of the major social issues of our day. And now we want to do something about them. We recognize an election will not change everything. We do not rest our hopes for change on a political party or candidate. We vote, we hope, but we don’t stop there. Tomorrow and the next day and the next and in January when Obama takes office, we get up and we continue our sojourn to follow Jesus. We live our votes for life, for justice, for peace, for equality.

We comfort our friend who tells us she’s considering abortion. Then we gently tell her why we believe life in the womb is precious. We help her find alternative options … and we stick by her side all through the pregnancy and birth and after. She is not a statistic or a faceless evil to us.

We love beyond racial, gender and sexual lines. We reject stereotypes. We embrace individuals. We work for reconciliation.

We do not talk about “that side of town,” we live there and work there and mentor there. We are a part of educational reform, and ESL, and rehabilitation.

We recycle. We reduce our imprint. We consciously make our purchases, recognizing the global implications. We strive to “live simply that others may simply live” (Ghandi).

We personally pray for our soldiers in Iraq, for the citizens of Iraq, for our leaders who are making tough decisions that affect millions of lives. We really do pray, and we believe our prayers matter.

We continue to work hard in the jobs God has given us, saving our money and stewarding our resources. We tithe. We donate. We volunteer.

We continually challenge each other to deepen our understanding of whole life ethics and Jesus’ call to follow Him.

I believe this is who we are. I believe this is who you are. I believe we can be the change we’ve voted for—no matter who we voted for.



it is time for an etsy shop update!