Thursday, July 2, 2015

Love Wins

Well, I'm probably fired as a blogger if I don't share a tiny bit of my opinion about the recent SCOTUS decision.

I'm not surprised. Not one little bit. I'm not surprised that we've made this decision. I'm not surprised that there are already polygamous couples applying for marriage licenses, and there are already towns that are telling their pastors to marry gay couples or face jail time. I'm not surprised that everyone is polarized and everyone feels on both sides feels attacked. (You know why we all feel that way? Because people on either side ARE attacking people on the other side.) 

I would just like to say, whatever "side" you think you're on, we are all in this together, and we are not going to heal as a society by bashing each other with the same tired arguments.  The rallying cry right now is "Love Wins!" (sorry, but I object to hashtags on principle). Whatever "side" you are on, that's not wrong. Every time that we take a moment to actually listen to a person whose views are different than ours, every time we give them the respect of thinking that they have something worth saying that is worth our listening to, every time that we assume for a moment that they are not choosing to believe what they believe in order to be contrary and hateful, but because they really do care about other people, love wins. You don't have to agree with them to appreciate their sincerity and to hear what they are thinking.

Every time that we value any person that is in front of us and see them as someone who matters- even if they are on the other "side", love wins. Every time that we look out for another person and try to be there for them in their time of need, to hear the cry of their heart, love wins. You think these things don't have anything to do with the current conversation? They have EVERYTHING to do with it. In my opinion, for love to win, there has to be a lot less talking, a LOT less bashing, a lot less defensiveness and a lot more actual love happening, even if it costs us. If we can actually learn to love each other (not in a special feelings for a special person way, but in a everyone matters way), then conversations can happen and healing can happen, even if total agreement doesn't happen for quite some time.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

You Are More

I think I annoyed a friend of mine the other day. Maybe "annoyed" is a strong term, but she had to take me to task a little bit.

Let me back up.

I have issues. (Ha! As if you read this blog and didn't know that!) My issues are many, but the food and allergies and crap can really get in the way of some of my typical activities. Let's take this weekend. My allergies are not as insane as they were a week ago, but they are still dictating things to some degree. It's been a gorgeous weekend outside, and I have spent most of my weekend inside. I did have one thing planned with some friends that was an outdoor activity, and I was a little leery of being outside, of being able to breathe, of keeping on top of my issues. I was nervous about having to leave early, etc., so I was working on a few contingency plans to leave early without ruining my friends' fun. I apologized for being difficult and being a "wet blanket". To which my friend replied, "You are not a wet blanket, you are our friend."

This friend is more than willing to put up with my issues. In fact, she helps me keep an eye on them. We did cut things a little short because towards the end, my allergies were starting to make a little noise, but she was more than happy to do that. I seriously think she has the patience of a saint. She has my back. Because I'm single and we live in a society where true community is very hard to come by, it is really something beyond price to have someone in your life that has your back no matter what.

Today I was listening to a song that included the lyrics "you are more than the problems you create". This particular song was a Christian song and talking about sin and such, but it reminded me how often we want to approach God in the way that I sometimes treat my friend. Like I'm a little too much work to be that much fun. But she doesn't really care how much work I am, any more than God does. Because they value us for who we are, and it's not about our issues.

Thus it is that once again my atheist friend has been the face of Christ in my life.

Friday, June 19, 2015

7 Quick Takes Friday

1) I can't breathe. Okay, literally speaking I can breathe, just not as freely and easily as I would like. Wow, the allergies with all the rain this year are beyond out of control. My nose was running constantly for a while, and now with the help of a nasal spray, it's not. Only I still can't breathe and while the pressure isn't bad, it's not great. It's not just that, though, the coughing from the post nasal drip has been exhausting (hence my willingness to take the spray in the first place). No joke, my massage therapist today mentioned just how bad my diaphragm, ribs, and abs were.  All coughing.  Did you know that you can get a fever from all of the inflammation from allergies? Because you can. Yeah, it's been a LONG week.

2) Whew! Sorry to jump right in there with all sorts of complaints, but I just had to get that off my chest (haha). I would say that allergies make me whiny, but that's not technically true. They make me tired and sniffly and sick and nonfunctional, but what I do with that is up to me. Anyway, the rain has knocked down some of the pollen, I am on more meds than I have taken in years, and I have turned a corner. I may not be perfect, but I am at least mostly functional. I seem to be able to eat and sleep again, which makes me much, much happier. This week seemed a month long, but it is over and I'm even going to brave the outdoors again on Saturday. Probably.

3) I get to go to the gym tomorrow! Who knew that would ever be a thing that would make me excited? It's not the gym, it's the workout, and more than that, it's the people. I miss them!

4) Wow, what a boring Quick Takes! I don't write for a while and then I jump in with all the boring boringness. Ah, well, it has to happen sometimes. I would love to get back on a schedule of writing 1-2 times a week, but in order to do that, I have to start somewhere. I am really hoping that this is a lead in to much better things, but for now it's something, so I'm just going to embrace that.

5) I have a question. I know that a lot of us enjoy taking out the cameras; what are your favorite photo link ups? I feel like I need something to get me out of a bit of a rut. (Oh! A pretty mountain, let me take a picture of it!) Not that I want to give up what I'm doing, but I'm trying to figure out how to be a little more versatile.

6) Let's see, yep. That's about all I have. Sorry, when you've spent half your week staring into space because it was too strenuous to so much as watch television or surf the web, I really don't have that much new stuff to add.

7) Here's a photo that was taken while I was standing in the pollen that was taking me out (but it took me a couple of days to realize just how bad it was going to be!)

Have a great weekend and head over to Kelly's for more Quick Takes!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

You Shall Know the Truth

... and the truth shall make you odd.

That Flannery O'Connor was a smart one, wasn't she? I am thinking of and perhaps regretting a bit a certain line in this post. I was starting to get rid of chairs, and I flippantly asked, "What's next?" I don't know if I even want to tell you where I am right now in this, because it is odd. I'm holding tight to another quote.

"We have to be willing to do today what others won't, so that we will be able to do tomorrow what others can't." Thank you, Jerry Rice.

I still use chairs, in case you were wondering, but I do sit on the floor more than I used to. I am trying to stretch more to offset some of my bad habits, while I also work on eliminating the bad habits that I can. It takes time. Since I've started down this particular line of inquiry, I have started to see better use of my postural muscles in the low back. Less tightness in the hamstrings. Less pain in my hip and Achilles. I have arches?!?!?! I have also seen some great results in the parts that I am using with my patients (biggest surprise being increased balance).

All of this to say, so far these experiments have been leading to some very interesting results, so the experimentation has continued. The latest? Last night was the second night that I slept on the floor. Yep. You read that right. I'm not directly on the floor, I have about a 3" foam pad, but trust me when I tell you it's no mattress!

Cons to this new venture: it feels weird. No one I know sleeps on the floor, so I feel like quite the oddball. Also, it's certainly less comfortable than a mattress.

Pros: It causes me to get up and down from the floor more (hey, I don't have kids that I'm picking up after like some of you!) I can't just fall into bed, I have to use actual muscle control (trust me, the way we often let gravity take us in for a soft landing on chairs and beds is a big problem over time). So far, both mornings I have woken up  feeling less stiff in the hip flexors. I think it's because since I can't sink into the floor like I do the mattress, the muscles actually have to let go rather than letting the mattress hold them in a shortened position. (My tight hip flexors are a definite problem area for me.)

I have slept well, and the only thing that's been a little achy in the morning is my mid back and ribs. I don't have a problem with this, as these are areas that should be mobile but that are overly stiff in my case (and in the case of a lot of people). Breathing when against a firm surface (the floor) pushes back against the stiffness in those joints and makes them move a little. Breathing against a mattress allows the mattress to give and the joints to stay stiff. It's essentially doing gentle joint mobilization all night long. I anticipate that this soreness won't last long, but I'll let you know.

I can also tell you that about a decade ago, I decided that I was too old to sleep on the floor because it hurt. Now I will amend that to say that it hurt because I was too stiff to sleep on the floor. I am a decade older and sleeping on the floor doesn't hurt now. I have not been able to lie on my stomach on the bed for a long time; if I did, I would wake up with a stiff neck. I fell asleep on my stomach for about 20 minutes the other day and woke up feeling great! Those things are not all a result of sleeping on the floor, but they are a part of it.

It's been an interesting thought process in all of this as well. Being too comfortable on the mattress; it certainly feels better initially, but at what cost overall? Pressing into the discomfort at an appropriate level allows us to make gains. Staying within what is most comfortable gradually moves us into greater restrictions over time. This is true in movement and in life.

Okay, this is not the most well put together post, but tell it to me straight. On a scale of "one" to "off my rocker" how bad is this? Is there any hope for me? (I'm joking. Mostly.)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

No Motivation

I am in a funk. Oh, baby. And everyone around me is in the same one. We've barely seen the sun in several weeks, and we are a bunch of spoiled brats that lose our minds if we haven't seen the sun in 3 days. My basement has over a foot of water in it right now, so there is no heat, and no hot water. No one can come to fix it until the water is gone. You might think this is no big deal, because you live in a place where you're hot right now, but it's 40's and damp here, maybe highs in the 50's, so my house doesn't warm up much right now.

I am finding that even though I don't really have to do anything to fix the basement (my landlords are great), I am still getting nothing done. It makes no sense, because the basement is unfinished and I don't really ever go down there. But I blame the fact that I'm cold. And the funk from lack of sun and outdoors. SOMEBODY TURN OFF THE FAUCET SO I CAN GO OUTSIDE BEFORE I LOSE WHAT LITTLE IS LEFT OF MY MIND!!!

I bought a bike just before this all started, so it's mostly been hanging out unused. I can't hike, and my weight is  creeping up. Not bad, but I saw some numbers on the scale that I haven't seen in almost 2 years, and I was not happy about it. I'm actually eating less than I typically do, but I think I'm also eating too much sugar. I blame the clouds and the never ending dripping.

Have I mentioned that roads and trails are washing away? Stop the madness!

It is confirmed. I can never move to Seattle. (I am considering a visit, however, because I guess they are currently having beautiful sunny weather.)

I know, I know I shouldn't be complaining because we often have amazing weather. I have tried to hold it in, I really have, but it's reached a point to all come bubbling out; kind of like the miniature springs of water that I have in my basement.

Deep breaths.

Okay, my equilibrium will return when the sun does, but for now there are clouds, so let's play Pollyanna and talk about the silver linings.

One: I was so bored being stuck inside so much that I finally signed up for Insta.gram*. I love it more than I should. I started following a bunch of climbing and cycling feeds, and some of those pictures are just insane and make me happy to see them. I also have started following a few bloggers, but I'm not that good about knowing who's on there, so if you are, let me know. I'll follow you!

Two: There is water in my basement, but it is only ground water. It's clean and clear, which is something that I was very grateful for as I was wading around in it yesterday to clean out everything that I had stored down there. Most of it went to the trash. It was a little sad to see some if it go, but thankfully I didn't keep anything too important down there.

Three: I discovered something about myself. There was one box that I didn't know was down there. It had some photos in frames, and I was sad to see them destroyed. Most were digitally backed up, but one was a framed collage a friend had given me from an epic hike we did, one of my first really big mountains from before I moved out here. It was kind of hard putting those photos in the trash, but the way the backs were already molding, I had no choice. However, even though I can be very sentimental, I realized I wasn't as sad as I could be. I like to hold onto those things because they represent things that are important to me, but what I realized is that the things didn't matter as much as I thought. Those people and experiences are a part of me. Losing those things doesn't change that.

Four: I am guilty of taking our normal wonderful weather for granted. I think I will appreciate it so much more!

Five: Most of the stuff in my basement was just extra stuff that I didn't really need. It felt really good to get rid of that, especially the microwave.

I'm sure I could find more, but my break is over for the moment. I am excited to have 4 of the next 7 days off, and while all of them have rain forecast, at least some of them may allow a little outdoor time. Maybe? We can only hope and pray.

*Warning! I'm so late signing up for things that often by the time I get on board, things are on their way out. If In.stagram dies, it's probably my fault.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Sixth Sunday of Lent

AKA: Mother's Day.

Y'all, I hope you all had a blessed day. I know it wasn't easy for everyone, but I hope that it was good. You've been on my heart. I will say that Mass was not 100% smooth sailing, but it was absolutely lovely in a number of ways. I went to an early Mass at a church I don't usually go to and was immediately reassured by by the fact that it wasn't terribly full and the people that were there mostly had gray hair. And the priest that was celebrating the Mass is an amazing priest. You know what happened after he got up front? He celebrated the Mass. No mention of the secular holiday at the greeting, and his homily was centered around the readings (and it was really fantastic and just what I needed to hear, as it turns out). Nothing about motherhood. There was a petition, but it was broad enough that I felt that it included about everyone.

The real kicker, though, was the blessing of the mothers. The blessing is difficult for me, but I do think that we should have it. As I've said, I do think that Mother's Day is something that is good to celebrate. The fact that it is hard for some of us doesn't mean that we shouldn't celebrate it. I was where I could leave if I needed it to. But here's where the priest kept coming with the amazingness. He invited all mothers to stand, "mothers, stepmothers, foster mothers, godmothers, and spiritual mothers." Although I chose not to stand (because it's still kind of weird), it allows anyone to stand up, because women are all called to nurture and love the people in our lives in a way that brings them closer to God. Obviously, those that are also physical mothers are called to be spiritual mothers first to their children, but also to anyone that is brought in their life. Those of us that for whatever reason are not physical mothers, are still called to nurture and "mother" those in our lives.

I didn't really care that I wasn't standing. I was in the back, I didn't feel conspicuous. I think it was also because I felt I could have stood if I wanted to that I didn't mind sitting quite as much. But the part that was absolutely most important was that because of the way he said it, and because I finally understood it, when he gave a beautiful blessing, he meant me, too. He meant all of you who ache for children that are no longer here, or whose arms are empty but whose hearts are full with a love that you would so love to give a child. Standing or sitting didn't matter to me, because I wasn't left out of the blessing itself. And for once I could see that in a real way, instead of just a cerebral way.

For once when I ducked out of church early on a Mother's Day, the tears were not only because it was hard, but also because it was healing.

Friday, May 8, 2015

It's That Time of Year Again

Y'all, this weekend is Mother's Day. I like the idea of Mother's Day. I have a mother that deserves to be recognized, and some amazing grandmothers. I have many friends that are amazing mothers, and I think that should be honored. I just hate that in practice, it becomes such an excruciating day for so many. Whether you're hurting because you've lost a mother, because of a poor mother/child relationship, because you've lost a child or children, or because your arms are empty and aching, or whatever your reason is, hey, let's ratchet it up a notch or a hundred.

Thankfully, for me personally, things aren't quite as raw as they have been some years, but I admit that Mother's Day can sometimes bring it all back on in a heartbeat. I dread going to Mass. Any other day is fine, but Mother's day is a problem. I'll go to the early Mass, be at the back door by the blessing, and out a little early. Sorry, but that's what it takes. I think that I will be relatively okay for the rest of the day, though. I'll be talking with my mother and otherwise I will be insulating myself in my home most likely.  I will avoid f.acebook like the plague.

Anyway, I don't say this to try to sound pathetic (though maybe I am). I just want to say that I know that there will be a lot of you in a lot of different situations that are going to be hurting this weekend, and I will be thinking of you and praying for you. There are also a lot of you that have a lot to celebrate this weekend, and I am so happy that there is reason to rejoice this weekend as well.