Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Age is Just a Number

I had an appointment with the physical therapist today. While checking in, the receptionist and I had a nice chat. She was from Alabama and me from Texas, so we shared our thoughts on living in the winter freeze of Illinois. In the midst of our conversation, this nice woman talked about a young lady she knew who avoided the cold because of owning two in a warmer state and the other in our cold state of Illinois. The receptionist stressed that this woman was very young, not even close to our age. An image came to mind of someone in her 20's or 30's, till the receptionist added, "She's only in her 50's, though maybe a little more." As I remembered her saying how she was not even close to our age, I thought, "I'm in my 50's old do I look...84???!!  That old woman (I say that with a smile) hurt me to my inner core (not really). Nothing like pumping a girl up mentally before the physical therapist beats her down physically. ;-)

There are many days when I do look older than I actually am. Obviously today was one of them! But on days like this, when I'm looking my, or someone else's, age, I try to laugh; and then hope tomorrow, I'll only look 24. :-) I sometimes look older because I'm not in a good place mentally...feeling down. On other days, it might be because I didn't take great care in presenting how I look, I dressed too down. Either way, I have to remember that no matter what age I look, or what age I actually am, it's only a number. It doesn't define what's inside of me or who I am.

Right now, my body says I'm sixty, but mentally it feels as if it's only 35 years that I've been around. That could just mean I don't act my age, and that's true a lot when no one else can be found. :-) In the end though, age doesn't really matter. What's important is how I, and God, feels about what's inside me. God in me is something age can't steal.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Fibro Funk

I've been in a funk today with no ambition or drive. I tried to pull myself out of it, but still remain in that same mental state of mind. And though I used funk to describe where I am mentally, I wasn't really sure of it's meaning till I googled the word, funk, to see how it was defined:

1. cowering fear; state of great fright or terror
2. dejected, moody
3. music genre that originated in the the mid-late 1960s

I don't think fear defines me at the moment, so definition #2 probably best describes how I feel. Not sure if dejected fits me though, so googled it too to see what Webster would spill:

1. depressed
2. downcast
3. lowered in rank and condition

I've not been lowered in rank, so I guess that means my funk comes from being moody and depressed. Not sure what would cause my mood to be down, but I suspect if I was to look for a culprit, fibromyagia would be found.

Too bad definition #3 isn't what I feel, because then I could dance to my funky music, instead of sitting here feeling like a leftover tater tot with no tummy to fill! :-)

Geez...if I don't quit writing I'll deal with more mental junk. Best if leave my mentality for another time and trust that tomorrow I will be done with this fibro funk.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


I'm in a bit of a fog and my right knee is bothering me. I'm trying not to think about the pain and focus on other things. That's always been the 1st step in my relief distract myself.  So I hope now to get lost in my writing; and once I'm done maybe, just maybe, the pain will be gone. We'll see how it goes.... :-)

My husband, Marty, and I had a great talk the other day as we drove to meet my stepfather and brother for a Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant 55 miles away. We talked about listening. Marty would be sharing in a men's group the benefits of being an active listener. As a way to show how a wife can benefit from good listening, he asked how him listening well benefitted me and our relationship. Our discussion made the trip enjoyable; and by listening, we learned a little more about each other too. Listening does have it's value!

I believe we all want someone to listen to us. When my husband listens to me, I feel more loved. When he and others care enough to know how I think and feel, it reminds me that I am not going through life on my own. When not listened to, I feel devalued and alone. My husband wasn't always the best listener, but because he cared enough to make the effort to improve, our relationship became stronger and my love for him is deeper too.

My listening skills vary from day to day. I used to be better, but it's more difficult these days. I don't focus as well, probably due to lack of sleep and pain. I was told that when your brain deals with fatigue and pain, it can't focus as well on other things. I have to try harder now, but listening well is still worth the effort.  I don't want my husband, daughter, grandkids, and/or friends to feel unimportant or less than what they are to me. Issues with pain and lack of sleep do have an effect on me, but they aren't an excuse to not care. I need to give those I love, and anyone, the best I have at the moment; plus, there's so much we can learn from others. I can grow inside from what they share with me. So even if I only muddle through the fog enough to rate a 4 on that listening scale of 1 to 10, I can feel OK with myself if I gave my best...even if that best isn't what it used to be. And I believe those I care about will be OK with me too...just because I made the effort.

Writing did help me forget about the pain. Works every time...well most of the time anyway! Unfortunately, the pain is still there...time to look for a new distraction...maybe vacuuming, dusting, making the bed...OK, none of those sounds fun or like it'd be soothing to my knee. Maybe, I'll just have another cup of coffee and practice my listening skills as I watch TV. :-)

Friday, November 23, 2012

 Post Black Friday

It's still Friday, but no longer black out and my shopping is done, at least for today. I was only gone a couple of hours and my stops included just Kohl's and the grocery store. I'm really not much of a shopper. I've never really enjoyed it, I'm out of money. Like a lot of people, I don't have much to spend this year. Thankfully though, I don't have a whole lot of presents to buy either and most are bought now.

My husband and I don't have a credit card. We agreed not to use them anymore about three years ago. Not having a credit card makes me think more about what to buy...what I can afford and still pay all my bills. It really comes down to what do I need vs what do I want. It's tough at times, but it's been good for us...for me especially, because I'm the one that does most of the shopping and takes care of our finances. I probably relied on the credit card the most. It's so easy to use them. It feels almost like you're not spending money, but then the credit card bill arrives and you realize how much you did spend. I was sometimes shocked by it, but then it's easy to nickel and dime it...meaning put small things on the card until it's a bigger bill than you expected and can truly afford. And if you have more than one credit card like we did...Ugh!!! I'm glad that we are out of that monthly cycle and now without any credit card debt.

When big problems come up, like auto issues, it is scary to not have a credit card, but it's forces us put our trust in the Lord. So far He's helped us through the tough times, and I know He will again in the future. With that said though, we still have to handle our finances wisely and try to save money so that we do have a back up when needed. Saving can be difficult though. Seems like every time we get a little bit in the bank, something comes up and the money is again gone. I guess that's what it was there for though, but I'd really like to have a big enough savings that it doesn't get used up every time something special comes up. When that happens, it puts up back in the scary place of possibly no backup when the next trouble arrives. But that's when we again need to put our faith in the Lord, knowing He will provide for us as always. He is our true backup.

So instead of using a credit card and then monthly giving our extra money in interest to others, we are in the cycle of trying to spend wisely as we build a savings and then trusting the Lord to help us when that money is gone. And right now that money is gone, so my shopping is too. :-)

Though Black Friday is over for me, yours may have just begun. Whether you're shopping, back at work, or busy doing something else, I hope you have a wonderful day, and that you too are trusting in the Lord to help you when times are tough. He is there for all of us!

As for me, I'm putting my pajamas back's 8am and time for my nap! :-)

Black Friday

I didn't plan on going to the after Thanksgivings sales, but then I woke up 3:00am, thinking "what am I going to do now?". Then it hit me, I can shop! Woo Hoo! There is one day a year that is made for insomniacs!!!!

I figured I'd better make some plans...think about who to Christmas shop for, and then check out the sale ads before I left. As I sat here looking through the Kohl's ads, I thought about the name, 'Black Friday', and it hit me why it was called that. It's pitch black outside!!! Isn't it amazing how well you can think in the middle of the night, or what can pop into your head out of nowhere??! I'd never thought about that before. Geez...and I've been hard on my brain! I've got a super brain! OK, maybe not super, but at least it's got some thoughts! Sometimes, it doesn't seem like it. :-)

You may think it's no big deal to come to some little realization like why 'Black Friday' is called 'Black Friday'; but in my world anytime it feels like my brain is clicking, it's a big thing.  Fibromyalgia affects your memory and focus, and the constant fatigue from not enough sleep makes it worse. I struggle with what's called 'fibro fog'. Because of that, it's easy to get excited over what might seem small or silly to some. When I feel like my brain works on all, or at least more, cylinders it makes me happy...especially when it's at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning! It's the start of a good day!

Enough chit's time to guzzle the rest of my coffee and head to Kohls!

Hope you have a great Black Friday (even if it's no longer black out when you wake up :-)!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is a wonderful day that includes good food, family, and a special opportunity to focus on being thankful. Though I am grateful for all my family and friends, I want to take the time to recognize my mom and dad who are with the Lord now. I thank them for all they were to me in my life. They weren't perfect people, but they were perfect parents for me.

Mom was a single parent most of my young life and at times worked three jobs so my brothers and I could eat. She had very little help and life for her was an uphill climb. No matter the difficulty though, Mom got through it. She was a fighter and my inner strength came from watching her survive.  Mom was there for me when I was a mother too. She offered money, gave me food, and loved my daughter the way she loved me, standing by me as I tried to mature as a parent. It was because of the strength my mother developed in me that I felt strong enough to walk away from my first husband when he abused me. I had no money and didn't know at the time where I'd live, but I knew I'd be OK.

I was like Mom in a lot of ways too...some good, some not so good. Because of that, we at times battled. Our bond was always stronger afterwards though. Ultimately, we were for each other. I knew she would fight for me, and she knew I would do the same for her. In one of our battles, Mom said, 'you're bulldogging me'. I laughed out loud...partly because I'd not heard that expression since leaving Texas, and partly because I knew my bulldog tendencies came from her.  :-) I say that with love and pride for my mother. I was proud that she was a bulldog, and that I was her bulldog. I'm grateful that God gave me a mother who loved me greatly and throughout my life was one of my biggest defenders.

Our country is blessed. We are free, thanks to men and women who fight for our freedom. My Dad was one of those men. He served two terms in World War II, risking his life for our country. He never talked much about the war, but I knew from what Mom said, and shows I've seen about the war, that it was a very difficult time. He fought on ground in both Japan and the Philippines, so I can only imagine the ugliness he had to experience. He was an example of courage then and throughout my life. I'm proud that he was willing to give his life for our country, and blessed that he survived to be my Dad. 

Dad was also the most giving person I knew. He never had much, but would give all he had to someone else in need. Even in his 70's, each Thanksgiving day, a big turkey would be roasted and Dad would plate turkey and sides to give friends and neighbors who were alone or without food. One Thanksgiving, Dad saw a homeless woman going through his garbage. He told her not eat come inside and eat dinner with my stepmom and him. After this young woman finished eating, my father handed her a little money and then told her not to eat from garbage cans again...when she was hungry, she could eat with them. He even gave her their phone number. She called and ate there on a numerous occasions. Soon too, she got her life together and joined the Marines. Dad didn't talk about what he did for others. I only learned about this woman when she came to his funeral and gave credit to Dad for her life turning around. She said it was because he cared enough to feed her that one Thanksgiving night. She was one of many who shared a story of how Dad had helped them in one way or another. Through watching my father's life, I learned that it doesn't matter how little or how much you have in life, you always have enough to help someone in need. He was a wonderful father to me too. No matter what I went through, he was there for me. He didn't care if I was in the right or wrong. He would only ask if I had a need. His love for me was unconditional.

Thank you Mom and Dad for being all that you were for me. Thank you for your love and working so hard to help me through life. With you both gone, life seems harder, but because of the courage and strength you instilled in me, I too will survive.  I'm thankful that you are with the Lord now, and I look forward the time when I will see you again.

Thank you, Lord, for my parents, family and friends. Thank you too for all the ways you bless me. Help me continue to be thankful for this gift of life and for all the other blessings within it. Amen.

Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for you too!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sugar. Who needs it. I do!

I have developed sugaritis. Sugaritis is an obsessive desire for sugar (though I don't think sugaritis is a real word). It's not just cakes, pies, chocolates or chocolate covered candies that I desire, though any of them will do in a pinch. :-) What I want is pure unadulterated sugar though preferably flavored, puffed, powdered, and/or spun. Give me marshmallows, cotton candy, candy corn, jelly beans, Dots, gummy bears and/or Twizzlers, and I'm a happy girl!

Though having sugaritis isn't good, sugar itself isn't necessarily bad. The body needs it to function. Carbohydrates are one of three necessary macronutrients that provide calories for our body. The other two are protein and fat. Carbs, or sugar, provide most of the energy needed for our body to function in life and are considered simple or complex based upon their chemical structure. Both types contain four calories per gram and are digested in the bloodstream as glucose, or monosaccharide sugar. It is then used to fuel our body for our daily activity and exercise. 

Complex carbohydrates are packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals, and take longer to digest.  Examples of these are vegetables, whole grain breads, brown rice, and wheat pasta. Simple sugars are broken down and digested very quickly and usually contain very few essential vitamins and minerals. A few of these are table sugar, fruit juice, milk, yogurt, brown sugar, ice cream and the cakes and candy that I love. 

The simple sugars I eat digest quickly and rush into the bloodstream, giving me a quick burst of energy. I love that! Unfortunately though, my body then reacts to that spike and calls on the pancreas to produce extra insulin to remove this excess sugar. I then feel tired because of low blood sugar and crave more of these simple sugars. This is the sugar-craving cycle that I call sugaritis.

It was three days ago when I first recognized I had sugaritis. They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, so I'm on my way! Since that admission to myself, I contemplated the next step needed to end my sugar addiction. Though in the last couple of days I gave much thought to how I could reach this goal on my own, it was only after eating almost a half-bag of marshmallows, 16 oz. of candied fruit slices, and 2 pieces of chocolate cake that I knew I needed God's help to win this battle with sugaritis.

Lord, help me curb my desire for sugar and to eat better overall. I also ask that you help me be OK with myself when I struggle in these goals and don't do as well as I'd like. Though I may have temporary failures, I know in you, I am never a failure. Thank you for your faithfulness. Amen.

What a blessing to have the Lord to turn to for all of our issues. Makes me want to celebrate by eating a sleeve of Smartie candies, though I'll limit it to just one, or maybe two. :-)

Take care,

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Be Thankful

Though Thanksgiving is still a few days away, I'm reminded to be thankful today...and every day.

At times I focus on the negatives and let the sorrow of those drown out the positives. I forget that though I lost both my mom and dad, I had many years with them. Some lose their parents when they are but children. I was in my 50's before mine passed.  I forget that Mom and Dad had also accepted Jesus Christ into their life, so they are now in a better place. I forget too that because I also accepted the Lord as my Savior, I get to be with my parents again. In just this one area of my life, I  have much to be thankful for.

Sometimes I feel weighed down from health issues, but I need to remind myself that many people deal with much more. I have fibromyalgia, but I don't have lupus or MS. I sometimes struggle to breathe because of asthma, but I don't have emphysema. I have osteoarthritis in my knees; but thankfully, I can walk! I know it's OK at times to be emotionally affected by what I go through, but I shouldn't stay in that place too long. I need to remember, and focus on, the positive aspects of my life...what I have to be thankful for; otherwise, I may drown in a a sea of self-pity. And how will that help me???

Most important, I need to be thankful daily that Jesus died on the cross for me. He gave up his life so that I could live forever. 

John 3:16 (NIV)
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

I could make a long list of the blessings in my life, but I'll mention just one more. Last night when I couldn't sleep, I looked out back and saw two white-tail bunnies not 10 feet away. This might seem insignificant, but it wasn't to me. I watched the rabbits as they laid there and then as they hopped away. It all brought a smile to my heart.  It was a reminder of God's care for each of us. He knows us inside and out. He knew my love for animals and how seeing those bunnies would bring me joy. 

Thank you, Lord, for finding a way to bless me even during my insomnia. I am grateful for all you've brought into my life. Help me continue to focus on the positive, not the negative, and to look to You when I am struggling. I know you are always with me...I need never feel alone. I am thankful for You. Amen.

Happy Thanksgiving Week! 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Running in the Night

All power had been shut off and now only a few stars lit the sky. With the tall buildings blocking that light, I ran in complete darkness. The marching of the militia had become louder. I could hear their boots shuffle quickly against the gravel and rifles were being fired nearby. They had to be just around the corner so I darted into the building next to me. I climbed the steps and at the top to the right, I saw a family with small children and a dog. They were trying to hide. We looked at each other but nothing was said by any of us. I could see the fear in their was the same fear I felt. It hurt my heart that they must live, and possibly die, this way. I turned around though and continued to run to another part of the building. Seeing no real place to hide, I peeked outside from another door. The marching seemed distant so I was safe for now. I had to get home.

Fatigue swept over me but I knew the militia was never far away. There were too many of them and they'd taken over the city. I had to keep running. I turned into an alley, staying close to the buildings hoping their shadows would hide me. I heard steps again. I dropped into what seemed like a deep window well, not knowing if I'd be able to climb back out in the dark of  night. Falling as I hit the bottom, I feared I'd made too much noise and alerted others to where I was. Whoever was walking above passed though so again, I was OK for the moment. The well I was in was deeper than I'd expected, but there seemed to be holes where I could place my feet and enough to hang onto as I made my way back up the wall. Once at the top I had to get my bearings again. My body wanted to give out but I knew I had to keep going. It wasn't just about me.

As I continued my trek, it remained quiet except for gun fire in the background and an occasional blast that would light up the sky helping me to find my way back. I could see the building now. My right leg limped as I struggled down that last block, but finally I was safe. I opened the door and stepped into an area of the house that had previously served as a kitchen to everyone. My room was in the latter part of the complex. Before I had time to make my way back to it I heard shuffling in a nearby room. Someone was near. I had to hide. I darted behind a cabinet but knew I wasn't well hid. There wasn't time to find another spot though. I couldn't see anything, but heard the squeak of the kitchen door opening wider. My eyes closed in defeat. It was over. I had been found. I opened my eyes to accept my fate, only to look down and see my little Yorkie, Peanut, at my feet. I cried as I held her. I'd somehow found my way back to her and she was OK.

And then I woke up....

So much for sleep. When I do manage to get into a deep one, nightmares go with me. Though fear was prevalent in this dream, at least it had a happy ending. Now I'll try sleeping again and hope my dreams will be about ice cream and chocolate cake...or it will be as usual, and I won't dream at all. No dreams are better than bad dreams. :-)

Saturday, November 10, 2012


I wonder what it's like to sleep well night after night. It's close to 2am and I still can't sleep. I've dealt with insomnia most of my life for one reason or another. As a child, it was due to severe asthma. Tonight my sleeplessness is due to the fibromyalgia and pain in both knees.  Recently it was discovered that I have osteoarthritis. The good news is that the orthopedic doctor gave me a steroid shot in both knees, so they should feel better in a couple days. Now if I could get rid of the fibro pain....

I think insomnia causes or worsens issues in my life. When I don't sleep the fibro pain is acerbated, and then that causes me not to sleep. Ultimately causing my chronic fatigue. It's a vicious cycle that I can't seem to find a way out of. Exercise helps the fibro, but it can also cause more pain. I have to be careful to exercise every day, but not to exercise too much; and with being so tired all the time, I struggle to stay motivated to do anything. The lack of sleep and pain also cause depression, making the grief over losing both my parents a few years back linger.

Not sleeping well has also affected my memory. Though we all struggle with memory issues as we age, my memory problems became more of a concern, so much that my doctor ordered a brain scan done. I'm happy to say though, that she was pleasantly surprised to see that I do have a brain. :-) All was well with it too, so the doctor believes again that my worsening memory issues are due to my poor sleep habits and the chronic pain. That's a good thing...I guess. 

It seems almost daily lately I hear or read some news report that not sleeping enough can end your life earlier. How depressing is that??!!! Makes me so depressed I just want to sleep. But I can't!!!!

So anyway, what is is like to have a deep sleep every night? Are you in complete darkness, not remembering anything when you awaken? Do you have good dreams? I don't dream much...maybe because I don't sleep much and it's not usually a deep sleep when I do. Do mysterious beings clean your house while you're asleep. Maybe I never had any fairies or elves clean mine during the night because I never slept long enough for them to steal into my kitchen and wash my dishes without me knowing it. I wish I could tell them somehow that it's OK to do it while I'm awake! :-)

Anyway, it's good that the Lord got me back to this blog so that I had something to do while I was awake. I just finished reading my 70th book in the 2012 goal was 50. I need another midnight hobby. Any ideas? 

I'll stop for now. It's 3am now and in just 2 more hours I will allow myself to make coffee. Woo hoo!!! I make myself wait till 5am just in case I can fall asleep before then. One of my sleep or sleeplessness rules. I may be falling apart everywhere else, but I do maintain my standards! :-)

I hope you had a great sleep. I'm going to lie back down and see if I can get some of that sleep I hear so much about.  

Pleasant Dreams!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Writing and Fear

It's been a long while since I've written in the blog. I went through some down time, meaning I felt down for different reasons. I also was afraid to write...afraid I'd be too depressing. Afraid no one would really want to hear what I had to say. Afraid my writing wouldn't be good enough. I allowed fear to control me. With God's nudging and my husband, Marty's, encouragement though I've decided, at least for the moment, to get past my fear and write in the blog again.

It's odd how God will use small things to place His thoughts on our heart. I was taking items from the family room to their rightful place when I saw a spiral notebook I'd set aside months ago to use for journaling. I'd not written one word in it. I thought then about my writing, or lack thereof, as I brought the tablet to my office. As I do almost daily, I felt on my heart how I wanted to write again. I never really do anything about it though. Part of me knows that sharing what's on my heart will help me get through life and possibly help others, and yet a bigger part of me seems to stay afraid of what others will think of my writing and thoughts. I live too much in fear when it comes to sharing myself. That's probably why I have so few close friends. Even with recognizing that, I shoved the notebook into the back of my desk and walked away. When I did that, I believe I again ignored God's nudge for me to write.

After I settled back into my recliner in the family room, Marty turned the volume down on the TV and turned to me. He proceeded to say that while I was doing other things, he'd re-read what I'd previously wrote in my blog. He said that my writing and thoughts had again blessed him, adding that the way I share my heart is a gift and that God could use what I write to bless others. Marty asked that I give blogging another chance. I shared with him how God had spoke to me also and that I would try to write in the blog again tomorrow. We went back to focusing on the TV then, but I didn't sit in my chair long before I felt God tell me not to procrastinate, that tonight was a good time write. This time I listened to Him, and here I am...writing.

Because of who I am in God, there is no reason to be afraid for others to see me, whether that be in my weakness or strength. The Lord loves me, and each one of us, just as we are and He doesn't want any of us to live in fear.  I pray that God will continue to help me face this fear.

Thank you, Lord, for your consistency in my life. Thank you too for using Marty to help me do what you've been nudging me to do all along. Continue to help me, and any others who struggle with some kind of fear to get past the hold it has on them. Help us look to you for our courage and strength. Amen.

I already feel lighter from sharing this, and it feels good to write again.
Peggy :-)