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Friday, February 28, 2014

Big sister

Big sister

As a child, I always wondered
what it would be like
to have a big sister.

Who would make me play
all the roles she didn't want to play
in the make-believe scenarios we'd enact
in our backyard kingdom.

Who would go to high school
four or five years before me,
warn me of the teachers who have no sense of humor,
smoothly pave the road for me to be teacher's pet with others,
and decipher the unwritten code of acceptable seats in the cafeteria.

Who would talk to me about boys
and warn me when she recognized my impending mistakes,
because she made the same ones--
and understand when I get mad and slam my door,
because I know what I'm doing and don't need the unsolicited advice.

Who would have already figured out
how mom and dad would react to any given situation,
and get annoyed when I received a lesser punishment
for the same offense.

Who wouldn't let me borrow her clothes if I asked,
but would offer to let me borrow
the piece of clothing in question
days after the fact--of her own accord--
and would express frustration when I'd go through her closet or drawers
searching for--and finding--
something to wear to school--
after she left the house.
Then she'd get over it.

Who would ask me what was wrong
even if I thought I gave no indication of a problem--
because her "little sis in trouble" radar would always be on hyper alert.
I wouldn't always open up to her about every thing,
but I would always know she'd be willing to listen
if I needed to talk, or to laugh, or to cry.
And she would always come up with something to say--
which would always seem to help,
even if it weren't a direct solution,
because I'd have my best friend beside me.

As a kid, I always wondered
what it would be like
to have a big sister.

But I don't wonder anymore
because for 19 years I've had the best blessing of all.

I am a big sister.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Today Would Be Perfect

A poem I wrote in June of this year that had disappeared when I misplaced my journal and was recently rediscovered today (when I found aforementioned journal).

"Today Would Be Perfect"

Today would be perfect
  If I could drive to your house while listening to my Kathie Lee CD and bring you lunch so we can eat lunch together and watch Millionaire.
Today would be perfect.

Today would be perfect
  If we could travel back to 2002 and watch "our girl" skate on international TV and win not only medals and competitions but also our hearts.  Or even if you called me to tell me one of those skating shows is on and you know our girl's not skating anymore and it's just not the same but you think I'd like to know anyway.

Today would be perfect
  If I could be four years old and work the puzzles on your coffee table at the apartment and lie on your couch and talk to you for hours and when I wake up in the morning spin in the chairs in the living room while keeping an eye out because I know you'll tell me to stop even though you're stifling a laugh.

Today would be perfect
  If I were walking around with you and gathering pretty autumn leaves and riding my bike around and around the driveway in the cemetery and having you time me to see if I beat my record.

Today would be perfect
  If we could talk about politics, Desperate Housewives, or the Cats--especially the Cats--and if it were a Sunday night and I were in college and you called to do your weekly check-in at 8:52pm and then you called on Wednesday or Thursday, even though you say you don't like to call me at college because you're afraid I'm busy but you just had to check on me because the rain is making your bones hurt and it makes you think of me and how you hope I'm not hurting.

There would be so many things that would make today perfect. 
The thing that would make it the most perfect of all is the elimination of the word if--
if simply denotes a desperate longing that transcends all emotion and penetrates deeper with the painful reminder that the ifs are no longer "can be"s.

I hate the word if.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Under My Skin

At 3:00am (a short while ago) I was inspired to write the following poem. For both those of you who are new readers if my blog and those of you who are long time readers, know that while this blog is typically an eating disorder pro-recovery blog, it has morphed into a self-exploration/contemplation blog and this poem is actually something I have written about my newest struggle: the diagnosis of late stage Chronic Lyme Disease.  The poem is entitled 'Under My Skin'.  Read if you feel so inclined.

Under my skin

There are lots of things that get under my skin.
When people curse the name of God or the country they're living in--
When children are hurt and have no choice but to walk around on eggshells and pins--
When justice is served from an outside party instead of within--

Politicians whose rabble seems to have no end.
And talk show doctors who sell out to fit in.
And professionals testing extensively and expensively despite not knowing where to begin.
And celebrities who jump on the bandwagon for fame--for us, defeat, for them, a win.

Assertions that we'll never live fully again.
Ignoring the reality of our minds' din.
The clinging and clanging of pencils and pens,
And paper and lamplights and city trash bins.
All enough to make our minds whirl and heads spin.

And they wonder why such commonplace things get under my skin.

Perhaps it's worthwhile to consider again--
That all of these things get under my skin
because that's where it is--under my skin.
Sure, I may look fine but you see the outside, not in.
The war rages deep, my nerve system weeps, under my skin.
The aching and pain and confusion and rain all live together under my skin.
Because that's where it is--under my skin.

It attacks and desires for me to give in,
But I refuse to obey what's under my skin.
Yes, there are days I only stay in.
And yes, there are times I feel I can't win.
But my God is stronger--the Beginning and End.
So how can this monster under my skin
Make me doubt enough to give up or give in?

Since my God is the Beginning and the End,
I have hope that He'll carry me through, yet again.
He's proved it immeasurably through thick and thin--
How naive would I be to think He won't still win?

My struggles may seem insurmountable and I don't know when,
But I WILL get back to my full life again.
I will one day again skate for hours on end.
I will walk my dog several times 'round the bend.
I will drive my car around town, with windows down, and enjoy the wind.
I don't have a mind that is satisfied with 'mend'--
I operate on principles of 'healing completely'--with God on my team, worldly answers I'll transcend.
Because I do not accept this diminished functionality as my story's end.

God's writing my book as I travel the bends,
And the twists and the turns and the bumps and amends.
My story's not over--there's still more to go--more than I can even begin to comprehend.

But rest assured, I am a fighter, my friends.
And fight on I will, till God writes 'The End'

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

God is awesome (and a little bit ridiculous)

I just had to share a post I composed last night after a particularly good day yesterday.  Just copy/pasting the post here because I don't currently have the energy to type it again and fix all the timestamps, etc., that indicate last nigh.  So from 11:16pm on Tuesday, May 28, 2012 we have the following post:

May 28, 2013 11:16 PM

Okay, folks. It's like this. We don't have a diagnosis from Cleveland yet, we're still waiting on more tests and follow-ups and results and we are also looking into getting other opinions from various professionals just to gather all the perspective and idea we possibly can. HOWEVER, even though we are delving yet further into the non-diagnosis chronicles I have to share something awesome that happened this morning.

Memorial Day weekend in WV was mostly good. The weekend and events themselves were all good, I only specify "mostly" because there were periods when I didn't necessarily feel well but was able to take a step back, rest, and still manage to enjoy the days we spent at the farm (which went by way too quickly!). So while the weekend was not without bad moments, health-wise, the good times we had outweighed the not-so-good health moments so I'm counting the weekend as a W. :-)

But today. Something truly awesome happened this morning. And I can't really describe it adequately on here, typing from my phone, at 10:55pm, but just know this--it was truly awesome.

My entire life I have been a fan of singing in the shower. There have definitely been periods where the songs I've chosen for any particular shower time jam session held no real significance or importance. There have also been more times than I want to admit (or rather, more times than I could actually sit down and count) that I've given my very best (and very loud) renditions of "Part of Your World" (from The Little Mermaid) as well as POYW reprises 1&2. However the past few years, I've almost consistently only sung hymns, contemporary Christian songs, etc., and I have to think this is because those songs are impossible for me to sing without feeling uplifted.

Which I only mention to illustrate how much of a sense of defeat I have felt on all but 3 or 4 days since January when I've taken a deep breath, prepared to sing [hymn/praise song X], only to realize I either an too lightheaded or just don't have enough strength to even form the words with my mouth, much less say them aloud, much less sing them emphatically, much less sing them emphatically AND in tune, and I think this goes without saying but much, much less when you try to combine any of the above actions with remembering lyrics.

So this morning when pandora came on and Nichole Nordeman stated singing an old favorite of mine from her Woven & Spun CD, and when I was able to sing along with that, with a second song (I Stand Amazed In The Presence [of Jesus the Nazarene]), and end singing How Deep The Father's Love For Us in the most moving (and tearful/prayerful way possible), I was, indeed, amazed in the presence of The Lord. And yes, that's a huge understatement!

And just to add to his awesomeness, the text I saw on my phone was from Brenda Ross, the daily bible verse text that brightens each morning for me, and I kid you not today's verse was Psalm 59:16. And it reads:

"But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love; for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble."

I literally laughed and told God that I heard Him loud and clear and that it's ridiculous that something so seemingly simple was such a profoundly positive sign to me, but also that I know He kind of operates in the ridiculous on the regular. (Think: Job, Noah, Abraham, and well, Jesus)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The tiers of can't

"I'm watchin' sis go pitterpat.  Said 'I can do that'"

Wait, can I do that?

I really hate the word can't.  And YES, throughout my life I have said that word more times than I can count or would be willing to admit even if they were countable.  I think that's why I've come to hate it.

I've ALWAYS had a yearning to prove others wrong when they say I can't do something.  And I prove them wrong by doing aforementioned something.  But I have a chronic history of accepting "can't" when I say it to myself.  And I'm telling you this--IT STOPS NOW.

I had a revelation last night right before going to bed.  I'm not talking about an "this is going to create world peace in a day and solve worldwide epidemics and answer every domestic and foreign issue" revelation.  Nor am I talking about a book of Revelation (or for that matter, book of Daniel) type revelation.  But I AM talking about a revelation that screams to me, "Type me in your phone and set a reminder to blog about this tomorrow or else you will forget!!"

Below, I'll discuss what I'm coining "The Tiers of Can't"

"I can't" versus "I can't YET" versus "I can't UNTIL" versus "I CAN"

So tier 1: "I can't"
  • This one is pretty self-explanatory.  It also sets you up for immediate failure.  Let's call this "pre-trying failure."  Meaning that before you even try to attempt [action X], you have decided that you are not going to succeed, no sir, not gonna happen, no way.  The ultimate outcome for this defeatist thinking is, in my experience, you go through this mental conversation so thoroughly that you either a.) convince yourself to not even try because "what's the point?" or b.) you say you're going to try, you may even think you try, but really you don't fully try because since you think you can't do it you almost make yourself fail.
Tier 2: "I can't YET"
  • While "can't" has become one of my most hated words, "yet" has become one of my most favorite.  Particularly in my current medical mystery situation and uncertainty about the future.  When you tack on the word "yet" to the phrase "I can't" and form "I can't yet," you are automatically giving yourself 100% more hope and optimism for [action X] than you had in Tier 1.  That three-letter word gives you the window of opportunity to claim, "No, I can't do this YET....but I am not ruling out the possibility of success in this area in the future."  And that glimmer of hope that says "I'm not quite there and I'm not exactly sure how to get there but I know the possibility is there" can make all the difference in the way you approach any and every situation in your life.
Tier 3: "I can't UNTIL"
  • Does this one scare you a little bit? Well, it should.  And it shouldn't.  And yes, those are two apparent diametrically opposed sentence fragments but the are both true within this third tier.  The reason this should scare you a little is that this is the tier where you've gone through the "I can't"and the "I can't yet" and have accepted that the possibility for succeeding at [action X] exists.  Those essentially are the easy steps.  What makes this one a little on the scary/harder side is that word "until."    When you say "until," you are marking a specific time in the future when [action X] can be performed successfully.  The scary part of it is that this means you have to actively work on discovering your until.  Discovering your until makes the situation suddenly take on a new level of reality, which as noted several times above is scary simply because you are getting closer to [action X] and you even have a plan of how you can achieve it, and even then you probably still have a little doubt in your mind.  But once you find your until, you also have a reason for great excitement! Look at you!  You know exactly what you need to do to get closer to [action X] and make it happen.  You have a game plan, and even if you're not quite ready to attack it you suddenly find you have more power than you have ever previously felt and you see that [action X] is in sight!
Tier 4:  "I CAN"
  • Okay.  I just want you to take a moment to read the title of this tier aloud.  If you didn't do it when I just said to, then do it now.  Seriously, just say to yourself (but out loud), "I can."  Did you feel that power?  When you said it aloud did you have a certain [X] of your own in mind?  Did saying "I can" feel true?  Did it feel like a lie?  Did it give you chills/make you angry/scare you/make you doubt why you've read this far?  If the answer to any of those questions is "yes" then I'm glad.  This post has done what I intended.  The thing is, once you have your until established in tier three, if you're anything like me, it's almost impossible to see that something is within reach yet not jump at the opportunity eager to succeed.  Some of you may find that your until is not quite as motivating, but that's okay, too.  Because once you have your until, I promise you that there will be a time that you find you are saying "I can!" (other than the time I just asked you to do so).  And once you realize that you have eliminated the 't from the word and are now living with your new roommate, "can" instead of your old roommate you never paid his/her rent, "can't" you will find it's easier to say, "I not only can, but I will"
And then, once you say that W word....once you add your will to the equation, you will find yourself one day, possibly doing something like driving to school or working at your desk or watching a TV show or reading a book and then the coolest thought in the world will occur to you.

I did.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Every time I step outside and see violets I cry.
My tears aren't always visible, but they're there.
They're there because I remember too many spring and summer days to count;
days where we would spend 4-year-old hours on hours
which I'm sure were only minutes to an adult,
but to a 4-year-old they were the world,
picking violets on the hill beside that house.

And that leads me to think about orange tic-tacs and Muppet Babies puzzles and how much I would give to go back and live just one day and hear you talk about that letter you wrote to the president and how maybe he might take the time to respond to you because you had written down the easy solution to whichever national problem was on the forefront.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Peace amidst chaos

I haven't kept a detailed chronicle of the medical mystery I've been going through for over three months, but as we approach our next trip to the Cleveland Clinic (the trip is next week! I never thought it would get here because it's been scheduled since February but it is now within my line of sight!) God has been working on me in ways that I have never, up until recently, felt so powerfully.

I've told everyone I've talked to the past few weeks that God has blessed me with that peace that passes understanding in regards to the still-uncertain medical situation.  And the reason I use that particular phrase (peace that passes understanding) is because it literally transcends not only explanation but also understanding.  I realize that anyone from the outside looking in would have justifiable cause to say, "How on earth can you say you are at peace right now? You've gone through [this] and [this] and [this] and still have no definitive answers! Why are you not completely stressing out?!"

And to tell you the truth, even in the past few weeks (the weeks in which I've felt this transcendent peace), there HAVE been moments I've wanted to just scream or cry or throw something against the wall or smash something to little get the picture.  However, I'm continually being made aware that there is another blessing in the blessing of the peace itself.

I spend a lot of time home alone during the day because Rog is at work and I can't drive right now, and even if I could drive there's not much I can do, if anything, without getting ridiculously flummoxed.  So I have had an abundance of time to just sit here at home "alone" with God.  So what have I spent a lot of time doing? PRAYING.

I pray the occasional prayer for myself, but almost all of my prayers are being said for people who have either come to me with specific requests, people that God "randomly" lays on my heart during a prayer session, people that I've heard have needs even if they haven't specifically asked for payer, and people I know (as well as people I don't know) who are lost and need prayer for their salvation.

If you've never gotten down on your face and had a full-blown prayer and praise session where it's just you and God, I urge you to try it, if physically possible.  I have felt the power of Jesus working through me so much and I will tell you this--that feeling is unparalleled.  I find myself just wanting to praise Him more and more every day, and I find myself yearning for those moments when I am able to lift not only my needs, but the needs of countless others up to God.

Because God (the G-man, as I like to call Him sometimes) is truly capable of giving us that peace I mentioned that transcends any rationale that forms in our human minds.  And brothers and sisters, I'm pretty confident that if you feel that peace at any point, God is not only blessing you with it because you need it (even though there are times we ALL need it!), but He's giving you that blessing as an opportunity to free your mind from the fixation on your trials and focus your mind on lifting others up who are also going through rough times.

God bless,