Celebrating Life’s Small Triumphs

I sit here righting this, at 4 a.m. in the morning because the dizziness has subsided. Last night it was so bad, I felt like I was going to pass out. The room began vibrating back and forth and it was like I was on a bad rollercoaster, one I couldn’t get off of.

The days that I have when I feel well are becoming less. There are days I can’t drive, because my vision is affected.

I am thankful for the good days I have, and I hope today will be a good day. I have had no dizziness yet, so I am up at 4 a.m. getting everything I can get done, while it lasts.

I am embarrassed to say that I have been so dizzy, I have been unable to clean my house. I usually clean it daily. I have been unable to clean it for a whole week. So I am cleaning it from top to bottom while I can.

Things like washing your hair became less important. The dizziness gets worse with neck extension, and I get tingling sensations along my spine. (Because of this Dry Shampoo has been my best friend) I have to take cool baths, because the dizziness and coordination get worse with heat and humidity. It has been so hot I have had to stay inside, and two days ago my Son and I spent all day outside. I paid for it for the next two days.

I am an active person, and I love spending time outside. I think that there is no better cure for illness, then spending time outside in nature. It’s been killing me the last few days, because I have had to limit my outdoor activity.

Thankfully Sunday, and Monday where good days this week. I am happy because they were some of the best days I have had in months. I didn’t feel dizzy at all. I took full advantage of that.

Sunday we celebrated my Brother’s birthday. My Brother and I played outside with my son, while my Mom, Dad, and Husband sat inside talking. We chased my Son around, swinging, and sliding down the slide with my son -the same playset my Brother and I played on as children.-

We gave my Son wheelbarrow rides, and chased him around the field, and then my Brother gave me a wheelbarrow ride. I thought for sure the wheelbarrow would break under my weight, but my Brother assured me it would be fine, daring me to get in. I screamed the whole time. I kept feeling like I was going to tip out. At the end of the ride, the wheelbarrow did tip over and I fell on backwards and landed on my butt, feet sticking up in the air and everything. My Brother and I where laughing hysterically.

My Son, was saying “Stop Mommy, Its my turn.” So after we were done laughing, my Son got a ride back to the house, from his “Funny Uncle.”

It was a good day, and I am so happy I was not sick when we celebrated my Brother’s Birthday.

Monday was a good day too. I had a Doctors appointment. After the appointment My Son and I went to see his favorite train and Caboose at the Historic Depot, it the township we live in. We spent a good part of the day at the park and he rode his bike around town. It was hot though, and Tues, Wends, and Thursday were bad days. I should have known better, but I love spending time outside.

I may look healthy on the outside, but I have an invisible illness, that I have had since 2015. The most frustrating aspects of this have been the misdiagnosis that I have received and been treated for with little to no results.

I have an MRI of my spine next week, to look for any abnormalities on my spinal cord, and I am going to be seeing a neurologist again. In August I start Physical Therapy again.  I hope to have some answers soon.

For all of those with chronic illnesses, that struggle daily. Just know that you are not alone. I have to take each day as it comes for now. That’s all I can do.

Today has been a good day, I am thankful for that. Now back to cleaning my house that I have neglected for a week, because I have to take the good days as they come.

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Someday when I grow up…

Think back to when you were young…

One of the biggest questions everyone asked was what do you want to be? Pretty big question. But if you were like me, you had an answer to everything back then, didn’t you?

I remember in first grade I knew that answer. I wanted to be a writer. The first piece I ever wrote was a play on several 3 by 5 index cards. It was littered with spelling, grammatical errors, and incomplete sentences. In my eyes however, it was a masterpiece. It sat in a box, tucked in one of my favorite childhood books until we moved, and my Mom gave them to me.

Reading the note cards provided my Husband and I with much entertainment , and by the third card, we were laughing so hard we were crying. Thankfully, my writing skills have improved since then!

Life happens, people grow up. Instead of getting happy, people’s opinions get in the way, and then we hope to get lucky.

Get lucky, and get that promotion. Hope to get a good paying job with benefits. Work for a company that offers a good retirement plan, and if we are lucky, retire by the time we are sixty. That is, if -and that is a big if- we are lucky.

Then life happens. That promotion we were hoping to get, it doesn’t work out. Our luck has not been too good. Times are tough, and with Obama Care in place,  that benefits package the company you work for is increased by $200 bucks a month. You can barley afford to pay your bills, and you will never be able to retire at this rate. Then all that labor you have done for years finally catches up. You get a chronic condition, and that job that you used to be able to do, you can no longer do. You are forced into an entry level job. With no hope of retirement at all.

You are forced to do something for yourself and you family. You come back to the only thing you know how to do.

Write. So you begin writing. The only thing in life that gives you purpose, besides being a Wife and a Mother.

Then you remember the day you grew up. The day that people told you, being an English and or Creative writing major would never make you any money. The day your dreams were crushed. The day they died.

The day I looked into my Sons eyes, was the day I was born. Then I got happy. Not just lucky. I felt the need to write. It hasn’t stopped since. I write stories and poems, for my Son, and he asks me to read them to him. He reminds me daily to get happy, not just lucky. It all made sense. The reason I was here, what life is all about.

Life isn’t about being lucky. It’s about getting happy.

When I ask my Son what he wants to do when he grows up, I am gonna tell him the same thing my Grandfather did, “Do what makes, you happy. Not what makes you the most money.”

I keep thinking about the conversation my Grandfather had with me before nursing school. I wish he was here to talk to me and support me now. He was good at listening. I think he knew me better than I knew myself.

I can’t help thinking about the advice he gave me, and about how he said I would struggle and have to jump through a lot of hoops in my life to get where I was going. He was so right. Right about everything.

I’ve already jumped about through half of them.

Driving in the same car that he used to drive, on the way to the college campus, I started talking to him, asking for his guidance. I just wish I could take one last drive with him.

If he was to ask me today what I wanted to do when I went to college, my answer would no longer be, ‘Making a decent living,” but “living a life of happiness doing what I love with the people I love.”

 

 

 

Life and Death: Coverversations We Need to Have With Toddlers

It isn’t always easy to understand what death is for a toddler. I know my Son understands it now, and my heart breaks for him, because I understand what he is going through. I went through the same thing when I was about his age.

The first time a beloved animal died, I really did not understand what death was. I remember my parents brought our beloved Dog Mercedes, home in a Garbage bag to bury in our pet cemetery. My parents tried to explain that she was gone and had gone to be with Jesus, (I went to church so I understand who Jesus was) but I did not not understand that physically she would be gone forever. She looked peacefully like she was sleeping.

A while later my Aunt Louise died. Her funeral was the first funeral I remember attending. She looked like she was sleeping, but it was then that something clicked. She wasn’t getting up to kiss me, or take me out for ice cream like she promised me, the last time I saw her. It was then I realized she was gone and was sleeping forever. I remember being sad, and missing her. I wished we could go get ice cream one more time, but I realized it was not happening. She was gone.

My son lost a cat that he absolutely adored when he was about a year old. Grey boy, my Son called him grey-go. Grey-Go had cancer, and he knew he was sick and cried and said Grey go sad. When he passed, I told him he went to be with Jesus and is sleeping forever. I don’t think he understood until a couple of weeks later. For two or three weeks he looked everywhere for Grey. “Where are you?” He would say. When he was about two he told me he was he was sad because Grey-Go went to be with Jesus and he is sleeping forever.

A year later, I know he understands. Sitting at my Grandmother’s memorial service, he is holding onto the bulletin for dear life. It has a picture of his Great Grandma on it. He says it’s great Grammy. He cuddles up to me and sees everyone is sad. He knows. He is a wild boy the next couple days, I then realized it is because he is dealing with a lot. 

The day after, he cuddles up to me in the morning and tells me he sees Great-Grandma in the doorway, and on the ceiling and carries her picture around with him everywhere close to his heart. I’m almost certain at this point it is a way that he is trying to deal with his grief, he doesn’t want her to be gone.

 He talkes about how he misses her and about his third birthday coming up, and how he wants Great Grandma at his party. Later, as he is taking his bath, he gets this sad look on his face and tells me he is sad. I ask him why? He says, Grandma went to be with Grey-Go and Jesus. She not sick anymore. 

Then I recalled the moment that I remembered understanding I would never see my Aunt Louise again and how difficult it was for me to rationalize that. 

We cuddled after bathtime. I held my Son and told him it was ok to be sad. He said Mommy sad too, and I said Yes baby, I am, and it’s ok to be sad. Through tears, we looked at pictures of My Son and his Great Grandmother, and talked about the times we shared together as a family. That is what has always gotten me through. The happy memories that we have shared together as a family. I hope that it also helps my Son too, to be thankful that he got to spend that precious time with her.

 I kissed my Son and Thanked God that he at least got the opportunity to spend some time with his Great Grandmother, no matter how short that was, and remembered how difficult it was for me the first time I finally understood what death was. I remembered what it was like to experience it from the perspective of a toddler.

What does it mean to be alive? Is a question we need to ask ourselves and our toddlers, and a conversation we need to have with them, that way when we have to explain what death is, and what it means, they can understand. More important, is the ability to understand it is ok to be sad, it’s ok to miss someone, and to be sad because you will not be able to make new memories with them.

To the little girl in the store…

To the little girl in the store that was wearing the yellow dress…

Please never stop asking questions.

I saw you yesterday when I took my son to the bathroom. You asked me alot of questions, Like if he was a boy, and if he needed help going to the bathroom, and why?

I gladly answered all your questions, and your caretaker seemed embarrassed. They told you to stop asking so many questions. 

I know you are younger than your years, and that should not be looked at as a burden. Having a handicap can make you see the world in a different light. In a world so dark, you can see the light perhaps better than all of us.

I saw you at the checkout again, and I answered your questions, while the cashier ignored you, other people stared, and your caretaker told you to shut up. 

You cried, and you said, I’m sorry, over and over again, but you did nothing wrong. My heart broke for you, it is never a crime to be curious. If I could, I would wrap you in my arms and tell you are beautiful, because that is what I think.

Stay young, ask questions when you don’t understand the world around you. Let your light shine. 

In a world so cruel and dark, we all need to practice kindness, and a whole lot more love. 

So please if you see someone that has special needs, show them love and kindness, because this world has already been cruel enough.

Love, 

The Stranger at the Store

Watch “Don’t Be Perfect – Motivational Video ft Lewis Howes” on YouTube

“The Universe is made up of roughly 94 percent dark matter…there is always something in our lives that is dark matter…we don’t know why these experiences happen to us…when we reflect on it, we realize we would not be were we are today, if it wasn’t for the dark matter in our lives.”

Be Like a Child

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Somewhere in our lives we forget to truly live. I think that begins when you start going to school. These politicians and board members who sit behind desks all day, working for corporations dictate to teachers how children should be taught. “Common Core” teaches you that this is the way you have to learn. What those people sitting behind the desk don’t understand is everyone learns differently.

It is in the classroom that creativity is stopped. They kill your dreams. They kill your dreams and creativity because they do not want you to think for yourself. A large group of people thinking for themselves is dangerous. For they have the ability to change the world.

Be like a child who has not had their soul crushed. Be fearless. Have faith, and know that you are worthy. Follow your dreams. Live dangerously. Love like you have never loved before. It is in this way you will be able to change the world. It is never to late to start living the life you always have dreamed of having.

What is dream did you give up? Why?
Please leave your comment below.

Watch “Tinie Tempah – Written In The Stars ft. Eric Turner” on YouTube

Inspirational song. “It’s written in the stars, keep shouting tell they hear you out.”

What is the one thing you are hungry for? Please leave you comments below.

Believe in Magic

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  My blog name “Snapshots of a Life,” is inspired by the memior of my life I am currently working on.
  
   When I write, I like to think of a book as a series of short stories. I like to fashion my stories in such a way, that you can pick a chapter anywhere in my memior, and read it independently of the collection.

   I like to think of our life as a camera, and the memories of snapshots. A glimpse into our lives. I love writing true stories, but I also love fiction.

   The reason I love fiction is you can create anything you want. Different characters, different worlds and then imagine how they will react to different situations. This creates the plot.

   I draw inspiration from real life, as you can see and read about in my previous blog entry. I feel that this makes a story more authentic. My goal in writing fiction is to find a universal truth in everyday life, then turn that truth into a story.

   I believe to do this, you must look at life through the eyes of a child. Like the world around you is a magic place. That is where you find truth. Through truth, you find your voice.
  

Auld Lang Syne

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As the sun begins to set, the breeze brings with it a melody from the Valley. Faintly the church bells are heard in the distance sweetly singing the melody Auld Lang Syne. It was appropriate because as the clock chimed, another year rolled by. The sunset began to set as my Grandson and I walked toward it and into the field. A lovely way to end my 60th birthday party. He smiled at me as a new hour dawned and said,

“Happy Birthday Grandpy! Happy Birthday. I love you.”

“I love you too.” I said and then kissed his little head.

He fell asleep as I carried him back to his Mother. I remember when she was young, and I brought her home on a day like this. I saw all the light in the world, and for a minute I thought heaven was in my hand. It was in this moment with my Grandson, I saw the beauty of God’s plan.

Notes:

This is a fiction piece from the perspective of a Grandfather. He is 60, and time continues to move on. For him it is just another day, but he doesn’t want to be reminded of it. He understands that the every year brings a certain finality with it, and that one day he will no longer be here (walking into the sunset) and leaving a legacy for his Daughter and Grandson.

I got this idea from a song I heard from the church down the road. The electronic bells really do carry the tune Auld Lang Syne. It was really my Father’s Birthday today, and I wrote this for him. He has a very special relationship with my Son, and I also wanted to capture this in the story.

This gives you an idea of how I get ideas for my stories and books. By being observant, and looking at the world with wonderment. From the eyes of a child.

For those of you who write, I am interested to know how you come up with ideas for your stories, and what inspires you?

Please leave your comments below.