Progress

 

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Progress is slow but moving along, at least. These are some of the Halloween fabric pieces I’ve managed to get cut for garlands. I have to dig out thread and tomorrow, maybe I’ll have some finished projects to post for you to see.

Sewing and crafting keep me occupied and help me feel productive on days when I’m not feeling very well. I wasn’t feeling particularly bad yesterday but not particularly good, either. So, I focused on tracing patterns, cutting them out and stacking them up. I’m going to be working on weeding out more stuff from my belongings so I’m sure by this afternoon, I’ll need to just sit and work quietly while I watch tv.

My new binge watch is ‘Rick Steves’ Europe’. My oldest daughter and I have done some travelling (thank you for that, my darling!) and I enjoy revisiting some of the places we’ve been and dreaming of where else we may go. My health may not allow any further travel but it wasn’t conducive to the other trips, either, and I powered through.

After waiting almost a year for the okay to get a pain pump, it was a huge blow to find my body reacted badly to the morphine injected into my spine as a test before the procedure. Despite the ambulance ride, ER visit and unpleasant side effects, I was pain free for the first time in several years and I enjoyed every second. Wasn’t exactly what I would have chosen to do with my pain free time, but you don’t get to pick and choose so I surprised everyone with my happiness.

But, it is a blow and the past few weeks have been spent coming to terms with that. I’d taken the other trips after pain blocks. Only the first one really worked. The others helped but each one helped less till I didn’t bother to get the last one allowed me. So, future travel may not be in the cards.

I never expected, never really wanted, to travel outside the US so to have done so at all is a major accomplishment. This world is so large and exploring it has really made an impact on me. Walking among ruins in Rome, for example, I felt quite young!!

If I never get to travel again, I have my memories and thousands of photos to take me back to those wonderous adventures. I’m extremely lucky to have been able to go in the first place, how can I feel disappointed I can’t go anywhere else? I’m human, so I do, but in my heart, I really don’t. Make sense to anyone but me? Probably not. 🙂

My challenge to you is to accept something you can’t control. Embrace the good memories and consider yourself lucky to have good memories to draw from.

Have a great day!

Catching Up

Family time is precious and I loved every second I spent this past weekend with my kids and grandkids. But, now I have to play catch up. It’s going to be a busy week doing all the things I set aside the past three days! Wouldn’t change that for the world, though.

Very hot and humid here in southern IN so no yard work will be done till it cools off. Looks like Thurs will be the start of that so I hope the weather prediction is correct. I have plans for along the front of my house but I overheat easily so I’ll wait till it’s more comfortable to pursue that.

I did manage to iron, trace patterns and cut some fabric for garlands. I’ve only finished cutting the Halloween fabric so far. Before I start to sew them, I’ll iron and cut out Christmas fabric, also. (Since I’m behind on my blog, I’ll post photos of my work in progress and hopefully some completed tomorrow.)

Working on removing items I no longer need is proving quite labor intensive and therefore slow going. That’s ok. I never bother to put deadlines on anything I do as that would make me feel discouraged if I didn’t manage to meet those deadlines. Instead, I just enjoy seeing progress, especially when I manage to complete a task. Key to happiness is keep the stress level down.

So, today’s challenge is to catch up on things you’ve let slide without stressing over it. Every little bit of progress is a victory so celebrate!

Stuff

I’m surrounded by stuff. It’s stealing my joy and today is action day.

I regularly purge my belongings. I’ve moved from small places to large places and back to small. I’ve changed professions as regularly as I have homes. Yet I tend to hang on to items needed for those jobs I’ve moved on from. Clothing that doesn’t work or fit. Books I started to read but keep “in case” they might interest me at a later time. Sewing materials I may need some day. Boxes of photograph prints that need to be scanned and saved. The list goes on and on.

I’ve lived in a tiny house for two years now and yet, despite my purging, I still have a room in my daughter’s basement full of stuff. St Vincent de Paul is going to love me because I’m going to be dropping off a Jeepful of items later today. Or at least loading it today to drop off tomorrow.

I do need to keep more things than I may ever use but I’m learning to be picky about what I’m keeping. A fabric I don’t like is not suddenly going to become attractive to me. As my pancreatitis is a daily thing, belly swelling is constant, so out go my smaller clothes that would fit if it weren’t for that. Books I’ll never read have to go. Anything dealing with past professions has already been weeded out but I’ve kept my professional clothing. Someone else could be using those so I’ll donate most of it.

Getting my stuff reduced and organized is as important as keeping my brain clear of junk and using it. If I don’t keep control of both, I’ll be buried. Either in stuff or too much stuff going around in my mind.

I challenge you to examine your thoughts and discard anything that’s not conducive to a happy, productive life. I challenge you to look around your home and discard things that no longer make you happy. Changes don’t happen in one day but if you slowly chip away at that pile of negativity, you’ll feel lighter and happier. I know it works for me.

Now I’m off to tackle that stack of things cluttering up my life. I wish everyone a wonderful day!

Patience

It seems like any time I plan something, things change. Today, I had plans to do overdue shopping, for instance. But, my pain level is telling me I need to stay home. Sometimes it’s a weather issue that an event is cancelled or postponed. Other times it’s finances that keep something from happening.

It used to be that no matter what, I could power through it. I’d work two to three jobs or one job with major overtime. And still manage to do shopping, laundry, family and friends outings, etc. These days, powering through earns me a trip to the ER.

So I’ve learned how to wait. For a Type A personality, that’s the worst word ever.

But I’ve learned some coping tips that I’ll share and maybe you’ll share yours with me. We’re all in this life together and while our circumstances aren’t the same, we still have the same feelings and reactions.

First of all, I treat every day like it’s a present waiting to be opened. I think I know what’s inside, but do I? Usually not. Learning to appreciate and not be disappointed when the day’s not what I’d expected brings joy. There’s a joy in everything if you take the time (and have the attitude of appreciation so you can see the joy). Depression can steal that joy so don’t wait too long to seek help if you can’t make your way out of that dark hole.

When I woke up today, I knew I wasn’t going to have a good morning because the pain was there. But, as I lay in bed and looked at the sun and shadows on my walls, couldn’t help but smile. My walls are a goldish yellow and it changes in shade. No part of the wall ever looks the same as another. It’s constantly changing.

So I learned from that and now I constantly change. My expectations and plans change. Since I won’t be leaving my house for a few hours, at least, I’m going to fill that time with soaking in the beauty of my house. The walls, the shadows from the blinds, souvenirs I’ve picked up from all over the world, pictures of places I’ve been, photos of my family, etc. I don’t live in the past but I sure do enjoy revisiting some of it. There are parts I don’t like to visit but they made me who I am so it’s not healthy not to go back in time and examine those times.

Another way I deal with unexpected changes and disappointments is to find something else to occupy myself with that makes me happy. I do a lot of crafts and while the ultimate goal is to set up a booth at a craft fair and sell these items, realistically, I know I may never be well enough to do so. It doesn’t stop me from creating and planning, though. There’s always tomorrow, the next day, the next month, the next year… I want to be ready for whenever that time occurs.

When you aren’t able to work a real job, you have to fill your days with meaning. It would be easy (for someone else, it’s not in my DNA) to sit around and watch tv all day. I do watch tv, I binge watch entire series (I’m watching “Blacklist” at the moment) but I’m a multitasker to the extreme. I never read just one book, I have three or four around the house I’m reading. (Right now, I’m reading ‘Two O’clock, Eastern Wartime’ by John Dunning; ‘Secret Rooms’ by Catherine Bailey; and ‘The War Against Miss Winter by Kathryn Miller Haines.) I sew, crochet, go through flower catalogs and plan gardens that may or may not ever materialize, scroll around online, etc. It’s important to keep your mind active and challenge it. Game apps are a real weakness. I can play games and watch tv all day and be perfectly happy. Till the sun goes down and I realize that’s all I did all day! But, I was doing things that entertained me and that’s ok. It’s just the Type A that says it’s wasteful if I’m not producing something tangible at the end of the day.

The key to keeping myself happiest is to be able to see something I’ve accomplished. Whether it’s as simple as cooking something special, doing laundry and putting it away, seeing completed crafts in a pile at the end of the day, or finishing a book. There’s real satisfaction in knowing you didn’t just sit on a couch all day.

My happiest times are times I spend with my family and friends. My daughter and husband built my house in their yard just for me. So, there are many times there’s a loved one’s face at my door’s window. My granddaughters come for a hug or to tell me their problems. We talk and play games, cuddle and then they head for home. Other times, it’s the dogs at my door. Every single day, I find joy outside my windows. (Hence the name of my blog)

Writing brings me great pleasure, also. Just sharing in this blog has eased my disappointment and now I’m ready to see what else I can do until this pain eases up some. Think I’m in the mood for the mystery of ‘Two O’clock, Eastern Wartime’.

Hope you’re all having a wonderful day!

Ruffled Feathers

I opened my blinds and looked out my kitchen window this morning. Across the yard was a female cardinal just sitting on a branch looking around. Something about her attitude drew my attention and I took some photos of her. I went about my business but my mind kept going back to that bird.

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I realized I wanted to be like that bird. I wanted to just park myself outdoors and do nothing except look around. So I went out onto my front porch to sit in my rocking chair awhile. One look told me how long it had been since I had done that. The chairs were full of dirt, mold and insects. As I wiped one of the chairs clean, I began to feel a real sense of accomplishment.

I rocked gently back and forth looking around the yard and felt at peace. Nothing needed my immediate attention and I was totally relaxed. And then along came a spider…!!!

I’m safely back in my house now.  🙂

Hope everyone has a wonderful day and it’s full of nice surprises.

Introduction

Good morning! I’m here to challenge you.

I’ve started this blog as a way to connect with others facing a disability or life change that is affecting everything they thought they needed in life. My identity was wrapped up in whatever job I held. When I could no longer hold a job, my entire life collapsed.

All of my life, I’ve suffered from sudden, debilitating stomach pain and gastrointestinal issues. And all of my life, I was told I just had a nervous stomach. Until I had an acute attack of necrotizing pancreatitis. I had a diagnosis for that but no explanation of why I had a sudden attack. In 2014, I finally got an answer to my lifetime problems. It turns out I have a birth defect in my pancreas. Where normal pancreases have one duct that branches out into two to drain, I have two parallel narrow ducts that spasm and shut off causing either pancreatitis or backing poison into my liver causing that to shut down.

I suffer from chronic pancreatitis daily and the suddenness of GI issues has made it impossible to be counted on to be in any place at a certain time. When I have dr appointments, I have to leave quite early because I may need to make stops on the way. I can’t eat before I go anywhere as a precaution because even though I stick to low fat to no fat foods, I never know what my body will react negatively to. Pain will hit suddenly and escalate in a matter of minutes to unbearable. My local ambulance EMT’s know me well.

Despite all of that, I try to live as I would without any of those issues. I wake up happy, I go to sleep happy. I love my life and I would only change my health if I could. Other than that, I have such a wonderful family, extended family, home and life in general. With so many close calls to dying, I can say it’s definitely increased my joy in daily life.

I see so many people who don’t enjoy their lives as they are. They want more. That’s why I’ve started this and I hope others will travel through this year with me to learn just how much you can let go of and be happy. I hope you’ll join in with me as we challenge and support each other.