Ch-ch-changes…

Quite a bit has gone on around here. I’ve been getting out of the house more and meeting new people. I’ve finished a book (that seems to be stuck in limbo mostly because of my fear  of the unknown).

I’ve been toying with the idea of writing about this last year. On March 24th, I had my first exacerbation and really this week has been a lot of reflection. Where was I going before I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis? Have I changed for the better or am I still the same? What do I want to do with my new responsibility?

I don’t have the answers but I will say that it has been a learning experience. I’ve cried a lot, made new friends, and visited some of the darkest places within my soul – but I rose out of those dark days. I knew that I was a stronger person than that because no matter what I’ve said in the past – I’m not a quiet soul. That just isn’t who I am.

So yes, the idea to write down what this last year has been like is very possible. I’m well aware there are people out there that have shared my struggle and overcome challenges – I just want to be a beacon for those still navigating the dark waters. I feel that even after everything – I will overcome this because my battle has just begun and I owe it to the others that were diagnosed that have been hit harder than myself.

xo

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My First Liebster Award

I know…it’s been quiet here for a bit but the wheels are slowly turning and I’ve been working on a new book and it is finally complete! I’m almost ready to pop open that bottle of Veuve but that will have to wait just a few more weeks. The design process is coming along and let’s just say that it is almost ready to be shared with everyone.

But, that isn’t the point of this post. I was nominated for a Liebster Award by the great James (who I keep promising to visit when I’m in Scotland and will – as long as we take in a Rangers game at Ibrox and then go for a pint and a bit of dancing haha). It’s really rare that I find someone on Twitter that I can correspond with that is both smart and funny…did I mention he can wear a suit well?

So, what is a Liebster Award? Well, I think I found a post that gives the history and let’s just say I am happy he has sent one my way. Thank you, James! And now onto the questions…

What is your most embarrassing childhood experience? I had plenty of these but the one that stands out is the time I went with my dad to the dock to launch his boat, Mi Maria. I was around age 8 and loved to wear skirts. It was summer but I was having so much fun playing on the dock that after the boat launched – I convinced my dad to let me stay behind. My sister was with me so my dad took off to take a spin around the bayfront. I saw a group of little boys that I thought were really cool so I started swinging on this rope on the dock (no, I did not fall in!) but I did bend over and when I flew around – well my skirt went over my head…and yes, everyone got a good view of my bloomers with smiley faces on them. I’m sure my dad would have gotten a speeding ticket if they gave them – and my sister? She was flirting with a boy she knew from high school that was out for a trip on his sail boat.
If you could have dinner with a famous person who is now dead, who would it be? Oh, this is one I’ve thought about many times and I’d have to say that my choice would be Donna Reed. I loved her show when I was little and it was a sad day in our household when my parents explained that she had passed away and the shows were reruns. I always admired her style and grace. I would just love to spend a dinner with her.
What is your favourite YouTube video at the moment? It would have to be my cousin, Rudy’s video for his song, Since you’ve been mine. I love it and it’s just smartly shot. I think people will enjoy it.


What is your favourite book? Clive Barker’s Thief of Always. It’s about a boy named Harvey that is bored with life and uninterested with school. One day he’s invited to a place called Holiday House and so he goes through a boxwood. From there on, it’s just a magical story of people and things he encounters. It could be considered a young adult book before the genre even had a name. Fantastic read and probably the most accessible book from Clive since well, he’s mostly known for his Hellraiser series.
If you had to eat the same meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? This one is a toss up…you see, I really love a caprese salad…the mix of tomato and mozzarella with basil…and just when you think it couldn’t get any better – they add olive oil and a vinegarette – so yummy! But of course, I love cake…red velvet to be specific. So, if you ever want me to fall completely in love – a caprese salad and cake. Key to my heart!

Thank you

And now for the fun part of this wonderful award…I get to nominate someone else to join in on the fun. So, I’ve chosen Vanessa, who I met through another wonderful friend and just feel like she is an amazing soul. I feel like we have so many similar interests and qualities – it’s really cool.

The questions:

  1. Who inspires you the most?
  2. Your favorite post on your own blog?
  3. Most desired travel destination?
  4. Something you can’t leave the house without?
  5. One skill you wish you had!

xoxo

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Personal Fences

The image below represents a fence that circles your house. Each fence has an invisible a gate that is voice activated and only opens to the sound of
your voice. As you explore each circle, think about whom you would place in the circle and write their name(s) in that circle.

personal fences

Inside the fence closest to my house would be my parents and siblings. In the following fence would be close friends and family members. We aren’t a large family and generally we don’t hold back from sharing what goes on in our lives. I know that when I was first diagnosed – I told everyone because I had a concern for my cousins that were in my same age group. I worried about them. In fact, I was more concerned for them than I was myself.

Since I have never been one to hold back – I don’t need very many fences. I learned a long time ago that it was fine to put up a wall but you had to be willing to break it down and especially now. I spent so long internalizing what I was dealing with that I learned quickly that if I wanted any help and/or to connect – I was going to have to break all those barriers.

I will say that I do share a lot with my mom because and I know it is cheesy to say but she really is my best friend. We have a pretty good relationship even if we have our moments. But for as long as I have been alive – I don’t think I have ever been a day where I don’t talk to her. It used to drive my roommates and later my ex insane. I used to say “it’s not my fault my mom and I get along!” I’ve always said that I would much rather have that than not have anything at all.

Yes…you guessed it…I am probably a mama’s girl – is that even possible? haha

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a thought on authenticity…

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart.”
-Carl Jung

 

When I was diagnosed earlier this year, I never questioned if I was a writer or who I was. A few months later I did ask myself that when I had started to feel like the person I had been before was slipping away. I had started to feel like I was losing my grip on who I was. How did I get to this point?

I looked back at some of the earlier posts from when I was fighting so hard to tell everyone that I was fine when in fact – I was not. It got to a dangerous point when I had stopped verbalizing what I was feeling. In some ways, it was good that I reeled myself in and that I had friends that recognized what was going on.

September was a low point but I didn’t allow that to overtake me. Instead, I chose to snatch who I was back from the brink of being gone forever. Today, I met a woman that is battling Lupus. We both connected when she talked about her troubles and she said that I was strong and she could tell that I was a fighter. I laughed becaues for awhile there – I didn’t feel that way.

So yes, I looked deep within and I found that I had a lot of stories still waiting to be shared with everyone. I also have learned that the things that I want out of life can all still be mine. I tell people that I allowed myself to freak out when I was diagnosed and that I made a deal that I would take this head on the way I tackled fractions in 3rd grade or the really bad haircut when I was 19.

There are times that things won’t always be so clear and I will feel down but I also know that there is a light and a lifesaver on the other end for those moments when I feel like all is lost. My MS is just a small portion of who I am.

I’m an author first. An artist second. And a rescuer of all animals. My MS is so far down the list of who I am that it doesn’t rule me even if it tries.

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The Potato Activity

We’re talking about Receptivity in the Wellness course. Here are a few questions:

  • In what situations and places do I best practice receptivity?
    • When I encounter a child, stranger, lover, tree, or busy city street do I believe that the act of receptivity can guide me into deeper presence and gratitude for what is?
    • How can receptivity to trauma, illness, or pleasure in my body teach me?
    • Why is my own practice of receptivity valuable for the life of the world?
    • How might the receptivity offered to me by a spiritual director or guide allow my own story to unfold more completely?

I don’t know that I fully understand the lesson though. I believe that I go into everything open and have had people tell me that since my diagnosis that I’m probably the calmest person they have met. Sure I was scared those first few days but when I gave it some thought – I was able to understand that there was something bigger than me that I could not control. It both scared me and humbled me. I learned at that moment that going forward I had to be open to everything because I’m not my own person anymore when it comes to my MS. 

I will say that being more open has also taught me that I can say no. It isn’t difficult to turn down things like before. And that is progress.

I spend a lot of time meditating now. I’m aware of the world around me – the blinders are off. I also know that I’m not alone in this and that I have a whole network of people that are there with me. It means a lot, really it does.

And to explain the image…one of the activities was recognizing your potato in a basket. I don’t have many here in the house but I was able to find mine with no problem. We had a chat and I told him that I was sorry he would be mashed soon but I intended to give him all the respect he deserved…my potato is a boy and no I don’t know how I know that. But I will say that my potato is chubby but has a nice skin and looks like he might be from another country and have an accent. I do like a guy with an accent…I believe that potato might have won a reprieve this week.

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Cupcake Finalist…

Author…Artist…Cupcake baker?!

My little snickerdoodle cupcakes made the final for the Cupcake Challenge – Hooray!

I will have a full post shortly but I will see you all at Fantasy Springs Casino on November 18, 2012.

xoxo

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Cupcake Challenge

 

I am not entirely sure how it happened but I was talking to Courtney one night and I mentioned there was an ad on tv about a Cupcake Challenge at the casino here in the desert. Oh sure, I thought “that sounds like an amazing idea!” I checked out the website and filled out the entry form without reading the rules.

Let’s take a moment and think about all the times I have done something without first reading the rules. Ok, to be fair, I do have a visual impairment but I really should have read the rules.

The rules ask for 4 full size cupcakes for the judges (seems fair) for the event and the baker has to bring in 300 cupcakes (mini or full size) for the public to sample. Wait. Did I type that correctly? Why, yes…yes I did. Without fully realizing what I had done…I had committed.

My snickerdoodle cupcake was chosen for a semi-final event so there is still a chance they might not like it…but I do have to prepare for what if they love it? I mean I’ve been baking cupcakes for a few years now so it isn’t anything to be scared of. I think after the last six months…if I have faced a health crisis – I can stare down a cupcake challenge.

I will definitely let you all know how it all turns out but even if I don’t make it – I invite you guys to head over to Fantasy Springs Casino on November 18, 2012 to try out all the flavors – I know I will be there since I’m a huge fan of cupcakes.

xoxo

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