Monday, September 1, 2014

Quarterly Gratitudes from an MSer || Top Ten GOOD THINGS in my life right now

Burning Bush, September 1, 2014. 
Welcome to my front porch!
Plumbago blossoms

Wow, where did the summer go? Wait, it's still here. Sunny and beautiful in the Pacific Northwest and more to come. I love September.

1. I know, I am a broken record (and I'm antiquated too, since I'm using that phrase)... but I have amazing children. Beautiful, smart, strong, funny. Focusing on them means less time to focus on my MS.

2. I'm also gifted with some amazing friends. Not only do I feel like they are right there with me when I'm on a trip across the country (thanks to Facebook!), but sometimes I even run into them live and in person in faraway places (Loretta!) and that's a real pleasure. They are my major source of laughter, intellectual stimulation and advocacy.

Rose of Sharon

   3. I just spent 10 days in New York and I lost weight. 
   Not a lot. But enough that I can sigh with relief and 
   know I won't have yet another 5-10 pounds to add to 
   my list of things to take care of. It wasn't all hearts
   and flowers, though: the heat got to me on two 
   separate occasions, and I had a violent tremor 
   that I'm sure was my body's response to muggy high 
   heat and the stress of travel. But I'm feeling much 
   better now that I'm home. 
False spirea

4. A repeat from my last gratitude check in: My meds. All of my meds. I'm grateful to take them, grateful to be able to afford them and to be able to tolerate them.

5. A shift in my schedule. With one kid off to college, it will be a little more quiet around here and a lot less busy (and with way less laundry to wash). I'm excited for my daughter and know these next few weeks without her will be spooky, but I'm grateful for a lighter load of parental duties at the home front. And she's gonna be just fine where she's at. I feel like I can really hunker down and get back to some meditation, yoga, walking, and even some trips to the gym, as well as eating better, drinking more water and just taking time to be with friends.

6. Loads of DVR recordings to catch up on. It's how I get my chores done. Old stuff, new stuff, movies. And (see #5) there's potentially more time for more books. I'm reading several right now in fits and starts. I'd like to make that more consistent. My fatigue is more or less under control, so it's doable.

7. I have a whole new pot of gold to develop into essays, stories, poems etc. thanks to time spent at a writer's conference in July and the purchase of numerous small journals which I have tucked into every nook and cranny so as to capture fleeting genius whenever it strikes. (Once captured, it may not be genius anymore, but that is beside the point!) I'm thinking about writing about my MS now, more formally, as well as other topics. 

Pansies popping!
8. My neighbors stepped up and helped my husband throw our annual neighborhood bash while I was out of town. Who can claim to have such awesome neighbors?? I've never known this kind of community, having moved so often as a kid. It's pure gold. I know that, were my MS to take a turn for the worst, my neighbors would be the first line to help out my family and I.

9. I planted my yard to be awesome in the fall. And it is. The false spireas and the plumbago are just absolutely gorgeous right now, as is the Rose of Sharon. New pansies are bursting from the pots as well and will keep doing so into the late fall. Burning bushes are tipped in red as well. Fall is here! Yay! MS has enhanced my appreciation for the little things: the flowers in the yard, the birdsong outside my bedroom window, the cool breeze through the trees, the brightness of stars outside the airplane window.

10. Recognition for my writing. I recently won a literary prize for an essay I published last spring. It came with some cash-money as well. It's no small thing to be validated in this way, and I can probably squeeze a whole year of encouragement out of that single attagirl. Again, like in #9, it's the small unexpected surprises of life that can keep a person moving forward.