Monday, December 29, 2014

2014, the year of Color

Since I'm ringing in this coming year with my natural hair color (what?) I decided to waste an abnormal amount of time documenting some of the fun I've had along the way.  I'm so glad I took the chance to try colors I've always wanted to and say "I did it."

So, do you have a favorite?  Brown is suiting me more than I expected.  It's almost like it was made to go with my skin tone.  Hmmm.....

Thanks, books!

"Everybody wants to be with me.
I've got all I need
To feel invincible
With my headphones on."

So I'm thinking economics or psychology audio books may not have been what these song lyrics were written about but for me, the result is the same.

I'm so grateful for books.  Their hope.  Their distraction.   And my freedom to bring them into my life exactly when I need them with no deciding if I am worthy on their part.

Literacy is such a gift.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Oh you crazy brain

There was a man down the hall shouting a string of obscenities and his voice was getting louder.  Grateful I leave my office door open to notice such thing, I jetted out in time to add some extra manpower for the frazzled nurse.  It appeared that she was about to get punched or worse so I was in a hurry to help diffuse the situation.  She being more skilled and more experienced with his outbursts knew just what to say to distract the moments' emotion and together we helped him put his pants and his dignity back in place.  With a support belt around his waist they ventured on to a walk around the facility and I returned to my office with a smile on my face at the quickness we had him back to joviality.

This is probably what my brain looks like if the dyes all seeped in over the year

It was a just a typical day at work and part of why I loved working in long term care.  Elderly patients were the majority but this particular man was only in young adulthood.  He had sustained a traumatic brain injury and required care in order to live daily life.  His spirit was still so young.  His outbursts typical of a bar fight in someone his age and his jokes as witty as they come.

I loved those patients.  I loved the employees making their life better too.  Every day was rewarding, even the most painful.  I woke up remembering that world today.  Mostly as I struggled to practice compassion for myself.  I'm in several weeks on the Medrol steroid (after a week of prednisone) and besides the side effect emotions, I'm noticing a different change.  I'm remembering who I was and wondering if I had had brain inflammation as part of my lupus effects.  I shut out friends that I care about, I was quick to anger, and I made impulsive choices that now and a few years ago would have seemed completely out of character.

So today I am feeling pain at pain I inflicted in others and a desire for restitution.  Oh, how I want to be better, and I hope those who know me will find mercy in their hearts to forgive me over time.  If you are one that I hurt I am so sorry.

I'm also scared since I don't know how the disease will develop, what treatments will do, etc., but I do know that I LOVE other people, I desire connections with them, and I want them to be happy.  I will try to continue to remember this.  And if you catch me out in the hall with my pants down yelling obscenities, please borrow a moment's grace and know that deep down I love you and deep down I want a happy life for all of us.  This is the wish of my heart

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Being Still and Small

When I first posted my response to my lupus diagnosis I mentioned the change I faced in my desire to be big and dramatic.   I was mourning that as my ability to do my talents and physical challenges had all but disappeared (for now anyway).

My quiet,  very small faith has reminded me that truth gets delivered in still, small packages.   So I would guess someone who wants to live their truth can do it in the same manner.

Still and Small for me could be:

More listening,  less preaching.
More apologizing and less argument.
More love in my heart and less boldness in my manner.
More seeing people's hearts and less fear of what they want from me.

I have much to receive as I'm reminded while I meditate and I hope quietly and with stillness I will be open to just that.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Friday Hair dye

Blue was wild.
Blue was fun.
But now it's time
For another one.

Can you guess what's next?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


I'm reading poverty research right now and coming to conclusions that I hadn't considered before.

HOPE.  That is what people need.  Sometimes it comes in the form of a some goats or a micro loan.  Sometimes it is from a sponsor like Compassion International, where an individual child has more invested in them from town infrastructure to school uniforms.  Psychologically knowing you have a way out or a way up makes all the difference.  This holds true in our own nation as well as others.

The flip side is wrenching to read but illuminates the point.  The studies showing that hope can be unlearned seem to say our brains and hearts can come to acknowledge fruitlessness of fighting for something better.  This is when despair happens,  which contributes to substance abuse and impulse spending which can often plague the poor.   This leads to judgment and a resistance of compassion in those that observe it.  I get that and I've been there.  But I think for too long we've been confusing cause and effect.

Hope comes in different packages and some work while others don't.   That's why I'm a big fan of outcome research on charity work.  I'm excited to be reading A Path Appears where the authors have compiled a lot of that research.   I highly recommend it and I look forward to finding ways to give of myself and try to find resources so that in 2015 I can work to inspire hope.

The Meditation of Pain

Lupus brought me to my knees today.   Okay,  not actually my knees--my bed.  It hurts to move.

Yesterday wasn't great.   Today just hurts.

I shed some tears just now thinking of the contrast with the season this year and last year.  Much of last Christmas break was spent with rotating kids and me roller skating.  So much swooshing air as I sped.  Smiles as my muscles grew and glowing pictures to post my good times.

I glowed as I tried my Christmas morning guitar and felt sore from cranking out tree skirts.  I was proud of the money my sewing had made but slowly found the downsides, the discouragement,  and finally the impossibility of sewing for hire with stronger arthritis and customers who often wanted sweatshop level prices and precision (not to mention speed).

After a post holiday commitment to take a sewing break to get my arthritis to "go away" the year's development wouldn't be what I expected.

Of course physical pain was the least of my year.  There were emotional highs and lows, back and forth, in a pattern that can only be described as dizzying.

I learned about myself.   I learned my heart and my hearts needs.  And then I tried new things and failed.   Made intense friendships and lost them.  It was THAT kind of year.

But today I am in bed.  I'm in bed because of pain but facing myself by typing into my blogger app here on my phone.  My wins for today are having a formal discussion with my older kids on why I don't get out of bed sometimes and where my heart is at and what I'm trying to do (not be lazy!).  The other win is the treat drop off from church member neighbors.   Being quarantined due to compromised immune system has expanded my gratitude for the sweet gesture of them remembering us for a holiday.  God bless those dear people.

And win #3...what I'm working on is meditation.   I'm trying to dredge up all I remember from my myriad of self help reading months ago to be able to reach mindfulness from here in my pain bed.  I breathed into my pain and let my breath follow it's path.  It was exhilarating. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Blue Hair

I'm having so much fun mixing pastels for my ends and then darkening to the roots.
All I've used is Manic Panic's color After Midnight and then I mix it with white cheap conditioner to make the lighter shades.  Life's too short for just one level of blue, right?  :).

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Saturday Tile Work

This is a photo diary of our day.

Any construction zone in the house immediately becomes Lane's play zone. 

I finished up Bucket #2 of grout.  It felt like a great accomplishment after 1000 Sq feet.

And this is what keeps me motivated.   Seriously I'll do thousands of dollars of labor for a manicure.   It sure feels good I learned after building fence in Texas.  

And picking a nail color wasn't too difficult.   Just matched it to my hair :).

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Good News!

I think my new steroid works!  (Note: I have rheumatoid arthritis as well as lupus)

I woke up this morning with flat hands for the first time in over a year.

Flat hands?  Yes.  Normally I wake up with them balled in fists and I unpeel and stretch them.  That's the work of arthritis for ya.

But today they were laying flat across my body and were relaxed.  It was a joyous feeling to have some relief!

I posted a "steroid selfie" yesterday on Facebook as I noticed the facial puffing.  I wanted to face it, but I have to say having some pain relief made it no big deal :).  I'll be the puffy face for less pain.  Good trade.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Lupus and Grieving

I was diagnosed last week but just got to the business of facing it today.

I'm frustrated.   I thought roller skating and I were just on a temporary emotional hiatus.   Til I stopped being sore all the time.  And felt energetic and hopeful.

But it looks like anything strenuous will cause me more pain.  Ditto for hip hop dancing. 

Today as a result of the steroids my eyelids and under eyes are swollen to the point of pressure if trying to read or focus on something.   Have you seen the size of my bookstack?  I feel those shelves crumbling around me if I can't read them.

It feels like my Job moment but I am nervous to be so presumptuous.  There are huge problems around the world.   Accept my apologies but I'm trying to face this, make sense of it.

I gave up sewing...the only way I contributed to our family income and quite frankly my best talent.   I figured if I slowed down with that my arthritis could slow down and heal and I'd come back stronger and better!

So here I am.  In need of a passion,  a pursuit,  a feeling of contribution in this world.  My sites are being way way way scaled down in the hopes that I can continue being a loving and present guide to my children.  It is hard just meeting the 4 year olds basic needs through the day and getting everyone else where they need to be on time. 

It's weird and frankly depressing to me to reduce my goals to that point.   I want to be a doer, an achiever, big big big!

I need peace about being small and calm.  And feeling loved. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Lavender Hair

One of my friends mentioned he wanted to dye his hair lavender.   He may have meant it as a joke.   You know, a nod to my crazy, hair changing ways...

Nevertheless I had to gather inspiration photos for him to peruse to pick the perfect shade.  Here's to you, Gremlin!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Mediterranean Chopped Salad

I made up this recipe combining all the things I happened to be craving at the moment today.   It became lunch and I'm loving it!
Combine coarsely chopped veggies and beans of your choosing.  I have:

Grape tomatoes
Cucumber (unpeeled)
Garbanzo beans (1 can, drained)
1 red onion
A can of olives would be perfect too but I'm out :(.

Then add and mix this dressing:
3 T vinegar
1/4 C olive oil
2 t oregano
1 t honey
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t salt

Mix and match what you have.  I also threw in some chopped mozzarella cheese so that it and the beans could add the protein to make it a filling lunch.

I'm sure it's better after marinating a few hours, but I ate it right away and it was still yummy.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Insta Saturday

First of all, sweet honey :) changed a CV joint boot on my van.  This is the yucky broken one.  I love that van and the way my man has kept it running all these years.  I love how cheap older cars are to register and I love the freedom of not caring about scratches or dents since it already looks like a mess.

Sadly it appears we may be on its last days but we'll milk it as long as we can.

I tried to do peekaboo hair color on someone besides myself.   It was more fun than I expected.  And it came out subtle enough for middle school I hope :).

I used manic panic After Midnight.   The good thing about this type of color is that it's semi permanent and doesn't damage or change her young,  healthy hair. 

My other daughter sang with her chorus at an outdoor mall.  It was delightful to watch.

Hope you had a great Saturday too!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

New chalkboard

Confession:  although I've noted ideas and inspiration for new chalkboard wall art from season to's been a few since I actually changed ours.

This weekend felt like the magic moment to begin again so here it is.  It was delightful to use the chalk pens, but be warned: they don't just wipe off like chalk.

I did this whole board knowing it needed another coat of paint eventually so that'll probably be when I change the decor on it next.