Hitting the Pavement {& Choosing Joy Anyway}

Last post, I wrote about chasing the pavement. How it felt to fly (walk halfway normally after limping, hip pain and occasional cane use). I was as "unflared" as I get these days, and living life to the fullest.

But by that night, I was no longer flying, but instead falling from the sky, and hitting the ground (aka my bed) hard.


How that hurts, the hitting of the pavement when you've just been chasing it.

I wasn't sure if I was flaring or had just overdone it. My hands, feet and hips were wrecked. So I rested, again, tears trying to sneak out.

I forced myself to apply pen to journal page:

Deflated today. Have overdone it and thrown myself back into a flare, it seems. I'm sad to feel like this again so soon. I get relatively used to it when I'm in it, but slammed back to the ground after flying is brutal. The sudden shift in ability, energy, fatigue and pain levels is just plain rough.

Have to allow myself a bit of grief, some hours to process and adjust back to what is, unfortunately, pretty much my normal now.

Giving myself some grace today. I know I'll adjust soon, but for today I'm just really sad to be chronically ill.

It took some days but it seems I haven't completely re-flared myself, just overdid it. I'm thankful for that. I'm thankful for the memories of getting up early, walking quickly, watching the sunrise, taking pictures and listening to music in my neighborhood.

Maybe the memories are worth the pay off. That's something I'm still trying to decide.


Today? Looking forward to (in)RL!, (in)courage's first virtual conference event. I've written about Sara Frankl here before. Sara, our gitzengirl, was homebound due to Ankylosing Spondylitis and severe complications, including to her lungs. She died in September of last year, just one year and 2 days after I was diagnosed with the same disease.

I will always be grateful for her example to Choose Joy despite circumstances, and I look forward with great anticipation to meeting her one day. Today the (in)RL conference agenda includes a portion dedicated to the memory of our community's sweet Sara. There will be tears. And we will then remember what we are here to do: live fully, live well and with intention, and choose joy despite our abilities and our circumstances.

I can do that. By the grace of God, one day at a time, I can do that.

Have a great weekend, my friends!


Chasing Pavement

If you've been a reader of this blog for long, you know that I love walking. It used to be a routine of mine -- my "artful walks."

You also know that I have been unable to walk very much since I developed Ankylosing Spondylitis, a form of autoimmune, inflammatory arthritis that attacks my hips and spine, and many other joints.

Recently I started feeling better - closer to my old self than I had in a long time. I could walk without limping and without a cane. I only needed to be in bed to sleep, I was living life awake, out loud, and enjoying every minute of it. I knew I would eventually flare up again, so I determined to make as many memories as I could before landing back in a flare.

Yesterday morning I woke up at 5:45 wanting to walk. I got dressed in the dark, trying not to disturb my husband Jonathan, grabbed my iPhone and headphones, laced up my walking shoes I haven't worn in maybe a year, and headed out. I saw the sun rise, took pictures of beautiful things I came across, walked with long, happy strides, and listened to Pandora. My soul was beaming and my face probably was too.

I walked well over a mile, which felt so familiar even after being out of my walking routine for so long, and I tell you, it felt like flying. 

One of the songs that came on during my walk was Chasing Pavements by Adele. While most of the lyrics had nothing to do with my life or my walk, this line stood out to me:

Should I give up,
Or should I just keep chasin' pavements?

I felt so free and alive and filled with hope -- flares would come again, but so would times like this and I could rest in flares, knowing that somewhere around the corner, was another chance to fly.

to be continued...


Flying Free

I can't apologize for not being around for the last couple of weeks. Since I came out of my last flare-up that felt never ending, I have been playing catch up, organizing, and squeezing all I can out of our days and drinking it down like a glass of sweet, fresh-squeezed orange juice.

Just in the last few days, we've relished a trip to the park, a family walk, a little hop-skip out of town for Chinese and a bit of shopping, Redbox movie night, fresh air and sunshine, working on my book, baking cupcakes and cleaning the house.

I'm wearing a big smile and saying Thank You repeatedly, in writing, in prayer, in my heart of hearts, knowing the One I believe gives good gifts hears me.

I'm ALIVE. I'm AWAKE. I'm WALKING {with no limp}. With no limp and no cane, walking feels like flying.

There are little moments of sadness. Moments when the pain rears up, my hip catches, the fatigue slams, and the nerve pain flares. Little moments of a big reminder: I'm not the same as I once was.

But mostly, I'm just flying.

So until I land, I just wanted to hover over this blogspot for a moment and let you know how it feels to be free. It feels like possibility. Like hope. Like a gift. 

I hope your today is a gift.


Good, Bad & Ugly: A Weekend to Remember

It's been one of those good, bad and ugly weekends.

Friday morning I woke up with my back out, and having that on top of the normal AS spine and hip pain was highly unpleasant. I couldn't move much without it spasming. I couldn't sleep well.

I tried hot baths with Epsom salts, my TENS unit, ice, heat, meds, Biofreeze, stretching, everything I could think of. No luck.

Saturday began with one of those days I dread -- grappling in pain, nauseated, crying. I missed church with my family and then my husband was called out for work.

My awesome parents came to the rescue, volunteering to take both girls for the afternoon. My husband came home. My older daughter ended up going to Grama & Papa's for the whole afternoon which morphed into a sleepover. Usually the girls stay at Grama & Papa's together, so going alone was a very special treat for our 8 year-old.

Jonathan and I took the opportunity to have a special evening with just our youngest, reminding me of the years before she was born when we had one-on-one time with her sister.

We got pizza, stopped at Redbox, and made a special bed in the playroom for Natalie, at her request. She stayed up late and we giggled and munched a chocolate chip cookie together in my recliner and then we tucked her into her little makeshift bed with her favorite blankets, stuffed bunnies, nightlight and music.

Jonathan and I watched another movie together in bed, as I again struggled to find a way to be comfortable.

Even though a good share of the day had been full of fun and sweet moments, I went to sleep near tears, discouraged and weary of the constant fight with pain and illness.

Today dawned a new day of light and love. My back is still out, my joints scream if I move in certain ways, my fingers are swollen, my hips are throbbing and pain radiates down my legs. But I feel hopeful today.

Some days I just can't fight. That doesn't mean I'll give up. It means I'll endure as graciously as I can until the next day, when I will search out inspiration and good things and by God's grace I will fight again. I will fight to balance this chronic disease and its daily attack on my body and my life with my dreams and goals and desire to make this life legendary.

I will work to leave a legacy of faith, creativity, and intentionally loving well.
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