Thankful Thursday Three

I know, I know, it’s not Thanksgiving anymore. We all shared our thanks and moved on to all the things we could buy or get for Christmas. But, as I may have done before, I want to go back to the thankful part. Perhaps it’s better to be reminded of gratitude when inundated with sales and stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I bought some new jeans last weekend, but still find thankfulness to be pretty valuable, even after we’ve finished off the turkey and pie. So, here are three things I’m incredibly thankful for (besides the obvious friends and family, because of course I’m thankful for those).

1. Comforts of home. This was going to say, “my bed,” but then I wanted to change it to “my house” but felt like the couch was being left out and then the practical side in me said “there’ a baby in this house, what would we do without the washer and dryer!?”  So, let’s sum it up by saying I am so grateful for the many comforts of home. A bed to squeeze in those few hours of sleep I somehow manage to find each night and a couch on which to rest, work, and slouch during the day. A washer and dryer (and I guess other cleaning products in the house) to keep some level of cleanliness when I get around to it and simply a house to clean at all. This house has easily been my favorite of all the places we’ve lived, not only because it’s where we first brought our sweet little baby, but it has simply become our home. This list is barely scratching the surface because I can’t imagine life without electricity or running water or a refrigerator. Let’s face it, there are just too many comforts of home to be thankful for, and I haven’t even mentioned Netflix.


2. Health. I think it’s easy to take your health for granted until it’s bad or maybe someone you know is facing health challenges. I don’t want to wait around for either of those, so I’m just going to claim my gratitude for my health right now. Are their ways it could continue to be strengthened and improved? You betcha. But I’m glad that there are online videos for yoga and zumba (despite how crazy it looks), doctors when needed, and my apple a day (which helps me justify a little chocolate most days, too).

3. The Thursday Three. Now I’m talking about writing the piece that I usually use to write about writing? WHAT? So meta. Or something. I’m grateful for this little outlet of a blog, and the Thursday Three post has been a way to get something written almost every week (with the exception of much of last year’s hiatus). It has allowed me to think through each week and share tidbits and highlights with you. I’ve written over 100 Thursday Three posts over nearly four years, and I’m grateful to continue doing so today.

What are you thankful for?

Thursday Three

Thursday Three

Well, we’ve made it to another Thursday. Did you hear that? YOU MADE IT!! Congrats on getting through another week! I think we need to have that mentality a little more in life. I was reading a book recently that was a memoir of sorts and the couple said they got in the habit of saying “I woke up” in the mornings just to remind themselves of the wonder and awe in that statement. So when I stopped by a new local business today and the owner said they’d been open for two weeks I couldn’t help but reply, “You made it two weeks! Congrats!” 

1. Spring has sprung! This week just feels more alive now that people are spending time outside, we got to take a bike ride and the sun shines on past supper time. Halleluiah. Like most people, winter is not my favorite regardless of how much (or how little) cold and snow we get–the long dark days are enough for me to dislike it. I think it’s safe to say, spring is finally here!

My favorite flowers - Oregon this time last year.
My favorite flowers in Oregon this time last year.

2. Quality time is better than quantity…but when possible, both are nice. Time is an important thing to me, and I love getting time with the people in my life. Our trip away meant we had plenty of time together, just the two of us. Upon our return we’ve been trying to see everyone and catch up, which has been awesome. We had missed out on some of the quantity and quality with friends while away, but we also quickly realized we were cramming our time so full that we weren’t seeing enough of each other already. Sounds silly after a trip with just us, but we quickly realized that we needed to continue to set time aside for each other.

3. Taking care of your health should always remain a priority. Health isn’t a given unfortunately, but you do have the opportunity to take care of yourself as much as you can. So use that opportunity. Invest in your health–physically and mentally. Maybe it’s time for that checkup or teeth cleaning…or maybe it’s just finding time to go for a walk or addressing some mental health needs. In some ways I feel like a fairly healthy person but in other ways I’ve had a run of different health mysteries and mishaps over the years that required my attention. It’s not always my favorite topic or way to spend my time/resources, but it is so important to our well-being. While the financial cost is often high, the quality of life cost is even higher if you don’t tend to it. So take care of yourself and the people around as best as you can.


By the lake

Sometimes it’s time to rest. Coming from me, a person who is constantly thinking through every angle, taking the next steps and all together on the go, that’s big. I’ve been quoted as saying before that I wish we didn’t need sleep to function (I’ve said the same about food but for entirely different reasons). Of course, Saturday morning is not the time of day that I generally share such sentiments. That’s the one time of the week that I celebrate sleep. Usually around midnight is when I wish I could  pull an all-nighter every day of the week without any impact on my health and just work on projects and spend time with people instead.

I don’t take health lightly. I’ve had my own bouts of illness and unexplained issues unfortunately in the past. Health is so important and key to your daily life. It also can be one of the greatest indicators that you aren’t resting enough. Today, I have no voice. Seriously, it’s sad. I sound like a cat who nearly escaped drowning. Actually, maybe that’s not what I sound like because I have a feeling there would be a bit more of a yowling sound to that. The point is, I’ve pushed it too far for too long. I’m sure every Thursday Three for the past few weeks has mentioned being busy, and I don’t like it. But I resolved to push through despite what I knew I should be doing. I wanted to do it all, yet I knew that’s not possible. I thought if I could just do this thing then this thing then this thing then this….then I will somehow manage to have it all together and make it happen. Yet I was missing REST. No agenda but to rest and revitalize.

Earlier today I sent an email to a friend saying that we’d be heading to a cabin in a few weeks and I had hoped to catch up on rest then. Saying it now just sounds crazy. I’m going to pencil in resting WEEKS from now? No wonder my body mandated a sick day. While I’m terrible at taking naps (and have been since I was two), I spent time today laying in bed with my eyes closed anyway. Never fell asleep but still got some rest. So, if you’re on the fence about it, let me encourage you to do the same. I promise you this is a reminder to me just as much as it is to you. We all need rest and need to make sure it’s a daily and weekly occurrence, not something we plan for once a season.


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An Effort to Explain

To put to words what my “health” does to my daily life is almost painful in itself. While in some ways I feel as though I talk about it almost nonstop as people question and want to hear the story, in other regards I feel as though I can hardly share with anyone at all what it really entails.

I’m not on death’s row, nor do I have a name for whatever it is that I endure. Not to be melodramatic, but endure feels as though it’s the only word suitable for it at the moment. I suppose you could liken it to a chronic illness, although in restaurants and at the dinner table we call it an allergy. If only it was that simple. Sometimes it’s not bad at all and other days it feels like more than I know how to handle.

To avoid being entirely vague for those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, for the past few years I have been through countless doctors, diets and decisions regarding my health. What was once thought to be a case of strep throat that wouldn’t quit turned into a numerous visits to the GI specialist who eventually told me my only option was to give up, because he had long ago. After senseless side effects from dozens of prescriptions, I pushed for more tests and ultimately sprung for a surgery I hoped against hope would end it all. With a few small but lasting scars to my stomach, I got to continue the chase. After an allergist jotted down some notes and sent me off without the slightest bit of advice, I found myself without a long list of foods in addition to my already absent gallbladder. From there I traveled across the state every six weeks to visit the only person who seemed to have a clue what was going on, through methods that sound laughable such as “laser acupuncture” and some crazy machine no one has ever heard of. 

It’s all a barrel of laughs as we recount it over almost every dinner table we share with friends and family. We talk about it as if it’s distant history, something that hardly matters anymore, despite the fact that my diet is more limited than anyone I’ve ever met. Oh, your cousin has had to go gluten-free? Sorry to be harsh, but that sounds like a cakewalk in comparison at this point. They make aisles of products that are specifically gluten-free and have entire menus dedicated to gluten-free options. Try going without garlic, onions and corn (and all of said by-products) for a week and see just how easy it is to eat with other people. Not to mention gluten, oats, barley and many other items to varying degrees.

I’ve likely said more than I should. I wish I knew how to best express how debilitating it can feel sometimes to figure out what to eat. There are days that it doesn’t bother me and it practically seems like a non-issue, really. There are even days that I get through the whole day without feeling sick or worrying about feeling sick later. But then there are days that anything I eat feels like a huge hurdle to overcome, and I’d much prefer to skip eating altogether, if only I could be issued some sort of gummy vitamin that provided me all of the nutritional value I needed for a meal. Mentally, it’s a struggle that I cannot even find the words for at times. Physically, it also continues to be a struggle. Because some days, I’m still sick. Despite all the many things I’ve done and changed, I continue to be sick and not only do I still get sick, but then I desperately try to figure out what I did, what I ate, to cause it. The lack of knowledge in itself is maddening. This is not something I want my life to be about, if only I could shake it.

So at the risk of losing all dignity, that was my shot at honesty about it all. I don’t know how to explain it even to my closest of friends, yet it’s something I must face daily. I am still learning to handle it with grace and patience, but often fail miserably. It’s the cause of many tears, terse words and sleepless nights. I wish I could say that I was better at coping with it. Perhaps in some ways I have become better about it but in other ways, the exhaustion of constantly dealing with it has worn me down. For fear of potentially bursting into tears or speaking with either bitterness or embarrassment, I do what I can to keep it lighthearted or avoid it when possible. Truthfully though, I just wish it would all go away. It doesn’t seem likely anytime soon, so please bear with me as I try to cope as best as possible.