Getting back into writing after several months off feels similar to trying to squeeze into my skinny jeans. I remember the jeans fitting comfortably at some point but now I shimmy, and pull, and practically have to grease me up to get them on. My brain feels like it needs a little oil to get firing like it once did too.
I suppose many wonder why, if writing is my biggest tool to process life, I haven’t been. I supposed it’s because I haven’t been doing much extra. Being sole caregiver 24/7 for so many years, and the heaviness of the information we’ve been told this year (in terms of Steve’s lung infection not responding to antibiotics) just had me weighed down. It felt like I couldn’t do anything extra but take care of Steve.
All the resting I’ve been up to, plus the change of the seasons, have me finally feeling like a functioning human. Here I sit, after clearing stacks of papers and to do lists undone off my desk, dusting off the cobwebs,watching the rain dance off changing leaves; trying to put months worth of words into a box. I think it is equal to doing the squat move many of us do to stretch out those jeans.
So welcome as I stretch. :)
First thing let’s chat about Steve. He’s currently not on antibiotics. Even though he has low grade fevers off and on, we aren’t rushing to get him back on antibiotics. Constant antibiotic use has done a number on his stomach. We upped our probiotic game, started back our elderberry, and are continuing to build him up with what little teas and foods he can tolerate. Thankfully his stomach issues are trending back to his norm, and we just continue to monitor and take whatever comes. It’s hard to give more of an update when we are hanging out in the unknown, but just know we are doing the work necessary to be able to survive that type of survival we constantly live in.
The work I speak of is mostly recognizing our needs. If I can’t conquer that list of to do’s because it would benefit my health to nap or rest instead then that’s what I’ll do. No shame, no guilt. Because survival requires you to show up for yourself. Read that as many times as you may need to hear it. There’s so many of us who believe survival means being on a constant grind. Sometimes it means slowing way down. Letting go of anything you can.
Tis the season after all. Fall demonstrates beautifully how letting go is part of the cycle of life. It allows space for you to flourish.
Whenever Steve got the news that his infections could eventually take over his body, he became very concerned about me. He’s been my purpose for so many years, and he’s worried about me having to start over while exhausted and in debt. I won’t lie some days I’m a little worried about it too. Thankfully life comes along and reminds me that I’m blessed and provided for and will be okay to snap me out of worry! It was important to Steve that I transition my website to this venture I am beginning.
When I first started herbal classes (which I just turned my last assignment in for) I bought the domain Hope from Earth. For two years I would dream with Steve about what the space could be, but with his push, and things lining up for me, transitioning now was perfect timing.
It’s been important to me for years to transition my art to a more sustainable medium. It’s weighed heavily on me, the waste I was creating just to fulfill an urge to create art. I worked hard to get my mediums to match my values so that it could fit into the website change. Photography runs in my family, and it’s always been a dream of mine (and many generations in my family in fact) to pursue nature photography. All art I sell the next few months will be to save for a camera, and I’ll finally have high enough resolution photos to sell prints that people have been asking me to. My photos have all been with my phone which sure look pretty on screen but printed not as much. Now that I’m done with classes, I plan to spend the next year really mastering my formulas and craft with medicine making. I hope my garden will provide the bulk of my needs this year, and what doesn’t will pay for itself through sales.
There’s something about actually having a plan. Steve and I stopped making plans about 4 years into life with ALS. We knew that each day brought something unexpected we couldn’t plan for, and we had to release the attachment to plans. So if we would ask anyone if they wanted to do something, we would always warn them things may change. Maybe it was out of kindness seeing how broken plans had dampened our spirits, or maybe it was thinking we lost so many friends further into diagnosis because of canceled plans. I had to really get over the hesitation to plan something. Let go of the fear attached with a plan. Truth is planning is all fine and well, but being open to adjust and adapt as life needs you to is also needed. I never had to let go of plans entirely, but we did for a long time. So I have plans while I also have lots of experience in adjusting as life requires. Maybe the most important thing I’ve learned to date is to adapt.
With it being THANKSvember, a month where I like to offer gratitude everyday (a practice an undergrad professor inspired me to start many years ago) I want to end with some gratitude. I’m thankful for Steve’s choice to continue to face all that ALS brings to the table, I’m thankful that even though things keep coming we are able to keep adjusting and moving forward. I’m thankful for all of you for supporting us every step of this journey. I’m thankful for the support and encouragement to pursue this website change, and for the feedback I have received thus far. I’m thankful for the many gifts fall brings, and all of you who will sell me out of my art.
That’s a hint, there is many for you to choose from right now. :)