A to Z Challenge

 

 

I think my migraines have totally addled my brain. I’ve had them all week, just when the A to Blogging Challenge began. I couldn’t find my blog on their Linky list, so I think I might have been removed for not posting. I DID post briefly yesterday about the Challenge, then removed my post because I thought I’d been taken off of the list; I just happened to look at my stats today, however, and I had five visits to that post yesterday. So. I will do the Challenge, starting today. I have to post every day this month except Sundays. So I will post today, starting with “E” and my theme is Healing.

I plan to recount my journey, post about where I am now, and add photos, other images, and quotes (I love quotes, especially poetry) along with a heavy dose of spirituality, the occasional prayer, some tips and tricks I have found that help. I should note here that I am writing about healing in general but also specifically about my struggles with severe PTSD and major depression, along with back surgeries, cervical spine disease, infertility, chronic migraine, and last but not least, fibromyalgia.I also hope to begin a resource list.

I am going to go ahead and post the badge and links to the Challenge even though I might not be officially a part of it. I am looking forward to discovering new bloggy friends from the list (the one I don’t think I am on anymore, lol). I also hope to post a couple of times the first few days to add posts from letters A to D. And next year, hopefully I will be more together and start blogging with “A” on April 1st!

And hopefully, even if I’m not officially part of the Challenge, my posts might help some of my friends out there who are going through a rough stretch.

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Friday Five: all around the mulberry bush

Image

Every week, the women over at RevGalBlogPals, an organization formed to support women in ministry who also happen to blog, have a weekly feature, Friday Five, covering a variety of topics. This week, 3dogmom writes (the image above is hers also):

It’s been a week of ups and downs at our house. On Tuesday I received word of the birth of my goddaughter’s second daughter, a blessing to that family, and the hope of the first daughter happily fulfilled. That evening I learned that my sister-in-law, a breast cancer survivor, is facing a recurrence of cancer in her lymph nodes, and probably her lungs. Joy and concern pressing in on my heart has made for a week of lots of deep breaths and deep-in-the-marrow prayer, smiles and tears.

At times like this I my soul finds comfort and seeks expression through my senses. Pinterest feeds my visual need for beauty and color (not to mention adorable puppies, and herds of sheep). Cooking fills the house with pleasant aromas, and the results satisfy my palette. My hands find tactile pleasure in massaging my dogs, and music penetrates and reverberates in the fiber of my being.

When you need to hold disparate parts of your life in tension, what do you do? Share five things that steady your pace, recharge your batteries and invite peace to your soul.

I think I wound up with more than five, but here we go.

My Fibromyalgia Care Kit

This picture shows the most important elements of what I think of as my “Fibromyalgia Care Kit”. When I’m hurting, exhausted, and often, depressed (mild depression seems to tag along after a flbro flare like an uninvited dinner guest), I need my puppy, Fiona, to cuddle with me and make me laugh, and gaze adoringly at me with her huge, melty brown, spaniel eyes. Her softness and warmth has gotten me through many unspeakably painful days, like the days my mom was in hospice and I couldn’t cry in front of mom. So I would come home, crawl into bed under the wedding quilt my Aunt Marie made for me, and Fiona would come and snuggle against my back. She still does.

I love my nightstand, my little nook, that holds my reading lamp, a photo of my husband George and Fiona, a drink (I mean a soda, or cocoa, or tea, not that kind of drink!), and a stack of books. Books feed my mind and my soul. They are like friends, who comfort and soothe my hurts. I have started practicing mindfulness meditation a few times a week, although I’m not very good at it yet. Hugs. From George especially, but from any of my friends or family, occasionally even my therapist. Drawing, with messy utensils like charcoal and pastels, gives tactile satisfaction too, regardless of the result. Looking at photographs, or taking an especially good one myself, and growing flowers when I’m physically able, or getting a bouquet when I need cheering up, gives me a taste of beauty, I keep my mother’s old rosary in my nightstand drawer; there is something soothing about the feel of the beads as I run them through my fingers.

The photos and books, the hugs, the art, my blog, Fiona, flowers, the rosary…all of these things are both celebratory and comforting, frequently both at the same time. They do serve to tie the varying elements of my life together. And so does the grace woven into each hug, every tear, all of the laughter.

The Downside of Compassion | Psychology Today

I had to forward this link; it captures perfectly the agonies of guilt I’ve felt ever since cutting off contact with my birth mom, because her emails were making my depression so much worse. It was horrible and I still feel so damn guilty…my psychiatrist, therapist, and husband (who have seen all of the emails and know the entire story keep telling me I am doing the right thing. But I still feel massive guilt.

Loss, Grief, Bereavement and Life Transitions Resource Library

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What If You Loved Like That?

I love this post! These are questions I often ask myself, but I think my biggest question is this: Why is it so hard to love ourselves unconditionally, the way God does?

 

The MORE LOVE Club

What would the world look like if you loved yourself unconditionally? What if you loved yourself no matter what? Regardless if you failed, succeeded, finished, stopped, chose, or chose not to? What if you loved yourself despite what anyone had to say about you, especially what you had to say about you? What if you loved yourself without conditions? What would the world feel like, be like? What if you expanded the allowing, as to embrace everything you ever did or didn’t do, and accepted it all? What if you loved yourself like that?

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Andrew Greeley on the Catholic Imagination

Here I am rebloging again, but this Andrew Greeley article on “The Catholic Imagination of Bruce Springsteen” is too good not to share. This is my vision of Catholic Spirituality! Andrew Greeley and The Boss!

Homespun

On the Relationship between Religion and Imagination

 The imagination is religious. Religion is imaginative. The origins and the power of both are in the playful, creative, dancing self.

(The Catholic Imagination of Bruce Springsteen)

On the Uniqueness of the Catholic Imagination

 A word about the Catholic imagination: Unlike the other religions of Yahweh, Catholicism has always stood for the accessibility of God in the world. God is more like the world than unlike it.

(The Catholic Imagination of Bruce Springsteen)

The objects, events, and persons of ordinary existence hint at the nature of God and indeed make God in some fashion present to us. God is sufficiently like creation that creation not only tells us something about God but, by so doing, also makes God present among us.

(The Catholic Imagination p. 6)

Catholics live in an enchanted world, a world of statues and holy water, stained glass…

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spiritual? relgious? both? none?

St. Peter's Basilica at Early Morning
St. Peter’s Basilica at Early Morning (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It has been all over the internet–and my theological journals too–recently, that a large percentage of so-called Millennialsdon’t identify with any religion at all, and the new classification assigned by pollsters is “none.”  This makes me, a Gen-Xer, very curious. I have to admit that as a “Cradle Catholic” and product of Catholic schools the concept is quite foreign to me.

I do understand being disillusioned with the Catholic Church, especially over gender issues and the ongoing sex scandals. But for me, the closest I came to leaving was talking to a friend about becoming an Episcopalian, an inquiry I abandoned once Pope Francis was elected (I really love him). Although I am not a perfect Catholic (the phrase “Cafeteria Catholic” fits in certain ways–but then it does for most Catholics on either side of the spectrum) I can’t imagine believing in God and not being part of a faith community, despite the flaws inherent in any institution run by imperfect human beings. And for me, I’ve always found the dichotomy between spirituality and religion a false one; after all, any study of the great mystics and spiritual leaders throughout history shows that many, if not most, belonged to a church community.

But I want to hear about your experiences, too. What do you consider yourself, faith-wise? I regret using labels for such a huge part of our human experience, but for now it will have to do. Do you reject all organized religion, and if so, why? Do you consider yourself a spiritual person, or do you want nothing to do with any of it (in which case it is highly unlikely you are reading my blog, but one never knows)? Please, I invite you to share your story. I promise I won’t proselytize or preach. I just want to understand better.

two truths and a lie

Well, it looks as though I am being dragged back into the blogosphere despite a monster migraine, lured by my friend Liz over at Random Thoughts of a Lutheran Geek, who is running a “Two Truths and a Lie Blog Carnival” this weekend, darn her. It’s based upon the childhood game where you tell three truths about yourself, except that one, of course, is a lie, and everyone else has to guess which one the lie is. We usually played it at slumber parties and, truth be told, I was never very good at it, because I always blushed (the curse of the Irish for you) and giggled when I told my lie. At least here I have the advantage of not being seen!

So, here are my three, um, truths:

1  I thought about becoming an Episcopalian priest.
2. I was once engaged to the son of a millionaire.
3. I was once interviewed on MPR.

So go to the comments section and make your guesses!  And then play along on your own blog, link up and hop around the blogs to get to know each other better.  We will reveal the correct answers on our original posts on Monday February 28th so stop back to see if you were right!

Note: I revealed my correct answers in my comments section by mistake. You will find that I like to be different. Or difficult, depending upon your interpretation! And I was late besides–oops!

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