Friday, September 26, 2014

Miracles in the Every Day

I have a friend who has been struggling. Her husband left her this time last year and her job at a fitness center was only part time so she lost her house. She had been an ophthalmologist years ago but had quit when she had children. So, she began working part time at that trying to get enough hours in to regain her license. The fuel to make the drive from where she was living to where she worked took most of her check and again, she was finding herself without anywhere to live. 

We were baling our last hay cutting this past weekend. All of the hay was supposed to have been sold but two of the men who came after it said that they could only haul a portion of what they'd first said they wanted. My husband called a lady who lives about a mile away who'd told him she wanted any hay that he might have. When she came to pick the hay up, she started telling my husband that she was totally overwhelmed because she was caring for her elderly mother with dementia and that she could no longer leave her alone to even leave the house for long much less get any work done. She asked him if he knew of anyone who would be willing to stay with them for room and board. At the time she asked, he couldn't but later that night, he came to me so excited and said that he'd just realized that our friend Jane would be perfect. She loves living in the country, she is just like our neighbor Jeannie in so many ways including their love for natural, organic living, and they both desperately needed a prayer answered. 

That was Sunday night. My husband needed an appointment with the dentist to get a cap replaced. I called and they said Wednesday morning. As soon as he came back from his appointment, he told me that I needed to call Jeannie, find out the details of what she was wanting and then call Jane. I did and I not only discovered that this would be the perfect fit for Jane but I discovered a new friend. Jeannie told me that she'd lived on her farm for twelve years and that people had constantly told her that she needed to meet me because we had so much in common. 

I tried calling Jane but the line was busy so I sent her a text saying that I had an exciting proposition and she should call me asap. What I didn't know until later was that Jane was talking to her daughter at the time and she was telling her that she was going to take the day to pray for God to send her an answer because she was scheduled to sign a years lease on a government subsidized apartment. Not only was it still very expensive but it was year's commitment for someplace she didn't want to be. When she called me back, I hadn't even finished telling her about Jeannie before she said, I want her number. An hour later, Jeannie calls me and she is so excited. She said that Jane was coming that afternoon to meet her and see the farm. Later that day, Jane called to say she was going to be my neighbor next week! Both ladies said that this was an answer to their prayer and I realized I'd been part of a little miracle. You could call it coincidence that the first buyers didn't take as much hay as they'd first said they would so that Steve had to call Jeannie or that Steve lost a cap which caused him to be home on a Wednesday morning when it seemed that both ladies were waiting on my call or even that Jane was praying and struggling with that lease she didn't want to sign or even that this was a perfect fit for both of these women and they both had their prayers answered so completely........but I don't believe in coincidence. :)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Purpose of Exercise

I read an article a few days ago that was about things most of us do wrong with diet and exercise. One item really struck home with me and oddly it was directed at a much younger reader, someone in their thirties at most. It said to avoid setting your sites too far in the future. It said so many in their thirties saw exercise as a preventative measure hoping when they reached the fine, ripe age of 58, they would not only be slim and fit but have arms that looked more like Madonna's guns than the large, flabby masses I'm sporting. That part wasn't very inspiring to me but what they said next was. The article said that the most successful and long lasting exercise programs were those that concentrated on the positive effects of exercise in the now. You know what I mean, once you reach the point where your body is releasing those feel good endorphins with each workout. That's what makes you keep going back to the trail, the gym, the track. I may not have been aiming to look like Madonna in twenty years, when we'll both be 79 and I'm almost certain even Madonna won't look like Madonna, but I was disappointed when my weight loss seemed to stall out quickly. I don't think that was the main reason why I stopped exercising but it was a major contributor. So, I plan on hitting the trail again tomorrow and logging at least two miles for the first time in nearly a month and I will try my best to concentrate on how I'm feeling at the time, how alive my body feels when the blood starts pumping, how my mood is lifted afterwards. I will try my darnedest not to spend my walking thoughts calculating how much I think I can lose if I walk so much each day, eat just right. I will make a promise to myself not to weigh myself for at least two weeks after that first morning so that I'm not made overly anxious by the scales fickle fluctuations. And, if at the end of that two weeks, the scale has not gone down or even, heaven forbid, gone up, I will try to count all the benefits exercise has brought to my life instead of the pounds not lost.
I'm going to talk about something very private today. My doctor just prescribed an anti-depressant for me . I felt like I was doing so well using exercise to lift my mood and make me more energetic. I was not only losing weight and becoming steadily fitter but I was starting to accomplish long put off projects around my house and with my work that I was hoping would get me back on track. The last time I saw my doctor  on August 18th, I had just lost my dear friend Huston and Dr. Mistry asked if I would like to try medication to help with my depression. I told her at the time, "No, I think I can handle it on my own. The exercise is helping tremendously." Those were my famous last words because the depression did not get better. It got worse day by day until I was no longer working out. Then I stopped making any extra progress on my life projects and was only getting done what had to be done. Eventually, I started sleeping later and later each day. I'd get up, take hours to get going, finally feed my horses, come back to the house to eat for the third or fourth time that day and then lie down and sleep until Steve came home from work. A dear friend who had battled depression himself finally came out and told me that I had to call the doctor. I did that on Tuesday and found that it was actually easy to explain my problem to my doctor's receptionist, Margarite, once I got past my initial embarrassment and reluctance. I picked up the pills yesterday. I am taking Citalopram which is a serotonin inhibitor. There are lots of possible side effects so I will be letting you know how I do with this. I have such a hard time taking so many medications because I'm either allergic or sensitive to it. I've already experienced one side effect, can make you drowsy. Drowsy does not adequately describe what happened when I took my first pill at lunch yesterday. It knocked me out. I slept sounder than I have in months and surprisingly, was able to sleep again last night. I did not wake up until 9:30 this morning! So, today, I will take my dose at bedtime and hope that, without interruption, I will wake earlier and refreshed. I am feeling a bit jittery, as if I've drank too much coffee, but I'm hoping that will pass. I will keep an eye on that. I asked my friend when I will get "happy" again. He told me to be patient because it can take up to three weeks to see full effects of the medication. He said that so many people quit anti-depressants because they don't see immediate results. So, I will try to keep everyone posted on my progress with the medication as well as what I hope soon will be renewed effort with my exercise and diet.  

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Life, Death and All That Falls Between

This isn't the usual Throwback Thursday photo. The only reason I'm posting it today is because tomorrow, I'll be helping a friend most of the day and won't be anywhere near the computer. I wanted to put this photo up, from her sophomore year in high school, as a tribute to my friend Candis since tomorrow is the one year anniversary of her death. The world still doesn't seem right without her. She was always a force of nature, filling the world with beauty, love, compassion and a smile that brightened any room and lifted your spirits on the darkest day. I don't feel that I handled her death well. I know that sounds such a ridiculous statement, how do you handle any death especially of someone you care about, well? It was the process of dying that I couldn't get a handle on. I felt so helpless, so hopeless in the face of her illness and pain. I've always been a fixer and I wanted to fix this for her. I wanted to help in some way but there was nothing to do, no help to be had. I was left without words or else would end up saying something totally useless and often inappropriate when I tried to comfort her or even cope myself. I will forever regret my ignorance during that trying time but I did learn a valuable lesson and I will pass it on in case someone else is facing a situation where there is nothing left to say or do, say nothing but, "I love you." Do nothing but hold them gently close for as long as you can. It is true that sometimes, you say the most when you say nothing at all and sometimes there is nothing left to say anyway but, I love you. I still miss you my friend. I still reach for the phone wanting to call just to hear your voice again, to laugh again with you. You brought so much to the world in your too short time here and you left us all with such wonderful memories and those sweet grand babies who will be forever formed by your enduring love for them. Love you always, Candis Snow Nicely, you are my bff and one day I know we will sit together again and share the laughter and joy only chosen sisters can.

After I posted this photo and text on Facebook, I received many kind notes from my friends. My friend, Allysa Gray wrote, "You've probably read this before 
I wrote it and I have read it a thousand times. I didn't know Frank long but he was just that sort of friend with the impact that a day was a lifetime. I've never met you but I hold you in that category too. I hope this helps you cope in the lonely wee hours {{{   }}}"


I sit beside him
just sitting
There are no words
he cannot speak them I cannot think them
“Write them for me” …. softly his wife pleads
From what I’ve gleaned he’s a man of worth
Good mate great partner
Creative expressive jovial fun
He will be missed
But will I truly miss him?
I look at myself as this dictates I must
He liked me dopey as I am but do I?
and I wonder what I can improve upon
What is that?
When I didn’t know I didn’t think
of him, so wrapped up in myself
Does friendship bound us like a duty
to think of them even when we have so much else to?
I always thought it was a feeling
To know that even when I hate myself most
that someone else
- not duty bound by love or use -
So now as he dies
- Convicted victim by his own hand to mouth disease
He must hate himself most
But I don’t
I will miss him
~ adgray © 2007
Allysa's words are so very insightful, honest and heart touching. A friend recently said to me that it seemed I knew him and he knew me better than those people he actually sees in person every day. We have met in person before and like old friends we were chattering at the same time and yet understanding each other but the true understanding seems to come from the written word. Those are words that aren't concerned with how we appear to the reader, words that take the time to find their truth and meaning and yes, words that reveal so much more of who we really are beneath the superficial surface. I think it was the honesty of the moment that scared me most with Candis. In the face of inevitable death, all pretense in swept away and our truths laid bare. The problem was, I fought against that. Like that famous movie like, I couldn't handle the truth. I ended up stumbling over my own words with awkward attempts to lighten the moment because I myself could not bear the weight of the truth. The same friend who spoke of how well we know each other gave me the best advice even though I didn't understand it completely at the time. He said, once you push aside all of the fear and insecurity and become your authentic self, then you'll know what to say. I don't think I really reached that point in time. As your beautiful poem says, I was too wrapped up in myself.