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April 02, 2014

Music in the rain

An essay I wrote on November 30, 2011. The message seems fitting now.

There used to be a time in my life when my outlook, my mood, my thoughts, my happiness centered around the weather, circumstances, finances, relationships and good health among others. These are things that are always changing, shifting. And just like the rise and fall of the ocean waves, so went my mood, up and down every day. I had hopes of waking up and looking on the bright side of things, but inevitably something would happen, as life does, to bring me down. It was a terrible way to live, running and hiding when things went wrong, nothing ever going the way I wanted them to for long. I shudder when I think about the countless hours that I laid in bed with the covers over my head, willing my problems away, angry and living in fear that nothing would ever be how I wanted it to be. I tried to turn to medication in order to alleviate the pain of the emotional roller coaster I was on: anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, anti-pain meds. I blamed my pain on hormones, on everybody else, on the heavy workload, on the seasons, on my ill health. I thought if I just had more money, better health, more sunshine, more time to myself, more whatever, then I would be okay. That life would be okay.
As much as I disliked that time in my life and even the person I was back then, the true me, my awakened soul, knows that I must be gentle to her and love that broken girl who was struggling to find her path to joy. Grace allows me to see the truth about that chapter in my journey: how necessary it was to go through in order to fall forward to where I am now.

It rained quite a lot over the last week; quite a few dreary days that make you want to stay in bed. I am also sick with a sinus infection and have been sick off and on for the last month. In spite of that, I was keenly aware of a shift in my perspective about those realities. For one, I noticed myself staring out the window a lot, focused on the rain and the way it slid over the glass, large raindrops and small ones, beating gently in a rhythmic and soothing way. I focused on my breathing when things became overwhelming or when I felt myself slip into a fearful place. And when I couldn't even breath because my sinuses were so clogged, I sat over a steaming bowl of water and inhaled the fragrant sent of tea tree oil, staring at my eyes in the reflection of the water and seeing myself in a whole new way. My eyes didn't look tired even though my body felt that way. They appeared alive, shimmering and dancing to the music inside my heart.

Each day I make an effort to find the things I am thankful for, and to ask the Universe to reveal the lesson I was meant to learn that day. What did each situation, conversation, moment come to reveal to me? What beautiful imprint of life can be permanently etched in my mind like a painting? This week it was about the rain and music. I felt in my soul the realization that there is music in music and there is music in the rain. There is music in the creaking of the stairs and in the dishwasher running. There is music in the way the coins, which slipped out of the pants pockets in the dryer, beat against the sides as it turns and turns. There is music in the laughter of my children. There is music in the wind. There is music in breath. And there is eternal music, the kind that will live on after death and through all of life's rising and falling waves, in that which we call love.

This too shall pass and a gratitude update

The earth's seasons are ever changing, the same way they do in our own lives. Spring is now here and after two glorious days of almost 70 degree weather, I *almost* forget what all those frigid winter days felt like, cold wind blowing on our faces as we quickly got out of cars into houses and into houses from cars. So thankful for warmth and heat when so many go without it. I will someday forget the intense pain that the end of the winter season brought into my life as well.
Two weeks ago I had my gallbladder removed. Random, right, since I haven't written in a couple months? After I switched to a low carb. and high fat/Paleo type diet, I started having some major digestive issues and pain greater than I have ever experienced in my 32 years on earth. At first things were going very well, I had a great amount of energy and felt really healthy, but after what I thought was a night of a stomach bug, everything I ate except very high carb. foods like toast and applesauce caused severe attacks where I would throw up, sweat, shake and feel as if I would pass out from the pain. The second time I experienced an attack like this, I had my husband drive me to the ER. They did a stomach x-ray and determined I had no major blockages so the doctor in the ER asked me to follow up with a surgeon to get my gallbladder checked out because the pain was in that general area. He wasn't sure if it was a stomach virus or an organ on the fritz. I followed up with the surgeon and had two tests done on my gallbladder. The first ultrasound did not reveal any stones so they ordered a HIDA scan which helps detect how well the gallbladder is emptying. The results of that test made it clear that my gallbladder was on a downward spiral and there would be no diet or medicine that could keep it from getting worse than it already was. The doctor gave me the option to wait it out but knowing the pain I was in and how completely non-functional I was becoming as a mama to my boys and around my house, I quickly opted to get the defective part removed ASAP.
During the three week wait from the beginning of my gallbladder attacks and the subsequent surgery, I prayed A LOT for healing and relief. The things I was putting my hope in were not working and I felt a loss of control which brought me time and time again to a quiet place. I find that I have the most time to sit in silence and allow space for meditation and prayer in the bath and I soon realized that the warmth of the water not only took some of the great pain away, it provided a peaceful place to help me sort out all of the strong emotions I was feeling in my vulnerable state. One day after a severe attack, I made my way to the bath and while I prayed, my husband began to do research on his phone as he sat next to me. He spent so many hours sitting next to me on the ground next to our bathtub and was a constant source of calm and peace to my heart. He discovered that apple cider vinegar sometimes helps in gallbladder attacks and quickly went to go get some. (Again, grateful that we keep these type of remedies on hand!) I drank it up, in spite of how bitter and strong it was, but I had faith that it would work and it did!! I also felt a strong feeling that the bath would continue to work time and time again and when I came out of the tub I could use a heating pad and some essential oils on my stomach to help calm the attack.
I am very grateful that after a week of intense pain and having to use narcotic drugs which did not help as much as one would expect, I had found a simple solution that was straight from the earth!
So surgery day came and I was prepared for a quick recovery like many said they experienced. I guess I wasn't quite prepared for how much pain I would be in after my surgery, but I rested and walked, ate healthy, low fat foods and after about five days I felt mostly recovered and well on my way to health and wellness once again. Since that time, I have been feeling great. My body is adjusting to life without the g.b. but I feel better than I have in years and I really believe this was an answer to a prayer I have had for the longest time for an answer to be revealed about what has been plaguing me and my stomach for almost seven years. Now spring is here and it truly brings renewal in so many ways and a continued attitude of thankfulness as I keep searching for the things I am grateful for each day of 2014.
Here are a few of those moments I am grateful for since my last update. I only take these photos with my phone, trying to use it in a positive way instead of letting it consume me with social media and other things that I don't always feel are the best uses of my time. ;-)
 Books for rest and recovery and a beautiful library and quiet time to enjoy them
 Making homemade almond bread for dear friends
 Valentine's day gifts and a heart shaped breakfast!

 Lunch on the deck with my little buddy

 Time spent with these handsome fellas

 A couch nap instead of laundry
My sweet boys with haircuts. I just love them so much! 

 Pretty table offerings
 Smoothies! Yum!
 Sunshine streaming in to greet us and give us kisses.

Finally we made it to April. So grateful for that. This is a picture of my little handsome guys standing in front of the castle where their daddy and I got married. It's so sweet to think this is where our family's story began <3
Celebrating spring, renewal and the many things we have to be grateful for, knowing that each season shall pass by so quickly and I don't want to miss a thing!