Thankful for my Home

Psalm 118_24_Fall-ThisIsTheDay

Rick and I absolutely love where we live in northern Arizona. Although I do miss the vivid autumn oranges and reds of where I grew up in New England, I have lived in several states in my adult life and I have to say that this area amid the mountains and hills is my second favorite place.

Arizona has more than its share of sunshine and gorgeous sunsets, and we totally appreciate both. Neither of us are big-city people so living in a rural area such as this fits us well, and I love the fact that we’re not that far from my children who live in the Phoenix area.

Rick and I are very thankful to God for moving us here. In spite of some setbacks that might have tested our faith if we hadn’t fully trusted God, we’ve been living here for 9 years. You can read more here about that story.

This is the day which the Lord has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

You are my God, and I give thanks to You;
You are my God, I extol You.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

—Psalm 118:24, 28-29




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A Spicy Life


One of the really great things I appreciate in my kitchen is my spice drawer. When we first bought our home, I realized I had the blessing of many kitchen drawers so I immediately decided to dedicate one of them to store my spices.

I know this isn’t really a treasure the way we might normally think of that word, but its location in the island is right at the place I do most of the work in mixing and putting my recipes together. It is right next to the stove as well.

So, to me, this drawer has proven to be a real treasure because of its convenient location. I know it looks like a hodgepodge of stuff, but it’s pretty much alphabetically organized and I can find what I’m looking for very quickly. Here’s a little closeup:

Out of sight but within easy reach. Now that’s the kind of kitchen organization I like!

Kitchen Woes


This sweet sign hangs on one of my kitchen cupboards. I guess I could have bought the typical “Home Sweet Home” one but this better reflects my strange sense of humor.

Maybe I need to look for one that says “My kitchen is messy because the cleaning fairy hasn’t been here today”… that would be more appropriate and funny too. I try to keep a clean kitchen but you can tell the kind of day I had if my sink is filled with dishes, glasses and mugs filled with water. Case in point:

This sinkful doesn’t look really awful but I took this photo around mid-day yesterday. You should see it now!

I am riding the crest of one of the worst CFIDS flareups ever. CFIDS stands for Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome; sometimes it is called CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). A flareup feels like the most horrible case of the flu you can imagine—as if a semi is driving back and forth many times over my battered body. And in my case, these flares also include vicious migraines.

I like to have things around the house straightened up and put away, so this picture clearly tells my week’s story. Sadly, it doesn’t feel as if this flareup will end any too soon.

At least I take the time to fill everything with water so it’s not such a bad final cleanup… really!

“So do you know when the maid’s coming because it’s getting a little messy.” —Spencer Pratt

Crash and burn

It has been a very busy week for me and I’m grateful I was able to do everything I did, but… now I’m going through the crash and burn phase — what I call my payback days. Living with multiple chronic illnesses is no picnic. It’s very discouraging to look around the house and see everything that needs doing but only being able to do the minimum to keep up. I try hard not to think back on how much I used to be able to do, seemingly simple things like cleaning my whole house in one morning.

Those days are long gone.

Now I can only do one thing, such as dusting one room, and then have to stop and rest for awhile before doing anything else. And quite often, dusting that one room is the only task I am able to accomplish that day.

Take something as enjoyable as having company. Rick and I have friends over for coffee on Thursday mornings, and I love my time with these close friends whom we call “family.” But when everyone leaves, I suddenly realize I am wiped out! If the migraine I woke up with hasn’t completely left me, then it feels horrible by that point because of all the talking and laughing during that sweet fellowship. I wonder if that’s what the phrase “hurts so good” means — well, maybe not.

To this “get it all done now” turned “maybe tomorrow” person, it has been a slow process. From denial to frustration to understanding and finally to acceptance, this journey has not been easy. However, I’ve learned some things that work for me:

  1. Accept what you can do and don’t worry about the rest — it will eventually get done.
  2. Make yourself rest often, even if you don’t think you need it at the time. If you’re like me, your mind wants you to keep on going (like that Energizer bunny) even when your body tells you to stop.
  3. Enlist help from your spouse and children for tasks that are too difficult or time-consuming for your energy levels.
  4. Find things to do that you enjoy but won’t add to your pain burden. I can still write, something that fills me with joy, but I’ve learned I have to pace myself  because I could easily go on for hours! I have also discovered how much I enjoy crocheting, especially for others. This keeps me busy, makes me feel productive, and moves the focus from me and my pain to whomever I’m crocheting for at the time. And I have always loved to read and lose myself in a good book.
  5. Be thankful for what you are still able to do, even if it is something as simple as making coffee.

Every so often when I do get out with Rick for coffee or a meal out or to get together with friends, someone will ask how I’m doing that day. My response? “I’m here!” I think that short and sweet statement says it all.