Tag Archives: quiet

Glowing Great+Full

As I opened my blinds this Thanksgiving morning, the freshly-wet-from-rain, brown-orange-golden view made me pause. Millions of leaves lay disarray covering the ground in their final resting place. A few still clung to their branches, the trees almost appeared to be aching for them to finally let go. Each piece prepping for dark and stillness. Until next year…

The scape was simply stunning. The leaves going out with a bang. The scene made me recall a quote I had come across recently: “What are you going to do with all that dark?” “Find a way to glow in it.”

This year has been a life altering year. Having been put in situations I would have never dreamed of, there have been some dark moments. It’s been a time of crumbling, a time of changing, a time of letting go of a tree I was so deeply rooted in. Much of this year I have felt like a withered fall leaf floating, bouncing around controlled by a strong wind, trying desperately to find the ground – someplace firm to land – to finally rest.

Sipping my morning tea while trying to enjoy my favorite coffee cake and the view, I feel a sigh escape my body. In no way do things remotely resemble how I imagined them to be. It saddens my heart. I feel full. Full as in ‘that’s enough, please no more’. I need a breather. Can someone else tag in for a bit?

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As those feelings are toying with me, I glance down. My wrist reminder pulls me back. ‘Athas’ the Irish word for ‘Joy’. A token from a trip I took this year. A reminder. A saving grace. A word I fell in love with years ago. That word makes me crack a smile. I love when I see it pop up in life. It always makes me pause and take another look.

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So I look again and when I look this time, instead of full I see great. My beautiful view. My little boy. My favorite coffee cake. A beautiful fall. The smell of a turkey smoking. My family. Pictures I adore that make my heart smile. A sweet four-legged little girl. The amazing ladies I work with. Trips with fun and fabulous people. Laughing. On point memes. The sun shining. My favorite tea in a mug that warms my heart. The massive amounts of texts of love and support I receive daily. My tribe. My fierce tribe. I am greatly full.

The year has been a harder one. Autumn is not an easy season as it is for my family. And where I am ‘full’ things are still ‘great’. My current state may be floating aimlessly through the dark in an uncontrollable wind, but there is still spark and color. I see it. I feel it. And I will find a way to glow in it. So many ‘great+full’ moments still ❤

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A Good Dump

Definition Dump:

noun
1. a site for depositing garbage; a place where a particular kind of waste, especially dangerous waste, is left; a place where weapons and other military equipment is stored; a heap of garbage left at a dump; an unpleasant or dreary place; an act of defecation
2. a copying of stored data to a different location, performed typically as a protection against loss; a printout or list of the contents of a computer’s memory, occurring typically after a system failure

verb
1. deposit or dispose of (garbage, waste, or unwanted material), typically in a careless or hurried way; abandon or desert (someone); sell off (assets) rapidly
2. copy (stored data) to a different location, especially so as to protect against loss; print out or list the contents of (a store), especially after a system failure.
3. tackle (a quarterback) before he can throw a pass

Let me preface this piece by saying I’m going to spill some guts here. If you can’t handle a little of life’s sliminess, this read isn’t for you. If you are okay with some unbridled truth mixed with a tad of crass humor then I will do what my body does best by urging you to read on…

Sometimes we all need a good dump. Emotionally or physically, it can help release something internally or externally that just needs to be purged from our body.

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Hi, my name is Carrie, and I’m addicted to my toilet. Well, I’m not, but my rear end is. To me, it’s the best seat in the house.

I have been fighting a battle I have kept publicly quiet about for over 5 years. I will share about it one on one with folks, but to voice it and put it out there like this – is hard (much like I wish my bowel movements were). The bathroom is a private place and that’s where most of my story on a daily basis takes place. To say I’m emotionally spent doesn’t begin to cover it. My IBD yearns to remain active enough to keep causing me daily grief, but not ‘bad’ enough to warrant surgery (not that I want the kind of surgery ‘bad enough’ would offer at my ripe young age of almost 33). I live in limbo of, What should I do next?  My body gives a whole new meaning to “Don’t beat yourself up.” And it’s completely out of my control. Per my autoimmune disease, I’m the only one bad enough to kick my a$$.

Previously, I touched on the outskirts of the emotional journey of having an IBD. The words Alone, Isolation and Misunderstood were at the center. Also, checking in on those ‘blessings in disguise’ they are not always easy to find because they’re coming in a pretty nasty, debilitating and frankly sh*@#y disguise…

So much in and of life gets taken for granted, and most of time you don’t even realize you take it for granted. It is only when something is taken away do we truly realize its value.

A toilet. I love a freaking toilet. Period. I often wonder how long IBD has been around and cannot imagine living with this in the days of an outhouse or less. Plumbing is such a wonderful thing. Heck, our internet was down for a few days recently and all it taught me was a good pioneer, I would not make. How did they survive without social updates…especially if or when they were under the weather and isolated? Can we say first world problems?

Flushable wipes. Oh. My. Goodness. Toilet paper is easily my very own version of the Goldilocks and the Three Bears story. Don’t get me started on crappy, cheap toilet paper. On the other hand, too soft tears too easily creating a ‘fun’ (and I use the word fun about as loosely as my stools like to stay) mess. Flushable wet wipes are ‘juuussst right’ and my hiney’s personal BFF. They’re even more lovable when you’re super irritable down there with an agitated hemorrhoid or two.

A good night’s sleep. Who doesn’t love a good night’s sleep? I get it. And there are many out there with sleeping problems. Having an IBD is like living with a newborn every night except you’re the one you’re constantly changing. It leaves room for little rest.

A good meal. I have always loved food. Eating is such a social function too. Food can be an IBD patient’s worst enemy and many times unpredictably. There are many moments I am forced to choose to not eat because it’s just not worth the pain and disruption (and sometimes eruption) afterwards. It’s hard to sit around and watch everyone else indulge wishing you were delectably indulging with them.

A quick carpool line. Now, I’m fully aware most any parent enduring a carpool line at school enjoys when it moves along efficiently, but on carpool’s swift days, my butt is eternally grateful. The anxiety of crapping myself in carpool line (or any traffic for that matter) is always a fear. Urges are unpredictable and when they hit I can give the game of hot potato a run for its money. You may think, Okay. At least you’re in your car and you can get home and change…but what about the smell when someone is assisting your child into the car? Can’t exactly hide that wonderful stench. How embarrassing.

The sunshine. IBD takes an emotional toll. Days of no sun makes it harder. When that sun shines, soaking it in (as long as a bathroom is nearby) is beyond refreshing. Something going in rather than coming out…ahhhhhh 😀

A coca-cola. I finally caved and gave up alcohol a while ago (won’t deny, I was in denial about no longer enjoying an adult beverage especially after a long day, and it’s another social activity others enjoy that gives me a run for the toilet), but to have to give up my favorite little red labeled drink – I may have shed a tear or two. It’s become a celebratory drink. Maybe that makes it even more special.

Healthy food. I was also in denial about what our foods do to us. It is still something I am exploring and learning about, but when I eat as green and clean and as organically as I possibly can, my explosions are not quite so explosive, and I LOVE that.

Meditation. Oh, what peace. Yoga, body stretching, mind relaxing, I love it all. The feeling of being centered again gives you somewhat of a feeling of ‘control’ even if it’s just mentally. You can’t be too modest though…if we are in a class together and you hear a noise that makes you want to giggle – it was probably me 😉

The compassion of someone who gives a damn and shows you they do. It’s easy to feel judged, misunderstood, and forgotten when you have an IBD. I fiercely cherish those who have remained close to me despite my shortcomings. We all need to know we are thought of once in a while. Human connection is imperative to a joyful soul. My gratitude to those still centered in my life comes from the deepest parts within ❤

A good poot. I cannot even begin to describe how delightful it feels to expel gas and not be afraid of needing to be inches from a toilet or worrying if you’ll need to change your underwear. I absolutely relish when I’m able to let it rip (and usually am grinning when I get to do so).

Energy. Fatigue is part of having a chronic illness. You are naturally just ‘give out’. When you are having a good day you want to bottle it up and run with it. You get to take your kid to school without freaking out about how long the carpool line is. You get to make plans and not break them. You get to indulge a little more than you would normally allow yourself. You shine a little brighter that day with big smiles at your significant other.

A good dump. I take great pleasure in a nice firm movement. They feel SO GOOD. Consider yourself beyond blessed if you are regular, firm and healthy in the pooping department. I envy you!

Our digestive system is so intricate. It baffles me. The fact digestive disorders are on the rise is concerning. What makes them even scarier is they’re different and affect everyone differently. No IBD patient is exactly the same. Some medicines work for some while they don’t for others. Some foods send some people into severe pain while those same foods don’t affect others. It almost makes an actual cure seem impossible.

If I can heed you any advice – take care of your body. It is your daily life temple. When your health is taken away it affects your life in just about every aspect possible. I pray steadily for a cure or remission – to regain some regularity to my life. And I will always savor those ‘good’ days. I hope you remember to do so as well.

If you’re still here, I thank you kindly for the dump. It felt really good. And if I see you and it’s a good day, let’s share a coke. Just put a splash of rum in mine. After all, the fact we’re simply ‘feeling good today’ is cause for celebration 🙂

IBD Alone

I hate winter. It’s dead. It’s cold. It’s hard. My emotions always seem to follow suit. Especially after the holidays, which seem to have a comfort & joy sensation. This January has been a tougher one. Not only do I just hate winter, but I’ve been dealing with my IBD and I feel alone. Utterly alone.

When you have an IBD, you often feel misunderstood. On the outside, I look ‘normal’. I ‘look’ healthy. On the inside, I hurt. I am scared. And I’m tired of fighting. Many times I have felt judged, and sometimes by those who have felt like they should be closest to me. I don’t ‘look’ like I should feel fatigued, they think I’m lazy. I don’t ‘look’ like I’m ‘sick’, I shouldn’t have backed out of that commitment. This IBD, especially when it is active as mine is, is no joke. You feel like things are out of control and there’s nothing you can do about it. You feel as though you’re constantly letting someone down. People do end up backing away. They no longer reach out to you about getting together or even seeing how you are. They don’t understand. This is a daily, lifelong, chronic battle. Each day could bear something different than the last. I pray for the day I could possibly go into remission and this 5+ year battle comes to a close, even if just for a while. Maybe then the feeling of isolation will somewhat dissipate. I can actually be everyone’s standard of ‘normal’ again…

Through this battle, I have done some life and self examination. The feeling ‘alone’ always pops up. Quietly, inwardly alone (and that’s hard on the soul). Especially, when I have felt overly exposed by Him. I’m sure it would surprise many that I battle this ‘alone’ insecurity (I can come off fairly social), but the insecurity is almost always there. Sometimes it’s covered up pretty well and even I overlook it, but it’s usually not gone for long before it’s there again.

It’s my exposed ugly place that He’s had me working on. It’s been my focus for quite some time now. I’ve made strides and feel somewhat more content, but when there are setbacks it’s hard not to focus on that and keep moving forward. One setback does not define you. I pray this Psalm (a lot) 16:8 when I feel ‘alone’ creeping back in, “I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.”

Over the last year, I’ve been trying to learn how to see the ‘blessings in disguise’ – those life lessons from this journey I’m on. One of the biggest blessings is I cherish the good days all that much more. My smile is brighter. My laugh is heartier. My energy soars. I know the good days are truly something special and worth every ounce to fully live in them. I don’t take them for granted. Another thing I’ve learned is I love a little harder. My love is fierce for those who stay closest to me. We are not promised tomorrow. Through this challenge I pray daily that God continues to reveal moments of wisdom. I need them.

So winter stinks. But there is one thing that winter is not – it is not ugly. Oddly, I find such beauty in the nature of winter. It’s flat out stunning sometimes. It can do things no other season can. It can sparkle with ice. It can bring a crispness to lungs when inhaled. It can drop white beauty from the sky. And when the sun shines on a cold winter day it seems to shine so much brighter. I try to remember this when it feels like ‘winter’ sneaks into my life no matter what the actual season may be. Beauty is there, in the broken-ness. I am not alone. One day, whether in this life or the next, I will make peace with this and all its ‘blessings’ will be revealed. But I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t admit that I will continue to pray with steadfast hope that it will happen while I’m still here on this side of heaven 😉

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Okay, so now what?

Earlier this week, I voiced out loud a prayer that’s been brewing in my heart. Something that had started troubling my peace. In a group devotion the question posed for discussion was “Do you feel a tug at your heart to live completely with God, but are still uncertain about pursuing it? Explain.”

I felt this tug a few years ago. I dragged my feet for a bit and felt much like the child trying to yank the hand I was holding in another direction until one day, I took the plunge. I believed in God, but have struggled centering ‘my’ life around His plans instead of my own. This plunge was scary. It had no safety net. At times I was sure I felt the air being sucked right out of my lungs.

To fully live with God means letting go of a lot. I had to let go of my life expectations, my life plans, my feelings, and at the same time be willing to examine who I am as a person and let him expose some ugly things. I’m still not perfect, but I am more me than I have been in a really long time (if ever). I have more of a simple peace in life than I thought possible. As a human, I don’t fully ‘like’ the circumstances I went through to get where I am, but I cannot deny I am much happier here.

All of that is great. Okay, so now what? I’ve taken the plunge. I’ve followed God’s direction and some pretty amazing things have happened, but what now? Where do I go from here? I took the leap (off the cliff), landed on my feet, planted my feet, but am unsure where or how to grow from here. It’s kind of dark and quiet in this place. Sometimes I feel like I’m in an abyss and I can hear my echo, “Heeellloooooooo???”

I think of my favorite four-letter word <insert eye roll>, wait. So, I voiced my prayer out loud to my friends. It pretty much went, “Now what?” I think I needed some reassurance that I’m supposed to be waiting. I got the physical votes of assurance from my girlfriends, but the real reassurance came over the next couple of days.

I was wrapping up my daily task for the devotion homework the next day and there was that question <insert snarky-ness> again about ‘a tug of the heart’ for us to answer by ourselves in our quiet time. Heaving a sigh, I wrote that I currently felt in limbo, unsure what comes next. I shut my study and moved on.

I had decided to embark on a personal bible verse-a-day for December. It is definitely geared for the season, but the first line of the verse hit me like a ton of bricks considering what I had written two seconds earlier for my ‘tug’ answer, “All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign.” Isaiah 7:14. I could almost feel the Lord’s snarky-ness as I re-read the verse “All right then”. I continued reading and the last verse felt reassuring too, “Then the Lord will bring things on you, your nation, and your family unlike anything…” Isaiah 7:17.

I closed my eyes and listened. My heart said, ‘Patience, child.’ My eyes bolted open. He hasn’t left me alone in this dark, albeit peaceful, place. It’s just time to be quiet right now. Put one foot in front of the other, if you will. He simply wants me to honor the space between no longer and not yet. I shed some tears of thanks for the reassurance my heart needed. And in response, the very next verse I spied as I dove back into the world, was on social media, Isaiah 55:11 “It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” Amen. I hear you, Lord. Thank you for clarifying any last little shred of doubt, it was you telling me to be patient.

The next day’s verse-a-day proved further conviction. I typically read around (before and after) to get a bigger picture of the verses I’m given to read. Isaiah 9:2 affirmed my answer from the day before, “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness a light will shine.” And the first portion of verse 4, “For you will break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders.” He’s not going to leave me here in the still darkness forever. I will know what’s next when it’s time to know.

As I’m letting all of this resonate and thinking about the clarity I’m feeling about patience, the song in the background on the ‘Sounds of the Season’ channel catches my attention. It’s by Dan Wilson and the song is titled, “What a Year for a New Year”. A beautiful summation of the answer to my prayer. The next thing will come. The next new year. Patience.

Don’t get me wrong, life is pretty happy- peaceful. Not much ruffles the feathers. It’s pleasant. But internally I have felt this question stirring, “What should I do now?” I do not believe we’re meant to live a stagnant life. It would stink. I believe we’re meant to grow and evolve. However, I’m also realizing that sometimes God calls us, but then puts us in these quiet, still places. It can be a time for reflection. I find I work on my flaws more when I’m still. You can heal some broken places. It’s like the cocoon- the transition between the caterpillar and the butterfly. Or the season of winter- the transition between a completed purpose (fall) and new life (spring). It’s in the quiet, dark places that some of the greatest work is done.

Today there is no further ‘answer’. No further conviction to have patience. He’s made His point. I believe, He knows it’s been received. And I don’t find “What now?” as the center of my unsettled prayer anymore. I feel at peace with that…So, what now? Well, I wait.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1PxqT6IUEo (link to song)

Lyrics to What a Year for a New Year by Dan Wilson

What a year for a new year
We need it like we needed life I guess
Last one left us lying in a mess
What a year for a new year

What a night for a sunrise
And we thought the dark would never end
Reaching out to try to find a friend
What a night for a sunrise
Sunrise

What a day for new day
And our star shines like a miracle
And our world is almost beautiful again
What a day for a new day
New day

What a year for a new year

What a night for a sunrise
And we thought the dark would never end
Reaching out to try to find a friend
What a night for a sunrise
Sunrise

Soon we’ll be lying in our beds
And new dreams will fill our heads
And the old ones will be ended
Hope we’ll forget about this place
Let it go without a trace
Wipe the teardrops from our faces
Oh! What a year for a new year!