". . . our stories are what make the difference, and if we can tell them honestly we can hope to help each other. In the end, we have nothing to offer each other but our stories." ~ Emma Lou Thayne

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Favorite "SUMMER" Shot: Silly Boy in the Sand

Favorite "FACE" photo from this summer! 
Shot on August 15, 2011 at 10:55AM 
at Huntington Beach, CA 
on a beautifully overcast day 
with my Canon 7D. 
"Silly Boy" was being his usual SILLY self! ;D

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

When "You look SO GOOD!" isn't a compliment

National Invisible Illness Week 
is underway! 
I chose a previous year's video to share. 
I hope you'll take the time to watch it. 
This year it is September 12-18, 2011 
Here is this year's theme. 
The invisible illness website has so much great information! 
Get informed! 
Learn more about your condition and ways to deal with it, 
as well as the stigma created from others. 
Do you care about individuals with an invisible illness?  
Learn HOW to BE THERE for your loved ones and friends!
30 THINGS ABOUT MY INVISIBLE ILLNESS YOU MAY NOT KNOW
1. The illness I live with is: Bipolar Disorder, Plantar Fasciitis, migraines, Thyroid Disease (I will focus on the Bipolar for these answers.) 
2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: 2003 
3. But I had symptoms since: 1983 - Hard to say... I assumed that life circumstances were to blame (and some of it could be attributed to that...) until I was diagnosed... even then, I was in denial for a few more years as it continued to progress.
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: Recognizing my limitations and making a conscious effort to counter the negatives. 
5. Most people assume: I can "unthink" or get over it. It's a cry for attention or sympathy... (For the record, I had it for years before anyone knew, I downplay it as much as possible, I get away from situations when possible, and I don't want "pity"... but a little understanding that sometimes I just need to get away and I can't always DO everything that I sometimes can... would be nice. Did that make sense? LOL!!)
6. The hardest part about mornings are: functioning 
7. My favorite medical TV show is: House  (I loved Quincy when I was young... and Mental was an AWESOME show that I was really sad they only did one season!) If BONES counts... THAT would be my #1!! 
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: My IPOD... Helps my mind not race when I listen to audio books. 
9. The hardest part about nights are: Falling asleep... Insomnia... BIG TIME
10. Each day I take around 16 pills and vitamins... These are for different conditions and some are multiple dose, vitamins and Excedrine. I counted each individual one. ;p  (No comments, please)
11. Regarding alternative treatments: I was able to manage things somewhat in earlier years but it has progressed. I use a combination of alternative and medication. When I've tried to go off the meds due to the insistence of well meaning individuals, the outcome was nearly disastrous. I will not do that again. I choose to accept what this is and treat it responsibly, trying to be the least of a burden on my loved ones as possible. 
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: It's hard to say. There is more compassion and understanding for visual illnesses... but it's also nice to pretend normalcy when able. ??? 
13. Regarding working and career: I handled working for many years with no issues. As time and condition progressed, it has become very difficult. I ran a bridal shop for a few years which did some serious unraveling. I am a photographer and in previous years I was doing a lot of shoots. Things got really rough and living up to everything I'd scheduled was quite taxing. I have minimized my load tremendously this year. 
14. People would be surprised to know: The stigma about bipolar is LIES! People can manage their symptoms to the point that they CAN have a fulfilling life. Not without challenges, but not the extremes that ignorance assumes. 
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: that people's expectations of me remain the same as if it didn't exist. They think because my husband is "happy go lucky", ambitious, and outgoing... I should be, too. Sometimes I can be... Frequently I prefer being a hermit and get anxiety over change. One of my coping skills is to recognize when I need to get away from situations so as not to make things worse. Sometimes others don't understand that. 
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: ??? I can usually DO what I put my mind to... just not all the time. I have gained many talents through this disorder. When I get off on an idea, sometimes it becomes obsessive. LOL! OK... I guess the word is MANIC.... Like starting up a dress shop in SoCal! 
17. The commercials about my illness: seem to only be about drugs... It would be nice to see some about fighting the stigma. 
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: ??? They say ignorance is bliss... well, not in this case. I had a hard time with the diagnosis. I figured they had it WRONG for years. Then I educated myself more and learned how to recognize and avoid triggers... although it's progressed, I think being aware and taking care of it makes all the difference. 
19. It was really hard to have to give up: The theater!! I loved to perform! I can on occasions, but it's not consistent enough to be able to count on myself to be up to all the rehearsals and performances. The audition part gives me so much anxiety now... It's smarter just to go watch! LOL!! You know... bipolar IS a CREATIVE disorder and there are a LOT of performers that share this condition.  ;p 
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: Photography. This was one of my obsessions and I took many courses and bought a LOT of equipment. Went semi-professional... OOPSIE... MANIC!  ;p
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: Take all my grandkids (there's almost 18) on an adventure!! 
22. My illness has taught me: I don't HAVE to be perfect or live up to other's expectations and that it's OK to say NO! 
23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: What's the big deal? Get over yourself. or... You need to get off those meds, they are creating all your problems. or... Well I have a ____ with that so I know what you're going through. or... You should try _____   or... If you just ____ it won't be an issue anymore.  
The biggest ones... If you pray hard enough and have faith... or repent of your sins... you will be healed of this... REALLY??!! I REALLY WISH it were JUST that EASY!! *sigh* 
24. But I love it when people: give me a hug, understand without judgment when I'm unable to do something, and don't talk about me behind my back. I also love it when my feelings are considered. I hate feeling like everyone else's feelings are more important than mine.  :`(
25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: "A friend is one to whom one may pour out all the contents of one's heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it, keep what is  worth keeping and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away." ~Arabian Proverb 
26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: It gets better. Be patient through finding the right meds combination and dosage that works for you. It's not going to be perfect, but it's SO MUCH BETTER!! Hang in there!!  ((HUGS)) 
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: That taking responsibiltiy for yourself makes the world of difference to you and those around you. You don't have to be one extreme (mega manic - spending your family into bankruptcy, calling people in the middle of the night, acting out sexually, or being abusive to others...) or the other (mega depression - suicidal)! The roller coaster doesn't have to be mountains and valleys, but rolling hills.  MUCH BETTER! 
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: Give me a hug and be understanding. See? I'm easy to please. OH!! The best is when they stand up for you in the face of an ignoramus! LOL!! 
29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: It hits home with me! I would LOVE for people to become educated about these illnesses and stop being so ignorant in the things they assume, say and do. 
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: like you will make a differeance in this world! A change for the better... by thinking twice before believing stigma... by being more educated... by realizing that you don't have to FIX anything; sometimes just a hug and a good heart does a world of good. I believe others  dealing with an invisible illess, as well as myself aren't looking for SYMPATHY, we want more understanding and unrealistic expectations not to be placed on us. 
Awareness Wednesday Button 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Image theme: Back to School

Theme: Back to School 
Sienna is one of our adorable grandchildren! 
She is a big girl going to school and READY! 
She's a smart li'l cookie keeping them on their toes! 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where were YOU on that fateful morning?

We had just moved to Riverside, CA where my husband had been transferred. Our home was not yet complete, so we were in a mostly unfurnished 2 bedroom apartment with 5 children while waiting. We didn't even have a television there.  (The movers still had our belongings awaiting the closing of our home...)  We had  three in school. One in high school, one in Jr High, and one in elementary. The first two had been successfully enrolled the day before, but the one in elementary (now a Jr in college...) had a couple more hoops to jump through. 
(This snapshot was 3.5 months later in our finished home.)

I was driving my son to finish the enrollment process with music blaring as we went on our merry way... I stopped for gas... using the convenient "pay at the pump" option... of course. A girl came out of the building crying and as I pumped, was lowering the flag. At that point, I didn't know if she was just having a bad day and put it up wrong... or WHAT? Off I went... I got to the school, parked, and we were asked to sit until they got classes under way. I was thinking of all the strange events of the morning and that Southern California was a little over the top on security in the schools. Was all this really necessary? Were we moving to an area that was much worse than we'd anticipated?? (There were security personnel directing kids/parents... there was a large fence, people rushing all over in a panic. WHAT the HECK?? We sat, acknowledged the chaos in disbelief, and waited... 
TICK TICK TICK.... 
RIIIINNNNGGG!! 
The bell rang and announcements began. 
"As most of you are aware, terrorists attacked the World Trade Center... As precautions... higher security measures..."  
HUH??? WHAT???  NUMBness sets in... Tears well up... Is this really happening? I don't remember much of what was said in the announcements aside from that... 
"Ma'am, we can help you now... Ma'am..." 
"MOM! Come on!" 
SNAP OUT of it!! UGH!! 
We finished his enrollment process... They were ready to take him to his new class... Did I really WANT to LEAVE my child ANYWHERE?? As an office worker and security person escorted my son out of sight, I observed another guard by a group of children hoisting the flag up... and then down... to the half way point. *THUD* My heart sank... reality not quite setting in. As I drove, I turned on the radio to hear more details. Everywhere I passed were flags at half mast. 

I got to the apartment and told hubby. We turned on the clock radio. Description of the tower being hit, then the other... Words really CAN'T describe... Not long after, I couldn't stand not SEEING what was going on... I went to the store and got a little TV so we could stay up to date. Then the Pentagon... the collapsing towers... the downed flight... the grounded planes nationwide... AAAAAHHHHH!!!! The next few days, you can envision seven family members huddled around a 13 inch TV on the floor of an empty room, trying to get the latest news... Life, as we had known it, was about to CHANGE...
 
Honestly, the memory still makes me ill... the anxiety and fear... I don't want to hear all of the political rhetoric or conspiracy theories on this day! I think THIS day should be reverenced for those that lost lives or loved ones... for the heroes that came out of the woodwork as others ran for cover... for those that are STILL FIGHTING for our FREEDOM and way of life... 

...and I don't really care WHO made this... 
It is a beautiful acknowledgement that brings 
a tear to my eye and a lump in my throat. 
************
My prayers go out for the 
victims, heroes, soldiers, and families... AND 
for a nation and world that hasn't been the same since! 
May the leaders of the world work towards 
BETTERING our world, 
instead of their efforts to 
RULE OVER IT... 
PEACE OUT!
Last year my post was more about our beautiful granddaughter that was born on this day in 2005, giving it a better memory.  ;D Sweet Whitney blessed all our lives for the short 16 months she was with us. This day will always bring us thoughts of her sweet spirit, as well! 
Loving and missing you, sweet baby!!
********
*OOPS! Preposted this (I THOUGHT...) not paying attention... and I wasn't online to catch that it was still in draft mode. I am going to back-post this now so it will appear in the proper place on the blog...  Sorry... (((HUGS)))

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Beanie Baby has been made PUBLIC! YAY!!

So... I've had to keep this secret since Father's Day!! 
That is just plain TORTURE!! LOL!! 
My daughter has been married 4 yrs 
as of the 14th of this month and this is her first child. 
They wanted to wait until after 
the first trimester to tell... 
at that point, they told brothers and sisters. 
THEN they wanted to wait till they knew the SEX!! ??? 
Well, at the 15 week appointment they couldn't tell 
and THANKFULLY they FINALLY went PUBLIC! 
AAAAAHHHHHH... *sigh* RELIEF!! 
We are VERY excited  and know that she and her hubby 
will be AWESOME parents!! 
*****
Now WHY is this little one called Beanie BABY?? 
Her father-in-law started that with the 
6 wk ultrasound picture that looks like a little BEAN! 
She is due Feb 11, which is Hubby's birthday! 
If she is early, she might hit on the 5th, 
which is her brother's birthday. 
Either would make it easier for me to remember 
since I'm getting SO OLD!! LOL!! 
Between "yours, mine, and ours", 
this will be grandchild #18. 
If it's a girl, they will be even 9/9. 
If it's a boy, the girls will have to catch up! 
Just HAD to tell the WORLD now that I can!!  ;D 
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