Saith Me… Exhaustion

First I laughed so hard it hurt,

Then later I cried the tears of healing,

Finally, I slept.

Pain Sucks, Life Doesn’t

Pain sucks, but life doesn’t. Whether it is physical or emotional, sometimes it is easy to forget that it is pain not life to which we want an end.

Chronic physical pain can lead to emotional pain and can be compounded by the pains of loss and loneliness. A bad day can turn into a bad week, then a bad month becomes a bad year. As with most creatures, the pain causes us to withdraw from those who seem unable to understand or assist. Caring people seem too busy or seem too happy to be bothered with the task of giving us a lift. Unlike the temporary pain most people experience, chronic pain never leaves. Sometimes it can diminish and give us a rare glimpse of relief, but then it can flare back up worse than ever. Some chronic pain sufferers face an ever shifting collection of pain that causes even the closest of loved ones to become frustrated.

Pain can seem all consuming and extremely defeating. Pain sucks, but life, despite the pain, contains joy and beauty. The dark lenses of pain may dim the light, but they do not eradicate it or cease it to exist. Daily life for people in pain requires a constant effort to see past the dark lenses, to see the light. Their efforts are helped when a loved one takes the time to lift the window shades and let in greater light.

As busy as we may be, as frustrated as we might get, we must work to lift the shades and bring in the light. Sometimes it is all that prevents the misery of pain from becoming the misery of life.

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A Peaceful Thanksgiving Day

Embracing something new this year for Thanksgiving. Guilt free, stress free time with my husband.

When we were first married, the holidays were very stressful. Then the kids came and matters became much worse. Fibromyalgia undermined the holidays, especially Thanksgiving in those years when the kids were small and we did not know what caused my intense bouts of pain and fatigue. We did, however, know that participating in a game of holiday grandparent tug-of-war made me ill.

Eventually, the holidays became a time where my small family chose to stay home. Our door was always open, to family and friends alike. I would bake and cook and fill the table until it groaned. A few times friends joined us at that table, but most often it was just our small family of four.

After a very tough year of loss and a year when diagnosis finally explained my ill health, I asked my son to take over the Thanksgiving preparations. He was still a youth of twelve but he loved the challenge. From then on, Thanksgiving was his day.

Thanksgiving in my youth was all about the extended family and the food. Thanksgiving as a young wife and young mother was stressful. I tried my hardest counter the negativity of extended family contention. I learned that in a big family, the craziness is just part of the holiday tradition, but in a very small family, the craziness is unhealthy.

Year by year all our family shrank in size as age and illness took their toll. But with loss came the realization that the contention was gone as well.

We knew it would be awhile before our family would grow again. Knowing that the future would bring new members to our family caused us to ponder how to make the holidays different for the next generation.

These last few years found us carving out blissful memories as we carved the turkey. The holiday season became one of giving, of seeking others for whom we could share our bounty. Our table groaned less under the weight of food, but rather, gifts of food found their way to other tables.

Each holiday season, beginning with Thanksgiving, my children would focus on the gifts they could share with others outside our home. My son embraced the task of giving bread and jelly. My daughter crafted gifts of yarn and fabric. Baking and needlework filled our time and filled our hearts as our simple gifts brought smiles to others. The holidays were still stressful and fatigue was still a problem for me, but now the stress revolved around helping my children learn the value of giving thanks by giving of themselves.

My kids are not in the position to come home this year. They are both embracing their chosen paths, and I am immensely grateful for the maturity in which they traverse this stage of life. I am also grateful that during the years of teaching them to give of themselves, I have learned to share them with others.

As I reflect on the holidays of the past, I embrace the notion that for a time, maybe just a short time, my husband and I can enjoy Thanksgiving Day as a couple, not so young, but without any guilt or pressure. What to some might seem sad, the two of us alone on Thanksgiving Day, is the very thing for which I am most grateful this year.

I am filled with joy knowing that this year the gift I have given to others is my children and that my children can enjoy this time unfettered by guilt, sorrow, jealousy, and contention, at least not from me.

I am also filled with peace on this Thanksgiving Day; a peace emanating from the presence of good company, a bountiful pantry, and love.

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Saith Me… Missing My Kid #2

Hypersensitivity: The littlest things can bring such joy or can bring you to your knees. I have been told it gets easier. Yesterday the profound realization hit me, sometimes the kid never comes back. I imagine for some families it never gets easier for them – just less sensitive.


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Saith Me… Choosing to be Miserable

Interpersonal connections through various modes and methods, specifically during this past two months, have reminded me of the old saying,

“You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time.”

There is one category starkly missing, some people can never be pleased because they are determined to be miserable.

Regardless of the justifications of misery – temporary or chronic – there is a stark difference between experiencing misery and being miserable.

Wretched, distressful events occur, but it is a choice one makes to become wretchedly distressed by the events. The key factor separating the experience of misery and being miserable is Choice.

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FYI: I cannot view, nor do I endorse any of the ads that are shown on my blog.

Roll with the Punches

Life can be hard. Sometimes you just want to curl up in a ball and hide. It is good to remember during those times that a ball can roll. So roll with the punches and keep moving forward.

History of Intervention

Over the past few months, I have been studying the history of intervention as part of my pursuit of a Master’s in Military and Diplomatic History. There seems to be two common lessons to learn from the history of military intervention.


There is no “getting it right.” Military intervention forcibly halts conflict for a time but does not end conflict. It always comes back. Inaction will cause many to suffer. Action will cause many to suffer. Therefore, do we intervene and cause suffering in order to stop suffering, all the while simply postponing war for the next generation? Or do we let war run its course and watch a generation die?


Stopping regional war but risking international world war is not usually worth the price. Unfortunately, no one can figure out when the price is worth paying. When 100,000 die? When multiple nations topple? When the threat reaches your own back door?


There is one new lesson being recorded for our posterity even as I post this.

Those who call for war are seldom the ones who fight the war. This is nothing new, but it is being documented in great volume in the news and social media. Armchair warriors cry for a strong stand against tyranny and call it weakness when diplomacy is used. They approve of the jobs created by military buildup but disapprove of paying the bill. They think war is like a game of Risk, a game that when an impasse is reached you box it up and put it on the shelf for the next time you feel like prancing around like a peacock. Being strong means looking strong rather than acting strong.

What we should be learning.

The one thing that history doesn’t seem to teach anymore is the value of stepping back from a fight and trying for peace once again. When this choice is made, if it is made, it is belittled and viewed as a weakness. It, rather than warmongering, is called the cause of future conflict.

President Teddy Roosevelt said “Speak softly and carry a big stick…” But we do not speak softly any more.

Machiavelli advised to be respected rather than loved. He used the word “feared” but his context inferred respected because the Prince should avoid being hated.

The person who always carries a big stick will eventually be hated – hated for acting, hated for not acting, and hated for the threat of the big stick. Sadly, this is the lesson history is trying to teach but a lesson we just don’t seem to be learning.


What if…

This week I have been reviewing the history of peacekeeping, all the while following the news reports of revolt, violence, an bloodshed. So it is not strange that today I find myself pondering a profound what if.

What if there had been a greater supply of and access to guns during the American Revolution? 

Certainly we just need to look to the American Civil War to see what happened when technology improved and the availability increased. 

Would the weaponry of today shortened or lengthened the American Revolution? Would there have been more or less bloodshed? Would the decolonization process of the North American colonies been just as turbulent as the process elsewhere in the world?