Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Hey!  Long time, no blog.  I'm turning into one of those horrible bloggers, like that Looking For George lady who leaves her admiring readers dangling for months at a time (hint, hint). 

I'm sorry, precious readers.  All two of you.  I would promise to do better in the future, but I'd be lying.

I hope you had a very merry Christmas.  Ours was nice, but hectic for the person who does all the planning, shopping, wrapping, baking, cooking, decorating, falling down crying, etc...  I assume most of you can relate.  It's, um, infuriating nauseating frustrating funny to look around on Christmas Day and see people lounging on the couch, looking exhausted, when you know darn good and well that you did all the work, isn't it?  Yeah...  funny.

We got lots of great pictures of Christmas morning this year!  You won't be seeing any of them, however, because there was no memory card in the camera. By the time we realized it, the gifts were opened and the excitement was over. I did get a couple cute pics of this guy, though:

For the second year in a row, I did all my holiday preparations while feeling sick, which put a damper on my Christmas spirit. I hope feeling like crap at Christmas is not the beginning of a new Holiday Tradition. All in all, though, it was a good Christmas. We were greatly blessed by a generous soul who made sure our kids would have gifts to open, and that made my Christmas morning, sick or not, PERFECT! I know Christmas is not all about the gifts. Of course, I know that. But still... You can't help feeling like a loser parent to think you might have nothing to give your kids. Thankfully, that didn't happen (and thank you, again to the sweetheart who helped us!).

Which brings me to topics 2 and 3...  You guys have been so awesome to keep checking in on us and asking about how I'm feeling or about Darrell's job and our financial situation, so I feel I owe you an update.  To be honest, I've avoided it because I don't have any positive news to report, and I hate to be a downer. 

As far as my health goes...  Oy.  It's pretty much the same.  I feel like crap a good part of the time.  Still in pain.  Still not in a position to go to a new doctor or try any new treatment options, so I'm just trying to manage on my own for now.   I'm currently trying to alleviate the Fibro symptoms with exercise, which goes against what my common sense tells me to do (why would anyone hurt themselves on purpose, right?), but I'm willing to try anything at this point.   So far, I can't say it's helping.  If anything, I'm hurting more and feeling much more run down than usual (keep in mind, that on an average day I already feel as if I've been working out for a long time anyway, even if I've done nothing).  But, I haven't been doing it very long and, from what I've read, it can take months to feel any improvement.

Speaking of Fibro...
For my family and friends: I found something I'd love for you to read regarding Fibromyalgia: Ten Things NOT to Say to Someone Who Has Fibromyalgia.    It's not too long, so it won't take much of your time, and I would sincerely appreciate it!

I can honestly say I've had some variation of each of these said to me.  Some of them are said often.  And it can be hurtful. 

I try to be understanding (Bless your heart.  You don't know what you're talking about), so if you've said these things to me, chances are I've forgiven you and love you anyway.  Probably.  Maybe. 

Here's the thing...  If you don't have Fibro yourself, it's best not to make snap judgments or assumptions about things you have not personally experienced and do not understand.  And maybe, when we don't know what we are talking about, we should, um, just stop talking.  Possibly?  That seems to be common sense, and could be applied to anything really, not just Fibro, but it's amazing the hurtful, moronic things we can say to others with the best of intentions, isn't it? 

(In other words, I'm getting a little sick of the assumption, and insinuation, that I'm just lazy and maybe if I just moved a little more/went on a diet/tried harder/insert other assinine suggestion here, I'd feel better.  So, please...  If you care enough about me to make a comment or suggestion on my health- I thank you for your concern; I know you want to help me- but please, please also care enough about me to read the above list and/or educate yourself just a little on the topic before you choose to comment in the future).

On to other, happier (?), things...  The Great Poverty Debacle of 2011: 
I have applied and reapplied for every single night job I've heard of, with no luck.  Darrell has been able to stay busy doing "small jobs," but nothing big has come along. By small jobs, I don't necessarily mean the size of the project, or length of time the job takes- I mean the income has barely covered our most basic expenses. He just finished his last week on the job he's been working on, with nothing else lined up. To me, those are the scariest words in the English language right now: Nothing else lined up.

My running joke this year has been "we're too poor to file for bankruptcy!"  Only it's no joke.  And it's not funny.  So, I don't know why I keep referring to it as a joke.  That seems kinda weird now that I think about it.

I hope you're not reading this whole thing as a pity party or whine-fest.  See?  This is why I put off blogging because it all sounds like such a downer.  But I truly do not feel sorry for myself.  I definitely DO worry. I fear. But abject terror and self pity are two different things.  I have moments of pity party-ish tears and gripes. But I know there are so many people in our country right now in the same boat or worse. I am truly thankful for the fact that we still have a home and my babies have never gone hungry. But some of you guys have asked how things are, and... This is how things are.  Blah, blah, blah...  You've heard me say all this before.

Fortunately, through the goodness, mercy and grace of God, that same kind and generous relative who helped us at Christmas has been helping us throughout the year here and there to keep food on the table, keep the lights on, etc.  Truthfully, we would not still have a roof over our heads if not for "Benefactor X."  Needless to say, we have been beyond grateful. 

And therein lies the upside to hardship that no one tells you: Being in a position of need, and having no choice but to accept help, while indescribably embarrassing and humbling, allows you to experience a level of gratitude that you never would have known, otherwise- which has done us a lot of good.  I thought I was grateful for all I had before.  I am grateful now. 

And a little humbling is good for all of us from time to time, don't you think?  Your pride takes a huge hit when you have to accept help, and apparently I was waaaay more prideful than I ever realized.  I've really had a tough time learning to receive.  So...  as our bank account continues to shrink, hopefully, our characters are growing.  At least, that's what I'm telling myself.

I don't know what God has in store for us in this coming year, but I hope and pray 2012 will be better than 2011.  I trust there will be something good coming, but I've been trusting in that for over a year now and I don't mind telling you I am scared to death as I consider what the next year may throw at us.  I would love it if 2012 could be a bit less terror-filled.  Maybe a bit more stress-free... 

For me 2011 will be remembered as a year of struggle, mixed with moments of incredible blessing.  I'm ready to say good-bye to The Year of Stress and Strain.  Don't let the door hit you on your way out.  Welcome, 2012!  Please be nicer to me than your predecessor.

I hope 2012 will be a great year for you, as well.  Friends, thank you for sticking with me this past year.  Thanks for making me laugh when I desperately needed to, for listening to my gripes, for continually praying for me, and for the precious gift of your friendship.  May the coming year bring blessings to all of us!