Friday, January 18, 2013

The Happy Ice Queen

I have taken another brief hiatus, this time for the full-on flu. For a person who hasn't been sick in years, the last few weeks have been a wild ride. I started coughing a bit last Saturday, and I've been mostly in bed since Sunday.

I won't bore you with details. I wanted to die. Then I didn't. Now I'm up and around more, though I still feel that something isn't right with my lungs. Husband hasn't been sick, and he ended up taking care of all of us. He figures his body is waiting until he's off-track next week and then he'll collapse into a puddle of aches and pains and high fever, because nothing is better when you aren't at work than being confined to bed with the flu, right?

What has made the last week even more exciting is that our furnace stopped working. This appliance failure has coincided with a particularly lean time for money and a particularly cold patch of winter, so we've been very grateful for the gas fireplace in the living room. It doesn't heat the entire house, but at least one area is fairly comfortable. I have become accustomed to wearing three layers and putting on my boots in the house. I even (gasp!) wore socks to bed a couple times. It's surprising how quickly one gets used to it all.

I managed to watch and sometimes hear (through the complaints of two very bored little boys) the documentary called Happy. I was still quite under the weather, so it's no surprise that I teared up in a few places. It was a great program, and it reminded me of how blessed I am and how each of us chooses whether or not to be happy no matter our circumstances.

As difficult as this week might have seemed, I've derived a strange joy from the challenges it has presented. It certainly isn't the status quo, for one thing. Sometimes, any change is as good as a feast. For another thing, I've felt incredibly blessed as family have rallied to our support. Even though I forbade any of them from visiting for fear of becoming infected, they have showered us with food and love (from the doorstep). They call and ask how we're doing. And yesterday, my in-laws found a couple of excellent space heaters at the thrift store (see where my husband gets his incredible bargain-spotting talents?) and bought them for us. I can now sit in my office without feeling my fingers go numb on the keyboard.

I also picked up a new client who wants to pay m to help get his manuscript ready for publication. I have his manuscript and am beginning the evaluation, now that I can sit up without wanting to cry.

Oh, and being sick has helped me jump-start my diet. :)

Life is definitely grand.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Blessed Upwelling of Hope

I've spent the last little while in a deep blue funk. It was probably the result of the whole fun 'n' wacky hormone thing (see previous post) combined with a diet consisting mostly of food devoid of any nutritional value whatsoever, among various other bits and bobs of stressors and whatnot. Considering all the emotional baggage that combined to form such a dark cloud over my head, I decided not to write anything during that time. You're welcome.

Now, however, I'm back. I'm wiser, I'm steadier, and I've watched almost the entire six seasons of 30 Rock for those moments that made me laugh out loud. I also spent several days in bed suffering from stomach flu during the Christmas break, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. My beleaguered mind relaxed, which it hadn't done in, well, a very long time. In fact, I got the best idea EVER for my long-pondered book whilst showering yesterday morning.

Showering is almost like being in a sensory deprivation unit. You are, of course, experiencing the sensation of heated water on your skin; but for a mother of six children, slave of three cats, and alpha pack leader of one and a half excitable dogs, it's as close to a place for silent meditation as I'm going to get. If anyone knocks (or scratches, depending on the species), I simply shout that I can't hear whatever it is they're saying over the rush of water. Then I ignore all further attempts at communication while dialing up the heat a notch or two.

Yesterday, however, I bolted out of the shower, hastily threw on some clothes, and ran to the office to capture the idea down before it disappeared into the vast wasteland of my bad memory. It was gratifying when, later, Husband was as enthusiastic about the idea as I was, since he's actually written multiple novels and has a good grasp on the mechanics of creating a viable story arc. I'm not saying it's a New Year's resolution to write that book, but I am saying that I'm really, really grateful for that spark of hope, which was indicative of the overall sense of caring and love I suddenly felt. I like hope. I need hope. When hope is missing, dark clouds converge.

So here's to hope in this new year. Here's to the knowledge that God loves you and can turn even difficult situations into a chance for learning and growth. Here's to joy, which is not merely perky enthusiasm but a deeper sense of purpose and meaning beyond the temporarily pleasurable, mundane, or painful moments. Here's to love, which is the real reason we're all on this earth together. Here's to my triumph and yours. And, of course, here's to pie.