# FWF Gratitude, Kellie Elmore

wonderful nature have a nice weekend and a bea...

wonderful nature have a nice weekend and a beautiful 3.advent dear friends (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Listen, Love, Give Thanks

It was my birthday last month, I bought myself a small cup of creamy coffee with a crisp twenty-dollar bill and whispered to the cashier “let others use it up until it runs out” she looked at me with a blank stare. That was a birthday present to myself, the best kind. I felt happy to be able to do a small act of kindness. I walked out grinning. Giving. Joy. Love.

Today is dreary, rainy, and glum. I have turned my loud music off, there is no noise in my room except the ringing in my ears, the sound of my fingertips on the keyboard and airline jets flying overhead in the sky. I imagine they are traveling to exotic places: Bali, Greece, Japan? A couple of newlyweds are on their way to their honeymoon, holding hands and sipping champagne, kissing each others pink lips lightly. I was young once too.

The rest of the next hour is a gift. I have the luxury of peace and I relax on my bed with my sweet red dog, Lexi, wrapped around my legs. Every day has been long, arduous, bringing some medical testing, and waiting for results, a flat tire, silly and stressful things. Finally, Friday, I get results, I can give thanks that all has ended well. I send hope and light to my friend who is also facing challenges, we haven’t talked in years but now we talk daily. Support, Understanding, Old Friends.

I listen to the sound of my breathing and try to slow it down. Inhale slowly, Exhale slowly. The weather is damp and my arms ache with soreness just from raising them, my body is the barometer for all things; fellow patients with Fibromyalgia nod their heads “YES.” We understand when the weather changes before the news weather forecasters have any idea. What a waste of a job, why not just hire us at a fifth of the cost? Many pillows prop me up like a hospital patient, fully clothed, drowned in six comforters for warmth. I try to release pain and tightness from every limb, bone, muscle. I try. It doesn’t work. I’ve accepted that, there is no room in my life to fight. With age there is wisdom, I’m grateful for that.

Maybe I don’t have the highs and joy that we used to have in the past, a gratifying status of being “Mom” with sticky kisses and playing with cars or having tea parties, those days are far gone. But, I did have them once, a long time ago. It is not the good times we had in the past but also not the bad times that may await us in the future. I can’t possibly complain. Yes, my husband was laid off and I haven’t been in the best of health for the last seven years but we are dealing with the situation. A word of advice: Just count your blessings and not your sorrows. Thank G-d, Nature, or Angels, whatever you believe in, that you are alive TODAY. Enjoy today as much as you can because we cannot count on a tomorrow.

Embrace your spouse/partner or friend, child, mom, dad, grandparent and give thanks for what you do have and don’t waste a minute focusing on what you don’t have. Hug your cat or dog, Buy a present for someone you don’t like, maybe there is a reason why they are so cranky, see what happens. Everyone has a story, listen. There is always someone who has it worse than you do.We are relatively healthy, our adult children are coming home for a visit and we will have a turkey on the table for Thanksgiving. We give thanks for what we have.

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What Would YOU Do, If You Were Not Afraid?*

Norway

*Reminder, this is a game, it’s not taking into account that I would be leaving my family. More hypothetical than actual. What would YOU do if you were not afraid…..share your answers in the comment section.

I think about things that appeal to me yet also scare me at the same time. My first answer is that I would travel all over the world, alone. I would also want to live in a foreign country for a year and not worry about the language barriers, not worry about anything. I’ve always said I wanted to live in different places and that would be something I would do.

I wouldn’t have a time-table, just an open return flight and tons of money to spend (now you can say it’s really a fantasy). I would go to places I’ve never been, or at least not been since I was a child and flying with my parents on free airline tickets.  I would visit Sweden and Copenhagen and Norway, Italy, the South of France in the springtime, Japan but only if I didn’t have to eat sushi. (oh right, I’m not supposed to worry about ANYTHING) okay, I’d eat steaming rice and tasty noodles in a fragrant broth.

I’d go to the islands of Greece and go to Israel after that. I would return to the US and stay home in the spring. Then, I would travel to places in the US : Atlanta, Chicago, Maine, Vermont, I’d spend time in Rhode Island too, California…..that’s just a start. I would want to visit the North and South Carolina; I’d stop in Las Vegas too.

Traveling alone is first on my list, my only companion would be my laptop and my camera and perhaps a stuffed animal to cozy up to at night…..I would need a lot of money, of course, because I’m too old to backpack my way through Europe (actually I don’t think I was ever that type.) Find me a nice hotel and a soft bed with a down comforter and fluffy pillows, white lace curtains on open windows, my own bathroom and a vase of wildflowers at my bedside.

Living in Other Countries

Bruce Springsteen - Born In The USA

Image by Piano Piano! via Flickr

I had the proud distinction when I was little of being the “only born American” and I wore that honor with pride. My parents and my older sister were all born in different countries and even though my parents and sister came to the United States when my sister was 9 months old, I still felt special.

At this point in my life, with my husband and our two almost grown children, I would love to live in another country for a few years. Italy, Spain, England, Holland? Greece, Israel, Japan? I love to visit different countries when we can afford it. The only place I wouldn’t want to live? Paris. I would be such an American outcast, wearing my blue jeans and long-sleeved gray GAP shirt, sneakers and clogs. There’s no way I’m wearing high-heeled stilettos and expensive outfits for any city. However, the French countryside is breathtakingly beautiful and I wouldn’t mind learning how to make cheese. For now, I think I’ll stay right here in the USA where I can wear what I want and still drink strong coffee and pastries. If, however, the opportunity came up…..I can pack quickly.

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The World Is A Scary Place

Holding the Punishment Cane, Waiting for Siste...

Image by theirhistory via Flickr

Yesterday, the sun was shining, the color of the sky was that of a red robin’s egg, a perfect speckled blue. The trees nearby danced, gently swaying, together in the light breeze like two limber young dancers. Just a moment or two later, I heard the sound of engines whirling and scraping and banging at the same time. I heard deep, angry rumbling coming from the back yard and my first thought was that there was gunfire and bombs exploding. I couldn’t move to take a very deep breath; for a second or two I couldn’t even exhale. What was I supposed to think? There is way too much angst and terror and suspicion in the world and there is no one, no one that can tell us it will be all better now or that the problem has been fixed and will never come back.

President Obama, Anyone? We need your strength and assurance now. All of us are asking questions but not getting answers.  I realize no one can promise, no one can soothe our fears and it is terrifying but I am searching for some, small, secret. A medicine for our pain. A healer to soothe our fears because I fear that I am not alone in this suffering. We all need hope and a positive role model, right now we need to feel strong and hopeful and confident. How will we ever get THAT back? I can’t watch television anymore because seeing the visions from Japan and hearing the cries remind me of the horrors in the world and I am back again at 9/11 and the airplanes crashing into buildings, people jumping, screaming, crying. Now there is one tragedy after another.

Earthquakes, terrorism, tsunami’s, mud slides, water, abductions, pedophiles, murderers, two ongoing wars, a new attack on Libya, (when was THAT approved?) hurricanes,  nuclear reactors, radiation etc. and that’s not to mention the everyday fears of health and welfare:  sickness, cancer, death, mystery illnesses, chronic pain,  MS, ALS,  Alzeimers, and so many other horrible sicknesses that we have no cure for. I feel like something has shifted in the universe and no one knows what to do or feel. The only thing I can do is try NOT to feel but that is hard and unrealistic. Right now, I feel scared and alone and helpless.

My head pounds like the sound of jack hammers on cement, throbbing with no break. I am slumped over in bed, with chronic pain and an excruciating, dark, headache. I don’t know what to do to make me feel better.  Usually if I stay in bed and am able to hide and sleep I will feel better slowly. Now? I can’t sleep soundly. The world has been sucker punched, and sleeping is no longer, my designated safe place.

I am terrified and I am probably not alone though most people don’t talk about it. It seems like a land mine that could go off anywhere, anytime and in any place. Nobody is safe anymore. We are helpless onlookers as the world changes incredibly fast. Perhaps fear is what we all know we have in common. I just wish it didn’t have to come to this to find our link to one another.