Sunday, July 25, 2010


I am thankful for my handful of friend readers who missed me while on vaca. As far as the deets (just for J&E), the best part was laughing so hard with my mom in our private pool that we peed ourselves. Notice, I said 'private', before you say ewwwww. Also notice that bodily functions were the best part of the week. I have decided that it is a psychological response that causes my mom and I to giggle to the point of dual urination. How embarrassing! Feel free to comment here if you are under a hundred years of age and this happens to you.

I don't mean to sound spoiled. It was a good week. We tried an off-the-beach location for the first year in like twenty. I love the beach. I love watching the swell of the waves and all the other mysteries of the ocean while I sip my necessary morning java. If you know me, you know I live for coffee, Jesus, and my family. I consider the ocean and coffee two of God's most glorious creations. I also love sipping my evening glass of vino while watching the waves. We could NOT see the ocean from our home away from home. We could NOT feel/hear its calming presence that has worked its magic for eons.

It was an exhausting week for me. We packed up for our short walk to the beach after everyone got moving in the a.m. We stayed until we had heat stroke, or something akin. We spent the afternoon in the pool. It was a beautiful pool. It was so tiring because the kids believe every day should have a marathon agenda, and the temps averaged in the high 90s. My MS decided to work overtime and my fingers lost sensation for the most part. Heat is not the MS'ers friend.

So, I write from my home close to very very tired, and perhaps, on a bit of togetherness overload. I love my children, but is it back to school time yet?

I just had the most vivid daydream after struggling downstairs from a particularly rough tuck-in. E has been pecking her bro verbally all night. Little bro just freaked cause I accidentally scratched his cheek with my newly grown-out pool nail. G is freakin' cause she thinks she spied a worm in the hamster's cage. My hubby has work stress out the wazoo. Have you ever been treading water in the deep end of the pool when a less adept swimmer began hanging on you, looking to you to keep them afloat? Tonight, I feel like that is my life. Some times, being everyone's center of the universe doesn't feel flattering, it just feels like you're drowning.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


I wish I had run in here last night to post this because I was so excited and thrilled! I live in a very old house and the lock on the bathroom door has not worked for me in some time. I say "for me" since my hubby says it WILL work if you slightly pull up on the door handle, while twisting about 45 degrees and pushing on the door with your forehead. Last night, I was able to go in my bathroom and lock the door behind me! This was due to my new lock that I installed. Hooray!! If you are not a parent, or quite possibly, if you are not a Mom, you wonder what the big deal is. If you are a Mom, you know that this was the highlight of my week, or likely, my month.

I had begged B to put a new lock on my door for months. Didn't happen. I put it on the shopping list, and B said we had one...somewhere...and he'd do it. Finally, yesterday, I searched our basement and found a little hook and eye thingee and started on it myself. B came home whilst I was still installing and said, "If you want something done..." Then, "I'll do that for you later tonight, honey." Yeah. When I went to shower later it was still not done. I did it MYSELF!

So, after locking myself in the bathroom for the first time...YIPPEE!...I heard footsteps running toward me. I chuckled. I wanted a child to try to get in my newly established isolation escape...slightly cloroxy-smelling, slightly mildewy as it is. I felt such freedom! I felt human being. Able to pull down my pants without an audience. I felt slightly giddy with the knowledge that I could shower with no danger of ninja cold water attack. I could even examine my back side in dual mirrors contemplating which fruit shape I resembled with no snickering from little peepers.

It is summer. It is the long stretch. The time of year that all decent, child-loving stay-at-home parents dread. I told my neighbor yesterday, the drearies have set in. The dreams of exotic get-aways. The hope of impromptu free get-togethers with unsuspecting friends.(..cause they don't realize how poorly behaved the "summer" kids have become.) The fantasy of yet unheard of camps that are just perfect for my high energy six year old boy. The sibling warfare is in full swing. The pleas for mom to play with one in the hundred degree outdoors. The continuing daymare for the introverted mom who must re-energize by time alone.

Thank the good Lord I have my bathroom.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Family Vacation

Friday begins our extended family's yearly vacation to the beach. Though not quite as messed up or as funny as the Chevy Chase version, I have begun pre-praying up for peace and fun to reign. I'm looking forward to walks together on the beach, games, reminiscing, maybe some silly dancing. It will definitely be fun, but it is always different combining three households just for the week.

When I was a kid, I didn't think about family much. Everyone's parents remained married. If my friends' families had steps, I didn't realize. I thought I lived in the perfect family, a supremely 'functional' family. I thought my parents were Ozzie and Harriet, and I really thought all families that were 'normal' operated just like ours. I now realize that all families are slightly dysfunctional, and anyone who grows up in a family loved is extremely blessed. I've heard Michelle Obama, our first lady, attributed with saying that the most important thing to do as a parent is to assure our children they are loved. I know, without a doubt, that myself and my only sister were, and are, extremely loved.

When I was in college, as a Psychology major at a liberal, brilliant college, aka UNC, I was exposed to some fascinating internships. An early one, at John Umstead Psychiatric Hospital, later became the fodder for a dead-on film, Shutter Island. (joking!)((about the film, not the internship)) I don't know who the genius psycho-therapist was who thought it was a good idea for college students to have social time in the dark dancing with people involuntarily committed. However, I did learn a smashing Electric Slide. But, I digress. Another internship was spent as a Guardian Ad Litem. This is a super advocacy program that pairs volunteers with children who have found themselves in the foster care system. A GAL has the express purpose of speaking only on behalf of the child, in court and in all settings. I am amazed, to this day, at the ignorant and unspeakable things parents will do to their children. It is indeed essential that a parent, first and foremost, love a child.

Back to my family. I'm not going to dish a bunch of juicy dirt. That'd be disloyal. I will say that I always thought that there was only one way of doing anything. It was the way we did it. The way the rest of ya'll did it was just weird! I have found, like many adult children do, I strived to do some things differently, and still have become my parents in unexpected ways. I have found it freeing to form our own 'family' rules with my husband. I have found it sad to realize my influence and decisions have limits with my own kids, probably not unlike my parents found. I have come to realize that my college thinking on nature vs. nurture was naive, uneducated. We don't enter the world a blank slate, ready to be written. We are formed in the womb, at least partly shaped by our heredity, our anatomy.

My kids amaze me daily with their inherent personality differences. They are exposed to the same pressure cooker, Kelly family life, with the same rules and priorities, but their reactions are as varied as they are similar. I love them ALL with a passion that is sometimes frightening, but they constantly weigh the love I dish out....each of them claiming they come up short. Wouldn't it be easy if they were each grown in a petri dish, and I (and my lovie) just had to measure the good stuff we doled out? Wouldn't it be nice if there was a formula for perfect families? raising perfect children...who grew up to be perfect people?

As I have aged, (like a fine wine;) BTW, those who read "Wine to Water"...the fast is over!) I have come to appreciate imperfection. I have come to appreciate it in myself, like battle scars, life memories, lessons learned. I think I have come to appreciate my less than perfect childhood family too. I hope I have, I hope I have learned to value what I have. I am loved. And, I undoubtedly, passionately, unconditionally, love them all back. I am blessed.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:13-16

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Love that Dr. Oz!

So yesterday I had the distinct honor of seeing two of my heroes in one place...Dr. Oz AND Richard Petty! Hot dog!! (I wanted to say something else here but my kid reads this:) Dr. Oz was in my town as a benefit for our free clinic. He is deeply concerned with Americans, their health, and our rising obesity rates. My dear friend, Ms. Kapoozie, gave me her ticket to hear Dr. Oz, as she was unable to attend. As his TV show, it was very informational, and entertaining. He is a brilliant man. The King? Mr. Petty was escorting his sweet mama to hear the commonsense doc. Both were so close I coulda kissed them!

I will attempt to share the main points of the doc's talk...but no promises on extreme accuracy. He asked us all to share with a friend or two so they might enjoy improved health.

  • 80-90% of the time, losing weight will improve blood pressure, sleep apnea, heart disease, and diabetes.

  • Diet soda is terrible for us. It is basically water full of chemicals and we would all be better off drinking tea with moderate REAL sugar, and have the bonus of anti-oxidants.

  • Your ideal waist size = Height divided by 2.

  • Smokers tend to have low self-esteem. So, don't try to brow beat a smoker into quitting, encourage them with talks of their improved health.

  • A man with a neck size larger than 17 is most likely to have sleep apnea and sleep apnea means you stop breathing!

  • The supplements the doc himself takes daily: vitamins A,B,C,D,and E, calcium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, omega 3, and aspirin. He says everyone needs vitamin D and omega 3 daily.

A lady asked in parting what three things he thinks most important to our health. His response?

  1. 30 minutes of exercise that makes you sweat EVERY day!

  2. Whole foods without labels, looking like the food they represent....apples, salad, veggies, etc.

  3. Finding a purpose. (Love that!)

I think people are recognizing more and more that our physical health is tied to our mental and emotional health. It is important that we have wellness in all three areas. I would add spiritual health to that too. What a lot of pressure when you don't believe in a higher power! I would crumble to think I had to do it..."it" meaning life....all myself.

Since my diagnosis of multiple sclerosis 3 years ago, we have slowly tried to transform much of our life. This would include, healthier eating, healthier purchases at the grocery, reducing stress in our lives, focusing on the important things (family, friends, faith), and living life on purpose. If we hate the thought of spending time doing something, we don't do it (with the exception of necessary things like cleaning the cat litter!) We are failing epically right now on in the category of physical fitness, but it is July. The only exercise any of us get is floating in a pool.

In the pursuit of healthier eating, we planted our first full on garden this year! I am very proud. We have harvested more squash than any of us really wanted to eat, many cute little pickling cucumbers, mom's dill, and finally, tomatoes, and our first cantaloupe! All of this grown pesticide-free. Yet to come, hopefully peppers bigger than my thumb. Unsuccessful? The collards and eggplant. We have a lot to learn, but its exciting putting our health first and trying to produce our own food. (I had to add a photo of the fruits of Kelly labor above.)

My best wishes to you as you pursue your own better health!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

I Have a Dream...

I love to run. For most of my life, I did not have one intentional exercise I enjoyed. I have to say intentional because, for many of us non-exercisers, we often calculate by-product exercise. You know, "today I burned 200 calories and walked 3 miles shopping Concord Mills Mall!" Or, "I got my exercise babysitting and chasing a 2 year old around my yard." All of this changed about three weeks into my attempt at running. The first weeks were painful, lung-burning, impossible, but, ahhhh, around week 3 something wonderful happened. I no longer woke feeling 101 years old. I hit my runner's high and felt like I could run forever.

Then, I started setting goals. First, the 5K. Done! Why not do a marathon? First, the half. I sat down at the computer with my friend, the trainer, and we looked around the Southeast settling for a half marathon in the fall (13.1 miles)...soon to be followed by the Valentines coup d'etat marathon (26.2 miles). In the best physical fitness of my life, something funky started happening. Running three miles was a walk in the park, but pushing past 5 0r 6 miles set me tingling and spread a bizarre numbness up my right arm. I would pinch myself, and jab the unfeeling area, as if to wake it from slumber. Nothing helped, nothing except cooling off and was May.

Mid-May, my family spent several days at Wrightsville Beach. One day, we walked the mile to the pier and bought ice cream cones, taking them out on the pier to see what was getting caught. I needed to sit down on a bench and waved everyone else on to the end of the pier because of the swaying, not the pier. Boy, I was so dizzy, especially looking down at the water below. I had always had a problem with heights, so I chalked it up to fear. On the hot walk back to the condo, Lucas was tired and I carried him the whole way. He weighed considerably less than he does 3 years he was about 50 pounds. My arms were tired when we got back, my right arm was numb, but I am right-handed and most of his weight was on that arm. My mom fussed, saying I shouldn't have carried him so far and that was that. When I cooled off, my arm mostly recovered feeling, but some residual numbness remained, and even after returning home from the beach, it spread up to my shoulder and across the right side of my back. Perhaps, it was time to visit the doctor?

I visited my doctor on Monday and he discussed some possibilities. Lyme, lupus, ms...but said, "You look too healthy!" Amen to that. MRI was scheduled for Thursday. ("BTW, are you claustrophobic?" "Naw." Blog just about that later!) My doc called me Friday to deliver the news...MS. It's the end of the world as we know it.

I cannot explain the feeling of devastation when you hear the news you least expect. I have a fabulous imagination, so the scenarios started running through my head...the worst-case scenarios. The fear grows and grows until you almost cannot function or speak. I have told several people that I believe this kind of diagnosis requires processing like a death...denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance. I would add my own to the end, kicking butt.

I continued to have a full-blown episode through the rest of that summer of 2007. The numbness spread over exactly the entire right side of my body, I began having severe nerve pain in both my feet and vertigo. I would heat up like a menopausal woman...a result of the difficulty regulating core body temperature with ms. I began a disease-modifying injection I gave myself every other day. (Good news! I am now no longer afraid of needles;) I began a couple of rounds of oral steroids to reduce the inflammation in my brain that ultimately I needed to avoid to prevent damage to more areas. My husband and kids tried to adjust to our new normal.

I was diagnosed three years ago now, and during that first year, I told my running coach friend that it was time for a new goal. I had spent a great deal of time on the web site for the NMSS, an excellent source for the latest info, and saw this event called a Challenge Walk. I asked my friend to help me train. And we did. We completed our first 50 mile Challenge Walk in April 2008 with a team of 4. This is the part I was talking about called "kicking butt." After I got thru the stage called Depression, or "I can't do all the things I'd dreamed of doing," I finished up in this Kicking Butt stage. I've only been home a few weeks now from my third Challenge Walk, this year with six other teammates, one of them also with ms. We have raised $28,800 towards a cure that WILL come one day.

And running. Oh, how I love running! As I jumped into my Kicking Butt stage, I saw a great movie, "The Bucket List." I made my own mental list. Not because, as in the movie, I'm kicking the bucket. I made my list because I'm not. Diagnosis of possibly debilitating, chronic disease had a great effect on me. I gained some fearlessness. I will not sit on the sidelines, afraid and regretting. What's left to fear?

Long-range goal? Marathon.

"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!" Philippians 4:13

"I probably should consider this my last marathon, but you never know what'll happen. My friends reminded me that I said that last year and the year before and the year before." Robert Borglund, Winner of Boston Marathon's 80-and-older age group two years in a row

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Eclipse...Love to Die for

I'm writing this one with a severe lack of sleep, so it may come out all gibberish. What's new, right? My girl friends and I spent seven hours in the movie theatre to see the new Twilight series movie, "Eclipse". It was great, very entertaining, with nice scenery:) Hey, I said I would write honestly, and this movie, honestly, has some very healthy-looking men that spent a lot of time in the gym. Nothing wrong with healthy. B teased a bit about us middle-aged women and our Twilight frenzy, but we just love a good love story.

Today, I'm letting my oldest see "Eclipse", but not her younger sis. This is raising a bit of controversy in my house, aka screaming and crying. "But, all my friends have seen it!" "But Emma's only 2 years older!" "You ALWAYS say NO!" "But I already understand all that 'stuff'" (She means the sex talk that we have had.) My problem with Grace seeing it is not that she might learn something. My problem with Grace seeing it is that she would see a fantasy rendition of romance...and to the max. These characters are willing to die for their forbidden love, and Gracie loves forbidden. Not only does Edward wax poetic about his love for his girl, but Jacob does too. I have never heard of this happening once a guy reaches 16. She would also see a false portrayal of the man/woman relationship. I don't mean to be a spoiler, but in the movie (cover your eyes and say lalalala if you don't want to know this,) Bella is pushing Edward to have sex, and Edward refuses. I don't think this is the norm. All said, very adult themes. Gracie doesn't understand why she shouldn't be treated like an adult since she is 11 going on 21. She'll probably forgive me in a few months...

So, this got me thinking...why do women love a good love story, but men could not care less? Is it only my husband who stopped writing poetry once we walked down the aisle? Oh, to be honest, he never wrote poetry, but he did write a mean love note. Most every single day. And, he still will write me a lovely note...on my birthday, Mothers' Day, and Valentines', because he knows I prefer this to store-bought. I'm not complaining, just pondering our differences. And I believe the differences are gender-related. Reminds me of Mel Gibson in "What Women Want". In case you missed it, Mel is a womanizer who suddenly can hear women's thoughts, hears what they really think about him, what they really want from him, and changes his ways to appeal to their softer nature. My husband knows what I want, sometimes ad nauseum, but behaves like, well, a man. We share our feelings on every subject, more directly than a lot of folks I think. For instance, he knows I will watch ANY movie with Marky Mark. (For those of you under 35, that is THE Marky Mark of the Funky Bunch fame, brother of Donnie of the New Kids on the Block, given name-Mark Wahlberg)...cue song:

Okay, I'm back now. I had to watch that 3 times. Oh, weren't the 90s fun?! Mark Wahlberg is not the best actor in the universe, but I much prefer watching him to his contemporaries, Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise. And I know my sweet, dedicated honey will watch anything with Lucy Liu. He knows that I enjoy him talking like a lovesick puppy, and I know he wants me just to be quiet and smile pretty some times, instead of jabbering on and on during Monday night football. So, its not for lack of sharing feelings that we behave differently.

And, I think the male/female differences override the love language. Great book by Gary Chapman called "The Five Love Languages" explains how we love people the way we want to be loved. This is one reason why our relationships often have conflict. We need to love people the way they want to be loved. But, I know I behave towards B the way I like to be loved. And, I can see him and my kids loving me the way they feel love. All in all, not a bad result, because I still end up knowing I am loved. Which brings me back to Eclipse and Gracie. When my girls begin dating relationships, I want them to be treated like the treasures they are, and understand that fantasies fade, but loving relationships built on trust and truth are what its all about.

And just for the record, my guy would still jump in front of a werewolf for me....decades after the poetry faded.

"Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is worth more than precious
rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his
life. She will not hinder him but help him all her life." Proverbs
31:10-12 NIV...from my favorite poet