About Paula Kiger

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

FMF31 2018 Day 2: AFRAID

I am participating in 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes 2018 (all of my submissions can be found here).

Today’s prompt is: AFRAID

I was grappling with something emotionally this week. Although on its surface, it was a “small” thing, it had grown to epic proportions in my head.

It was without a doubt the kind of thing I could have made definitive progress on given an hour with a good therapist.

I even found a good therapist. She’s someone I know, who in a different capacity was our family’s social worker when my father-in-law was in hospice care. She is practicing on her own now. The beauty of using her? She knows me (relatively well — I mean she was “part of” our family in a raw, dark time). I know her skills well enough (I mean, she elicited emotional(ish) responses from my stoic, ill father-in-law and provided some degree of emotional support to my (also relatively stoic) husband. I could fast forward through much context because she knows.

And yet ….. I wavered.

Instead of spending $100 (a fair price – and she charges sliding scale, which doesn’t help me but I still think is cool), I paid for my indecision and emotional paralysis — for being afraid I had said the wrong thing in a situation that mattered deeply to me — not with $100 in cash but in the heavy emotional price of questioning myself and staying stuck. I knew (though) time would work it out. And as it turns out the situation did resolve.

But why do we keep cashing in our emotional reserves when an hour at the “mental health bank” could possibly make us whole again?

Five Minute Friday Story

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

FMF31 2018 Day 1: STORY

I am participating in 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes 2018 (all of my submissions can be found here).

Today’s prompt is: STORY

I was involved in a remarkable Facebook Live yesterday. Typically, that Facebook Live is a “readalong” of the Sunday New York times. Yesterday was different.

We did have the Times as our anchor, but given the public discourse underway about people’s very personal experiences with sexual assault, we touched on the paper but focused more intently on people’s stories.

I had a small role behind the scenes helping the host by adding relevant links (for example, one of the participants spoke about Denim Day Milwaukee and I dropped in that link).

The host had told me on the phone the night before that he planned to share his personal story about sexual assault. Once he knew I had a story, he asked if I wanted to share mine. A few hours later, I said I would.

As it turns out, I wasn’t able to join the Facebook Live even though I was willing, so I wrote it all out in the comments. To help the people who only listen to the readout instead of watch, the host read my story out loud.

And at that moment, it occurred to me that although it would have been powerful for me to tell my story on camera, perhaps the true power of stories lies, in a way, in writing them out and then hearing them from someone else’s voice. It’s a different type of sharing that enables them to experience what I have to say in a different way.

I left the hour and a half (plus, because we ran over) grateful for the communities we stumble into in this life, for “old-fashioned” paper newspapers that evolve into digital communities, and for being able to trust people I have never met, who have still proven their credibility in other ways, with my most difficult experiences.

Five Minute Friday Story

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

31 Days of Five-Minute Free Writes 2018

I am participating in the 2018 “31 days of 5-minute free writes” activity (like I did last year).

Here are the prompts:

 

And I’ll come in and link up each day after writing.

10/1 Story

10/2 Afraid

10/3 Believe

10/4 Why

10/5 FMF Prompt – Share

10/6 Belong

10/7 Hope

10/8 Comfort

10/9 Inspire

10/10 How

10/11 Door

10/12 Praise

10/13 Talk

10/14 Ask

10/15 When

10/16 Pray

10/17 Pause

10/18 Search

10/19 Who

10/20 Audience

10/21 Start

10/22 Help

10/23 Common

10/24 Brief

10/25 Capture

10/26 Prompt

10/27 Whole

10/28 Song

10/29 Together

10/30 Voice

10/31 Close

(And to those of you who subscribe to my blog, thank you first of all! I am sorry this is going to multiply the number of emails you get from me for a month. Feel free to ignore them and meet me on November 1 when I’ll return to my regularly scheduled weekly programming.)

 

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

At the Oasis

I haven’t been on a true “vacation” since Wayne and I went to his Aunt Mary’s 90th birthday in April 2017. I haven’t been on a “vacation” where I didn’t have to simultaneously stress about losing freelance income in four years (I recently took a full-time job, so that particular stressor is gone at last). And although the itinerary of my trip to Chicago for the Type A Conference was a little end-loaded with stress because I arrived on Wednesday and didn’t present until Saturday (the day I left … sigh), it was still the most vacation-related period of time I have had in years.

Okay – stay with me here – Paula (city lover!) in Chicago (a particular fave) with a few chunks of time in which to explore and do city-specific things. So many options beckoned:

Going to the Art Institute of Chicago to view works by Malvina Hoffman (particularly tempting because I had a very small role in helping with the early stages of Didi Hoffman’s book about Malvina, Beautiful Bodies: The Adventures of Malvina Hoffman

An Architecture River Cruise

Urban kayaking (it was pretty nice weather on Thursday)

My beloved theatre (and trust me, if I had won the Hamilton lottery, I would be writing an entirely different blog post!)

Or any of the incredibly enticing things in my friend Molly’s book, 100 Things to do in Chicago Before You Die

The Oasis Beckoned

Instead, I took a field trip to the Hinsdale Oasis.

At the oasis

Perhaps some backstory is in order.

For a period of about six months, I had a part in helping put together a tolling industry newsletter.* One topic that was covered several times was the fact that Illinois’ tollway oases (structures that cross the tollway, allowing travelers going opposite directions to access snacks, leg-stretching time, restrooms and more) are going away, partially to make room for road expansions and partially for safety reasons.

The Illinois Tollway system began building oases in 1958, with the number eventually growing to seven. The Des Plaines Oasis was the first to be inactivated (in 2014). It did not go down without a fight and a significant amount of nostalgia, though.

It has its own Facebook page, Save the Illinois Tollway Oases. (The group’s name was modified to not be Des Plaines specific after it was torn down.)

And, seriously — there is trivia:

“On the Friday before Memorial Day weekend in 1979, an engine fell off a DC-10 that was taking off from O’Hare airport (American Airlines Flight 191). The plane crashed in a field about 1/4 mile from the DesPlaines Oasis, between Touhy Ave and the Tollway. The runway points almost directly toward the Oasis. The plane was headed for Los Angeles, and had a full load of fuel.” Via Panix.

“Two movies have scenes that were filmed at the oases. “The Blues Brothers” has a scene that takes place in the parking lot of the DesPlaines Oasis (with Carrie Fisher and the flamethrower). “Thief”, starring James Caan, has a scene that is supposed to take place in the dining room of the O’Hare Oasis (it was actually filmed in the hallway on the opposite side of the building, next to the windows).” Via Panix.

And my personal favorite: a guy apparently chained himself to the Des Plaines Oasis to protest its demolition, claiming he was conceived there.

Oh – and there used to be tchotchkes, such as plates:

At the oasis

And cigarette lighters:

At the oasis

The O’Hare Oasis is Next

The next Oasis to be facing change and demolition of the “over-the-road” part is the O’Hare Oasis. Its “bridge” was closed September 5 in preparation for the changes.

But Still, an Oasis instead of a Museum or the Theater?

Here’s the thing … every time I would read one of these stories to include it in the newsletter, I would think about my handful of trips to Chicago, and driving under the oases in a taxi or rental car, and wondering about what exactly happened up there.

(I know, I know — what “happens” is junk food, going to the restroom and stocking up on snacks, but it seemed like a big mystery from my perspective as someone else’s passenger, looking up.)

I swear this Dairy Queen Blizzard tasted better from the Hinsdale Oasis:

At the oasis

Revealing the symbols on this scratch-off ticket felt a little bit luckier:

At the oasis

Being able to get help with tolling issues (if I had had any, of course!) from a real bona fide human being instead of having to try to connect through a screen and a keyboard felt a little more … real.

At the oasis

Digging Deeper Matters

It has been a bit of a blessing and a curse throughout my career that I get so fascinated by the topics with which I work (because it is easy to lose sight of the big picture by focusing too intently on the minutiae). But trying to picture yourself in the shoes of the people living the things you write about matters, in my opinion (although please for the love of all things holy let’s exempt that whole conception story…).

It’s why I went to (and wrote about) a Farmers’ Roundtable when I had a role in an agricultural newsletter.* It made a difference to be seated five feet from the Congressman whose name I typed weekly. More importantly, it made a difference to hear farmers expand on the topics discussed in the newsletter, and to hear how their livelihoods were affected by policy changes.

And as to my curiosity about the oases, they touch on some sentiment about how travel has changed since my childhood. Oases once had sit-down restaurants.

Back in the day, when folks took Sunday drives, it was a destination point for suburbanites with a Fred Harvey sit-down restaurant. The Daily Herald

And who wouldn’t agree with Bob from Wisconsin that, “The bathroom is important”?

I think it’s somehow about yet another loss of an opportunity to slow down, along with a nod to the mesmerizing nature of travel (sorry this video is vertical – I blame Snapchat!).

Curiosity, Satisfied

I doubt I’ll pay another (cough cough amount not disclosed) amount of Uber fees to get to and from an Oasis again. But I don’t regret the choice for a minute. It’s a fortunate thing to like your work enough to do more than the minimum.

Now if there were only a “Broadway plays” newsletter!

At the oasis

I wrote this post in response to a Kat Bouska prompt: Write a blog post inspired by the word: change.

*This blog is purely my opinion; I don’t represent either organization.

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

Five Minute Friday: POTENTIAL

Five Minute Friday

Today’s Prompt: POTENTIAL

I ordered a new 2018 AP Stylebook. I could have chosen “slightly used” or some other flawed option and paid less money, but this is enough of a professional necessity that I decided to pay full price.

And yet … it arrived imperfect

The vendor blames the postal service (probably true). They offered a full refund if I would send it back (undoubtedly through the same postal service) or a 30% refund if I would keep it.

Maybe it was laziness that led me to keep it and not send it back.

As I kept using it, though, the imperfect version grew on me.  The information inside is no different than it would be if the cover were perfect.

I look at that crimped cover and think of people full of potential who aren’t given a chance they deserve because people can’t or won’t see past cosmetic blemishes and poor first impressions.

Our stories take longer to tell, and are richer/more nuanced, than our outer shell lets on.

*Note – written on my phone – I am at a conference and didn’t want to delay joining everyone at the FMF linkup. I am literally “all thumbs” for this one!

Five Minute Friday

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

National Gay Men’s HIV Testing Day Events in Tallahassee

I made some new friends for a cause I’ve long supported when I went to Neighborhood Medical Center’s STD Prevention 101 Healthy Happy Hour last week. I was there partially because I wanted to get a picture I could share on the Sept. 21 #ADayWithHIV. I got my picture:

 

And I got so much more…

I got a reminder that there are people in our community of all ages, races, genders and walks of life who face decisions every day about their sexual partners and practices. Especially among young people, some of these decisions are poorly informed (or downright misinformed). It takes candid talk, acceptance and easy access to testing and treatment options to help them make the best decisions for their health.

As I alluded to in this post, helping people be aware of the risks they face, the options from which to choose and the resources available to them takes explicit discussions (i.e., naming body parts correctly, not being shocked by the array of ways people interact with each other sexually and throwing away assumptions). It also, however, requires the intuition and empathy to understand how self-esteem plays in. A 15-year-old young woman, for example, said “I’m not going to get tested; I know my [18-year-old] partner is positive, so I’ll just get reinfected.”

It has been a long time since I was on the front lines of this particular kind of work (and even when I was, it was on the phone as a counselor/supervisor for the Florida AIDS Hotline, so my “front line” was a telephone receiver). I have so much appreciation and respect for what these people do. Additionally, I am grateful for the federal, state and local funding (Leon County Board of Commissioners, United Way of the Big Bend)  that makes it possible. The links I have shared aren’t comprehensive: my point is that it takes funding from a variety of sources and those are, in my opinion, jeopardized by our current political environment. We should advocate for them to be continued.)

National Gay Men’s HIV Testing Day

National Gay Men’s HIV Testing Day is coming up on September 27, and my new friends asked me to share information about the events that will be held throughout the week to observe it. I am happy to do so; here’s what they said:

Our community knows how important it is to maintain an active role in our own health. Starting Friday, September 28, 2018 through Sunday, September 30, 2018 Neighborhood Medical Center will be hosting our 4th Annual Health Extravaganza for National Gay Men’s HIV Testing Day. All events will take place at Hotel Duval (415 N. Monroe St. Tallahassee, FL. 32301) and will be free of charge to the general public. Below is a detailed list of the events that will take place during the 4th Annual Health Extravaganza:

Friday, September 28, 2018 Live Couch Talk
An interactive conversation with a health care team about HIV prevention and treatment options for people living with HIV/AIDS. Come hear the personal life story of one person’s HIV diagnosis and their journey to living a healthy lifestyle.

Gay Men HIV Testing

Saturday, September 29, 2018 PrEP First Drag Show
An informational health event about PrEP {Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis} with a Drag Exposé. This FREE event will provide educational components, speakers, drag shows and lots of fun with a twist.

Gay Men HIV Testing

Sunday, September 30, 2018 Gospel Drag Brunch
An event to close out the Health Extravaganza weekend. We will fellowship through food and song as we commemorate the precious lives lost in the LGBTQ community and individuals affected by HIV/AIDS.Gay Men HIV Testing

No one will leave this event empty handed or uninformed as we will have booths presented by our partner agencies: Big Bend Cares, FAMU Health, FSU CHAW, and Florida Health, amongst others. Please come out to help Neighborhood Medical Center and our partners spread the word to patients, family, friends, and community members about PrEP and HIV/AIDS.

Each of these three events is free. However, the organizers ask that you register through this link, which has a separate registration for each event.

For additional information, feel free to contact:
Mathias Sweet at (850) 688-0914 or msweet@neighborhoodmedicalcenter.org
Joseph Ward (850) 577-1562 or Jward@neighborhoodmedicalcenter.org

Gay Men HIV Testing

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

Banned Books Week 2018

Banned Books Week 2018 is September 23 through 29, 2018.

Since 2014, I have participated in the Banned Books Week Virtual Readout (which, by the way, can be done anytime — not just during BBW). In 2017, I read from I Am Jazz (here’s the recording). In 2016, I read from Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out (here’s the recording). In 2015, I read from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (here’s the recording). In 2014, I read from Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy (here’s the recording).

This year, I am reading from And Tango Makes Three . The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom recorded challenges to/bans of 416 books in 2017.

Banned Books Week 2018

Of the top ten, this book was number nine. The ALA says, “Returning after a brief hiatus from the Top Ten Most Challenged list, this ALA Notable Children’s Book, published in 2005, was challenged and labeled because it features a same-sex relationship.”

Here’s my readout:

How I Chose This Year’s Book

This year’s process wasn’t especially formal. I ruled out books I had read before, and solicited opinions on Facebook (scientific, right?). I ended up choosing “And Tango Makes Three” because my friend Rebecca said her little boy likes it. The end.

After reading it, I can say I like it too. It’s about New York City, first of all, and evokes my memories of going to the Toy Boat Pond with Tenley years ago (I’ve never been to the Central Park Zoo, oddly enough!).

I like how Roy and Silo (Tango’s Parents) were much like me as a parent-to-be and then a parent. They hoped fervently to have a child of their own to raise and prepared as well as they could. When she finally arrived, she hung the moon in their eyes. Universal parenting aspirations.

About To Kill a Mockingbird

Most people in my informal poll wanted me to read To Kill a Mockingbird. I have read it before, but it has been so long. I’m not sure why it intrigued so many people in the discussion, but for the record, here is why it was challenged, according to the ALA:

This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, considered an American classic, was challenged and banned because of violence and its use of the N-word.

I need to revisit TKaM anyway. It’s on my list.

Why Book Challenges and Bans Matter

This year’s Banned Books Week theme is “banning books silences stories.” I believe wholeheartedly in the power of stories (even (especially?) stories that make us uncomfortable, introduce an idea or concept that is new to us or in some other way expand our worlds.

Banned Books Week 2018

In Why do we ban books, anyway? Chelsea Condren writes, “The power and danger in book banning lies in someone’s ability to think their opinion is the only one that matters, and, thereby, the only one that is allowed. I think a lot of us want what’s best for children. But being able to decide for oneself the quality of someone else’s thoughts, and being able to use those skills to form your own opinions, is a skill best learned by reading. The ability to think critically is important, and books are the tools with which we whittle that ability.” I agree.

I also am reminded, by an author who has had his share of challenges (Mark Haddon), that it’s short-sighted to be even a hair smug or self-righteous about being an advocate against challenges/bans, because “…both sides, paradoxically, are to be thanked for getting more people reading and talking about books.”

Banned Books Week 2018

Here’s to letting all stories see the light of day. Banned Books Week 2018

 

 

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

Five Minute Friday: COMPLETE

 

Five Minute Friday

Today’s Prompt: COMPLETE

“Pick a stick from this bag,” said the facilitator at last night’s “Happy Hour” focused on STD Prevention. (For the record, the bag was filled with popsicle sticks of varying colors and condoms.) I took one, no questions asked.

Once everyone had chosen a stick, the facilitator told me what our sticks represented:

Orange: HIV

Blue: Syphilis

Yellow: Chlamydia

Red: HPV

Purple: Gonorrhea

Green: Negative

As you can see below, I “had” chlamydia.

Five Minute Friday

This is an exercise educators use to help young people (and, apparently 53-year-old people) understand the effects of their actions.

“Did you think to ask me ‘why should I take that stick?’ he asked us.” NO. We just did it, because he offered.

I attended the event because I wanted to reconnect with the world of education/advocacy about Sexually Transmitted Diseases in advance of today’s #ADayWithHIV (here’s a previous year’s post).

In addition to the samples of how the educators connect with young people (like the popsicle stick activity), there were discussions of the basics about STDs and how they are transmitted.

More than the graphic pictures and the clinical discussion, though, I was struck by something the educator said overtly once or twice but implied throughout: people have sex with other people, even in situations that they may *know* are risky, because they lack the self esteem to advocate for themselves.

They see it as something that will make them complete, yet it may lead to illness, pain and an altered life course.

This is why we owe it to our fellow human beings to help do something to build up, not tear down, self esteem when possible.

 

Five Minute Friday

 

 

 

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

Kleine-Levin Syndrome: A Family Ascends the Mountain

It is particularly significant to me that my friend, Jonathan Lyons, allowed me to share this reflection he wrote in advance of Rosh Hashanah this year. He, his wife Barbara Forbes-Lyons and their son, Avner, are navigating a changed life due to Avner’s diagnosis with Kleine-Levin Syndrome (KLS). My goals in sharing Jon’s story are a) to support him and his family b) to expand awareness of KLS c) to help other families coping with the chronic and severe illness of a child know they are not alone and d) to celebrate the fact that this family is not defined by KLS. 

Yom Kippur. a time of atonement and repentance, is approaching. This quote (attributed to Maya Angelou but I can’t completely confirm) said something about forgiveness that pertains to Jon’s piece:

Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it.

Jon’s post touches two complementary ideas:

As parents, he and Barb have been weighed down by the heaviness that comes from trying to define (and resolve) the rare condition that became apparent as their son’s physical condition and behavior changed drastically. 

Related, as Jon mentions in the post, he and Barb were told that perhaps they should move on emotionally. Why do we as human beings presume to know what a family going through something so intricately difficult and chronic needs to do? It must be hard to forgive these people for “what they didn’t know before they learned it” but perhaps this post can put a tiny dent into helping others learn.

~ Paula

Kleine-Levin Syndrome

Jon, Barb and Avner

Yom Kippur is nearly upon us. The cycle of the new year has begun for Jews around the world and part of this will include reading of the binding of Isaac, Abraham’s favorite son, born of his wife Sarah. None of that was on my mind until just recently.

It struck me, seemingly from nowhere. For the past couple years, nearly the only thing on my mind was the health of my only child. My son, Avner has a very rare, devastating neurological illness called Kleine-Levin Syndrome (KLS). KLS is a form of ideopathic hypersomnia. That means that people with KLS, sleep a lot. Some of them sleep for days at a time.

When they are not asleep, but “in an episode” their waking moments are marked by mood changes, memory deficits, and many strange behaviors. Parents like myself, flock to the online support group and frequently rant when our children are gone again. We hope it will not be for long and that this might be the last such episode.

Often this disease takes years to be properly diagnosed. Patients frequently collect incorrect diagnoses of severe mental illnesses until a doctor or a desperate parent finds the KLS diagnosis and the search begins to find a qualified medical team that can test and evaluate the patient for KLS. I say parent, because the mean age of onset for KLS is 16 years old, but my son had his first episode at 12. Some aren’t diagnosed or experience symptoms until well into adulthood.

My son’s prognosis is tentatively good. He responds well to a course of medical treatment. Only 30% to 40% of patients see relief from lithium. No other drug currently performs as well. Though we also rely on a second medication which is custom compounded for hypersomnia patients, as an off-label prescription.

I tell this tale frequently. I tell it too frequently. As a parent of a healthy child, until this disease, I was ill prepared for such a radical change in lifestyle and perspective. Parenting is difficult and we all struggle at times, but without much doubt, my wife, Barbara and I have struggled more than many because of the great uncertainty created by KLS. Even now, we do not know if our child will wake tomorrow or if we will return to the painful cycle we lived before the medication seemed to be working.

So, someone who heard me tell the tale too much, told me so and suggested it’s time to move forward again. It woke me up and made me more self aware, which is certainly a theme of Rosh Hashanah.

After sleeping on it, a little like Jacob, wrestling his own angel, I had my own insight. We all read biblical stories through the lens of our own experiences. The Binding of Isaac certainly invites such opportunities.

My friend David turned to me one year during holiday services and said to me “Isaac was an idiot.” We ducked out of services so he could grab a quick bite and he laid before me his literary criticism of Isaac and made a compelling case for some kind of developmental deficit. It absolutely fascinated me and probably established my deep interest in this passage as an insight into late Stone Age or early Bronze Age cultures.

In our sanitized modern culture, the story still horrifies us. No doubt, some kids must come home from services wondering if their parents are going to tie them down and offer them up as a holy sacrifice. Post Holocaust, a common criticism of Abraham is that he failed G-d’s test because he argued for the innocent of Sodom and Gomorrah, but not for the life of his own son.

Now I’ve gained yet another perspective on the tale. We read this story from different key perspectives through our lives. Upon our introduction to the story, usually at a young age, we see the story as Abraham’s servants saw it play out before them. They brought the wood and their master and Isaac. They saw the plot played out before them with keen interest but without personal investment. On those initial readings, we learn the sequence of events and we know that they have great importance.

We become familiar with the story and we try on the role of Isaac. At first we wonder at the journey and we put our trust into Abraham, when he tells us that G-d will provide the ram. We experience the fear of the raised knife. Like young adults, we may feel indignity at being the passive object of everyone else’s designs. Where is Abraham’s chutzpah, willing to raise his objection to his G-d in the name of the unverified good souls in Sodom and Gomorrah, but not for his own flesh?

Perhaps, like my friend David, you seek an explanation by way of some defect in Isaac. Was he a simpleton, unable to speak intelligently for himself? The narrative makes quite the point of the simple childlike questions that Isaac asks, yet the chronology of the story tells us that he is a grown man by this time. Could this have been a Stoneage rite, to rid the tribe of members who could not contribute? Could the importance of the tale be that Abraham broke the tradition to give us a new modern morality? Did Abraham pass the holy test by sparing his son or following the command of his deity? Did he fail for following an immoral order without question? These questions have long been debated between Jewish scholars.

Yet there is another reading. Parents who enjoyed the growth of healthy children and suddenly struggle with their own infirmities while caring for an ailing child know this reading. Abraham has grown old in the service of his Lord. He has profited and grown his wealth and that of his people. All has gone well for this servant of G-d. Abraham has G-d’s ear and great influence in his known world. Then his life which moved from strength to strength changes course abruptly.

My own child was strong, energetic and brilliant with an insatiable curiosity. We used to run together when I trained for triathlons. Then he disappeared inside himself for more than two years and we were living with a walking husk of the child we once knew.

It occurs to me, that maybe we have been reading the story of the binding of Isaac all wrong. It’s not a test of Abraham’s will, or devotion or even his ultimate morality. It’s not a test at all. Through Abraham’s eyes it’s a journey of a father who faces an impossible task regarding a child he loves. He has no choice in the matter. His only option is to move forward through the horror ahead.

In the next part of Abraham’s tale, he loses his wife. He does not speak directly to G-d again, as far as we know. He seems broken by the experience as far as we can see. His demise follows closely enough, and the great wealth and the land holdings he gathered will not pass to the next generation. Isaac was a dweller of tents, we are told. He was a nomad.

It doesn’t make for a tidy reading. There’s no tightly knit resolution, except to say that everyone continued to live their lives and that struggle would ensue.

Those of us who have watched a healthy child fade before our eyes, walk in similar paths. We watch the graduation announcements and the triumphant first day of school photos in social media. Instead,we celebrate when our child is well enough to continue school, or the school is willing to amend accommodations that help our child stay enrolled, if we are very lucky.

We are ascending the mountain, because we must. We have the blade in our hands. Our beautiful children walk beside us, struggling under the load of the wood they bear to the altar. We are both hoping and praying that this will work out in some other way than what it seems. We continue through the day. Then we gather our loads, and we do it again.Kleine-Levin Syndrome

How You Can Help

To educate yourself, visit this link.

To donate, click here.

To learn more about how to speak with a family dealing with a rare illness, click here.

 

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

Five Minute Friday: CROWD

Five Minute Friday

Today’s Prompt: CROWD

I haven’t done a Black Friday shopping trip in years, and I never was crazed like some people get, but the crowds can get insane. If you’re having trouble conjuring an image (which you probably aren’t!), here’s help:

This is what my brain has looked like in the early mornings for a long time, as I immediately picked up my phone to check email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and possibly a few other things the minute I was out of bed. Not to delve into TMI land, but I do mean first thing.

I was unleashing a flood of other people’s priorities, not to mention some truly superficial bits of information, into my head.

As I began my full-time job Monday, I wanted to turn over a new leaf. Although I had been working at the organization already as a freelancer, and mostly full-time hours, I have a renewed sense of the need to focus, especially since the bulk of the work is editing (as a freelancer, a portion of my responsibilities included research and writing, which to me requires a bit of a different focus approach).

I decided if I wasn’t able to live without my phone for that first few minutes (sigh), at least I could be doing something that contributes to my ability to focus and incorporates a positive, uplifting message for the day.

That’s why I put Daily Burst from AudioJoy on my phone. Each morning, the app serves up a thought-provoking or inspiring quote, an article (which I don’t usually read…but it’s there), a scale to gauge how I am feeling that day, and a brief audio reflection (3-5 minutes) with the accompanying text.

***end of five minutes***

My brain is not a loss-leader meant to be fought over by other people with their own priorities.

It is the only one I have, the resource I need to do a job I love already well, and something over which I want to take firm control.

Today’s reading included this passage, which I find much more constructive than a doorbuster.

Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday

 

 

 

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.