It’s always the last place you look.

I’ve spent a good portion of my day looking for lost stuff.  It’s my stuff and I’m the one who lost it, or I’d be more irritated. I’m at the point in my life that I am busy enough to be a bit overwhelmed and I become so scatterbrained that we are lucky I don’t lose children and cars and houses and lots more stuff.  I have lost my laptop, for a good month.  I have been DYING to write and every time I want to go duck out to some quiet space, there is no mobile computer.  Then I look for it only to give up when life happens. 

You keep trudging forward through your day as much as possible while you are still on the hunt of missing pieces. Something about you not entirely present as you’re subconsciously searching.  I wanted to find the laptop, so badly, I finally gave an S.O.S.  in group text to my family that I needed help finding it.  A few hours later, my husband found it!  He was rewarded with a kiss that gave me tingles.  It was in a drawer that I looked in multiple times. 

Maybe it was never about that laptop.

Maybe it was all about that kiss. 

In the process of looking for my laptop today, I also lost my phone and water bottle.  Water bottle has since been recovered and refilled.  Phone is still M.I.A… 

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time looking for the phone.  The thing is, my phone is connected to my car by Bluetooth that’s in my driveway.  I can answer my phone IN my car right now. However, in real life, my phone is in silent mode.  We know it’s in the proximity of my house’ish.  We also know I was whipping around like a rabid hyena trying to put together a disco themed wedding this afternoon.  You gotta do what you gotta do and I had disco fever.

I last had said missing phone about 12:30 to 1:00pm Mountain Standard Time.  I came home quite motivated to tackle a big project of the disco wedding – while also really wanting to find the laptop.  In addition, I had actual work to do for my little flower shop.  A girl’s gotta make a living, right?  In the chaos of everyone’s day, everyone – three kids, hubby, mom -stopped their lives – again – to help find the phone after having to stop to find the laptop earlier in the day.  I so owe them.    

I lost one critical life thingy while trying to find another thing and I lost it so good.  Dang, Dana. 

Trying to be soft with myself and not go dark.  Lots of information I need on the phone, for myself and others.  It’s a silly mistake that is causing me stress and anxiety and costing me time and much needed energy. I had to stop looking.

Since I now have above mentioned found laptop, here I am in my perfectly cozy garage trying to reset and make progress of some sort.  There are multiple fans blowing and flowing above me, I can only hear them as the air is all pointing up to the attic.  I guess it’s an attic.  It’s the space above the garage.  We needed a place for my flower cooler compressor to call home and it was natural to try the attic. Its got one of those super nifty out of ceiling ladders. The weather has been ridiculously hot this summer we’ve got to adjust the compressor, upside down, to be in the garage in the next few months.  The heat will increase the wear and tear on the machine that’s already so hot.  That’s why all these fans are lulling me into a writing coma.  

As, I noted above I was trying to make progress, but what progress that is, I’m not really sure.  Maybe progress isn’t the right word. Or, maybe it was. Stop second guessing things, Dana. I literally just sighed at myself, crossed my right arm over my belly, propped my left elbow in my right hand, and lowered my chin into my left hand.

I’m writing.  That’s something I’ve wanted to explore intensely this season.  So, buck up buttercup and keep spewing the wordage. The desire to share my gift and reflect the light the Lord has shone on me, that other people might believe and feel loved, too.  That’s the big picture and presence I want depicted in my life. This is not about me, but what God can do through me. And, I want to be used.

At the end of the day, I know my religion sounds hokey to some.  Just as unfamiliar or culturally different religions might seem to me.  I’m just thankful to be in a place where I learning to feel safe and loved and with purpose.  My God has been faithful, patient, kind, gracious, merciful, and I’m learning to lean into his love, the spirit, and my intuition to follow Him.  I am excited.  I have not felt like this in a long time.  I have been listening instead of resisting. 

I have been torn down and rebuilt in the last year in a variety of different ways.  My identity as a wife, mother, daughter, cousin, friend, florist, writer, believer, and professional have all been tested, reconfigured, compressed, stretched, and finally repurposed.  I’m not rejuvenated physically, just yet.  I’m working on it.  It’s definitely been a very exhausting year between the moves, restructuring my business, and discovering my purpose in this world.  I know it!  My will from God., that’s what I mean that I know. 

It’s, like, BOOM, right?   Way outta left field. This chick lost her phone while looking for her lost laptop, but she was somehow able to find THE will of God?

The best I can share with you, my will from our God above, at this point, that I know for sure, 100%, is that the Lord calls me to be thankful.  And to reflect gratitude.  Anger, fear, and worry cannot co-exist with a mind that is intentional about discovering thanksgiving and joy.  My purpose in life is to be grateful.   

I have not reflected gratitude in quite some time.  Not, like, real gratitude.  It all felt a little fake, I think.      I didn’t feel like I was ready to give up my brick-and-mortar business.  And, before that I was hustling so hard, I was a total jackass in the meaningful things in life.  The shop was just too much with my family and our growing purpose in Weiser.  I was bitter and resentful and that’s what I focused on.  I’ve had to take a long and hard look at my life and where I am.  Is this a mid-life crisis?  I do not know.   

I do know, and I hate to admit it, my drive to be successful was only for myself.  It was a selfish dream.  I graduated high school full of potential and always felt this guilt and shame that I went nowhere.  I didn’t finish college.  I didn’t “make it.”  The flower shop felt like my redemption chance.  My way of showing the world that I could and would.  The flower shop grew to consume me and because of the MS, I became unable to be available as a wife and mother.  I was moving constantly but in reality, going nowhere. My family needed me and it was so hard for me to let go of what I wanted.  I regret that I didn’t handle it more tactfully.  The anger caused division between me and mine and it felt isolating.  I felt alone in the transition and the disease and in life.

It has taken a lot of time, honesty, self-reflection, scripture, prayer, and intention to turn the corner and connect with my family wholly and appreciate their need for me and mine for them. Our love for each other. Even though it’s only part-time, it still feels like the flower shop has consumed me this year.  I have continued since last summer to make flowers on an order-by-order basis from our home.  The phone number and website are very active.  Last summer, my husband closed in the walls of the patio to make me a workroom complete with cooler, sink, shelving, and more.  The only problem with this wonderful space was that six months in, when it was ready to be finished, we bought another home. 

Our last house.  I am making that bold declaration right now. I’m not moving again!

Last December, we moved.  It was a bittersweet winter.  Of course you want to go and live the adventure you’ve always wanted to live.  On the other  hand , I’d been packing and moving the flower shop for six months already.  It was a big ordeal to pack up a flower shop with 40 years of hoarded supplies, equipment, and fixtures in the first place.  Combined with six months of sort of having a workspace followed by an undefined time of not having another workspace.  Instead of just rolling with the punches, in the depression, confusion, and anxiety, I chose to believe I wasn’t worth more.  What I had to offer didn’t matter.  It was heartbreaking.  Spring was hard for me.  It was hard for me to come to terms with what was true.    

The flowers are just the vessel.  The business is just the vessel.  The home is just the vessel.  The most important thing to me isn’t flowers.  It isn’t business.  It isn’t my house.  It isn’t the car that will eventually fit in this overpacked garage that now feels too stuffy.  The most important thing to me right now is the condition of my heart and how I’m using the life pumping through my veins to reflect the light and love of the most high God with an attitude of thankfulness.     

I was quite challenged by my pastor a several weeks ago who asked us how the room changes when we enter it.  Is it a joyful reception or do people suddenly stop talking?  Does it become tense?  Is it suddenly fun?  I knew that I needed to start changing my presence in the home as much as out of the home.  In all my interactions and encounters.  In any exchange of words.    

I have made countless mistakes with my words and attitudes – verbal and nonverbal. I’m learning to take accountability for the severity with which I can write and how it may be received.  I often feel like I am unable to speak.  Like, in any type of confrontation, I typically cannot properly defend myself verbally.  I’m getting way better.  However, I often used my writing to express myself as authentically as possible.  I haven’t done it with the wisdom, grace, and mercy that I should have.  I deeply regret that and ask for forgiveness for those who have been hurt by my words. 

On the other hand, I know that God designed me to be a writer.  And despite my fear and hesitation, self-deprecation, and self-inflicted wounds, I feel excited and dedicated to discover the woman God has designed for me to be.   I want to be resilient.  To keep pressing forward.  Learning.  Growing.  Failing.  Recovering.  Restoring myself over and over as a beloved child of God.  That is how I want to live.   

I want to live chasing Jesus.

Embracing Jesus. 

Exploring His character and trying to build those traits in myself. 

The thing I dig most about Jesus is that he just loved people, where they were, and wanted the best for them.  He wanted to help them where they were and have them move forward in love and light.   There was no judgement or condemnation.  Just love. 

The one thing we can all learn to do perfectly is to love.  As I reflect on where I am in life, the direction I need to go as I continue the process of resurrecting myself form the deep…  I just want the people I love most to feel that love, a love that is from me but poured out from the heavenly wells above.  A love with roots rich in wisdom, kindness, and fragrance of hope that carries long after all else fails.    

Maybe it’s never been about the flowers. 

Maybe it’s been about the love that blossoms after a painful cultivation process. 

Love that endures me losing every possible important thing that I own and my family still looking at their slightly wonky wife, mama, daughter, and friend with empathy, kindness, a bit of a smile, and a hug.  No matter what is lost, love will always exist as long as I am saturating myself in Christ.    

Love never fails.    

The Other Last Time

The last time I wrote on this blog, I was putting the flower shop up for sale – someone was interested! It was unexpected and not a true real estate listing. The other last time, I did have it listed, not this last last time. The sale fell through, the other last time. I don’t know where it falls to. It ended up being an epic ride or die season for me and I realized there was a huge piece of me that was so resistant to selling. Afraid to let go. After the sale fell through, I was content to continue trying, I didn’t have time to get the store ready, paperwork ready, to go through inventory, and keep the cooler full and orders processed.

Life happened so much and so hard, pandemic and all, and here we are almost a year later.

Basically, my experience during the COVID epidemic as far as my flower shop is concerned, was epic. I think it was because of my online presence – not so much social media, but my website and Googliness. In addition, my phone number blew up. People couldn’t gather, but they could send flowers. We could do precautionary or no contact deliveries and we were never concerned with being shut down. As the store front was closed or rarely opened, we hustled a lot of flowers by delivery. It was the best year of sales I have ever had in small business!

This year, the sales from last year have totally carried over. Thanks to the Lord above, I am profoundly above last year’s record to the date.

I sense a slower pace coming now that the state and country are opening up more and more and people will begin spending their money on visits instead of flowers. That’s okay. I’m in over my head. Mother’s Day didn’t stop this year until three days after the holiday. That is unusual. We had at least 20 orders for Monday, several Tuesday, and few stragglers Wednesday. The next weekend was graduation. I came up with a killer presentation lei for graduation ceremonies several years ago. They are time consuming, but so worth it! We had a week to rest and then Memorial Weekend. We did about 20 orders for various cemeteries in fresh, silk, and plants.

Back to where I was, because Memorial Weekend is not where I was…

I was meaning to cover another week several months ago, not all the weeks after that week that I’ve already talked about. I can’t un-talk about them now and it’s sort of a good primer, anyways. I reached a breaking point. As if y’all haven’t heard that from me before. But, really, it was after Valentine’s Day and my body was so worn. My mind was fried. Emotionally I was also in a drought. I had very little capacity to handle any type of problem above and beyond a minor hangnail. Just really exhausted and one of those times that you need several weeks to recover, not just a day or two. I don’t want to wave the MS banner whenever things get hard, but it did not help. In this down and out moment a few months ago, it was decided I would re-list the shop for sale. It was not a decision I wanted to make. It was a decision my husband and I had to make. He pulled the trigger and I contacted the real estate agent. During that week I had a major episode where I could not stand upright without feeling like I would pass out. I was on the floor with all the stems, leaves, and flower shop debris. My heartrate wouldn’t slow. It was very scary. It took a lot of water and a few hours to even out. I had to keep working, sitting down when I couldn’t stand up, because work had to be done. Mom did what she could, Toby did what he could, but he still had the gyms to worry about that day.

Oh, yes. We bought two gyms. Right? Because, when you’re in over your head in one business, you should buy two more.

Oh dear. I think I might have forgotten to update my blogging audience (I think I have one repeat customer) on this other business venture. We bought some gyms last October and December.

My husband works so hard for HP to put a roof over our head but, he always has had a few side gigs. He loved this little cr0s$flt gym in our hometown and the opportunity came up to buy it when the owner needed to go back East. My husband’s job with HP is flexible enough that he can adjust his time to work his meetings, spreadsheets, and fill in with the gym the rest of his day. He gets up about 4 every morning and doesn’t quit until the day is done about 8 or 9. Back to the gyms: We bought one gym. It’s a small cr0s$flt gym. Evidently, cr0s$flt is a registered trademark. You cannot call yourself a cr0s$flt gym without paying for the certification. I do not know if I can type cr0s$flt without a dilemma. I will cover my bases. It’s a different style than other gyms you might think of. Very little cardio equipment and weight lifting stations, more like open space and rowers and rigs to do pullups and squats and buff people stuff on. After we had the little cr0s$flt gym for a few months, we were approached to buy the other box gym in our town. This is your typical exercise gym with lots of exercise machines and stations. We happened to have just the right amount of money in the bank and wouldn’t you know, we own two gymnasium’s now. These are Toby’s passion and future. He has a chance to expand in a few years.

Even though we have this life of fitness and what could grow to be a steady and profitable income for my family, my heart isn’t in the gym life. I don’t mind helping out, but I don’t know I would feel satisfied with a life well lived if I was the behind the scenes person in these endeavors. I don’t know that my heart is really in flowers, to be totally honest. I have always been drawn to the garden and skipped college classes to make silk bouquets. So, there is definitely a draw to the creative elements of owning a florist shop. I really love business. The flower shop is the only place where I get to use my mind and my creative side. It’s my turf. It’s my stomping grounds. It’s my playground. It’s where I am the best version of myself.

It is painfully hard to let go of that piece of you. What you’ve done, what you’ve known. It is hard to admit you are a different version of yourself you would have never wanted to be. It is hard to be 41 and be, what feels like, at the last time you will really work and have purpose again. It’s also doubly hard because in addition to being in too much pain to work, I’m still working, and now I have to prove that this shop is worth someone else buying. I don’t get to rest. I have to accept a lesser offer than what I would if I were a healthy human. It’s hard to be drilled by perspective buyers who, having seen your financials, feel the need to come in and tell you that your profit is disappointing. That appointment wasn’t great. I’m pretty sure they saw the “fight or flight” instinct in me come out. I think I chose a mild flight and a bit of fight, not my best moment, not my worst. Since then, there have been a few more folks applying for financing and actively interested, but we haven’t been able to grab a buyer. It’s a slippery slope. I haven’t handled it well.

When you’re in physical pain, your focus, mood, outlook, and more are dramatically impacted. Trying to work in pain plays a dirty game with my mind, and I often feel myself feeling worth less because I have to work even in this condition. Without a firm offer and community support now getting split, I’ve taken a considerable chunk of my asking price off just today. It’s hard to know you are worth less and still function and act like someone worth loving and living. It’s hard to be on my last’s of things.

I keep thinking every holiday, every month, is my last at the shop. My last time to try. I have plan B in my back pocket and I will do what I have to do when I have to do it. I mean, we’re probably well passed plan B and more like “ellemenohpee” who’s counting? Or alphabetizing, rather. There is another plan growing in the back of my mind in case this trying to sell nonsense blows over into nothingness.

Presently there is this waxing and waning of feeling ready to let go, knowing I have to, and yet still not being able to because we haven’t found the buyer and being entirely unsure how to process the unknown with no answers or direction. Being completely trapped with more questions, more pain than not, and burdened with keeping the shop appealing and functioning is very challenging. I had planned to take some time to travel this summer with my daughter, with offers supposedly coming in that never came. It is a constant roller coaster. As time ticks on and you realize you’re worth less than what you’d thought, you’re still exhausted, and you still seem to find more battles than pleasure in life… it takes a toll and you become a different person.

I don’t love the person I am. I don’t love the situation I am in. I don’t look forward to the future. It is very sad. It’s what it is, though. It’s disease and life and learning who you can’t trust and deciding to try or not, anymore.

When I am no more, I want to be remembered as someone who tried. I don’t know how many more punches I can take, though. My try is getting feeble. I also want to be known as someone who would rather work than not. Someone who bit off more than she could chew, not because she was well educated and ready, but because she understood well that life was worth living fierce. Working is the only thing I’ve felt good and safe in. People haven’t been the highlight of my skillset or life experience.

As disappointed as I am in humanity, I agree I haven’t been the friend I’ve wanted to be. I’ve struggled with relationships because I have a terrible time with trust and safety. If I sense any danger of being hurt by someone, I will distance myself and fortify. As my disease has progressed, I have been extremely cautious with anyone I have dealings with. If I can’t see all the cards in front of us on the table and you’re going to blindside me in any way, I won’t work with you. I don’t do BS and I don’t have time for it. I won’t give you lip service unless I really love you. Otherwise, expect the truth. Good or bad, it’s who I am and I hope I’m remembered that way. If you’ve gotten a text from me telling you that I love you, you’re in a selective few. I won’t give my pearls to pigs.

It’s interesting that I consider my love to be pearls, and worth something, when I often see myself as nothing. My love is all I have. My time is all I have. There is very little I bring to the table, otherwise. I can play a decent game of Phase 10 on occasion. What I have I give to you, my friends, and if this is the last time I write on the blog, I am prayerful you can see that I really tried to be Christlike, I just couldn’t figure it out. I’m prayerful this is the last time I question if I have value on this planet and if there is a future for me. I’m prayerful this is the last time I wonder why I cannot feel God’s love for me. I want so desperately for it to be evident that I am a different, better human than the last time…

I sit here in my backroom at the flower shop, a little bit anxious.  A lot bit anxious.  I can’t quite focus on any one project.  I drift back and forth from fresh to silk flower stems, organizing “stuff,” and doing deliveries.

The root of my anxiety lies in one very specific place.  I have the chance to sell the shop.  I’m going to take it.

A few months ago the shop’s listing expired.  I was denied disability for a second time and just felt that I had to put myself in the mental space of “I can” and decided that I would keep the shop and nourish it and watch it grow.

Out of nowhere, the opportunity to sell came up.  There is an appointment and documents are being drawn up and reviewed. This is legit.  So, I guess I’m frantically typing because I just need to let it out.  I am letting it out here verses on my FB feed because this whole post is so tender to my heart.

I finally feel like I am in my element with the shop.  I know where my leaks are and have a plan to fix a few of them.  I feel confident in how I design flowers, for the first time in my career of thirteen years.  I am so humbled at how much I have to learn and I am excited to learn it.  I have support from my family, friends, employees, and customers to continue living out the dream.

It is a blessing to have this gig.

Why would I give it up, right?

My body is tired.

As I type, I feel so sad and there are tears.

I am having fluctuating difficulties with my arms and legs due to Multiple Sclerosis.  It’s sometimes hard just to make one bouquet, much less a day’s work, or a holiday’s work.  I am learning to let my hired florist do her vibe and I am grateful for her efforts and for my work on not being a control freak.  It’s hard to let others do different than you and be okay with it.

A few weeks ago I had the most severe pain in my right leg – the day we chose to go shopping for the girls in the city.  I used my cane that day and I walked so slow.  It was scary.  It is hard to not wonder if this is permanent, if it is going to stop, if you will walk at all again tomorrow.

I am capturing every day as a “ticket.”  I get a 365 tickets a year, 28-31 a month, one a day.  A ticket to try.  I don’t want to waste my tickets.  What are they worth to me?

I can duplicate designed floral arrangements and make some of my own.  I know how flowers touch people’s lives.   I can start a flower shop anywhere on the planet with the skills I’ve learned.  Is that what I want and is that enough?  Is that what  I am called to do?

My favorite thing to craft above flowers is words.  I love to write.  I sense a shift in the trajectory my life to grip onto my gift of writing and leave my legacy in paragraphs instead of bouquets.  To really own what I can do with words, my perspective on life, and not fear the counter attack.

Man, it’s hard to walk away.

It’s such a mental battle.  I try to keep positive.  I am willing to admit that I am scared that I will let go of the shop and regret immensely what I had.  I was ready to do the whole “I can” thing and then the “this is for the best” of selling comes up because my health could deteriorate.

The unknown of how the next few weeks will play out is stealing my peace and I  am thankful to have a place to express my anxiousness.

She is clothed in strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future, right?


Here we are.  It is the year 2020. And, I just turned 40.

There is something to be said for aging, growing, and living in our world.  I drove today.  Slow.  I drove and drove.  I went past Baker and into mountains I’d never seen and got lost on a muddy snow covered road in the middle of nowhere Oregon.  I saw a beautiful display in the clouds with God shouting “Behold!  I AM!”  I prayed and listened for Him and even turned off the radio just to be sure I didn’t miss Him.

I don’t think I found what I was looking for in those slow rolling hills today,  but I love the freedom of driving.  One thing I can control and stop and go and be slow or be fast and it is my time.  I realized today, I have always been a driver.  Since I was seven I’ve been driving.  I learned how to drive in an old Ford truck, stick shift.  My sister patiently taught me on some of the ventures we had getting to feed our 4-H pigs when we were younger.  I drove and loved it. I almost rolled that little Ford in the feedlot a time, or two, and once I launched my Subaru straight over a railroad tie.  I remember stopping and realizing my door wouldn’t open because I was landed perfect in the center of the that square log.  Nothing revving the engine and a little smirk on my face to leap the back-end of the car the rest of the way over the block.  There was a dent.  I didn’t tell my parents for several years, at least.

When I was in high school driving became my escape and my ticket out of the house.  I joined in a gym in Ontario just to drive, I think.  I drove many times back and forth to Pullman, Washington and Lewiston, Idaho when I was attending college at the University of Idaho in Moscow.  I used my fair share of tax dollars on I-84 from Boise to Mountain Home when I lived that way.  In Idaho, in my town now, I go all over.  A few favorite places by the Snake River.

TodayI drove and drove and I wondered what it was about driving that I have always found release in.  I think it’s partly the control and partly the escape and partly keeping my hands and mind busy in places that the things that need to be thunk about can be thinked.  Or thought.  Or something.

Rarely, am I still anymore.  At peace. Rarely.  My mind torments me and my hands busy themselves with anxiety.  It is hard to walk away from the places my mind contemplates, focuses, analyzes, reprocesses, and then reconfigures…  eight thousand times a day.  It’s constant torture.  How could I have done different, better?  How will I do better?  What’s next?  What am I missing? What does this mean?  What is going on with my husband? Why am I not a good wife?  I am a terrible mother.  I can’t believe I still have breath..  from there, it’s just ugly.

It’s hard to share that I am this big ball of anxiousness most of the time.  I am just like my dad.  I can remember him methodically going over and over his plans – stacks of random notes and piles of paperwork- and literally walking in circles around his huge shop – walking around tractors, in and out of several large offices, in the parts show room and freight room.  Spitting in the floor dry and checking in  with each mechanic as he made his rounds.  Unable to make any decisions and without any real focus, but taking it all into consideration, for some important reason.  Tucking it away knowing exactly what to do with it later and talking and murmuring all the while walking  in more circles.  Back to the tractor.  Then, remembering what it is that needs to be focused on and headed back to paperwork.  I am just like my father.  Always something that needs to be focused on, how I need to do it, and trying to find anything to just ease the busyness of my mind.  That’s how I live.

Lately, I have been in a bit more pain.  I am definitely moving slower and have much less time in the day to get work done.  I got a virus earlier this month and the Ocrevus I take for the MS has a side effect of making one more susceptible to respiratory infections.  I had to take extra time off and still don’t feel I’ve recovered.  I lost a valuable employee and had to make sacrifices in my personal life to accommodate for the unexpected loss.  It’s hard to breathe some days.

It’s hard to get out of the car.  Mentally.  Physically.  More mentally. Just hard to face the days.  The people.

I don’t have many choices.  Knowing that on the human level, I have no real value or offering to society is hard.  If my husband didn’t allow me to live in his home, I would be homeless, I think?  It’s so bizarre to know I have no worth.  I never thought that would be me.  That I would amount to no dollars of value.  But, I mean, I have words.  Some say I’m a writer, but lack of focus and commitment and courage stand between me and writing anything more than an online blog that few will read.

I’ve wondered lately if the words I’ve written will have value after I’ve gone. I’ve wondered lately about taking the last breath of life.  Is it like a roller coaster?  That’s what I suspect.   The last inhale is that final gasp as you peek over the edge and WHOOSH!  You plunge over and lose that final exhalation in the dive!  Your stomach drops and you are empty for one very small moment.  The very next breath the afterlife seeps into your soul and you flow into your spiritual self.  That’s what I think happens, maybe.  Probably, it will be much like the skydiving exit.  I am sure I flipped over or sumpthing really clumsy, floppy, and a what looked like a minor seizure when I lept out of that plane, but who knows.  The videos were ridiculously expensive.  For just a little bit, though, when you first dive, you and the instructor attached to you…  you lose yourselves in the whirl of the escape and it takes a few moments to recalibrate where you are in relation to the earth.  Imagine recalibratin’ from the last breath of life to heaven?

I don’t have very many guesses on what heaven looks like.  I think it feels like moving on a hover board or something?  I think there is delicious food there.   And, in my faith, Jesus and his followers will be there.  The next part I think about when I think on heaven is hard for me to talk about.

I have struggled with the evaluation portion of heaven.  I would much prefer to skip over my human life negatives and just get to eternity.  However, it is scriptural that there is some sort of discussion with you and God about the things in your history.  Let me tell you, a few months ago, I would not have been able to even share that much about this scripture because it freaks me the freak out!  The reason I am willing share is because I noticed growth in myself from where I was and where I am and it is wrapped up in this concept.

There is nothing inside of me that could convince me that meeting God, after my last breath, to discuss my sins, would be a positive experience when I was first chewing on the idea.  I was fighting it and insisting our sins were forgotten and there would be no pain and tears in heaven.  I literally cried.  How could heaven possibly be a place with eternal negative marks flowing above your head?  How could God greet us after we make this long journey there and then totally get into how we messed up?  I was so angry and upset one of my friends cautioned me on my tone with God.  It felt like a bait and switch.  It didn’t seem right, like God’s heart, and it scared the snot out of me.  Why would the Father bring us there just to tell us how bad we did?  What will that benefit?  Why?

I don’t do well with confrontation.  Especially with men.  Especially when it’s about how bad I was at life.  Will God yell?  How angry is he exactly?    Will there be dishes flying?  Will there be punching walls or kicking objects?  Will the phones be pulled out of the walls?  What other appliances will be available to be thrown?  Will names be called?  Will food be thrown?  Will he be violent?  Will he be angry?  How is this heaven?

I have wrestled with this idea a lot.  Hoping, honestly, to talk myself out of this situation.  I cannot explain it, but I am choosing to trust the heart of God.  The heart of God would not put me in a bad position.  I am choosing to trust that even though I have experienced the wrath of man on this earth for not being good enough, God is somehow going to make this talk not feel awful for eternity.  I do not know how it is possible, but I am praying for this miracle.  That, to me, is progress – just being willing to see a different way than what I know.

I cannot explain it, but I have the desire to share how I am damaged so others can be helped.  So, they can figure out how to help us.  “Us” being all of the messed up losers who don’t fit in, who get cut out, who will never have abs or make any money, who will never be invited to the popular/pretty/rich girl club.  For those who get the mic taken away from you and the opportunity to be someone more than you are just seems to always evade you.  For those who are at the mercy of medications and Jesus just to be.  For those who aren’t enough as they are.  I want all of us to get help.

I want help to know how to make me feel safe in a world designed to make me feel awful about myself because I choose not to dress half naked, I don’t dress in the right clothes, don’t have big enough boobs or the bling on the finger,  I have too big of an ass and gut, am not perfectly toned, much less regular toned, and don’t have all the social media glamour and friends and likes and the Instagram following.  There is no degree behind my name.  No post-graduate studies, or initials, for that matter.

I do have a childhood history thick in domestic violence.  There were countless small traumatic events, a few very severe episodes, and just a constant psychological battle – silent treatment to forcing debates to pure manipulation and being put down for not being quite enough.  Never free.  Until I was kicked out.  To be rejected and thrown out at the end of all of it, is a mind bend.  I was later rejected as an adult woman, as well,  and I’ve not recovered.  In fact, it’s slowly torn me down.

I recently went to look at a wonderful old farmhouse that was for sale.  The carpets creaked and I was surprised to feel comforted and even commented to the realtor.  I later realized I like the creaks in floor because they tell you where the abuser could be.  It lets you know where in the house they are and how much time you have to be busy, find cover, escape.  You know where the battle will go down, when it will go down, by every creak – each uniquely identifiable down the long trailer house.

Alcoholism and unknown issues with mental health led to super intensive scenes in that double wide.  They damaged me, my sister, my mother, and father.  We are all almost completely broken people at this point in time.  The lot of us.  My childhood broke all of us. And, I am very sad and also empty right now.

And, here I am just get thicker skin, Dana, just get over you and your pain, just let everyone else live their life, get your stuff together…  welcome to 2020.

Sunday at 5:30

Sunday at 5:30pm we all start gathering toward the dinner table.  Sunday at 5:30 we have our own little church at home, family meal, and group activity.  Sunday at 5:30, we stop what is going on in our world, and draw our attention to God.

It wasn’t always like this.  We weren’t always awkwardly singing in our living room to the lyrics of worship music on screen from the YouTube station.  It might not always be like this.  But, for right now, Sunday at 5:30 is important and sacred.

My husband, Toby, and I will take turns leading a Bible lesson.  We try to make it relevant to all three kids, aged 15, 12, and 7.  It’s not always easy.  We get silly.  We act out scenes from the stories we read.  We let the kids read and hear sweet pronunciations we adore and can never change; the city of Babylon will always be read “Baby lion” per our seven-year-old’s enunciation.  We gazed at the girls with big eyes to stifle laughs so he would keep reading.  Toby and I both smiling, bigger on the inside.  Around the table, reading together, learning together, discussing together, trying to find relevance and application together.

Together, we are teaching our kids that worship and church can happen wherever you are.  We are trying to emphasize the connection we have with humanity on a spiritual level and how the love of God is the key to trekking through this complicated gift of life.

The first lessons we shared with our children were how to handle disappointment and the knowledge that life is hard.  We shared how God wants us to respond to discouraging parts of life with examples in scripture.  It was revealing to me and changed me, in trying to teach them.  We get stronger by leading them.  We’ve talked about Jacob, Moses, and Jonah.  We’ve studied David and Goliath and had an amazing two-week lesson on the story including an actual slingshot competition in the backyard.  I think Toby won.

The kids came back to compete a few weeks later.  A family nerf war of parents VS kids ended with a dramatic, and very sneaky shot, right to Toby’s butt!  Tripp was so thrilled, “I feel so victorious!”  His arms were both in the air as he ran through the obstacle course of furniture and blankets we had set up in the house.  We all laughed.

We’ve baked cookies.  Played lots of games.  Read scripture together.  Memorized verses.    We started the Book of Daniel last week.  Last night we had a taco night.

Before dinner, we sprayed some old canvases with various colors of spray paints.  We then made connection points for hands – each of us would paint a snowman that resembled ourselves and the hands of the snowmen would connect our family together in the end.

These will be a treasure for years to come.  We had the old canvas from old stock at the shop.  The acrylic paint and glitter were on hand in our craft box.  I did buy some new brushes, make sure to get smaller ones, we didn’t have enough detail brushes.  We used a blow dryer to speed up the drying so we could add personalization to our snow people.

Mine has a sunflower, of course, and a bit of glitter.  I am holding a heart that connects to Toby’s.  Toby made his snowman have a jiu-jitsu belt, muscles on his stick arms, and big blue eyes.  Tatem is smiling and has a sparkly yellow hat and paw print buttons to show her love for animals.  She is handing her daddy a star.  I have Tripp on the other side of me.  He is a police officer, obviously, as you can see the “PD” on his badge.  We clearly didn’t discuss brush size with Tripp!  His nose went on quicker than any of us could say anything and it is perfect!  In case you can’t distinguish it, he also has a remote control because he likes video games.  Our Quincy had a bit of her own artwork to finish for a Monday deadline and we were also out of red paint for her brightly tinted real-life hair.  Hers is not yet finished but on display.  She made a snow-doggy-man to resemble our Olde English Bull Dog, Butch.  She is a perfectionist and I am not sure when she will complete here, but I am excited to add a finished photo.

I got some of the 3M command strips for a different project a few weeks ago at Walmart for like, $7.88, which I thought was ridiculous.  I was able to use them to quickly hang up the set under the window in Toby’s office, and I think the $7.88 might have been worth it.  The completion of a Sunday night project is worth it.

Sunday at 5:30 is worth it.  It is worth the time to prepare and study scripture and gather gear.  Sunday at 5:30 will change the trajectory of our journey and the quality of our relationships with God, the strength of our family and marriage, and growth of our children.  As we approach the winter holiday season, we pray the same love and connection poured out on you and yours as has been blessed upon us.

Pond Time

I sat down in the warm sun by Billy Creek. That’s Billy “Crick” for me and some of the others around these parts. Not much of a crick at all and probably not on a map.

Nonetheless, just as important as some of those bigger ones that might make it on local fishing maps. At least, to me.

The creek was manmade. An actual port of entry for the water-flow into the community pond. Water pushes itself through a line drilled in the cube’ish shaped rock. It’s taller than a bale of hay, but not as long. And maybe a little more octagonally. You get it.

Water pulses out of the small boulder enough to create a 6″ x 6″ resemblance to old faithful. The water clothes itself over the rock and drapes around it like a perfectly fit table cloth. The drops trickle to the ground in little, rhythmic thumps, big and small.

From there, carefully placed river rock line a curvy creek that slowly flow down a delicate straight slope, just about 40 yards, below a a small walking bridge, and into the Weiser Community Pond.

The pond is wonky shaped, and thoughtfully manicured in natural attire. Dark green shiny benches and practical charred barbecues are placed throughout the reeds of cattails and dried grasses.

There are several little pieces of this pond that I love, most wrapped up in memories of fishing or exploring with family. But, today I just want to sit by Billy Creek.

The sun shines hot on my red hoodie. To say it’s too hot, for me, is extraordinary. I run relatively cold. Something about turning 40, changes the temperature of your body. Right? Surely that’s it. Am I in menopause? This can’t be menopause.

The hoodie comes off.

As I stand I notice the squatting pine tree on the other side of the creek. It’s less than twenty feet away, but I look at it brand new. Long fingerlike branches with forest green needles about the length of my own fingers. Branches curving upward, almost in a dramatic pose of worship. Sunlight glistening. Miniature Old Faithful flowing behind me.

I remember I have to go back to work and collect my stuff.

The foam handled cane does not help de-emphasize the aging process I have noticed. Things are definitely slowing down and there is that sense of “What is my life legacy and what do I want to do?”, as I realize the clock has ticked away a good portion of my timeline and my health has been discouraging.

I pause once more at the rustic Billy Creek sign and reluctantly strap my purse over my shoulder. I breathe. Take the next step. And keep going.


For the first time in a long time, I feel ashamed, small, and meek because of my God.  That is as far opposite as a Christian is supposed to feel, much less admit and testify to.  We’re only supposed to highlight the good and trust in the best, when really we feel completely abandoned and embarrassed that our God wasn’t as powerful as we thought.  I know it sounds awful.  Try having it in your heart and come from your head.  I am the worst disciple on the planet.  Try hearing it over and over when you really just wanted to believe you did have faith in the one true God.  Everything comes into question.

I recently jumped out of a plane.  I seriously got my mind around the concept of skydiving.  My anxious, control-freak self was able to get my brain beyond the roadblock of fear some might face when jumping out of a plane at 18,000 feet.  I am an “extreme athlete” now.  Sort of a big deal.  Ha.  It’s a peculiar thing, this skydiving.  My biggest take-away, beyond the physical nature of falling through sky, was how powerful my mind can be.  If I can do this one thing, I can do lots of other things.  Right?  In reality, though, this is it!  There are not lots of other things I am going to do or will get to do, no matter how well trained my brain is.

Behind the scenes of my husband’s fortieth and launching myself from the clouds, I had some blood work done for a pretty rare, seemingly unlikely disease.  I had tested positive for it once before, and it was the last real feasible suggestion we had at why I was struggling so much with my legs and pain right now.  We definitely noticed a decline in my walking starting in October 2018.  It was originally treated as sciatica without relief.  10 months into it, I am pulling my cane out on long walking trips, and learning which drugs help the most when the spasms and stiffness kick in like mad.  I am getting better at dealing with it, but it still sucks and is progressing to include both legs and bigger spasms.

Long story short, this last test was negative.  I knew it was a double-edged sword, this last lab…  if it was positive, it would offer the chance at a new hope, even though it would come with a crappy diagnosis.  Of course I don’t want the disease, I just wanted a chance at feeling better.  The first appointment at my new neurologist, last August or so, she told me I had a “mild” case of MS.  She told me this spring that my leg and walking problems aren’t presenting the way they should for MS. I just can’t see myself going back to her begging her to see someone who is more than just “mildly” ill with dramatic leg pain she doesn’t get.  Why does that have to be a battle?

I didn’t medicate with any of my pregnancies.  They wanted to send me home when I came in with my first because I wasn’t scrunching my forehead enough during contractions; I wasn’t expressing enough pain to indicate labor.  They found out, real quick, when we came back that I wasn’t messing around.

I wish it was easy to tell the doctors you don’t feel good and actually get help.  There was one moment I had, in the long history of trying to figure out what is wrong with me  – remember, I was told I was crazy on my 23rd Birthday by Idaho’s self-proclaimed “lead MS doctor” (insert vomit face here), and I wasn’t diagnosed with MS until I was 34.  I was helped at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona.  That is not the point. The point is, there was this one resident, a young gal, and she was doing her exam of me and we talked about where I was mentally.

At that time a pastor in our town had been diagnosed with a throat cancer of some type.  He had two possible outcomes: he would go to heaven or he would live.  I told this doctor that he had better options than I did.  She said, “Are you saying it would be better for you to die?”  I answered, “It would be better for me to die, than to continue suffering the way I have had to.”  She took me real serious.  She went out of her way to get a spinal tap done and that test was the one test that was positive enough that I would get help.

“Help” was hopeful in the beginning.  There were options.  But, now without as many of those options, and the steady pain in my body, the help available to me is no longer enough.  The hope fades fast.

The realization that God doesn’t have a plan for me to prosper or to be healthy are hard.  The realization that God is okay with the pain I’ve had and the pain that will come is hard.  He is all powerful and could stop it, but found someone like me, who deserves it…  and that just makes lots of tears.

Today, all I have to offer God is a pretty broken heart.  I am the worst possible poster child for a “be all you can be” Christian message of any sort.  Today all I have are a lot of tears as I look forward to the future.  There is a very small way for me to keep my shop, but I am not going to be able to keep up physically doing the work I enjoy.  It is humbling to know that this is the plan God has for me.  It feels incredibly difficult to get my brain around all the painful days left in my life without even the hem of his garment to dry my eyes.




The truth hurts, but the cooler looks good.

I recently found myself in a situation where I responded to life in a pretty ugly way.  I didn’t want to come back and explore this, but I know I have to.  Humility.  It’ll cold cock ya.

So, especially this year, but maybe the last six months to be sure, I have been working on attitude, positivity, Christlike living and poof!  Out of nowhere a wrench is thrown into my system and pangs me right where a super ugly piece of my heart is revealed.

I saw in my response someone who relied on the approval of others to be complete.  I saw someone who confused what it was to be liked and to be loved and to be valued.  I saw someone caught up in earthly worth.  I was so embarrassed with myself.

The matter at hand I’m talking about involves the pressures of small town living, business’ing, and social media.  I missed an opportunity that somebody else took, and totally nailed.  As a business person, I felt I had failed.  In these moments, it was also revealed that there was more that I had missed in the background.  Another florist popped up with roots in valley.  Their business is shared on social media and in these tender moments of scrolling through images, I also realized I had lost customers.  It is as painful to me today as it was the day I had discovered it.  It felt like I wasn’t good enough.  I couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t look myself in the mirror.

This experience caused me to reflect inward, hard, and find out what was really making me tick.  There was so much pain.  Why is this hurting me?  Instead of running from the ugliness I tried to understand what caused it.  I felt so vulnerable.  Rooted in my DNA, part of my environmental childhood expectations, being liked has always been important to me.  Winning is extremely important.  Not being liked is hard.  It means not good enough.  It means bad.  It means losing.  Losing is my fault.

Winning likes and status in social media is something my children are very well aware of in their tender ages.  With social media, you can see who likes and who does not like your posts as an individual.  I have a lot of “acquaintances” on my Facebook page.  Some people who really dislike me in real life.  I have no clue why we are social media friends?  And, does this “friendship” have different rules than real life relationships? Although I have a few people I question, I am confident most people I am “friends” with support me as a human being.

In business, however, your view is different.  Your goal is to make a product people like, people want, and that people will value.  How do you respond when your product isn’t liked, isn’t wanted, isn’t valued?

Is not liking my craft reflective of how people feel about me?  How do you de-personalize the situation?  How do you unfold the virtual dislike with the physical?  In a small town, you are in close proximity to your competition, to your customers, to your friends, and to your un-friends.  Not being liked on Facebook feels the same as the people who see me in town but look away or only respond to me if I smile or wave, first.  They don’t like me.  They have enough energy to click like on any flowers that aren’t mine, but I am not even worth eye contact.  People who I feel look down on me.  People who really do not believe I am good enough.  How do you handle this as a human?

Ultimately, my God has to be my base.  He provides my work.  He provides my paycheck.  He provides my skill.  I do not have to be afraid that I will be abandoned by all my customers.  I do not have to feel humiliated that I didn’t do good enough.  I can love others who despise me with the love of Christ.

I am learning to accept that we are all extensions of God’s spirit.  We are all connected on a human level.  I have no reason to fear.  No reason to fear.

I’ve learned to keep a short list of whose opinions matter most to me.  God’s voice has to be first and He thinks I am pretty rad.  Instead of feeling threatened by competition, I am embracing that God uses all of us to express His beauty.  It is embarrassing to admit to having to go through these emotions and thoughts.  They feel childish and selfish, but they are true.  I feel constantly shaken down by my internal voice.  My internal monitor for self value relied so heavily on how the town around me responded to me.

Letting bits of Weiser go and realizing that I may not be all the people’s first choice florist in the valley was hard.  I thought it meant I sucked.  It’s taken a bit to realize that I have actually done more than just failed as a floral designer:  I’ve kept an itty bitty flower shop alive in a small town when flower shops everywhere are vanishing.  I’ve kept my doors open for twelve years, I’ve learned to process and design affordable flowers that my community can buy.  I work hard to keep a cooler full for walk-ins as well as monitoring specialty flowers for custom work.  I’ve kept multiple people employed with a reliable form of part-time work.  I’ve learned to sorta balance the areas of the floral industry – funeral, wedding, holidays, commercial, plants, gifts, and more.  I am not able to be the center of the downtown activities association, but I have been content with providing the best possible product I can with what I have for a town that holds a piece of my heart.

I sacrificed a big piece of my dignity to be liked earlier this year.  Liked by one person.  One person who is never going to like me!  I made a business commitment I wouldn’t have made if I had seen more on social media.  They don’t even like my product!  Here I am trying to win this person over and the whole time, and in “real life” I didn’t even have a chance.  I have to honor the pledge I made.  I feel so foolish.  I will keep my word when the time is right.  If I do not have my word, I have nothing.  It is the most important piece of me I can give.

I am also pushing myself to give more to the creativity and growth end of things at the business.  Designating the basics to my staff to save my energy for the blossoms and final product.  The pressure of having competition has spurred me to step up my game – educate myself, make thoughtful new choices, and branch out.  Creating a higher end arrangement while still maintaining an affordable product that is realistic to duplicate and resell in a small country town.

There are advantages to being aware of your competition.  Competition will always exist.  I realize, now, that I am not going to be everyone’s favorite and I am okay with being ordinary and consistent.  I am okay with people buying flowers from somebody else because we genuinely do have different styles, availability, affordability.  Loyalty, though?  There will be heaps of love for those who remained loyal.  It is the ones I wasn’t good enough for that get me sad.  Learning how to navigate through the unique world of social media, while also rubbing shoulders with the people who virtually don’t like you in the grocery store, is a pretty awkward storm to splash through, and I will get there.  If it weren’t a small town, it wouldn’t make a lick of difference.

In all circumstances, if my anchor isn’t buried in my identity in Christ, I will be shattered.  I will drown. He alone gives me value.  He gives me the strength to keep trying.  Believe me, I want to quit.  Where is the quitting place?  I’ve really asked myself this.  “If we choose to quit, where does one enroll in quitting?  Can I drive?  Shall I text me an uber?”

I know I can’t quit.  I know it’s not an option.  I’m not going to lie, though.  This past summer I have thrown up my hands a few times.  The eye of the storm isn’t easy but, it does make you a bit productive.  You learn to get rid of dead weight quick.  I am throwing off the shackles of pleasing people who I cannot please.  I know who my people are.  I know who my employer is.  I know what my mission is.  I know someday this will all be a little mist on an otherwise extraordinary eternity.

In this vapor, it has been a tremendous gift to be used in a unique way of illustrating God’s beauty on the canvas that is little town Idaho.


Maybe it’s all this sunshine I’ve been getting. Maybe it’s just a season of life.  Maybe it’s actual change.  That’d be the best!

We were recently told that we were not accepted to see anyone at the Lucinda Bateman clinic in Utah.  We were hoping that they could offer a supplemental diagnosis that could explain and treat the pain I am having, the walking issues, the leg and hip stiffness.  If the record reviewers don’t think they can offer you anymore help – diagnosis, prescription, or otherwise-they won’t even see you.

My MS diagnosis is a wonky one and it’s hard to explain and discuss.

I cried hard and big after I got the call that I was rejected.  The denial by the clinic took away a breath of hope I had.  Hope that life could be different and that maybe I wouldn’t have to change my life because of deteriorating health problems that could be treated.  The doctor here suggested the Mayo Clinic, again.

I need time to recover and think, so I have hesitated to consent.  I have been too busy living to want to deal with a lot of things that need to be dealt with.  I thought I would have time this summer to filter through everything and offer a more thoughtful real estate brochure for the sale of my flower shop and have a complete package to present the potential buyer.  Um… dude.

For starters, July was busier at the shop than I have had in the recent five years, if not, ever.  It is supposed to be the slow time, the time to rest and recover and explore the Northwest geocaching with my crew. We went out and did a few things, but were overwhelmed with business, otherwise.

The good ole Lord must be carrying me through this chaos, the normal Dana would be falling apart. Believe me, there are moments. But, I am not living there, somehow. I firmly believe this will be a chapter of my life that I look back and see one set of footprints.  God has to be involved in this.

In all honesty, I feel pretty crappy physically.  I feel like I am suffering minute by minute.  You never know what part of your body you will be dealing with today or next week.  Last week the right side of my neck and head hurt immensely.  Pain and burning I felt on the outside of my head.  Almost like a force, only from the inside out. I felt like a freak.  A hypochondriac, right?  It was so stupid sounding, I couldn’t even call the doctor to discuss.  Just tried to medicate it away.  It is hard.   Instead of a pillow, it feels like a 2×4 under your neck.  In addition to the normal stuff in my legs, arms, shoulders, and back.

This week I am having trouble with the left side of my neck.  Sitting down is miserable.  The aching and cramping kick in.  It’s either stay moving, stay medicated, or sleep.  And, severe leg pain wakes me up hourly throughout the night.  I can’t look up or at anything for a long period of time.  I am pretty sure my kidneys hurt from all the ibuprofen and tylenol and baclofen and caffeine.

I have devised a small plan of attack go forward.

I’ve reached out to my neurologist to have one last blood test ordered here at the local place.  It’s the last funky test that I’ve had.  If that is negative, then I really truly have some totally wackadoo presentation of MS.  If it is as positive as it was before, or greater, I know I am onto something and I will pursue the nation’s foremost authority on SPS at Johns Hopkins in Maryland.

In the meantime, delegation has become a new “area of growth” of mine. Passing on my tasks to both of my employees.  Trying to regularly give them more details to keep so I don’t have to. Going to start looking to hire someone to fill the cooler regularly and also fill in when I’m not able.  Freedom. I’ve really been enjoying the time I have at home and with my kids and family.  This is surprising and good to me. Doesn’t that sound awful? I think it’s because it’s been sitting around really *with* each other, playing a game, working on the yard together, and setting a different pace of life. My kids desperately need me to see them right now.

I’ve been learning to love people as they are, as Jesus would, not as they should be.  It’s so liberating and brings so much joy. It is not as easy as it sounds. An amazing soul once told me that we all the ability to love perfectly. I thought he was asinine. It’s true. He was right. We love perfectly when we love as Christ.

I’ve been doing a lot of listening while I work.  Scripture, Brene Brown, music, John Piper.  My brain is literally aching at all the interweaving of relevant learning God implements into our lives as we seek Him, seek more, and desire to be the best versions of ourselves He created.

Learning about self talk, self worth, and continuing to present the best light I have forward no matter how hard the darkness tugs.  And does it tug.  Daily, hourly, always persistent to bring on shame, fear, guilt, worthlessness.

It is no coincidence that the combined lessons God culminated for me recently involve learning where my worth comes from, whose opinion really matters to me, and how to identify, combat, and diminish the pain in a healthier way.  Of course it will take me a bit to figure it all out.  I am learning to be okay with it being a slower process than I had hoped. I am learning to be okay with mistakes. Learning to look at myself with love, a tiny bit.

I am excited to pursue being the best human being I can be with the commission to endure a unique suffering in chronic illness, domestic violence, PTSD, depression, and anxiety.  Getting comfortable with writing my book, for reals!  Like, really putting a piece of me out there to be judged and examined and scoured.  It is terrifying and it needs to be done.  If I don’t allow the light of Christ to shine through my suffering, it would be for nothing.

There are hard days and hard moments when I forget my goal.  I take my eyes off the prize, completely consumed by all the busy-ness of life, the family, the shop, drama, problems, and overwhelming pressure to keep going despite physical pain.  It is these times I crumble big, take long breaks, and often rely on those who love me most to lift me back up.

I am thankful for the chance to share my story.  I am thankful for the opportunity to have a safe place to write, breathe, feel, and share just what I need. Exhale.





I have often, in my most vulnerable form, felt disgusted with and at myself.  In fact, my perception is that I have often disgusted others.  Mother, father, spouse, sister, children, and half of Weiser were probably disgusted with me at some point.  The mistakes I’ve made and continue to make.  Hypersensitivity, they say.  If being who I am and just not being enough for some folks, is hypersensitive, then, yes, that is what I have.  Especially in a small town, a small place.  You know.  It’s becoming more apparent to me – my wonky behavior and inability to handle situations of not winning, not being chosen, and feeling rejected.  Understanding why this pain hurts me so deep and why I do what I do in response.

I believe that it all goes back to repulsing my loved one out of my life.  Someone who was supposed to love me forever, but couldn’t.  Someone who caused me so much pain, but couldn’t love me.  It burned so deep, hard to breathe.  It sparked a spiral of flaming chaos in my already tender heart.

The realization that all relationships in my life are endable and that I am rejectable in my purest form was just too much to handle.  It carried over into the rest of my life.  Okay, that’s being modest.  The consequences of PTSD, years of emotional confusion, and finally the rejection by my parent, were a perfect landslide of chaos for my life.  I could no longer carry it all.  My 30’s were a disaster.

As I prepare to close the journey I have been on at the flower shop, in addition to entering my forties in several months, the song “Landslide” resonates with me.  I play it often while I’m working alone.  Tears trickle the counter and sprinkle broken stems and discarded petals.  I have been so afraid of change.  Totally built a life around a flower shop.  Here I am old and sick.  Albeit bolder.  Ready to step into who I am and what I can do with this chance.

The decision to sell the shop came at a time when I desperately wanted to continue to make it mine and improve it.  But, I knew with a few months of physical therapy there was no coming back.  I was plateaued, for now, in a situation, where owning and working at the store is just too much for me.  It is humbling.  I never thought it would end this way.  This soon.

With MS and whatever else is causing my leg and walking problems, my shoulders, neck, and arms, to be too tired, my hitting a wall of fatigue with a few hours of work…  It’s not compatible with all that needs to be done.  I am not enough right now and that makes me very sad.

We are presently trying to get in with Dr. Linda Bateman in Utah to see if an additional test or diagnosis other than Multiple Sclerosis might be helpful with my treatment.  What are we missing, Lord?  I expect to find out, anytime, if they think they can help me at the Utah clinic.  They won’t see you if they don’t think they can offer anything beneficial.  I have to hope, right?  I can’t live like this forever.

My hip issue is resolving tremendously.  I believe there was inflammation in the joint, probably caused by spasticity, that caused bursitis.  This is my theory, alone, after my own research.  Treating that inflammation has not completely healed the hip, but has helped 50%.  My walking is much less painful.  I still have an almost always there pain, specifically in the back of both my legs.  It’s aching and has been there for over ten years.  Last November, the right leg became dramatically worse with cramps and stiffness, but now the left is starting in.  Is this progression?  Anywhere from a light cramp, to the feeling of meat being torn off the bone. Down my shin, inner thigh, the outside of the thigh is the worst…  My knee has super rad fasciculations, like, right on the side of my knee cap.    There are nights when stabbing my leg would feel better than the pain I am in.  I think the Neurontin has helped a bit with some of the general leg pain, but I am not satisfied with the issue being resolved in any way.  There is mild to severe cramping and pain in the leg whenever I am sitting for a few minutes, standing for a few minutes, or laying down in one position for too long.  I can no longer bend the leg at night because it will spasm until I get it straight.  Even then, Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Baclofen, Neurontin, Requip, repeat…  my days are a constant cycle of medicating just to get around.  Waking up in pain most nights.  I am half the person I used to be – if that.

I. Am. Grieving.

Transitioning to a different life and letting God take over is pretty wild.  I laugh as I think I really have no idea what could happen.  My goal is to make it to August 31 with the shop.  A perfect florist’s dozen of twelve years ownership!  If I don’t get any bites, we will transition to an at home work environment for me.

I am trying to add as much as I can to the shop to get her dolled up and attractive to a buyer.  I am making daily strides to make little things better.  I am keeping busy.  I am trying to keep moving forward, even though I feel defeated.  It is hard.

I look forward to the day when I see what God was doing and understand His plan.  He wouldn’t allow the pain if there isn’t something phenomenal He could do with it.  He is the only One who will never be disgusted by me.  He is the only one who thinks I have value when I feel deeply sad by the people in my own world who don’t.