Posts

Finding Joy on Your Birthday: A guest post from Lisa's mom

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This is my first guest post on RL4B, and it's from one of my favorite people - my mom! My practice of relentlessly looking for beauty was inspired by my faith, a well-timed sermon, and my life experience with serious health issues. If these were the nutrients that helped cultivate and grow my practice, the seed for joy and beauty was planted by my mom. You can see this in our shared views about birthdays and in the ways we remember and tell happy stories about our past .  My mom, Peggy Kelley, is best known as a writer for her poetry, especially legacy and memorial poems. Her storytelling is fun and insightful, often prompting both laughter and reflection. She lives near Bozeman, Montana (ten minutes from my house!) with her husband of 54 years. They are neighbors with their daughter, Kara, son-in-law, and three grandchildren. ~ ~ ~ This month I reached the age of 72.  I know, I’m old.  And birthdays should not be important to me at my age other than being glad I’m still having th

Waiting for Hope in the Hardship: Beauty is there with you

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Wildfire season started early this year. Usually we can count on camping through June, July, and the first week or two of August before the smoke clogs the skies and sinks the air quality. But in late June, the smelly, amber haze had rolled in for the summer. Suddenly, my plans for outdoor adventures and mountain retreats were spoiled . It’s not a good idea to camp in the forests right now, and due to my health issues, it’s not safe for me to be out in the smoke. So on the heels of feeling released from quaratine after my Covid vaccine, I’m back home.  Now, my husband and I watch the official reports of air quality ratings as they flucuate between yellow, orange, and red then try to make plans accordingly.  Last weekend we wanted to take a drive on an old logging road, one we hadn’t yet explored. We made tentative plans for Sunday, hoping the air would be clear enough. But when we checked the air quality that morning, it was well into the Orange Level, unhealthy for sensitive groups. I

When Beauty Gets Brighter: Finding perspective and feeling grateful

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If you’ve been reading my blog the last six months, you know that I’ve been through a challenging roller coaster of health issues. Just six weeks ago, I wondered if my sick-feeling state of being would be permanent. I was running low on Hope.  I felt distant from God’s life-giving energy.  Beauty was dimmed .   Just as I was preparing to realign my expectations of healing, my health improved enough to make some larger treatment adjustments, and a month later, my story is different. I’m starting to feel better!   When I was sick, one of the things I worried about was that I would never again have a summer of riding and camping like I’d had before. I grieved the potential loss, and fear pulled me into a pit of sadness and solitude. While there may have been other paths around this pit, they were closed off for me. I was compelled to crawl in. It sure made it more difficult to see beauty f rom the bottom of this hole where my fears were magnified and echoed. When I finally was able to cli

A Fresh Start: Rehab therapy for your soul

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I didn’t post anything in May. Although it broke my schedule and intentions, I don’t have the energy to worry about it or feel guilty over it like I would have in the past. Plus, May was a month full of lamentations, and there’s only so much complaining and explaining that I have the capacity to write and my audience has the desire to read. Beauty was, and remains, in short supply. But it’s still there, and I still want to tell you about it. Maybe even more now than before. As I navigate my health challenges and look for signs of healing, I’m granting myself the grace to name the simple beauty around me and have that be enough. I’m holding off on anything that’s too complex or deep or metaphorical. I will focus on noticing the one thing that made me smile or warmed my heart each day. I’m only asking myself to see the largest Doorways right now. It means shorter posts, but I’m giving myself permission for that, too. Call it baby steps or re-training with the goal of starting fresh and

Beauty on the Bad Days: What to do when the bad days return

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Four weeks ago, when anyone asked how I was doing, I would respond, “I think I’m on the upswing!” I know now that another down-swing was coming sooner than expected. It’s interesting that I chose that language, but I’ve always envisioned my health as a moving, cyclical, and repetitive entity. Images of pendulums and roller coasters have filled my mind as I sought to make sense of my ever-changing onset of symptoms. I’ve written vaguely about my health over the last several months, but you may not know that I’ve been dealing with severe issues since the beginning of the year that include feeling drowsy, dizzy, lightheaded, nauseous, and short of breath. I’ve been to the emergency department twice and had multiple teleheath appointments with multiple doctors in an attempt to figure out what’s wrong and how to treat it.  I made changes to my medications and reviewed blood tests, and I got better. Then a month later my symptoms returned, and I got worse. After a promising visit with my sle

Beauty in the Spam Folder: How paying attention to my inbox led to a moment of advocacy

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Last week I was scrolling through my inbox. I hadn’t checked it for a few days because it’s an email address that tends to get a lot of spam. Somehow, I got on a list to receive action alerts from a state-wide advocacy group. I didn't recognize the name of the organization, but the issues they’ve promoted align with my values, so I haven’t unsubscribed yet. I usually just delete the emails. But one message in particular caught my eye. “Contact the Senate committee today to support proposed changes in disability parking laws!” Since I use a wheelchair and have first-hand experience with parking challenges, I clicked on the link, thinking I would just fill out and send the provided email template. I’d done this before for other organizations and causes, and it was easy. This level of involvement was within my comfort zone. However, listed under the email option was information about giving live testimony to the committee via Zoom. I was intrigued, so I found the full text of the Hous

Vaccinated! Gratitude for humanity's strength

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Two days ago, I received my first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine!  As someone with a severe underlying health condition, I was invited to sign up for a clinic administered by my local County Health Department. Last week the county sent out a website link that would go live at noon on Friday. I was wary because I had tried a similar sign-up the week before, and before I had finished filling out the online form, the clinic had filled up. It took less than six minutes.  I was discouraged and frustrated.   My doctors couldn't do anything to help me since the county was in charge of distribution. However, my friends encouraged me to try again, reassuring me that I could get in. This time when the link went live, my hands were shaking as I typed furiously. I used my computer rather than my phone so I could click through the questionnare faster. It felt like I was trying to buy concert tickets before the event sold out. But the stakes were higher. When I finally reached the scheduling page,