Saturday, October 12, 2013


Do you have a mother?
Do you have a mother that you love?
Call her.
Call her a couple of times a week.
Send her a card.
Heck, set up a schedule, have the cards in hand,
and make it simple for you.
Just. do. it.
Love her and let her know that you do.
Bless her with the things she loves.
mom with my niece, Carly, and my sister, Joan

Do you live close to your mom?
Lunch out.
Take her chocolates (please, not generic).
Go spend the afternoon with her and play cards.
Take her out to her favorite restaurant.
Do it all and more.
The time you spend with her will not only bless
her, but it will also bless you.

She's going to die someday.


And, I think that there is nothing more dear
than knowing that when she does, she will be going to heaven.
To have her come to love Jesus if she doesn't already.
I want to leave you with one last thought.
My mom died one year ago today.
I loved her dearly.
I miss her so badly.
Every day.
mom's 80th birthday trip....sitting with the Tank

But, I am at peace knowing that I did all I could all of my adult years,
especially the last year of her life,
so that there was never any doubt that she knew i adored her.
That I loved her.

I have a mother that I love.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

THE SPOON STORY by Christine Miserandino

  We all know people who have life long illness(es), mine happen to be rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, I've lost most of my hair and have constant mouth ulcers from a disease I can't remember the name, I've got the worst feet my doc has ever seen in which I have broken all of the metatarsal in my right foot, haven't walked much in 7 years and now walk in these horrid boots; but I'm walking, and there's a bit more, but this is sufficient. I hope this will help you understand what your loved one is feeling or give you a good example to show those around you what you go through on a daily basis if this sounds like you. 
Thank you for letting me share.

The Spoon Theory
by Christine Miserandino

My best friend and I were in the diner, talking. As usual, it was very late and we were eating French fries with gravy. Like normal girls our age, we spent a lot of time in the diner while in college, and most of the time we spent talking about boys, music or trivial things, that seemed very important at the time. We never got serious about anything in particular and spent most of our time laughing.
As I went to take some of my medicine with a snack as I usually did, she watched me with an awkward kind of stare, instead of continuing the conversation. She then asked me out of the blue what it felt like to have Lupus and be sick. I was shocked not only because she asked the random question, but also because I assumed she knew all there was to know about Lupus. She came to doctors with me, she saw me walk with a cane, and throw up in the bathroom. She had seen me cry in pain, what else was there to know?
I started to ramble on about pills, and aches and pains, but she kept pursuing, and didn't seem satisfied with my answers. I was a little surprised as being my roommate in college and friend for years; I thought she already knew the medical definition of Lupus. Then she looked at me with a face every sick person knows well, the face of pure curiosity about something no one healthy can truly understand. She asked what it felt like, not physically, but what it felt like to be me, to be sick.
As I tried to gain my composure, I glanced around the table for help or guidance, or at least stall for time to think. I was trying to find the right words. How do I answer a question I never was able to answer for myself? How do I explain every detail of every day being effected, and give the emotions a sick person goes through with clarity. I could have given up, cracked a joke like I usually do, and changed the subject, but I remember thinking if I don’t try to explain this, how could I ever expect her to understand. If I can’t explain this to my best friend, how could I explain my world to anyone else? I had to at least try.
At that moment, the spoon theory was born. I quickly grabbed every spoon on the table; hell I grabbed spoons off of the other tables. I looked at her in the eyes and said “Here you go, you have Lupus”. She looked at me slightly confused, as anyone would when they are being handed a bouquet of spoons. The cold metal spoons clanked in my hands, as I grouped them together and shoved them into her hands.
I explained that the difference in being sick and being healthy is having to make choices or to consciously think about things when the rest of the world doesn’t have to. The healthy have the luxury of a life without choices, a gift most people take for granted.
Most people start the day with unlimited amount of possibilities, and energy to do whatever they desire, especially young people. For the most part, they do not need to worry about the effects of their actions. So for my explanation, I used spoons to convey this point. I wanted something for her to actually hold, for me to then take away, since most people who get sick feel a “loss” of a life they once knew. If I was in control of taking away the spoons, then she would know what it feels like to have someone or something else, in this case Lupus, being in control.
She grabbed the spoons with excitement. She didn’t understand what I was doing, but she is always up for a good time, so I guess she thought I was cracking a joke of some kind like I usually do when talking about touchy topics. Little did she know how serious I would become?
I asked her to count her spoons. She asked why, and I explained that when you are healthy you expect to have a never- ending supply of "spoons". But when you have to now plan your day, you need to know exactly how many “spoons” you are starting with. It doesn’t guarantee that you might not lose some along the way, but at least it helps to know where you are starting. She counted out 12 spoons. She laughed and said she wanted more. I said no, and I knew right away that this little game would work, when she looked disappointed, and we hadn't even started yet. I’ve wanted more "spoons" for years and haven’t found a way yet to get more, why should she? I also told her to always be conscious of how many she had, and not to drop them because she can never forget she has Lupus.I asked her to list off the tasks of her day, including the most simple. As, she rattled off daily chores, or just fun things to do; I explained how each one would cost her a spoon. When she jumped right into getting ready for work as her first task of the morning, I cut her off and took away a spoon. I practically jumped down her throat. I said " No! You don’t just get up. You have to crack open your eyes, and then realize you are late. You didn’t sleep well the night before. You have to crawl out of bed, and then you have to make your self something to eat before you can do anything else, because if you don’t, you can't take your medicine, and if you don’t take your medicine you might as well give up all your spoons for today and tomorrow too." I quickly took away a spoon and she realized she hasn’t even gotten dressed yet. Showering cost her spoon, just for washing her hair and shaving her legs. Reaching high and low that early in the morning could actually cost more than one spoon, but I figured I would give her a break; I didn’t want to scare her right away. Getting dressed was worth another spoon. I stopped her and broke down every task to show her how every little detail needs to be thought about. You cannot simply just throw clothes on when you are sick. I explained that I have to see what clothes I can physically put on, if my hands hurt that day buttons are out of the question. If I have bruises that day, I need to wear long sleeves, and if I have a fever I need a sweater to stay warm and so on. If my hair is falling out I need to spend more time to look presentable, and then you need to factor in another 5 minutes for feeling badly that it took you 2 hours to do all this.
I think she was starting to understand when she theoretically didn’t even get to work, and she was left with 6 spoons. I then explained to her that she needed to choose the rest of her day wisely, since when your “spoons” are gone, they are gone. Sometimes you can borrow against tomorrow’s "spoons", but just think how hard tomorrow will be with less "spoons". I also needed to explain that a person who is sick always lives with the looming thought that tomorrow may be the day that a cold comes, or an infection, or any number of things that could be very dangerous. So you do not want to run low on "spoons", because you never know when you truly will need them. I didn’t want to depress her, but I needed to be realistic, and unfortunately being prepared for the worst is part of a real day for me.
We went through the rest of the day, and she slowly learned that skipping lunch would cost her a spoon, as well as standing on a train, or even typing at her computer too long. She was forced to make choices and think about things differently. Hypothetically, she had to choose not to run errands, so that she could eat dinner that night.
When we got to the end of her pretend day, she said she was hungry. I summarized that she had to eat dinner but she only had one spoon left. If she cooked, she wouldn’t have enough energy to clean the pots. If she went out for dinner, she might be too tired to drive home safely. Then I also explained, that I didn’t even bother to add into this game, that she was so nauseous, that cooking was probably out of the question anyway. So she decided to make soup, it was easy. I then said it is only 7pm, you have the rest of the night but maybe end up with one spoon, so you can do something fun, or clean your apartment, or do chores, but you can’t do it all.
I rarely see her emotional, so when I saw her upset I knew maybe I was getting through to her. I didn’t want my friend to be upset, but at the same time I was happy to think finally maybe someone understood me a little bit. She had tears in her eyes and asked quietly “Christine, How do you do it? Do you really do this everyday?” I explained that some days were worse then others; some days I have more spoons then most. But I can never make it go away and I can’t forget about it, I always have to think about it. I handed her a spoon I had been holding in reserve. I said simply, “I have learned to live life with an extra spoon in my pocket, in reserve. You need to always be prepared”
Its hard, the hardest thing I ever had to learn is to slow down, and not do everything. I fight this to this day. I hate feeling left out, having to choose to stay home, or to not get things done that I want to. I wanted her to feel that frustration. I wanted her to understand, that everything everyone else does comes so easy, but for me it is one hundred little jobs in one. I need to think about the weather, my temperature that day, and the whole day's plans before I can attack any one given thing. When other people can simply do things, I have to attack it and make a plan like I am strategizing a war. It is in that lifestyle, the difference between being sick and healthy. It is the beautiful ability to not think and just do. I miss that freedom. I miss never having to count "spoons".
After we were emotional and talked about this for a little while longer, I sensed she was sad. Maybe she finally understood. Maybe she realized that she never could truly and honestly say she understands. But at least now she might not complain so much when I can't go out for dinner some nights, or when I never seem to make it to her house and she always has to drive to mine. I gave her a hug when we walked out of the diner. I had the one spoon in my hand and I said “Don’t worry. I see this as a blessing. I have been forced to think about everything I do. Do you know how many spoons people waste everyday? I don’t have room for wasted time, or wasted “spoons” and I chose to spend this time with you.”
Ever since this night, I have used the spoon theory to explain my life to many people. In fact, my family and friends refer to spoons all the time. It has been a code word for what I can and cannot do. Once people understand the spoon theory they seem to understand me better, but I also think they live their life a little differently too. I think it isn’t just good for understanding Lupus, but anyone dealing with any disability or illness. Hopefully, they don’t take so much for granted or their life in general. I give a piece of myself, in every sense of the word when I do anything. It has become an inside joke. I have become famous for saying to people jokingly that they should feel special when I spend time with them, because they have one of my "spoons".

this is a repost from

                                       The Spoon Story by Christine Miserandino

© 2003 by Christine Miserandino
Please note that this story is copyrighted.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


I'm standing at a podium in the middle of a small room and I introduce myself,
"Hi. My name is Jan and I suffer from IBS."

Did I expect a response?
From an empty room?
IBS is Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
It's not something one talks about let alone announce from a podium.
The choir loft?
In the line at the grocery store?
From the rooftops?
Over the P.A. system at Wal-Mart 
at the risk of  joining the photos of Wal-Mart shoppers?

IBS. A curse.
If you have a flare-up (flare)
you are chained to your bathroom.
If a flare comes at the wrong time 
you could miss your child's wedding,
your mom's memorial service,
your child's graduation from college,
the grand opening of a Dollar Store.

I had my first flare about five years ago.
That's a totally unacceptable experience when you're not at home.
My doctor put me on a hefty dose of a steroids
to get my flare under control.
.......And he kept me on it for.........five..........years,
assuring me that it was often done that way....long term.

He's a doctor, I believed him.
Slowly the skin on my arms became very thin
and they were easily bruised - blood bruises
like the elderly get on their arms.

It continued to get worse.

Oh, I called the doctor's office several times over those
five years and was reassured each time that
I hadn't been on the steroids too long.

It finally came to the point that I talked to my GP, whom
I trust implicitly, about three months ago.
She had me change doctors.
My new lower GI doctor is wonderful.
He weaned me off of the steroids in three days.
My arms started clearing up and 
the skin on my arms toughened up.

At this point you're no doubt wondering why 
in the world am I telling you all of this.

Slow day.

Seriously, there is such an important reason.
It seems that the steroids built up in my body and started
affecting my behavior.
I wasn't aware of it.
Obviously, it got worse as time went on.
.....I have found out that the last year, okay,
probably two, have not been my years to shine.

I owe you an apology if I have ever acted whacked
or talked to you with an unacceptable attitude.
Hey, it could be any of many behaviors - 
I don't remember them.

I think my lack of memory has been my saving grace
in some ways.

It certainly hasn't been in a couple of instances.
May I suggest to those of you that feel you need
to bring to the attention of someone
you love, their behavior or your thoughts
of their mental stability, to do it in a 
loving way so as not to 
make them feel you are on the attack.
Be Jesus when you talk to them.
Be gentle, careful with your words
and most of all, talk to them with the love
you feel for them in your heart.
And, don't wait. Please, don't wait if
you love them. That is only harmful.
What happened to me twice before I even
knew there was a problem was not handled in that way.
Both situations destroyed me.
One friendship ruined,
the other wobbly, to say the least, for 
many months now.

I found out specifics of my behavior 
over the last year or two
from my sister, Joan, in a loving and positive
way last week in Florida.
She was kind and, though made me cry
from extreme embarrassment when
she gave me examples of my behavior,
talked to me like only my sister could.

She started by telling me that she was
so happy that I was back to my "self".
I thought she was talking about my
arms so showed them off. 
But, no, she was telling me that she was
so glad that I was back to her "Jan".
I was honestly confused.
She explained that for the longest time
I hadn't been "me".

She even gave me examples that made
me want to crawl under the truck
(we were in my brother's pick-up).
Verbal attacks based on nothing, mood swings,
becoming a hermit, unquestionably whacked.

I did ask her why she waited so long to 
bring all of this up and she just didn't know......

I was so embarrassed.

I was mostly concerned that my boys
had been thinking that their mom was crazy.
No one else mattered as much.
No one.

When I talked to my eldest, he said that,
no, I had been fine for the last two years.
I had been so physically challenged.......
that's where I stopped him and steered him back
to my concerns.
That sweet boy forgave me for "nothing".
I shared and apologized to my daughter-in-law, too.
The steroids explained so much about
 the start of our relationship.
So glad to have an answer and her forgiveness.

(two down, two to go)

Even the Tank noticed my new behavior
without me having said anything.

The steroids took about six weeks to
work their way out of my body and
allow me to become myself again - to a point.
And, I feel the difference.
I'm full of the joy, the positive thoughts,
the anxiousness to "do",
and I'm happy. So joyful and happy.
I don't long to be the hermit I have become 
(let's take that one slowly - I don't do drama).
I'm me again.
I had seriously forgotten what it felt like
though I didn't realize that.
Confusing?? That's the real me, too.
However, I realize that it takes months for them
to completely work their way out of my system, 
but have been assured that any future "experiences"
will not be as horrid as the ones I've been
told about.

Again, if I have ever done anything odd or whacked
to you, please accept my apology.
This is the most effective way to get
"the word out".
If you feel the want/need to pass this
on to someone(s), please do.

I seek forgiveness.

P.S. Any comments? All and any are welcome. Anyone think this post could be any longer??

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Mom as a child. She's holding onto the
necklace around her neck.

As I begin to pen this chapter of my mom's life, 
I haven't even looked back to see where I had left off
in the telling of her story.

I've put off writing this last part of her story for months.
For a bit I didn't feel comfortable talking about it.
It was too fresh, too new, and too hard for me to wrap
myself around to write this last chapter.

Then I spent literally months trying to come up
with the right title for this post. 
It had to be the perfect title.
As you can see, I lost that battle.

Blogging moves on
(I heard that somewhere)
and I have some other stories I want to tell
but can't until I end this one.
(The Grow Your Blog doesn't count. 
Vicki's ** my friend),
and, oh, a couple of others.

Those of you that have been blessed to have
a great relationship with your mom know
what I'm feeling.
After I grew up my mom turned from "mom"
to "friend". 
We had a great relationship.
She was a beautiful woman and her kids were her life.

She passed on October 12, 2012
at the River Point Assisted Living Center
Kerrville, Texas,
after living with The Tank and me at the ranch
for 6 months.

She was my job for ten months.
Some really good, really funny,
and some very sad, 
heart crushing moments.
I would cry out to God at points in her care
because I couldn't stand the pain
of watching her become someone I didn't know.

Oh, God, it was so difficult.

But, it was a huge blessing, too.
I was with her the last months of her life
and that was a blessing.
I was at the care center for two months,
at least eight hours a day, doing what I could to
help my mom.

And then Hospice became involved.
"Why are you here?? 
She's going to be herself again after she gets some rest."
And, I firmly believed it.
Oh, they had seen it before, I knew that,
but this was different. This was my mom

It's amazing how our brain works
in that kind of situation.
You have to live it to understand.
And, the Hospice workers see
that kind of hope, that kind of desperation,
so many times.
In so many ways.

My mom passed and joined
Jesus on October 12, 2012.

She wouldn't come back even if I begged.
That gives me great comfort.
Mom and Frank, my Tank
South Haven, Michigan,
a celebration of mom's 80th birthday


Thank you so much
for reading all of the
writings about my sweet mother.

I appreciate you so much,

leave a comment??

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Hi, y'all! I am way behind in taking part in 
Vicki's amazing blog party and I apologize. 
Life has been full.

But, I'm here now, with my giveaway and ready to tell you about me and blogging.

Jan Vermillion Thomason of
the Polka Dot Barn
and the blog,

I started blogging several years ago thinking that I would use it as my personal diary. 
And, I have used it that way.
I don't get every event covered
(I've been known to go weeks.......   without hittin' the blog)
but when something funny, fabulous or rusty passes by me
I have to blog about it.

I let you see me at my worst,
I will entertain you with humorous stories,
I will show you amazing junk and antiques
(some I buy, some I simply photograph).

All the while hoping that you accept me,
and that you come to love me as I share my life with you.

I love Jesus Christ.
I adore my husband and three grown boys;
hoping that my sweet boys will always need
their mom.
I adore my brothers and sister.
Nieces, nephews, sister in laws, cousins, 
my dad and Ursula, 
all very important to me.

I try to find joy in every situation,
sometimes after I throw a fit or cry in despair.

I love spending time in my studio, The Crack House.
(I'll be doing a blog post about it in the near future.
If you want to make sure you don't miss it, 
sign up to receive my posts via email at the top of 
the right hand column)

Creating and spending time with 
my friends that create,
reading every single page of my art zines,
and being an mixed media hoarder
make me who I am.

Okay, that's enough, let's talk about THE GIVEAWAY!!
I am parting with two of my favorite vintage hats that I've been saving,
waiting for those perfect projects that will show off those beautiful 
flowers and leaves!


To enter, simply leave a comment.
And if you want to have a second entry,
let me know if you're following me on Pinterest,
Twitter or my blog emails.

I'm supposed to close out my contest and draw for
winners on February 1st, but I'm extending my giveaway
to February 2nd and I'll draw for the winners
that following week.
I'm right in the middle of getting my house in order
and planning supper for fifty
as I get ready for my mom's memorial that will be held here.
After that I'll be able to get back to my blog. *happy feet*

I sincerely thank you for reading this post
and for entering the giveaway.

I hope that you come back often to see what I'm up to.
And, if you do, remember that leaving a comment
makes me do the happy dance!

If, for whatever reason, you don't know how to get to the other (over 400) blogs participating
in the Grow Your Blog party, leave me a note in your comment and I'll get you there. :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

UNBELIEVABLE.......................................... ON IT'S WAY TO FABULOUS!

Once I had a really pretty guest room.
When mom came to live with us last January,
I had to take everything out of what is now
known as "MOM'S ROOM", box it up and move
it into my fabulous guest room.
That took it straight to unbelievable.
The double bed was mom's at River Point,
the care center where she lived from July through October.
The guest room originally had twin beds in it
with custom bedspreads that coordinated with
the custom window treatments.
The twin beds were out and donated
and mom's double bed moved in.
 Thank God for good friends.
Phyllis is not only a good friend,
she can sew like a whirlwind.
When she heard that I didn't want to sell
my bedspreads for a huge loss, 
but had no idea what to do about it,
she said she'd make them fit the double bed.
 Oh, my gosh! Of course she could do that!
She can sew anything. So she comes to the house
with her sewing machine and rotary cutter and starts
measuring, cutting and sewing.
 She had a lot of fabric to work with to make it
fit a double bed. I had no worries. 
She seriously is an amazing seamstress.
 The new bedspread is the start of putting
my guest room back together. 
What you're seeing is the never ending 
"favorite artist" wall. It keeps growing and growing
and will soon be ceiling to floor. Love.
 Okey dokey, here's the "real" guest room.
This is the room in it's current condition
excluding the bed.
All of my thanks go to my sons and
everything I had to box up and move over.
 Such a pretty room.
 Wow. I hope he/they found what he/they were looking for.
 How nice, someone threw my lovelies into a box
for safe keeping.
Dark corners can be scary.
 And, here's the almost complete bed!
The euro pillows are having cases made for them
by Phyllis at her house.
I need new bed and sham pillows and
the bed will be finished.
 And a couple of quilts under the spread and
some serious ironing!

Before my mom got really sick, the three of us were gathered 
around the dining room table working on one of Phyllis' projects.
I got up for some reason and mom got paper and a pen
from Phyllis and wrote this note.

The note asked Phyllis to make sure that I got
the sewing machine that I wanted for Christmas.
She knew. I think she knew that she wouldn't 
be able to take care of that because she'd
be too sick.
There was a window of time that mom went through
where she knew what was going on.
She knew that she was losing it and that it was
only going to get worse.
We had talked about it and I had cried about
it after I listened to her and reassured her that
she was safe. 
She was so scared of the future.
It was moments like that one that still break my heart.
I'm so glad, so very happy, to have the note that
she wrote to Phyllis, but it makes me cry out for her
at the same time.

I want my mom. I miss her so much.

If you're counting, then you
realize that this is my 
third blog post in one week.
I'm trying to make up for lost time.
I am so sorry that I didn't write between
May of last year, until this month.
I'm going to be better - not a post a day -
but, better.

If you've read this post and you have time to
leave a comment, I would love that!



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