Friday Five: all around the mulberry bush

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Every week, the women over at RevGalBlogPals, an organization formed to support women in ministry who also happen to blog, have a weekly feature, Friday Five, covering a variety of topics. This week, 3dogmom writes (the image above is hers also):

It’s been a week of ups and downs at our house. On Tuesday I received word of the birth of my goddaughter’s second daughter, a blessing to that family, and the hope of the first daughter happily fulfilled. That evening I learned that my sister-in-law, a breast cancer survivor, is facing a recurrence of cancer in her lymph nodes, and probably her lungs. Joy and concern pressing in on my heart has made for a week of lots of deep breaths and deep-in-the-marrow prayer, smiles and tears.

At times like this I my soul finds comfort and seeks expression through my senses. Pinterest feeds my visual need for beauty and color (not to mention adorable puppies, and herds of sheep). Cooking fills the house with pleasant aromas, and the results satisfy my palette. My hands find tactile pleasure in massaging my dogs, and music penetrates and reverberates in the fiber of my being.

When you need to hold disparate parts of your life in tension, what do you do? Share five things that steady your pace, recharge your batteries and invite peace to your soul.

I think I wound up with more than five, but here we go.

My Fibromyalgia Care Kit

This picture shows the most important elements of what I think of as my “Fibromyalgia Care Kit”. When I’m hurting, exhausted, and often, depressed (mild depression seems to tag along after a flbro flare like an uninvited dinner guest), I need my puppy, Fiona, to cuddle with me and make me laugh, and gaze adoringly at me with her huge, melty brown, spaniel eyes. Her softness and warmth has gotten me through many unspeakably painful days, like the days my mom was in hospice and I couldn’t cry in front of mom. So I would come home, crawl into bed under the wedding quilt my Aunt Marie made for me, and Fiona would come and snuggle against my back. She still does.

I love my nightstand, my little nook, that holds my reading lamp, a photo of my husband George and Fiona, a drink (I mean a soda, or cocoa, or tea, not that kind of drink!), and a stack of books. Books feed my mind and my soul. They are like friends, who comfort and soothe my hurts. I have started practicing mindfulness meditation a few times a week, although I’m not very good at it yet. Hugs. From George especially, but from any of my friends or family, occasionally even my therapist. Drawing, with messy utensils like charcoal and pastels, gives tactile satisfaction too, regardless of the result. Looking at photographs, or taking an especially good one myself, and growing flowers when I’m physically able, or getting a bouquet when I need cheering up, gives me a taste of beauty, I keep my mother’s old rosary in my nightstand drawer; there is something soothing about the feel of the beads as I run them through my fingers.

The photos and books, the hugs, the art, my blog, Fiona, flowers, the rosary…all of these things are both celebratory and comforting, frequently both at the same time. They do serve to tie the varying elements of my life together. And so does the grace woven into each hug, every tear, all of the laughter.

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