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Brenda has been writing since grade school. She attended journalism school where she majored in professional writing. She loves to decorate, garden, read and spend time with her Yorkies.

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Day To Day Reality Sinking In



I happen to be one of those individuals that possessed a high energy level from birth. It continues today. 

If I awoke to frozen pipes and a soaked carpet with children clamoring for breakfast and a cast on my right arm and hand, I fed them breakfast and then went about the task of tearing up the carpet and throwing it into the yard. One-handed.

This is both good and bad. I got things done. But I also hurt myself at a young age. I suppose thinking I was invincible and everything would heal and I would fully recuperate. 

What I learned is that all these little tasks that I took on with barely a thought brought me trouble with my body down the line. The body gets old. It doesn't bounce back. Lesson learned, but a little late. 



I never quite grasped the act of sitting still and doing nothing until I was in my fifties. By then my body was getting tired, but my energy level kept spiking. And with it came injuries. 

I taught myself visualization techniques in order to stop my body from constantly moving, and letting my mind absorb that energy. And sometimes that worked. 

I am learning that the new ankle brace is a wonderful tool for me. But it doesn't mean that I can keep going full speed ahead, which is what I miss. It means that I can drive without a boot, thank goodness, for a period of time. But it does not mean I can be on my feet very long. Period. Pain ensues quickly. 

I suppose I thought it would take care of that pain and I could move on, redecorating a room in a day. What I'm learning is that I can move about in small doses. And that if I push this limit too far, I will pay with pain and by being forced to be still for days. Which is probably the hardest thing for me to do. 

Sometimes I want to rail to the powers that be: Why couldn't this have happened to a person who likes to sit in a chair and read all day? Why did this happen to a person who has so much energy I could drain half of it and still have more than enough to share with three other people?

With this seemingly boundless energy has come quick anger, words said before thinking, and a lifetime of  impulsivity. All the things that happen when you move too fast. Talk too fast. Respond too fast.  

Did you know they think that impulsivity is an inherited trait? Many studies suggest this.

And it has a huge affect on relationships. Which is why, if I could, I would live in a small cabin deep in the woods and live off the land.

Alone. With the pupsters of course. Where it didn't matter what I said. For there was no one around to hear it. Where it didn't matter how fast I responded. Because no one was around to be affected by it. 

- 

I am sitting here with my brace on but elevated. Because yesterday I took it upon myself to get on a step ladder and take everything off of two walls, and then fill in the nail holes. 

The day before that my friend Kay and I went to lunch and to our favorite antique mall, where I managed to make it about halfway through, and then grudgingly admitted I could not walk any farther. 

I wanted to walk down every aisle, just for the heck of it. Just for the exercise. Because with being sedentary comes weight gain. And I can't move fast enough and long enough to put a big dent in it right now. 

I stare at the cans of paint, and I want to start painting furniture. I stare at blank canvases, and I want to make something. 

Yesterday I took the books off the bookshelves in my bedroom and dusted. The day before I got on a stepladder and dusted the tops of the tall shelves. And while I was at it, I figured I might as well dust the two ceiling fans. Impulsivity. 



I know I'm supposed to learn something from this entire situation. And I have. I still strain at the bit like a horse at the gate when I want to get something done. 

But I'm trying to learn patience. Never my virtue. 

I'm trying to learn that the day is not a failure if I haven't accomplished a significant task. I'm trying to learn that restraint is a virtue also. 



I'm learning to spend time gazing out the window and emptying my mind of what I haven't gotten done that day. 

I am watching the birds outside on the patio and trying to learn from them. What they do, why they seem to do it, and in what pattern. I figure nature has taught them. And maybe they can teach me. 



How to accept that which I cannot change. And that straining at the bit is acceptable to a degree. But once you taste blood from the pressure, you must let go. 

I have already learned to find great pleasure in the simple things.  

I have learned that it is not only the act of planting flowers that brings you joy. It is also watching them grow, watering them, and being able to gaze at them out the window with satisfaction. By planting a seed, you receive a multitude of gifts that keep on giving.

Now I need to learn that the tasks I want to get done so badly can be done in increments, instead of being done in a day. Or even a week.

I need to listen to my body, and react accordingly. And realize that I am no longer young. 



And that, despite my energy level, I was never invincible.

Cozy Little House
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73 comments:

  1. You're the greatest; hang in there, dear Brenda!

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  2. I wish I lived near you and could do some painting with you-as always love reading your posts!

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  3. it is hard to not be able to do all you want to do. With the medical problems that I have I have learned that I have to pace myself - something I don't always remember to do. Sometimes when I have gone months of feeling just fine I tend to forget that I have a muscle and joint disease and fibro! I took a 5 mile hike two weeks ago in the Ozark mountains and now I am paying for it - it had been years since I hiked 5 miles why did I think I could do it and feel just fine I'm 62 years old and not in excellent physically condition. By time we were more than half way around the trail I knew it had been too much but by then it was past the half way point and we had to keep going to get back to the car - now I have a flare up of my chronic bursitis in my hips - instead of accepting defeat I continued last week to try to keep up with my daily exercise and try to keep doing my 3 miles a day on the treadmill. this week I tried every other day - now I sit here at home in pain and admitting that now I will probably not be able to exercise other than walking in the yard for short spells of time to stretch for a week or so and hope the bursitis goes away, some time back I had such a bad time with it that it lasted 3 years - hopefully if I relax and admit defeat it will only be a couple weeks.

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    1. It's hard to admit defeat, isn't it? We hate for our bodies to fail us.

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  4. Such amazing words Brenda! I have had to learn to do things in stages. My body can no longer handle all the lifting and moving, up and down that I use to do. I pushed myself so much the last couple of years moving first myself and then my Mom. It has taken months but I am finally getting some energy back. Its not fun to lose our ability to do it all our self. I find I must rely on others much more then I want to. So I do what I can and just keep saying it is what it is.

    Linda

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  5. Brenda, as always, beautifully written! Due to my various ailments, fatigue and pain haunt my days. And I've had to learn to slow down. On bad days, almost to a standstill. Some days, it's okay to just 'be'. So I can empathize with your situration. Thinking of you...

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    1. It is okay. Just hard to do. For all of us.

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  6. You are so good at voicing exactly what others are thinking - but you do it so elequantly! It doesn't seem fair that when we are young and so busy with family raising, we dream about the day they become adults and we can start doing the "fun stuff". And then that day comes and we are too tired, too sore, too worn to do all that we have been planning in our minds. It is so hard to slow down! Thinking of you.

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  7. I'm totally with you on living in a cabin in the woods. The older I get, the more content I am to be alone. That's different for me because I too have always been busy with people all around. With a combination of being hurt by others and getting older, I am enjoying the rest that comes from being still. I have learned with bipolar disorder that I can no longer take on more than one task at a time. That's okay. We have to listen to our bodies and our minds now. What a great post!

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    1. I know to stay on my meds, and that that is the kindest thing I can do for myself.

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  8. I find alone time is much more appreciated than I ever have before. Going out in life seems to bring such chaos, and I'd rather stay home and avoid it. I guess I've come to realize that staying home and doing things I love bring me so much more pleasure and calm. I love to live in the cabin in woods, just as long as I could head out one day a week and thrift, I have to thrift...it's in my blood. Normal aging is learning to adjust to what we could do and what we can now do. Never easy.

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    1. It used to be so much nicer to go out. Say 20 years ago. Before cell phones!

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  9. This is an excellent post. Patience have you met Brenda, Brenda this is Patience.
    Hang in there. Better said then done. Hugs.

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  10. I can totally relate with the part of not being able to physically do what you use to do. Because of my health issues, I am very limited with what I can do and if I don't listen to my body, I am down for days, Meditation helps to clear the head. I love watching the birds have fun in the backyard.

    Take care of yourself, Brenda.

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    1. Yes, I love to watch the birds! Always have.

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  11. The word is, Discipline. We have to govern everything we do, once age and physical difficulty's rule our life. Who likes to be disciplined????? Without that action, life will be miserable.
    Everyday do what you can, and the next day the same thing. When you are tired, sit. I just turned 70 and boy, what a kick to my mental state that is. Everyone say's all the typical comments...yadayadayada,
    The fact is; I hurt, I climb steps slow, I go downstairs slow, I watch where I am walking carefully, and try to eat with some restrictions, (not thinking about the 6 homemade Choco. chip cookies I just ate!!!) My mind is about 30, my experiences in life are 120.
    So...I say all this to say; Be who you are, do what you can, and know this is a prelude to our one way trip out of here. Believe. There is a heaven.

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    1. I don't get near stairs. Too clumsy and scary.

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  12. Brenda, take care!!! I know you like to do things yourself, but your daughter needs to come over, do these chores that are up high while you play with the baby! I worry about you!! I'm not saying you can't do it, you just shouldn't be climbing around by yourself. I've said it before, if you were my neighbor I'd come do it with you and we'd have FUN!!! On your terms, of course!
    I LOVE your new header. A. LOT. Plants and Galvanized trays, buckets and containers call my name!
    See you next time, Susan

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    1. That's what the readers wanted. So that's what they got.

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  13. My engine revs all day long, Brenda, it's in my genes, my entire family functions this way. It is very hard for me to sit and do nothing. I have been meditating for almost two decades and it is still hard for me to resign myself to just being. I totally get it.

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    1. My engine revs fast and suddenly I'm in the middle of doing something almost before I even realize it. That's what I have to watch. One thing leads to another.

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  14. I hear you and feel for you, Brenda. I am a very high energy person, too. When I had that rotator cuff tear last year and couldn't do a lot of things, it was extremely frustrating. I can't stand being sick - I mean, laid-up sick - for even a couple of days because I get so frustrated and angry that I can't be up and about doing things. I don't watch TV, so that's not even an option when I'm sick. Boring! I know a lot of women who take a daily nap and it always surprises me because I rarely take one. I think part of it is hereditary...my mom is still a whirling dervish at age 74 (she still works outside the home; has a very busy, successful eBay business; goes out with friends; exercises daily (including a yoga and Zumba class); travels; involved in numerous church activities, etc.) and her father - my grandfather - was the same way. In fact, my grandpa was still living on his own and active until his death from a freak accident at the age of 97 just a little over a year ago! He was hanging his laundry on the outdoor clothesline, lost his balance, fell, and hit his head on a rock. Anyway...hang in there. Your ankle is getting better with PT and I bet it will get better still. I think you might make some great strides.

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    1. Wow, to get to 97 and then have something like that happen.

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  15. Brenda I can totally empathize with your situation. I was disabled by cancer 5 years ago. With foot tumors that crippled me. I walk with a cane now. Going through my 3rd chemo regimen now. I was always active and enjoyed gardening and other activities. Worked for years and raised 2 children. Trying to do things now causes pain and needing pain meds. My pride kept me from using the motorized carts in the stores all this time but this week I had to swallow my pride and use one. I never thought I would be 54 and be this way. But I just say that this was the cards I was dealt. Just one day at a time. That's all we can do. Just keep pushing forward a little bit everyday.

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    1. You're younger than I am. I'm sorry for what you've endured. I have a cane for when I need it. I haven't used the motorized carts yet. Thinking about it.

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  16. Brenda I feel for you. I've been the same way all my life and has been very very hard to pace myself and not overdo it. I'm getting better, but now and then relapse into thinking I can do it all! I pay too..... with pain and bad days. A year ago I had a bad foot for no reason I could figure out, no doc could find a problem, no fractures, etc. so could hardly walk on it for a year! I HATED that as was usually very active and physical.. even walking around the yard was difficult. It finally just went away. I learned to REALLY appreciate having both feet work and being able to walk finally.. so know what you are going through. It is hard to just "be" some days..... I still find myself feeling guilty if I don't accomplish something each day. I'm still trying to learn to spend a day now and then doing nothing (but play on the computer which I love). Please DO try to slow down somewhat on those days you get so energized... just think about it... you don't want to get hurt again do you? or hurt your other leg or foot? That would put you in a real pickle! It is so hard to ask for help.. I find that is one of my big problems, even if hubby is around, I tend to try to do it myself. I hope things do get better for you... on those high energy days, maybe try a more quiet hobby that will bring you pleasure, like a little bit of sewing or crochet, or reading or drawing...... I hear Zentangle is very meditative and will slow you down too.

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    1. I wonder why we feels so guilty for just getting through the day without painting a wall or doing something physical?

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  17. You might want to read this article http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/
    It certainly gave me a lot to think about and a lot to be grateful for. Hang in there and just work in spurts with rest in between while loving on the pups.

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    1. I read it. What a wonderful way to explain things. Made perfect sense to me. I have to count my spoons every morning now.

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  18. This was such a good post! I know it must be frustrating to have so many physical limitations. Your outlook is good though. This situation is making you a stronger person.

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    1. I know it could be much worse. I am very grateful for that.

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  19. Brenda yours is one of the few blogs that I read every word of, you have such a way of expressing yourself. Your words draw a mental picture for me and I find myself feeling what you must be feeling. You are wise to listen to your body, my yells at me on a regular basis, if I don't listen I pay later. The thing I notice most is getting up and down from the floor, it's a killer and I let out ugly groans when I do it. Those are the times that I realize 66 is getting really old lol. I admire your determination to 'git er done' but please don't hurt yourself in the process, we all care too much about you!

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    1. I only get down on the floor to do yoga twice per day, so that's one thing that isn't hard for me, because I'm limber. My secret is that little garden cart from Walmart I've had for probably 18 years that I roll around on inside to get things done that are close to the floor! Get yourself one!

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  20. The art of being still is not easily accomplished by folks with high energy levels, but it is useful and needful and I have no doubt you will find that balance for yourself. I've been dealing with similar feelings, now that I'm dealing with a full-tear rotator cuff in my right shoulder, but of course, since I'm right-handed. It's hard to sit still, to stop doing. But there are advantages, even so.

    I'm sorry things are as they are, but please be careful on the step-ladders, and take time to sit a spell and just be.

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    1. I'm trying. I've been pretty good about moving around, elevating my ankle. Moving around, doing it again. That has helped a lot.

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  21. Lots of great thoughts - I love the scared/ brave statement! Fear Not/365

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    1. There are so many great sayings on the internet!

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  22. I have no doubt,, we all here are doing the best we can under the circumstances we have.. We just cant ask for more than that and must remember to be both content as well as Proud of all we do accomplish...
    We need to cheer ourselves and other on~! Every accomplishment is important and worthy of applause- be it Big or Small. and on that note- I now stand by my chair and APPLAUD us ALL ~!!!
    congratulation folks-you've DONE WELL and I am proud of YOU.

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    1. I'll stand by my bed, where I'm lounging with the pupsters so they can look out the window, and do the same with a little salute!

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  23. You are not alone in having to learn those lessons...and it's hard. But you must...it's your determination that will get you to the finish line. It may take a little longer...but you (and I) will get there! ;)

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    1. You're right. We all have something. And what's really great is...we have each other.

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  24. Channel some of that energy to me!! I read blogs and think "oh, I want to do that!" and that's about as far as it goes, most of the time. When I was younger, with young children under my feet, I seemed to get a lot more done!

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    1. I sure wish I could! I have had so much energy all my life that I would go in circles if there wasn't a direct destination!

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  25. Change is indeed hard at times. My favorite part of your blog post today was the quote, "There are people who would love to have your bad days." Something along those lines was said to me just yesterday from a friend who may have ovarian cancer. While I pray for her, I thank the Lord that indeed, my bad days aren't so bad.

    May the Lord help you adjust to this 'new normal.' Writing it out as you have is good therapy (and I suspect you already know that).

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    1. I loved that too. And it's true. There are people who would trade me for my bad days. And I am very much aware of that.

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  26. Oh gosh I know how this kills you. I feel myself slower some days and it really gets me down because I am used to going all day and I get stressed when I cannot get the things done I need to everyday but it also is a lesson to take it easy on myself. Easier said than done right?

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    1. Sure is with a house full of people most of the time! You do pretty darned good, Elaine.

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  27. This one really resonated with me, and I found new strength. I hope you do, as well.

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    1. I do find strength from others. And that usually means you guys!

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  28. I understand your frustration. I watched my active energetic son deal with a myriad of illnesses and challenges over twenty years. He used to tell me that he was learning to appreciate his little life -- fixing up his yard, planting flowers, taking a walk until neuropathy made even those things too painful to enjoy. But he continued up to his death at 42 (just 18 months ago) to do and enjoy every little thing he could and did it with a great attitude. As I deal with aging I hope I can be as positive and willing to still see all the good in my life.


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    1. Oh my goodness! He sounds like he was a very brave soul. I know you grieve, and my pain is nothing compared to yours.

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  29. Wow...this post sure resonates with me, Brenda. I have a mind on the GO, with a body that can't keep up. I am constantly having to re-vision my life, trying to find ways to be creative and work without making myself sick. It is very frustrating and I HAVE learned patience, but quite honestly I've had to give up on some dreams and go in other directions. That has led to different adventures and opportunities...I guess it is my journey. You seem to stay creative and inspired...but it IS hard...we just have to keep re-imagining our lives...

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    1. I like what you said. Re-imagining our lives. I guess that means restructuring our lives every day to meet "the new normal."

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  30. oh I don't like you up on ladders ....

    worrisome : )

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  31. I am pretty much like you, Brenda. I have always done everything for myself and as I have aged and health problems have happened I have found that I don't want to stop. So I often continue lifting, moving, etc. when I really shouldn't, and I pay for it. What I am learning is that I do a little now and then rest. I can't whip through my house cleaning like I used to. I see times of forced rest and rehabilitation as the universe's way of telling me to soak in the moment, to go in new directions. xo Laura

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    1. You've got very good communication with the universe!

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  32. I suppose that I am lucky because I have not had any physical problems. Recently I felt very tired and achey and realized I was internalizing too much stress. I have been working on letting the stress go and ignoring people who are crazy makers. It has helped. But I also believe this ~ everything happens for a reason. I believe that you are meant to write. Perhaps that is why there have been all these physical ailments to slow you down. Just focus on your writing for a while. Put all the other projects on the back burner and slowly add some of them back. See what happens. I am always just a phone call away if you need me.

    Big Texas Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

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    1. I know you are, and I'm truly grateful for that!

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  33. I loved this post, Brenda. It made me take a look at the sort of person I am and what limits me. I really don't think I'm high energy at all. It seems though, that once my mind gets going, my body follows. I have been really fortunate to not have any chronic physical problems except for my asthma, and I do my best to keep that under control. When it acts up and I have to lie still, I get such a helpless feeling that I want to do this, do that, and I can't. And that's when I realize I have never learned the fine art of just being in the moment. Just being.

    I hope each day brings you better mobility. You are in tune with your body...you'll get there.

    Jane xx

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    1. Once spring comes, and I can go out on the patio and sit, I will just take things in. The birds, the sky, the plants. And then I'm very much in the moment.

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  34. Hello....
    When dealing with pain and limitations it is hard!!! No, you can't do all the things you want to do. So then what?? Find new joys!!! Have you tried crocheting or knitting? You could do that with your leg elevated. I crochet and it gives me much, much joy. If the cost of yarn is too much for you, there are ways around that. You could contact your local Veterans Hospital, many have local ladies that crochet "Blankets for Vets". Cheerful lap blankets for a vet stuck in a wheelchair all day REALLY brightens their day. No fancy stitches are necessary. Another option is your local hospital. Making caps and blankets for premies. Both these organizations will donate the yarn if you do the stitching. AND of course there are always family members that would love a handmade afghan for curling up on the couch with. My family knows I am more then willing to do the stitching and they buy the yarn.
    This is a great way to fill your days in a meaningful way......without chance of re-injuring yourself. Giving yourself time to heal so you can get back to climbing on ladders and doing everything else you like to do!!!
    Who knows even the pups could use a cozy blanket!!!!
    Addie

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    1. You're of course right. Like they say, when a door closes, a window opens. Did I get that one right? So when one things happens, it usually directs you to something you would not have noticed otherwise.

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  35. Brenda,
    I so love your blog because you often touch on what many of us are feeling and going through.
    I understand completely where you are coming from.
    My increasing health issues has been taking quite a toll on me and with continuing to work full time, volunteer for many fund raising events at our church and decorate our home like a crazy lady, I suffered major meltdown, emotionally, around the Holidays. Many people ask me when do I sleep and it is not because I work night shift but because I always have so much on my plate so to speak.
    Well, I actually do not sleep much which also leads to health issues and with needing a knee replacement, suffering compression fractures in my back , IBS , Thyroiditis and now severe carpal tunnel in both hands that they want me to have surgery for, my lifestyle has definitely changed.
    I have been fighting it tooth an nail but I have only made matters worse so I too am learning to slow down, pace myself and realizing that I need to say NO to a lot of things .....
    That is why I chose LIVE as my Word for this Year.
    I chose to LIVE, no matter how that may be and being a cancer survivor also, I am glad that I am alive!
    Hang in there, my friend! And let's chose to live our lives no matter how they may change!!

    Hugs,
    Deb

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