Wednesday, February 25, 2009

HDG: Being Reduced

hump day

You all have heard me talk about my friend Susie here on the blog quite a bit. She even goes crazy and comments every now and again, and she posed a great question when I had given you all free reign to ask me any question you could think of. This was hers: I can, and have, pretty much asked you anything I'm wondering about, but there's always something that I wonder (worry) about when we get off the phone. When we talk and I complain about the 'little' things in my life OR, in contrast, when I talk about the wonderful day I may have had, do you get at all irritated? - be honest! Because I get off the phone or the computer and think - Oh my goodness, Sara would probably love to have MY problems. OR I think - I just rambled on about all the fun things I did today - why didn't I just keep my mouth shut. I know you 'say' that you want to hear all about my life and my boys and you always say that you live vicariously through me, but I'm always afraid that when I tell you these things I hurt you a little... it's so hard because I want to share EVERYTHING with you - but the last thing I want to do is hurt you. Remember - be honest - I won't be offended.
Love ya lots. Suz

Yep, that’s my Suzaluza… just one more example of why I am constantly telling you all that I have such amazing friendships. It’s truly a gift because we are all so much more concerned about each other than we are ourselves… and I’ve come to realize that it’s the key to a good relationship. If both parties always care more about the other person than themselves, everyone will always be taken care of with love and compassion.

It’s why I fight so darn hard to stay independent… I could never imagine leaving here and being without this family that I chose to create in my friends.

Regarding her question: I can only answer it for myself. I would imagine people with illness and restrictions all react differently when other people’s lives can remind them of their own loss. But for me, #4 on my list of life goals says: To love what I have and not yearn for what I lack. That goal, that decision I came to, is one of the reasons why I am never hurt by hearing about Susie’s day, or anyone else’s. They don’t make me yearn for what I don’t have, but instead I love what I do have through them.

The other reason is because, while I may be physically different, I am emotionally the same person. And nothing in life makes me happier than when other people are happy. And nothing will stop me in my tracks faster than someone who needs my ear to listen. If everyone stopped telling me their happy moments… I wouldn’t have that joy in my life. I truly and sincerely live vicariously through each and every success, joy, piece of gossip, and video of their kid’s concert that they bring into my world. Just ask my parents… when I talk to them on the phone and they ask how things are going, I regale them with stories of my friends and their kids and their lives. Because sharing in what is happening with them is what is going on with me.

Megan, my friend Kelly’s daughter, used to call me and play her piano recital pieces over the phone. I would answer, the piano would start and I’d sit and listen for as long as she played, and then tell her how amazing she was. When she did that, I got to be a part of something outside of my life. When Suz tells me about the hectic morning they had [they always have hectic mornings :)] or tells me funny stories about her day with the kids… she makes me a part of her life.

I can be changed by what happens to me. I refuse to be reduced by it.                                               ~Maya Angelou

And my friends, by complaining when they stub their toe, or telling me about the fun night they had going out to dinner together… they let me know they wish I was there. They make me feel like me. The same person I was to them before I was sick. The one who listened and gave them advice and laughed with them and cried with them. If anything was held back, they would be holding me back… and then I would be reduced by what has happened to me. Of course I long to be with them in all of those moments, but feeling like I was with them is the next best thing.

I’m not bothered when someone gets a paper cut and complains about the pain. Paper cuts hurt. Friendships are not competition, and the levels of pain don’t matter. Pain is pain. Struggle is struggle. Joy is joy. And getting to participate in lives that can be lived in ways mine never will … that fills me up, gives me purpose, gives me reasons to celebrate and reasons to console. By letting me fully be a part of all of their life, they help keep mine from being reduced.

[Suz, your life is important and precious. And I wouldn’t want to miss a moment of it.]


To win this canvas, you’ll need to leave a comment before midnight CST today. And since it worked so well to have a question to answer for today’s post, your comment has to contain a question for me… silly, serious, random, personal, ridiculous… it doesn’t matter.

Only one comment per person, please… and I’ll let you know the winner tomorrow! :)


  1. what is your favorite flavor (any kind of food?)

    Recent blog post: If food were christmas packages

  2. What was your life like before Riley came into it? I know he keeps you company and you wouldn't know what to do without that adorable pooch. Have to admit, he is pretty darn cute :)

    Recent blog post: Love Song

  3. i love how you answered this. my situation is very different than yours, but you captured my heart so well.

    i'm going through a really hard time, and those few who know about it sometimes feel badly for telling me what's going wrong in their lives. because they feel it "pales in comparison". and i haven't known how to sum up my heart in an answer.

    you just did that for me. thank you, fritz-friend.


    okay, my question(s) for you: what's the best book you read recently? why'd you like it?


    PS - you said "hump day"! hee hee!

    Recent blog post: thoughts from the quiet girl

  4. Susie does sound like a really good friend.

    Do you ever talk through the spray nozzle in your kitchen just for old times'sake?

    Recent blog post: If I'm Honest

  5. What a special person and friend you are, Sara. I wish there were more people like you on this earth.

    My question....what movie can you watch over and over? And what movie do you dislike?

    Recent blog post: Speechless

  6. Sara,
    My husband and I tried for a year to get pregnant with our first child. A year isn't a long time overall...but it is a long time when you're taking your temp every day and all the other things that come with trying to make something happen. It was frustrating. I had one friend that got pregnant near the end of that year and I was so hurt when I found out from someone else instead of her. She didn't want to tell me because she didn't want to make me feel bad - thinking I'd be upset with her joy. I was stunned. I would never be upset with her joy! And it hurt me that she didn't trust me to be happy for her so she didn't tell me. I was happy for her! Did I still want to be pregnant myself? Yes...but that did not take away my joy for her. Two different things.

    Long point being I totally get what you're saying. And I think you're amazing for it. Maybe I can even think I'm amazing too.

    I have a question....who is your favorite Super Hero?

  7. Do you like to read? What's your favorite book. Or if you don't care much for reading, what is your favorite pastime?

  8. Would you consider getting another puppy? Do you ever have Mass said at home?

  9. I don't usually win anything, but I like trying. Your canvas creations are great!

    What is your favorite book in the Bible?

    Thanks for sharing your life with us.

    Laura W. (N. Georgia)

  10. Do you have foods that you are allergic to or bother you? I'm thinking of Thursday night when I get to be the snack provider and leader of the group. Did I tell you that I like to be in charge??? We will have fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Robin Rane' All Things Heart and HomeFebruary 25, 2009 at 7:22 AM

    Love this! I suspected this is how you felt. Why? Because I'm getting to know you and your heart is beautiful, clear and unselfish...
    You know I have lots of questions for you...but this one I've been thinking about are your sweet parents?
    Love you and just have to say...I'm grinning still as a result of today's Riley picture!!! His eyes are so wide and expressive...Smooch to Riley!(If you had a smooch emotion, you know I would use it every day!!!)

    Recent blog post: Works For Me Wednesday!

  12. This is incredible...
    Heart reader is your occupation?!!!
    If someone gave you a plane ticket where would you go?

    Recent blog post: It Takes…

  13. Is there an event in your life, aside from your illness, that has truly changed who you are as a person?

    Recent blog post: Gabby: A Pictoral Personality Sketch

  14. You are such a sweet person and are blessed beyond measure with great friends. My question for you is ..if you could have one wish besides being healed what would it be?

  15. The eternal question..... Chocolate or Vanilla? :)

    I just recently found your blog, and I just want to say that you are inspiring. You're on my google reader now and I look forward to your posts!

  16. Sara,

    WOW!! What an amazing response! I loved it! :) I so wish there was some way for you to be able to go on the MckCruise 2010. If there was anyway...I would do my VERY best to make it happen!

    That being said, were given the opportunity and were healed...where would be the first place you would like to travel to and why?!? :)

    I hope you have a marvelous day and we'll talk soon!!

    Jess :)

    Recent blog post: First Pair of Shoes

  17. OK, that is kind of weird because another "Heidi" just posted the same question I was going to ask...if you could travel anywhere, where would it be??

    I know you are thankful for Susie everyday, but I am sure she is more thankful for you than you will ever know we all are! I love that Susie's kids know you so well and are able to share things with you. You are one of the best "cheerleaders" I know, so I bet they just love sharing all their good news with you!!

  18. Do you ever read works by Julian of Norwich, the anchoress?

    Recent blog post: Blue Norther

  19. Truly, this is the beauty of your love, its completely unselfish and unconditional :) You keep me in check constantly, because I was not surrounded by this growing up and I have to work so hard at reframing things at times.

    My question? I'm letting Nolan do the honors and he would like to know if Riley has a middle name? :-D, if not JAMES is a good one he wanted you to know :)

  20. I read your life statements and they are great! This post is great, too. My question ... What is your favorite bible verse?

    Recent blog post: INFINITELY More Valuable!

  21. i LOVE this one!!! you're just getting better and better.

    what's your favorite ice cream??? ;)

    Recent blog post: Family Night - Tasty Tasty Club!!!

  22. What is your favorite kind of breakfast cereal? :)

  23. I LOVE this canvas :) And another inspiring post- you always have a way of making me think about the deeper things in life. Thank you!

    And for my question- What kind of music do you listen to??

  24. If you wont he lottery, what kind of car would you buy? I would buy a Cadillac Escalade (just went to the car show last week and decided that was my car of choice!) Love the canvas and the message you write about on your blog - it's very true!

  25. Mary @ Giving Up On PerfectFebruary 25, 2009 at 9:46 AM

    Great answer - it's so cool to hear how you get to be part of your friends' lives. I am going to take a note from your post, because I have so often been guilty of trying to one-up people with misery. I know it's ridiculous (because who really wants to win that contest??), but sometimes can't stop.

    My question for you is how do you do church? I apologize if you've talked about it before, but I'm wondering if you listen to sermons online, watch them on TV or what you do??

    Recent blog post: Carnival Week: Works For Me Wednesday

  26. When you are able to get out of the house, what is the 1 thing you like to do most outside of your 4 walls?

  27. You are the best story teller I have ever read. You are simply an amazing person. You have a way of capturing the spirit of life and writing it down in a way that touches my soul down to the core.

    My question for you is, and you may have answered it before, do you make these canvases? If so or if no, can they be purchased?

  28. Sara, as always, very well-said! God has graced you have the most amazing gift in the way of capturing in words the true essence of feelings! Beautiful!

    My question to you is....who is your favorite saint and why?

    Blessings to you, dear-heart!

  29. Sara, once again, well-said! God has graced you with the incredible gift of articulating depth of feeling with amazing clarity. Brilliant!

    My question to you is.....who is your favorite saint and why?

    Blessings to you, dear-heart!

  30. What an amazing post from an amazing woman. Thank you so much.
    Okay I will ask a question...what is your favorite book of all time? One that you would/have read over and over?

  31. I recently found your blog and I find it amazing and so inspiring. Thank you for sharing and putting yourself out there. I love the canvas painting. My question is: Do you sell them? ( the canvas's):)

  32. Oh - I just love this my question is..."if I don't win this one, will you sell me one?

    Really and truly here is my question...
    I your were able to keep up the orders, would you consider starting a home business?
    You could sell your canvases in a Etsy shop, and I know that people would buy your t-shirts (shhhhhhhhhst)!

    Recent blog post: Mitt Romney and LDS Humor

  33. What is your favorite passage of scripture?

  34. not a question, I just want to comment on what you wrote. The day I was delivering my son, we were int he hospitla room filled with family. Someone asked my brother about his job (he is a teacher and was being laid off). I remember him starting to answer and then stopping and saying something like "well, compared to this (meaning me and the death of his nephew) it is no big deal." I remember telling him to please continue, that day to day stuff helped keep my mind off of what was going on in that moment. It was true. It was nice getting lost in other's lives. Even for a moment.

  35. What makes you angry? What makes you sad?

    Recent blog post: A lazy weekend

  36. What is your favorite way to spend a rainy day? 8-)

    Recent blog post: Grace in the small things #7…

  37. You are an amazing strong beautiful woman to me! What is your favorite wild animal? Happy Hump Day!!

    Recent blog post: 2008 Stimulus Payment Explained

  38. I just recently found your blog and wanted to say it is very inspirational...My question for you...How do you stay so grounded? I would love to know how to wake up and not feel like it is another day for attack...Just want to wake up and it be a great day from start to finish.

    Recent blog post: The Beginning...Part 2

  39. OK, so I read this for the second time and it made me cry AGAIN - I really am the luckiest person alive - I don't deserve a friend like you! I just want you to know that no matter how much time has passed since you've been able to go out with us - I still think about you EVERY time I'm out and I often think - "Dang, I wish Sara were here so I could give her 'a look' and then we'd know what each other was thinking." There's no one else that I can do that with - I do miss going out with you, but I too am thankful that I can still share things with you - thanks for appreciating ALL of my stories. Love ya lots! Oh and my question... Will you please tell me if you get to the point where it's too much for you to listen to my joys and complaints??? Seriously.

  40. Me! Pick me!!

    I love your outlook on your situation! I SO want the next BIG MckGet-together in YOUR town so I can come see YOU next!! :-D

    Recent blog post: MckYESSSSSS!!!

  41. I love your blog! I have only been reading about a month, but your courage amazes me. Your absolutely wonderful outlook on life despite your circumstances uplifts me every day. I have a really great friend who was diagnosed with MS while we were in college, and I always admired her determination. You must be kindred spirits!

    My question is a wee bit silly... How do you let your dog out to potty?! I have my own lovely canine pal, so that's been a question of mine since I stumbled onto your blog. :)

    Recent blog post: Surrender

  42. wow, you inspire me! wish my answer was like yours. i DO get a bit irritated when others complain about things i am dying to do. i need to read back through your life statements. i did a blog post awhile back with all questions, it was fun. so let me think...

    what was the greatest day of your life and why?

    Recent blog post: One Decision, One Year Later

  43. Love your blog and your outlook on life! My question is does Riley liked to be groomed? He's such a handsome pooch!

  44. Wow Gitz. I'm speechless. And if you knew me, you'd REALLY know how odd that is.

    These words from your story: "It's hard for people to understand that just because I'm not complaining, it doesn't mean I'm getting better. It's just that when you ask me how I am, I'm more likely to tell you how I am despite my disease, not because of it. I am more than that. I'm more than a sick person. I'm a person who is sick... and as I often tell my mother, my body is brutal but I'm ok." are the most succinct and articulate descriptions of living with disease that I have ever read.

    I have battled something for ten years that they are, hopefully, closing in on. It is NOT as limiting as yours and my heart just goes out to you. However, you say it all when, in your loving and generous way, you describe your compassion for your friends with a paper cut...because they hurt. One does not diminish the other.

    THANK YOU for your honesty and profound ability to share your story and your heart. I am privileged to meet you. I appreciate you coming by and signing up to follow, though the follow pic didn't come through. I know Blogger's been having some really crazy things going on the last few days.

    I will be following YOU as well because it will be a blessing to me to do so.

  45. Why do you hate your pics? You are so pretty. Love the painting.

  46. Who is your favorite artist...of any sort?

    Your work is absolutely fabulous!!! 8-)

    Recent blog post: Fat Tuesday and Lent

  47. You are sooo inspiring and amazing. I would love to have a friend like you.

    My question is: Who or what inspires you the most?

    Recent blog post: For the "girls"

  48. How cute Nolan! Riley James does have a certain ring to it. :)

    Recent blog post: If I'm Honest

  49. nursecarter so many of us have asked this question! She doesn't sell them, but I think she could make a fortune, don't you? ;) An auction would even be fun.

    Recent blog post: If I'm Honest

  50. Remind me how to find you on FB? I'm afraid I caved and found myself assimilated just a few hours ago. EEEK. Off to Distribution of Ashes now - back tonight!


  51. If Riley could speak what do you think is the first thing he would say to you.

    Recent blog post: Funky Tuesday & Superheroes

  52. How do you keep your dogs coat so white? Especially around his eyes?????? So beautiful!!!

  53. how many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop? maybe you'll know.

    Recent blog post: REVEALED: My Valentine's Day Love Affair

  54. Love it! That canvas is beautiful! :-)

  55. Beautiful print! My question for you is, what scares you the most about your illness? I know it's personal and you may have already answered it, but I am new here and amazed by your strength!

    Recent blog post: Harvey Hamel the Camel

  56. What is your favorite Crayola color in the 8 pack box???? Mine is red...

    debbebennett at yahoo dot com

  57. Well. Then I'm going to tell you that today was physically one of the most painful of my life. I have a headache that is so bad it's scaring me. And forcing me to trust God completely, because nothing is taking it away.

    I'm not sure what to ask you, because I'm fairly new to your blog and want to read up on you :) more.

    I like you very, very much. Very much.

    So, my question is, Could you just pick me to win that canvas, please? Because if I could decorate my house with nothing but words and canvas, I would.

    Hugs, girl!

    Recent blog post: give it up

  58. My question is Does Riley eat table scraps?

    Your work is absolutely amazing! :)

  59. What is your favorite time of day?

    (I love love love the canvas by the way - that is an absolutely lovely quote!)

  60. Thank you for this perspective. I tell myself that I am not "addicted" to blogs...I read them because the people who write them teach me things :o) was/is Ash Wednesday. Did someone come give you ashes? Did you miss being out in public with ashes on your forehead and having people tell you you "have a little something on your forehead" (even though they KNOW what it is?!)?

    Have I told you I LOVE Hump Day Giveaway (and love that it made me a regular reader of your "blog" are a TON of fun :o) )

    Recent blog post: (Almost) Wordless (Almost) Wednesday

  61. here is an honest do you support yourself financially? Do you have good medical insurance? I worry about these things--you are such an amazing spirit and I am blessed daily by your blog. You have given me so much food for thought. God bless you.

    Recent blog post: Welcome! Come on in...

  62. I don't really have a question....most times your post cause such a thought process to take place in my mind that no questions come.

    But, I have one for Riley...does he eat in dog treats? Or just cheerios and carrots? ;)

    Recent blog post: Vintage Thingie Thursday: Vintage Dachshund Thingie

  63. Hi Sara,
    Love this post. As someone with chronic illness, I completely relate to EVERYTHING you shared! I live vicariously through my friends and family, too, when I am unable to get out. Kudos to you, friend, for being who you are. Wish I lived closer to you so that we could "revel" together!!

  64. Sara...amazing stuff as always and as a growing counselor, you say so many things I wish I could teach to all of my students. I guess my question would have to be....have you ever considered writing a book? Take care!

  65. dangitimissedanotherone

    you are an inspration, Gitz.