I’m so hot.

Being a freckled, Irish strawberry blonde, I’ve always been sensitive to heat. I have to be careful about sunburns because, oh buddy, they happen quickly and are brutal.

About two years ago though, I noticed that I was sweating all the time, mostly along my hairline, and even in situations that didn’t seem to warrant it. It also gave me a sense of claustrophobia and drained my energy at a faster rate. I started to choose activities based on temperature, no joke.

Fast forward to this past fall, when I finally started getting answers to my health questions. It turns out people with fibromyalgia often have temperature dysregulation, an inability to moderate our own body temperature. While it looks different for each person, for me, it means:

* being warm/hot 95% of the time

* even when the weather is freezing (hi, I’m a Minnesotan)

* a shower or blowdrying my hair can make me feel like I’m experiencing a hot flash

* I’m ultra sensitive to it to the point where I feel like I can’t breathe well and experience exhaustion

* I have a fan on while those who share my office have their space heaters going

* even coming in from a cold Minnesota day into a regular indoor temperature feels like such a sudden rush of heat that it spreads across my body, my entire scalp, and across my jaw

It’s actually been really good to read up about it. This is a particularly good article, but there are so many articles written and studies done on fibro and temperature problems.

What this means for me, much of which you will never see:

* when someone suggests an activity, I judge it based on how warm/hot it will make me and what opportunities I will have to cool down (for example, going to an outdoor baseball game in the sun would be a terrible idea for me … going hiking would be actually detrimental)

* When I feel myself overheating, I have to stop and cool my body temp down; letting myself pass a certain point will actually make me sick for 2-3 days. It’s better to just go stand in front of my open window for 5-10 minutes and cool my core down.

* it has very little to do with my weight and everything to do with my hypothalamus.

* I have to be careful with exercise. Walking and yoga do the trick; cardio would make me sick for a week.

* I’m ultra aware of not dressing too warm. I can only wear sweaters and fleece in the coldest weather. I barely wear a coat, even in winter, though I do bring it with me (safety first– Minnesota’s winter temps are no joke!). If I dress for cold weather, I need to wear layers because I will likely need to cool down layer on in the work day.

* Cooling down the palm of the hand helps cool your core. This is key.

Why am I telling you all this?

First, it took me a long time to figure out what was going on with me. Maybe this will help someone else.

Secondly, it’s a friendly reminder about invisible illnesses. Your friend or colleague might be dealing with something that doesn’t make sense to you, but it doesn’t mean it’s not real.

Thirdly, usually the person inside the body knows it best. Well-meaning friends can make all the suggestions they want (“Come to my spin class!” “You’ll feel better if you just …”), but it’s your body. You know what will feel better or worse. Trust yourself. Trust the body owner.

When Spring is Fiction

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Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,

At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,

When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,

And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.

 

It’s April 15th, and so far, we’ve gotten 14 inches of snow in my little neighborhood outside of NE Minneapolis. This weekend, I mean. Not this whole winter. Just since Friday night.

I’m so over it.

That said, I’ve been fairly productive this weekend, stuck inside. In spite of an achy body and head and face, I’ve got a load of laundry rocking, took out all the garbage, applied for an artist residency, and am about to re-work the synopsis of Salt Novel.

Salt Novel. I haven’t talked much about that lately, have I? Know that I am more in love with the characters than ever before, and I’m filled with so many ideas I barely know where to start. I messaged my writing friend Anna last weekend and said I needed some coaching. She invited me over to her house and asked a hundred questions, and then immediately started reading my manuscript and all the notes I’ve got on it. I just need a plan. I love having a plan, and yet, I feel a bit paralyzed in creating one right now. It’s so good to have brilliant friends whose help I can summon.

So I’m sitting in my home office, waiting for the Tylenol to kick in, and then going to try to rearrange the plot of my book into something more powerful. Plot is not my strong point and probably never will be.

Characters are my jam, and it is good to be with these folks.

My book takes place as spring emerges. I guess I’ll take spring any way I can get it.

Two Crazy Kids & Paperless Post

My parents celebrated their 38th anniversary on the 11th.

They are truly something else– the cutest couple, two people who are tirelessly passionate about their individual projects and dedicated completely to our family. I know that I am the luckiest girl in the world to have them as parents; they are the safety net empowering every risk I take.

Their anniversary messages to each other consisted of handwritten notes on a sheet of computer paper since their work shifts are opposite right now.

He told her she’d made him the luckiest man.

She responded with how grateful she was to God.

He reminded her they were out of clean forks, and we were back to real life.

***

Meanwhile, I’d been invited to play around with the Paperless Post website in exchange for writing a review, so …

I sent my parents an anniversary card. Paperless Post has partnered with world-famous designers and lifestyle brands, allowing me to customize my own Kate Spade New York e-card, which delighted my dorky little creative heart. In addition to the card, you can choose everything from the background to the message design, envelope liner and “stamp.” The level of detail is a little overwhelming at first, but I ended up having a lot of fun with it.

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How cute is that??

Pretty adorable, but not as cute as these two. Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad!

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The Salvation of Metaphor

Forgive me for being vague. It’s out of necessity. Instead of the details, I will share with you the metaphor I used in describing it earlier to a friend.

I said, “Picture me as a prisoner who has been unfairly locked up. I’ve finally reached the day of my release, only to find out that my options are to either return to my cell or else work for the bad guys on the outside responsible for my imprisonment.”

My friend said, “Is there no way out?”

And in that moment, this is what came to mind.

This is describing the God I believe in, people.

So I am going to pray. Watch. Wait for the chains to fall off and the iron gate to open. There are more than just two options when dealing with a God this big.

I keep returning to verse 7 though: getting struck in the side by angel sounds painful.

Not sure if/how that will enter into my metaphor, but I am grateful for the support of the most incredible friends.

Earlier today, during a nap meant to avoid thinking about my situation, I dreamed that my friend Rachel saved me twice– once from a full-on weird undercover operative, once by paying for my Chipotle when I found myself without my purse. Tonight I texted her that I was lonely and I wouldn’t even ask for her to save me except that she already had in my dream.

Rachel’s response: “I’ll grab Chipotle and come sit with you. Text me your order.”

For the most part, I don’t believe in coincidence.

Triduum: Hold On Hope

It’s been a hard month, a hard year. Re-watching Scrubs and this song was featured. It stirs me every time. If you want to fully enter into my reflection below, press play and keep reading with this in the background.

It seems fitting that I’m feeling this way on this particular weekend– Saturday of Holy Week– when I do my best to reflect on how the believers felt this day, over 2000 years ago. A song I love describes it this way: “the cruel cross had crucified the hope of every heart.” Fearful. Empty. Lost. A bone-deep exhaustion. How could anything be right again?

2018 has kicked my butt. Truly.

I’ve battled intense loneliness and blasts of anxiety. I was burned so badly in 2017 that I’m now defaulting to mistrust, when that is certainly not my preference. Book stuff has me questioning my identity as a writer, my identity as a confident woman. Health issues continue to click into place, though I skipped using my CPAP last night and had a long evening of battle-packed dreams of war and betrayal that has left me feeling depleted. It’s almost April and yet it snowed three inches last night. Where is spring? Will it ever come again?

We wait.

The lifeless body in a tomb that Saturday . The grief and loneliness and ache of this one.

We wait. I wait.

Because I, with my 2000 years of hindsight, know what sunrise brings: resurrection, which has fueled hope ever since for people like me. Hope, big enough to hold me when I can’t hold onto it.

 

Why is it Called GOOD Friday?

JACKIE LEA SOMMERS

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Growing up, I was always confused about why the Christian church called this day Good Friday– the day that Jesus Christ was put to death. I knew the story: the blood, the nails, death on a cross, the method used for criminals. I had learned about crucifixion in gory detail, and how the one crucified would struggle to breathe in such a position, how Christ would have needed to lift his body weight just to get a breath– his body weight pressing against the spikes nailed through his feet. I knew about the hours of darkness, the quaking earth and breaking rocks. About the curtain of the temple being torn in half, top to bottom.

My family would go to a Good Friday service, the front of the sanctuary bearing a cross adorned with a drape of purple fabric. Sometimes we would hold a railroad spike in our hands. We would always…

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Harry Potter 3-2-1

Does Potter still require a spoiler alert, even though the last book came out in 2007? Look, if you haven’t read the HP series yet, what are you waiting for?

3 Scenes I Wish Had Been Included/Done Differently in the Movies

  1. In Deathly Hallows (part one), at Malfoy Manor, I wish the films showed Ron’s desperation to get to Hermione as she was being tortured. The movie glosses over it, but the books … it’s so intense. He can’t quit screaming her name over and over. Nine “HERMIONE!”s in four pages.20180325_1758101962818420.png2. Also in part one, after Ron destroys the locket and has had his worst fears and jealousies revealed to his bff, Harry oh-so-gently reassures him that he has never felt that way about the girl Ron loves.20180325_1758351013817964.png3. In part two, after they escape Gringotts on the back of a dragon, Ron offers up a moment of sarcasm that has them all laughing. I love this tiny pocket of joy in the midst of chaos, and I wish there had been a way to translate it to film.20180325_1758571284689930.png

 

2 Times I Cried While Reading the Books

  1. At the end of Half-Blood Prince, when the phoenix flies away.
  2. Harry’s agonizing walk into the dark forest in Deathly Hallows.

 

1 Favorite Memory of Reading the Books

  1. Reaching the Point of No Return at a hotel in Aberdeen, South Dakota, I stayed up late to finish the series, stopping every few paragraphs to count horcruxes on my fingers, utterly entranced. I wish I could watch a video of myself from that night: a girl, mind and heart racing from the power of story.

Things That Make Me Cry Lately

I have been ultra sensitive this month. My doctor says it’s not my new meds, so I’m gonna have to blame that old villain, stress.

To be clear, not everything that has made me cry is bad. Some is beautiful. Some touches my heart.

Here’s a brief list:

  • shame
  • clothes shopping
  • kittens on Instagram
  • therapy (which has been soooooo frequent)
  • a specific man online who doesn’t want me
  • men online in general
  • loneliness in general
  • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
  • my messy bedroom
  • this blog about a blind and deaf five-year-old
  • PMS
  • this powerful 11-year-old girl, whom– if my math is correct– I will be voting for as president in 2044: