About Me

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Redbanks, South Australia, Australia
Contact me if you'd like to know more about this writing group. My email address is jeebers@aussiebb.com.au

Ananka - one of our Pharaoh Hounds

Ananka - one of our Pharaoh Hounds
Ananka knows how to enjoy life - catch and eat birdies!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Trip Hazards

After last night's happenings, I've been thinking about hiring myself out as a Trip Hazard Locator. If there's something to trip over, I'll find it! It's not a safe job, but a satisfying one.

Last night I managed to trip and fall over the rug that is close to where I sit on the sofa. I stood up and walked toward our kitchen, taking my glass of water with me. One metre into my journey, trip, fall, scattering the contents of my glass and crashing down on my bottom and twisting my right foot painfully. Very, very painfully.

I can't remember the last time I felt such pain. It's OK today, a bit painful, but I can walk on it, carefully. I certainly wasn't able to do my usual Wii Fit exercises this morning. I've done one exercise this morning, and I intend lifting my small hand weights today. I have some other exercises that I do sitting down. I suspect sitting down will be how most of today is going to go.

Exercise is important to me. I have Multiple Sclerosis, MS, and I'm working at staying up and walking. The more I do, the more I can do. So, perhaps I won't do the Trip Hazard Locator job, I might end up too damaged!

Trips in the home, though, are a constant issue with people like me. I have what's called 'foot drop' in my right leg. The muscles on my right side are weaker than my left side, because of the damage I have in my Central Nervous System. It's quite a common thing for people who have MS. I have an orthotic device which assists me, but I rarely use this when I'm just sitting around at home.

Perhaps if I'd been wearing my 'foot up' device, I wouldn't have tripped last night. I don't know, but it's something to think about. When a person has something like MS, they have lots of things to think about. From which shoes to wear, to the weather being too hot or OK, you need to think about the issues and possible consequences of making the wrong decisions.

Life has become a more mindful thing for me. I have given myself permission to sit and think, and I'm finding great calm from this. If I have a thing I want to do, I'll consider the thing, and usually plan it in a way that makes it work. In the past, I might have just gone and done it, or tried to do it, but failed. Now days my tasks are planned well, and they work. My MS hasn't ruined my life, it's remade my life.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Promoting Happiness for All

'If you adjust what you want to what you can achieve, you will be happy with what you get.'

Often what people want is completely at odds with what they need. Getting what you want, but ignoring what you need can lead to an unhappy life.

If you have enough food, good shelter and people to love who love you, you have enough. Wanting more than that is one of the reasons for dissatisfaction in life. People living in the Western World are being conned by big business, and we're told we should get everything we want.

This is a thing that leads to happiness for big business perhaps, but not for ordinary people.

Being satisfied with simple things in your life can be the most wonderful feeling in the world. Those simple things can be precious to the person who can see their true value.

I'm satisfied with my family and friends, my dogs and the good food I have every day.

That is what I need in my life, and that is what I get.

I am a Happy Person!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How I try to live my life

Now, I'm not saying my way is the best way to live life, I'm just going to tell my own way. We're all different, and if the way you live your life works for you, and you're enjoying you life, well done.

That said, I know there are many people suffering because they hate the life they're living. It's a terrible thing, suffering through life, when life is there to be loved and enjoyed. If you think there are huge things in the way, and you'll never be able to enjoy life until those things are gone, well, you may be thinking the wrong way about things.

Money, good health, friends, fame, these things are great if you have them, but many people have them and still don't enjoy their life. Then there are people who seem to have nothing, but seem happy. How is it so?

Well, I've been thinking about these things in the past year and a half. I've come to the realisation, and I'm backed up by others far more learned than me, that our happiness comes from within, not from outside of us. When you look at a child playing, they can seem so happy, sitting on the ground and making things with blocks, or sticks and dirt.

If we can go back to our childhood and find joy and happiness with such simple things, we can live a happy life forever, if we let ourselves do it. I have a family I love and who love me, I have a house, enough money, and moderately good health. I also have friends who love or at least care about me. I am able to be listened to, and have my words read by others. I am HAPPY!

I couldn't be much happier than I am right now (well, if I had another car to replace the one I wrecked, that might do it!). So, I wrecked my car, did I plunge into depression? No, I was sad, but so relieved to be uninjured and alive still. I also met some wonderful people the night my car crashed. Wonderful people who did all they could to help me, when they could easily have just driven on, and left me there.

I was so thrilled to see again that there are still lovely, caring people in the world. That is one of my strongest feelings about the night I wrecked my car. I've been able to write two poems about the night too, and I suspect my creative writing about the night yet again is part of what helped me to get through a thing that could have been traumatic.

So, anyway, if I can live a happy life, living as I do with a chronic illness with no cure, and with no car at the moment, what's holding you back? Smile and take a good look at your life - if you can wake up and get out of bed without too much pain, that's surely the beginning of a happy day, so SMILE!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Every Day is a New Day!

When you wake up in the morning, do you look forward to a brand new day of things to see and do? Or do you wake up and dread what's going to happen?

I hope the first is the one for you, not the second. Your own attitude to your life is the most important part of the things that impact on your day. It's your day, and it's your own responsibility to a large extent.

If you wake up and can only think of the bad things planned for the day, it might be time to consider the things in life that are good. If you wake up and are able to get out of bed, you're better off than some people. If you have things in your kitchen to have for breakfast, you're better off than millions of others.

If you have a job to go to, even if it's a job you hate, well at least you have a job, many have no job and no money coming in.

When I wake up, I look out of my window and look at the piece of sky I can see. Blue sky and fluffy clouds mean a nice sunny day, black clouds mean rain for my trees and plants outside and the possibility of a rainbow!

When you  wake up tomorrow morning, think about these things, and consider what you have to look forward to, get out of bed, ready to enjoy it all - it's all up to you!

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The World is not all Black and White

When I realised there are always lots of side to every story, that it's not all either/or right/wrong black/white, my world opened up and became a better world. The world and its people are multi-hued. I may be right, but some of what you say is right too, or maybe is right for you but not for me.

We all need to give others the right to have ideas and stories of their own, whenever we can. I live a happy life, with love and caring from my family and friends. Money is an issue sometimes, so is health, but life can continue to be happy anyway.

These thoughts were prompted by something I read on Facebook, from Mind Recipes. They have many interesting and enlightening things to say there, I heartily recommend you visit them.

I love finding interesting things and following the path my thoughts take me with my musing. As a writer and poet, I am also a thinker. My forms of writing help me to understand how I feel and what I think. If you are ever troubled, I suggest you could get out a piece of paper and write out your troubled thoughts.

It might lead you to a solution or at least bring your mind to a better place. Writing in a journal has been a saviour for many people. Why not give it a try? If you have a journal, please tell me about it, I'd love to hear your stories about journal writing.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Words of Wisdom from my Facebook Page

I'm often inspired by the words of others when I'm flitting around Facebook. I saw something on someone else's Facebook Page which prompted some thinking and I ended up something that encapsulates my attitude to life.
These words seem true to me, and may be useful to some people. I've slowly come to realise that my way of thinking is not the same as everyone else's way of thinking. I'm not saying my way is the best way. I just know that I live a far happier life than most people.

Life becomes much easier and more pleasant when you refuse to label things as bad. Things happen, you deal with them, life goes on. No problems, only challenges, and challenges help you to grow into the person you were always meant to be.
This is the way I live my life, and I'm living a great life!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Poetry and Life

I've been thinking a lot about life and ways to live a good life recently. I feel these thoughts have been brought on by my need to stay in a positive mood as much as I possibly can.

I've had some things happen in my life, some good things and some bad things. Everyone could probably say the same thing. At some stage I seem to have made an unconscious decision to look to the good things in life and not get all caught up in the bad things.

One of the tools I've used to do this is creative writing. I've been consistently writing short stories, longer stories and poetry for more than half of my life now. My writing has brought me joy and has brought joy to other people too.

Bringing happiness to people is a major need in my life - I'm a people focused person. If I can give someone else a smile, it makes me happy as well as making the other person happy.

I recently wrote a poem, which I posted to a website Triond. I have much writing on that site, about all kinds of things. My writing on Triond brings some money, but not very much. The most important thing it brings me is connection with other people. Feel free to having a look at my Triond profile and have a read of some of my writing. If anything interests you, please leave a comment, I'd love to read what you think. It's all about connections, good connections.

The particular poem is about resilience. I recently read a book all about resilience and it struck a chord with me. I realised that I'm a resilient person - things happen to me but I always bounce back. I hope with my writing I can help others to find resilience.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Musings from the Library 8

This is the penultimate musing from the Library. I will visit the Tea Tree Gully Library many more times of course, but I don't know whether I will ever find the same inspiration there again. That day back in early September felt like I was with something kind and wise and beautiful.

I was more than happy to sit at the library and take in the thoughts and write them down as they occurred to me. The sharing that had happened since that day has been inspiring too, and I hope people who come across these thoughts will feel a beautiful sense of rightness, as I felt on that day.

So here is the second to last musing from the library:


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Musings from the Library 7

Another of my thoughts for you. Some people are too afraid to try new things because they fear failure. Failure isn't a thing to fear though, it's a thing to be proud of. Having a go can be the scariest thing, but the most satisfying thing in the world.

I have published my first poetry collection after years of wanting and wishing. It felt scary to do it, but the finished book and the wonderful comments I've received from readers of it have been absolutely wonderful.

I still have books from that first print run left, but I've barely begun the marketing side of the equation yet. I'll be going out and talking to groups about the content of the collection soon, and things will take off from there.

Regarding my poetry collection 'damaged children Precious Gems'

I tried and succeeded, now to try something new!

If you'd never tried and failed, you've set the bar too low.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Musings from the Library 6

Here's another of my thoughts from that thinking day a few weekends ago. I love libraries, have done since I was a little tacker catching the bus into Adelaide with my mum and brothers.
I always used to love poking around the book shelves there. Now Graham and I (sometimes Jake too) go to the Tea Tree Gully library monthly, Graham visits the council library in Adelaide, and I go to the Gawler and Mallala/Two Wells libraries occasionally. You can’t go wrong in a library, not with all of those lovely books there waiting for you…

Open yourself to the world – the rewards will flow to you.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Musings from the Library 5

I find a lot of peace from watching Nature, in particular our feather friends who fly in to visit and live their lives where I can see them. The following words mean a lot to me, you may feel differently. As long as you have at least one thing that brings you happiness in life, make sure you cherish that thing.

If you can find no pleasure in the flight of birds, happiness may elude you.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Musings from the Library 4

I shared some of these thoughts with friends at our writing meeting last night, and this one particularly resonated with one friend.

Failures are simply necessary steps on the way to success.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Musings from the Library 3

Another of my thoughts from that day at the Tea Tree Gully library. Being in that place with so many books and people who love books leads my mind to thinking deeply...

Whatever you are doing, search for the joy in the doing of it. Happiness will be there with you.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Musings from the library 2

Here is another of my thoughts from that day at the Tea Tree Gully library

Being kind to others brings its own rewards, and being kind to yourself can be the best thing in the world.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Musings from the Library

I was at the Tea Tree Gully library yesterday. I'd found enough books to see me through the coming month, so I sat down to have a fine cup of coffee and a yummy biscuit. As I sat and sipped and nibbled, I glanced through a book sitting on a table nearby.
The clever aphorisms, words from wise people from the past, set my mind to thinking and I found some words of my own and keyed them into my calendar on my phone. Are they wise words? Read them and see for yourself, I'll post one every now and then. This the first in the series-

Be proud of your failures, the cleverest in the world are those who fail, but continue on until they get it right.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Working and loving it!

I began working this week. The work is at the MS Society office in Modbury, a suburb of Adelaide, South Australia. I'm going to be working 15 hours a week. Five hours a day, three days a week. So, on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, I'll be heading off for the 45 minute drive. I start at 10am and finish at 3pm.

I wasn't entirely sure I could do this, but, judging by my first two days this week, it's going to be great. I've enjoyed the work so far and I'm excited about the project I'm working on. This job is a work placement and is the final piece of the journey started with studying for the Certificate 4 Community Services Work.

I completed the study part, and now I am going to do 140 hours of this work placement, then I will have earned the qualification. There is no money for this work, but the experience I will gain as I put what I have learned into practice, will be invaluable. I have an illness, Multiple Sclerosis, and the people in my workplace know exactly what I need, and what I can and can't do. It's good not having to explain everything if I feel I have to sit down for a rest.

It may be harder work than just staying home doing not much at all, but I want to do this. And if it does get more difficult, I'll keep on as best I can. I certainly won't let that stop me from following my dream of helping people to find their best life possible, no matter what is handed to them.

I'm living my dream life, and I don't see why other people shouldn't be able to do the same.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A thought for your consideration

You can't buy happiness, nor can someone else give it to you. 

You already have all the happiness you'll ever need, 

right there inside of you. 

Let your inner happiness out 

and live a great life.

This thought came to me this morning and I was compelled to share it with others. 
It is now  on my Facebook page and I put it on Twitter as well. Feel free to share this
idea with other people.
Smile, the world can never have too much happiness.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Sometimes your Friends aren't really Friends

Do you know anyone who always brings you down? You know, the sort of person who can only see the bad things in life? Do you listen to them and maybe try to help them see the good things, to no avail?

If you know someone like that, who constantly undermines your positive attitude and who just can't or won't see the good things in life, it can be deadly to your happiness. If you've known this person for a long time and they've always been like this, do you wonder sometimes why you bother?

Well, if, despite all of your efforts to help them, they haven't changed, maybe it's time to make the tough decision and let them go. These kinds of people can be leeches, sucking the good from you and leaving you weak and with your happiness levels sadly depleted.

People can't be made happy by the actions of others, personal happiness is up to each person. You can't make someone happy if that person refuses to try to be happy. And if your friend is sad, well that's not because of you either. Your friend may not realise it, but because of the way they think about things, they're making themselves sad.

So, how about you have a quiet chat with your friend and let them know you've decided to look to your own happiness first, and you don't feel you're helping them by listening to them whinge and complain. It will be tough to do it, if you've always been there for them, but unless you let them go, you'll both be suffering from the friendship.

This friend needs to find their own happiness, and you need to protect yours from their negativity. You can both gain from this action.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Thinking About 'Good'

Lately I've been thinking about and writing about the Power of Good. Doing good for others, the power of good to improve my life and the lives of others and in fact the power of Good to improve the whole world.

You see, it seems to me that religions around the world aren't able to decide on the best way to live your life, so that you have a good life and other people do too. Of course there are some special people from particular religions who do wonderful things to help other people. Jesus seems to have been one of these people. So does the Buddha.

But these two people, and others like them connect with the power of Good. Doing good for other people is a wonderful thing - it makes you feel good, it makes the person you're helping feel good and it makes people who hear about it feel good too. This is if you do good in an open hearted and kind way. If you only do good things because you have to and you resent having to do it, it won't have the good consequences for you.

I believe in keeping an open heart, and believing in the old glass half full view of life. My life has troubles, sure, most lives have troubles. But by seeing the good things in my life, and concentrating on those good things, I live a happy life.

Are you living a happy life? Are you celebrating the good things in your life? These two things go together, that's what I think. Do you believe that too? Tell me about your life, I'd love to read your story.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Live a Good Life, Enjoy Your Life

If you can enjoy your life, you will most likely consider you are living a good life.

A life made up of many stresses and strains will never be a good life. Stresses and strains make it to hard to find enjoyment. Living a simple life, and being happy with whatever you have, make it so much easier to have fun and enjoyment.

So if you're fighting to get the new best thing, maybe you could think clearly about it. Will that thing truly make you happy for long, or only for a short while. Then the next new best thing will pop up and you'll be stressing and straining to get one for yourself.

I find pleasure in being at one with Nature, and in other simple things in life. I truly am living a good life and enjoying my life!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Practicing Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of being in the present rather than thinking about the past or the future. People who practice mindfulness tend to be calm people who live with minimal stress.

This is the way I try to live my life. I try not to worry about things, and I try not to go over and over the things that go wrong in my life. Being mindful helps me to stay open to all of the good things in my life.

The sun is shining, or the stars are, the winds, the rain, the many creatures living near me - all of these are things that are good in my life. I have issues, the same as everyone else does, but I don't allow these issues and bad thoughts to damage my life.

While I am alive and able to see the good things, I can remain happy. Being happy brings actual physical benefits. Happiness can help you to live longer. There was a study of nuns in America which showed the happier nuns lived longer and more joyful lives.

I'm aiming at living to be as close to 100 as I can, and I want to remain as well as I can, and happy too. I'm not halfway there yet in time, but I'm certainly there in terms of happiness!

One thing I love to do is to sit outside and connect with Nature. I watch the insects and birds, I watch the clouds and the trees and I just sit and watch. I concentrate on my slow, slow breathing, innnnnnnnnnnnnn, outtttttttttt, innnnnnnnnnnnnnn, outtttttttttt. My mind slows with my breathing and worries don't invade my peaceful place. Nature is my guide and my god. When I sit with Nature, everyday worries disappear for me. This is my way of mindful meditation.

This is what works for me to stay as happy and healthy as I can. I hope everyone else can live a happy and healthy life too!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Time for a Health Update

In my last post here I mentioned my doctor taking foot scrapings to send off to be tested. Yesterday I saw a doctor to find out the results. It wasn't my usual doctor because she wasn't available, it was the other doctor who works there.

This doctor is funny, and seems to do a good job too. We chatted about my writing, and various things, then he asked to have a look at my right foot. I took off my shoe and sock and showed him my foot. He had a good look, said it looked OK and told me to keep up with the treatment I was doing.

This is Klonea ointment rubbed in, once in the morning and again at night. He added another point - I was to not go to bed straight away after the night treatment, but to leave my sock off for at least half an hour before bed. This, I think, is to makes sure my foot has the ointment rubbed in and then gets dry before my sock goes on. Dryness helps a lot if you have fungal issues.

I asked about the test results from the skin scrapings, expecting that it showed that I did in fact have a fungal problem. That wasn't the case though. The test was negative for fungal things when looked at with a microscope. He continued on to say the scrapings were put aside to grow a culture to see what came up. There may be a result from that within a fortnight. I'm to check back again then.

This is a kind of creepy thing, when you think about it. Someone I don't know has taken a part of me to try to create a living organism. I'm thinking science fiction and mad scientists here! Spooky!

Have you ever thought about these things? Ever had a doctor doing things to you or with bits of you that seems weird? I like my doctors, but still, it got me thinking!

I'd love to hear what you think about it all!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Keeping Going so I can Keep On Going!

Well, I've gone quite a few days without falling, so I'm happy about that. I've been to see my doctor about a test result and to let her look at my foot rash. The test result was good, and dr and I both agreed the rash looks like it's getting better.

At least with both agreed it didn't look as bad as it did the last time she saw it. Dr hasn't made any guesses about what has caused the rash, apart from saying it might be fungal, so I've been rubbing Klonea into my right foot twice a day. The itching is getting a bit better, so that could well be the answer.

When I saw her on Friday, she took some scrapings from my foot to send off the check whether that is indeed what the rash is all about. There has been nothing said about why I may have got this rash. I've had itchy feet before, but I've certainly never had a rash like I've had on my foot for the past month.

It doesn't really matter I guess, it's just another weird thing my body has done to me. I certainly haven't read about foot rashes and multiple sclerosis. I suppose not everything that occurs to me is necessarily related to MS. It's just that MS is at the forefront of my mind so often.

Over a year ago, I could go for a walk, have a lovely warm bath and never have to worry about becoming incapacitated. Well, that may not actually be quite true. In the several year lead up to my MS diagnosis, I did have a few nasty falls. I simply put it down to one of those things and never considered there may have been an actual reason for the falls beyond clumsiness.

Now, I realise the falls may have been a sign that all was not well in my body. Now, I tend to look at everything that happens to me as a sign. I'm not sure which is worse - my former cluelessness, or my current over-attentiveness. I wish I could forget about MS and just go back to how things used to be.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Falling Over and Getting Back Up Again

Well it's been a funny kind of week, this past seven days. It started out last week with me feeling quite well, and deciding to do some watering of our garden.

This went well until I took the hose and nozzle out to the front of our place. The hose got caught up with a wheelbarrow lying over on its side, stopped me suddenly and then CRASH, over I went, landing on my right knee and palm of my right hand.

I got up, brushed myself off and considered the damage... hmm not too bad, and the hose was pushing out the water still. I picked up the nozzle to start watering the plants on the front veranda when CRASH, down again, on my well padded bottom this time.

I got up again, a little more slowly, but it seemed all of my bits were still working OK. So I watered the plants on the front veranda, ferns, cactus, some kind of arum lily, muntrie plants, pelargonium, and more cactus. I filled up the bird bath which is about twenty metres away, watered the two salt bush trees forty metres from the front door, then headed to the back yard to turn off the hose again.

After that, I took the well earned rest I needed and had a think about the whole thing. I felt a little shaken up, but not too badly damaged. That was all OK and the next couple of days continued on, with me remaining standing when I was meant to and only sitting on my bottom when I wanted to.

By Sunday, I was feeling fine. I had a slight bruise on my right knee, and that was it. I was excited because that afternoon was a poetry event at my favourite library, the Tea Tree Gully Library.

I drove to the library with the two poems I wanted to read there and had a great time greeting my friends. There was the launch of two friends' books - Helen Lindstrom with 'Cold Comfort' and Sharon Kernot with 'Wash Day Pockets'. The books were beautifully launched by Louise Nicholas, we all had a short break and the poetry readings began.

The poems read were all fantastic, and I was feeling so pleased that I'd gone along for the afternoon. Then the MC, Gary MacRae called my name. I left my walking stick at my seat and only took my poems with me. I thought I wouldn't need my stick to walk that short way to the microphone. I was wrong.

CRASH, again, over on the same poor right knee. My poems fluttered down with me and I stayed down, briefly considering staying there and crying. It was only very brief though, people, my friends, asked if I was OK and whether I needed any help. I said I was OK, accepted help from a lovely lady whose name I don't remember, took my poems someone had picked up for me, and proceeded to the microphone.

A friend brought me my walking stick and I spoke to the crowd of people watching me, my audience.

'Now that I have your attention...' I began, to relieved laughter from all.

I settled into reading my work, relieved that it was all going well, and so glad that I'd been able to turn my near disaster into something more, something empowering almost for me.

I have an illness, multiple sclerosis (MS) which upsets my balance and makes these kinds of incidences happen, but I'm proud of the way I was able to get up again, and do what I had to do with humour and grace.

If I can keep my sense of humour, and act in a way that shows the good things I can do then I will stay happy that I'm living my life in the very best way possible.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Thoughts about Mindfulness and Multiple Sclerosis

Thinking about the things that ail you can be a good thing or it can be a bad thing. Or, of course, it can be a ho hum neutral thing.

If a person thinks about things that go wrong with their health, and don't ever come to a resting point where they can think, OK, that's sorted out, on to the next thing, that can be very bad. If that occurs, a person may go over and over the same thing, never leaving it alone, and constantly adding terrible new things to the burden that weighs them down.

I have met and read of people who have Multiple Sclerosis like this. They almost wear their disease as a badge of some morbid kind of honour that says - 'I have MS, my life is worse than anyone else's life, woe is me!'

I could have taken this path when I became ill and was diagnosed with MS a year ago. I could have, but I chose not to. I wrote about my illness, shared it with others, wrote poems about it, studied it and thought about it.

My thinking about it wasn't round and round in circles thinking. My thinking was more 'OK, this is what I have, what comes next?' I left myself open to new ideas, and new ways of dealing with what I have. The old 'Use it or Lose it' adage was said to me often enough and by people I respected, that I had to pay attention to it.

Late last year, this adage led me to an exercise program that suited me and my circumstances. I began doing exercises with my Wii Fit Plus machine. This had lots of things that help with balance and one of the things that affects most people with MS is their lack of good balance.

I posted details about my Wii Fit program on my Facebook page and have received lots of positive feedback from my Facebook Friends. I have also inspired other people to get out their own Wii Fit disks and balance board and have another go at it.

I love hearing these kinds of stories, and it has helped me stay focused. Thinking about all of this and being at peace with my body as I help to keep it moving have helped me to. I pay attention to what my body says, resting if I have to, extending what I do if I can.

Listening to my own body, watching Nature as I sit outside and making connections and listening and responding to other people are all parts of my journey in this stage of my life. I hope my life will continue to get better and better as my journey continues. Please join with me as I travel!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Feeling OK with MS

Well, in my part of South Australia we've finally shaken summer off, at least for a week or so by the look of it. A couple of days ago with had over 47mm of rain in our gauge and a mini lake where our front driveway goes. That water has dried up now, but it's still cool and lovely outside not too hot!

I used to complain about cool and cold weather, but since MS hit me bad a year ago, I've learned to love it being colder. Summer is really bad for me, and for most people who have multiple sclerosis.

Now that the weather is cooler, I feel a little more able to walk around more. If I get too warm though, that's it, time to sit and rest again. Today I did a load of washing and happily started hanging it all out on the line when it was finished. I got most of the washing hung up, then the sunshine started and my fumbles got worse.

I dropped one peg for every five that I took from the peg basket and I was starting to think I wouldn't be able to complete my task. I gave myself a kind but still stern talking to and eventually the job was done. Now the washing is flapping around, waving at me to let me know it's nearly dry. I'm not sure whether I'm going to bring it in, or whether I'll ask Jake to do it.

I think I'll just leave it another hour and decide then. One of the most important things I've learned since I got MS is to listen to what my body says, and to take care of myself. So that's what I'm doing. My body knows best what I can and can't do at any time.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I love Cool Weather

In my former life (everything before this time last year), I liked warm weather and even hot weather didn't bother me that much. Then MS - Multiple Sclerosis - came along a year ago.

Now, if the weather gets too hot, or my core body temperature gets too high, my body protests - my muscles don't work at all well and my balance goes crazy. The combination is only funny if you're not me, and you're an unkind person.

I try to keep cool, especially after my last venture out on a warm day, a week ago. That day was supposed to end up with a fun meeting with my Thursday night writing group, who I love. Instead, it ended up with me staying home because I didn't feel up to driving anywhere, and forgetting to let relevant people know I wasn't going to go.

That's all OK now, I apologised and I hope I'm forgiven. Today is another Thursday, and the meeting tonight looks like it's going to be truly special. We have a guest coming to tell us about Japanese Poetry and I'm so keen to hear more, and also to have the guest come along - Nigel Ford is his name - he's a great guy and a fine poet.

Anyway, the reason why I'm sure I'll be fine to get to the meeting tonight is because the weather is being kinder to my body and me. The maximum temperature for the past few days, and today is mid twenties, and that is much easier on my body.
Because it's cooler, my Wii Fit exercise program is going better, and my mobility is improving.

MS is definitely one of those 'Use it or Lose it' things - the more I do, within reason, the more I can do. As long as I listen to my body, this works well. Last week, when it didn't go so well, I hadn't been listening to my body.

I know I should keep cool, so as long as I do that, have water to drink as much as I can, life is good. It isn't just having MS that can give a person issues with the weather. We will all get on better by paying attention to what our own bodies are actually telling us.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I need to care more for my body

The past few days my Wii Fit program is stumbling a little. For the past few weeks I was easily doing 30 minutes of Wii Fit exercises and more. I've struggled to get to 30 minutes for the past few days though.

I'm not sure why exactly that is, but I'm still putting the time in. I just take a short rest in between exercises as needed. My body knows what it needs and I need to listen to what my body says.

I went to a funeral today, and only did what I easily could. But I won't congratulate myself too much, because I forgot to do some things to help myself. It would have been good if I'd brought cold water with me. It would also have been good if I'd worn my special cool scarf.

I got this scarf from the MS Society, two of them actually. They soak up water and stay cool for ages. Tomorrow, if I go out, I'm going to wear my scarf! It goes around my neck, looks good and keeps me cool, who could ask for anything more?

Anyway, tomorrow morning, I'll get up and do my Wii Fit exercise. I have no expectations of how it will go, I'll just have to see how it goes. At least I'm doing something to help my body to help me!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My Life isn't always Sweet and Rosy

The other day I had a bit of a collapse after getting home and parking on my front lawn. I couldn't get up by myself and had to wait for my son to get home from school and get a neighbour to help. The wait was about 30-45 minutes, but I was in the shade of my car, so it wasn't too terrible, just uncomfortable. (and to be honest, a little bit scary).
I wasn't kind enough to my body that day and I paid the price. I'm being much kinder to myself now, hoping to ward off another collapse. I now have had a vivid reminder of what can go wrong for me with the effects of my multiple sclerosis (MS)and heat. It's summer in Australia where I live, my first summer after being diagnosed with MS nearly a year ago.
I have notice if I get too hot when I'm out, I don't drive my little maunual Holden Barina as well as if I'm not tired and hot. I have a little trouble keeping the right amount of pressure on the accelerator. My foot wants to ease off and I have to carefully put just the right amount of pressure on. I've had my driving ability assessed though and I was deemed to be good enough to drive, so that's a good thing.
We have two cars, the other is bigger, an automatic Holden Anventra, with cruise control, which makes it easier to drive.
If I really need the automatic, Graham is happy enough for me to have it. Tomorrow though, he's driving into Adelaide to do our fruit and veg shopping at the Adelaide Central Market, and he wants the bigger car and I've said that's OK. I have something happening in Gawler tomorrow afternoon. If the weather's OK, I should be OK, but if it's too warm, I'll just stay home. Such is life. I'm all right with that.
So yes, there are less than pleasant things that happen in my life, but overall, I know I'm lucky, and I have a good time. I hope you can say the same thing.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Having multiple sclerosis

There are quite a few things about having multiple sclerosis (ms) that are bad. The fatigue, the muscle weakness, the side effects from medication, the memory and other mind problems, the fine motor skill deficit I have and probably other things I'd remember if I didn't have MS.

And of course there's the biggish bad thing and that is the awful thing of having to give myself an injection in the thigh once a week. It's not a tiny needle into the skin, it's a big needle into the muscle of my thigh. I used to be scared of needles. I'm not scared of them any more, I just don't like them much!

I can't walk for long distances, and hot weather makes my symptoms worse. Getting too hot or getting stressed make it all worse. Fortunately, sitting and chatting are good for me, so that's what I like to do. I'm lucky that I'm not one of the people with MS who has eye problems, so that's a good thing. I like to read, so that hasn't been taken away from me by my disease.

My handwriting has become even worse than it used to be, and sometimes driving, particularly driving our manual Barina, is a bit difficult. But staying at home and reading and writing are things I like to do anyway, so it good from that point of view. I'm able to continue my study (Cert IV in Community Service Work), so by the middle of the year I'll have a qualification, if all goes well. Then, who know what I might end up doing.

My disease might open up new avenues for me, working in some kind of support role, (but not physical support - I'm not strong enough for that) in the community sector. I love to help people and I know more about the disability sector from the users' side!

Having MS has taught me even more that seeing the positives in life leads to a better outlook on life. I can imagine better things and better ways to be living, and it could be a lot worse. Complaining about things to others will only make me sad, and lead to people not wanting to be with me. I'm working to stay upbeat so people will enjoy being with me.

If you have any thoughts about any of these things, please leave a message and we can talk further about it.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Counting My Blessings

I am having a good day today. My aim is to be able to say that same thing each and every day. Of course, it can be difficult some days to be able to declare it a good day, but that is still my aim, every day.

Today the weather is kind to me - not too hot or too cold, and not raining. It's a cloudy day, but I like cloudy days, so that is not a bad thing. There is a good breeze, so that the washing that's hanging on the clothesline will dry nicely before the day becomes cool.

I helped to hang the washing out without too many problems - some days just hanging the clothes out isn't possible for me. That is one of the problems with having MS, you can never be sure how much you'll be able to do on any given day. Cooler days are better days for most MSers.

The warmer weather we've had so far this summer (I live in South Australia) has been a challenge to my moblility. This is my first summer since my first exacerbation (collapse from MS), so I'm learning the sad truth about what it means to my body when I get too hot.

The sad truth is that being hot brings back the symptoms of my fist collapse - muscle weakness on my right hand side and fatigue if I do too much. Sometimes just standing up is doing too much.

I'm one of the lucky people with MS though - I have weakness, but I have no physical pain at all. I am irritated at my body refusing to do things for me, but that is much better than having pain. I am grateful, so grateful for that!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Use it or Lose it

Many people with an illness that affects mobility are advised that they must keep active and exercise or they may find their mobility capacity lessens. I have Multiple Sclerosis - MS (diagnosed in February 2010), and I have been told by my neurologist and others that it is important to do more to retain my ability to do more.

My neuro said I should walk for half and hour every other day, the MS Society advise clients to go to exercise classes, or just keep active. The MS Society in SA has exercise classes for clients. I have attended classes in the past and intend to do so again soon.

I found connecting with other people living with MS was wonderful. These people know what I'm trying to deal with, because they live with it themselves. I don't have to explain how MS fatigue feels, because they've felt it too.

I've begun a program at home of doing Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus exercises, aiming at doing half an hour every day. This has been going well for almost one month. I started out doing as much as I could, which was only a few minutes at the start. Now I do half an hour of Wii Fit almost every day.

I don't know if this is actually doing me good physically, but I feel good in myself to be doing something to try to help myself. It feels empowering, and when your body is not working well for you, it's great to have something that makes you feel good about yourself.

My personal Wii Fit program is one I came up with myself - I do things that are easy, like deep breathing, and exercises that at harder such as Bird's Eve View. This exercise involves flapping arms like wings and landing on targets. It's fun but tiring!

The MS Society SA has done a trial of Wii Fit recently and I'm hoping to get a copy of their report on it soon. They had Physical Therapy students work with clients at exercise classes, trying out various Wii Fit exercises to see which had the most benefit for the people with MS.

I have written and published online two articles about exercise. They are here:

Exercise must be habit

and Use it or Lose it

This Use it or Lose it mantra isn't just for people with MS. Lots of people are affected by illness or disability and could benefit from increasing their level of exercise. It's important to consult with your medical advisers before you do too much though. Some people could do damage by doing too much exercise, or doing the wrong kind of exercise.

People without illness could benefit from having an exercise program too. It is too easy to just chill out in front of the TV and do nothing. A short walk after dinner instead would have health benefits and increase your sense of inner well being.

It's up to you - Use It or Lose It!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Multiple Sclerosis brings me a New Life Focus

I've decided this blog though is going to be my blog where I can talk about my health condition. You see, nearly a year ago, I had a collapse of sorts and went through a new medical journey to find out what was wrong with me. I have written about this and posted poetry and articles on the internet about it. I also had a lot of help with my Facebook friends who supported and advised me. This helped me considerable.

Knowing I wasn't alone made me feel that I could get through the tests and waiting and then life readjustments that my new medical condition entailed. In February last year (2010) I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). This was a bit of a shock, but mostly it was a relief to find out what was causing the weird things that were happening to me.

The diagnosis has caused some changes, but for the most part my life is still the same. My writing is still one of the major interests in my life, and my life plans are still in place, even though the actioning the plans has shifted slightly and slowed down quite a bit.

Now, I'm almost feeling like things are becoming more under control and I am working out what things are important to me and what things I can let go of.

This blog, poor thing, has been languishing here on the edges of the bloggoshpere. I was so keyed up and eager to reach out to the greater creative world back in January 2009.

I started out posting to this site regularly, writing about the various ways of expressing creativity. I've blogged about writing, art, cooking and various other things. But life did its usual trick of getting in the way, and my posts became rarer and rarer.

I got too excited about this whole blogging thing, and over extended myself. Now I have six Blogspot blogs (plus a few extras that I don't know how to delete). So I try to post to my main Blogspot blogs as often as I can manage to organise myself to do, and the others rarely get any real action. People sometimes accidentally visit, but there's no connection felt between them and me.

So from now on, I will post at least once a week to this blog, writing about MS and its impact on my life. I will also post links to my relevant other pieces of writing. I post my writing mostly to an online site - Triond.com. If my writing is viewed by others, I can earn a little bit of money!

As a person without a proper paid job, earning my own money helps me feel I'm playing my part in life. I don't earn much, but then, I don't need much - I get money from the government and my husband has a full time job.

Writing is the one thing that helps me stay balanced, when my body is going so far out of balance! So that's it. Come and join me here to find out about one person's life with multiple sclerosis.

Waiting for night to come

Waiting for night to come
I love sunsets