Aging Gracefully, Facing Challenges, Living Healthier, Uncategorized

Thank my lucky stars

Early this morning Max (our 4-year-old border collie/golden retriever rescue baby) and I went on a walk.   As is often the case, a simple one hour walk relieved some stress and allowed me to sort out my often jumbled thoughts.

As usual, the beauty of our Houston neighborhood soothes me.  This may be hard for some to believe, and Arkansas will always be my home and have my heart, but I have grown a deep appreciation for this city.  I absolutely love how everything grows here; there is so much life!  From beloved traditionally Southern trees such as magnolia, crepe myrtle, and majestic oaks to tropical palms and giant hibiscus, they all seem to flourish.  On just a short walk I see fragrant gardenia, black-eyed susan, sage, lantana, verbena, zinnias, bougainvillea, beautiful caladium, and many other plants that I don’t know by name.  I have a vegetable and herb garden that, if I do the work, will bless us with its yield year round.  Max has a plethora of squirrels, birds, and lizards, along with the occasional opossum to alternately amuse and annoy him in this hot and humid terrarium.  Thankfully summer is my favorite season!

I also admire our Braeswood neighborhood for its variety of architecture.  From the original 50’s ranch homes, updated Craftsmen, and traditional red brick to million dollar new builds complete with outdoor kitchens and 4 car garages, I enjoy living in a community where they subsist together just as I appreciate the diversity of people in this, the 4th largest city in the United States.  I could never have imagined how much I would like it after our first few experiences with the traffic here (EEK!!!), but I’ve even learned how to work around that nightmare (at least here in my comfort zone inside The Loop).

Then, of course, there is the level of health care at our fingertips within the Texas Medical Center. This is the largest medical complex in the world with the largest and one of the most prestigious cancer hospitals in the world–MD Anderson.  That is why we are here.  MD Anderson’s doctors, nurses, and staff will always have my gratitude and admiration for what they have done for my husband along with the cardiologist from the Texas Heart Institute that took care of his valve issue with a TAVR when open heart surgery wasn’t an option. How could I NOT be thankful for being able to live in a place that has given us so much?

So, despite my posts that may lead you to believe that my life is horrible and full of angst, I do not feel that way.  I have my days….Oh, believe me, I have my days!  There are moments when problems seem so very heavy and insurmountable, and sometimes it’s tough.   However, this post was written to let you know and to remind me that I am NOT just about all the problems.  There is SO much good too.

I can’t take a walk and not feel overwhelming gratefulness.  I may have problems, but look at all my blessings.  I can take a walk alone in my neighborhood without being afraid, I can rail against the state of my country’s government if I want to without fear of retaliation,  and I can worship as I choose, freely without persecution. These are freedoms that I should never take for granted, and I count them at the top of my list of good fortunes.

Unlike so many, my husband and I currently have good health insurance which gives us access to the best healthcare in the WORLD without going into huge debt.  Also, unlike so many, we are able to continue to live comfortably even though neither of us are currently working full-time.  I am able to devote my time to being the best caregiver I can be to him, and he can devote his time to fully recovering from his stem cell transplant and treatments.  Sure, it would be nice if we were still working and could fulfill our dreams of traveling during our summers and eventually living somewhere on the ocean, but we may still get there one day.  In the meantime, we rent a nice house, have a nice car to drive, and are not ever worried about our next meal .  Our dog never has to be concerned about us running out of treats for him, the cat drinks filtered water as the vet suggested (!!!!).  We enjoy hanging out with each other (thank goodness!), and most likely BECAUSE of our problems, we have a stronger bond and deeper love than many couples.

For the moment, our worries about addiction and depression are eased by a highly regarded, safe dual-diagnosis rehab facility and some very kind as well as skilled professionals.  We have family members that love us unconditionally and are always there to help if they can. We have more friends than we ever realized that would do anything we need at a moment’s notice, and what amazing people they are!

There’s also those “little things” that I frequently mention.  I am easily amused and find beauty in many things.  I am grateful for that trait; some days it rescues me.  Flowers, sunshine, old movies, breezes, pretty ribbons, music, lizards, iced tea, pure essential oils, fresh fruit, ripe garden tomatoes, a glass of wine, photographs, kids playing, happy dogs, books of all kinds, crusty bread, lemons, rain, window washers, good coffee, colored Christmas lights, ladybugs, hammocks, pedicures, a pretty table setting, birthday candles, sparkling water, clean sheets, fresh basil, long naps, shoes, margaritas, gulf shrimp, crystal, fresh salsa, bottle trees, butterflies, recipes, wrapping packages, bluebirds, turtles, farmer’s markets, football season, bright-colored markers, good manners, happy mail, a new notebook, ice cream cones……………um, you see what I mean (easily amused)!

I am also extremely thankful for this blog and the freedom I have to share my life as I see fit–or not.  It’s great therapy for me.  So, you see….I am lucky, and I am thankful.

be grateful