Nature Nurturing

We’ve seen the perfect blend of summery sun and rain here in Southwest Missouri this past week.  We’re usually roasting in nearly 100*F/38*C by this time in August, but we’ve had gorgeous 77-80*F/21-27*C days.   Thanks to the recent weather, nature is lush and bursting with color all over the place around us!  The forecast says it will only last another day or two, but it has been a delicious treat while it lasts and a balm for these many months during Covid-19.

A large forested area lies both north and south of our neighborhood with a good sized river about a mile down the road. It has both a well-maintained river access spot and, a little further down the road, an old, reallocated bridge that serves as the entrance for a greenways trail that winds through and circles our city. Additionally, our neighborhood has a little landscaped lake with a walking path, bridge, water feature, bird houses, and a bench along the shore. On Wednesday of this last week MS kindly lent me a decent enough day that I drove to the river in the morning and spent some time soaking in the views from the bridge at the trail’s head. After lunch, I headed off for a lovely, cane-assisted stroll around the lake.  There were butterflies everywhere in both places! They somehow managed to lift my spirits on their tiny little wings and carry them about as they soared around and flitted and fluttered here and there. Similarly, as I rested a couple of times on my way around the lake in the afternoon, I found myself smiling as I tried to follow the dizzying courses of dozens of dragonflies going nowhere and everywhere at once. What funny little creatures! Oh, and don’t worry, there are plenty of bird and cat photos below too😻!

This past Friday was an exciting day when…my new camera arrived!!! As you peruse the photos below, see if you can guess which ones I took with my point-and-shoot and which ones were with my new DSLR. The new camera inspired me to branch out and find a new photo editing app to play around with. It’s pretty safe to say I have a lot to learn. As an example, I hadn’t been messing around with the camera for more than five minutes before I realized I needed to invest in a more versatile lens. Some lessons are pricey 😉! No worries though, I am having fun and can’t wait to learn and grow my skills (and lens collection!). It was time for the upgrade because I needed another sit-down hobby to add to my arsenal of things to do when the MS monster has me lashed to the couch. 

Speaking of MS, my next Ocrevus infusion is at the end of this month. Let’s see, this will be my second full dose which means I’ve been on it for 18 months. For the first time since starting it I think I’m experiencing the “crap gap” I’ve heard other MSers describe just before their next dose. My already ridiculous fatigue intermixed with poor balance, endurance, gait, bladder issues, clumsiness, sluggish word finding, and occasional cog-fog have all ratcheted up to the next level over the last few days. I hope topping the tank with more O-juice knocks my symptoms back down to the previous notch.

Part I: Riparian and Lakeside Entertainment

I’m guessing it’s a northern crescent.
Common buckeye
Fiery skipper butterfly
Northern pearly-eyes
Brown-eyed Susans
Dewberries??
Blue dasher
House Finch before the rain.
House finch during the rain.
House finch after the rain.
Mourning Dove trying to stay dry.
Same dove after the rain.
Female house finch with Niger all over her beak; steady rain.
I NEVER pass up the opportunity to snap pics of this skittish Red-bellied woodpecker. BONUS: Carolina chickadee 🙂
“Who said that?”
Suet on the tip of this chickadee’s beak.
Our resident nuthatch. This little thing fascinates me.
Carolina wren and female finch
My Laudy girl 😻
My Pipper boy 😻
He is Bee-A-U-tee-ful!
Her eyes! Her little whiskers!! Her white undercarriage (as hubby likes to call it)!!!
Her fur feels like crushed velvet and she insists on being held nearly all the time. What’s not to love?!
Not to be outdone, Pip is our resident lap and shoulder snuggler. He has the sweetest disposition and is an absolute riot to play fetch with. He has gorgeous golden eyes and perfectly preposterous ears!!
CRX waves to make anyone jealous.
There’s a reason hubby calls Pip “a tender little guy.” He gives the best snuggles and makes me smile.

Here we are at the end of another blog. I looked back and realized I have been posting weekly lately. I didn’t mean to, or not mean to, it just happened. Will there be another blog next week? Maybe, I guess we will both have to wait and see😁. Either way, I’m glad you stopped by for a look-see. May God be with you! Amy

The Orange

At lunchtime I bought a huge orange —
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave —
They got quarters and I had a half.

And that orange, it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park.
This is peace and contentment. It’s new.

The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all the jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you. I’m glad I exist.                                    

~Wendy Cope

Oranges are my favorite food.  Orange is the color for MS Awareness.  I love poetry and Wendy Cope writes good stuff.  Titles for my blogs are always kind of hard to settle on, but this one was easy. And so, it occurred to me that it must be time for a post.

Besides, daily and ordinary things are important. Tethers feel good when life is pitching up the sea all around you. Maybe your ordinary day looks different than it did at the beginning of the year (cough – Covid), but I hope you have found some level, familiar ground upon which to walk. Everything is pretty much the same as before for me thanks to my parasitic sidekick MS. It’s been doggone hard to walk the past couple of days, so I’m especially grateful for the little things that help me get through the endless hours of sitting. 

Cue a few of the pictures I’ve taken this week.

Part I. Light

Shiney cobweb
Sunbeam, sunbeam, I want to be a sunbeam…

Part II. Birds

The backdrop of my peaceful little backyard world.
Cigar or seed??
Somehow he reminds me of a Muppet.
A chipping sparrow’s senior portrait, perhaps?
A mourning dove perfectly displaying all the glorious colors that make it a personal fav 😍. Seriously, just look at those preposterous feet!
Friends or aquaintances?
You’ll have to indulge me, I know I take a lot of pictures of finches. Their songs, friendliness, and the sheer quantity of them at our feeders delights me.
Another senior portrait pose 😉
I get so excited to see downy woodpeckers at the feeders, but I have to be quick because they don’t hang about long.
“But above all of them ranked the chickadee because of it’s indomitable spirit.” ~ Tom Brown, Jr. – The Tracker
Titmouse delicately holding a sunflower seed.
Carolina Wren (top) carefully chosing a seed…
…deciding if he has the calories for it…
…indulging himself anyway.
Red-bellied woodpeckers always seem to be smiling about some secret delight.
This lil’ nuthatch sang his heart out just for me!!

Part III. Cats

Pip (L) and Laudy (R – pronounced LAW-dee) just after I stood up from being seated between them…
… and now they pretend the other is not there. 🙈🙉🙊

Part IV. MS

Lousy, good for nothin’, traitorous legs. But, I ❤️ my yellow Crocs 🐊!
My new shirt 🙃

Part V. The Orange

I hope you have a “huge orange” kind of day. God be with you! ~Amy

A Week Interrupted

There I was having a perfectly good day last Saturday riding around with my hubby as he ran into a couple of stores for our weekly shopping, when all of a sudden I felt a familiar pain in my lower tummy.  Within just a few minutes I felt the next stage of an all too familiar urge hit and I knew before we made it home I had a UTI.

Fun Fact: One of the most common symptoms of MS is bladder control problems.  The bladder has spasms and won’t empty completely causing frequency and urgency.  Because the bladder won’t empty completely, MSers get a UTI very easily.

Anyway, my suspicion was validated at urgent care that same Saturday afternoon and I came home with the usual round of antibiotics and some Azo to ease the pain.  I typically feel better within 24 hours, but when things felt worse by Sunday evening I knew we needed to go back to see what was going on. 

A kidney infection was what was going on.  I got a different script for a stronger antibiotic for the next seven days and then a thigh-full of another one.  They warned me it would hurt as they added Lidocaine to the concoction and said it would take about 30-40 seconds to give because it was “thick”.  I made it through the shot, but then nearly passed out 🥴.  My blood pressure dropped too low very suddenly, I got all sweaty, and felt myself going.  No big deal, I recovered and they let me go within another 30 minutes.  Passing out was nothing compared to the pain throbbing through my thigh! With hubby dragging me by one arm and my cane propping me up to stay vertical with the other, I limped and whimpered my way to the car and thought, “That shot better be worth it!”

I’ve had lots of UTIs, but this was my first kidney infection; I wasn’t quite ready for how hard it kept hitting and how long it took to feel better.  By Wednesday I knew I was going to live and felt back to my normal self on Thursday.

During the time it took to recover, I didn’t do much. I filled the lethargic days by hanging out with and generally loving around on the cats, reading an Inspector Morse mystery, listening to Dickens’ Bleak House, putting some puzzles together on my favorite puzzles app, and sleeping a lot.  Finally, on Thursday and Friday, I ventured back out on the patio for short bits in the mornings and evenings – to avoid the heat, another no-no when you have MS – and even managed to muster the energy to sew a cute little tunic with an adorable cat print for myself! 

There is a river just a mile and a half down the road from our house with a lovely bridge and trail from which to admire nature.  Hubby humoured me and took me for a while around noon on Friday.  Though I can’t walk the trail anymore, we traversed the bridge and took in all the special delights that fill the senses when around running water.  Birds chirping, breezes blowing, water rippling, the faint whiff of fish in the air, the sight and smell of earth and dirt eroding, tree roots erupting on trails down to the river banks, and the beauty of wildflowers clustered along the banks and in the undergrowth, or definitely blooming in solitary confidence and glory. 

It feels so good to feel better!  It was a good reminder to appreciate my general health, despite the MS.  I’d take a lot of crummy MS days over going through that again any time soon.  I hope you enjoy the pictures below and are able to get a sense of their feel and place for the ones not captioned.

A tired Laudy.
Waiting to be scratched…
… the progression of the scratch..
…finally leading to sleep in various positions.
Our handsome, big, chocolate Rex 😻😍❤️!
Those eyes!
Pip noticed this goldfinch at the window one morning. I snapped a quick pic with my phone.
Snickerdoodles 😋
Hubby got new tires, always an exciting day 🚴‍♂️.
It goes this way ➡️
I gave homemade tortillas a go…👍😋.
I took this a couple of weeks ago. What a beautiful universe God has made!

I hope you have a wonderful week ahead. God be with you! ❤️

If Only

The whole world is mad enough to chew nails and spit rivets at each other.  The wildfire of anxiety already fueled by a viral pandemic and financial hardships has roared into an inferno fanned by outrage over racial injustice.  Add all of this to an overly politicized, deeply divided, radically idealized, and seemingly diabolicaly opposed Left and Right presidential election year and, voila, here we are.  McCarthyism (“The practice of making unfair allegations or using unfair investigate techniques, especially in order to restrict dissent or political criticism.” – Dictionary.com) turned into Cancel Culture (“The popular practice of withdrawing support for public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive.” Dictionary.com).  Unsurprisingly, we (collectively as humans) have learned absolutely nothing from God or history on how to get along with each other.  Like sheep, we’ve all gone astray.  The only difference between us and sheep is that we like to point and call out the wrong courses everyone else has taken, but never look back at our own errors.

As a result, I’ve been rationing my news intake and limiting my time on social media platforms.  I can’t take all the lava-hot words and vitriol spewing out of the mouths on all sides of the world’s current, self-inflicted problems.  I don’t know how to heal or even understand the differences of opinion and the vast chasms that seem to lie between the logic and thinking of some of us.  So, with that admission, what can I do?  I have been and will continue to lay them down at my Father’s feet.  He is the answer to everything, always. God excels in doing what everyone says is impossible. 

I’m doing the same on a personal level.  While the huge fires of the world keep burning, so too do the little flames within my life.  I’m sure you understand because we’re all the same.  My personal fire is called MS but yours might be named such things as Furloughed, Job, Money, Stress, Anger, Divorce, Death, Parent, Child, Spouse, Cancer, Diabetes, Aging… just about anything, really.  For me, MS is constantly melting away tiny pieces of my own sovereignty.  It’s very difficult to let go of the things in life that make you feel like you have some control, such as driving, shopping, cooking, and walking. 

In much the same way that I realize I can’t put out the MS fire in my own life and deal with the destruction it leaves in it’s wake on my own, we, as a nation and even world, must understand we will have to work collectively to bring the flames of our society back under control.  The solution will not be conceived in fear of an unseen germ, worry over the next great depression, or riots that break our neighbors’ windows and loot their livelihoods because of injustice.  No, if it could then we would already have the answer.   The fix is to be found in love.  The kind of love the apostle Paul described in I Corinthians 13:4-7, the sort God has for us.  His love is patient, kind, happy for others instead of envious, lifts others up instead of boasting about self, is well mannered instead of rude, seeks the good of others instead of self, is slow to anger, keeps no records of wrongs, delights in holiness instead of evil, rejoices in the truth instead of sensationalism, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. 

I realize what I am about to say is very Pollyannish of me, but…  If every person would recognize the truthfulness and wisdom of this type of love and make it their own personal goal to practice it, without policing others and how they are doing as they attempt to do the same, all the infernos of the world would simply burn themselves out.  If only.

Goodbye May 2020, Don’t Forget to Take Your Germy Germs With You!

Goodbye May 2020, Don’t Forget to Take Your Germy Germs With You!

Below you will find a few more pictures from the scrapbook of our May under CV-19.  We have completely settled into our new home and are grateful to be here, virus or not.

Tis a pleasure to live in the Ozarks!
We went for a drive in the country on Memorial Day.
Slowly, restaurants in our neck of the woods are opening back up.
Napping buddies.
We’ve had a lot of rain and storms the last few weeks. I see a lily in the clouds, can you?
This little house finch found a good spot to shelter during a heavy downpour.
One of my favorite backyard views.
A friend from church gave me this beautifully fragrant peony…
…and this old world rose.
After some research, I got a couple of new, weighted feeders and a different suet feeder. The seed feeders are on a spring that closes the seed ports when triggered by anything greater than the weight of a couple of finches. I also changed the kind of seed I put out and stopped spreading it on the ground. It has worked to cut off the riffraff grackles, crows, and brown headed cow birds.
Robin
Eastern Bluebird deep in thought.
Mourning Dove
Cardinal
Purple finches, female and male
House finch
Carolina Chickadee, I think. It’s hard for me to tell the difference between a Black-capped and a Carolina.
Chipping sparrow and blue bunting
Red-bellied woodpecker
Downy woodpecker
One of our neighborhood squirrels hanging out on the fence.
Our newest critter, an eastern chipmunk
My very favorite animals, Laudy…
…and Pip!

We’re ready to ease into June with fewer restrictions and, hopefully, greater normalcy. May God be with us one and all! ❤️

Mid-May in Survival Mode

My Multiple Sclerosis has been a beast more days than not since my last post. I hate it and it hates me. I guess we’re even. Even so, life in these extraordinarily strange times has continued to flow on. Hubby is wrapping up grading finals this weekend and we’re both looking forward to him having a few weeks off before his summer schedule kicks off. He will be teaching from home again which makes me happy. It’s been so good to have human interaction during the day, even if it is just for short breaks between his classes.

Last week we joined what felt like half of our city in the parking lot of one of our area’s hospitals to see a B-2 Stealth Bomber fly over as a salute to the selflessness of our medical workers. I don’t know which I was more impressed with, the rare sight of two B-2s or the sense of unity and pride I felt seeing so many Americans come out to wave flags, clap, holler, and whistle as they flew over. To tell the truth, I’ve not felt much patriotism the last few years. Don’t get me wrong, I love my country and am grateful to be an American but the political tone and constant gamesmanship vomiting itself all over the media has not fanned the flames of my patriotic fervor. It felt good to see my fellow citizens come out in support of something that binds us together rather than tears us apart.

Hubby and I went to Target before the B-2s were scheduled to make their appearance. The line to check out snaked almost to the back of the store. It felt more like I was in line at an amusement park waiting to get to ride a new roller-coaster than the chance to buy toilet paper and Fruit Loops.

On the way home after the B-2s, this jacked up truck came roaring around us. I wonder what this guy is trying to compensate for with his huge muffler 🤔.

Speaking of compensations, one of the few (but best) I have from being immobilized on bad MS days is spending long hours with a snuggly cat tucked in my robe while sipping coffee.

I think being able to sit and watch nature from the comfort of my rocking chair on the back patio has not only kept me sane during endless days of forced rest, but has also given me something to look forward to. Here are a few snaps from my latest gallery of feathered friends…

Goldfinches!
The early Robin gets the worm.
A Cardinal perched in one of our river birches.
Black-capped Chickadee
Lovey dovey
Chipping Sparrow
Munch, munch, munch goes the Purple Finch!
It has been thrilling to see this little Indigo Bunting come to the feeders!
This Red-bellied Woodpecker is very skittish, much more so than the other birds that come to the feeders. It has been a challenge to get a good shot of him but I think this one does him justice. He is BEAUTIFUL!
We’ve had up to four Downy Woodpeckers at a time at the feeders and suet cakes. The distinguishing red mark on this one’s head looks like a heart to me.
This lilac tree filled the entire backyard with it’s delicious fragrance and proved irresistible to butterflies.
Red Admiral Butterfly on Lilac

I hope you and yours are both healthy and safe. God be with you!

Life During the Time of Corona through My Camera Lens

A quiet lane a block or so from our house.
Along the quiet lane.
Dogwoods in all their glory.
Spring comes alive in our backyard.
Our neighbor’s tulips
Blooms in our backyard.
Our neighborhood has a small lake with a walking trail around it.
A bit of sunbathing.
Breathing new life into our old iron rocking bench.
😂
My stepmom gave me a cutting from a plant my sister Glenda gave her 20ish years ago. Glenda died in a car wreck 14 years ago next month. It’s a happy coincidence the pot she put the cutting in matches the lawn ornament behind it 💙.
I added a few bird feeders last week and they sure have been busy!
To the left…
…to the right.
Momma Tree Sparrow and…
…baby in one of our nesting boxes.
White-throated Sparrow
Downy Woodpecker
This Nuthatch is a new visitor, I get so excited every time it visits.
Goldfinches are a favorite of mine.
Such a cute baby Goldfinch!
We have a pair of stunning Bluebirds nesting in one of our boxes!
Momma Cardinal sporting a beautiful crest.
This little fella thought “crest” meant a mohawk!!
We’ve had a lot of House Finches at the feeders, they sing and chirp until you can’t help but smile that God created such marvelous creatures!
(Female House Finch)
Elegant and gorgeous Mourning Dove.
I think this dove may have a birth defect. He comes around a lot and I’m always happy to see him. I’m rooting for him out in the great-wide world.
Hubby has kept himself busy with chores…
…fun…
…making labs for students…
…and teaching from home.
Meanwhile, my life under the shutdown looks exactly like it did before Coronavirus. I always have a cat nearby and I don’t leave the house very often. I guess MS has been good for something, it’s made surviving the shutdown easy-peasy for me.
I’m still sewing when I have the energy, but I have swapped my usual tasks to making masks. As ever, Laudy supervises my work.
Pip as my parrot 😉.
LOTS of napping!
Yes, I did cut my own hair 🤫🤭.
I’ve been using my foot pedal a lot these days. My MS has been a beast lately, but I’m determined to keep moving by hook or crook.
We celebrated Hubby’s birthday on the 20th of April…
…and mine on the 22nd. (I forgot to take a picture of the donuts we had for Hubby’s breakfast.)
Texas Roadhouse for dinner on my bday 😋.

We’re both ready for the current madness to end and return to whatever the new normal will be, I’m sure you and yours are too. Stay sane, safe, and healthy, we’re all in this together together ❤!

Free Advice

Here I lie in bed at 3:15 in the afternoon with one cat under the covers between my knees and the other curled up in a ball against me.  It’s been four days of pedal to the metal fatigue. My legs feel like they are made of lead and I can barely lift them to walk. This has resulted in an off-balance sort of shuffle more suited to some cartoon character than a human.  Everything is in slow motion, even my thoughts and ability to understand what others say. My hands feel disconnected from my brain and my bladder is in a state of anarchy. Somehow, both of my calves think they are supposed to spasm and tighten into painful, twisted knots while the rest of the muscles in my legs become like jelly when I try to stand up.

It’s as if a rogue telephone operator came in during the night and pulled half the plugs in my brain and spine and, with maniacal glee, replugged them all higgledy-piggledy just to see what would happen.  

It’s incredibly boring as well as frustrating not to be able to do the things I want to do.  It dawned on me that even though you probably aren’t laid up in bed with fiendish MS like I am, you’re possibly bored and frustrated too.  It’s hard to stay home and down for long stretches of time, especially when you don’t have a choice because of a nearly nationwide shutdown.  

So, I’ll share with you what I keep having to tell myself in order to keep from going crazy.  I apologize in advance if it sounds kinda bossy, but it’s the only way I can get my attitude in line.  Can you relate? Anyway, here it is. “This won’t last forever, it will get better. It’s okay if you don’t like your current situation, but don’t dwell endlessly on it. A negative circumstance doesn’t give you carte blanche to be grumpy, so be nice despite everything.”  If you are a Christian, then the last one is the most important one. “The One who is inside you is stronger than everything else. He has not abandoned you, He’s walking through this difficult time with you. In light of that fact, act like it and don’t forget it.”

Can’t Catch Me, ‘Rona

Hi everyone, I hope you are healthy and virus free. I may not know your name, but I have been praying for everyone to make it through this this pandemic and the extensive economic impact related to the shutdowns it has caused.

Like so many others, Hubby and I are living under a stay at home order from both our county and city. Hubby teaches at a local community college and got an extra week’s worth of spring break while officials and tech got their ducks in a row. He will be teaching all of his classes online from home starting Monday. He’s been working hard to get ready since making a shift from seated Physics classes with labs to an online platform for both has taken a lot of prep and creative thinking. As always, my brilliant, hardworking guy has it all in hand and is ready to go.

Meanwhile, I’ve been labeled “vulnerable” and the only “essential” thing I can do is help prop up the local economy. Hubby has been pitching in and we’re taking our duty very seriously. For example, we’ve driven through Andy’s Frozen Custard on three occasions in the last couple of weeks for Thin Mint concretes.

The following is a collage of snapshots showing how we’ve been riding out this unprecedented time in history.

Hubby’s days have included cycling and projects and then more projects and cycling. Oh, and probably like everyone else, a lot of surfing of both the inter-web and channel varieties.

I’ve been hobbling along with Salonpas pads stuck all over my legs trying to get my MS related muscle spasms under control. I’ve also managed to get some sewing done, including the cat-themed wall art, with a bit of help from my two favorite felines. Our new house has a lovely patio out back and I have been been putting some miles on my new rocking chair, “See-Saw”, every chance I get!

A lot of time has been devoted to loving and being loved by, well, CATS.

I love to bake and have taken advantage of having my favorite taste-tester home with me every day. Scones, bread, muffins, biscuits–we have more bread and baked goods in our freezers than Panera!

What joy it has been this spring to watch the birds come to our feeder and move into the three birdhouses we have in our backyard! I have enjoyed snapping pictures of all the different varieties and then editing them. We have a pair of Eastern Bluebirds nesting in one house, sparrows in another, and juncos in the third.

We’ve had a mild, rainy spring and the trees and shrubs have started blooming and budding everywhere. It is beautiful to see all the colors painted across the landscape, whether rain or shine. As the back of our house faces due east, it’s been a treat to watch the sun’s orange glow as it spreads across the sky in the mornings. We added some color ourselves this week with a few flowers for the beds.

I hope you have been able to find joy despite the ‘Rona fear that has gripped the hearts and minds of the world. I encourage you to turn off the constant news feed and find a way to enjoy the people in your home and your surroundings. Remember God’s promise after the flood, “As long as the earth endures, springtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease” (Ge 8:22). It’s true, regardless of ‘Rona, springtime has come just like God promised. May we all live in the light of God’s promises, not in the darkness of the fears in the world.

Hunkering Down

As Covid-19 spreads and the race to flatten the curve accelerates, the restrictions and confinement many find imposed upon them sounds pretty much like everyday life to many of us living with Multiple Sclerosis or other debilitating diseases.  We’re used to rarely leaving home unless someone else drives us, and filling endless hours by ourselves at home, day in and day out.

If you’ve started feeling stir crazy and like you’re under house arrest, the feeling will ease up somewhere around the end of the fourth or fifth week.  It might take a little longer if you aren’t already a homebody. After you’ve finished all the projects around the house you’d been meaning to do but hadn’t gotten around to, you’ll enter phase two otherwise known as Netflix Binge Watching.  This lasts only as long as either, A) you hit your own limit of slothfulness and drooling, and your once comfy jammies grow so tight your seams start to rip OR B) your loved ones can’t handle your funky odor, your cheese curl tainted fingertips, and having to preen Apple Jacks from your oily hair anymore.  If you or a loved one have already entered Netflix Binge Watching take courage, phase three is all about self-improvement. You won’t be able to resist the urge to do something to better yourself after all that slovenliness. So, you’ll do something to make up for it, like trying to learn a new language, take up painting, try your hand at beekeeping, attempt to learn how to play an instrument…you get the idea.  This is going to be a tricky one because this stage usually requires going out and spending a lot of money for all the bells and whistles required to do whatever kind of self-improvement you’ve chosen. Let’s hope Amazon doesn’t end up having to limit deliveries to nothing more than “essentials” just as you enter this phase of confinement. Hint: You may need to be mindful of this possibility and purposefully rush through the first two stages 😉.

At any rate, you’ll know you’ve reached the final step in accepting and adapting to your captivity when you wake up to a limited list of things to do but manage to accomplish them to the hum of some unbeknownst internal circadian rhythm.  Everything just sort of falls into place and POOF, your day has passed without really knowing where it has gone.  

Naturally, you’ll be glad when all this self-quarantine business is over and you can finally get back to your “normal” life.  Shhh…you can then quietly but permanently shelve all those Portuguese workbooks and apps you bought a few weeks back and of which you never got past lesson two.  Once your freedom to come and go as you please is restored, you won’t take for granted your reinstated liberty anymore. You’ll remember how it felt to be stuck at home for days on end with nowhere to go and nothing to do.  Hopefully, that will be the closest you will ever get to understanding just a fraction of one component of what it’s like to live with MS.

There are actually a lot of others who, like me, have found themselves sequestered on a full-time basis owing to some disease.  If you end up going through some or all of the stages I described above, I think you will come to a deeper appreciation of the strength required to live life within the confines of the same four walls day after day.  Kudos to all my comrades who have the strength to go on living life to the fullest under difficult circumstances. I don’t know what the name of your kind of Strong is, but mine is MS Strong.