April McGowan

Let It Go

Let It Go

I could let the stresses of life eat me alive–but I don’t anymore. I’ve had to learn to let it go. Everything comes to a halt when I’m ill. Or when I’m editing. I’ve had weeks of both, which eventually came to an end. Huzzah! During this time, I implemented the “don’t put their clean clothes away until they’ve discovered all the clothes that don’t fit” clause. Well, really, that’s just a fancy name for “if you want clean clothes, they’re probably piled on the floor in our bedroom.”

I used to like methods and schedules. I’ve discovered with chronic illness, the schedule looks more like this: I’ll try that if I have the energy and if I’m not sick. I’ve had to become okay with that. Instead of numbered lists, I do an amalgam with check-off boxes. I’ll even add things to the list if that thing interrupted my day. Like yesterday, my daughter called me to the kitchen.

“The fridge doesn’t sound right.”
Indeed. “Whirrr……whirr….sputter…whirr…” Then, nothing. Rut-roh. As we pushed the fridge away from the wall (yes, I unplugged it! We don’t want another “Mom electrocuted herself on the dryer” event do we? … That’s a story for another time…) I thought to myself: Didn’t I just vacuum this thing out? Taking off the panel proved me all sorts of wrong. I’d never seen so much fluff and dust in one spot.

I grabbed a face mask (I’m reporting this mostly to my mother who is reading along with you and would be sure to warn me of the dangers of dust—my #1 allergy) and started cleaning it out. An interrupted hour later, plugged it back in and TADAH! Worked. I immediately wanted to put “Vacuumed under fridge” on my list and check that off. But I was too tired. So I did it mentally.

My son loves his schedule. But when Mom is down with an illness, or editing, or cleaning the fridge, he’s got to adjust, just like the rest of us. It’s harder for him because of his personality. I can only hope this is training him for life, learning to roll with it, learning to stay fluid. Learning to let go.

Letting go is the theme for my life these past several years. Letting go of plans and responsibilities was tough. Letting go of preconceived ideas was harder—letting go of that picture of what life was supposed to be about. However, I think there’s freedom in that. At least I’ve found it to be so. Now my lists are more focused on relying on God for what I can get done, for where He’d like me to focus my limited energies. Some days, I erase far fewer things off that list than I’d hoped to accomplish (most days, frankly), but that’s okay. I might not be moving fast, but I’m moving forward!



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Tuesday Afternoon

popcornLast night my son came in the living room and said, “I love Tuesdays because we get to watch something fun and we always have popcorn.” He looked so happy. And that really struck me, because up until about five months ago, Tuesdays were not fun. Tuesdays are the day I do my infusion treatment for my CVID.

I’ve blogged a couple times on how my attitudes have changed since I started treatment for my CVID. I wrote in a previous post how I started thinking of my IgG infusion as immunobuddies rather than an enemy making me feel fatigued, achy and stealing my night and part of the next day away. I also stopped looking at Tuesdays like I wanted to skip them altogether. Instead, I started to think about how I could make this routine into something a bit more enjoyable.

I used to just try and keep my stress low on Tuesday, and make an easy meal before I started my treatment (I won’t share with you the perils of trying to cook whilst carrying around a pump—let’s just say getting your lines caught on a cutting board makes you want to plan ahead!).

But now, not only do I get dinner all prepped and finished before I start my infusion, but I also make popcorn. Popcorn??? Yep. Because I’ve turned Tuesday into ‘low stress, let’s have fun’ night. We’ll turn on a show I love or put in a movie we’ve been waiting to see.

My kids used to say, “Oh, it’s your treatment night,” in an empathetic sad voice. Now, all of us have something to look forward to. My two hours pass and we’ve had a nice evening together. I’m still curled in a ball in the chair after my infusion is over, but at least I’m in pretty good emotional condition now.

And I get popcorn.

What sorts of things do you do help you cope with a rough time? I’d love hearing about it.

May our Lord bless and keep you.

 ***Novel release update: June is around the corner, and Jasmine will release digitally on the 15th. I’m finishing final edits as you read this, my book trailer is just about ready, and I’m going to have friends popping over here now and then to share about their books. See you next week.***

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Let it Snow!

snowAs I sit watching tiny flakes of snow drift to the ground outside my window, I find I’m in a contemplative mood. Today is the last day of 2012. And what a year it was. I find I remember many joys, all coming at the end of trials. There were difficult times dealing with fatigue and exhaustion, soreness and illness. But, there were also the clear times when the Lord supplied my need and gave me joy despite my circumstances. If you know me personally, you’ll know my heart is preconditioned to be a pessimist. I don’t mean to be, and I’ve struggled against it, but there it is nonetheless. God made me a trouble-shooter (where you look ahead and see the possible negative outcome of just about everything and do your best to make sure it doesn’t go that way). Which is why I’m rather amazed at my ponderings.

Although there are many unknowns in my life right now, of which I’ve been sorely tempted to worry over—today I’m content. Dare I say hopeful? (GASP!) I can say with confidence that no matter what comes my way, the Lord will provide.

My prayer for you this New Year is that you’ll find yourself looking forward, not back. That you’ll grow in faith with the Lord. That, if you are suffering today, you’ll be able to see past your circumstances to the One who provides true joy despite difficulties sifting down around you.

May your blessings be many, and may He keep you tightly in His mighty grasp.

Happy New Year!

1 Peter 1:3-9  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (full text here).



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