Tagged: inspiratiOn

nOw is nOt the time tO quit

“Even if our efforts of attention seem for years to be producing no result, one day a light that is in exact proportion to them will flood the soul.
                                                             -Simone Weil

Today it is 5 years since my journey with Valley Fever began. I can still hear the first Pulmonary Doctor say to me that it might be three months or more before I begin to feel better. At the time those three months sounded like forever. Who would have ever thought it would be 5 years?!?!!

I have been an instant results kind of girl for most of my life. It worked for me for a while, but I’m learning that it also took it’s toll on my body and soul.  I don’t recommend it, and I’m still surprised how often I catch myself setting impossible standards for myself, and, unfortunately, others. I’ve learned it is not sustainable, or even really all that fun. Needing and requiring instant results feeds perfectionism, judgement, and harshness. Yeah, REALLY not fun!


This journey has forced me to grow in ways I didn’t even know were possible. It has been humbling, incredibly challenging, enlightening, surprising, freeing and downright joy-filled many times. I have felt more loved, creative, grateful and empowered than ever before. Yes, this sacred illness has changed my life for the better.


By early November I was feeling the best I have felt since I got sick. Oh jOy!! I even felt up to playing 18 holes of golf on Ladies’ Day, which includes golf, lunch, socializing, and seeing friends I hadn’t seen in a very long time. Being on a golf course is truly one of my happy places, and I have missed it dearly. So, again, Oh jOy!!


My game was rusty, and I was a bit anxious, but I loved every minute of it. Unfortunately, it was all just a bit much for me. It took 3 days to recover, but the following week I was back out there. My inner dialogue went something like this – “You can do this. It is time to be out there. People are expecting you to finally show up and be a part of things again. And remember, you love golf!”  Yes, my inner critic and her high expectations are really hard to shake. By the end of the month my energy had bottomed out and I finally, and sadly, had to admit that I wasn’t up to the whole thing. Again?! Really!?

One day I wandered into my art studio, rearranged a few paintings and came upon this sign. Sometimes the “signs” from the Universe are actually signs!!


I chuckled, and smiled, and was flooded by memories of two of the most amazing women I have known. This sign first hung in Sharon K.’s house and was the mantra she lived by everyday. Even as she battled multiple myeloma for several years, I never once saw her give up. Even during her final days, there was no throwing in the towel for her. This sign was then passed to her life long friend, Sharon L., and was a beacon for her as she open-heartedly walked through her own battle with cancer. So many reasons to give up, and no “I can’t” was heard. And now that neither one of them are on the planet, it has been passed to me.


To be honest, the first time I saw this sign I really thought it was a bit harsh. I mean, some days, don’t we all just get to throw in the towel and cry uncle? As I watched both my dear friends courageously battle cancer and intense loss, I began to see more clearly the depth of their spirits. There was no “give up” there. No “I’m done” there. No “I can’t” there. It humbles me and still brings me to tears to have experienced their unbeatable, beautiful, brilliant spirits.


As I lay on my yoga mat this morning, I finally realized what I had witnessed in my two amazing Sharon’s. This sign doesn’t mean to keep pushing and gutting my way through life. It doesn’t mean to just suck it up.  It doesn’t mean to see how much I can suffer through. What it DOES mean is to:

Never, Never, Never give up On yOurself.

As I lay sobbing on my yoga mat, I was flooded with feelings of relief and gratitude. I get it now. They were showing me their light, so I could see mine. It felt like for the first time I could feel the true and real energy and light of my spirit.  My spirit really is there. Always has been. She has my back and I have hers. And so do my two Sharon’s.


So dear friends, I am encouraging you to not quit on yOurself. To not quit on the spirit of who you really are. You have no idea what wonderful things might happen. I sure didn’t!

shine On dear Ones!


Be Gentle.

Be Brave.

Be True.

lOve, vickiO


Own it

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”

 – Maya Angelou


I’m happy to report that over the last 6 months my health has improved considerably. I’ve enjoyed more dinner dates and adventures with my husband, strengthened my core muscles, attended weddings of family and friends, golfed, kayaked, walked in the ocean, hiked in the Blue Ridge Mountains to a waterfall, continued painting, heard mountain climbers, deep sea divers and Olympic athletes tell of their adventures, and spent some time with friends. Crazy good!

It’s been wonderful, scary, challenging, surreal, and at times downright strange. There are times when I feel like I’ve taken a deep, 4-year transforming sleep, and upon awakening find the world looks very different from the one I knew before. I wonder if butterflies ever have the same feelings. They “go to sleep” a caterpillar, and wake up a butterfly. Can you even image what it takes to accomplish that? Or how amazingly unsettling it could be?

For both the butterfly and me,

the world really didn’t change that much.

We did.

I feel as different on the inside, as the caterpillar turned butterfly looks on the outside. I wish my transformation had given me actual wings (because how cool would that be), but the truth is I got inside wings instead. It’s taking some time to get used to them. Some days I feel like I know how to use them, and on other days I’m flopping around on the floor, or helplessly caught in some invisible net.


I didn’t think that this “getting better” phase would look like this. I expected I would slide right back into my life as it was, going at the pace I was used to. It turns out, things don’t really work that way. And it’s actually a really good thing. I’ve worked long and hard for this new internal me, and it would be criminal to kick her to the curb, or keep her locked in a cage, crumpling her wings and spirit.


My new internal wings symbolize some very real and external qualities and gifts for me. They’ve given me several new guideposts along my path. Actually, there are only four. Which makes each one of them very important.

  1. Stay connected to yourself first. Yes. First.
  2. Keep meditating. Yes. Everyday. This will help you immensely with steps 1 and 3. Oh, and with step 4, as well.
  3. Own it. Own your wants, needs, likes, dislikes, feelings, emotions and reactions. Own what is important to you. Even if you are the only one who finds it important. Own your spirit, and your life, too. This step is very important and very empowering. Don’t skip it.
  4. Make your choice. Yes. Your choice. For you. Not for anyone else. And then own that, too.


This whole “getting well” transition will continue for a while I’m sure. It’s exciting and scary, but it’s essential to me to value every insight, lesson, challenge, and gift my illness has brought me. I do believe this unplanned “cocoon time” was exactly what my life needed. I promise I will not waste it. My health and happiness depend on it.

Honor and listen to the transitions, transformations, and the calling of your life, dear friends. I have found life gets pretty insistent if you don’t.

Thank you Honey for hanging in there with me!!

Be Brave.

Be Happy.

Be True.

lOve, vickiO

radical happiness

“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.”

-Dali Lama

I can still remember the day my very gifted therapist suggested I make it a daily practice to ask myself, “What would make me happy today?” I thought she was crazy. Or least delusional. You see, where I come from, only selfish “sinners” concern themselves with their own happiness. And since I had worked very hard not to be one of them, I filed her suggestion under For Emergencies Only, and quickly forgot about her scary and seemingly impossible task.

Seven years, a chronic illness, many losses and a lot of digging deep later, I’m finally beginning to see what my therapist was offering me. She wanted me to see the possibility of a type of happiness that builds and supports ongoing confidence, resiliency, and possibilities. A type of happiness that feeds itself and isn’t dependent on outside influences. A type of happiness that can’t be bought, only experienced and shared.


I always believed that the pursuit of happiness was shallow and frivolous. “Be happy” always sounded rather flippant and condescending, and just not serious enough. It also seemed impossible and out of reach.

Luckily, my wellbeing coach is a brave man, and one day pointed out to me how fixed and closed I can be about what I believe. In the middle of explaining to him it was because I was usually right, I realized in horror that he was right. In that flash of insight moment, everything changed. A big beautiful door flew open and I realized I don’t really want to be “right”, I want to be happy.


Since then, the Universe has fed me new ideas, thoughts and experiences of what I’m calling radical happiness. I’m beginning to see the true value of being happy, and that it really is a gift to be the bearer of happiness, ease and light-heartedness.

Happiness, for me, is an inside job, and is born out of a very tender and sweet place. My happiness loves color, movement, sunrises, heartfelt chats, and gentle connection. What I once thought was unattainable, has become very present, very real, and very powerful.

Needless to say I am grateful beyond words.





lOve, vickiO

blOOming crazy

“Do everything with so much lOve in your heart that you would never want to do it any other way.”

 – Yogi Amrit Desai

I continue to be overly obsessed with buds and blooms this Spring. They are all so beautiful and miraculous, and continue to give me hOpe that I have the same ability inside me. The same ability to withstand all sorts of storms, and heat, and howling winds, and still have the innate ability to blOom like crazy when it is time. The key phrase being – “when it is time”. Still working on that one : )

Not every cactus blooms every year. Last year, almost every saguaro I saw had hundreds of blooms. Their multiple arms were a brilliant show of white flowers that fed the bees, birds and bats. This year, there are far fewer buds and blooms on the magnificent Sonoran desert saguaros. The question is – Do I lOve them any less? Not a chance!

last year’s beauty

This got me thinking about how much pressure our culture, and in turn ourselves, place on us to always be in the “blooming brilliantly” season.  Crazy unrealistic, no?!


Doesn’t it make sense that we, just like the saguaros, need restorative and growth periods, too? Do you think the miraculous cacti feel shameful when they aren’t blooming like mad? I don’t think so! I imagine they are patiently and lovingly giving themselves time to regenerate so they can keep living long and happy lives. And, isn’t that what we all want, too?

I will continue to be impressed and obsessed by the gorgeous blooms Mother Nature is celebrating with this year, but I’m also honoring and appreciating the “quieter” cacti who are just going about their business of internal growth and preparedness for more blooms to come. Just like me, I guess.

As we move into Summer, my husband and I will be hitting the open road, and heading back to Minnesota for a family wedding. We will also be gathering with friends to celebrate the life our dear friend, Sharon Lunde. I continue to stumble through the darkness of grief, being grateful for everything she taught me, gave me, and saw in me. Mostly, I’m grateful for all the time we had together. I’m a way better person because of it.


All of us who knew and loved Sharon continue to miss her terribly, trying to adjust to life on this planet without her. I get loss and grief like never before, and am humbled by those on the planet who experience loss after loss, and choose to keep loving in spite of it. Just like Sharon did. May there be healing, recovery, and in time, more beautiful blooms for all of us.

No matter what, dear friends, keep choosing lOve. For yourself. For the people who are important to you. For those that are suffering. For those fighting for peace, equality, justice and freedom.

Keep choosing lOve.

Always and forever.

Keep choosing lOve.

Keep breaking Open.

Keep healing.

Keep grOwing.

Keep blOssOming. It is all sO wOrth it.

lOve, vickiO

 And, when it is yOur time…


hellO 2015, hellO pOssibilities

Whatever you do, don’t stop moving forward. In art, in love, and in life. Don’t lose the hunger. Long for the next chance to feed that hunger, not to silence it.

– David duChemin, photographer

The end of one year, and the beginning of another, is one of my favorite things. Not for the parties or the drinking. Not for the late night or the crowds.  But for the time to review and honor the lessons and gifts of the past year, and for the dreaming and honoring of the possibilities that are waiting for me in the new one. And the kissing. I love the kissing.

I tend to measure the success of a year by the fears I faced, the challenges I said yes to, how gentle I’ve been with myself and others, and by my capacity for love and gratitude. My goal is to not only celebrate my growth (which helps keep me going), but to see where I might want to place my focus in the coming year.

To help me continue on the path of becoming my healthiest self (mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually – which, like my therapist says, is a full-time job), 2015 will include:

  • Life Book 2015 – An Honoring and Celebration of You! This is an online mixed-media art course, organized by Tamara Laporte at Willowing Arts in the UK. Among many other wonderful possibilities listed in her LifeBook Manifesto, these are the parts that caught my eye: “We look to become our own super heroes and our own best friends. We feel our feelings. We lean into discomfort and see where it takes us. We honour our inner world, we sit down with sadness, we sit in the fire and rise again, like the phoenix.” If you are looking for a way to play, explore and grow this year, check this out by clicking on the link above. You will not be disappointed!
  • Meditation – This is something I have dabbled in, struggled with, loved, and hated for many years. I’ve started reading, at the suggestion of my therapist, the book Real Meditation In Minutes A Day by Joseph Arpaia. It talks about the idea that our minds, just like our bodies, need training to be fit and healthy, calm and relaxed, calm and steady. My mind SO needs this training! I’ll let you know how I’m doing with it. Uh, where was I? Oh, right…
  • Continue Reading The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer. This book is on the  New York Times best seller list and complements my goals of greater trust, knowing and creativity in the new year.
  • Continue Practicing Radical Self Care – acupunture, therapy, resting, choosing, saying, and letting my artist-self play til her hearts content.

This is me dOing whatever it takes to make my inner artist happy‼️She is sO happy‼️

Thank you 2014, for blessing me with improving health, the best husband in the world, the loveliest of friends, creative inspiration, the most magical road trip, generous and supportive vickiO Art customers, and moments of jOy that will last as long as I live.

To those of you suffering with Valley Fever, please know you are not forgotten. Each day, when I feel grateful for my improving health, I send healing and heart energy to everyone of you. There is so much physical and emotional pain that comes with this illness, and the road is often very lonely. More light needs to be shed on the acute and long-term effects of Valley Fever. Our voices need to be heard. I’m thinking of some creative ways to bring more light, attention, understanding and education to our cause, so we are all not so alone. More to come on this in 2015.


Another on-going goal of mine is -how should I say- to become “co-dependent no more”. Or at least “co-dependent a hell of a lot less”. Much of the time, it feels like I’m fighting a ghost, an aberration, or an unseen marauder, that sabotages my self-esteem and confidence at every turn. It causes me to question even the smallest decisions, and, I’m realizing, is taking up way too much of my precious energy.

I have come a long way in my recovery, and will continue to do what ever it takes to defeat this most sinister foe. It is my work to do, and I’m sure not going to stop now! Best book on this work – Facing Codependence by Pia Mellody.

Life isn’t about being harmonious with other people, it’s about being harmonious with ourselves. -Panache Desai


Be calm.

Be relaxed.

Be at peace.

lOve, vickiO


Artwork by Miss Aubrey : )

lOve, trust and demOlition


For most of April and May, as my energy permitted, I was slowly packing up our home, one drawer, one closet, one cabinet at a time. During the last week of May, my husband moved every box, bag and piece of furniture into either our garage or to a generous neighbors garage. We then moved ourselves and our essentials into our close friends house, just a block away, to stay for the next 2 months.

Major 8-week remodel here we come!!

We have lived in our beautiful condo full time for 2 1/2 years – the same amount of time that I have been dealing with Valley Fever. It has been a place of cOmfOrt, lOve and recOvery, and I’ve been grateful every day that we live in such a beautiful place.


Even though we would like a little bit more space (especially for my ever growing art studio needs : ) we love our location, so we decided to stay and do a few upgrades. Seriously, could we really leave our birds eye view of our beautiful fountain? I don’t think so❤️‼️


This major type of remodel (taking down walls, building showers, building a new kitchen, replacing all flooring, and painting almost every surface) is new to me. The closest I have come to this size of a job is watching the Property Brothers on the HGTV channel, and it’s easy to say – I am nO expert! Luckily my husband and our contractor, Tony, are!

The planning and decision making has been fun, challenging and eye-opening. It helped to have Tom Olson, a renowned architect who studied and worked directly with Frank Lloyd Wright, and a highly gifted designer and textile artist, Merle Sykora, walking us through the process. (They are the team that designed and built the house we lived in for 24 years in Minnesota!)

Needless to say, packing and moving was just downright stressful. John had to “pull me off the ledge” a few times, and as my therapist said, “You get 10 extra crazy points during a remodel.” Talk about having to practice letting go of the outcome!


BOth jOhn and I, and the rest Of the team, have needed all three!

I thought the stress level would just continue to increase as the work began. My mind was working overtime scaring me with thoughts like – “What horrible things are we going to find? What if the existing structure isn’t sound? What if we find bugs and rats and rot, Oh my!?” (Yes, I have earned every one of those extra crazy points!)


pOst mOve, pre-demOlitiOn

Surprisingly, instead of feeling more anxious and stressed out, I am actually enjoying the demolition process. I’m loving seeing our space “stripped down to the studs.” There is something refreshing and comforting to see what is underneath – to see what the foundation is made of – to see the possibilities. I even got to briefly swing a hammer and knock a towel bar off the wall! Thank you, Tony!

After one week of demOlitiOn, the place looks like this:


There is something very familiar and inspiring about this process. It reminds me why I have been dedicated to uncovering, recovering, and healing old beliefs and wounds for most of my adult life. Why would I want to try and build a healthier, stronger “sOul hOuse” on top of a structure that is rotting, infested or outdated?  The answer is, I wouldn’t! As hard as it is to see the truth sometimes, it is the only way to a healthier, happier and more creative life.

So, it is refreshing to see the places where our home is strong, and where it is weak. Once it is seen it can fixed, enhanced and made new! This has brought me a level of comfort I wasn’t even aware that I was needing, and encourages me to continue doing my work of healing and recovery. It may not be pretty, but it is worth it!


Is this a man who looks like he knows what he’s doing? Absolutely! If you are in need of a great contractor, Tony Timonte can be found HERE!

Tony and our gutted kitchen.

Tony and our gutted kitchen.

I am excited to see the outcome of our remodeling project, but no longer want to hurry through the demOlitiOn process. I’m continuing to learn the value of each small step and the importance of trusting myself to make good decisions with the help from a hand-picked team of experts – for home remodeling and my health!


More updates next month! Until then,

Be gentle. Be brave. Be true.

lOve, vickiO


dOesn’t travel well

As I slowly improved over the summer months, my husband and I set our sights on a 2 1/2 week driving trip to Minnesota in September. We even had a few “practice” trips to make sure I could handle the car ride, and still be able to function when we arrived at our destination. Our generous friends offered up their cabins in Northern Arizona to us, so with three short trips under our belts, we were ready. Or so we thought…


On September 1st, we packed up the car, which included John’s golf clubs, 4 of my clubs and a pair of golf shoes (ever the optimist), a cooler, some magazines, canvases, art supplies and many cute outfits for all the fun things we were going to do when we got there. Oh, I also had a Tempurpedic pillow and a full-size body pillow because my naps are still a must. It was like having a third person in the car, but it sure helped me get comfy enough to sleep. John would just shake his head every time I lugged the body pillow from the back seat to the front, but he knew a rested wife, was a happy wife.


From Fountain Hills to Albuquerque, and on to Colorado Springs and Lincoln, NE, we drove. Well, John drove, and I rested. We chatted, took in the beautiful landscape, listened to great music and late in the afternoon would look for the next Hampton Inn to rest our heads. One of the highlights was coming across the incredible Russell’s Travel Center  in the middle of Northern New Mexico. Our gas tank was on empty and they had everything one might need on a trip across America. Seriously!


We arrived in Woodbury, MN on September 4th, and moved into our dear friend Sharon’s beautiful and comfortable lower level. I was feeling tired, but after one of John’s delicious homemade dinners and a great nights sleep, I was ready to enjoy our friends and family on some beautiful Fall days in Minnesota.


The next morning, Sharon and I headed out for our long awaited walk. It was longer and hotter than either of us had planned, but we are tough, right?! After a quick hello from my dear friend Karla, and a nice lunch, I headed down for a nap. Upon rising, my energy had fallen and my body, for WHATEVER reason, decided it needed 11 more days of rest! Day after day, I would awaken optimistic, and day after day, found myself with almost no energy.

ARGH! No gatherings, no lunches, no nice dinners out. No trips to the golf course, no Project Runway with Karla and the kids, no dinners with friends and family, and no more long walks. And all my cute outfits that had travelled 1,700 miles were left sadly hanging in the closet.

I became so shocked and numb that the whole time feels quite surreal. How embarrassing to be able to drive all the way from Arizona to Minnesota and not have enough energy to drive 30 minutes to Minneapolis or Hastings. How and why did this happen?

It has taken me this long to publish this post because I was really hoping to find the answers to the how and why. Not that I didn’t try, but those are the ever unanswerable questions when it comes to recovering from Valley Fever. And those are the questions that truly drive me crazy.


So, once again, I am forced to practice letting go. (Can you say slow learner?)

And, once again, I am forced to listen to my body ever so carefully.

And, once again, I am forced to slow down and look inward.

And, once again, I am encouraged to look for what is right in my life. And there is SO much right!

And, once again, I am strongly encouraged to listen to that still, small, wise voice within.

And it all helps me to, once again, gently settle into and accept how life is. (Let gO Or be dragged, Sweetie!)

So on day 11, John packed up the car and we headed back to Arizona. No stop in the Colorado mountains,  the Utah canyon lands, or Kansas City. Just the quickest way home – Wichita to Albuquerque to Fountain Hills.


> Moving back to the Midwest will not cure my Valley Fever (sorry Mom).

> Planning ahead is for the birds (just so you know, the Canadian geese have safely arrived in Arizona for the winter).

> And, as much as I hate to admit it, I don’t travel well.


Upon arriving home, we cancelled our trip to Oregon for John’s nieces wedding (so sad), enjoyed being greeted by the first ever bloom on our San Pedro cactus, and settled back into our beautiful Arizona home. I’m once again slowly rebuilding my physical body, resetting my expectations and learning new ways to care for myself. I even committed to a 10-day Sugar Detox with Lacy Young which began October 1st. The experience so far has been enlightening, empowering and freeing.


I will continue to embrace life the best way I know how, and trust myself to make the healthiest and most fulfilling choices for myself. I am worth it, and so are yOu!


enjOy this wOnderful change Of seasOn, treat yOurself kindly, and celebrate all the lOve in yOur life!

thank yOu sO much fOr listening : )

much lOve,


patience, patients & impatiens


Life has been a lot less stressful since I was officially diagnosed with Valley Fever. My mind is no longer using energy to spin in circles trying to “figure this whole thing out”. I’ve been evaluated for physical therapy, and my insurance company has approved 8 visits. Barb will be my PT expert, and John, my husband, will drive me across town tomorrow morning for my first official visit.

"hOpe", ink &acrylic on 5x7 canvas board

“hOpe”, ink &acrylic on 5×7 canvas board

I’ve even had some energy to paint these last couple of weeks. I was able to finally finish the second Starbucks “thank you” art piece, complete the latest commissioned wine labels, and reorganize my art space.


All of this is such good news, and yet I’m finding myself feeling hopeless about actually getting “well”. I’m seeing a bit of improvement, but after all my ups and downs, I just don’t trust it. And today has been a very tired day. My doctor says “have patience”, my acupuncturist says, “have patience”, and now my physical therapist is saying “have patience”. I am SO tired of being patient I could scream!

"did sOmeOne say patience?"

“did sOmeOne say be patient?”

The truth is, I’m a very patient person. I pride myself on being patient. But, honestly, this has tested the limits of my patience like never before. And being a patient patient seems just about impossible today. Maybe that is why these two words look and sound the same – it requires one to be the other. I came across the following quote on Pinterest, and it really helped me get clear about the facts and where my focus needs to be. It kind of says it all…


Fact #1: I am doing everything in my power to get well.

Fact #2: This Valley Fever “down-time” has provided me some much needed soul-searching and artist exploration time (that I have used very well, by the way : )

And Fact #3: I really do have a great life.

So, I will gather myself once again, and boldly continue on this path of healing and growth and finding the magical silver linings.


This past week I planted flowers for the first time since coming to Arizona. I swore I would never do it, because “they just don’t belong here in the desert”. Well, my Midwest heart needed some potted flowers! But, did I really need to pick impatiens?!

"my desert impatiens"

“my desert impatiens”

I guess I did!


Impatiens (or impatient) in the desert sun…


Thank you for having patience with me as I heal. I know everyone is pulling for me and every kind card, thought, word, stuffed animal, phone call, email, Facebook “Like”, and prayer is gratefully cherished and accepted. To my healing team (yes, you!), “I respectfully, humbly, and gratefully accept the help you are offering.” Thank you for everything!


May all your dreams come true! Happy May Day, lOvelies!

lOve, vickiO

One year and cOunting (aka grOundhOg day)

One year ago, on February 8, 2012, I became ill with what I thought was an average head cold. My energy was zapped and my head was stuffed up, but my grand plan was to just to keep pushing through it. I continued to play golf, plan events, and workout (Jazzercise at least 4 times per week). By February 19, 2012 I knew I was dealing with something more serious than a cold. I could no longer push myself to be active in my life and I was very sick with headaches, nausea, cough, light sensitivity, body aches, rashes, night sweats and extreme fatigue.

What began with a quick stop at the Walgreens clinic, turned into a year-long struggle for a clear diagnosis and effective treatment. As of today, I have found neither. I’ve seen seven doctors and tried every treatment that was offered to me – Amoxicillan, Doxycycline, Diflucan, Morinda Supreme, Symbicort, Cymbalta, Xango, flower essences, Oil of  Oregano, Pau ‘d Arco,  Multidophilus, massage, Yoga, meditation, IV vitamin treatments, herbal tinctures, adrenal support supplements, cranio-sacral bodywork and color therapy.  Whew!  No wonder I’m exhausted!

A card my sister sent me.  I do lOve the rain!

A card my sister sent me. I do lOve the rain!

I wanted this first blOg pOst to be about how well I’ve handled being forced, by extreme fatigue and illness, to be housebound for the past year.  I wanted to share how taking the leap of faith to begin playing with art saved my life.  While that is all true, what is really present today is fear.  Fear that I may never get well.  Fear that I may have a chronic illness for the rest of my life.  Fear that I will never get to travel or play golf or go for another hike.  I love being outside and I have missed it so much.  I’ve missed so many special occasions and gatherings, and that has been really hard, too.

I’ve always loved the movie Groundhog Day.  It is so funny and heart-warming, and in the end, Bill Murray’s character learns the value of being honest, authentic and truly loving.  What I didn’t get, until now, is the amount of courage and tenacity it takes to keep getting out of bed in the morning to do it “all over again”.  That darn groundhog isn’t so cute after day 200 or day 300 or day 366!


I have been so sure that I have Valley Fever, but the truth is at this point, I’m not really sure what is making me this sick.  Two doctors say Valley Fever (please read the abOut valley fever menu option for more information on this disease), one doctor says chronic fatigue, and another treated me for Lyme Disease and several other infections.  Talk about feeling crazy!  I’ve been on this roller coaster long enough.  I’ve talked about it, painted about it, accepted it, learned from it, and even been grateful for it.  And, yet, this is where I find myself. Still.

So, once again, I return to my mantra: “It Is What It Is”.  In the past, those words sounded like resignation to me (and not in a good way).  Because of the last year, they now bring me peace.  Peace that I really have done all that I could, and that I’m not to blame.  There is something oddly embarrassing about being sick for so long, with no real explanation why.  My friends’ oncologist said to me last week, “Well, it’s something.”  That was exactly what I needed to hear!  It IS something, and I won’t give up on finding what it is, and finding something that will help me get well.

my year-lOng mantra...

my year-lOng mantra…

Until then, I will keep painting, and talking, and crying, and loving, and laughing, and being grateful for it all.  Because the truth is, that is who I really am.

If you have favorite mantras that help you get through the really hard times, I would love to hear them.  Thanks so much for listening, and sharing!

peace, vickiO