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Migraine Free (No Whammies!)

A week ago today—because you bet I’ve been keeping track—marked six months since I’ve had a migraine. This is a BIG deal, friends. After a sixteen-year struggle with the things, which would come on at semi-regular intervals and render me incapacitated for 24-36 hours, this is a freedom I have to acknowledge and celebrate.

:throws confetti:

My triggers were many over the years. Most significantly was every woman’s bosom buddy: hormones. But sometimes stress, overstimulation, extended periods of sunlight or noise. A delayed meal, dehydration. Other times my susceptibility was inexplicable. (Say that five times super-fast.)

I charted food, MSG, caffeine, but could never pinpoint something I was (or wasn’t) ingesting as a cause. My doc put me on a regimen of proven-to-help vitamins, which only leveled out my “normal” everyday headaches. I tried innumerable tricks and suggested remedies.


This photo doesn’t look like confetti to me, but it’s what popped up when I was searching images for some. And I like it. (

Prescription medications either didn’t touch ’em or sharpened the suffering or, in one case, brought on allergic reaction. There really was no relief to be had. All I could do was bury myself in bed, in a dark and quiet room, pillow over my head, earplugs in place. I had to block out all of the things, but even then I could only wait out the pain (nausea sometimes, too), praying for numbing sleep, getting very little.

Until April, that is. That’s when the migraines stopped, and — do you believe this? — because of no one thing I can explain. I wish I could say, “I did this on that day, and it’s what healed me.” But I can’t.

There are some identifiable differences in my life, though. A handful of things, actually, and so is it the combination? One small change which is overshadowed by the others? A fluke?

* I’ve improved both my diet and exercise.

* I’m on a blood pressure medication. I never had any precursors or symptoms, but HBP runs in my family and after several months of risky numbers, I started taking a common Rx.

* I get a regular shot now, too, which controls my hormones — thereby eliminating (huzzah!) the menstrual migraines.

* I drink ounces and ounces of water, and have mostly eliminated carbonated drinks. (And I thought I’d never give up Dr Pepper.)

* Since the start of 2014 — but especially in the last six months — I have let go of a lot (and gained so much more). There is a ton to be said for personal progress, healing, finding peace (and truth), and giving up stress. A ton. I mean it.

I suppose it’s not coincidence that these changes all took effect at the same time, springtime, though I didn’t coordinate them, I certainly didn’t plan for them to commence together.

I guess therein lies the magic.

And I’m celebrating it!

To keep up with me on my personal blog, go to Woman, Determined. I also have a new Facebook page, if you’d like to come see me there.

Scene of the Day

Occasionally I’ll observe something that I consider a “Scene of the Day,” because in some way it speaks to me, or catches my attention, gives me pause.

There was the time my daughter won a stuffed animal in a claw machine, and ran after the boy who’d tried minutes before her, so she could give the coveted bear to him. And there was the time I saw a young nun, habit and all, bounding joyfully through light rain.

Maybe it was my beau across the table from me in a fantastic, aromatic coffee shop. Or a sweet smudge of chocolate in the middle of my other daughter’s forehead.

Sometimes it’s a quieter moment, very small, one I don’t share with anyone. I might see a man who—in a single second—reminds me of my dad, who is gone now. Or maybe I’ll see a baby who looks not unlike my girls used to, strapped in its infant carrier, face winched tight as it cries its need, some need, any need. In both of these instances my heart will soften and dive toward memory.

This last weekend we had a garage sale at our home, like others. Many Amish families came from the community close by, to shop the town-wide event. A youthful mom asked if her tiny boy might use my bathroom. I gave permission and, one after the other, seven Amish folks filed into my house. (I suppose where one goes, they all go.) It was a sight to behold, as well as ruminate over. (I stepped in, as well, and saw that each used the facilities.)

Last night I studied the beautiful moon outside my bedroom window, and then several minutes later from my back stoop to get a clearer, more striking look. (Side Note: Unbeknownst to me, a friend was at the same time messaging me to go take in the moon, because he knew I was frustrated about something and thought it would do me well. I love connection like that.) (Side Note 2: Have you ever noticed the still and peace that accompanies an effort to absorb nature or weather or the cosmos?)

Maybe my point is, one scene has an impact, then the next, and another. If you’re paying attention, they all add up to a significant facet of life. Don’t you agree?

Tell us about your latest Scene of the Day.

[image credit:]

Joining the (Writer) Club

In years past I’ve hung around forums (I recommend Absolute Write), blogged and networked online, and generally thrown myself toward a web community of awesome creative people, but I’ve never been part of a writers’ group.

A few months ago I decided that, because I needed a kick in the creative pants, I’d start a Facebook group for local-to-me writers. We could rally and connect through the power of the interwebs and then, if things felt right, meet in person and make it official.


Monday night was our first meeting! We converged on our town’s park—gray sky and blustery wind would not deter us—some with writing samples, others with a casual rundown of their journey and expectation. Out of the current nine in our group, five were able to attend. Not too shabby, methinks.

While so far we’re all women, we’re diverse in age, in resume, in personality, in chosen genre and publication goals. Given all this I think we’ll work well together, offering varied insight and constructive criticism, holding each other accountable, and encouraging each other—maybe we’ll even engage in a little friendly competition—to work and improve and make stuff happen.

Though I’ve never spearheaded anything before, and am not sold on being the “leader” of this group, I’m glad I took the initiative to get it going. I have some pretty solid intentions, and I hope the effort ahead proves to be beneficial for us all, in more ways than one.

If you’re a writer, are you part of a “club” or guild? What are its benefits for you?

If you’re not a writer, is there some other kind of group of which you’re a member? Do tell!



For many nights now I’ve dealt with a bit of insomnia: Can’t fall asleep, seems neither my brain nor my body want to turn off; sleeping a few solid hours; waking and lying there for what feels like gobs of time, again unable to turn off my thoughts; falling back to sleep for another few hours; waking early.

Insomnia is defined by as a noun:

the inability to obtain sufficient sleep, especially when chronic; difficulty in falling or staying asleep; sleeplessness.

Reasons for insomnia vary, from medical or psychological issues and medicinal side effects to stress and a poor environment or sleep conditions, and so on.

While the majority of that doesn’t apply to me, there have certainly been stressful events in my life of late (who doesn’t have those?), but honestly, I’m not filled with anxiety. I’ve developed the right methods to deal with my stress, and have come to terms with the life factors over which I have no control, trusting a plan I can’t know ahead of time, living day to day, finding and keeping peace within me, choosing happiness, and so on.

So what’s making it so hard for me to sleep?

I recently read an article online about what it means to experience a spiritual awakening. (You can find the full article by Kristen Butler HERE.) Check out the following excerpt:

Some people who are experiencing a spiritual awakening have trouble falling asleep. What is going on inside keeps you awake. It’s a burning desire and some people know how to direct that energy while others aren’t sure and this is what is primarily keep you awake at night. Most report that they either have trouble falling asleep or they awaken at 2:00 and 4:00 AM.

If you’re experiencing unusual sleep patterns, it’s okay. Just don’t lay there and worry. There’s a lot of work going on within you. It’s a natural process. The best thing to do is go do whatever it is that is calling you to do – for some it is writing.

Given that all the other bulletpoints in the article fit my current place in life and understanding, I’m comfortable concluding that more than anything, my mid-night “adventures” have significant meaning for my spirit. And I actually think that’s pretty cool, so I won’t get too cranky about my current lack of sleep. I mean, enlightening stuff is going on, and who am I to question that?

What about you? Have you ever dealt with insomnia and/or experienced spiritual awakening?

A New Place to Call My Own

I picked it out myself. Arranged and rearranged. Hung the drapes. Fluffed the pillows. I’ve scented it with lavender (see if you can tell). Coffee’s stocked. Everything is situated just so. It’s pretty comfy and it suits me well.

Won’t you swing by my new personal blog? I love having guests!

Click here to visit WOMAN, DETERMINED.

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