Episode XXI: Questions of Grandeur

Episode XXI

Questions of Grandeur 

 Today’s Words of Wisdom:

 “If you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it.”

-Cool Runnings

 The Foda’s take: This was my senior yearbook quote. I love it because it reminds me that humankind often makes the mistake of looking for things outside of ourselves to help make us happy. In my case, that means collecting shoes and all things Star Wars. In Mandalf’s case, it’s bicycles and yogurt. The point is, we all do it, hoping our acquisitions will help us find our bliss, especially when the going gets rough. But that bliss will always be temporary if we don’t make peace with what’s inside first.

 Welcome back, friends of Foda! I hope you enjoyed the little musical parody last week. The inspiration just hit me, and I had to go with it. (Plus, Mandalf runs a podcast, so it was really fun to try out his new microphone!) Anyway, I watched Cool Runnings the other day in celebration of the Olympic spirit, and that quote jumped out at me again, just as strongly as it did when I was a teenager. This caused me to have several moments of deep reflection.

What is the thing I’m without that I want the most?

Do I want to be able to walk out my front door again without worrying how many minutes I’ll make it? Yes. Do I want to know that there’s a turnaround point soon in my future? Umm… yuh-huh! Do I want to have peace, living in the moment until then? Seriously. You have to ask?

A part of me- the tired part who’s been fighting so long- wants to scoff at this quote and say that it doesn’t apply to people who are looking to obtain their general HEALTH back. I mean, that should be, like, our birthright. But the other part- the part who’s learning how to find hope and meaning in all of this- tells me that it DOES apply to me.

It’s really easy to sit back and try and find distractions that will make you feel, even if just for a moment, like you’re in the famous Family Guy skit: “Ooh, piece of candy!” And the more “candy” you find, the more you want to make that fleeting feeling of happiness last. But that’s just the point. IT WON’T. (Just watch what happens in the link above!) Why won’t it work? Because it’s a band-aid over a Sarlacc-sized hole.

And okay, I can hear you cynics out there. Alright, hot shot, what do I do to find my “inner peace”, huh? (Is it weird I just pictured Harrison Ford saying that from the cockpit of the Millenium Falcon?)

Well, here’s how I see it. Our “coming-of-age” story can happen at any time in our lives. Who says it’s just for doe eyed teens learning to make their way in the world? That’s like saying life isn’t hard after 25. WRONG! So if my “piece of candy” is my health, then what I really want, as I do everything possible to get it back, is…

To relax. To have peace. To BELIEVE that everything’s going to work out okay. And, what I’m learning is most important: to KNOW that I can contribute grace and beauty to the world even without the use of my legs. These are the things I can take with me no matter what happens.

So while this does NOT mean I’m going to stop fighting for my “normal” life back, I guess I’m realizing it won’t mean as much when I get it if I don’t learn how to reckon with my inner Foda first.

If you’re reading this, you may be going through a rough time, like me. Or maybe you went through something in the past, and read this blog because you can relate. Whatever your reason, I hope you take a minute and really think about what your deepest desire is. I thought mine was to have a healthy body- and that’s true- but the real underlying desire is to have peace, and freedom from worry. And pursing that is a choice I’m going to have to make over, and over, and over again.

But hey- Luke didn’t use the Force right on his first time either… (Especially if you believe this hilarious video spoof.)

Namaste,

The Foda

Pssst…. over here! I promised in my bio: The Birth of The Foda that I would never talk medical stuff with you, but many people have asked what it’s like to have Lyme Disease. Here is a WONDERFUL, informative, non-scary article written by a woman named Shannon Donegan called “Ten Things To Know When Someone In Your Life Has Lyme.” Please read and share. I know many Lymies who have agreed that this is EXACTLY what it’s like. Thanks to Shannon for letting me post it!

Episode XX: Pudding Legs

Episode XX: Pudding Legs

 Welcome, folks! I’m changing things up a bit today. Instead of having a Words of Wisdom segment, I have written a lil’ parody called “Pudding Legs” to the tune of “Part of Your World” from Disney’s The Little Mermaid. I was inspired to do this by my own uncooperative legs who just haven’t wanted to hold me up lately. So instead of getting angry at them, I decided to try laughter instead!

This Parody is for everyone dealing with a chronic illness who has ever felt like they have shaky, unreliable “Pudding Legs” holding them up. Share, enjoy, and feel free to use this to serenade your own pudding legs when they’re getting the better of you. It won’t make them stronger, but it may make you smile. Enjoy!

 Click Below To Listen! Lyrics Below. 

 “Pudding Legs”

(To the tune of “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid)

Lyrics Written and Performed by The Female Yoda,  February 20th, 2014

Look at these legs

Aren’t they sweet?

Compare them to custard, and I have them beat

Pudding legs under my weight

Aren’t they- so sedate?

Wobbly and soft just like a rose

You should be glad you don’t stand up on those

Pudding legs wobbling my way

Feeling like styrofoam

I’ve got tendons and skin cells a-plenty

I’ve got ligaments down to the floor

Oh, those fingers and toes? I’ve got twenty.

But who cares? No big deal. I want more!

I wanna stand like the cupcakes stand

Strong and delicious and dense like mortar

Hangin’ around on those- what’s that word again?

Oh. Cookie Sheets.

These pudding legs, they don’t get too far

Flour is required for rising, growing

Raising up tall on your own so you don’t fall

Up where they rise

Up where they grow

Why are these puddings legs so hard to stow

Right under me

Wish I could be

More like that dough

What would I give if I could live out of these wobblers

What would I take to spend a day: cake on a stand

Betchya on toast

Or on a roast

You really get to sink your teeth in

Soft but solid

Now I’m clotted

Down to my toes!

And I wanna go where the donuts go

Happy and cheerful with too much sugar

I’d even take being round to be strong below

Oh, pudding legs

Made up with eggs

Runny and weightless and feel more like pegs

But hopefully

One day I’ll be

More like a tree

 I dedicate this song to all of you out there who have ever had, or have at this time, Pudding Legs. If you know someone with a chronic illness who would understand this parody and could use a smile, please share this post. We Pudding Legs need to stick together. :)

Pudding A Smile On Your Face,

(I just heard half of you groan… yeah, I admit it, that was a pretty bad pun..)

Stay Strong,

The Foda

P.S. Like this musical parody? Check out my latest uptempo parody off Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite” transformed to: “Digit Night!” <—- Click the title to hear/watch the Foda’s first music video!

Episode XIX: And The Crowd Goes Wild!

Episode XIX

And The Crowd Goes Wild!

 Today’s Words of Wisdom:

 “I get knocked down, but I get up again. You ain’t never gunna keep me down!”

-Chumbawamba

 The Foda’s take: First off, I inexplicably love this song. It’s one of those catchy tunes that doesn’t really say much of anything, but it gets stuck in your head. Secondly, I like to think of this as our American legacy- pulling ourselves up from our bootstraps. After all, everyone loves the underdog who triumphs through adversity… although the journey to get there can be pretty rough. Just ask Luke Skywalker. And his mechanical hand.

 Hi there! So good to see you again. Have you been watching the Olympics this week? I know I have. And wow, has it been exciting! The speed, the jumps, the Cinderella stories of athletes coming up from behind and crushing the competition! And then there’s the stories of the athletes who fall and have to get up and skate, sled, or slide on. We cheer for these people. We root for them. I was personally cheering big time for ice skater Jeremy Abbott, who fell hard on the ice after a quad, and then got back up, obviously in pain, and finished his routine beautifully. And the crowd goes wild!!!!

And then I think. He fell. He was hurt and stunned and in pain, and things were just not going the way he had hoped they would. But he gets up anyway. And the entire arena roars and cheers and spurs him to go on. And we eat this up. I mean, who doesn’t love an athlete who shows some serious moxie, regardless of whether they medal? I know I do! But then it hits me… what about the invisible people, the ordinary you-and-me people who fall down every day in bodies that won’t function properly due to illness?

Who’s going to cheer for us?

It’s really hard to live in a body that won’t match up to what our minds think we’re capable of. When you have a chronic illness, it can feel like every minute of every day is you falling on the ice after attempting to jump. And what makes it worse is that since so many people with Lyme or auto-immune disorders or chronic depression look completely normal… who’s going to cheer us on, give us that pat on the back, and tell us with complete confidence: you can do it!!!

Not a screaming arena, I can tell you that. But think of it this way- we are the true fighters. The true Cinderella stories. The unseen, unrecognized battle-hardened warriors. And while I would love to have a room of strangers cheering me on during my toughest moments when I’m having a hard time finding hope… it will mean just that much more when I get there.

I’ve learned things I never could have hoped to know at this age if my body was healthy. I’ve learned faith, and patience. I’ve learned humility and perseverance. I’ve learned that there are two ways to view every situation, and that how I react is a choice. And I know- I KNOW– that when I get up again, I will not mess around. I will not get stuck in the mundane problems of life. I will not complain over sniveling little colds, or because I’d rather sleep in than go to work. I will be PRESENT. I will be a WARRIOR. And I will NOT apply to the phrase how “youth is wasted on the young” because I will be wise and mature beyond my years.

There isn’t a whole gaggle of strangers cheering for me to get back up from the stands. My struggle is not all over the nightly news. But just like Jeremy Abbott, I WILL get back up. And when I do?

The crowd goes wild!!!!!!

Even if that crowd is just a few close family and friends.

Join me, won’t you?

Go Team,

The Foda

Episode XVIII: Flexy-Vexy

Episode XVIII

Flexy-Vexy

 Today’s Words of Wisdom:

 “Flexible people don’t break.”

From a sign outside of Purple Parlor Carwash….  at least 10 years ago

 The Foda’s take: I loved this quote when I first spied it from a Dunkin’ Donuts window, while sipping some sort of “coffee” drink- which I’m certain was 50 % sugar, 40 % chocolate, and 10% coffee. (Ah, the beginning coffee years. Times of six sugar cubes and buckets of cream. Times when I realized “light and sweet” were my new best friends. Oh, how do I take it now, do you ask? So sweet of you to inquire! Like a CHAMP, that’s how I take it. Black. No sugar. Drip of soy milk. Dark roast.) (P.s. this may be the longest digression I’ve ever had.. I’m oddly quite proud of that…) Oh right! My take on the quote. Um, yeah. It’s super great.

 Welcome back, friends! Today I’d like to talk to you about a new state of being I’ve recently created. For my fellow Lymies out there, and all others dealing with a debilitating condition, you probably already know it quite well- even if you haven’t ever identified it before. This state of being occurs when you’re in a situation that requires you to be flexible. After all, flexible people can roll with the punches, be spontaneous, compromise, and are all-around fabulous to have as friends. Why? Because going with the flow allows you to be open to new experiences and connections- and that can be really fun! But what if, due to your illness, you can’t be flexible, much as you’d like to? I call this conundrum Flexy-Vexy. The state of wanting to be flexible, and being vexed when you realize….. you just can’t.

Henceforth: Flexy-Vexy.

I myself have been very Flexy-Vexied lately. For the past four months, I’ve been pretty much confined to my small apartment, only getting out for doctor’s appointments and short walks in my parking lot. And I have cabin fever like you wouldn’t believe! But there’s not much I can do about it. I can’t drive yet, can’t stand long, and so going out can be a tricky thing. I want to go out to dinner with my husband, want to see the new art gallery displays every second Saturday the next town over, want to sit on the pier and sip a dark-roasted coffee from Ella’s Bella’s– (the most amazing little pastry/coffee shop in Beacon, NY.) But while my mind’s all gung-ho and let’s do it!!! my body’s just not quite there yet.

I told you. Flippin’ Flexy-Vexy, man.

So what am I going to do about it? I’ll tell you what I’m going to do about it! Are you ready for this? I’m going to give myself a free pass. I know. I KNOW. You’re all like- but dude, that’s HORRIBLE, you should totally, like, try harder and stuff.

Well, thanks, dude. But here’s how I see it. This time in my life isn’t going to last forever. I will get better, and I will be able to go with the flow. (I am a pisces, after all- that’s what we do. We flow. And create. And have a horrible inability to make hard-and-fast decisions. TRUTH. Just ask my sister how many pairs of wedding shoes I bought and returned before the big day. Way more than a respectable amount.)

So this week, I’m trying this free pass on for size. Instead of beating myself up because I can’t go on a fancy date with my husband, I’m going to let myself be where I’m at, when I’m at it, until I’m not there anymore. Otherwise, I might get so Flexy-Vexied that I’d become a not very nice Foda. And we wouldn’t want that. No, we would NOT.

So if you’re in a rough spot like me where you life just isn’t conducive to being flexible… take the week off. Allow yourself to be inflexible. It may work for you. It may not. (Please note that being inflexible is not code for being beastly and demanding to those around you. Just wanna be clear here!) But hey- it’s worth a shot.

Un-flexingly yours,

The Foda

Episode XVII: My Funny Valentine

Episode XVII

My Funny Valentine

 Today’s Words of Wisdom:

“All you need is love.”

(Dooo doo do-do doo….)

The Beatles

 The Foda’s take: Oh, I’m sorry, what’s that? I was singing. Dooo doo do-do doo……

 Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today should be a day for celebration (however much Mandalf seems to think it’s a Hallmark holiday made to sell cards and candy.) It’s a day where we recognize the love in our life. And although it’s formally used to honor the feeling you have for a significant other, many people are now also using it as a time to spend with friends, the family you choose, their other family… kinda of like how people say pork is the other white meat…. (I never quite got that…) But I digress.

Anyway, today I would like to dedicate this post to my Valentine, the fabulous Mandalf, who has stuck by me through so much.

Ahem.

This poem shall be named….

Ode to Mandalf

Dear Mandalf

You are tall like a giraffe with better hair

When I first met you, I had to stare

Who was that man with the snowboarder’s frame

And a smile that puts other men’s to shame?

We built a love so strong and oh so true

Yet right after we said “I do”

Our adventure dreams went on the shelf

Proving you meant in sickness and health 

I don’t know how I’d live this trial

Without you here to make me smile

So know, Mandalf, that all you do

Is not unseen, and does imbue

A love so strong that will always grow

If you say “I love you”, I won’t just say “I know”

I love you, my dear, with all of my heart

Living a love song with you is a pure form of art. 

So thank you, Mandalf, for being my beau

Thanks to you, I’m not flying (Han) Solo

 Happy Valentine’s Day Everybody!!!

Love,

The Foda

Episode XVI: Encased in Carbonite

Episode XVI

Encased in Carbonite

 Today’s Words of Wisdom:

 “The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

 The Foda’s take: The only thing I disagree with here is that it sounds like you will only have one moment like this that will stand out from all the rest. But it seems to be part of the human experience to know this moment many, many times. The smart ones use it not as a negative, but as a marker to show how far you’ve come, and how far you’ll go.

 Let me paint a picture for you. It’s the end of Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back. Han Solo is led to the isolation chamber, tired and beaten, resigned to his fate. He is slowly lowered into the cavern, white smoke billowing out around him. Leia leans forward and blurts out: I love you! Han gives her a half smile and replies simply: I know. Valves spin, mechanisms whir, and he is frozen, encased in a golden block of carbonite.

Okay, let’s talk about this for a minute. First off, how hard would it have been for him to say three words instead of two? I mean, really- I love you— I know. Seriously???!!!! (Although it did make for a super cute novelty mug I gave my husband Mandalf for Christmas.) But that’s not the point. The point is that just because Han happened to be friends with Luke Skywalker, he was trapped in a metal cube for months. And this led me to reflect on how isolating it can be to feel trapped in a body or a life that just won’t give.

All people feel lonely; that’s nothing new. But isolation is different. Isolation is something that feels like it happens to you- a separation between you and the rest of the world. When you have a chronic illness or personal trauma, it often feels like the world goes on without you, while you’re stuck, much like Han, in a block of cement. It makes us feel ostracized, different, like the wasabi shmushed to the side of every sushi platter, just hoping to be added into the mix. (Mmmm Sushi. Yum.)

It’s no surprise why humans who live with this kind of isolation have such a hard time with it. In prison, solitary confinement is considered cruel and unusual- the worst punishment we can devise for the living- existence without human contact. And yet people with chronic illness spend so much of their time chained to their house this way… and they did nothing wrong. Infuriating, no? We all just want our Princess Leia to come and rescue us; push a few buttons and let the carbonite casing melt away. But often, try as we might, wish as we do, no one is going to save us- and we will reconcile ourselves to finding worth and wisdom in being forced onto the road less traveled.

So where’s my silver lining in all this? I’d like to say that I’ve found a way to make this kind of isolation from the world less painful- that I’m no longer bothered by the fact that the world moves on while I can’t- but that’s not true. I have, however, found ways to feel like I’m contributing to the world, even when I can’t leave my couch. I’ve learned how to create a website. I’ve written, I’ve created, I’ve taught myself calligraphy, I’ve learned how to make jewelry. I’ve named all my plants. (Don’t judge me there. I will sic my snake plant on you. Whose name, by the way, is Daisy.)

But I think the most important thing about being put into proverbial carbonite is that it’s given me the rare opportunity to sit and think and decide what is truly important. I like to think that when this time in my life has passed, I will be strong, and fearless, and wise beyond my young years, because I will have survived true trials and tribulations.

So although I would love for Princess Leia to come and rescue me too… I’m just going to have to do it myself.

Just so long as I’m not actually big eared, wrinkly, and green by then.

In closing, since we started with a F. Scott Fitzgerald quote from Gatsby, I will leave you with the same. As my father Dobiwan is so fond of saying:

“No matter- tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther… And then one fine morning-— So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” 

 Here’s to your one fine morning.

Cheers,

The Foda

Episode XV: Let’s Get Stoned

Episode XV

Let’s Get Stoned (made you look)

 Today’s Words of Wisdom:

 “Let’s go to sleep with clearer heads, and hearts too big to fit our beds. And maybe we won’t feel so alone- before we turn to stone.”

“Turn to Stone” by Ingrid Michaelson

 The Foda’s take: First off, if you haven’t heard this breathtaking song, listen to it immediately. Second, I like to think that what she means by this is that we should count our blessings. Perhaps if we become mindful to add gratitude to our bedtime routine along with our toothbrush and moisturizer, we’ll find that fulfillment most people search for outside of themselves their whole lives- and never find. After all, how can you hold on to something if you look for it outside of yourself?

 Alright, people, it’s Friday, and you know what that means! It’s GAME NIGHT! Okay, let’s start with 20 questions. Person, place, or thing. Wow, you guessed it. It’s a thing. Yup, you can find it outside. Mmmhmm, it’s smaller than a breadbox. Wow, it IS a mineral! This is unbelievable. Whoa. Wait.Yes, it’s a rock! How did you know? Okay, now that you’ve guessed it, go find one. It should be small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, smooth, and have a pleasing feel to you. Got it? Good.

Welcome to your new gratitude stone.

This is a practice first introduced to me by the magnificent Mandalf about a year ago. The idea is to put it where you’re likely to touch/see it every day- like a pocket, or even in your car. I like to put it in my pocket. (What if I wear something without pockets you ask? Why would I own something that doesn’t have a place for my lip balm??!!! People be crazy.)

So anyway, when you get dressed, pick up your gratitude stone, and think of one thing you are grateful for today. (And be creative, please- you can’t choose the same thing over and over, however true it may be.) This way, whenever you go reach into your pocket (to reapply your lip balm every hour….oh wait, is that just me??) you will touch the stone and remember what you’re grateful for.

You could also tattoo it on your forehead… but this way is much gentler.

Anyway, I used to do this everyday. But the practice got away from me once I got too sick to work, or even leave the house on my own. After all, it’s just not the same feeling, putting a stone into pajama pants, right? So I thought about it. And I have the solution.

Wear pajamas with POCKETS!!!!!

Or…..actually get dressed. After all, staying in your pajamas all day when you’re housebound is fun at first…. but eventually it becomes a tangible reminder that you’re isolated. After all, would you really want someone to see you looking like this? No? Then every time you look in the mirror, you remind yourself that you’re sick. (And by you, I do mean me.) Gulp. <Head-Smack>

So today, in the spirit of choosing happiness, I re-start my gratitude practice. I’m hoping it will remind me that even in the darkest times, there are good, tangible things to hold on to. I hope you’ll join me.

Still unconvinced? If I may quote from the bible, ahem: May he who is without gratitude hold the first stone….. wait, that’s not right……

But do it anyway.

Rock on, (heh. heh-heh. I’m so bad.)

The Foda

P.S. Now do you get the title? Might this be a good time to mention my affinity for tragic puns and play-on-words?

Episode XIV: The Small Things: Part III

Episode XIV

The Small Things: Part III

 Today’s Words of Wisdom:

 “Even in the most peaceful surroundings, the angry heart finds quarrel. Even in the most quarrelsome surroundings, the grateful heart finds peace.”

Doe Zantamata

 The Foda’s take: Yup, I second that.

 Hello fabulous friends of Foda! Welcome to the final installment of the small things miniseries on finding blessings and peace in life’s little lifts. After my last post on finding 5 simple ways to bring joy into your day, I was contacted by a very wise, very honest man. Let’s call him… Dobiwan.

Dobiwan shared with me words of honesty, beauty, and heartbreaking reality about what it’s like to be the support system of a loved one going through a longterm battle. I spend a lot of time in this galaxy delving into how to get through our own battles with grace… but what about the person who stands by you? The one who has the power to walk out the door, leave all the pain behind, but chooses to stay, knowing his (or her)  shoulder will be lent upon, leaving him lopsided and unbalanced. What about the people behind the people? After all, when you have a chronic illness, your wings have been clipped for you- you didn’t choose it, and you do all you can to build your mind and your body up so you can one day fly again. But…the people who love us… they clip their own wings using scissors from their own hand. They choose to fight, to stay, to learn how to love someone whose whole existence is likely becoming redefined.

Today I’d like to honor these people. People like Dobiwan and Mandalf who don’t have the illness, but still have all the pain, all the stress, and all the guilt. Guilt that their loved ones can’t walk away, but they can. Guilt when they feel happiness, then immediately feel like they shouldn’t while their loved ones are suffering so. Guilt that there’s nothing they can do but be there and offer what little comfort they can through the small things- letting her choose the movie, picking up his favorite dinner, staying in when they can’t go out.

And on behalf of people like me who are fighting their way back- I want you to know, I see you. And while you may think these small things aren’t enough, I need you to know just how much they mean. That phone call out of the blue from the old friend? Touching. The butternut squash soup from the sister who wishes she could do more? Warms the belly and the soul. The father who would go to the ends of the earth to find a Tibetan singing bowl just because he heard you mention once how peaceful it sounds? Priceless. The mother who talks about handbags and hairstyles with you when she knows you need a bit of normal? Comforting. And the husband who loves to explore and experience but stays home instead, and agrees when you ask to watch yet another romantic comedy? That means something. It’s small. It’s not going to cure me or fix me or take away all my pain. But it makes all the difference, because at least I know I’m not alone- even when I feel like I am.

So thank you to all the loved ones out there like Dobiwan who are just trying to do everything they can for the people they care for. What you do may feel small- but as we’re learning, it’s the small things that count.

Cheers,

The Foda

Episode XIII: The Small Things: Part II

Episode XIII

The Small Things: Part II

 Today’s Words of Wisdom:

 “Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens. Brown paper packages tied up with strings- these are a few of my favorite things.” 

–  Maria, The Sound of Music

 The Foda’s take: This lady knows it’s all about the small things! Notice she didn’t say my favorite thing is my brand new <insert fancy car here> .

What, you really thought I knew something about cars? Please. I tell people I ride a marshmallow. Because it’s white. Duh. Besides, they just don’t make T-16s for blasting womp-rats like they used to….

 Welcome back, folks! Today we’re continuing our search for finding the small things that add color and brightness to our lives, especially during hard times. After all, when you describe someone you love, you start with the little things: the eyes, the laugh, the smile, the funny idiosyncrasies only he/she has. You don’t say: Oh, my husband? He’s a 6’3 non-smoking male, young, in good health, four working limbs and no known allergies. That’s the stuff you’d read off a health insurance form. It’s true, but it’s not what describes the person. Ergo, (I LOVE saying ergo!) it’s the small things that count.

So, when we’re beat down on the big things- well, appreciating the small things can make all the difference. I know this past week, I’ve really needed to find moments for joy in my life. So today, here is a list of five small every-day things that make me smile.

1. Making that morning cup of coffee in a single-cup percolator.

I love my coffee piping hot, and usually have to pop it in the microwave when I make it using the standard drip. With a percolator, it comes out steaming hot, and with a creaminess you just can’t get with a drip. Add a splash of soy milk, and I’m in heaven!

2. Bright pink corduroy TOMS shoes.

I saw a burnt orange pair of TOMS for the first time on a trip to San Diego and fell in love with them. But I was on a budget, so I never got them. Years later, a few months after being diagnosed, I needed a pick-me-up, and remembered the TOMS. I couldn’t find the orange ones online, but the pink ones looked so happy, I had to do it.They feel like slippers, and the best part is that TOMS has a one-for-one policy, where they donate one pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair you buy. How cool is that! I put them on before going for testing or treatments- and it always brings a smile to my face.

3. Aura Cacia Aromatherapy scents.

I love aromatherpy! My favorite is to burn equal parts of Lavender and Clove Bud essential oils in my soap stone diffuser. The combination is so relaxing with the calmness of the lavender and the added warmth and confidence of the clove. When people come over, they get so blissed out, they don’t want to leave!

4. Breakfast for Dinner.

My husband (Mandalf!) knows I’ve had a bad day when I want eggs and toast for dinner. There’s some sort of child-like joy to breakfast that’s so satisfying- and an almost mischievous feeling of eating it at the wrong time of day! If I want pancakes? It was a really bad day. If I want pancakes using our Star Wars Pancake Molds from William-Sonoma? It was a very, very bad day. But life’s always better after breakfast-for-dinner… Brinner? Dinfast? Breakner?

5. Being The Foda.

Every morning, I wake up eager to go on this website and see how many of you have flocked to my humble words of wisdom. I am so honored to have had so many of you reading this blog since its grand opening a mere 3 weeks ago. I never could have imagined I’d have such a wonderful readership so quickly, and it warms my little Foda heart to hear how many of you are finding hope and inspiration while working through your own journey. After all, whether you have chronic illness or not, life is hard. But as they say, it’s not how badly life treats you that defines who you’ll be- it’s how you climb back up when life pushes you down. Thank you for being a part of my world, and joining me in finding hope and humor through it all.

So that’s it, my top five small things that make me smile on a daily basis. Have you ever asked yourself- What would yours be?

Stay Small,

The Foda

P.S. I didn’t put my R2D2 robe on the list, because I’ve already mentioned it in two other posts… but yeah. It’s pretty awesome.

P.P.S. Have any awesome small things of your own you’d like to share? Share it down below; I’d love to hear them!