Thursday, October 30, 2014

Living in the Moment

They say you learn something new every day.

Well, let me share something I learned yesterday. First of all, let me share where I learned it.

I learned it in therapy.

Hey, at least now the title of my blog makes sense again. I haven't been in therapy since before Al's stroke. So, it was about time that I sought some kind of counseling again since I've been through just a little bit of trial and trauma in the past four years.

Without even mentioning the stroke and the myriad of appointments and interventions and therapies for my husband, I can compile quite a list of stressors that have invaded my life:  depression, anxiety, PTSD, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, sleep deprivation, a nervous breakdown, multiple changes in jobs and insurance, and now, for the first time since the stroke, both my husband and I are unemployed, which means we're living just above the federal poverty level.

Oh, and did I mention that three of our children have been violently plunged into puberty, and one of them is currently learning to operate a motor vehicle?

You would think I'd have a therapist on speed dial.

But no, sadly, I haven't made time for therapy since the onset of these tremendous changes in our life almost four years ago.

This will be a story for another time, but I was unexpectedly thrust back into therapy yesterday. And I've already learned a lot.

You might think I should have known this already since I'm very well acquainted with depression and anxiety. But here's the wonderful little nugget of wisdom I learned today and I want to remember this, putting it into practice as much as I can:

Depression is dwelling on the past; 
Anxiety is dwelling on the future; 
Contentment is living in the moment.

Well, that seems easy, doesn't it? I suspect it will be harder to put a plan into practice according to this truth than simply absorbing the profound realization of that statement.

But it makes so much sense, doesn't it? When I get depressed about my life, it's almost always about my mistakes and seeming lack of ability to deal with all that life has thrown at me. However, Scripture tells me:
Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.

Isaiah 43:18-19

God is always, always doing something new. And He is never surprised about our situations, our reactions, or our disobedience. He is always one step ahead of us (or maybe a thousand steps?), working it all together for our good and for His glory.

And if anxiety is worrying about the future, then what is my problem, exactly? Really? Okay, so I really do want some things in our life to change. And it is really scary to think about the lack of definition for our future when neither Al nor I have jobs. 

Of course, the answer to my anxiety is in God's Word as well:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, 
present your requests to God. 
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, 
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 
Philippians 4:6-7

So now, as I accumulate the proper tools, I will work on cultivating contentment.



Living in the Moment.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Hardest Thing God Will Ever Ask You To Do

Do you ever wonder what God will ask you to do if you really say yes to letting Him be the Lord of your life?

I think I've held back all of my life because I'm afraid of what He'll tell me to do if I let go of all control. What if He asks me to do something really scary like going to a war-torn country to help fugitives escape? Or what if he asks me to approach a complete stranger to tell them about Jesus? (I don't know about you, but I might actually choose the war-torn country over trying to evangelize a complete stranger.)

What if God wants me to give up something I really love? What if he wants me to give up coffee as a sacrifice, to fast for someone's salvation?

This is me without coffee. Seriously.

The thing is, we've all heard stories where God asks people to give up beloved habits or possessions - or even people - or where He has asked them to do difficult things.

At the retreat I attended this past weekend, one woman shared that, when she was a newlywed, she and her husband were asked to open their home to have some young single people live with them...during their first year of marriage. She said it was one of the hardest years of her life. When God asked her to consider a second year, her automatic reaction was NO!!! But her husband asked her to reconsider (i.e. pray about it some more), she was able to say yes to the Lord and she felt much more peaceful about entering a second year of the situation that had been so stressful the first time around.

This past year, a dear friend's father had an unfortunate accident and fell into a coma. His wife, while praying for God's hand to be upon her husband, ultimately said to the Lord, "your will be done." Her husband died a few days after the accident. Of course, she went through the normal grief of losing someone so suddenly. But she had peace to accept God's will, and grace to see her through a very difficult time.

Neither of those situations is fun or easy, but God will always, always, always meet us with grace when we say yes and accept His will.

God really drove this point home for me this weekend:

The hardest thing that God will ever ask you to do is to say, "yes."

As soon as you say yes, His grace flows in and gives you what you need to handle what he places before you. Saying yes doesn't mean it won't hurt, or it won't be difficult, but saying yes opens your heart to allow all of the grace God has for you to get through the circumstance to which he has called you. Life is so much harder when you're struggling against God's will, against what He has put before you in your life.

Sometimes, when God asks us to do something for Him, we can say no. He gave us the free will to do that. But sometimes, God simply allows something to happen to us without asking us first - I mean, He is God, after all - and then asks us to say yes anyway, to peacefully accept what has come to us and not try to run away from it and not try to fight against it.

Another friend of mine has a mantra that I love to remember. When going through a hard time, she says, "Lean into it." Instead of pulling the other way, as in a tug of war, lean into the direction God is leading you, and trust that He will be enough to pull you through.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Boundary Lines

Many years ago, I had an inspiration to claim Psalm 16 as my "Life Psalm," the psalm that would define, dictate, and comfort throughout my life. (In retrospect, I should have chosen 2 Chronicles 9:13, "Every year King Solomon received over twenty-five tons of gold." I'm just kidding, of course, because the Bible is always quick to tell us that money is the root of all kinds of evil. But I wouldn't mind finding out for myself!)

About six months ago, I had a revelation. For all of my life, I had thought I really trusted God. Probably because my life was relatively easy until then - no major health issues, I had a decent education, I got to do a little traveling before getting married and having kids. I found a good husband and had some pretty cute kids. Sure, I got all hot and bothered when they were little, thinking that I was failing as a mom and not trusting that God was using me to my full potential. But now, I can see better in hindsight, that God has given my children grace to grow in spite of my failings and my weaknesses. 

I usually trust God with money and material things, too. I just know that He knows our needs and the money usually shows up when we need it. I'm not saying I'm perfect in my trust for this area, but even when I get myself to worrying about it, I'm usually soon reminded of all the ways that God has been faithful in the past.

After Al's stroke, almost four years ago now, I felt the presence of God like I had at no other time in my life. He literally carried me through the darkest time in my life; when I felt I could hardly get out of bed because the weight of life was so heavy upon me, God gave me the grace to get up and go to work for yet another day, when some days, I honestly just wanted to give up and die. Somehow, over the past four years, my trust in God began to wane, and I blame that in large part on self-pity, when I started thinking, "Woe is me, God has left me to do this on my own." I felt very much alone, raising a family, paying the bills, working outside the home, with limited help from my husband due to the physical and mental damage done by the stroke. Basically, I felt like God promised me something, a happy life, an ideal family, and always enough to make ends meet, with maybe a few run-of-the-mill challenges thrown in to make me stronger or to help me train my children. But, as my priest once said to me, I felt like I'd been the victim of a bait and switch, and I felt like I had the right to be angry with God. And that's where my trust began to fail. God didn't give me what I thought He promised; he didn't live up to His end of the bargain, so why should I trust Him?

This past weekend, I went on a women's retreat, where I experienced a lot of grace to deal with this junk. Now, God is always giving us grace, but we aren't always in a position to receive it. For example, when I was folding my arms and stomping my foot like a little child, there wasn't a lot of room for me to receive His grace. So I repented. A lot. And then I asked God to just come in and do an overhaul in my heart. I felt like I had strayed so far from Him that I wasn't even sure how to get back, so I need Him to tug on my leash to bring me back to where I could at least hear his voice. (and yes, I did just compare myself to a dog.)

During a personal time of prayer, I was reminded of Psalm 16, my "Life Psalm." I began to read. I was stopped at verse 2: "I said to the Lord, 'You are my Lord, apart from you, I have no good thing.'" And again at verse 4: "The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods."

There was my grave mistake: not living and acting as if God is enough. Not letting God be enough. I get impatient very easily, and I didn't want to wait for God to act anymore. So I just started taking matters into my own hands. The problem was that I didn't really know how to run my own life, and I certainly didn't know how to do it better than the Lord, so instead of living, I just escaped. I escaped into writing, surfing the web, reading, sleeping. I was trying to live an imaginary life vicariously through stories instead of trying to live the life God wanted me to, and being the woman He created me to be.

Verses 5 and 6 brought me to weeping: "Lord, you have assigned my my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places."

The heart of the matter was that I didn't like where the boundary lines had fallen. It sure didn't seem "pleasant" to me that I was trapped in struggling family, with both my husband and myself out of work and barely living from paycheck to paycheck, neither of us having any peace or direction for our future. I kept saying to myself, "Lord, this is not what I signed up for."

But while I was on retreat, God gave me the grace to accept the boundary lines. I also came to the realization that, as I've gone through periods of grief where God has gently forced me to come face to face with the pain, I've actually gotten through it, and now, hallelujah, I've arrived at the final stage of grief, the stage of acceptance. This is where He has planted me and expects me to serve. And He wants me to serve joyfully, peacefully, with a willing heart, not grudgingly. And here's the wonderful thing about the Lord - when He gives you grace to do something (and when you open yourself to actually receive the grace), He gives you the peace to do it as well. 

So, now the game has changed. Instead of grudging the fact that I realistically have to do more to carry our family along than most wives would have to do, I am choosing to trust that God is giving me what I need to do it, and that He is also giving my husband what he needs as well. My tasks won't be any different. My service to my husband and family will be the same. But hopefully, they will be done better and more cheerfully than it had been done before. Because I have made peace with living inside of my boundary lines. I have accepted my portion and my cup.

Verse 11 says, "You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand."

This is the path that God has set me upon, the place where He deemed fit for me to serve and to grow in holiness. 

This is the boundary outline of my childhood home, 
where my parents still live. This place is the epitome of peace for me. 
My prayer is that I will grow to find the Lord's boundary lines
 for my life to be just even more delightful than this place.

Friday, August 22, 2014


I posted this on my other blog, Jenny Sue Got Married in March, but it bears repeating.

I recently discovered this hashtag on Twitter: #depressionlies

That. Is. The. Truth.

Depression is a dark, ugly insidious creature that lives inside some of us. Well, maybe inside most of us at one point or another. But for some of us, depression has a permanent residence somewhere deep inside our psyche. We may need medication for it. We may need counseling. Sometimes, we may just need a scream-fest, an exercise-fest, a chocolate-fest, or in some cases, a good old-fashioned sex-fest.  (Sorry if you border on the prudish and I offended you with that comment. However, I do only recommend this approach with your husband or wife.)

The hardest part about depression is the feeling of being completely alone. This is where the lie comes in:  that voice inside our heads that tells us we're freaks, that “normal” people can deal with their problems, that we are the only ones who have these feelings and that it's best to not share any of our innermost turmoil with anyone else because they will immediately distance themselves from us because we are, I remind you, freaks.

The second hardest part about depression is encountering people who just don't understand it. The people who will tell us to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. The ones who say, “Look at the bright side” or “Count your blessings” or “Things could be worse.” These are the people we want to punch in the face because they are, pardon my French, complete morons.

Depression is a real, medical, chemical condition. It is not just “the blues” which we all encounter from time to time. It attacks us when we least expect it, and it will often abuse us as the delicate balances of life are often thrown off; things like sleep, blood sugar, medications, exercise, sunlight, and yes, sometimes, circumstances.

I am almost constantly aware of my blessings: An amazingly patient and understanding husband, pretty cool kids who also happen to brilliant, creative and funny, extraordinary friends who help me in physical, practical, emotional and spiritual ways. Those blessings are only the tip of the iceberg.   However, I can be keenly aware of my blessings and still fall into depression when the chemicals in my brain get thrown off.

Sometimes, it only takes a few good nights' sleep to shake off a depressive episode. Sometimes it takes much longer.

One of my favorite songs ever is Demons by Imagine Dragons. If I could have played this song before my husband and I were married, I would have used it as a warning to him: “Don't get too close, it's dark inside.” But I'm blessed that he married me and has been an absolute rock in spite of the violent turbulence that sometimes shakes our life as a result of my depression.

If you suffer from depression, please remember #depression lies. And you are NOT alone.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Where Have I Been???

So, it seems I've all but abandoned this blog, but have no fear! I do intend to come back and continue writing about the process of my husband's recovery. In fact, he's gone for another 6-week intensive therapy stint a the hands of his parents in sunny Florida! We're hoping and praying that this trip will help him get back into the routine of exercising and hopefully make some further forward progress.

But here's what I've been up to. I travelled down a different road for a while and wrote THIS BOOK:

In a whirlwind romance, Kate falls in love with Chase, who has been partial paraplegic since a horrific car accident at age 17. Kate and Chase quickly make plans to spend their lives together. But when Chase decides to pursue a risky, yet promising, procedure that could potentially heal his paralysis, Kate has to wrestle with her faith in a God that she holds at arm's length, and confront her fear to find out where her strength ultimately lies. Set in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Most of you know that my husband was disabled over three years ago by a stroke. I've dabbled a little bit in fiction writing, but I feel like this story was inspired by what we've gone through together. I have another book already in progress, and I have plans for writing more about people with disabilities.

It would mean so much to me if you could check out my book on Amazon, and if you're interested, please purchase a copy, although I know it may not suit everyone's interests, so there's no pressure. It's only available for Amazon Kindle for now, but if you don't own a Kindle, you can download the free Kindle app for your computer, tablet or phone.

Thanks so much for checking it out!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Positive Platitudes

I like to think that I am an optimist.  I always want to believe the best in people and situations.  I believe in the Truth:  "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)

However, I become cynical when positive platitudes are thrown about too freely:

"The night is always darkest before the dawn."

"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

"God won't give you more than you can handle."

While the speakers of these phrases mean the best, the words become so trite that they can seem mocking or even hurtful.  Why?  Because they downplay the real pain that people are going through.  Sure, there comes a time in every circumstance when it's proper to look for the silver lining.  But the silver lining doesn't seem so beautiful if you haven't experienced the abject suffering of having the blackest, heaviest cloud suffocate you for what seems like an eternity.

There is suffering in life.  It's unavoidable.  

A dear friend of ours is suffering right now.  His father passed away yesterday as the result of a freak accident.  There is no way I would consider walking up to this friend and spouting off a platitude.  I will go to the visitation and cry with his family.  I have already cried.  I can feel the heaviness of their loss in my own heart.  I simply cannot say or do anything to make the situation better.  So I will simply walk with them and help them to carry the burden of their grief.

Sunday, February 16, 2014


I won't blame you if you're getting sick of reading about grief.  I'm getting sick of going through it.

I can't write about Al's grief.  I don't understand it. 

All I know is my own grief.  I touched on it in my last post.  But it's becoming more intense now, so I'm trying to process it more fully.

It may seem odd to some people that there is still grieving to be done three years after the stroke.  Some of it is new grief.  Some of it is continuing grief.

Within the past few months, I've had an incredible new inspiration to write.  I started writing a book in January.  I am very much convinced that it is inspired by God.  I believe that He has given me a talent and unique insight to be able to write effectively.

But what I also discovered was, that the more I wrote, the more I got lost in my writing.  This has been a classic defense mechanism for me all my life:  escapism.

Let me clarify here:  Writing is not a bad thing.  It is especially therapeutic for me.  In fact, my dear friend who is a social worker tells me regularly that journaling for 15 minutes is equivalent to one half hour of therapy.  However, when I choose to live in my fantasy world, then it becomes a problem.

If I wasn't escaping into my writing, I would be escaping into YouTube videos or funny Vines or even senseless sitcoms on TV.  I sometimes escape by sleeping.

When I have any presence of mind to face what is really bothering me, I sometimes turn to self-pity instead of actual, healthy grief.

This past week, I had a wonderfully cathartic conversation with one of my closest friends.  I told her that I was escaping too much, indulging in self-pity, and giving in to jealousy about everyone else's seemingly perfect lives.

All I wanted to do was to fix my sin and move on.  I didn't want to get to the root of it. 

But, God in His mercy, finally revealed this to me:  I have to face all my hurt and walk through it with Him.  I have to grieve, and now is the time to start a new season of grief. 

So, what is it that causes me so much grief, you may wonder?  Al's alive, our kids are excelling in school, we're continually provided for, financially, spiritually, materially.

But it still hurts when this realization sinks in:  Al will never, ever, ever be the same as he was before the stroke.  Barring a miracle, Al will never go sledding with us again.  He may come to the beach, but he won't swim.  Our favorite vacation spot ever is the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City.  We could go back, but it won't be nearly as much fun for Al if he can only wade in the kiddie pool.  We might go to the mall together, but we won't walk very far. (This was one of our regular "date" activities, to go out to eat, and then just wander the mall, window shopping.)

Al's brain is being challenged to recover and work on problem-solving in his job.  This is a very good thing, and I think it will provide a lot of therapy in its own right.  But his short-term memory has been compromised.  I don't think it will ever be the same.  I'm slowly figuring out how to be a team with someone who forgets much of what I tell him. 

Our relationship is quite different than it used to be.  Granted, most married couples will say their marriages change over seventeen years, so some of it is due simply to the passage of time.  But some of it is obviously stroke-related, since Al's realm of emotions was compromised by the damage to his brain.  Some physical things were also impacted, aside from his arm and leg.  There are serious repercussions on our husband-wife relationship.  That. Really. Stinks.

In the last post, I said it would be hard for me to write about the things that were too personal.  This is the tip of the iceberg.  I'm starting somewhere, and I don't intend to share every ugly, painful detail here.  But besides the fact that I have to take God at His word when He says He is near to the brokenhearted (Ps. 34:18), I also think the Lord wants me to share some of my struggle openly so that others can take heart when they suffer a loss.

I want to convey the message, "You're not alone.  You can get through this with God's help."

I am longing for the day when I can look back and write a book about all the wisdom I've gleaned during these challenging years.

But for now, I have to be content with facing the issues and stumbling through them, no matter how ungraceful I am or how humbling it is for me.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day 1996

Today is the 18th anniversary of the day my husband won my heart. You may have read this story on my other blog, but it's a first over here.

I met Al Yarrington in 1990.  We met at a University Christian Outreach meeting at Michigan State University.  Legend has it that I caught his eye from the very beginning.  I didn't catch on until several years later.

Al was that friendly, non-intimidating guy with whom all of the girls felt comfortable.  He was a constant fixture in UCO, serving behind the scenes with set up, clean up and all those practical logistics that most people don't like to do.  He was the guy you'd call if your car didn't start.  Or the one who threw uninvited guests with their keg of beer out of the party in your apartment!

We became good friends.  I'm sure I started to figure out, at some point, that he was interested in being more than friends.  But I didn't see him that way.  He came with me to the Upper Peninsula to visit my family (along with some other UCO friends), and my family figured out right away that Al was after me.  He drove me to Milwaukee for a long weekend, to surprise my mom on Mother's Day as my parents were visiting my aunt.  When I was gone for 16 months of missionary work in the Philippines, guess who wrote to me all the time?  You guessed it.  Al.

When I returned from the Philippines in spring of 1994, he asked me out.  I told him, "I'm not interested in you that way."

In 1995, he assisted me with buying my first car.  We spent hours together going to dealerships, test driving cars, etc.  We became closer, and then started dating for a few months.  But I still had my hesitation, so I eventually told Al, "I don't think you're the one for me."

Obviously, that kind of break up does some damage to a relationship.  We drifted apart, but around Christmas of 1995, I was having second thoughts.  Al and I happened to go out with a group of friends, and we reconnected.  When we walked out to our cars at the end of the evening, Al told me that he was flying out to California the next day to visit his parents for Christmas.  I hugged him, but something in me wanted more than that.

That surprised me a little bit.

When I visited my family for Christmas, another surprising thing happened.  As we sat in the warmly lit church on Christmas Eve, I had a vision in my mind of Al walking up the aisle and sitting down with my family.

By this time, I was thinking that maybe Al was the one, and that maybe I had made a big mistake.  And the ball was in my court.  I wasn't ready to re-ignite a relationship just yet, however, because I couldn't stand the thought of hurting him again.  So, I prayed and consulted some close friends who also prayed with me.  I decided that I would take time during Lent of 1996 to really pray and discern how God was leading me.

It wasn't very far into Lent when Valentine's Day came around.  God had been working on my heart, slowly helping me to realize all the ways that Al was so good for me. He was always taking care of me, serving me and loving me in practical ways.  On that particular Valentine's Day, he took my car to get an oil change and then he got the interior cleaned as well.  I didn't think much of it because that's the kind of service Al was always doing for others.

I was at my job as a preschool teacher. Al came to get my car while I was working, and when he returned the car, he gave me my keys and just said, "see you later."  We were both planning to go out with a group of friends for ice cream later that evening.

I had to close that night. I said good-bye to the last children and I tidied up the Childcare Center a bit before locking up. It was a beautiful winter night. Snow was falling quietly in soft, huge flakes. The sky was lit up by the snow, so it was a relatively bright walk out to my car. When I got to my car, there was a snow covered carnation tucked into the windshield wiper. This was nothing new, and it wasn't even a huge gift, since the dealership gave out free carnations with every oil change! But that simple little gesture, along with a small note from Al, asking me if he could treat me to ice cream, was all it took for him to finally win my heart. I took the flower and the note and sat in my car and cried for joy. I knew Al loved me, and I had been falling in love without even knowing it!

I didn't even wait until the end of Lent to tell Al I was ready to pursue a "more-than-friends" relationship with him, to which his response was, "YESSSSSS!"

Four months later we were engaged, and five months after that, we were married.

I'm so glad that God - and my husband - kept after me until I realized how good Al would be for me!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Past the Three-Year Mark

It's astounding to think that Al's stroke was over three years ago.  In many ways, our life has been all about the stroke - who my husband became after the stroke, how our kids handled the stress and the small victories, and who I became because of the stroke.  The effects are still rippling through our family, and it still surprises me on almost a daily basis. 

I mentioned in my last post (far too long ago) that Al had started a job.  He works 12 hours a week at Lansing Community College, doing some programming for the academics department.  Subsequently, he enrolled in a class at LCC to help him to learn the programming language.  He was an IT guy before, so this is a bit out of his realm of expertise.  His brain was also compromised in a major way by the stroke.  As I mentioned in my last post, it took about two years too long for him to get back to work, so that is a frustrating factor, but God's timing is still the best.

We still strive to get Al's leg to the point where it's "useable."  He had been wearing an AFO that was too big for him for far too long.  It had been cast when he still had huge hockey-player calf muscles, but then his muscles atrophied.  He has really strong foot-rolling, so his ankle was always pressing against the outer side of the brace and making him walk on the outside of his foot.  But no one - PT's and doctors alike - mentioned that it was a problem until late last year.  Our physiatrist finally said, "That brace just isn't working."  My response was, "Ya think?!"  So he prescribed a double-metal upright brace with a shoe built into it.  (That was another issue - the old AFO was so huge that we had to buy a size 13 shoe for his left foot and his normal size 9 for his right foot.  I used to call him Franken-foot.)  The double-metal upright does the trick, but a) it squeaks with every step, b) it doesn't control his ankle enough so that now his knee snaps back violently when he takes a step, and c) it's a shoe, not a boot, and we've had several feet of snow this winter.

It is a serious frustration to be three years out from the stroke and to still not have a well-functioning AFO.

For me, personally, I think I reached a point just before the holidays that I really processed and accepted Al's hemiparesis, thinking of it from his perspective.  I cried a lot and felt kind of sick about it, how much it must stink for him to haul around a half-working body all the time.  To think his arm will continue to seize up unless he's religious about exercising and electrocuting himself with electrostim.  It was the realization that my husband will always suffer that initiated a new wave of grief in me.

And since the holidays, my grief has been more about the fact that my husband and our relationship will never be the same as it was.  There are some losses that he suffered that will never be recovered, ones that affect our relationship deeply.  I've been through a lot of pondering and deep prayer to figure out what love is supposed to look like when your spouse changes so drastically.  I know that my love for him should be a service love, a committed love, a selfless love, an unconditional love.

Man, do I fail at loving my husband if those are the standards!

In many ways, life has become our "new" normal.  We are beginning to know how much each other has to give and take in both of our limited capacities.  We know how finances have to work to stretch out to the end of each month.  We are once again trying to be actual parents to our kids and not just warm bodies in the house.

I'm writing a book.  It is a fictional story about a girl who falls in love with a disabled guy.  I use a lot of parallels to my life with Al.  But it will probably be a long time before I can write about our real experiences because I'm still learning from them, and sometimes they are still too fresh and painful.