Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Dancing in the Rain

Life is hard. Over the last three years, my youngest son who deals with anxiety disorder, autism, bipolar disorder, learning disabilities and depression, has also been dealing with a debilitating physical illness. Recently, he received a diagnosis of ME/CFS, an autoimmune illness that is physically and cognitively draining that will be life-long with no cure.

Of course, we have been looking at all kinds of things to do that will help. I recently found this article written by Kimberly Giles on It is marvelous and I just had to share it. There is a link to the full article at the bottom of my blog.

Many of life’s challenges are impossibly hard and painful. Many of these problems have no answers, solutions or remedies. They are painful and they are going to stay painful for a long time. In this situation, with no escape available, your options are limited. For the most part, all you can do is work on choosing your attitude and mindset inside the challenge.

Vivian Greene said it best: "Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain."

Here are eight suggestions to help you dance in the rain (and find joy and peace) despite an impossibly hard challenge:

1. Accept what is.
"It is your resistance to 'what is' that causes your suffering," Buddha said. It is your wishing and wanting things to be different, that is the real cause of your pain. The problem is, life rarely meets our expectations, and more often it takes us in a direction we never saw coming.

2. Trust there is order in the universe and purpose and meaning in everything.
Choose to see the universe as a wise teacher, who knows what it’s doing. Choose to see life as a classroom whose objective is your learning ad growth. This would mean every experience you have is here to facilitate learning and make you smarter, stronger, wiser or more loving in some way. This means things don’t happen to you, they always happen for you.

Choosing to trust there is a purpose in your pain, does make you suffer less. I first learned this from reading about Viktor Frankl, who during intense suffering in the concentration camps of World War II, found if he chose to believe there was meaning in his suffering (that it was here for a reason) he not only suffered less, but also felt motivated to rise and get through in the best possible way. He wrote: “Suffering ceases to be suffering the moment it finds meaning.”

3. Focus on this present moment only.
If you try to process the weight of all the coming years of loneliness or pain, it will crush you. It is too much, too scary and too discouraging. So, set that weight down.

Focus only on this present moment or hour. Get through this hour choosing to be as positive and happy as possible. What can you do at this moment for yourself to relieve pain, create joy or just distract yourself?

You have great power in this moment to choose your mindset — it is actually the only time you have the power of choice at all.

4. Find a passion project.

During times suffering we can often find ourselves unproductive, stuck and useless. It helps if you can find a passion project of some kind that makes you feel fulfilled, productive, and accomplished. Even if it is just a journal or blog, a puzzle or a scrapbook. What could you do with your time instead of wallowing? Find something productive you can do.

5. Allow yourself limited pity party time.
It is natural during times of suffering and challenge to feel self-pity, sadness and grief. You should feel and experience these emotions, and not try to suppress them all the time. It is actually important you give yourself time to feel these feelings and have a good pity party or cry every once in a while, just don’t live there.

6. Lower your expectations.
When you are going through an impossibly hard experience at least half your brain power and energy are being used to process the trauma of the situation. This doesn’t leave you with enough bandwidth for all the other tasks or interests you usually do.

Go easy on yourself and expect less. Give yourself permission to have a messier house or get less done. Be realistic with the energy you have and say no to things you know will wipe you out. Give yourself permission to lower these expectations without any guilt.

7. Give up envy and wishing you had someone else’s life journey.
It is really easy to find yourself in a place of envy when your life is hard. It does seem unfair that other people get lives that seem easier than yours, but dwelling on this does you no good and in fact, will make you feel even worse.

8. Use this experience and the unique knowledge (on the human condition and suffering) it is giving you, to bless the world in some way.

Your misery can often become your message. If you suffer with chronic illness you could show others how to cope in a positive way. If you are a single mother, you could help newly divorced women handle their new reality with more joy. If you lose a loved one, you can be a resource to others who are suffering grief. There is always a way to use what has happened to you to make a difference in the world.

Every day is another chance to practice the power of choice, choosing joy, peace, happiness and laughter, and you don’t have to do it perfectly, just keep making progress.

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs!
Fly into a good book at:

Copyright of photo: halfpoint / 123RF Stock Photo

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Pink, Fuzzy Robe

Embarrassing or proud? What if I told you the pink, fuzzy robe I still wear is twenty-four years old? Yes, it's a little tattered. The pocket is coming unsewn. Some of the fuzz is worn thin in places, especially the hem. There's a hole by one of the buttons. But, I wouldn't give up that robe if you offered me a new one woven out of 24 karat gold.

You see, my mom gave me that pink, fuzzy robe to wear in the hospital to deliver my oldest son. She was ailing and hadn't been well enough to even attend my baby shower. I'm sure my brother had to help her purchase the robe, but it will always be from my mom.

The two of them came to the hospital to see me and my new little baby boy who looked like a little Indian baby. He had dark skin and thick black hair. I proudly wore my pink robe and watched as my mom cautiously held the baby for only a few moments as she sat in her wheelchair, the pain clearly stretched across her face from her failing heart.

It was the last thing she bought me. The last time she held my son. The last time I saw her. 

She died in less than four weeks from my son's birth.

For years, it was too difficult to look at the photos of her holding my son that day because it was so shocking to see just how ill she really was.  However, the robe has always comforted me when I needed a hug that you can only get from your mom as I've dealt with continued health problems, a challenging marriage and the day-to-day difficulties of raising two children with anxiety disorder, autism, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, oppositional defiance, health issues, and learning disabilities.

Have you kept something from someone you cared dearly for that helps you through the difficult days? Please share in the comments.

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs! 
Fly into a good book at: 
Photo of dog from Nataly Ponomarenko 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Fierce Writer: Unlock Your MICE Quotient

My apologies for not updating my blog for so long. I have been having a difficult stretch with both of my boys who deal with autism, anxiety disorder, health issues and other mental conditions.

I have chosen to share a wonderful blog post by author Flossie Benton Rogers. Hope you enjoy!

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs! 
Fly into a good book at: 

First dog photo with mouse:
Second dog photo with mouse:

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The White Moth: An Autism Story

If you don’t already know, I have two sons with Anxiety Disorder, Autism and Learning Disabilities. Sparky, the oldest, was about seven years old when we went camping up around Paris, Idaho. It was purely a camping trip—no fishing, traveling, boating, etc. We parked the trailer amongst the pines, facing on open flat and stayed.

On the second evening of the trip, Sparky spotted a little white moth just outside the trailer window. He named him Whitey but called him Little Buddy. The moth consumed his thoughts for the next three days. Now whether it was the same moth or a different one (honestly, who can tell) that little white moth continued to fly around our camp.

I’m sure we used bug spray. I’m sure we had a campfire. Nothing seemed to send Sparky’s Little Buddy on his way. Sparky chased him around the camp by day and watched him flutter about his head while we sat by the fire. My husband and I were sure he would fly into the flames, but Whitey never seemed to leave and particularly hung around the outside of Sparky’s window. We were doubtful that it was the same moth. We also got a little tired of hearing about this moth for four straight days. When we tried to tell Sparky that it wasn’t the same moth, he promptly told us he could identify him. Yeah, right.

And so, our camping trip went, and it was finally time to pick up camp and head home. Sparky asked if he could take his little buddy home with him. Of course, the answer was no which lead to snot and tears. As we slowly rattled away from our camp spot, I swear I saw a little white moth in the rearview mirror…following us.

Spring went by and the Fourth of July soon came. It was time for hotdogs on the grill and a night of fireworks.  Who should show up at the party? Yes, Whitey. With much joy and happiness, Sparky was certain that the little white moth was his little buddy. He could identify him, you know. We tried to explain that there was no way Whitey could have traveled all that distance to West Jordan, Utah. Sparky wouldn’t accept that answer and danced around the yard with glee.

Now mind you, my husband and I didn’t want to share this story with anyone. We were certain it meant our son not only had disabilities but was also a mental case.  We certainly weren’t going to discuss it with his therapist. We didn’t want to know the answer. I also wondered if that moth had hopped a ride on the bumper of our trailer in order to stay with Sparky, but then I questioned my own sanity.

About a month later, we headed down to central Utah for another camping trip, about 200 miles away. Sparky asked on the way, “Do you think Whitey will be there?” My husband and I looked at each other and groaned.  Sure enough, as we setup camp, a little white moth appeared. Sparky was overjoyed.

To this day, and with Sparky in his twenties, we still try to never bring up the subject of moths…or Whitey…because Whitey lives, and he can still show up just about anywhere, especially out camping.

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs!
Fly into a good book at:

Copyright: relikten1 / 123RF Stock Photo (Dog added)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Stay Strong; Stay Happy; and Keep Moving Forward!


I had a good friend call me the other day and tell me I have received the spiritual blessing of long-suffering.

What? A blessing of long-suffering?

At first, I wondered if her brain had slipped a cog. Long-suffering certainly didn’t feel or sound like a blessing to me, especially when you were living it. It felt more like a punishment; a curse. I thought of all the physical pain I had suffered since being diagnosed with chronic health issues at the age of seventeen. I thought of struggling through college never knowing when a seizure would hit; always needing a bathroom or the side of the road to be sick; feeling endless pain; and my mind being constantly riddled with brain fog. And, that was only the beginning.

An extremely difficult marriage, a miscarriage, and two high-risk pregnancies (that lead to two special needs children) added to that long-suffering. The loss of my parents and my closest brother early in their lives had been distressing and challenging at best.

No. I couldn’t see that God had given me a special blessing. My road felt devastatingly hard, and I could only wonder what I had done to displease Him that He would shoulder me with this much tribulation.

I said nothing to my friend as all of this raced through my mind. She told me her daughter was preparing a lesson for church and together they were researching spiritual blessings. She had never explored the blessing of long-suffering before and when discussing it with her daughter, she immediately thought of me.

God had given me a special blessing—not one that many could withstand—she said. She told me I must have been very close to Him on the other side to receive such a spiritual blessing. I still scoffed. My mind associated long-suffering with hardship and punishment—not a blessing. Maybe my friend’s brain had slipped two cogs.

But as she continued to explain this special blessing, an overwhelming sense of love and gratitude filled me. She told me that despite my trials, I was living my life with a smile on my face and always doing for others during the most difficult of times. She said I was truly “enduring to the end” with grace.

It took time, days really, for the meaning of her words to sink in and to accept the blessing I have been given. I want to thank my friend for sharing this with me so that I can share it with all of you.

I know that I am not the only one here who has been given this special blessing. I know many who are dealing with much strife in their lives. May you now look upon it as a special spiritual gift and feel His loving arms around you as you journey through this mortal life filled with long-suffering. Stay strong; stay happy; and keep moving forward.

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs! 
Fly into a good book at: