Monday, October 17, 2022

My intentional pause

Here it is mid-October, and I find myself taking an intentional pause.  Life has been on a crazy roll since we sold our home and moved to Boiling Springs, PA.  My body and mind desperately need REST.  I cannot go on without renewal and restoration. 

I remain excited about my book publication and the positive reviews from migraine sufferers as well as from my dear friends and family who have been so encouraging along the way.  I know I need to be on top of marketing to a greater degree, but my energy has drained right out of me at a most in opportune time.  I humbly ask my wonderful readers to help by spreading awareness of my book to friends and family.  Thank you.

September 3 was such a joyous day from beginning to end. Our celebration in Illinois was marked by Patrick and Emily's wedding, and I believe there was no greater witness of love.  There was a small scare of a Covid situation right up until the special day, but all turned out well and nothing had to be cancelled.   We all breathed a sigh of relief.

Now true to my usual medical drama, the Saturday before we were to fly out on Tuesday, my lower back decided to go into horrible spams, and I could NOT walk.  I couldn't even turn in bed.  So, long story short, I had to take a little trip to our local ER by ambulance! I felt ridiculous but nothing was giving me relief and I knew I needed intervention or I wouldn't be able to fly.  Talk about an emotional freak out----yep---I had one.  Tests were ordered and thankfully I wasn't brewing anything weird.   I was basically diagnosed with bad muscle spasms.  I gave my sob story of needing "drugs" to anyone who would listen because my son was getting married and I had to fly!!  I got my way, and I went loaded with a pharmacy of pain meds in addition to my pharmacy of migraine meds. I sometimes wonder why traveling can't be EASY.  I look in awe of the people who jump out of bed, pack a suitcase, and then just go!  We laugh at our precarious scenario now, but we were not laughing then.  

The greatest gift was being able to enjoy a long day of celebration without having a M attack.  Not even the hint of one.  Of course, my body was happy on steroids which helped a great deal. Praise God. 

The other medical annoyance I have been dealing with for months has been a very unhappy gallbladder.  I certainly did not want that to act up during our week of celebration, but God kept me strong.  I knew time was ticking before it had to be dealt with, but I tried to ignore it.  I should know by now that approach never works for me.  So, two weeks ago I had another little trip to our local ER to have it removed.  It wasn't waiting for me to decide.  I was so tired from the past few months that I just did not want to deal with another thing.  Oh well...

I am healing, but as I wrote in my Climbing My Matterhorn book, healing is not linear.  It is up and down with what I can eat or not.  As far as post op pain, I really do not have any now.  I had excellent hospital care both stays.  I could not have been more pleased.  

Currently, Mike and I are enjoying watching our house come together with colors, some lighting, and some structural details that make customizing a pleasure.  Now Mike and I feel like our structure certainly looks more like a home.

Here are a few pictures from the wedding as well as our house.  I will continue to update as it continues to make progress.  We still think it may be early December before move in.  I imagine Christmas will be a bit chaotic unpacking boxes and not knowing which end is up.  Just moving into our home will be the greatest gift we could have this year with family around our table. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

A Book, A Move, A Wedding, Oh My!

Three exciting and wonderful events are happening in the Aleo household over the course of weeks and months.  I am in disbelief in a way.  So many "big feels" that it is difficult to process.  

The release of my first book, Climbing My Matterhorn, is a memoir about living with chronic migraine. I collected content from my journals over the past decade. This project took me several years to write, and my main purpose for writing it is to give encouragement and hope for those who suffer not only from migraine disease but any kind of chronic illness while still finding finding joy and fulfillment in one's life.   

The other adventure is our move back to PA after  having lived on the beautiful shoreline of CT.  Saying goodbye to dear friends is emotional, but saying hello to familiar faces and comfort places is heart-warming.  This is our first time building a home, and we are a "tad" bit overwhelmed with the process.  It is exciting to visit the house daily and literally watch every board, nail, and wire, carefully put into place.  There definitely have been glitches along the way but that is to be expected.  Fortunately, we are grateful to be living with my mother who is close to five minutes away from our new community.  This gives us the ability to check on the home easily.

The sale of our lovely CT home went smoothly, and a new young family has chosen to reside there. We are pleased that the process was not complicated which many sellers have to deal with. They will now put their mark on it and make it their own.

Our third anticipated event is our youngest son's wedding in early September, and we could not be more pleased with his beautiful fiancee' and her very lovely family.  We had the pleasure of flying to Illinois recently to spend time with the happy couple and meet her family.  What a blessing! We had a fun time, and were able to share in their lives for a few days. Their wedding date will be our 34th wedding anniversary as well as Patrick's 27th birthday.  Triple celebration for us!

This is by far one of the busiest season of our lives.  Thanking God for His good gifts and blessings! 

link for book on Amazon

If you would like to order my book for yourself or for someone you know who might need hope and encouragement for their particular chronic illness journey, you can find it on Amazon.  

I would like to offer a special thank you for all my wonderful people who have climbed this mountain with me and who never let me fall for one minute.  The climb has been grueling at times, but I am stronger for it.


Monday, April 11, 2022

From Digs to Dreams


Last year around this time we purchased new property in central PA to build our retirement dream home.  It has been an exciting year to plan and design a future dwelling place.  It has not been easy to wait for the actual start of the ground breaking because of so many delays and sorting out details, but the slow, unfolding  reality has given us more energy for reflection every step of the way. This is good. In a world where everything and everyone are in a hurry, our personal building process has its own rhythm and flow which is just right for us.  When we set our minds to it, the waiting is doable.

  We wait for the long, dark days of winter to finally move into the lighter days of spring where we can be transformed by nature's beautiful display of rebirth and renewal.  It is always a miracle to witness.  May we never take life of any kind for granted.  Ever.  

We, Christians, wait forty long days of Lent while fasting and praying for the Easter Season to begin.  We are preparing our hearts in different ways to celebrate Jesus' way to the cross and His Rising from the dead so that we may have eternal life.  May we never take this for granted.  Ever. 

Waiting can be a season of darkness and sometimes loneliness, but the gift on the other end of that waiting is full of beauty.  

What dreams are you waiting to come to fulfillment?  More importantly, when have you last allowed yourself to dream?  If so, have you shared those dreams with anyone? 

Take a few moments to dream today...

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Hurry and Wait

 I have taken quite the hiatus from blogging and can't believe it has been almost three full months since my last post.  Life happens... Excuse number one---The busyness of the holiday activities keeps my mind and body overstimulated, and I don't have the energy to write.  Excuse number two---I walk into the beginning of the new year  exhausted from the holidays, so I end up not having much of a mind to blog.  Excuse number three---chronic migraine generally rules the day.  Excuse number four---my husband and I are completing house projects to prep it for sale which is still targeted for the spring.  Excuse number five---I am close to finishing a major project that has been in the making for years, and I plan on seeing it come to fruition in the spring as well.

First, I will relay our house building progress which has been, let's say, STALLED.  For various reasons, everything is delayed.  We are not in a hurry, but our excitement and momentum of planning and building has waned a "tad."  We are waiting for the permit, but our property has been staked out.   Yay!  This is at least positive.  Our exciting designs are pretty much completed, but they remain on paper at the present.  My husband and I feel like we are the race horses running out of the gate and made to come to a complete stop after half way around the race track.  This has been challenging to say the least.  We are trying our best to keep a good perspective while practicing a lot of patience!!

When people kindly ask about "how the house is coming along," they look at us as if we have six eyes because we give them our update and they aren't quite sure what to comment after that.  It is both amusing and awkward. 

My big project is a surprise for some but not for others.  This big baby has been growing for many years, and I soon want to birth it into the world.  The timing is crazy with what we have going on in our personal lives, but God's Hands are upon this, and His timing is perfect.  It has taken determination and a lot of grace to get this far.   

More updates to come with time...

Happy Valentine's month to all.


"There is a lovely idea in the Celtic tradition that if you send out goodness from yourself, or if you share that which is happy or good within you, it will all come back to you multiplied ten thousand times.  In the kingdom of love there is no competition, there is no possessiveness or control.  The more love you give away, the more love you will have."        John O'Donohue---excerpt from the book Anam Cara.  

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Giving praise before the breakthrough

Friends, I don't have to rehash the obvious.  This ongoing pandemic has been a huge burden to each and everyone of us in some shape or form.  Last year's Thanksgiving gathering was full of fear and unpredictability, and it meant many were alone and sad.  It was a situation that was impossible to really "fix."  Finding gratitude in those anxious-filled moments with few loved ones side by side was not easy.  It was more likely a prayer coming from the depths of our souls that might have felt hollow.  

The uncertainty of this virus and how it affects our lives has remained so even a year later.  We live a new normal which still feels strange, and behind our masks, there is a disconnect which can be uncomfortable.  Thankfully, we have vaccinations and good medical research to help us live better and take care of one another.

This year, hopefully, our Thanksgiving gathering of family and friends will carry less of a burden, and instead, more joy and laughter.  A positive focus is good, but many people are still grieving the loss of loved ones which has happened over the course of the unbelievably difficult year.  Hearts have been broken, and mending them will take time.

This year, as we join together, will we be able to give heartfelt praise before the long awaited breakthrough happens?  A season of suffering may be weeks that turned into months that turned into years.  In the middle of the fragile waiting, can we praise God for all of His precious gifts that He promises in His perfect timing?  More importantly, can we give ourselves grace while we try"?  

It doesn't matter if our table is "pinterest perfect" with all of the delicious traditions or the fancy dishes---no, it can look like a Charlie Brown spread with all sorts of mix-matched yummies and mix-matched guests.  The most important dish is LOVE.

Wishing you a blessed and peaceful Thanksgiving.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Blowing in. Blowing out.

 Thirty years ago my husband and I packed our belongings in Athens, GA and headed to the delightful and beautiful shoreline of Niantic, CT.  Our first son, Stefan, was barely a year old so we were exhausted new parents moving to a rental home with a baby.  Within a month or so hurricane Bob hit the East Coast with a vengeance, and we were totally unprepared for its wild and scary force of madness.  For a few days straight the storm raged with its gale force winds and torrents of rain which caused flooding in many areas of the state.  Power was interrupted for days, and I remember crying to my husband that I didn't like our new residence and wished we were back in GA.  What a crazy beginning to a new chapter of our lives that felt awkward and difficult at best.  

We survived the move and the mayhem of the hurricane and eventually settled into our new rental home.  I stayed home with our son, and my husband started his new job with Pfizer.   We found our new pace and rhythm (as much as one can with a toddler) and started making friends.  I took our son to community classes for moms and their toddlers which became a vehicle for finding my circle of support that became a lifeline.  I will be forever grateful for those kind and generous friends.  

We stayed in our rental for close to a year and then found our current home in which we have lived for thirty years.  When we moved, I was pregnant and about to give birth to our second son.  Life soon became VERY busy as we had four boys within five and a half years.  I look back on those days now, and it all seems to be a blur. Birthday parties were the best because we not only had the happy voices of our kiddos but also many other young ones of our friends.  Michael and I somehow possessed the energy needed to keep afloat which is still a mystery to us!

This home has been well lived in, and it has seen much joy and sorrow, sickness and health, and make-overs both inside and out.  It has been a blessing we could have never imagined.  Our family has formed lasting and meaningful friendships through the community, school, and church.  

Fast forward to a few days ago and our shoreline area was in the eye of hurricane Henri.  Meteorologists stated that we hadn't seen this bad of a storm since hurricane Bob thirty years ago.  We suddenly realized that was the exact storm which blew us in to CT!  Good heavens---was this a sign showing us we are to blow out of this state and head to PA?  Maybe so.

Happy and grateful to report that the storm turned and weakened from what was originally predicted for this particular region of the state so we were spared any real damage.  No flooding or high winds destroyed property or put anyone in harm's way.  Praise God.  It did not feel like the experience of Bob, but emotionally it was a tad bit unsettling.  

We are months away from leaving this home in CT, but the planning of building another home while packing and preparing to sell this one is all consuming.  The days are full of busy agendas, but having a new focus is exciting.  Thirty years ago we were busy raising children and building our lives as a young family.  Today we are writing a new chapter which will be in PA where we began our married journey.  Our hearts are happy as we will be arriving full circle in less than a year.   

Well, we have not "blown out" yet, so while we remain here in our lovely home we plan to make the most of our time visiting with friends and exploring different areas of the state we have never been.  My feet will continue to remain in the sand until someone whisks me away to the mountains and farms of PA.   For now, my heart is honoring the special space of not yet.  

Monday, July 19, 2021

We did a thing. A big thing.

Let's just say it is time for a change.  My hard-working husband has been retired for over two years, and he is basking in the goodness of retirement life.  Our daily pace has slowed down, and we are allowing the days to unfold with more flexibility and purposeful rest.  It is wonderful.  Of course, there is always a "honey to do" list that never quite ends, but the urgency of total completion is at a low simmer.

Michael enjoys his part-time consulting work because it keeps his mind in science without all the hassles and stress of full-time employment.  He can be more in control of his schedule and pace.  All in all, it is a win-win.

Surviving the rough Covid year and a half was a challenge, but our family was fortunate not to get sick except for our one son, but he had a short duration of symptoms and recovered well.  We kept ourselves occupied with some home projects that seemed to linger endlessly while discussing what the next opportunities might look like as we transition into a new season of our lives. 

We have been discerning the next right steps to take moving forward in future chapters of our life story.  The time seems right to say good-bye to one place and hello to another.  While this process will be bittersweet, we are choosing to move ahead with courage and deep gratitude.  

Opening our arms and hearts allows us to embrace a posture of creating space for new hopes and dreams.  Exciting new adventures await us on our horizon...

Forget what I wrote about our "slow pace."  We are rapidly packing up our home of thirty years in East Lyme, CT and moving back to my hometown of Boiling Springs, PA!  I will post more about our moving journey as it unfolds.  For now, this new reality seems surreal.  However, with each important decision of building a new home and all the time and energy this requires----"wow" is about all I can say for now.