word nerds unite.

It’s no secret that I am a total word nerd – most writers are – and I often recommend books I’ve recently read on my Instagram and Facebook pages.

I’ve also been thinking, as many of my posts here have been super heavy lately, that it would be awesome to make Saturdays Word Nerd Day at the Autoimmune Hippie. So, what exactly will that look like? Well, I’m thinking some weeks we’ll have suggestions of classic books and some weeks we’ll go with bestsellers and each week I’ll pick a theme and run with it. Maybe some gift suggestion themes around Christmas and that sort of thing? I think it will be fun – and it will lighten up the blog when it is really heavy.

I love encouraging my people to read!

This week, since I have indeed been having a beast of a time, I’m going to share some books that really encourage me and help me with difficult times:

Choose Joy by Sara Frankl.

Sara lived with an autoimmune disease, ankylosing spondylitis, that caused her great pain and debility. The last several years of her life were spent unable to leave her apartment. Still, she had great faith and blogged frequently and encouraged others with incredible joy, until her death at age 38. After she passed away, a friend collected her writings and shared them in this book and it has been a great help to me during my times of illness and struggle. Whether you are healthy or sick, I strongly encourage you to read this one.


The Ragamuffin Gospel : Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out by Brennan Manning.

This has been one of my favorite books since I was about 15 and I can’t even explain how special it is to me. I’ll just say that Rich Mullins, who is forever dear to me, loved it so much that he named his band The Ragamuffin Band. It’s one of those books that changes your perspective on everything. I still have my original copy with highlights and underlines and stains and pages falling out. Read it. You’ll be so glad you did.


When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanthi

This book just came to me recently and I read it in one day. Paul wrote it while he was living with, and dying of, Stage Four Lung Cancer in his mid-thirties. It is such a moving book and I will be gifting several copies this year. It’s a heavy topic, but he still manages to be hopeful. It’s really beautiful.


Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed

I love Cheryl Strayed and this collection of her quotes is just what the doctor ordered. It is wonderful to sit down and read and also a beautiful gift. I suggest this one for everyone.


And, for today’s last suggestion:

Be The Gift by Ann Voskamp

All of Ann Voskamp’s books are good and necessary in my mind, but, in choosing just one to suggest, this book is visually beautiful with Ann’s photography and also filled with lovely, short passages of her amazing writing. It is an easy, comforting read on rough days and so soothing.



I hope you’ll find some suggestions here that are helpful – and all of the links are on Thriftbooks and super inexpensive!

Be well, everybody. Happy Saturday and Happy Reading.

Grace and Blessings.



a fractured hip – and some new plans

Last night, I found myself in the ER again with this right hip pain that just would not stop. As it should be noted, as I told the ER doc, I am not a weenie. I walk around on two feet with multiple broken bones EVERY DAY, in addition to some really uncooperative RA. When I say something is unusually painful, I mean something is really really wrong.

Well, as it happens, I was correct.

My right hip has also stress fractured.

I’ll know more for sure on Monday, but, barring any complications, the usual course of treatment is rest for healing.

Yes, a freaking broken hip. It has taken awhile today to really process this one.

My body has truly broken down with the long term steroid therapy. While my life expectancy can still be reasonably normal, steps have to be taken to heal these bones that can (the hip), my feet will likely never heal, and I will always have to exercise an abundance of caution with myself to avoid accidents as my bones are just brittle and I also have balance issues related to my RA.

But that’s all down the road. . . For now. . .

I am a woman in the bed for about 95% of my life for quite some time right now.

I am incredibly blessed to have my amazing husband who looks after me, even bringing the wheelchair (that my bestie so thoughtfully brought over several months ago) upstairs to help me, making dinner after he’s worked all day, and keeping our doggies stocked with homemade dog treats.

And our daughter travels with me to doctors appointments and grocery stores and helps me all day with any needs that arise.

And, of course, the Wonderpup. . .

Still, this chronic illness life is no joke and the scariest part of this diagnosis is that it is a sentence: this intense hip pain is going to be with me for quite some time.

I came across this link on The Mighty and the author did a pretty good job of covering some of the ups and downs of the chronic illness and pain life:


And now, though I wasn’t improving anyway, this indicates a huge setback.

A freaking hip fracture. At 39.

Also, the teeny tiny part of my brain that really really hoped I might get better and go back to work one day just really had to let go. And disability is still so so slow. And I can’t walk through the grocery store or get through the day without two naps, much less be a nurse anymore. #fixitjesus

Totally letting go of being a nurse is letting go of a big part of my identity as well and this one hurts.

Still, though I am feeling pretty overwhelmed, I’ll keep on as always. I have faith.

As my family has been sleeping tonight – and I’m wide awake, due to pain, upset, and more dreaded steroid shots from the ER – I’ve been working on some things and watching some TED talks and I came across this really great one:

Ladies, if you don’t watch the whole thing, skip to around minute 12 and watch the fabulous Jill Scott. It’s about a one minute long video and to hear her talk about our queenness is worth the price of admission.

As I’m feeling a bit out of sorts, I really needed Miss Scott’s wisdom tonight. I needed to remember that my ultimate dream when I was a little girl was to be a writer and that my pieces are starting to be published and I have two books that I am slowly but surely working on and that I can still do those things and this blog – that I love – whilst my hip is healing.

I am still me, even if my bones are pretty unruly.

Be well, everybody. Happy Friday.

Grace and Blessings!

the week devoted to my wheelchair.

It’s been a spoonie sort of week, with several chronic illness issues on my mind, both of others and my own.

And helping bring awareness to spoonie issues is my heart.

Sunday night, I stayed up and watched Jennifer Brea’s documentary, Unrest, as I mentioned planning to in my previous post. If you haven’t seen it, it is available on Netflix streaming and I strongly encourage everyone to watch it, though it is difficult to sit through.

She suffers terribly with ME, more commonly known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and some of her fellow sufferers have even more severe symptoms than she does. While I knew ME was devastating, I did not realize just how debilitating it can be, with some sufferers even unable to speak for years at a time.

As always, we can’t begin to help what we don’t understand, so please do watch this one, even though it hurts.

Another spoonie who is very much on my mind is my precious friend, Angela, who has been battling epilepsy fiercely for many years. I knew she had a beast of a seizure last week and over the weekend I read her latest blog post:


It just breaks my heart for her as well and I would ask for lots of prayers and good vibes and warm fuzzies for her as she is recovering.

I only wish there were more I could do to help her.

And I’ve been trying to do some sorting of my recent spoonie issues as well.

I’ve tracked down the assistive device I need:


Coming to terms with this part of things has been tougher than it sounds.

If you look at the link, this is an electric wheelchair that is collapsible to fit in a car trunk. I honestly had no expectation that I would need a wheelchair at this point in my life – but, between the constant breaks in my feet, my rapidly worsening right hip, and spinal issues, making the decision to use one will allow me to “have my life back” in some ways. I have realized that, particularly with this type of chair, I will be able to again do activities I find myself avoiding now because I don’t have the ability to stand or walk for them.

I am finding that, not only do I experience new breaks in my feet randomly just from standing, but my hip and spine situation seem to be decompensating so rapidly that I can tell a difference from week to week at times.

In addition to enjoyable activities that I would like to resume, so many regular activities people take for granted – like shopping at stores that aren’t yet accessible – will be possible for me again with a collapsible chair. It’s just time.

I’m working with the company to deal with insurance stuff if possible and have an appointment with ortho specifically for that purpose in the hopes he can help me. Let us all cross fingers and toes.

In addition to going to a chair for activities that require significant walking, I have also had to look at some other things that might help my situation and made a separate wish list for them to get them as I can.

Honestly, this all feels a little surreal, like I need to pinch myself.

I am certainly grateful that this exists and that hope is on the horizon that I can begin going to do the things I haven’t been able to do since I became so ill.

One recent event that REALLY upset me was when I was in Nashville visiting my bestie, Ginny. We parked about four blocks from the restaurant we were having lunch at and it just KILLED me to walk there and back. I felt like I couldn’t get my breath I was in so much pain – and, of course, I didn’t want to distress my bestie if I could help it.

Once we got back to her car, we realized that we were right by the art installation that we had come to see and take pictures with – but I just could not bear to park and walk anymore. So we skipped it. And I am so so tired of having to always just give up.

And that was a fun activity. What’s worse is that the same is true of “required” activities, like doctors appointments and grocery shopping and all of the things that healthy people are just able to go and do

So it will be a great blessing to get this aid.

But it’s still very strange to be working really really hard to get your wheelchair at 39. It’s a lot to take in.

By the way, if I can get it all worked out, he is already named:

Yes, he shall be called Maximus. =D

And all of the prayers and good vibes and warm fuzzies are appreciated as I’m sorting all of this out – as it’s stressful and confusing and enough to make anyone want to stand on their head.

Be well, everybody. Happy late Tuesday/early Wednesday!

Grace and Blessings.


more breaks – and acceptance.

Throughout this week, my body has been pulling a good sick again. My heart rate has been crazy high and so has my blood sugar at times. I’ve been weak and exhausted and frequently sleeping. I’ve been unable to stand for any length of time. My pains have had pains. It’s really been no bueno.

I was at urgent care early this week. (AND I’ve broken a tooth. #fixitjesus)

Since these episodes seem to be happening really often – and each one seems just a little worse than the last – and I have built-in mobility issues due to perma-broken feet and degenerative hips, I have been feeling profoundly. . . disabled.

Intellectually, I knew that was truth anyway, of course, but the gravity of my situation has really come crashing down around me rather suddenly.

And, two days ago, after I had just told my husband that I was going to have to start using one of my assistive devices – meaning either my cane-with-chair or my rollator – all of the time when I’m out, I watched this TED talk:

Jennifer’s talk spoke to me on several levels, though her diagnosis is different from mine, and I actually tracked down her documentary intending to watch it in the next few days (not knowing that I would soon be in bed with plenty of time on my hands – more on that in a minute). What undid me though, as crazy as it will sound to a healthy person, was the realization, upon looking at her assistive device, that it is exactly the type of device that I need. As the understanding washed over me, that, with my feet and my hips and my fatigue, I need something to ride on PERMANENTLY to be able to get out and about like I want to, I came undone for a bit. That was two days ago.

Then, yesterday, with a sick child at home (a long story as well), I literally just stood up and my prednisone-weakened right foot again said “no,” and I felt a major CRACK, followed by severe pain and tenderness. Some x-rays later and here I was:

Yes, I have another broken bone.

What’s worse, something is also very wrong with my right hip as well. . .

I have now realized that, prior to this week, I was still in some degree of denial, in that I was still holding out for a turn around that is simply not to be in terms of my mobility and pain. Now, I am prepared to begin working toward getting the long-term mobility aid I actually need, knowing that it will make my life better as I will be able to go and do and see the things I need and want to with much less pain.

Accepting this, my quality of life will greatly improve, as my pain is terrible, with trying to ambulate on broken feet and hips that are quickly giving way.

And, for now, its books and rest and Netflix and waiting to see ortho again. . .

And forward. Always forward.

Be well, everybody.

Grace and Blessings.


I’m burning the midnight oil tonight with my better half sleeping next to me and my wonderpup snoring at my feet. Both of the girls are settled for the night as well.

Today was our sixth anniversary and we had a fabulous day together, watching movies and talking and just hanging out. (And how well does my husband know me? One of my gifts was a yoga dog. Yassss.)

I’ve been doing some thinking back and looking through my iTunes, as I tend to think in songs. Actually, the first weekend I met my husband, he made a Pat Green CD for me and then he gave me some amazing mix CDs when we went on our first date. Our music is super important to us.

(By the way, if you want to read a wonderful book about music and mixes and memories, check out Rob Sheffield’s Love Is A Mix Tape. You’ll be so glad you did.)

As I was reminiscing, I hunted down a blog post I wrote on my old site when Prince died to find this list of my 16 All Time Favorite Songs (it was meant to be ten but I could only narrow it down to 16):

My Ten 16 All Time Favorite Songs (in no actual order)

1. Me and Bobby McGee – Janis Joplin

2. When A Heart Breaks – Ben Rector

3. These Days – Foo Fighters

4. Wild Horses – The Rolling Stones (but The Sundays version is my current favorite)

5. Oklahoma Sky – Miranda Lambert

6. Purple Rain – Prince

7. Desperately Wanting – Better Than Ezra

8. Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley (but the Rufus Wainwright version is much loved too)

9. Mad World – Gary Jules

10. The Man Who Sold The World – David Bowie/Nirvana. I love, love, love Nirvana’s Unplugged version of this song but there will never be another Bowie either.

11. Milwaukee – Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers

12. Murder In The City – The Avett Brothers

13. Thunder Road – Bruce Springsteen

14. Vincent (Starry, Starry Night) – Don McLean

15. Waiting for My Real Life To Begin – Colin Hay

16. Give Me Novocaine – Green Day

Now I would add a 17th: Lady Gaga’s Born This Way.

Also, here’s the full post if anyone is curious:


One of the songs on this list, Miranda Lambert’s Oklahoma Sky, was also on our Wedding Mix CD that we gave to our guests as favors. I put it on there because it was exactly what I wanted to say to Courtney on our wedding day and it’s still perfect for what I want to say today (and that’s why it’s always and forever my favorite).

I am so incredibly blessed to have married my best friend and to be together through the best and the worst. We have faced some unbelievable challenges with my health and issues with kids and just life and my husband has been my rock. No one else knows me so well or knows how to make me laugh so hard. I am so thankful to get to do life together.

I’m counting my blessings for the past six years and looking forward to many more.

Be well, everybody.

Grace and blessings.


happy 4th!

Lest I forget, as I’m drinking a LaCroix and trying to keep my fur babies from freaking the freak out with all the fireworks around, I must share one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite artists on this day:

Happy 4th, y’all!

dreaming big and being grateful

I had already scribbled down some notes to write a post about dreams when I sat down to watch last Sunday’s sermon from my church (I haven’t been in awhile because my RA has been running amuck, amuck, amuck and I hope my bestie and I will remedy that this upcoming Sunday).

Now I know for sure I’m on the right track because the sermon – which I will link at the end of this post – was on dreaming big dreams – AND, as I just wrote a few posts ago about bucket lists, my pastor, PC, expanded on those as well. Some things are just a total God thing.

The reason dreams being realized is on my heart is that I am feeling so blessed to begin seeing one of my biggest come true in that a second piece I had submitted for publication – before I knew that the first was accepted – is also going to be published. It is also about autoimmune disease as I wanted to be sure I shared that message publicly. Now that I have, I am finishing up some work on other topics close to my heart to send in and I can’t wait to share them as well.

This has also made me feel more confident going forward with my book and I really believe in what I am working on. I am so so thankful to be writing now.

I’ve shared this before and I love it – and, as such, if I can call myself a writer before 40, I’m satisfied. 😉

And, as for the bucket lists, PC reinforced to write them down with pen and paper – it makes a difference – and mark off as you go. And add on as well. And put big impossible things on there too. And have faith.

So I’ll be handwriting all of my list today. And continuing to work on my new things. And celebrating my second sober Independence Day. And taking our girls to see the big fireworks show downtown for the first time. And giving thanks for it all.

Happy Fourth of July, y’all!

Be well, be safe, make your lists, and dream big!

Grace and Blessings.