Silver Linings

It feels like forever since I really took the time to sit down at my laptop, open up a new blank document, and just begin typing. There are a few reasons for this. I’m no longer in school and that means my laptop is no longer what feels like an extension of my being. Sometimes I go days without pulling out my laptop and truthfully I can do almost everything I need to on my phone. And for a while last year, I let some events that happened really throw me around and I wasn’t doing a lot of the things that I enjoyed. And I kept telling myself that I was just too busy.

While going through an older hard drive of mine I came across a bunch of writing assignments from my senior year of high school. I took both a normal English class that year as well as a creative writing class, and it was pretty interesting to delve back into my writings from seven years ago. (It also blows my mind that that was seven years ago. Time flies!) But that got me remembering just how much I enjoy writing. And more importantly, it got me remembering just how much I was missing writing. I do miss it. And then the next day I saw a motivational post that said something to the idea that the best time to plant a tree was 30 years ago. The next best time is today. And so I’m writing. Today. Or rather tonight.


I’m coming off of a work week that was more stressful than it needed to be, still recovering from a relapse that I wish I hadn’t had, and altogether just kind of feeling like I was accidentally tied behind my dad’s big blue truck while he decided to go on a long drive. To add to that, in two days I will be upon the two-year anniversary of my diagnosis. And while it was not necessarily that singular day that forever changed my life, it definitely is a day that I will always look back on. And I mean, Facebook would never let me forget it, right?

If I’m being honest, when my first year rolled around I was more bitter than I ever admitted or perhaps even realized. I feel like I’ve managed to stay positive a majority of the time when it comes to having MS. And when I’m with most people it is the positive side that I allow them to see. But I wasn’t doing so hot last year. This year, as I face down this anniversary and look it in the eye, I feel like a completely different person. As I look back there are a few things that really stick out to me as the silver linings to a curve ball that forever changed my life.

And before you read on, just know that these aren’t in any particular order and that there are so many more than I could list tonight or perhaps ever.

1. Family is everything. I simply don’t know where I would be without my family. Honestly? I don’t know a group of people more capable of pushing every button and driving me up the wall more than my family. They are, without a doubt, experts in the art of driving me crazy. But, on the flip side, the thing they excel the most at, once again without a single doubt in my mind, is being nothing but a completely understanding, caring, loving, forgiving group of people who I’ve been blessed to have in my life from day one, and will have in my life forever. I don’t know what I would do without them sometimes.

2. Family is more than blood. I have some pretty amazing friends. And when I talk about these friends I really talk about my family. I talk about the people who have had nothing but chances to meet others and build up their own circle of friends, and yet despite the billions of options to them in the world, have decided to call me friend and brother. These are the people who have shown a level of understanding I never understood in friends before I had multiple sclerosis. They love me in the good times, and even more so in the bad times. They understand when I don’t have energy to do something we had planned, and know when to ignore my excuses and show up. Sometimes they drag me out and sometimes they just come and sit by me on the couch. They remind me that life doesn’t slow down because I do but that they’re willing to help take up the load. They help me find the reason to get up and go in the morning and to hate having to go home at night. They’re amazing. From funny pictures and crappy jokes to long conversations or silent drives. They’re by my side.

3. Different is not bad. Change can always be hard. It isn’t always wanted. It doesn’t always seem needed. But the fact of the matter is that change will always happen. Life moves forward. And if I’ve learned anything at all from having MS, it has been that change will come and things will be different. I am different. And that’s not bad. Sometimes I have to do things differently. Sometimes I can’t do things, at least not yet. But that won’t stop me from trying anymore. In fact, I think, most of the time, that I’m pretty grateful that I find many things more challenging at first. I’m glad I have a good reason to try harder and give my all. And it’s taught me that I can do it. Sometimes that simple lesson is the only thing I have to continue going on. I can do it.

4. And speaking of continuing on- There is no such thing as a small victory. There is just victory. Just accomplishment. Some days the last thing I feel I have energy to do is roll out of bed and drag myself out of my bedroom. Let alone across that room to the couch. Or up the stairs to the kitchen. And other days I come off of a 12 hour shift and I feel ready to keep going. To open up a book and read, or go outside and shovel the driveway. There never seems to be a rhyme or a reason to when these different days will strike – but they have taught me to take any victory that I can. And when I don’t quite make it to what I wanted to do, that’s okay. There is always tomorrow. There is always later. And I’ll be able to get to it then, and I’ll succeed and I’ll move onto whatever comes next.

5. Perhaps the most important single lesson I’ve had from my diagnosis and the adventure I’ve lived since then is just simply that the Lord is always there. I spent two years on a mission and I knew that truth then. I taught that truth to anyone and everyone I could for those two years. I have shared testimony and shared my belief that God loves us and that he is with us for as long as I can remember. But I can really say that I believe that and know that more than ever after the last couple of years. Sometimes it is so hard. Sometimes I feel like no one understands what I face on a day-to-day basis. No one understands the hard days, the tired days. No one understands the pain of needing a cane to get around on my 25th birthday. No one understands the sad and pity looks I would get when I walked around the store, the restaurant, or even church. It was all too easy to fall into that trap and begin to feel that same pity for myself. And when my world began to go gray I was always reminded of one thing. He is there. He loves me. And He understands. I can’t express my gratitude enough for my Saviour and everything he has done for me. And I can’t express adequately in words just how much strength that has given me to be able to pick myself up, sometimes both literally and figuratively, and to keep on going.

Silver linings. The name seems inadequate almost as I sit here and think about it. Because it’s a lot more than just the linings that are silver in my perspective.


To My Golden People

To the people in my life who have stood by me. The people who have supported me. Who have had patience with me.

Thank you. Thank you for being my golden people.

Some of you probably call me friend. Some of you call me family. I hope you know that to me, you all are family and that family is so much more than blood.

You’ve stood by my side while I’ve figured life out. Especially in the last year and a bit while I’ve learned about MS and figured that out. You’ve shown patience with me, especially when I haven’t had patience with myself. You’ve been my rock to lean on and to bounce back from. And words will never be able to adequately express the gratitude I have for all of you. I won’t name you all here. But I think of you often, even if I don’t reach out like I should. I hope you know that I will be there for you too. That no matter what life brings to your front door that I’ll be there to help you through it, just as you all have been there for me. Time and distance will never diminish what you mean to me.

You have kept a smile on my face. Reminded me that even on the worst days there is a reason to smile – even if that reason is just because my smile might be the only good thing for someone else’s day. It’s the texts asking me how I am or saying hi. The funny pictures and memes. The random questions and deep conversations. It’s knowing that there may be nothing you can do and asking anyways.

It’s the concerts and movies. Invitations to dinner – whether a home cooked meal or a fast food joint. It’s the reminder that every day brings a new and fresh start. That setbacks are just that, a setback, and not a wall I cannot get around or over or through. It has been the hugs. The tears. The acceptance of my bad days and making the most of my good days. It has been laughing at the little quirks that seem to come with MS and allowing me to see the humour in them as well.

It has been the silence. The power of just being there, even if words were never said. Of sharing a moment or two to just exist together and appreciate that life isn’t easy and sometimes I just want to scream at the world. It has been the moments where you help me realize that those moments of silence and frustration cannot last forever and my voice has a place in this world. That no matter how I am knocked down that I can get back up, and more importantly- that I will get back up. And then you help me. You offer a hand, an encouraging word, and understanding when it takes me time.


It has been the push to pursue what I love, especially when I didn’t see a point in it. The push for me to be better. To make more of myself today than yesterday and to always remember there is a tomorrow and today, no matter how bad, is not the end of the world.

It’s been the love of a 12 year old girl who I’ve only known for a few months – who upon learning I had MS began to save money for MS research. It is the tears that her act, and all the other acts that have been done on my behalf, have brought to my eyes as I realize time and time again that I am loved. That you see past my imperfections and shortcomings and still just love me for who I am. And that you refuse to let me forget who I am and who I can become.

You are my golden people. You are my rocks here in this life. The ones I know will be there for me. The ones that have taught me it is okay to ask for help. That we are not meant to endure this alone. And that you won’t leave me to do it on my own.

And while I don’t always believe that I deserve you, I don’t know where I would be without. Thank you.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Wake-up Call


I had a wake-up call recently. A pretty big one in regards to my life and the direction I was headed.

It’s been kind of a crazy few weeks, and crazy in the sense that while it feels like nothing has happened, everything has managed to fall apart. Honestly? It felt pretty hopeless for a little while, and if I’m being completely honest, and I mean all the way honest. Not just the honest with my friends, or the honest with my family, but the bare to the bones honest that I can only admit to myself when I’m safe hiding away in my room alone. But if I’m being honest- it still feels pretty hopeless at times.

I went to a concert the other night. And those who know me know that I love my concerts and most summers I would’ve been to at least three or four by now, but I haven’t had the chance yet. Until this weekend. And I went and saw a favorite of mine – Rise Against. And it was amazing. Beyond amazing, it was quite simply therapeutic. I’ve decided that I don’t pay for therapists, I just pay for concerts. Being able to stand there, singing/screaming out the lyrics to the songs I know probably too well was probably the most free I’ve felt in quite a while. And I needed that.

I’ve just come out of my second relapse, and if possible, I think it scared me more than the first one did. While the first one was all new and figuring out what I was going through and what my body was going through, I think that for me, this second relapse, is what made it real. It made it click that this is what I will be facing the rest of my life. That at any point – in the middle of a shift at work, at school, or just at home – things can go from good to bad. I feel like all I did was blink and the next thing I know my world was spinning (quite literally) and I was phoning home for a ride because I knew that if I tried to drive, I’d be lying somewhere in a ditch.

And over the course of the next few days as I saw doctors and tried to not fall down the stairs again (only mildly successful) it really hit me that this is the future. Perhaps not everyday, but perhaps often enough. And that scared me. And worse, I let it scare me. I let it get me down. I let myself believe myself to be defeated.

And slowly I got on some medication and things started to return to “normal.” As if I know what that even means anymore. But hey, maybe normal is just not falling down the stairs every other time. And so, I found myself at this concert. I was tired. It was hot. But I knew being around friends and family would be good for me, and I knew the music would be good for me. And I was right. About midway through the show, the lead singer for Rise Against slowed things down and talked. And one thing he said has really stuck with me.

He pleaded with the audience that none of us should wake up the next day and “bury our heads in the sand.” And I’ve been thinking and thinking about that phrase. And about what that phrase meant to me. Was I burying my head in the sand? Yeah, I think I was. I wanted to hide. Avoid a painful reality. In thinking about it, I realized that that wasn’t going to do me any good to hide away. And allowing myself to be defeated wasn’t doing myself any favors. Life is going to be hard enough without me having a crappy attitude about it.

And that was my wake up call. Standing there in a crowd with a few thousand people, the dark night over our heads, the lights and smoke of the stage all there is to see by, and a single musician playing a guitar and talking. I owe him one. And if he ever reads this -thank you.

Life is always gonna be hard. There are always going to be new challenges, more problems, harder trials. And yet I don’t think there’s ever enough to truly keep us down. Hit us to the floor? Maybe kick us while we are down? Yes. Of course. But we are all fighters. We all have the capabilities and the strength to push ourselves back up and to keep going. To fight on. To take another step. To move a little farther. To pull our heads from the sand and shake the dirt and dust free and hold them up high. It will never be easy, but as we go on we learn to bear it a little better. And most important, we learn to pick ourselves up again and again.

I don’t think the destination of our journey matters near as much as the journey itself. And I know that I’d hate to miss mine.



I love music.

I was driving home with my younger brother tonight and we got talking about music. One of those “real” conversations. Those type are my favorites. They’re the conversations that I live for. He asked about a CD I had playing in the car- one of the earlier Rise Against albums– and I asked if he liked it and he told me that it was alright but it was a little much for him. This lead into a bit of rambling conversation on my end. Perhaps conversation is strong… it was more one sided. I just rambled. But the rambling really got me thinking. Got me talking, which was, in this case, more important that just thinking.

You see, over the last two months I have done a lot of thinking. Some action. I moved. Got away from the jobs and from school. Decided I needed a break, and it has been one of the smartest decisions I’ve made all year. And it was perhaps the most needed thing in my life – a chance to step away. But it has also given me all that time to think. And in so much thinking I found it easier to think than to act. Thinking was safe. A refuge. A haven.

But tonight, I talked. I talked about music. I’ve loved music as long as I can remember, but for me, I feel like I really began to get a taste of what music could be when I was 13. I had grown up on country music and the soft rock radio station my mom loved. And one day a friend sent me a track by Rise Against. If I remember right it was their song Prayer of the Refugee and I found myself introduced to a whole new side of music. I talked to some family and was introduced to even more bands. Fall Out Boy. Breaking Benjamin. The Killers. Panic! at the Disco. 30 Seconds to Mars. Hawthorne Heights. Bayside. I could go on. I soon had a full 30 GB iPod full of music. And soon that wasn’t enough for my entire library at one time. I moved to Canada and found a whole different music scene in Toronto. Smaller, less heard of groups. I found groups before they made it big. I began finding new radio stations once I was driving on my own. Exploring.

As I look back, I can see how I learned to use music. I had playlists devoted to emotions. Some for when I felt lonely, when I was angry. When I was happy and on top of the world. There were songs for all of it. There were songs I used before a soccer game, to get the heart beating faster and my blood pumping. I had songs to mellow me out and calm me down. Playlists I could drive with and be calm and collected, and some that were more erratic. And when I left for two years on a mission for my church, I had to give up a lot of that up. Hang up my headphones, so to speak. And that was one of the toughest thing for me. I can’t remember how many times I sat around silently wishing for a certain song or playlist. And sometimes I would hear it as I’d walk through a grocery store or when a car drove by and I couldn’t help but think of the tender mercies of the Lord.

I love music. I love that it can reflect emotions and thoughts. I love that it’s an artist display of their time, talent and thoughts. I love the ability to portray thoughts, messages and meanings. I love that those listening can find their own messages. Their own meanings to a song. I find that it’s amazing to watch an artist grow and to feel their own journey as they grow from song to song and album to album. I love that some artists tell whole stories with their albums, each song an intention stroke of an overall masterpiece. I love that music becomes a journey. An adventure with twists and turns and ups and downs. It is a lot like life.  And I love that even on the same playlist, I have never repeated the same journey twice. Never even come close to it in fact.

It was good for me to say that tonight. Because for the first time in weeks I truly felt like breaking my silence. No… I’ve felt like it for a long time. But for the first time in weeks, I found that I needed to. That I really wanted to and that, more importantly, I did. And once more, I felt music taking hold in my life and bringing me someplace safe.

I can’t help but think of a quote from Calvin and Hobbes, the illustrious six year old and his best friend. Calvin said that “life is like topography, Hobbes. There are summits of happiness and success, flat stretches of boring routine, and valleys of frustration and failure.”

I find that to be a very truthful statement. Life has lots of ups and downs, twists and turns, and yes, even its fair share of boredom and routine. But I’ve learned that there are tools to help us get through all of it. Through frustration, rage, sadness, loneliness, happiness, loss, joy. Through any emotion. Any experience. There are ways to help us see it through to the end and to come out on top. I have many such tools. But tonight, the one I’m most aware of and grateful for is the music to get me through.

Seeing the Flower


I was walking to my car from campus earlier this week- a long detour down a hill and through a path with plenty of foliage on either side- and I saw this beauty of a flower catch my eye. I stopped and stared for a few minutes as I tried to figure out what about this flower caught my eye. My campus is very well maintained, and even though it’s getting colder there are many flower beds still looking great around campus. For the first time in weeks I pulled out my camera and took one of the first pictures I’ve taken in a long time. Now… I’m in a class where we’re supposed to learn the names of tons of different flowers – but I can’t tell you a thing about this flower, except where it’s located. I do know that it’s beautiful though. That in the midst of a physical world getting ready for white blanket of winter to descend upon it, this flower was able to stand out and remain colourful, bright and vivid, and open.  For a day that was pretty crappy in terms of how I’ve been feeling lately, a day in what I feel has been a long line of bad days, this was a much needed little respite. A breath of fresh air, not so much physically as mentally and emotionally.  Over the next day, I thought about this picture – about the flower- and I happened to remember this old little quote that I’ve always heard attributed to Buddha, though as I researched into it more I learned that that has been argued a lot. So I don’t really know who said it, or worded it this way, or came up with the original idea, but thank you to whoever that was.

“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change”

That thought has really stuck with me. I’ve turned it around. From the early morning hours at one job, to the late evening hours of another. As I’ve slugged through classes, meals, homework and commuting. The required naps, the inopportune bouts with colds, and the stresses of learning to live with MS.  And all of that musing lead me to stop and ask myself if I’m taking the time to see the flower clearly.

My life is full of little miracles. Many I’ve recognized. Such as quick diagnosis with MS, relatively quick access to treatments and medication and the constant support of family and close friends. The ability to keep working. Even working two jobs. The miracle of having a car. To get from one point to another. A phone case that has withstood the many, many trips from my suddenly non cooperative hand to the floor. Bosses that understand that I just have days where I feel lousy and can be a bit of grouch or in a mood to not want to do much. And friends who put up with me in those times and still insist on having me over to do things. Even a friend who has taken it upon himself to remind to get certain things done every week, seeing as I’ve lacked the motivation and energy to do it on my own.  Being able to have an outlet in photography, access to Netflix on the bad days when the couch is about as far as I can drag myself from the bedroom, and roommates willing to check up on me whenever they see me. My life is full of little miracles. And these are just ones that I notice.


And as I think about it more and more come to mind. Little things. Bigger things. I guess it’s appropriate that Thanksgiving is right around the corner as I can give thanks for all of these things. Despite this though, I’ve come to a realization over the last few day that’s been slow in coming, despite the fact that it has been staring me in the face for a long while now. And I think I’ve been pushing it off for so long because it scares me. I don’t want to face it. I don’t want to admit to it or own up to it because I feel like admitting to it will somehow make it more real, make it more personal and will have a greater effect on me than it already has.  That realization? That I’m not really doing all that great.


 I’ve learned that it can be easy day to day, to put up a bit of show, to put forth the positive face and let that be the one that everyone sees. And it’s the one I want to be the real one. I want to be okay. I want to feel great, to have energy, to be able to just live life as a college kid and go back to stressing over that cute girl in my class and the essay due in a few days and an internship opportunity. Instead, I feel my life has become a balancing act of work and school. Yet, the rules change daily. As one day I’ll feel normal and the next I feel that a huge weight is holding me to my bed. Days where I can operate freely, think clearly and quickly, and days where I feel like I’m in a fog. A dense, heavy fog that addles me and leaves me gasping for anything to anchor myself too. It’s become about survival, about making it from one day to the next and focusing just enough to make it through that day. To help the next customer, make it through the next paragraph, the next class. The next assignment. I haven’t focused on next week, or next month, in a long time. And honestly, most of the time lately I don’t feel like I remember to. Too often things catch me by surprise because I wasn’t thinking about them. And I’m sick of it. But there isn’t much I can do.

But I can at least admit it. I can at least own up to the idea… the reality… that I’m not doing so great. That I’m not coming out on top right now and I have no clue as to how to come out on top. Not yet. And that alone is a frustrating thought. I sit back and I feel like the odds are in my favour. Great friends. Fantastic family members who love me unconditionally. Teachers that have proven to be pretty understanding. Bosses. Circumstances… the whole nine yards and I feel like I’m down and I won’t catch up yet.

And then.. I think of this little pink flower. This pretty little pink flower that managed to arrest my walk and got me thinking. There truly is beauty in a flower. In the fact that even as winter comes on it will shine as bright as it can, as long as it can, and then it might wither away and die. And that sounds bad. Hell, it sounds awful. But, a plant is more than just its flowers. The plant as a whole will slow down, will change as it needs to because it knows that a harder time is coming. Less warmth and daylight. Less or even no opportunities to spread seed and survive. So it waits. It waits for spring. It waits for the time when the days begin getting longer and the nights shorter. For warmth to seep back into the world and colour to once more emerge into a beautiful canvas of spring green.


I don’t think it’s any coincidence that fall brings a change of colours. That you can look at one plant and see the greens shift into reds, oranges, yellows and browns. To watch this miraculous and beautiful shift of colour and then to watch as leaves fall to the earth, to get trampled on, sometimes gleefully jumped on, blown about, swept up and thrown away. It’s a rough and brutal sounding process, yet, they always come back. It’s a cycle. And in the meantime they grow.

Life is much the same I suppose. Or I see it being that way for me. I’m in a winter of sorts. A period of trials and hardships. A time where I feel there is less colour in my life. A time where things will be slower. But I need to remember that spring is right around the corner and that no matter how cold it gets I can make it through. That I can and will come out in colour again. And be bright and happy and better for it on the other side. My pretty little pink flower won’t always be there. It could be gone even now. But there will be more flowers. More colours. Spring always comes. Hope is always there waiting to carry us back into that sunshine.  

Ups and Downs

It hit me about 10 seconds after I heard the door close behind me, and about three steps from my car. I didn’t have my keys. I was locked out of my apartment. It was about one in the afternoon and I had just meant to run out to my car to grab something and head back inside. I was grateful that despite how sluggish and tired I had  been feeling all day I had decided to shower and get dressed and even just to run outside to my car I had thrown on my shoes. I had everything I’d need to go out for the day, except my keys. Knowing my roommates wouldn’t be home for a few hours, and not having either of their numbers yet, I decided to make the most of this situation and enjoy the sunshine outside and go for a walk. And that’s what I did. I spent the next 3 hours walking around Provo. Exploring some side streets, finding a couple of small parks I didn’t know about, and learning that the afternoon manager at McDonalds must have been having a bad day. Thankfully, there was an Arby’s across the road and I could get some water and sit down for a bit.

Walking for me has always been peaceful. When I get stressed I like to walk. When I can’t sleep, I walk. If I’m on the phone for a long time, I usually will go walk. Walking has long been a way for me to clear my head, appreciate nature and just reflect. That means that on my forced tour of the city, I did a lot of thinking and a lot of reflection.

I had a lot of thoughts, not all of which I’m done reflecting on or ready to share yet, but I had a few that really stuck out to me. One was about the name of my blog. Yoyoing with Zed. Zed has been a nickname given to me by my father and not used a lot outside of the home until I went to college. It was there that I began to introduce myself to people as Zed, and upon watching another Zach run off with my taco bell order, I decided Zed was the safer alternative. The yoyo is a toy I have been fascinated with for a long time, but never really took seriously until I was on my mission. I was in my second area of service, in the city of Lethbridge in southern Alberta. The elder I was serving with at the time, I’ll refer to him as King, and I had grown tired of the usual basketball/ sit around the chapel activities that defined a pretty normal Monday for us missionaries. We decided instead to go explore the many shops that were to be found in Lethbridge, and there were quite the number of them. One of them was a snowboard shop called Infamous. It was a fun little shop, filled with snowboards and clothing, skateboards, longboards, and was decorated with a plethora of Star Wars themed items. And it was in a display case, to the left of the main counter if my memory serves me, that I found them. A display of yoyos. It turns out that one of the owners was an enthusiast, and he was really good. Especially to my novice eyes. I almost bought one on the spot, but King talked me into waiting a week, and after waiting and thinking about it I went back the following week and walked away with my very own competition level yoyo.  It was beautiful. Sleek looking and smooth to the touch. It spun well and made the most amazing sound as it would spin on the bearing located at the center. And with that single purchase began a fascination with yoyos and the first stages of a hobby that I still hold dear to me today.



My first yoyo


Between the bruises (turns out yoyos are painful when they hit you on the side of the head) and the frustration of having to figure out tricks on my own, I slowly began to get better. I became smoother and more polished in the few moves I could figure out on my own. It was a journey. When I broke my ankle 8 months later, I would prop myself up against the wall, crutches nestled safely under my arm and out of the way, and practice the yoyo in my apartment and, when I could begin venturing out again, my companion and I would find parks and busy streets and wait for people to come to us. Slowly I worked my yoyo into use as a tool. It became an ice-breaker as I attempted to talk to complete strangers. I learned quickly that people would stop for a trick. People would request tricks, usually walk the dog, and I would happily oblige them and begin a conversation. It was fun. I learned a skill that not only allowed me to benefit from being able to say I learned something new and stuck with it, but opened the doors to talking to people, sharing something that was important to me with them, and to have fun while doing it.

So when I began this blog, not long after getting home from my mission, it made sense to me that when I looked for a name my mind turned back to the hobby that had become foremost in my life. Yoyoing. I thought it would be a fun title. A place where I could ramble about whatever crossed my mind, get the itch to write taken care of that I often feel, and have it out there for anyone to read that takes the time or cares to. I never once about any more meaning than that when I named this blog, but little did I realize then the importance that this name would come to mean to me now. My first thought, and in my experience most people’s first thoughts, when it comes to a yoyo is up and down.  That’s really what a yoyo is at its heart, isn’t it? Something that goes up and down. More than that to me though, is what you can do with a yoyo between the up and down. The tricks. The cool side of yo-yoing.


My two favorite yoyos. Also the first two I owned. Both of these are almost always either on my bag or with me on a belt holder.


I had a thought yesterday that really stuck with me. My blog title means to me that when you’re yo-yoing with me, you’re seeing my ups and downs, and heaven knows that with MS I have a ton of them. My day can go from up to down and back again before I even know it. There are so many little things that happen. Everything from a sudden loss of feeling in my hand, to a major day of fatigue. These are just the accepted parts of my day now. My accepted norm and it’s not something I think about too often, besides thinking that it’s just there. Thus the name of my blog was almost predictive of my future of learning to deal with the constant up and downs I would face. It’s exhausting. It’s overwhelming. Especially lately where I’ve been trying to balance starting school and maintaining both of my jobs and being a functional adult. And lately I’ve felt the low ends a lot more than I have the ups. The thought I had yesterday though was about my yo-yoing. I can’t do any tricks, until I throw the yoyo down. The downward motion is what gives it the spin it needs to stay balanced and to give it momentum to move into a series of tricks. And only after that downward motion can the magic happen. And it ends with the up motion and the yoyo returning to my hand. I can’t have one without the other. I can’t have the fun, cool looking tricks, without the downward motion to get everything spinning. And it dawned on me that maybe life is like that. We need to have the ups and downs, and sometimes we need to have the down moments to get us spinning and give us the chance to do something before we find that up again.  I’m not saying that I’m sitting on a string and being spun around in some neat loops and fancy finger grinds, but that, thinking about my life, the ups and downs together tell my story. And in that sense, while I wouldn’t wish this upon anyone else, I wouldn’t wish it away at this point either, because it’s my story. It’s my collections of ups and downs, and just like learning to yoyo, you have to master the ups and downs before you master the tricks that go in between. And that thought gives me some hope for the future. What cool things will I be able to get to, despite the ups and downs? What tricks will I be able to learn?  It’s a small reminder to me that no matter how low I feel I’m getting, I can look forward to the up that I know is coming and I can be excited for whatever comes in the middle as well.

Much like a yoyo.

The Coke Glass


Back in August I had just spent some time with my family and they had dropped me off at my apartment with my brother and I was going to take my car and drive up north to spend some more time with them, but this way I could drive myself home. A smart plan. As I got into the car and got going with my brother, I noticed a glass of water from earlier that morning sitting in my cup holder.
I work early morning custodial. I’m up between 3 and 4 every morning and I’ve been doing that for most of the last 2 years. Getting up that early  was a challenge at first but has since grown into something I enjoy (usually). Part of that was learning what worked for me to get up. Like taking a shower. A shower gets me awake, moving, and it’s a lot easier to talk myself into the shower then it is to talk myself into going straight to work. Another trick I started doing this summer was drinking a glass of cold water on my way to work. I’d fill up the glass in the morning, and then drink it while I got ready and as I drove to work, then leave my glass in the car and take it in with me in the afternoon.

So while beginning my drive to meet up with my family, my brother in the car with me, and some music playing from the speakers – I noticed my glass.This was a frosty, Coke themed glass that looked a lot like the ones in the pictures. Mine was a light green. I’d found two of them at a thrift store my couple of days living on my own and they were the first real kitchen items I bought for myself. I loved those glasses and used them all the time. Because of the narrower base, these glasses didn’t sit super well in my cup holder. Not a problem for a short drive to work, but for the longer drive up into Salt Lake City I didn’t want to risk letting the remaining water spill.  So I rolled down the window, grabbed the glass and went to dump the water out.Instead of dumping the water out and returning the glass safely to my cup holder, to be used another day, my hand decided to have one of its moments and I involuntarily let go of the glass and sent it flying out into the dividing wall of the highway. I rolled my window up, hoping my brother hadn’t noticed, however, he’s a pretty observant kid and before the window was even up all the way he says “You know you just threw that out the window, right?”

Yeah. I noticed.

I only have one glass left. And I don’t take it outside of the house now. I wrapped it up in its own shirt when I moved. Overkill? Yeah, probably. But like I said, this was the first thing I bought for myself when I moved into my last apartment and was officially on my own for the first time since being home from my mission.

I see that glass though, and I laugh. Thinking of its companion shattered up somewhere between Provo and Pleasant Grove, Utah – it makes me laugh. It’s a reminder to me that while I lose things, sometimes important things, and sometimes just a glass I have a little too high of a sentimental value for, or while I have symptoms that make it difficult to sign my name or safely dump water out, there is always a reason to laugh and smile. And on days like today, where I can’t stay awake from class to class and just want be back in the bed I left at 3:17 this morning it’s the little moments I can laugh at that keep me awake, smiling, and moving forward.

Weird how the MS both caused the problem and gave me the strength to get through it. But I think sometimes our trials are like that. They become the very reason that we can keep going, no matter how hard it gets.