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Art Reflection for Advent: Week 3 (Crap-freaky angels and migraines)

(if you’re new–I had created a series of digital art for my church’s Advent series. I figured I’d repurpose them here as I love art so much. You can find Week 1 and Week 2 here 🙂

My junior or senior year in high school I was running late to school thanks to another migraine. I dragged my drugged-up rear into the car and focused through the remaining pain. I feared going to school after migraines because it always meant nausea and pain, and it always meant I took the risk of an accident during the 45 min drive each way with my drugged-up vision and took the risk of being stuck with a second or third migraine either on the road or at school.

I tucked that slightly freaked-out part of me inside and pulled out of the driveway. I reached the crest of the hill my family lived on when I slammed on the brakes, right in the middle of the street.

And gaped.

In the sky was the most stunning sunrise I’d ever seen. Dramatic orange and gold egg-carton clouds billowed over foothills and mountains, a silhouetted house rose in the distance.

This is the one benefit of pollution–breathtaking colors.

I’ve never seen another sunset or sunrise like it, and I’ve never been able to capture it in paint, even if I use straight cad orange.

Go_Tell_it_Mountain_Week2
The shepherds feared and trembled When lo! above the earth Rang out the angel chorus That hailed our Saviour’s birth: Go, Tell It On The Mountain, Over the hills and everywhere; Go, Tell It On The Mountain That Jesus Christ is born.

While I would officially never never EVER recommend driving to school on a migraine OR driving while on migraine meds in general, I will say that if I hadn’t ignored my fear I would never have seen that sunrise. I still treasure the memory of it today.

What caught my attention in this stanza as I sat to write this was how scared the shepherds must have felt. Angels are freaky things. They aren’t the cute naked-butt smiling babies so often painted throughout history. They scare people until the recipients of their amaze-balls-ness fall over in stunned terror.

And yet something so crap-freaky is supposed to be the bringer of goodness and hope.

I doubt those shepherds were buying it.

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Book Blitz and GIVEAWAY!: Vision by Lisa Amowitz @lisa_amowitz @spencerhillp

I’ve wrestled with migraines my entire life. I have a distinct memory from when I was 11: I walked around my junior high campus, frantically checking every corner of my vision for the dreaded auras that announced the next hellish hours. “The blurries” (as I called them then) were what I feared most.

Now that I wrestle with chronic migraine, my vision is constantly flashing with color and bits of auras and blind spots–my brain’s neurons overloading.

When I read Vision‘s main character, Bobby, got migraines and hallucinations, I thought–shoot! Can I relate. I wanted to see how his migraines enabled him to do something amazing 🙂 Just a small example of how stories can give us hope in the everyday.

Want a signed first edition of Vision, book swag, and signed poster of Lisa’s book designs? (She designed her own cover! How cool is that?) Enter the GIVEAWAY here.

Or you can buy the book here:
Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Kobo Books * The Book Depository
Vision_bookblitzVision_coverThe light is darker than you think…

High school student Bobby Pendell already has his hands full—he works almost every night to support his disabled-vet father and gifted little brother. Then he meets the beautiful new girl in town, who just happens to be his boss’s daughter. Bobby has rules about that kind of thing. Nothing matters more than keeping his job.

When Bobby starts to get blinding migraines that come with scary, violent hallucinations, his livelihood is on the line. Soon, he must face the stunning possibility that the visions of murder are actually real. With his world going dark, Bobby is set on the trail of the serial killer terrorizing his small town. With everyone else convinced he’s the prime suspect, Bobby realizes that he, or the girl he loves, might be killer’s next victim.

EXCERPT:

Bobby stared at the evergreens reflected in the silvery water. He’d offered to bring Dad down here and carry him into the boat. He was certainly big enough to carry him now.

“Nope,” Dad had said flatly. “My fishing days are over. My ass is never getting in a boat again.”

With his work schedule, Bobby had never found time to teach his eleven-year old brother Aaron to swim, so that left him out.

Whatever. Dad drowned his troubles in beer and guitars. Bobby could never tell if people came to the Woods Café to see the wheelchair-bound vet strum his heart out because they
enjoyed the music or to honor his sacrifice. Didn’t matter. At least it got Dad out of the house,
and drummed up some business for Dad’s best friend, Jerry Woods.

Dealing with Dad wasn’t easy, but self-pity was a luxury Bobby couldn’t afford. Someone had to work, and bussing tables at the newly reopened Graxton Grill six nights a week left Bobby little time for anything else.

A loud splash from beside the boat jarred him from his drifting thoughts. He peered into the green depths, hoping to spot Mongo, Dad’s name for the legendary bass he had been trying to catch ever since he could hook a worm.

The dark waters stirred, pulling the boat slightly backward. Bobby dipped the oars into the water to paddle away from the disturbance, but the gently insistent pull kept him from making progress. The boat was being slowly dragged into some kind of current and had begun to pick up speed.

In his whole life, Bobby had never seen more than windblown ripples on Scratch Lake. Mongo was rumored to be huge, but he doubted striped bass grew large enough to churn up the waters like that.

Bobby thrust the oars into the water, paddling harder. The back of his head hurt. And the harder he rowed, the more his head throbbed like a dull drumbeat. A whirlpool was forming. No fish could ever disturb Scratch Lake like that.

Unnerved, Bobby yanked at the engine cord, but the motor only coughed, sputtered, and went quiet. The boat was captive to the steadily spinning water and Bobby could only squint helplessly into the depths as the headache hammered behind his eyes.

The lake’s center was rumored to be fifty feet deep. No one really knew, but as the boat sped in dizzying circles, Bobby could see clear down to the lake bottom inside the whirlpool’s tapered funnel. He gasped. Spread-eagled on the slimy rocks, on a bed of pond weeds, lay a pile of bones, a split, unmistakably human skull resting on the top.

Bobby swallowed hard, breathing fast and shallow.

It can’t be real. I’m not seeing this.

He’d been so eager to get on the lake that morning he’d forgotten to eat. And he should have. The headache was creeping to his eyes, and now he was seeing things. Feeling and experiencing things that couldn’t be happening.

The pile of bones at the bottom of the lake was as sharp and clear as a photo.

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5 Ways to Keep Writing When Your Migraines Get in the Way

5_ways_to_keep_writing_when_migrainesIf you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’d know one of the biggest obstacles in my life is my health. Like any good writer, I have daily (or weekly!) goals I aim for to make sure the novel in my head ends up as a fatty word document in my hand.

But how can you continue making progress on a novel and grow as a writer when migraines keep you clinging to ice packs and pain killers like a koala to a tree?

Here are 5 ways to keep writing and growing despite those migraines:

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Psalm 56 Rewritten for Migraines

Psalm_56_rewrittenMy sexy husband came back from a week-long retreat on Friday. Along with a backpack of sweaty man clothes and greasy hair, he returned with a poem. He had rewritten Psalm 56 for me in the framework of my chronic migraines.

I don’t talk much about what living with chronic pain looks like. Mainly because I’ve found most people tend to shrink away from the ugly parts of life. And pain is very ugly.

I understand.

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Hang in There, Sunshine #pain #encouragement

Hang_In_There_Sunshine
Original photo found here: http://goo.gl/s5tcW

Hey there Sunshine,

I know the past couple days have been hard.

Sure, the To-Do List got hacked down a couple line items, which is always worth throwing a fiesta in your case. You even managed to research electromagnetic radiation versus nuclear radiation and learned the two aren’t related. I saw the outline of your second book is coming along, too.

Congratulations.

But that relationship you’ve been meaning to mend? The silent treatment isn’t going to heal it.

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