Everybody who reads my blog, my Facebook postings, or lots of posts I make on the web knows by now that I have SLE (lupus).  Some of you know lupus patients, and you know that the disease can range from pretty mild to a day in hell.  Others might get tired of hearing about it.  You can check out now, or you can keep reading and learn something.

Lupus patients show courage every day they are alive.  If they can get their children off to school on time, despite aching joints, exhaustion at a level that it is difficult to convey, or whatever other symptoms the particular patient is coping with, it is the equivalent of lifting a car off someone trapped under it.  For some patients, just the fact of waking up is a victory over the disease that is trying to kill them.  We become masters and mistresses of everyday joy.

So I want to share with you a few of my everyday joys from recent days.  When I was a younger woman, and healthier, these events would not have given me  a tiny scintilla of joy.

I have been painting the interior of a medicine chest in my new bathroom.  We accidentally picked up one that was fake wood interior instead of white.  Can't take it back.  So I decided to paint it with one of the little cans of paint I picked up for $0.50 at Home Depot.  I can only stand up to paint to for 2-3 minutes.  Some days I could not paint.  Every day that I could stand up long enough to paint.  I put a brush-load or two in that cabinet.  It has taken my about two weeks to get almost finished painting that cabinet with that little pint of paint.  Every time I put another brush-load on, joy surged through my body.  I could not be happier if I won a major marathon.  

I feel the same joy when I can mop the bathroom floor, fold a pile of laundry, or work outside in my yard.  Everything I CAN do is a joy to me.  Because I am still here.  I can make stupid jokes with my husband.  Tell my brother I love him.  Talk to my cousins on the phone.  Smell the sweet olive tree in my backyard and remember walking along the street with my mother in Opelousas when I was two.

Take the time to feel the joy inherent in little things.  Whether you are well, young, old, disabled -- the secret to real joy is the little things.  There was a beautiful sunset the other night.  Did you see it?
Love is the joy  of  knowing you exist.  Being loving is the  response to you as who you are, even when you surprise the one who loves you. The latter is often difficult for many of us. We have our unmet needs, our fears, our blindnesses, our priorities.  Sometimes, when it comes to loving our self, we surprise our self