Tribe Bracelets, Yes, “Tribe!”

I color. I doodle. I Zentangle! Now I make Tribe Bracelets! It’s just me, making what is otherwise known as friendship bracelets. When I am in pain, I escape by creating a bracelet. It is mind work. It is healing.

There are two patterns that I really like, so I make them. (They are not big and bulky but nicely sized, fun pieces!) I like the knotted pattern and the staircase pattern. I think they look cool in twos! I have made many, none are perfect. Conquering pain is not a time to strive for perfection. However, good energy is focused on each and every knot in every single bracelet!


I’m considering selling them; here on my blog. I can’t wear them all…my hubby can’t wear any more either. (We tried.)



Update! Now available for purchase!  Tribe Bracelets! Thank you for all the interest! Time to find YOUR tribe! I invite you!!!

PayPal will only allow me a single payment option… so a set of TWO bracelets will cost $6.50. The shipping and handling charges are included for USA shipping as well as overseas! If you do not have PayPal but still want to purchase a Tribe Bracelet set, email me at 

Click here to purchase!

If you wouldn’t mind, and you have time, answer a couple (non-binding) questions for me;

  1. Do you have PayPal? (Since I’m a full-time RVer, this would all have to be done through PayPal!)
  2. Would you pay $5 for a matching set of two Tribe Bracelets?  (I’d just be recouping my costs, shipping/handling in the USA add $1, shipping/handling overseas add $2.)

This is what my Tribe Bracelets mean to me...

  • Tribe Bracelets are physical reminders of the inner strength you possess to ‘get through’ the tough times.
  • Tribe Bracelets are so you always remember, you are not alone.
  • Tribe Bracelets are your worry beads, your wish bracelet, your grounding tool.


Live your best life!




A Wedding and a Power Ranger

I completely forgot to finish the second part of my original post! To read the first installment, click here. But it really isn’t necessary, this is pretty self-explanatory.

As we were ready to say our vows, listening to the beautiful singer we had hired for our wedding belt out “I Believe in You and Me.” My husband-to-be said to me,

“I don’t want you to freak out, but I have to tell you something.”

(Oh, God…) “Okay.”

“There is a Power Ranger behind you, he is running, you will see him soon over your left shoulder.”


“No, there really is… a small-ish child … er, Power Ranger now visible over your left shoulder.”


Yes… there was Power Ranger, a RED one, in action at my wedding. Running to and fro. Making the other children cry as they wanted costumes too. Whose kid was that? Why was everyone just sitting there? Someone should corral the Ranger! Jeff grabbed my hands, this made me look at him. Jeff smiled the ‘everything is OK’ smile.

We discovered later that my mom invited the Power Ranger’s mom to my wedding. The mom of the Ranger was my husband’s first ‘real’ girlfriend. (Yes, I’m not kidding!) My mom still denies this little extended invitation. The result was a Power Ranger at my wedding.

My brother in law was our photographer. He later said, as he was attempting to photoshop out the sneaky little ‘Ranger,’ he and his wife didn’t have ANY superheroes at their wedding. He said he was a bit jealous. I chuckled. He promised me we’d be laughing about this in ten years and we are.

The bachelor and bachelorette parties were very successful. My sisters threw me a beautiful shower. Jeff went golfing with his buddies. My mother was his caddy. That’s right! My mother invited herself along! I guess that is one way to prevent any chance the bachelor might go to a strip club! Let me tell ya’ my mom was (and is) a force to be reckoned with!

In 2004, Jeff and I were living together in Uptown. An eclectic neighborhood in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We were preparing for our wedding and packing for a 10-day trip. We would have our wedding, and a honeymoon at Camp Wilderness, a boy scout camp. We rented the entire camp for our weekend wedding.


It was a beautiful fall weekend when we got married. Every guest was assigned a cabin if they chose to stay for the weekend festivities. (There were various hotels in the area as well.)


This is the Boy Scout camp was where my husband, along with my brothers, attended. Some of our nephews also found their way to this camp. My husband achieved an Eagle Scout level. This camp was also where my husband was a scout leader and an instructor on the firing range.

After the ceremony, we had a prime rib dinner and sang karaoke! As soon as the sky turned to night, we built a bonfire, and the guests enjoyed s’ mores. The following morning there was a hot breakfast served! The day was filled with football, archery, hikes, and opening gifts. I truly enjoyed my wedding. Many of my guests still say they remember my wedding day fondly. That is so nice to hear.


Fifteen years ago, I became Mrs. Jeffrey Johnson… and a red Power Ranger attended my wedding!



Don’t Mess With Texas

I want to say hello!

I fought my way back! I thought about how I started this blog to simply remember how to write, not much more than that… but did I receive so much more from all of you! Wow. I want to share an account of the road (paved with good intentions) that I have been on since we sold our house in August.

We sold our house in five days and closed in thirty days. Wow! I really didn’t even have time to think! I wasn’t prepared for this massive disruption to my daily life. Even though I knew this change had to happen. I wanted that change, but the reality was that it was much more difficult than I had imagined.

A company called One Eighty Solutions contacted me and informed me they had a corporate buyer interested in the timeshare we own in Mexico… the offer was at $36,000. Was I interested? Heck yeah! I’m in! It was a scam. Of course. I think the hubby and I both somehow knew. In fact, we agreed the money we had to spend to be able to sell our property in Mexico was a complete gamble! No better shot than if we had taken that money to a casino and played the slot machines … but the casino would’ve at least provided some entertainment! We purchased the ‘license’ to be able to sell our property from the Mexican government. The next thing we knew, the ‘real estate’ company was asking us to pay a 20% capital gains tax upfront. We declined, and they told us they’d sue us for breach of contract. We said,

“Bring it!”

We would absolutely love to see all of you in court!”

They ceased contacting us. 

We bought our truck and our 5th wheel toy hauler. (Yay!)

Picking up our RV was delayed by two weeks. Once we were able to pick it up, we had to pack it and get the heck out of the Midwest! We left the very night before it started snowing. We raced south and stopped in Branson, Missouri. I thought we should go to a show! (Not this time around.)

The hubby reminded me that this was not a vacation we were on but a lifestyle we were living. We had just purchased a pickup AND an RV. There would be no attending a show! 

I admit I did agree.

We continued on to the very southern part of Texas to escape winter. We currently remain in the Harlingen area moving from RV park to RV park and will continue to do so until the first part of January.

The RV lifestyle…

I still haven’t figured this out. (I have been in a constant but mild fibro flare since August.) Right now, we are only in our fourth RV park. We had landed in South Texas. The snow was stalking us, pushing us deeper into the south. We had a toilet and a furnace that required maintenance. The MANDATORY demonstration we were required to attend (and pay for…!) was not THAT helpful.

Recommendation for first time RV buyers: Record the demo! I have the entire demo recorded on my cell phone. We have gone back to that video many times!

Today is the best I’ve felt since I left the house on Taylor Street!

It is a good thing, too, because now that we are in Texas, I found out my pain pills will not be refilled in this state. “Texas Law.” I don’t know about you, but I am NOT about to ‘mess with Texas!’

So, tribe, I’m back! I don’t believe I will be able to read all of your blog posts I’ve missed. I DO apologize for that. Look for “What About You?” It will return on its regular day, Sunday, December 1st here on I Tripped Over a Stone.

It is good to be back!




Talking Bluntly about Night Time Chronic Pain

September is National Pain Awareness Month.

I have a chronic pain disease called Fibromyalgia Syndrome.

You can read what fibro is: here.

(This is a typical night for me. I describe it as follows.)

I think the hardest thing for a person with chronic pain is to tell you how they are doing. (Seriously.) You ask me how I’m doing… really? Let me start by asking you, “do you really want to know?” (Probably not, sometimes maybe?)

When you ask me how I am? “I’m fine.” (That’s a flat out lie!)

I’ve read a few posts where bloggers are addressing pain, chronic pain. They are describing what pain we face and what that looks like because September is Pain Awareness Month. My friend, Terri at Reclaiming Hope describes a typical morning for a person with chronic pain. Terri could have been describing my mornings. You can read her story: here.

I will tell you what a typical night feels like for me.

It begins at about 5PM. I get very tired and extremely agitated. My evening will be filled with aches, pains, and irrational episodic thoughts… I will question my worth in this world.

I try to stay out of sight as the early evening turns into the late evening. I know bedtime is coming and without something to keep my mind occupied, it’s going to be a very long and painful night. The clock says it’s bedtime, as I crawl in, it begins. Pain. Unrelenting body pain!

I may be successful in falling asleep on my own, typically not, then I rely on a medication for sleep. My ears feel full of pounding blood. My legs feel so heavy I want to get a knife and stab them until I feel relief! My hip feels like my leg has fallen out of the socket, and my lower back starts to spasm. But these pains are the easier ones to deal with… it gets much worse.

Are you still with me? Have I shared too much? It’s very possible you are bored or feeling somewhat miffed! After All, you are an intelligent person. You certainly can tell if another person is in pain. Well, I don’t look sick! I might look tired, but not sick. I am in real pain every single day.

The night continues, and by this time I have been up at least three times. So here we go again as the next symptoms have their turn with me…

My arms will start jamming up, causing shooting pain throughout my elbows, upper arms, neck, head, and shoulders. As I try to relax, I’m often jolted back into my harsh reality by shooting pain. I try to hold myself tightly as it feels like my body is being pulled apart by some malevolent being. This is very unsettling not to mention extremely (yes) painful!

After diagnosis, a few years into my illness, I became basically bedridden. At the beginning of my relationship with my future hubby, I would be awake about four hours a day. That was it. My normal. I could push through a day once in awhile. I made sure to spend that precious ‘awake time’ with Jeff. Then this disease turned upside down on me. I now get maybe a total of four hours of sleep at night. This lack of sleep causes me to lose days! I am mentally a train wreck and physically spent and in pain.

But. You ask how I’m doing?

“I’m fine.”

September is Pain Awareness Month!

Revisiting Trauma?

I believe I am revisiting past physical trauma.

I am struggling with a flare. This makes sense as there are so many significant changes happening in my life (selling my home and moving while flaring!). But. This flare is eerily similar to those flares I had right after the car accident I was in. How am I to handle this? Has my body reverted to experiencing traumatic events by responding to how it used to? Emotionally this is a bit of a train wreck to try to deal with!

Am I revisiting trauma?

I have had my toolbox out and found my ability to Zentangle (a planned pattern that is repeated) is limited. I can set up one, but I cannot make the patterns the right way, my spacial judgment is off. Crossword puzzles are not an option at this point either. I can’t remember names of items I know, let alone come up with words I am not familiar with. I am unable to sleep for more than two consecutive hours due to pain waking me. I am taking rescue medication for pain and sleep, but it is not helping much.

Am I reverting to past behaviors because of trauma?

My husband looked at me yesterday and said, “I’m concerned.” I asked why, and he stated he hadn’t seen me take this amount of pain for this length of time. I responded that it was simply a fibromyalgia flare and that I could deal with this. He looked doubtful, walked out the door, popped his head back in, and said, “Keep fighting.”

Can I continue to fight this flare, at this intensity for much longer?

The short answer is yes. Of course, I can (and will) continue to fight. The worrisome part of this answer is how? I went back to basics. I got out my therapy belt, the Sympathetic Therapy System (STS) machine (the STS machine is no longer being manufactured, sorry) and the Epsom salt. I found my body pillow and my hot packs. I’m back to using popsicles and crushed ice to control my nausea and severe heartburn. I am taking my magnesium and my B12 shots… this will work, it has to.

I am experiencing a trauma-induced flare.

The rush to sell and pack, leaving the home I’ve known for the last fourteen years had an impact on me that I wouldn’t have guessed possible. It was traumatizing being in so much pain and having to continue the activity (packing and moving) that triggered it. But this is just a flare. This means although my pain is more intense, this is only temporary. I will come out of this flare by fighting each and every symptom it throws at me and managing them.



What is … IT?

What the heck is fibromyalgia?

The truth is, we know of it. We know it is about pain. We know it is chronic, there is no cure.

We do not know with certainty how it happens, what toll it will take on a person’s life, or why it varies from person to person.

How do we expect other people to understand fibromyalgia when we don’t really know ourselves? It’s a guessing game at this point. How do you explain something like Fibromyalgia Syndrome?

Let’s get down to basics when asked what is fibromyalgia, keep it simple…

No one gets in line to get a diagnosis. We receive it. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. We were never given a choice! Let’s at least work together to promote awareness and understanding of this syndrome.



Moody Monday (Strike First)

Strike First

The Intruder is here,

 Dawn breaks.

I strike first!

Fast and true.

It reflects then screams.


I hit high then low,

But I am met blow for blow.

Hand to hand combat,

The hours’ flow.

The sun recedes, the sky turns mean.


We move,

  Figures in the dark. 

Dancing wildly,

Until I plummet.

Into the abyss.


I wake at dawn.

The Intruder is here,

I struggle but strike first!

Fast and true.

Pain reflects then screams…



I Am Homeless

It feels surreal. No, actually it feels scary… unorganized, tumultuous, messy… and a bit sad. The house on Taylor Street now stands alone. Vacant. Waiting for a new life to fill her walls. I only want the best for her. She saw me through many years of health, happiness, illness, sadness… but I could no longer care for her. Fibromyalgia made sure of that. On the 5th of September, we will hand over the keys to her new owner.

I don’t know much about him, the future owner. I don’t believe we are really supposed to ever meet. The little bit of information I have found out is that he is from Japan. He is an expert at purchasing and refurbishing duplexes. This is what he DOES. The house on Taylor Street will be in good hands, I think. I hope.

Fibromyalgia takes and takes. The more you fight your symptoms, the more your symptoms fight back! I was not able to move from my home with a planned pace of moving in an organized fashion … fibromyalgia made sure of that. It was a frantic and chaotic exercise, just trying to get everything boxed and thrown into a pick-up bed.


I arrived at my family lake home with very little memory of the actual event. The following days my families annual reunion was taking place as scheduled. I was in attendance. (I know this because I am in the family picture!) Honestly, I do not have much recollection of the weekend event. The following week I know I made some meals, went on a few boat rides, and drove my mom to a few medical appointments. I made a nurse cry (long story). I made the ritualistic runs to WalMart, I have the storage bins to prove it. During this time, my husband was driving from the lake house to the city house to empty the last remaining boxes of tools and ‘man’ stuff.

Then, three days ago I went to bed and I just never got up.

Three days felt like an hour… I did emerge from my room once. My sister simply looked at me and said, “you’ve lost two days.” I nodded and returned to my room, ‘losing’ another day. My sister knows about the loss of time as she suffers from debilitating migraines. Infrequently but never the less horrific to observe. (I can’t fathom that kind of excruciating head pain!)

Now what lies ahead of me is a smaller home. An RV until we decide where to put down roots again. A pickup truck. Only the worldly possessions that we can carry with us. Fibromyalgia can’t take that away… but it will try.

It is so good to be back blogging! I have missed our tribe terribly!





Have You Ever Been Happy Sad?

Does this make sense? Have you ever been happy and sad at the same time? Happily sad? Thinking of memories, some make you sad, but you are still happy to have these memories. That’s where I find myself at this moment. I am happy sad…

Currently, I am at our family lake home. This is my Dad’s homestead. Now it’s been passed to his children, I’m one of five living siblings. I do have two other brothers who have passed on. One I didn’t know, born before me, stillborn. One died at the age of 37. The 37-year-old was in the Army, single, his death benefits came to our family. He wanted this money to be used to build a house on my dad’s property that we could all enjoy, and gather as a family. His dream came to fruition and our lake house has a bedroom for each of us, including a sixth in his memory. It was a happy sad moment upon completion. Sometimes still is.

Saturday, we toured assisted living facilities with my parents. [Happy sad.] I was watching my parent’s worried looks as we started the first tour. But they relaxed, both having visited relatives and friends at these facilities. They were familiar with the sites but didn’t believe they may one day be residents.

We were treated to lunch after our tour at the first facility by the program director. This facility was like a small city under one roof! There were two restaurants, a hair salon, a heated pool, a post office, a movie theatre, a work out facility, a boxing gym, pool tables, a library, therapists and trainers on site… amazing. After we had ordered our food, my dad and I were sitting together and he explained to me that although this was nice, he had the farm… the lake house we owned as a family. [Happy sad.] I had to explain that he would always have that, but mom was in poor health. The facts pointed to sooner rather than later, she would need a nurse. My dad, as healthy as he was, would not need medical care but he needed to get mom the care she would need. [Just sad.]

We toured the others, then headed to Dairy Queen! [Just Happy!]

We dropped off our parents at their townhome to rest, but it wasn’t long before they joined us at the lake house. I couldn’t remember the last time I was with all of my siblings and my parents at the same time. [Happy sad.] We had an evening of laughter, serious discussion, and more laughter. I was very aware that these gatherings were becoming very rare and would eventually come to an end.

Life changes. Circumstances change. Health declines. Being present, in these rare beautiful moments, is the only way you can keep them … in your heart. Time marches on. No matter how hard we try to slow things down, Father Time keeps the clocks wound. You can’t cheat time. Beautiful moments happen in real time be they ever so fleeting. [Happy sad.]


Escaping Through the Fog

I have some thoughts to share with you. I don’t know if I am right, but this makes sense to me. How do we escape the chronic pain we are in every day, 24 hours a day? I think the answer is Fibro Fog. Is it possible we are dreading the very fog we should be welcoming?

Those of us who suffer from chronic pain know that our fight or flight system is in overdrive! Firing random pain signals throughout our bodies. Our brains, not being able to keep up with the constant demand for action from these signals eventually shuts down our conscious thought. This cognitive dysfunction is what is often referred to as fibro fog. (Also known as brain fog or cog fog.) 

Chronic pain patients don’t have a scale for their pain. Chronic pain patients go through stages of suffering. We either can associate or disassociate with what our reality IS. The reality of the pain we suffer with on varying severity levels. When associating, we are feeling the actual pain and physical suffering. When we disassociate, we busy our minds to try not to feel the reality of our current situation.

Eventually, we reach our individual level of intolerance. We can not continue to suffer from the unending pain! We enter a state of numb; it is a state of cognitive dysfunction. When in a cognitive fog, we will not remember that time. Retention is obsolete. We lose time; hours, days, weeks. Our brain has to rest, we need to rest… the fog has enveloped us. Not so much relieving our pain, more like numbing our brain to react to it.

Finally, we can be in a fog and still have pain, but we won’t remember most of it. I believe fibro fog ‘happens’ to allow us time to be unaware! We are put into a state of disassociation by a brain that knows cognitively what is better for us when we do not. Fibro fog is unavoidable and seemingly random. I am starting to believe it is really not random at all!

Do you think we escape through the fog?


The Range (Magic Memory)

Hello! You probably know my name is Kim and I have Fibromyalgia Syndrome. I also have significant cognitive difficulties because of it… so I blog! It is definitely mind work. I wanted to start writing some bits and pieces that I remember from different times in my life. The reason? These memories are called ‘magic’ simply because I can remember them! 

My husband (Jeff) and I got actually got married at the Boy Scout Camp I will be talking about. We rented the entire camp and threw a weekend wedding party… but I’m getting ahead of myself. This is about my husband, as well as my three brothers, and my nephews who were all members of The Boy Scouts of America. Only my husband went all the way and received his Eagle Scout rank, meaning he earned all his required merit badges and completed all of his service project requirements by the age of 17. That, folks, is the pinnacle of honors. Our nephews followed along in Boy Scouts starting in Cub Scouts, then Webelos, to Boy Scouts. You need to get specific merit badges to complete each level, and you age out at 17.

My husband continued to serve his Boy Scout camp as he worked there the summers he was home from college. Eventually, he went to ‘camp school,’ to become an instructor. Jeff’s area of expertise was shooting… he was (and is) a dead eye. [Fun fact: Whenever we run into his old camp instructor buddies there are multiple low whispers of “s-h-o-o-t-e-r…”] My husband became the range instructor, eventually independently writing the current manual used by the Boy Scouts, to this day, “Range Set-Up and Safety.”

Here’s my man in full instructor mode in the following picture.

(I need to be clear, this is NOT a post about gun laws or opinions. This is only a post about how my family members learned gun safety and awareness, starting with proper training in The Boy Scouts of America.)

First, and always there is respect shown to the United States of America’s flag.


The Webelos shooting range is for BB gun practice only. The older scouts may join in. That is my father-in-law in the foreground (he is a decorated Scout Master) with one of my nephews in the first picture. In the second picture, two of my older nephews, who are Boy Scouts, are participating in the BB gun shooting range.


This following picture is the range for the Boy Scouts who learn everything there is to know about a .22 caliber rifle and also get to practice shooting these guns with instructors on site.


I consider this a magic memory because this was done on a family weekend. Three generations together, learning, growing, and enjoying puppy breaks!


I hope you enjoyed my first magic memory post!

Live your best life!


5 Frustrations with Fibromyalgia (by Caz at Invisibly Me)

This is Caz, she writes Invisibly Me… these are the top five frustrations most of us deal with. Many thanks, Caz for being my guest today! 

May is Fibromyalgia Awareness Month (with May 12th being awareness day). Today I thought I’d cover some of the frustrations with fibro. Okay, so the frustrations are potentially limitless, but I thought I’d pick just 5 to explore. Let’s not be greedy now! Perhaps you experience these too, or maybe they will help give an insight into life with this condition.


Plans are made to be broken with fibromyalgia. It’s a different experience for everyone, but you may have some tolerable days, maybe even some good days. You may have unpredictable flares that last anywhere between an hour to several weeks. You may have more unbearable days than you can count. I can’t tell you how I’ll feel in a few hours, let alone tomorrow or whether I’ll be able to follow through on plans for the next week. This can have a knock-on effect on mental health, relationships, friendships, social life (what social life?) and family. Just like with stoma problems and migraines, symptoms of fibromyalgia can be hugely unpredictable; it’s highly impractical, not to mention monumentally frustrating.


Okay, so maybe we’ve already given up hope for a magic bullet of a cure, but it’s disheartening to think this situation is ongoing. It’s frustrating not finding things that can help symptoms, or prevent flares. There’s no cure, and there’s very little help for managing things from day to day. It’s hard to accept that when you just want to feel better and reclaim some semblance of the life you used to have, only to find there’s no way to ‘fix’ the problems, only manage the symptoms. I get frustrated feeling like I’m missing something, frustrated when doctors and specialists say it’s ‘all part and parcel of fibromyalgia’ and therefore nothing can be done. We have to advocate for ourselves and keep pushing if we think there’s more to the story, whether that’s another medication we want to try or other diagnoses/deficiencies alongside fibromyalgia that hasn’t been adequately investigated.


Exhaustion is overwhelming. It’s bone deep. Those with fibromyalgia and/or ME/CFS will likely know this all too well, that it’s just not being ‘tired’ or worn out. It’s shattered beyond belief. Brain fog and problems with concentration are part of this and are hugely frustrating; I find the inability to think clearly, make decisions, write, focus in general to be some of the most annoying issues, perhaps because I’ve always been more brain-oriented with writing/reading, rather than sports-oriented or hands-on with my interests. In addition to that, chronic pain can be a longtime companion, forever irritating in its relentlessness, bringing you to tears at times, making you question your ability to keep going.


It’s an invisible illness. For the most part, we probably look fine. On the outside, we’ll put on a smile and try to keep going, showing the world what we want them to see. On the inside, we may be crumbling. It’s hard to be believed sometimes, by those around us or medical professionals. We can also worry too much about what we think others think. I find it incredibly difficult to use a public disabled toilet for this reason; I look fine and others must think I’m just jumping the queue of the normal toilets, rather than that I need this one because I have a stoma. I’ll be the first to give up my seat to someone else on the bus, and that’s expected as I look ‘fine’, and I won’t ask anyone else for a seat when it’s busy even if I’m in agony and about ready to fall over. It can be a very isolating experience.


I feel guilty for so many parts of this experience. For not doing enough, for not achieving anything with my life. I feel guilty for losing my job due to stoma surgeries and that fibromyalgia changed the playing field once again to keep me out of work. I feel guilty not knowing where to go from here with money/jobs/career. I feel guilty for days when I just get by. I feel guilty for feeling frustrated or miserable about it when I know others have things much worse. I feel guilty for times when I smile.

A purple butterfly, the symbol for fibromyalgia.
The butterfly – The symbol representing fibromyalgia.

Caz at