Monday, February 23, 2015

It's just my brain, not my mind...

Many of you know the battle I have been engaged in the last few years, and some of you may not.  I do not widely share details because I don't want my struggle to become my identity.  There have been times I have felt frustration when meeting up with people who would say "how are you feeling" or "what are the doctors saying," instead of wondering how I am doing as a person, as a mom, as a woman with dreams and emotions and cravings for cold beer and hot wings just like the rest of you.  I am not what happened to me, I am so much more.

That being said, ok, I'll talk about it.  It has been a difficult few years wading through this.  Between stretches of feeling strong and well and brave, there have been cycles of unfathomable weakness, agonizing pain, and joy-stealing defeat.  There have been periods of weeks where I feel like I spend more days sitting in a hospital or doctor's office than I do anywhere else.  All of the testing and trying and  treatments leaving me wondering if I felt worse before the medicine, or after.

Right now, with some questions answered and many remaining, I'm taking a hiatus from the needles and the side effects and the seeing doctors' faces in all my days.  I'm giving my body a chance to respond to some more natural therapies, and cashing the extra time in on the things, well the someones, that I love.  Having to step away from my passion on the ambulance for awhile seemed devastating at first, but experiencing the strengthening in the slowing of time has brought hope to my broken frame, and perspective and empathy to my heart, as well as to the loves caring for me.

There are so many voices willing to extend input and suggestion, and I ask that you please give us the freedom we need to pursue the avenues we have chosen.  There is so much to medicine, and so many possible equations that could be the catalyst to complete healing, but it can be overwhelming, and certainly impossible to try every regimen and procedure that's out there.

When you look at me, please see past my illness...because really, it was there before you even knew to look for it.  Sure, there will be some days harder than others, but I'm still a wife, a mommy, a paramedic, a hemiplegic? Ehh, just makes things more interesting.

I appreciate your prayers as we change gears for awhile, that I would continue to gain strength and energy, relief from pain, and my story would bring glory to the One who chose it for me. 

Please leave me a comment, it lets me know you're listening!

Sunday, February 15, 2015


I have a 2 year old who has mastered slowing down to see the beauty around him. I mean, like, daily I feel ashamed when his sweet innocence and gratitude reminds me of how busy and ungrateful I let myself become.

One of these reminders is  that every single morning this darling little youngster goes charging to the front door to see the sunrise.  As soon as he confirms the morning sky is ablaze with the hues of a rising sun, he dashes off to gather the rest of the family members to ensure they have not overlooked this 5 minutes of brilliance on display.  He takes them one by one to the front door, and then to the front window, and then attempts to drag them to the upstairs windows for the best and most breathtaking views of  daybreak.  I will attempt to put some of the videos of this ritual on the blog...

Flaming morning sky

Breathtaking views from the front porch

With the warmer weather we have been having the last few days, there have been less clouds in the morning sky, which has had a profound impact on the canvas of the rising sun.  On the first of these warm days, Colby ran to the window in expectation, but then turned toward me with disapproval on his face as he pointed out the window.  When I peered out to see what  he was scowling at, I saw instead of the blazing oranges, reds, and yellows of our usual dawn, there were instead pale, creamy pastels of pink and yellow that faded into a muted blue sky.  My answer was quick, took little thought; "Yeah, the sunrises are not as pretty when there aren't any clouds, are they buddy?"  I got about 4 steps away before I heard what I had just said.

There you go again, little one, teaching me great big lessons with your little, tiny, wise, and intuitive heart.

Isn't that so true?  The sunrises of our life are so much more breathtaking when we have the stormy clouds to compare them to.  It was a poignant week for me to be reminded of this simple truth.  I had just emerged from a few of the hardest, lowest weeks I had been through in awhile.  After long days of having to lay at home, completely dependent on other people, riddled with pain and exhaustion and defeat, I was back on my feet with a surge in my energy, a dwindling in my pain, and a soul that feel renewed in hope as my days became more manageable.    How amazing those days felt, how encouraged I was, BECAUSE of the profound lows I had just experienced.  I would not have realized how beautiful this strength was if I did not have those dark clouds to reflect it off of.

Sunset is equally stunning

What clouds are you facing?  Can you step back and see how they reflect the coming sun in your days?

Pause my music player in the margin on the right, and make sure your volume is turned up so you can hear this!!!

Please leave me a comment, it lets me know you're listening!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Whatcha Waiting For?!

These past few weeks have been a wee bit... draining.  After spending most days barricaded in the homestead, I have made purposeful effort to get us out a few times, so the kids would know life around us still exists.  Ok, maybe not that bad, but still, my little loves need some kind of normalcy.  One particular weekend recently it took a lot of gusto, but despite our main morning motivator being away for a few weeks on business, I managed to get us all ready and out the door.

I was well aware, because of the amount of makeup I kept arranging and rearranging on my face, that I looked, ummm, not so much.  I looked a lot like I felt, and it wasn't very pretty.  This is what really struck me that day though; the day that my insides showed up so blatantly on my outsides.  That morning, several people that I had seen time and again, even reached out to, purposefully made their way to me to reach out, to extend friendship, help, concern.  There is nothing wrong with that, no, I was weary beyond my own capacity, desperate for the hands of others to help carry what I could not.  What nudged my conscience though was the timing... why do we wait, dear friends?  Why do we pose in the background until we see the dark circles of defeat in their faces, the heavy limp and labored breath that announce the weight of the battle being fought?  I do it, same as you do.  We are timid, passive, exclusive.

Shuffling back to the safety of my nest, I scowled at myself, knowing I had been approached because I looked so startling,  and thought if we had talked sooner, these kind strangers would already have known my road to here, even on the days it has not shown on the outside. Then I thought of all the times I have not stopped to know; to catch that a friend was struggling, to realize a kindness I could extend, to see that all the cashier needed at the grocery store was someone to genuinely care about how they were doing.  We assuredly can not run around being all things to all people, but let's step out, you and I, and see what we can help carry for those around us.

I guarantee you, there are battles being waged all around you that you will never see from the outside.  Don't wait; palm up, reach it out.  You do not have to win their battle, just help lighten the load; commit to pray for someone (and then really do it), send a meal, invite someone over for a meal, drop a card in the mail, pick up a friend's grocery list and debit card and do the shopping for them... there are endless ways to make a dent, to help fuel hope, and to help someone who is struggling feel less alone.  And someday when you shuffle in feeling ragged, those people you have invested in will be right there ready to infuse that love right back into you.

What holds you back from reaching out?  Who comes to your mind that you can extend a hand to this week?

Please leave me a comment, it lets me know you're listening!