Sunday, February 28, 2010

Saying Sundays: Change & Growth

“Change and growth take place when a person has risked himself and dares to become involved with experimenting with his own life.”

~Herbert A. Otto

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lent: Exposed (Day 8)

Do you ever feel like you just want to slow down? That life goes by so fast & is way too complicated? That's how I feel at the moment.

Whatever happened to keeping things simple. Doing things bc you want to, not bc you have to. Taking the time to catch up with friends or make new ones bc you want to connect more, desiring nothing more than to connect to people on a deeper level.

Being truthful, honest & authentic to the core - stripping everything away & saying this is me. This is who I am. This is who God created me to be. Gone is the defense mechanisms, the walls, the hesitations, the lies that we hold in place to keep us safe. To be exposed.

Yes, I gave up avoidance for Lent. My attempt to be more authentic, more real. To embrace the growth & change that is happening within me. To continue on this journey I have found myself on. A very unexpected, unplanned journey to live as truthful & authentic as I can - no matter the cost.

Though unplanned - it is not unwanted. This journey is not easy &, at times, is scary as hell. I have to resist my urge to run. Hide. And Avoid. I would be lying if I told you there weren't times that I want to quit - throw in the towel - surrender. This is just too painful at times. To drag out in the open all the dirt, all the muck, the things hidden in the dark - crammed way in the back -hoping to be forgotten.

To be exposed. To be vulnerable. Risking it all for the sake of me. The me that I was always meant to be.

I am not alone on this journey but sometimes, I feel alone. Especially, when I am going through tough stuff that I'm keeping to myself, which is apparently a pattern me. Who knew?

So, silently I pray. Talk to Him. Hoping for something to make sense. Bc with Him, I am already vulnerable. Already exposed. Still I wonder, if that is enough.
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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ten Months

Dear Mandy,

Can it really be ten months since you have gone from us? Still there are days that I can't wrap my brain around everything. Sometimes, I still think that I will wake & it will be a dream. No, a nightmare. There is so much I wish I would have said to you. Things that you know already, but I still wish I would have said. It doesn't make any difference now. I know that your love is still here. With me.

It isn't fair - for someone who loved life so much - that you are not here. I know there are so many things we wanted to do together & never got to do. So many places that we wanted to go together. You loved New York so much & I would have loved to be a tag along on one of your trips. Or one of the many cruises you took. So many missed days with you.

Sometimes, I miss you so much I just want to drop to my knees & scream out. If I could get off the floor without calling the firemen to safely help me up. Like when I fell yesterday & got a nasty (very painful) bruise on my arm. Some people would have a problem with calling 911, but whatever... it is what it is. Kinda like your death. It is what it is, but it doesn't make the hurt go away.

Some days are better than others. Today is not. I know I will see you again, but that doesn't make it hurt any less. It's a shame you missed the biggest historical blizzard of 2010. They are saying it is like the biggest storm in 100 years or something like that. My mom has said she has never seen snow like that since she has been alive. I want the Big Melt to happen fast so spring comes & you can send me butterflies again.

God, I miss you. It's not like I haven't lost people before. Best friends even. But you - you are different. Although to put in words just how & why you are different is impossible for me. Some days, I just don't know how I make it through. I hate that I'm crying so hard right now I can't breathe.

It sucks here without you. The world just isn't as bright without you.

Love, Your BFF & Beyond,
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Monday, February 22, 2010

Lent: Distractions (Day 5)

In church yesterday, I was distracted. Trying really hard to listen to the message, my mind raced. Not bc our Sr. Pastor, Matthew, couldn't keep my attention, but bc I just couldn't stop thinking about so many other things.

What the heck was I thinking giving up avoidance for Lent? This is a lot more challenging than I thought. And out of my comfort zone I certainly am. Really, I should have thought this through more. It's no wonder I am distracted. I can't avoid anything. Darn it. I have to do things, deal with thoughts & feelings I would rather not & have conversations I have been dodging. Not to mention, life is a little crazy to say the least.

In case you are wondering, Dad did fine - thankfully so - with his heart surgery on this past Friday. It was his second heart surgery in 7 days. He is home now & hopefully taking it as easy as he can. Again, I found myself alone at the hospital, which I am okay with, as always.

The funny thing is though I am never alone. God, for many reasons (I think), made sure of that. He's funny that way. {:) For whatever reason, if for no other reason then to have a distraction while dad was in surgery & I needed to just talk to someone about my dad & anything & everything but my dad.

So, unexpectly, I found myself on the phone with my friend Beth. I so love her. We get each other on so many levels. And there is something to be said of true friendship that is nothing but authentic. She has given me much more than she will ever know.

Over six years ago, on my first day at my church, she is the first person who came up to me & introduced herself. She works at the church, but she's one of those people who loves her job - gives way too much of herself - often going far beyond the call of duty - & doesn't know how to be anything but genuine. Truly, we were destined to be friends. And trust me, there are not many who I say that about.

Perhaps that is why I was a little distracted yesterday. It was the day that the church announced that - after 10 years of service - Beth was leaving her job, even though her official last day is a few weeks from now.

The good thing is she's leaving her job, but not the church. And even if she were to leave the church, I don't have any worries bc we would still be friends anyway {:). I just wouldn't get one of her great hugs every Sunday (I shudder at the thought). Her hugs, are often one of things I look forward to every week.

The thing is, as hard as this may be for her, it's a good thing. She's leaving to pursue other aspects of her life. And bc I know Beth, she will have no problem staying active in the church - just as a member, that's all. I can't tell you how proud I am of her. This was so not an easy decision for her. And as her friend, I am excited to see where her path leads her now.

Being her friend, I couldn't help but share in joys & sorrows, shedding many tears right along with her. Knowing what a difficult day that it would be & that her birthday is next Sunday, I did what I do best & made her something. It turned out awesome & says volumes. I guess in a sense I used it as a form of distraction. It was as much for her as it was for me.

Beth & Me 2.17.2010 (With Text) @WM

Maybe not all distractions are a bad thing after all.

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Saying Sundays: Hold Fast

"Hold fast to your dreams, for without them life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly."

~Langston Hughes,
Poet (1902-1967)

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Happy 6th Birthday, Jason!

Six Year Old Jason 2.20.10 @WM

February 20, 2010

Dear Jason,

Today is your birthday. I remember when you were born. I was so happy for your mom, dad & Kevin. I never got to see you at the hospital. Something about your Grandpop saying "If you see one baby, you've seen them all." No matter how much I pleaded, neither he or Uncle Jake seem interested in taking me to see you.

I think if they had it to do again, things would be done very differently. I was so upset, especially since when you finally did come home, I couldn't see you then either bc your home has lots of steps that I could never get up, even if i tried. And, even though you live right across the ally, February is really cold. I like to say the first time I saw you I fell in love with you, but that is not the truth. The truth is I loved you before you were even born.

You are the funny, silly & your laugh is infectious. You are a silent thinker. You sit back & take the world in. You are so smart. You are sensitive. You are my little helper not bc you have to be, but bc you want to be. You are always thinking of others.

You are great little brother & a great big brother too. You always want to do everything Kevin does, even though he is 3 years older than you. You love playing with Lisa & love to teach her new things. I remember a couple months ago when I taught you how to tie your shoes & you finally got it. You beamed from ear-to-ear. And although you didn't say it to Kevin, I knew that part of the reason you were so happy is bc you could finally do something that Kevin couldn't at the time.

I just want you to know that Uncle Jake & I love you very much. And you can never do anything to make to make that change. I am so grateful to be a part of this family that let's me love you, Kevin & Lisa. And I can't wait to see you grow up & be the man you will become. Wait...on second thought - don't grow up so fast. I have all the time in the world.

Love You Always,
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Friday, February 19, 2010

Already Pros

By the time this post goes live (yet again), I will be on the way to the hospital. Actually, I hope I'm not on my way, but already there.

My Dad is having heart surgery again - yes, twice in one week. This time they are going to change his pacemaker/defibrillator unit this time. From what I hear, barring any complications, It won't be as long of a surgery as before.

So, I'm hoping all goes well, & he will be feeling like his old self once again. If you are inclined to do so, a prayer would be great. I'm not too sure of the details, so I will find more after I get there.

One thing is for sure though - I will have to tell him when I see him, how just have to stop meeting like this. At the rate were going we have this heart surgery thing down pat soon... Heck, now that I think about it - we are already Pros.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

This Is The Truth

If everything goes alright, when this post goes live, I will be on my way to get my broken wheelchair fixed, so I really won't have time to write a post like I want.

As luck would have it, I don't have to bc I was reading one of the blogs I follow called, When Hello Means Goodbye. If you have never had a chance to get to know Kate & her story, I would encourage you to stop by her blog.

I will be forever grateful to her for posting this video yesterday. And it couldn't have come at a more perfect time. It literally blew me away. And for those who know me well, that is really difficult to do...

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lent: Something Deeper (Day 1)

Today is Ash Wednesday. The beginning of Lent.

At first I couldn't decide what to give up for Lent. Facebook? Blogging? All other drinks, except for water? Some type of food? Some game I play? Texting? Or how about TV? Eating out? And the list goes on & on.

Something didn't sit right with me. I wanted something deeper. Something with more meaning. Something that would compliment this journey I have found myself on. This class I take on Monday nights at my church, has given me much to think about. And as a result, I've become more aware than ever before, especially when it comes to my thoughts, feelings & reactions. I see the world around me different than before.

Then it came to me. I had just wrote yesterday about being out of my comfort zone. So what if what I gave up is something not tangible, but something that would keep me out of my comfort zone. Something that would to encourage my growth, to further my journey. Something that will - no doubt - challenge me.

So I decided to give up a defense mechanism. Avoidance. Strange I know. I have decided to give up avoiding things, whatever those things are. So, basically, if I think about having to do something whether it be something like going somewhere unpleasant, doing something that I would rather not do, or telling something to whomever that I rather not tell, I must do it, regardless.

Let me tell you - this will not be easy. At all. There is a lot of stuff I avoid, especially lately. All ready today I have:

Went back to bed after getting up early to talk to Jake (something I often avoid doing even though I need to sleep & lately I have been exhausted);

After he started to vent to me this morning & in turn started yelling at me about things that were out of my control, I told him (in a nice way) that things suck right now & there's little I can do about it, but yelling at me just wouldn't make things better (usually I would just let him go & not say anything right there in the moment);

In order to get ready for tonight's Ash Wednesday service tonight, I got a shower hours ago (normally I would wait like two hours before we were to leave);

Already I started to de-clutter things around me, something that I've been avoiding for way too long.

And finally, although I don't know why & it does seem strange, I sat down to write this post, something that I seemed to be putting off, so I sat down and began to type. Perhaps it has to do with accountability.

So, that's it. For the next 40 days - actually longer, but you are not supposed to count Sundays - I will do things I've been avoiding. Wish me luck as this will not be easy. Then again, the best rewards in life are never truly easy.

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Wordless Wednesday: Dashing

Pee Wee Running In Snow 2.10.10 @WM

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Better Way

Lately, for whatever reason, I've been thinking about a lot of things & reflecting on things of the past.

Perhaps it is bc of all the things my family of origin (my dad, my mom, & brother) have been through lately, or maybe it's bc of stuff that my family (as in my marriage & unity with Jacob) has experienced through recent struggles.

Or maybe it's because I recently celebrated the one year birthday of the beginning of this blog. And as a result, I've been going back rereading things & I'm also trying to revamp a better more useful system for my blog labels & such, for no other purpose than to make it better suited for my needs. Or maybe in a little over two months or so, I realize that Mandy will be gone for a year already. A date that is rapidly approaching whether I want it to or not.

Right now, I'm questioning so much. Reflecting on everything. Noticing things that I have never noticed before, even though there were things that were clearly in my face at the time. The clearest example of this is right here on this very blog.

I wrote this on 3.30.09 when I first got word of Mandy being in the hospital, & the very next entry I wrote is on 5.1.2009 eight days after she died. Not one word, not even a keystroke during the month of April. Have I always done this? Withdrew in difficult times?

The things that I saw & experienced during that month, I still have difficulty putting into words. In a lot of ways it's still fresh, still raw, still - in many ways - so wrong. There are many things, I wish I would have done different, things I wish I would have said. Things I will always regret.

Somewhere along the way I learned to hold things in, push it away, keep it without words until it made sense to me or I just couldn't keep it in any longer, whichever came first. And let me be the first to say, I truly hate that I learned to do that. Why? Bc I truly believe there are certain things that shouldn't be kept silent.

We are only as sick as our secrets. Secrets have power in the darkness. The only thing that make them powerless is by exposing them & bringing them to light. This I know. However, this is not easy to do. And I must admit I've been struggling with a lot of things lately.

There is so much I want to say right now. So many thoughts & feelings that I want to process. So much that I want to confess. Just purge it. Bring it into the light. Give it less power. But as much as I want this, I just can't. I'm not ready. I'm not ready - as honest as I have found myself to be on this journey to my more authentic self - to confess certain things on this very public blog. A blog that anyone & everyone can read.

In these recent months, I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone. Written entries late at night or not when I wanted to all together. Told people, in person & not, things that I never thought I would say. Exposed the secrets & lies on my quest for the truth.

A million thoughts are in my head. I want to run. Hide. Pull away. Be left alone. It's what I do. It's all I know. However, I also know better. I know there is a better way. I just need the courage to pursue it.
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Monday, February 15, 2010


Yesterday was Valentine's Day.

Historically, I haven't been fond of this holiday. For starters, it was the day many, many years ago now that I picked to get married to my former fiance, Mark. As if I'm speaking a foreign language, it has always seemed strange to me to call him my former fiance & I must admit I have always struggled with what to call him exactly.

We never broke up. We just didn't call it a day & move on going our separate ways. We just didn't decide not to do it. One day, just an ordinary day like any other, Mark was killed by a drunk driver.

Perhaps it is the years gone me that has changed things, but I still view him as A Stepping Stone. A place that I was so meant to be at in the moment, but just wasn't meant to stay. At the time, I didn't see it that way, but I do now.

Again, God's timing & plan are perfect. Just perfect. He had other plans for me. Other purposes. Things just were not meant to happen they way I thought they were going to or how I thought they should be.

I must admit, it feels a little strange to say that pertaining to Mark. Almost as if it were to make who he was to me less important. Or the lessens I learned from him less valuable. I know this isn't true, but part of me feels as if it true. Let me say it again, I know this is not true, but sometimes, it feels true.

Sometimes it is difficult to wish life was different. How we wanted or planned vs. in reality what is. I can't do that though. I can't live in the past. I can't play the what if game.Doing that doesn't serve me (or anyone around me) well. I have learned that living in the past should not be done. Bc when you live in the past, you miss the present. You miss the moments. The moments that life is all about.

So, yesterday, was awesome. It was filled with ordinary, not so extraordinary moments. Being ever so thankful, not living in the past, praising & being in awe of it all moments. Spending time with the one I was meant to be with. Reflecting on the past, but living in the present. Taking not one single circumstance or second for granted.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Saying Sundays: Grateful

“I find that the more willing I am to be grateful for the small things in life, the bigger stuff just seems to show up from unexpected sources, and I am constantly looking forward to each day with all the surprises that keep coming my way!”

~~Louise L. Hay

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

His Gift

I am trying to decompress.

Yesterday was rough. Very tough.

Dad is okay for now. His nearly 10 hour VT ablation, is over. He was the first one to go back for the day & the last one to go to recovery. Not wanting to lie, there were complications - the kind of complications & close calls that no one ever wants to hear.

Bc of the complications & the sheer stress placed on his heart, the doctors decided that they would not change his defibrillator. That would just have to wait for another day, hopefully in as little as a week or so. There is also talk of placing a different type of defibrillator in, one that would be better suited for dad's needs.

Even though he is still in the hospital right now, there is talk of releasing him tonight, which just seems crazy to me given all that has happened. Although I'm not certain, I am wondering if they are going to release him bc they know that there are plans for his return in very near future. And if there is no sign of trouble after they observe him, maybe it's okay, right? I wish I could be certain. The only thing that is for certain for now is that my dad & those who love him, have been given a gift.

Yesterday, hours before I was to leave for the hospital, I was unable to sleep. I had called it an early night & was startled awake by Pee Wee when he jumped of the bed. I had tried everything to go to sleep. At the time, I had only been asleep for almost two & a half hours.

I ended up calling Rachel & hung up when the alarm clock sounded that was intended to wake me. Conversations & phone calls like that are not strangers to either of us. I told her I was not worried about my dad. I did have some anxiety & concern, but I was not worried.

At some point in our conversation I said to her, "Regardless of the outcome, my Dad will be okay." I wasn't just saying that. I meant it. I mean it. I mean regardless. I can't explain things to where most people can understand. Does that mean I want him to die & if he does die, I won't be devastated - no, not at all. He is my father. He is my dad. No one in their right mind would willingly want that.

What that statement means is that perhaps more than ever, I realize that things in this universe is so much bigger than me. This isn't new. It always has been.

I was alone at the hospital for hours. For the majority of the day, there was calmness & certainty I felt. Even through knowledge of the complications. However, as the day went on, & hours ticked away, I became a little more frantic & frazzled.

And pissed. Yes, I was pissed. And even though I was angry, I was more hurt than anything. It wasn't the fact that I was at the hospital alone, by myself for the entire day... I knew Jake had to work. I was & still am perfectly fine with that.

What I'm not okay with - what doesn't sit right with me - is that he did not call, not even once, to see how I was, to see what was happening or for an update. And not only that, but when I called him to give him an update, he started ranting & raving about this & that pertaining to his day at work.

{Ummmm, Honey? I know I'm your go-to person. I know you got a lot going on. Your day is not going so great for you, but now... right now, I can't do this. I can't have you answer the phone & the very first words out of your mouth is a rant. Not, how are things going? Not how's your dad? Not how are you? What ever you need me to be, I can't. Not now. Really, it's not all about you.}

I have concluded - even through my anger & being hurt by his actions - that they're are just some things that he doesn't get. There are just things that he just can't do. Why? Bc much like I wrote about here, Jake just can't give me what he doesn't have. He just can't do better, bc he doesn't know better. He does stupid things sometimes, but so do I. Jake is human.

Still, as alone as I was, I wasn't. I had friends, phone calls, & text messages. And those calls & messages served a great purpose. In fact, I had one friend who just blew me out of the water with her words & support, but that is truly a story for another day.

Today, I am just so thankful. Filled with gratefulness. Appreciation. And in awe at the love, grace, mercy & embrace that God has chosen to gift to me.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Update: In The Storm

I thought it was about time that I do an update on this entry that I wrote about the current circumstance that my family is in.

My brother, Lea walked away without a scratch really & now days later there is really no pains from the accident. From what I'm being told by others, like my sister-in-law, it is truly a miracle. I am so very thankful that he wasn't hurt.

Dad on the other hand is doing not so good. A little after midnight this morning, he was transferred to another local hospital & will have heart surgery early Friday morning. His internal defibrillator is baffling them, they are not sure why it is malfunctioning, but they want to go in & change it as soon as they can*. Early yesterday, before they knew what they know now there was talk of his discharge. But, upon examination &, they fear that if he goes into heart failure, it will not do it's job, not have enough power, &/or malfunction & it will not restart his heart.

*At least that is what he was told until he called me about an hour ago. Now they don't want to change his defibrillator, but do an ablation, like they did before in August of 2009.

This is so frustrating. I want to know what's going on, first hand. I want to talk to the doctors & nurses & ask questions. Not get my information from an exhausted father, who is needs oxygen, is tired of talking & his heart beating fast. What's frustrating is I am stranded, inside bc there is an insane amount of snow outside. It is a state emergency. Only emergency vehicles allowed on the road. Not loving daughters* who have sick fathers in the hospital. Can you imagine being alone & having to wait for everything? For your love ones to show up? For the doctors to help you. To just feel better?

* Don't forget the added challenge of the battle between power chair & snow & ice.

I also got a call from my mom today. Having a serious case of cabin fever, it seems that yesterday before Round 2 of this blizzard fell upon us, she went out. Upon returning, as she was turning on to her street, she got rear ended by the car behind her that saw her blinker, tried to stop, but slid into the back of her. She is okay for now.

So, that's where I am right now. I'm trying hard not to feel overwhelmed & to just do anything I can, which is basically praying. Sometimes, no matter how much I may want to do more, praying is the only thing I can do.

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Wordless Wednesday: Beauty In The Storm

Snow Tree @WM

February 5, 2010
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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Round 1

So, I figured while this historical blizzard is happening, I should take sometime to document Round 1, since Round 2 is due here any second. That's right, on top of the 30" that our neighborhood has already gotten (as reported by the official local news' website), we are due to get an additional 10-20" starting again sometime this late afternoon to early evening.

DSC00603 @WMjpg

There's not much yard for him to explore. And he's a lot quicker to come in from the cold now. Jake said that last night he took off out of the back door so fast that when he went to stop, he slide on the ice three feet & into the side of a mountain of snow. Man, would I love to have pictures of that.

DSC00592 FS @WM

There are signs of the conditions all around us, from a pile of boots to a pile of salt left in the midst of a finally plowed street.

Salt Pile @WM

Our front yard, has been overtaken, with only paths that lead out & in again.

DSC00608 @WM

But perhaps the most astonishing is the sheer size of the snow drifts & mounds of snow that exists... well, everywhere. Why? Bc there is just no where else for it to go.

DSC00610 @WM

It makes me wonder just what Round 2 will be like... In fact, Jake just got home from work & came in the front door, "It's snowing right now... It just started. As soon as I pulled up out front. It started falling."

Guess, I won't have to wait too long to find out.

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One Year

One Year. 108 Post. 19 Followers later.

Yes, I started this blog, 365 days ago today. Without knowing me it, God had put me on this this path to the amazing journey & (I believe) I was lead to journal it all here. On this very public blog.

Believe it or not, it was not my intention to be out there publicly, with all my thoughts & feelings. To confess my down falls, struggles, & flaws. To admit the questions, pain, & heartache I have. To share my wishes, wants & desires. Yet, this is where I am.

The truth is, I did not start this blog for any other reason than to purge, sort out & explore the things that made me - well, me. This blog, was & always has been for my benefit. And no one else's.

Did I know I was about to face such difficult trials? No. That I was about to lose my best friend & others whom I love? That my mom would have strokes & my dad such great health concern. No.

Or that I would strive so hard to be authentic & a better me. Not only admitting to my struggles as a wife & person, but as a Christian? That I would have such a burning desire & deep need to live within the truth? Rather than to hide in the darkness. Nope. I didn't know that either.

But it's all here. Written in these pages. One entry at a time.

I will forever be grateful for the journey that I am on. And forever be grateful to have this blog to use to my benefit. Bc, in the end, I know there is a plan - a greater purpose. And what a shame it would be to not have something to look back on to see just how far I have come - to be who I truly was meant to be.
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Monday, February 8, 2010

Not Me Monday: Disconnected & Discontent

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

It has not been been six months, since I've written my last Not Me Monday entry. And ironically I did not write about my dad being in the hospital then too. I'm also not writing this at a little after midnight on Monday morning, bc I never have trouble sleeping & never have a lot on my mind. No, Not Me!

We did not have over 26" of snow here & something called Thundersnow, which I've never heard of before, let alone never saw before Saturday morning. Our street is not still covered in over two feet of snow, which prevents anyone from leaving the house -unless they leave by foot. My Father-In-Law (FIL) did not do just that & go to High's to get essential things like milk, eggs & chocolate, only to discover that our streets is one of the only ones not plowed yet. Then, I did not listen as mom told that they are telling people that it may be another 24+ hrs until the side streets are plowed. No, Not Me!

I'm not frustrated that Jake may not be able to go to work tomorrow bc of the street not being plowed. I'm not aware that my wheelchair that's been broke for months finally has all the parts in & is ready to be fixed, but I cannot get anywhere with the combination of snow & a broken wheel. No, Not Me!

I do not wish my dad was not in the hospital, even though I know that a hospital is where he needs to be right at the moment & if he needed to be anywhere that I could not get to him - I would want him to be there. I am not worried that I still can't get to him bc I'm trapped in my house. I am not also worried how he is going to get home when he gets discharged, since we cannot get anywhere at the moment & my brother was in a bad accident Friday. No, Not Me!

I am not aware that this week is six years exactly that Jake & became members of our church that we so dearly love. I was not disappointed that snow kept church from happening this week. I did not think all the time of my friend Beth who is a key person in making sure that the blizzard that fell on us is taken care of on the church property. No, Not Me!

I am not secretly relieved that my Theophostic Prayer Ministry (TPM) training class got cancelled this week due to the snow. I do not feel this way bc I'm tired of the classes that I love very much, but rather bc I had such a personal revealing, & difficult ministry session last Tuesday that I'm still trying to process & think through. I know - without a doubt that the session was beneficial to me, & I am very thankful for it, but I do not have the desire to face certain people before I think things through some more & get things right in my head. No, Not Me!

I do not sometimes wish that I had a friend who I could have an open & honest conversation with about my faith, & my walk as a Christian & this journey I have found myself on, without feeling like I'm being judged or infringing on his or her time. No, not me!

I am not feeling that bc of thoughts & feelings I'm going through right now that I'm withdrawing or being disconnected to friends & people around me. I do not have a strong desire to connect with others, even if those others are strangers friends I have not met yet out in Blogland. So, I do not dare you to leave a comment telling me that you stopped by & share your thoughts. Or better yet, give a follow & stay awhile, so I can get to know you too! No, Not Me!

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Saying Sundays: Letting Go & Lessons

Given recent events & feelings, I have chosen two quotes for Saying Sunday this week. One just wasn't enough.

"Even though you may want to move forward in your life, you may have one foot on the brakes. In order to be free, we must learn how to let go. Release the hurt. Release the fear. Refuse to entertain your old pain. The energy it takes to hang onto the past is holding you back from a new life. What is it you would let go of today?"

~~ Mary Manin Morrissey

“God allows us to experience the low points of life in order to teach us lessons we could not learn in any other way. The way we learn those lessons is not to deny the feelings but to find the meanings underlying them.

~~ Stanley Lindquist

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

In The Storm

There is a blizzard outside my door.

Blizzard 2.6.2010 Pic 1 @WM


It's over 2 feet already & is no where near ready to stop, only hours away from breaking records.

I got a call at 1:45 AM this morning. I hate calls like that. It is never good. Dad was waiting on the ambulance, having called after being shocked by his defibrillator 4 times - once even while I was on the phone. Turns out, he gets shocked 5 times total before they make it to the hospital.

Before he hangs up, he tells me not to call my brother til later as he was in "a little car accident yesterday." What? Nice. How come no one told me? I wonder.

I hang up. My mind races. I want to run to him. Be with him. Tell him that everything will be okay. I look at the snow outside my window & know that God has other plans. I instantly pray. For both of them.

The snow still falls.

Hours & about 11 phone calls later, I finally track my dad down. He's been admitted. I call my Grandmom & let her know what's going on. Turns out that "little car accident" wasn't so little after all.

When I talk to my SIL & brother, I find out that he was turning the corner & got T-boned by a car going more than 60 MPH. His trucked flipped. The firemen smashed his windshield to get him out.

Wearing a neck brace, he says, "I walked away without a scratch. I'm indestructible, Shannon." I wish he was joking, but deep down, I know he believes this. He always has.

I hang up. Say a silent prayer. I am reminded that there is nothing I can do that I have not already done. For either of them. A calm & warmth fill me.

And the snow still falls.

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Dangers of Dodgeball

Kevin's Chipped Teeth 2.4.2010 @WM

This is what can happen if your 8 year old nephew, Kevin, falls in gym class while playing dodge ball.

It happen just a few short hours ago. In fact as I type, he is at the dentist. And since he is eight, they are his permanent teeth. It had to hurt.

It'll be okay. That's what dentist do. They fix teeth.

Dodge Ball Kevin Pic 2 2.4.2010 Pic 2

Even those.

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{Note: As painful as it may be for me to leave this post in it's true unedited form, that's how it's staying... To stay true to myself & the state of being, at the moment. Oh, and note to self: Maybe e-mails shouldn't be the only things to stay unwritten in sleepless states.}

It's 3 AM Thursday morning. We have to stop meeting like this. My husband leaves for work in 3 hours & the only thing that is beside him is the dog. That's what you get when you have an insomniac for a wife I suppose. And that's a damn shame.

I wonder if that ever bothers him? A while back when he worked for another company & on the night shift, it drove me crazy him not being here to sleep beside me. You think I have trouble sleeping now, you should have seen me then. I would go weeks without sleeping. You think I'm kidding.

Now, Jake - he's a different story. He can & would sleep standing up, if I let him. He has had no trouble what so ever falling asleep - as soon as he head hits the pillow. In fact, it took me longer to type that last part of that sentence than it takes him to sleep. I counted once. It wasn't even 3 seconds. Seriously.

My inability to sleep gets worse with worry & stress, something that I fully admit I have not had a handle on lately. I wish I could say I did. I feel like I'm rambling with long draw out sentences. I often repeat myself & talk in circles when I get like this. Oh, did I tell you that I got less than a hour last night too?

I'm trying to resist the urge to write a email to a friend of mine. I have a bad - I mean really bad - habit of writing e-mails when I'm exhausted &/or emotional. It's such a bad combination for me. Although I do try to live life with out regret, sometimes I regret doing things when I am in a state like this. It's as bad as if I were drunk. Can you just imagine?

So tired that if I actually tried to walk, assuming that I walked like I used to & wasn't stuck in this stupid chair, I would fall over. You know, I actually had some dumb guys say to me a few weeks ago how fun it must be to ride around in a chair all day. Are you freaking kidding me? Now, these guys were like early 20s. Old enough to know better. Oh, I'm sorry... What's that you say? Common sense & tact doesn't come with age? Go figure.

I guess it would be fun for them. They can get up & out of it whenever they want. If they can't reach the food in the refrigerator or the dishes in the cabinet & they have to use a reacher that is not only always getting misplaced (yes, all 4 of them at once, at times) bc some adults can't tell some children that those are not toys or better yet, when grown adults use them to reach trash under beds that Pee Wee gets into bc someone can't take the 15 minutes it takes to make a holder for the trash cans in the house that would raise them not only out of Pee Wee's reach, but put it in better reach for me.

Or how about the friends & family's houses you can't get into bc you used to walk, but now need a chair & even when you can get into the door you better pray that you don't have to go to the bathroom bc it's up a flight of stairs, so you not only start worrying about it the day before, but also, have to restrict your fluids so you don't have to pee, which

A) causes a lot of commotion & trouble just trying to get to the toilet,

B) you must drag the portable commode in your van (don't forget the TP), so if you got to go, you can go in there,

C) you have to leave the party early to either call it a day & go home before you have to pee, or

D) leave the party find the nearest public toilet, then decide if you want to go through the hassel of getting back in to the party!

When, in reality, all you simply want to do is spend time with your love ones & take some damn pictures. Oh, but wait, what's that you say? You didn't even get invited to that party bc someone assumed that you couldn't find someway in or some way around those steps to get access to the party or the bathroom, so they just took upon themselves to rudely exclude you rather than invite you anyway & let you decide what you can & can't do & if the hassle is worth it.

Yes, sir! It is so fun being in this chair. Bc why wouldn't it be? Then you just wouldn't have to use the two good healthy legs that God gave you. You could zoom around all day long have races with your other wheelchair buddies bc, you know, that's what I do with my time. When I'm not sitting in some field trying to watch my nephews play soccer, and go it move, but... wait, call your friend over (you know the strong one, who uses his God given legs) bc your stuck in the mud bc the ground is soft from it raining 3 days before - & normally if you were walking you wouldn't notice, but the longer you sit in one spot, the deeper the chair sinks bc of the weight.

So keep looking. Seriously, take a good long look at what fun this chair is. Go ahead. Look. And while you're at it, take your freedom for granted. Bc, well... you know... there's nothing better to do.
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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Siblings

The Rasel Three 12.28.09@ WM
Lisa (23 Months), Jason (5), & Kevin (8)
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The Exception

I know it's Wednesday. And I'm supposed to be Wordless. I will be - just later, that's all... It's almost 2 AM here, & while I'm exhausted from Tuesday's events, it is not necessarily a bad exhaustion.

There is no question that we've had a lot going on... that I've had a lot of stuff going on with thoughts & feelings swirling around & consuming me at times. There still is a lot going on & still an abundance of feelings; however, I feel different now.

I went to church & actually went there to meet with Patsy to do a TPM session. It went well, but totally drained me. Afterwards, I ended up having another meeting with my friend Beth to brainstorm on ideas for an ongoing project at church. Then Jake & I stayed & chatted with her a bit. It was actually nice to do that, as we haven't had much time to do so lately.

The more I think about it the more I am amazed how God works. Through out my life He has made sure that the perfect people are in it, & these two ladies are no exception. There is no question that God wants the best for me, even if I have to struggle to get there. Although, I must admit that sometimes the biggest person I have to battle along this journey is myself.

I am not perfect. I have been through so much. Both good & bad it has made me who I am. And you know what? I really do like who I am. And I must admit, that wasn't always the case. Just bc I've had some really screwed up things happen to me, it does not mean that they define me.

How crazy would that be if that were not true. That I was by definition the lady who had X, Y, & Z happen to her or be define by some characteristic, such as the lady who has Cerebral Palsy who roams around in a wheelchair. While it may be true that I did have X, Y, Z happen & do have CP & use a chair to get around, not one thing defines who I am.

God did not design us to be defined by one thing or another, whatever that may be. People define us as such. Why? Bc they can, which in reality means there is no good reason for it, they just do.

So, I'm here to tell you that I am who am. The person God created me to be, not to be define by one thing or another. Well, if you must define me by just one thing bc you just have to do so - go right ahead, bc there is one exception... One thing that does define me - I am a child of God.

And, in the end, that's all that matters.
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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Happy Birthday, Baby!

This little boy...

Jacob BW 1979 @WM
is turning 34 today!

Happy Birthday,
Jacob BW 2009 @WM
{December 2009}

I love you,
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Monday, February 1, 2010


100 things about me for the 100th post (in total randomness):

1. I cannot believe this is my 100th post!

2. I can talk to anybody & often do, even if they are a total stranger.

3. I have a great memory.

4. Over a year ago, maybe even two by now -I was in Coldstone Creamery & said to a lady in line, "Hey, I know you. Your name is Carrie & we went to elementary school together." I was right & it had been over 25 years since I saw her.

5. I hate green beans & will only eat them on very rare occasion. This is bc my mom had them all the time when I was a a kid & used to make me eat them.

6. I love reading & often use it to escape.

7. I just finished a novel called The Lightning Thief. It is the first book in a series. It's a lot like Harry Potter, but it encompasses Greek mythology, instead of Magic. I know it's deemed as a kid's book, but I could not put it down. I read it in a day and a half. The movie of this book is coming out Presidents Day 2010.

8. I'm embarrassed to admit I don't know when that is.

9. I am grateful that I like to (sometimes) read books that aren't really for adults. Sometimes, I just need a break from my very adult life.

10. My eyes are green.

11. I'm in love with people's eyes. They can tell you so much.

12. Sometimes I wish I had a sister.

13. I'm fat & I'm okay with that. Why aren't you?

14. I haven't had a hair cut since September of 2008, which is unheard of for me.

15. I need to update my profile picture, but haven't found a replacement picture for it (Note: Since this post is taking me forever to write I have found a new picture. What do ya think?).

16. I've been slowly withdrawing from my friends, & I'm not sure why.

17. I hate Barney.

18. I love Jesse, really I do. Lately, I've been wondering why he wasn't so damn LOUD in the store? What the hell was I thinking?

19. I am not a girly girl.

20. My favorite color is Purple. Although it has changed throughout the years. I also love Periwinkle, which was the color of my wedding. Periwinkle is also my mom's favorite color.

21. I have a scar in my back from when I was a kid & visiting my Mom Mum in VA & tried to climb a fence... Somebody really forgot to tell me I have CP. {:)

22. There are somethings I wish I could do over about my wedding.

23. Hell, there are things I wish I could do over. Period.

24. I hate hospitals.

25. I will however go to the hospital if it means seeing or spending time with someone I love. Even if it is to say goodbye.

26. I hate goodbyes.

26. I miss Mandy. More than anyone realizes.

27. I really was a "Poster Child." One day, I'll tell you about it. Maybe.

28. As a child, I wanted to be a ballerina. When I told my mom this (I think I was 3 or 4), she started to cry. I then asked, "Can I at least be an ice skater?"

29. The longest friendship I have is with Thea. We met when we were 2. Although I have to say there were years that we were apart in between there.

30. I met Jake in 1995. We were best friends. I liked him back then. He had no clue.

31. I asked him out on March of 2003. He tells me if I didn't ask him, he would have never asked me. Nice, Huh? {:)

32. I have loved Bonjovi since I was in the 5th grade. I will always love him.

33. I wasn't always the best picture taker. I got better over the years.

34. Even though I try to live my life with no regrets, I have many.

35. I wish I was disciplined enough to read the Bible from cover to cover.

36. Mathew 7:13-14 used to be my favorite passage. Now it's James 1:2-4, which is at the top of this blog.

37. My faith is more personal than my religion. And I think that's the way it should be.

38. I miss the churches I went to as a child, but they just don't fit with who I am now.

39. I am allergic to pork. I wasn't always. I miss bacon.

40. I was hospitalized once bc of it. Not fun.

41. Pork is in more things than you realize. Like gelatin (unless it's marked kosher). Gelatin is in every thing from dips to marshmallows. I miss s'mores.

42. I have a secret love affair with cheese.

43. One of my favorite cheeses is Brie. Brie taste different cold than it does warmed up, which is my favorite way to eat it.

44. While I do not hate it, American cheese is my least favorite. Now, Swiss on the other hand - I do not care for at all.

45. My father wanted to name me Nora Jean. I am so very thankful for my mother intervening.

46. I have had the names of my children picked out since I was little. They have not changed. People who know that often ask, "What about Jake, doesn't he get a say? To which I reply, "They get his last name." However, Jake tells me that he likes the names anyway. Maybe one day I'll get to share them with you. {:)

47. I have a beta fish that sits on my desk. His name is Aka, which is the word "red" in Japanese.

48. Pee Wee thinks he is a great mouse hunter. He's not... Most of the time.

49. The older I get, the less I want to deal with people. Really, life is not all about you.

50. If we were to get technical, life is all about Him. Then again, that is my option. It does not have to be yours.

51. I have friends & family with different beliefs than me. Some are even atheist. It's okay. I am still their friend & love them regardless. Always.

52. I have a friend that was murdered in 2003. I often wonder if they ever caught the person(s) who killed him.

53. I have a brother in Heaven. His name is Brent.

54. My brother Damon has paranoid Schizophrenia. I love him dearly & I visit him often. He can't help the way he is anymore then I can help having CP. A disability is a disability. One day, I will tell you about him.

55. We have 2 mixed Cds I made of some of my favorite Christian music. That's all we listen too anymore.

56. My favorite time is when we are going to church & we are jamming out to those CDs. I spend a lot of time talking to God then.

57. I'm a night owl.

58. I wonder if this will change if we have children. I think it will for a while, but I will always be a night owl.

59. I know that if I didn't have Pee Wee, I would go insane. I am so glad I have him - even if he is "just a dog." (Note: I don't say that bc to me his not, but to others that's what he is.)

60. I will listen to just about any kind of music, except for rap. I just will never be into it.

61. I know a lot of sign language. I learned it years ago, before I ever dated Jake. Who knew that my future brother-in-law & his wife would both be deaf? God's funny like that.

62. I often wonder why sign language isn't considered to be another language like Spanish & French.

63. I used to go to a camp called Camp Greentop for Disabled children & adults. The last summer I attended was 2003. It is an awesome camp & I would highly recommend it. Some of the greatest people that I know on earth, I met from there.

64. Sometimes I toy with the idea of going back to camp, but I think I am just in a different place in my life now. Plus, now with all the budget cuts, there is no way I could swing it money wise.

65. I do not like dead things, such as dead fish, dead hermit crabs, dead mice. I know it happens... I just don't like seeing it. It creeps me out.

66. I miss Jakes maternal grand father. He died in July of 2005 We called him Grandpop. He lived here with Jake & his dad (& me when I moved in). He never left this house. Seriously - for eight years, except to go to his daughter's funeral in April of 2000.

67. I never knew Jake's mom. I saw her once when I was at college & Jake never introduced us though. I always have wished I knew her. And I always wished she was here now. I would have really loved her & in some strange way - I do.

68. I could spend hours in Barnes & Noble.

69. I miss walking.

70. We just found out tonight that our GPS was stolen from our car. The charger is gone, the mount & the unit, but they left the bag we stored it in. We can't believe nothing else was stolen. Jake said he must have left the door unlocked & not knew it while he was at his job (apparently, the lock is acting up). I am glad that they didn't take the nice bag we stored it in bc Mandy gave that to us for Christmas 2008. Three months after Christmas, she died. I would have been heartbroken, if they had taken it.

71. Even though we go to church every Sunday, sometimes, I miss it during the week. I miss the connection with people & the hugs. They are the only hugs I get all week.

72. I am an extrovert. Very outgoing. Often loud. Most of the time I don't mean to be. And if I'm nervous, I get loud without realizing it.

73. When I'm upset, I get quiet. When I got a lot going on, I withdraw.

74. Jake used to be my safe place to fall. He's not anymore. I don't have one. I miss him being it.

75. People are so used to me telling them that it will be okay. Sometimes, I need to hear that too.

76. I love water. I drink about 4-5 liters of it a day sometimes more.

77. I love swimming & can do great things in it - like handstands. Go figure.

78. When I was a a 6 year old child at Camp Greentop, they put HUGE blocks of ice in the pool & called it a Polar Bear swim. I was not amused. And said, "What are you insane? Don't you know kids with CP freeze up (as in their muscles tense, it's hard to move & quite pain full - at least for me) when they are cold!" And for those who know me in real life - yes, in many ways, I was the same at 6 as I am now.

79. I love crafts.

80. One of my good friends, Regine & I met at oil painting class at the local senior center. We were 8.

81. I used to be terrified of dogs. I got bit by one when I was a kid.

82. I am grateful I do not have that fear anymore. And so is Pee Wee.

83. Even though I've done it 3 times, I am afraid to fly.

84. I love to work with kids.

85. Tonight, I gave Pee Wee a new treat. It is a dried, smoked cow's nose... ewwww! It is bigger than his head. He has been chewing on it for 2 hrs now. It is supposed to be great for cleaning his teeth. And when he first saw it, he just looked at it & sniffed it, gave a little lick & looked at it again, then looked at me as if to say, "Thanks, Mom! But how do I eat this thing?"

Pee Wee With Treat FS @WM

86. I've love Rosie O'Donnell & have met her. Twice. She even sent me tickets to her show once. I know some people do not like her. She has radical views & is outspoken. I don't care. To me, she is just a very real person who has a huge heart & is passionate. It makes me love her even more.

89. I love to sing & I used to be in Gifted & Talented choir in high school.

90. I used to be on Tech Crew too. I loved it. In fact, my Sr. year I was the Tech Director. I even used to climb the spiral stair case to the spot room. That made some people nervous & they didn't want me to do it. I didn't care. I did it anyway. A lot. In some strange way it made me feel normal - as in those with out CP - like the other kids & I loved it.

91. I am very stubborn.

92. I miss my Mom's mom. A lot. She died when I was 9.

93. When I was in third grade & at a new school, someone said that I stole some chalk. I did not. Ms. Chashen believed them. I got in trouble. I wonder who stole that chalk?

94. There is nothing that I tell people about Jake that I have not told him or would tell them in front of him. This is sometimes hard for people to understand. He's my husband. I am who I am. I will not hid how I feel or what I think from him. Good or bad.

95. My favorite season is Spring.

96. My Birthday is July 23rd. I share that birthday with my friend Thea, my niece Corrinne, my friend Travis, & several other people whom I have met, know & love.

97. Sometimes, even though I didn't have the greatest relationship historically, I miss living with my mom. For those of you who know the whole history, I know this statement is totally crazy. And to that I say, she is my mom & I love her deeply.

98. My favorite word is onomatopoeia.

99. Jake has never read this blog. He knows it exists. I've told him where to find it. I have even told him to read it. He never has. Sometimes, I wish he did. He says he'll read it when I post this post. And to tell you people out there in Blogland that he will. I don't think he will read it on his own, without prompting. We will see.

100. It has taken me 9 days to write this post & it's really hard to come up with 100 things to say at random - even if it is facts & thoughts about my life. This post will actually go live 11 days after I started it, which will be 8 days short of a year since I started this blog. It is one of the best things I could have ever done.
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