Sunday, March 1, 2015

What is good enough?

I don't ever want to offend or hurt anyone, but really at the end of the day I am who I am.
It’s time to care less. Yep, that’s right. So many times I take the world on my own shoulders, and
instead of making the world a better place, all I end up doing is creating more stress for myself. 
I've kind of always danced to my own beat. Been dumb. Done whatever I have to but I've had to learn to not take on board what others think. It’s my life, my decisions and my choices.  Some people love to judge, and why should I care if they do? I'm the only one who can define myself, so I choose to let them be amused if it makes them happy. When I care too much about what others  say, I 'm wasting time on them instead of putting that effort into myself.
We all make mistakes and mess up in life. That’s just how life goes. It's taken me years to stop being hard on myself. Accept that everyone gets it wrong sometimes; it’s part of the human condition. You really are allowed to cut yourself some slack. Learn to forgive yourself more often.
FAILURE The big “F” word that everyone fears. It doesn’t have to be a scary concept. However,  ultimately, it depends on what your opinion and attitude to failure is. If you see failure as not being perfect, you’re going to be permanently miserable. A more realistic idea of failure is giving up. If you haven’t given up, you haven’t failed.  I  see failure as a learning curve, a trial and error process. See failure as your friend – it’s no big deal unless you allow it to be.
I have worried so many times about what I don't have, rather than what blessings and gifts I've been given. The human default position tends to err on the side of lack rather than abundance, which is not conducive to feeling carefree. I have focused so many times  on what I don’t have and end up feeling thoroughly deprived. What’s the point of that? I often tell myself to focus on the positives of what I have and leave the negatives of what I don’t have alone. Why should I  want to torture myself with all the things I don’t have? That type of thinking will not serve me in any productive way at all. I made a list of all the things in my life that I appreciate.  Eric taught me many years ago there will always be others with more and others with less. What you have is enough. Over the years I've come to realize how true those words are. I don't think ambition and money have anything to do with this either.  I've met people who seem to think money is evil, not true.  It's what you do with that money that can become evil.    
I have driven myself crazy worrying about what might happen in the future. No one can predict the future, and there is no point in torturing myself unnecessarily about things that may never come to pass. I have to remind myself that this type of worry is wasted energy and distracting to what is really important. It's hard but I face worry head on – if I can do something in the present moment,  I go for it. If not, I'll distract myself and put those worries on a shelf for another day.Have you ever heard someone say  “I’ll be happy when…?”  I think when we believe that we will be happy once something has happened, we effectively put our life on hold until the event happens. Wishing our current life were different is a precious waste of happy moments in life. Life is short live  in the moment more and care less about being happy in the future. Decide to be happy now. Happiness is not a destination, it's a manner of traveling.
Those who either read my blog or know me personally, know that I say I will live and die with no regrets. Regret is a part of life. The past cannot be undone, so it pays to look at what you have done in life philosophically. Did you learn something from it? If you learned never to do it again or to try a different approach, then you’ve ended up with a positive result. NOT A REGRET Accept what has gone before, make allowances for human error and move on. I refuse to live my life with regret, if we are honest with ourselves, we know when it's time to apologize or to forgive.
There is a part of me that is so afraid of rejection, I stay in my comfort zones and never risk true intimacy. This past year I've been trying to wear my heart on my sleeve and risk being vulnerable. The more I hide out of fear, the greater the fear will grow. I'm trying hard to show myself that I can express my feelings and live with the consequences. I can conquer fear of rejection in this way and feel more carefree. Even if the outcome is not as expected, I will soon realize that it wasn’t as bad as I anticipated and that I can deal with it. My daily affirmations and goals have helped me be a little more thick skinned, be brave and see life as an adventure.
I am not one who has bought into society's expectations of be thin, be beautiful. Show off your wealth and status and then you’ll be adored. What nonsense. When you like and accept yourself as you are, you don’t need to prove yourself to anyone. I don’t buy into the constant media images of perfection. Most of the images are airbrushed and lead us to believe that we should all look as perfect. I try not to take it to heart. We all like to see perfect images, but should not lose sight of the fact that most of it is digitally enhanced and not natural. Love yourself, imperfections and all. Self acceptance is true freedom. It's been almost a year since my partial facial paralysis forced me to come to the fact that I am never going to be the picture perfect woman, but has also taught me to soften my heart and listen with intentionality when others are struggling with these same issues, especially the youth of today.  Don't mistake my thoughts with me thinking it's ok to be unhealthy--I just believe we each know when we are doing our best to look and be the best we can be.  With that said, we also know when we could do a little more, not for society's view of perfection but for our own sense of approval. You are the only one who can make that decision.
Being good enough, is it enough? It’s easy to feel that we don’t measure up somehow. We live in a competitive world. It’s okay and even healthy to want to improve and grow as a person. It becomes unhealthy, though, when we internalize negative ideas about how we aren’t good enough, or we compare ourselves to the successful marriage next door, or the sports car parked in your brothers driveway. Always challenge this type of thinking. What is “good enough”? Where is the international rule book that clarifies what “good enough” is? As long as you feel happy with who you are, where you are and how far you have come, that is all that matters.
I don't know about you but I have  worried unnecessarily and created inner misery for myself over the years. Worrying about things that are completely out of my control. I can honestly say these have usually ended up being my biggest blessings, and growing experiences. Time is not endless, for me I've learned and understand from experiences this life will end, we all will die eventually.  I am in that last act of my life, I want it to have a happily ever after ending--beginning my new journey with a smile and a feeling of accomplishment. Leaving a footprint big enough for my grandchildren to be proud to follow in.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Welcome to the Family

Our sweet Phoenix William Wright finally arrived on Friday February 13. Although I am a very superstitions person, my love for this little guy is over looking my immediate disapproval of Friday the 13th.  Family has assured me Phoenix is going to nix all those myths. I'm not sure why the Lord continues to bless our family with these beautiful spirits, but we feel so abundantly blessed.


Just one more reason to LIVE HAPPY

Sunday, February 22, 2015

What's on His mind ?

Have you ever wondered what God thinks about or what is on His mind? I know he is mindful of us all and have felt his presence at moments in my life when I've felt lonely. In Psalms is talks about His mindfulness of us all.  Boy what a job!!  That means He is constantly thinking about you and me. What an amazing thought—the Creator of the universe always has something on His mind, and that something is you and I ! He wants our lives to be happy, joyful and worthy to live with Him again. I worry about my children, grandchildren, sisters and extended family constantly.  I believe we are all children of God, can you imagine being the father  of all the children on earth?
This has been a whirlwind of emotions for me these past couple of weeks.  I try to read from a good book everyday, I keep my mind on positive uplifting stories of people, real people who have endured their trials with grace.  I want to be one of those people, the best way to accomplish this is to surround myself   with the types of people and learn from them.  I have been given an incredible opportunity to make changes in my life by doing this.
So many people today think God is looking down on them, just waiting for them to mess up. They say things like, "If I walk into a church, the roof will cave in!" But nothing could be further from the truth! When God thinks about you, He's not thinking about your mistakes, failures or shortcomings. No, His thoughts are always for your good. He's not thinking about what you did wrong; He's thinking about what you did right. He's not thinking about how far you have to go; He's thinking about how far you've come.  Living  life of discouragement and ridicule takes time to make those thoughts of inadequacy go away.  It takes a constant day to day intentional person to make it happen.  Funny thing is we are all given the same opportunity for change, I believe there are no excuses for not changing,  I may take a short time or if your like me, a slow learner it could take years.  I can tell you from my experience even if it takes 5-10-15 years it is worth every second of happiness the change will bring to your life.
For me it was listening over and over again to inspirational people who have been down the same or close to the same road. I started then taking notes, and becoming intentional in my goal setting. Getting over those obstacles is not as hard as we sometimes make it be.  I had to put my own trust issues to the test--this has taken years--but it worked.  Believing in myself, taking away the negative thoughts not only of myself but of others--took years--but it too is working. For example I have made it a commitment to myself to die with no regrets.  This seemed to be a daily struggle for so long, my past would come up in my mind I would feel badly for how I treated a person, especially someone in my family.  Saying sorry is powerful, once I was able to admit my error and ask for forgiveness it was life changing.  The person then has the power in their hands to decide to forgive or not, but the load has been lifted from my shoulders.  I'm not necessarily talking about huge mistakes most are my big mouth getting in the way, speaking when I should of processed first. Learning my opinion does not always matter, listening is a much better attribute to accomplish.
I know today that God approves of me. He's pleased with me. He may not be pleased with all of my choices or actions all of the time, but when God looks at me, He sees me as His precious and valuable creation. We are all His masterpieces. He's counted every hair on my head, and bottles every tear I cry. I know I am significant, my life is significant, and the things that concern me concern Him. He carefully watches over every detail of my life, and there is nothing too big or too small for His attention. I feel confident in saying I am the apple of His eye, the center of His world, and He wants me to know Him and His heart of compassion and forgiveness, I look forward to the day when He will take me in His arms and say "Well done, though good and faithful daughter, you have served me well."
All throughout history, people have said things about God, but I believe that what He says about Himself is what's most important. In Exodus, He says that He is a gracious God. That tells me that He wants me to know that He is not only gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, and rich in love. If I can open my heart  and receive His love in a fresh, new way. I will ask God to help me understand His unconditional love. Knowing this concept helps build confidence in me.  I  know that God is always there for me and I'm always on His mind! 

On my 1st surgery February 6th I had a 10 inch nerve removed from my calf. He then took that nerve threaded it through the back of the good ear on the left, through the left cheek, between the nose and lip then through the cheek on the right to connect it and pray for results to happen within a few months. During the surgery it was discovered my earlobe was sew inside my right ear. Without hesitation my surgeon took care of that by removing it and replacing it where it should be. There is a risk the earlobe will not take.  I wouldn't call them complications but we did have some set backs.  This surgery was expected to be 2 hour surgery but ended up being 8 and half hours. Ok for me I was restfully dreaming in my happy places, but I always feel bad for Eric having to wait, Because of the unexpected length and details of the surgery I was not able to go home-I stayed in the Mayo Hospital for 3 days.

I was also not expecting to stay the night in the Mayo Hospital but was allowed to come home on the 3rd day. Initially hearing out patient was exciting, words we'd never heard before. The thought of going home after a surgery elated me. Still waking up in recovery, asking "What time is it?" Then hearing "5 o'clock honey" I knew it was going to be at least an over night stay for me.
When I did arrive home, I started to form very large marble sized balls on my left cheek. The distortion and swelling were so bad it made my lip split down the middle. Within a couple of days I was back in the OR having my face reexamined.  Those marble size balls were blood clots, he removed those and cut off the right earlobe where it had not taken to the surgery and the skin was completely black. YAY, the surgery was only a couple of hours and I was able to come home the same day.

With all of that being said, life has been put on hold-- difficult--YES   annoying--YES  Surgery 24 and 25 happened this week.  I was concerned when a pink liquid was dripping from my ear down my neck, this went on constantly for a few days before I called the surgeons office. It was impossible for me to see where the liquid was coming from since my head was wrapped like a mummy.  Thursday I met with him 1st thing in the morning, he took off all the wrap and there was not one drip of liquid--Of course the second I got out to my car after seeing him it started to drain again. Since I knew he was going into a surgery I decided to go home and make it back to see him on Monday-tommorrow.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Dump It

 I've been able to keep my mind pre-occupied the past couple of weeks.  Instead of worrying about the surgery I have coming up tomorrow, I've earned an Ipad-and a Lexus car bonus.  Pretty cool huh?  Yeah, it's cool but the best part of it is not the Ipad or the Lexus; it's the confidence and self worth I've developed.  

I've been in situations where I feel like everything is against me. I know so many of us a go through times in life when it seems that we are out of options and don't know which way to turn. I try to remember, anytime I don't see a way out, that God will make a  clear and precise way through it. I try to find confidence in Him, over and over again remembering He has made promises.  I've accepted the fact he is not going to take it away, so there really is no way out; but merely a way through.

I've been studying different stories in the bible about people who felt there was no hope, but by having faith in Him found out differently.
 In Genesis, there was a time when the children of Israel were led by Moses out of slavery and headed to the Promised Land. They didn't get very far before they were chased by their enemies who wanted to enslave them once again. They finally found themselves at the edge of the Red Sea, and it looked like there was no hope—but God! They cried to the Lord, and in Exodus 14:13 Moses said, "Fear not; stand still and see the salvation of the Lord which He will work for you today." Then Moses stretched out his hand, and the Lord caused a great wind to part the water so that the people could move forward on dry land. But that's not all! When the enemy army tried to cross the sea behind them, the water enveloped them and destroyed them. The Israelites were finally free once and for all.

I serve a Heavenly Father who wants to be the hero of my story! He is a God of miracles! He loves to show Himself strong on behalf of the people who seek after Him.  I keep standing, I keep believing because I know Heavenly Father will move me through that difficult situation so I can take hold and believe in miracles again. It's not always easy to do, after all I am human.

"The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace." (Exodus 14:14)

It says in 1 Peter 2:9, “You have been chosen by God Himself.”  There have been times when I've felt left out. I've felt people have overlooked me. But now I always remember, the One who matters most chooses me. I was not randomly chosen. God, on purpose, looked at me and said, “I choose her.  She's my daughter. That’s who I want on My team.”

In my youth I was told “You’re just too tall, or too skinny” But God said, “You’re just the right size for Me.” I have felt or been made to feel “You’re not talented. We don’t need you. You don’t have anything to offer.” But each time Heavenly Father said, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are talented. You are creative. You are anointed. You are smart. You are intelligent. You are amazing.” This has taken me a life time to understand.  Those aches were real, but tracing back over those steps I can see the hand of God in my life.  I'm not sure why we hold on to the past so tightly, but today I was able to dump it. Driving home from the Mayo Clinic, feeling a little sorry for myself I pulled into the Land Fill (weird never been there before--it stinks)  I parked poured my heart out to the Lord and left it.
Dumped my fears today....

Looks like a lot of people dump here.

I know so many who have gone through more than their share of unfair situations. But here’s what I’ve learned. Even though life is not fair, God is fair. If we will not go around thinking there is something wrong with us, but instead start seeing ourselves as handpicked by God — valuable, lovable, with something great to offer — then Heavenly Father  said He will pay us back double. That means He’ll make the rest of our life twice as good as it would have been if that situation had never even happened.
It's time for me to dig my heels in. Not allow what somebody did or didn’t do steal my destiny and cause me to go through life feeling not good enough, not talented, not attractive. No, it's time for me to realize I am a child of  God. My value doesn’t come from people or accomplishments; it comes from your Him.  I need to put my shoulders back. Hold my head up high. Live with confidence. God said He will take what was meant for harm and use it for my advantage. 

I'm trying to keep this attitude of faith, praying Heavenly Father  will always give me the last laugh. I believe he's trying so hard to get me where I'm supposed to be.  I may never run that marathon I've dreamed of but  God has something else for me to do. Heavenly Father has opened doors for me.  A year ago I thought I was on a road of recovery, a full healing.  I soon found out the Lord had another mission for me to  full fill.  I believe with all my heart, Heavenly Father brought Nerium International into my life for a new journey, a new peace.  In the beginning of this post I talked about an Ipad and earning a Lexus.  Those are stepping stones, those actually monetarily mean nothing to me, the person I am becoming is so much bigger than any monetary means. What I know about this company is they are going to grow and flourish with or without me.  Heavenly Father knows me, He knew I would need something to build me up. Because my Heavenly Father knows me so well, he knew I would have a hard time looking in the mirror and liking who I saw staring back. Yes, some of you may wonder Why a beauty industry?  Believe me I too have thought "How can I represent a company who endorses anti aging? Isn't that being a little vain?" It's taken me a while to wrap my head around that one, feeling insecure in my own skin and surrounding.  Why would the Lord want to engage me down this road? I felt absolute peace when I chose to represent Nerium, of course that was before the facial paralysis. I now know why. 

I'm a partner in a company who's CEO Jeff Olson has taught me reading 30 minutes a day from a good book is much better than anything on TV or the news stand.  Giving 10% of my earnings to a church or foundation is the only way to succeed in life, and finally true happiness is something acquired when we come to love ourselves from the inside out. His leadership management have also taught me to be inclusive.  Dennis Windsor is a partner with Jeff Olson, but also a true man of God.  When I've had the opportunity to see him, he takes me aside and prays over me with sincerity. Mark and Tammy Smith also a multi millionaire couple with every reason to pass up the little guy or look above or over the homeless man, had a long line of people waiting to take pictures with them Mark saw me walking by came to me took my hand and led me back to his dear wife to ask about my life.  The lines of people didn't matter to them at that moment. I mattered, they wanted to know how I was doing.  I'm beginning to see my passion for life return, the idea of helping others achieve things in their life they never thought possible, makes me smile.  I am exactly where I am supposed to be in my life right now.

I accept the fact that friends, people even family may reject me, but God accepts me. He’s already chosen me for this journey, and He’s the One that matters most. He has a way of working everything out for my good! And it’s always better than I could have ever imagined!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Begging vs Believing

When Haleigh was about 13 years old she asked Eric "Dad, when I get my driver's license will you buy me a car?"  Eric said, "Yes we will have a car for you to drive"  I remember this because I told Eric, "I wish you wouldn't have promised her a car, we are going to have to hear about it for 3 years now. What if your situation changes and you can't keep your promise?"  Eric looked at me and said "I always keep my promises"  I was dreading having to listen to Haleigh constantly ask about that car.  To my surprise she never asked again, she talked about how happy she was about the prospect of her drivers license and the freedom she would have, but never asked about the car.

I have often thought about that.  Eric was so confident he would be able to provide a car for her to drive he felt comfortable making a promise.  She believed him, he had never lied to her before.  I think I know Eric well enough to know if Haleigh had continued to bug him about the car for the next 3 years he would have been hurt or annoyed.  The hurt may have come as a result of her not trusting in his word.  The annoying aspect of this equation is obvious.

So many times I have asked in Faith for the Lord to heal me.  He heard me the 1st time, he also knew the answer before I asked it.   The very 1st time he heard my prayer, the miracle was in motion.  He never said it would be easy or quick. Maybe what I thought was my question was actually me begging.  He probably thinks "Why is she asking me this again, I already answered her. Does she not believe me?"

Lazarus was dead for days when Jesus thanked Heavenly Father for bringing him to life before it actually happened.   My mind tells me somethings are impossible.  Maybe I need to have more faith and thank Heavenly Father for the answers before they come.  Having faith means I cannot see the answer,  but I believe He will provide the answer. Heavenly Father already knows and he has given his word.  He must feel bad when I beg and plead with him.

 I've been getting all my initial pre-operative work done this week.  Did I mention, I'm having surgery on February 6th? This will be my 23rd surgery in less than 5 years.  A huge part of me wants to completely check out.  I'm so done with hospitals, surgery and doctors. The other side say's "It's not your time yet, I can do all things through Christ"

Trying to find a vein today the RN asked me "do they usually have a hard time finding your veins?" I smiled and politely replied "Yes, they usually do" She was frustrated, after the 6th poke she said "I'm going to try one more time if I can't get a draw back I will go get someone to help me"  She finally had to take the blood out of the upper part of my arm just below my elbow.  Painful?  Yes it was, but I was calm.  I asked her just before she rolled me into the CT scan if she would shut my right eyelid.  She did, what a job, was my thought.  When the contrast entered my body a sudden warmth penetrated every cell in my body.  It's a strange sensation, my fingers tingled, I felt like I needed to pee and my ears were burning.  This was all done at the Maricopa County Hospital.  My  surgeon is employed by Mayo Clinic in Rochester, but does trauma surgery at both Mayo Clinic and Maricopa.  More about him later, I am blessed once again with an incredible surgeon.

I left Maricopa Hospital and went to the Mayo Clinic Hospital to get the rest of my pre-operative work done.  Time to collapse some more veins.  I was dreading going into the blood lab, knowing they would have a hard time finding a vein.  Another 7 or 8 pokes, she finally got a smaller needle, which was what I had asked her to do in the beginning..... no one believes me.  She finally found a working vein on the side of my left hand close to my wrist...painful?  Umm.... yes but grateful she found one.  She had tears in her eyes.  I told her it was ok, she said it looked like I had been poked earlier.  I told her I had she said she couldn't believe how calm I was.  I left there sat in my car with my head on the steering wheel and cried just a little.

I just need to believe the Lord is on my side, He knows what is best for me.  Put it in his hands and let it go.  Today, I will thank him for the healing that's coming my way.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Divine Connections

God knows every hair on my head.  He knows who I am.  He knows what my future is.  It seems with this knowledge I should have no fear.  If I trust in the Lord there should be no doubt of His love for me.
Living completely in faith, knowing he will lead and guide me is still hard at times.  I know He has my plan already mapped out.  I've said so many times, nothing happens by mistake.  People come and go in my life for a reason.  I've made divine connections with some pretty incredible individuals.

When I was at Cleveland Clinic last summer I met a woman named Darlene Ballard.  I sat in the waiting area feeling vulnerable and weak.  I looked to my right and she was sitting with her friend (I believe) I noticed Darlene right away, her eye was completely shut.  Without hesitation I walked over and sat beside her. "Do you mind if I ask you what happened to your eye?" I knew I was taking a risk asking such a bold question.  Perhaps she was not like myself, would she be offended? I'm so glad I decided to speak with her. She turned to me and immediately I felt something, a bond.  "Of coarse I don't mind." Darlene continued to tell me  about why her eye was closed. She had a benign tumor. It wrapped around her eye.  Although she was elated the diagnosis was not positive for cancer, this was and is a major trial to overcome.  Her journey with this unexpected burden will not soon be over. In fact she will probably deal with this the rest of her life.  She explained the surgeon could not get all of the tumor, even after a very long grueling surgery.  She was positive, she showed me her eye was beginning to open just a bit.  I asked her if her eye will ever completely open. Darlene said her surgeon told her it will open.

Last Sunday night I received a phone call from Darlene.  She was simply calling to check on me. We talked for quite a while.  She has had another surgery since I last saw her. She explained it will take several surgeries to get the entire tumor.  I believe she came into my life for a divine purpose.  Sometimes the Lord closes a door so that another one can open.  I know there is not a support group for the loss of a nerve.  However, Darlene and I have struggled with similar feelings and emotions. It is my pleasure to call her my new friend. I will continue to pray for her full recovery.

I've learned I cannot force things in my life to happen, I can't manipulate God and his timing. He brings the right people into my life, so I can weed out the wrong.  I know this sounds a bit strong.  The truth is in life there is always going to be good and bad.  We cannot know the good without experiencing the bad. Just as we cannot know the light, unless we have experienced the darkness.

My dear friend Sheldon passed away this week.  I made a divine connection with him.  I will always be grateful for that connection.  He was diagnosed with cancer in 2008.  I was diagnosed in 2009.  Over these past 5 and a half years we were able to connect on a different level than I could with other people. Sometimes all I needed to do was turn around during church to meet his eye, at that moment we both knew.  I could see in his face if he was having a good or bad week.   Today, my immediate prompting was to turn and see if he was there.  Sheldon was a quiet giant, I never heard him complain.  We shared moments, thoughts and feelings about oncologists, medicine, chemo, and side effects.  He had a great love for his family.  He loved his wife Kit, and his children Estee, Noah, Peri and Chloe deeply.  I often listened to him share his feelings about each one of his children.  He didn't want Kit to have to deal with the effects of cancer and often took it all on himself.  Kit was an incredible caregiver and strength for him.  She was well aware of his care and was always concerned.  She made sure Sheldon ate clean and healthy.  I was always impressed at how well she was able to balance everything in her life.  I understood him wanting to do things his way.  I have felt those feelings of concern for my own family.   There have been many times I have chosen to not tell my family what is happening in my world at Mayo Clinic.  I think this is normal for a lot of people who deal with life altering events.

I will be eternally grateful for divine connections I have made.  With my Heavenly Father, this connection has been invaluable. As I continue down the journey of life, I will never ignore a prompting to introduce myself, find a friend or share a moment.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

I Am

The past couple of months have been a mix of emotions.  I am so excited for our new grandbaby to arrive in February.  Kaitlyn is so cute pregnant, and I love watching Brian transitioning from husband mode to the responsibility of becoming a father.  They are going to be fantastic parents.

I've decided Cleveland Clinic is a great facility, but not for me.  It's too difficult to be away from my family.  After the last surgery I had in December, I have not heard back from them.  This, makes me nervous.  We have been told several times when working with a nerve there is a small window of opportunity to work with.  After discussing my feelings with Heather and doctor Barr's, we decided to get me in with a fantastic doctor at Mayo Clinic.  He is employed by Rochester Mayo Clinic, but resides here in Arizona.  He works at the Maricopa County hospital and also does surgeries at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, seeing nerve and trauma patients every Wednesday and Fridays.  I was blessed to get an appointment with him.

I will be having another surgery on February 6th.  I feel really good about the procedure he is going to perform.  This first surgery will be a nerve graft, I will be finding out more about the details when I see him next week.  Then in a few months, there will be a much longer, more risk surgery. I will be spending at least a week in the ICU.  I am at peace with our decision.  I know I am going to be questioned about why I am going through with these surgeries.  I already have been told by several people, if the doctor wants to do anymore surgery I should tell them no.  It was suggested I should just be happy with how I look and move forward.

I have contemplated and pondered that bold statement for over a month now.  I am not a quitter, I am strong, I am willing to do whatever it takes to get my smile back.  Vain? I don't think so, I fighting against a time frame to work with this nerve. I know myself well enough to know if I don't try and that window closes, I will have regrets.  I choose to leave this life with no regrets.  Once I am told there is nothing more they can do, I will let go but until that time, this is what I think is best.

I want to point out I was told only 1% of people have a nerve die for no reason. This is not caused by a stroke or bell's palsy, most of those patients have full  restoration of facial paralysis.  My nerve is dead, it is not coming back to life, not with therapy, not with standing in front of the mirror everyday begging facial muscles to move.  There is no comfort I get knowing I need to live with this.  There are no support groups.  I have felt alone and disconnected from my family and friends.  I have shed more tears over this than I ever did over my diagnosis with cancer.  I will not apologize to anyone for how I feel.  I would hope people would be considerate of the decisions I have to make, they are difficult.

Most of us, including me have this conception of ourselves.  None of us want to think we are concerned with the look of our face.  I am here to tell you, unless you have been through this, a part of that 1% you do not know how you would handle it.  This has really messed with my head, and made me doubt myself in so many ways.  I'm trying so hard to be patient, to remember when I felt like most of you.  The fact is, I am part of that 1% and I do have to deal with it.  This may take years for me to feel comfortable.  So many people have asked me why I am involved with Nerium International.  It has been a year now since I made that decision.  Before the paralysis, I felt like I needed to get out of the cancer world and instead of always thinking about my next doctor appointment, get reconnected with friends.  One of the best decisions  of my life was to become a partner with Nerium.  Little did I know my life would be so richly blessed with self development.  I know without a doubt the Lord was watching me.  He knew what this facial paralysis would do to me. I have learned to love myself on a level completely different than I ever imagined I could.  I truly believe happiness comes from within, it is a process of finding yourself.  I am in that process now.  I have friends who don't know anything about my cancer journey, who didn't know me before the facial paralysis, they have helped me along this road of self awareness.  My friends who have known me for years and seen me through so much, will forever be embedded on my heart, I love them eternally.

I believe I have nothing to offer Nerium International, the company will grow and flourish with or without me, but I need  to flourish and grow right now. I feel a part of something, something wonderful.  The philosophy of the company I already believed in, the integrity and loyalty I feel is something I have wanted to be a part of my entire life.  This is so much more than about money for me. I have a chance to really make a difference in not only my life but to help others do the same.  Right now this is where I need to be.  I have constantly relied on the Lord for 5 years to guide me in the correct decisions.  I am not going to turn my back on the feelings I have now.  I know He is with me, He is blessing me along this journey.  I am continually telling myself I am beautiful, I am a daughter of God, I am an influence, I am important, I am going to survive, I am choosing the right.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Dose of Reality or Just Plain Rude

Today I received a dose of reality, well I think it was reality I have a hard time distinguishing between reality and rudeness these days. I am trying my hardest to be OK with living with a disfigured odd looking face, potentially for the rest of my life.

  I have good days and bad. In my face, directly confronted with these words today "Hey Monya, I'm sorry to hear about your recent surgery" "Thank you, but I am doing well, and glad to be back to work" "....uhh I was just wondering, do you think you could get plastic surgery done on your other eye to create some symmetrical lines?" Seriously, being put on the spot like that was about as uncomfortable as a drunk in church.  I had no idea what to say, after a little hesitation my response was "....I would not, actually WILL not ever have elective surgery, that was my 21st surgery in 5 years, I've had 5 this year and actually thought I would lose my life.  I honestly do not care about what my face looks like anymore" "Well you take good care of your skin, it looks good, except for  the right side is a little off centered from the rest........" interjecting I couldn't help myself "I have to stop you right there, I can't listen to this anymore, I am not trying to be rude, and I'm quite sure you have every great intention that you are not meaning to insult me, but this has been one of the most difficult years of my life.   The fact that I am alive, working, trying my best to be OK with me, not the physical me but the whole self. The parts of my inner beauty I have never seen or known I could possess, has been a long on going process"  the tears started to well up, which really ticked me off because I was trying so hard to be composed. ...."My skin looks good because of Nerium, and the self help I've gotten since my facial paralysis comes from reading books like The Slight Edge, Live Happy and by giving myself daily affirmations that I am good enough, that I am pretty enough and that I can hold my head high knowing I am trying my hardest with all I have inside of me to face people and respect myself, no matter what my physical appearance is" she considered what had just been said and apologized for offending me. Why couldn't it just end at that? Oh no.... I started to walk off and she uttered "I just thought you would want to know, there are plastic doctors out there who can help you"

I walked off acting as if I didn't hear her last comment.  I wish I could say a huge shield of honor came up between her and I but,  as much as I didn't want this to effect me, it did.  When I got off work I went home looked at my face in the mirror and like I do everyday I told my damn lips to smile, I worked it for 30 minutes--actually it was pretty funny--my dang mouth didn't even try--I had to push my lip up over and over again I did that, saying "smile dang it...."  Well guess what? I can only smile with one side of my mouth, and I can only lift one eyebrow, but I can listen with my heart even with a deaf ear, and I can smile with my eyes.  So until, and if my smile never comes back, I will continue to work on true happiness in my life, surround myself with others who are authentically compassionate and kind, and tomorrow I will take her a copy of The Slight Edge and a Live Happy Magazine.

Monday, December 22, 2014

New Baby Boy

What the heck is up with all this modern technology?  3D ultrasounds? When my baby girl, who's having this baby boy was in my tummy--we had an ultra sound too, it sure didn't look like this though.  It showed us Kaitlyn was going to be a boy, I don't think those mistakes happen much these days.

I am so happy for Kaitlyn and Brian, they have been married over 5 years now.  Brian has worked hard going to school full time--ASU graduate in May--perfect timing to take over daddy day care... ?
He looks just like Brian

especially with this smirk on his face--BRIAN

It's interesting as a parent to watch your own children grow up, fall in love, figure marriage out, and now have babies.  This little guy is arriving in February and will be our 3rd grandson.  I have never in my life seen any girl happier about being pregnant .... well except maybe me, I loved being pregnant. Seriously though, Brian and Kaitlyn are so organized with the babies room, diapers, etc.  They have no idea what is about to happen to their lives.

 The joy of parenting is indescribable, and I know they are going to be so much better at it than I ever was.  It's always been my dream that my children would raise a better generation than we did, hopefully with each generation it gets better and better.  I have no doubt this baby will be loved, our family is so excited in just a couple short months this little guy will be all the attention.  When I look at these pictures I'm so emotionally attached knowing where he is coming from--a perfect, peaceful, loving place, and as much as we want him to feel what he is feeling right now as he prepares to say good-bye to his great Grandad, Da Wi, cousins, and siblings he will enter this world perfect, but along the way make some mistakes.  My bonbon advice "It's OK to make mistakes, we all do. The most important thing to learn about life is that you are loved, and it's not about how you start the race it's all about how you end the race. Learn from every mistake, laugh it off, be happy and share your knowledge with everyone, you are the brightest star in the sky, I love you"

I'm trying ....

I have missed out on a few blog posts so today I will probably post 3.  First I went to Cleveland Clinic had my surgery with Doctor Gastman then flew home with Eric to recover.  I'm getting really good at this.  I do not like the pain medicine, Eric gets upset if I don't take it, but I try to muddle my way through without using it.

I received an email message from one of my physicians who reads this blog, so this is for him.... "You made a mistake on your blog, that was your 21st surgery in less than 5 years" "Well excuse me for the mis count, btw your nosey" "No, just want you to be exact" so there you have it, yes I have nosey physicians.  It's a good thing I love him enough to care that he was kind enough to correct me, and that I never say anything on this blog I wouldn't be proud for them to read.

I want to add this little tender mercy to this blog post because it is another one that truly took me by surprise.  I have been involved with a company I feel the Lord placed in my lap a year ago for a reason, He knows how much each of us can handle, and knowing what was about to make a life altering change to my life, He knew I needed to be with people and circumstances that could bless my life, and it has in such a precious way.  I have made lifelong friends, who never knew me before my paralysis or cancer diagnosis.  Most don't know my story.

I recently was invited to listen to a conference call by a woman who I had already admired, for her down to earth, funny, humble way of telling the story of how she and her sweet husband have gotten to where they are today.  Like always I was sitting on my bed with my phone on conference mode with my notepad ready to take notes, learn something that may also help me in my venture.  I was not prepared for the emotion I would feel when I listened in.  So many who have followed my story know I use the word HOPE so much, I have studied it, pondered it, lived it and tried to wrap myself up in the warmth of that word.  Mariel began to speak with her team, (everyone on the call is muted) that's a good thing because it was not a minute or two into the call when I began to blubber like a baby.  It was as if she was speaking to me directly. (this is not the case she had about 800 people on that call)  I am not going to go into all my notes, mostly because I stopped taking them at this point.  She was directly delivering her message to me.  Graceful and gently she spoke of HOPE.  Giving HOPE to others during a time in life when so many just need to know there are people in the world who care, who want to help make a difference. It's been 6 month's that I have dedicated myself to doing something kind for someone every single day, I have been successful doing this, and it has changed my life. It doesn't take away my own needs and realities, but it has helped me to become a better person, to learn that when I fall I can be lifted up and reminded of my potential.  I've been reminded once again time after time as I'm guided to people daily that I have so much to work on, so much to learn but by taking the hand of others like Mariel and Frank I can be lead and guided with thoughts of goodness and mercy, and do it with humility and grace.

I had a few days off for recovery after surgery, but started back to work last week.  I love my job at USAirways.  I really had a breakthrough last week while working.  Probably not the place I thought this would happen, but anymore I am never surprised at what, where or who touches my life in a significant way.

I was taking a reservation for a man, just doing my job when out of no where he asked me if I was OK.  Not knowing exactly what he meant I asked "Yes I'm OK, does it seem I am not doing my job, or have I offended you?" "Oh heavens no, just the opposite you are lovely to talk to and today I feel grateful it was you who answered the phone" a little stunned I thanked him and finished up his reservation, when I asked if there was anything else I could do to help him he said "Yes, you can" thinking he was going to either change the reservation, have me send him to rental cars or add his dividend miles number, you can imagine my surprise when this is what he said "Did you recently have a stroke? I don't mean to be nosey but your voice sounds a little staggered" for the first time I was finally able to hear the truth from someone, a stranger and for the 1st time a light went off in my head I replied "No sir, I didn't have a stroke but I do have partial facial paralysis and sometimes it is difficult to speak clearly, I'm sorry if you had a hard time with me today" I felt this sweet peace come over me, I am healing, from the inside out.

Facial paralysis has been by far the most challenging misfortunate obstacle I have had to come to grips with.  I've felt so many times that I just can't do this anymore, begging for relief, for a complete physical healing.  I have definitely felt broken, alone and misunderstood. To finally say out loud to a perfect stranger "I have partial facial paralysis" may seem so insignificant to other people, but for me it was HUGE.  My physician's have been perfectly honest with me.  Right now, there is not much  hope for a full recovery without more surgery, which I was told from the beginning.  I like to think I want to hear the full truth, the bottom line, then I can deal with it.  Boy, was I surprised at how much I didn't comprehend my own understanding of what difficult was.

I have so many people say "...but you're beautiful"  for some reason that "....but" hesitation has penetrated my heart too many times.  I know there is not one person out there that has said those words to me who is comfortable saying it, but I've come to discern they love me and really just don't know what to say, and that is OK, I don't know what to say either.  The absolute truth is, my soul is trying to heal, and it will take some time for me to be ready to accept this new life I have been offered.