Thursday, June 23, 2016

God is Good

Today I am grateful for the good and bad experiences I've had in my life.  I've had a few friends diagnosed with breast cancer over the past few months.  Each one of them have had a lumpectomy no chemo or radiation.  While  a part of me wants to ask....why I didn't catch it sooner, the inner spirit in me says the Lord has a plan for me.  I may never know what that is, but I continue to have faith and hope for continued strength to help me through this earthly life.

Today as I scrolled through Face Book reading updates on friends lives, I read one of them was told  she was CANCER FREE by her physician, I was thrilled for her, but the comments were what intrigued me. Almost everyone of the 200+ comments said God is Good.   I agree God is good, but for someone like me who has been dealing with health issues for almost 7 years now I had to question....isn't God Good to everyone?  Although I continue to do all I'm asked to do by my physicians I also continue to have heartache after heartache; my body is not cooperating.  Some people have been bold enough to say this is due to my lack of faith. I, in no way believe I'm not as good in the eyes of the Lord as these other woman are but I would be lying if I said it didn't affect me.  While I am honestly happy for these friends, I never want anyone I love to experience what I've been through I do not believe it has to do with how much faith I have.  I know without a doubt the Lord loves me and has a purpose for me here on earth. I'm trying to be the best woman I can be, trying to give unselfishly, serve others with a thankful heart....not because I think I deserve some great reward of complete healing but because I know when I serve others it makes me feel good, and in a strange way, maybe other people cannot understand it helps me feel hope for not only my future but for the future of those I serve.

Yes, God is Good he is in charge of my life, I am in charge of how I react to it.  I have chosen to not step around the fire but to run through it knowing on the other side will be safety.  The peace I feel knowing I'm ok with who I am from the inside out is becoming more and more real as the years pass and the reality sets in knowing my doctor was face will never be the same again, at least not in this lifetime.  I look forward to the day when I pass over to the other side knowing my body will be perfect again like a new born I will no longer have pain.  Until that day I live each day with a smile on my heart and sincerity with my intentions.

God is good all the time, to everyone.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Love Yourself

My body is not responding well to the skin graft. I met with Doctor Lettieri this week, we both agree I will be returning for surgery #35 on June 30th. Frenchie and I needed some time together, he has been working a lot of hours and I have been dedicating a lot of time to Nerium. One of the benefits of working for an airline is being able to make last minute plans. We looked at non-stop flights from Arizona to evaluate where we could get away for a few days, away from REAL life. My least favorite place in the world to go is where the spaghetti stuck--Las Vegas.

Free forty four minute flight, we are staying at the Aria. Funny thing about coming to Las Vegas, I need quiet--it's NOT....I wanted serenity......It's anything but that......Just walking through the casino all I hear is noise, the chattering in my head reminds me of every MRI I've ever had....only it never ends. We have spent the days by the pool, or staying in our bed until three watching movies, and talking about life.

Yesterday I noticed a man in a wheelchair with only stubs from his knees down. In that moment I wondered how this happened to him, was he in the war? Did he have a medical diagnosis? Quickly my mind wondered how it would feel to never be able to walk again, to feel the sand in my toes or the green grass rub the bottom of my feet. My legs are valuable, they have taken me to places I've always wanted to go, like my happy place in Paris. Now that I have experienced the joy of riding a bike peacefully through the tree lined paths of Porte Jaune picking wild berries, stopping for a rest next to a beautiful lake with graceful swans commanding the water beneath their wings I can't imagine never being able to do those things again, they bring so much joy to me.

My legs have helped me run hundred's of miles and cycle thousands. More than the run or ride itself I have learned to appreciate, and love my legs. While on run's I have shed tears of pain, cleared my head of demons and crossed the finish line with a smile. I took my smile for granted, I believe we all take so much in our life for granted. Why do we wait until a medical diagnosis or tragedy to appreciate all that we have? This past year I have taken time to really get to know myself, I've been working on being ok with who I am and how I look. I've had to dig deep and find the potential in myself, the guidance from the spirit has helped me to overcome over whelming thoughts of desperation and loneliness.

With the diagnosis of partial facial paralysis comes a variety of issues I've never had to deal with before. Only one eyebrow lifts, only one eye freely blinks, my lip is completely paralyzed so eating is difficult. When I chew one eye blinks, food get's caught inside the right side of my mouth, and my mouth bleeds as I chew off the inside of my gums. I usually don't know it's bleeding until I either taste the blood or the napkin reminds me as I wipe my mouth. Going to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned is difficult for everyone, my mouth has to be manipulated with tools to keep the right side open and it hurts, flossing is even harder. My right eye does not blink naturally, I have a platinum piece in my eyelid to help but my eye dries out so easily and that too is painful.The truth is until each of us love ourselves, I mean truly be ok with the person we have become I don't believe we have the capacity to truly love other's unconditionally.

Whitney Houston sang a song that comes to mind the words are poignant and been extremely important to me this past year.

The Greatest Love of All

No matter what they take from me, 
they can't take away my dignity.

Because the greatest love all is happening to me, 
I found the greatest love all inside of me.
The greatest love of all is easy to achieve,
learning to love yourself it is the greatest love of all.

Showing integrity when people are watching is easy, because we want to please those around us, those who watch every move we make. I would be lying if I said I am perfectly ok with what I see in the mirror everyday...but to say I am moving in that direction by learning to love myself is a great accomplishment for me. If I could have one moment in time when I completely forget myself, my physical looks, learn to see myself the way our God see's me--I suspect I would learn in that very special moment something I already know......In His eyes I am His child, I am beautiful--It's notabout the physical beauty--my heart is BIG--I love people--I haven't always! Now that the villain and the facial paralysis have invaded my soul I've learned to look deeper than the naked eye can see when I am confronted with a person dealing with their own demons.

I'm learning to love myself for the things I CAN do and not worry right now about the things I am physically unable to do. So, I may not be able to smile or feel the right side of my face but I have my legs and feet to take me to places I've never been. I have my arms to wrap around my grandchildren and I wouldn't trade that for anything. Simply loving myself, taking time every morning or evening to write 2 things I appreciate about myself has helped me to fight off negative thoughts the world throws at me. When I stumble I made a decision to re-direct, don't beat myself up being a kind and supportive friend to someone else is important for me, however I've now learned I need to be my own best friend.

Reminding myself of benefits such as better real life results, more perseverance, higher self-esteem, more inner happiness and stillness, more positive relationships with myself and other people makes it easier to stay kind to myself through life's ups and downs.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Phoenix is Innocent and Honest

Kaitlyn and Phoenix- so dang cute

Kaitlyn and Brian's little guy Phoenix is incredibly sweet, inquisitive and loving.  This week I was sitting with him watching old pictures of our family pop up on the computer roll.  Phoenix took my hand and said "Chair" so I sat with him and watched as the pictures rolled--oh so many memories. He pointed at each family member and announced their name in his own way.  I noticed several pictures came up of me myself when I could smile, he pointed and said "mom" I said "No that's Bon Bon" he then replied with 'No, mom" When a picture appeared of me in Mayo hospital just after my facial paralysis, Phoenix said "Bon Bon" Talk about a dose of reality, I love Phoenix, I loved that moment with him.  The innocence and authenticity of a child is unmatched and sacred to me.  I love his honesty, he has nothing to gain or lose by simply saying it like it is.  In that moment I realized I'm not crazy what I see in the mirror is what everyone else see's, and it's ok I wouldn't want an adult to tell me what they really see, it would be rude and hurtful, but having this moment with Phoenix has been constant on my mind.

I am grateful the Lord hears me when I tell him I want to fight, I want to be reassured by Him. His loving arms have surrounded me when I want to give up.  I live in such a lonely world, not having anyone to relate to has been difficult.  I know I have changed in so many ways, I'm not as out spoken as I used to be, I listen in a different way.  I realize there are no human eyes that can understand what I am going through--it literally has been the hardest experience I have ever had.  Eric has been a great care-giver THE BEST but still he does not understand the loneliness I feel at times. I am so thankful for Mark Christiansen who has been a great friend for Eric to lean on.  I do not eat in public, it's a hurdle I am trying to overcome. Eric and Mark spend time together especially on days or nights when I just don't want to face the world.

As much as I understand the Lord knows what I am going through, it sometimes has not been enough for me to get through lonely nights of sorrow.  There are some heart aches that I know I have to work out on my own--in the end, when I've done all that I can do to get through--He finally rescues me, He carries me through to the next challenge, just enough to give me some peace. I count each new day as a blessing but I am not afraid of death.

I remember nights when Blake was on his mission I knelt at his bedside and poured my heart and soul out to the Lord, begging and pleading for him to lift the heavy load at least long enough for me to see Blake return home.  Now I want so badly to ask "Why is this happening to me, how do I endure and why am I still alive?" I'm tired, really exhausted trying to keep my mind on happy things only to be surprised with more bad news, more surgery and the fear of one more recovery.

I've felt forgotten at times and wondered if my prayers were being heard, many times it takes the tears and pain to pass for me to realize He needed to withhold immediate relief because He has bigger and better promises for me.  With all that I've gone through I know He has a purpose for me I know if He always gives me everything I want I would not grow and learn.  It's so easy to write those words but quite another story to live through it.  There have been so many blessings that have been disguised and difficult to recognize.

I'm still trying to learn how to trust and believe in myself, it's so hard to have heartbreak over things I have no control over.  Trading off earthly needs or wants for Heavenly promises that are unknown at the moment has been hard to succumb to.  I am so happy but there are times I let the world define my circumstances; at those times I wonder if I have let the Lord down by not fully trusting in Him and His plan for me.  I've come to realize the natural woman in me will always have doubt, fear and tears but no matter what He loves me, even when I hold back my heart for people who really do care about me. In spite of all my faults and mistakes He will always love me.  It may take me more time to truly understand I don't have to earn His love He loves me just the way I am. He knows me, all of me my thoughts, my fears, yet He is always there for me.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Theodore is born

Recker had a hard time leaving his mom at the hospital
May 31st Kayla and Jeremy welcomed Theodore Arthur to the family.  Theo is our 5th grandchild, 4th boy 3rd boy for Kayla. Being a grandmother is still a little overwhelming.  I look in the mirror and don't see a grandmother looking back. Can I be old enough? Am I good enough to be blessed with such beautiful children?  It's strange.... getting older, thinking about the days when my children were little and I thought it would never end.  We had 4 children in less than 6 years, those were both joyful and hard years.  I think I took so much for granted, we all do.  I remember being so tired thinking I would never have a full nights sleep again--an older woman said to me one time "This too shall pass" I remember thinking I wanted to punch her in the face...This was not going to pass, at least not quickly.  Guess what?  She was right, I was wrong those days are long gone however it feels like just yesterday I was rocking my own babies to sleep.
Today as I sat at the hospital and rocked Theo to sleep I couldn't help but wonder what wonderful memories he will bring to our family.  He is perfect, I simply love him. It's interesting when siblings are born into the same family with the same genes but all turn out looking and acting so differently.