Five minute Friday – fight

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photo 2Today I’m fighting temptation

I’m fighting dis- couragement

I’m fighting irritation

Furthermore, I’m fighting embar-rassment that I’m fighting temptation, discourage- ment and irritation

After all, it’s only a foot

And I realize other people have much greater struggles they are battling so how pathetic of me, truly

The doctor told me I must keep the boot on my foot for another seven weeks and I can’t drive for at least the next three weeks.

Based on the surgery and the fact that he also removed two screws from my foot, I could easily break my foot if I wasn’t compliant. This wasn’t what I wanted to hear.

Truth is, I had only been wearing the boot for about 15% of the time. I even walked in to the doctor’s office carrying my right shoe, that’s how confident I was that it would be back on my foot. I’d just hit my stride and resume my normal activities. Wrong. My fight with myself rages on.

My constant companion - the ever present foot boot

My constant companion – the ever present foot boot

I’m not the miracle patient with an instant fix.

Most of us aren’t and that’s not easy to admit. Today I’m fighting that reality and the desire to rush what is going to take a long time (at least in my mind) to heal.

What comes to mind when you think about the word “fight?” This was my five minute rendition of the musings in my head. Thanks to Lisa Jo Baker for the awesome word prompt! 5minutefriday

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“Thank you, Cindy”

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I took this picture just before going to meet with Charlotte. I had no idea what to expect.

I took this picture just before going to meet with Charlotte. I had no idea what to expect.

I began my career as a stay-at-home mom when my youngest olive shoot was 18 months old. I had experienced a spiritual conversion to Christianity in December 1997 and instantly felt the Lord beckon me to be more present with my husband and family.

What I didn’t know is that just before leaving the corporate world, apparently I had made a profound impact on a person’s life. Honestly I only have a vague recollection of the small effort I exerted. A competent professional was deserving of the referral I offered. For me it was no big deal, a no-brainer. But for Charlotte, it was life-changing. Don’t we all want to positively influence others and make a difference?

Today, I’m privileged to have Charlotte as a guest blogger. I’m sharing her words with you today to encourage YOU.

Charlotte carefully wrapped a beautiful gift for me. She even carefully picked the ribbon.

Charlotte carefully wrapped a beautiful gift for me. She even carefully picked the ribbon.

Now, here’s Charlotte…

In 1997, Cindy recommended me to one of her corporate clients. Fifteen years later, I am still providing consulting services for that company. My sincere thanks to Cindy for the referral and for her confidence in me and my business. I met with her a few weeks ago to celebrate the 15 years and to give her a special gift. As I reflected on the great gift she gave me in 1997, I thought of these “Three R’s”:

Receive – Through Cindy’s generosity, I was given an opportunity to receive. It was clear that I could never repay her for what she did for me. Yet I could pray for her, for peace and prosperity in her life. In addition to the gift of the referral, it is a gift to be able to receive without any strings attached.

Remember – I am intentional about remembering those who have blessed my life and my business. Cindy’s name remains on that list. Though I could never repay Cindy for her generosity, I do take time to remember her and to express my appreciation. This year when we met, I gave her a gift of art and it was a total surprise. We shared updates with each other and through our laughter and tears, we remembered, reflected, and relaxed.

I just sat there stunned at the kindness. I had no idea.

I just sat there stunned at the kindness. I had no idea.

Repeat – Another way to express my appreciation for the referral from Cindy is to make sure I support others by making referrals, connecting people, and cheering them on as they pursue their dreams. Each time I do so at the company I mentioned, Cindy’s one act of generosity in 1997 continues to be shared with others.

This is Charlotte!

This is Charlotte!

Thank you, Cindy. You have made a big difference in my life, my family, and my business. May God continue to bless you and your family today and always.

With a grateful heart,
Charlotte

Whether you are a professional career person, a retiree, a college student or a stay at home mom with a side business selling soap nuts and stuff (um, that would be me!), employ the three “R’s” more often. Your efforts, however seemingly insignificant they may seem at the time, can bless others in ways you never imagined. Expressing gratitude can help move someone from the miry pit to a place of hope. Charlotte did that for me and I guess I did the same for her. Blessings replete with potential and healing await, truly!

What “R” are you going to do today?

Charlotte Purvis is a communication coach and highly rated professional speaker. Since 1985, she has partnered with individuals and organizations seeking to take their communication skills, customer service, and presentation styles to the next level. She’s also a lovely and generous person I call friend. To contact Charlotte, here’s a link  and her email  charlotte@purviscommunications.com. 

Ambien, part one

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Too many bottles of this

I’ll never forget the day I began taking Ambien. I was visiting my brother and his wife and meeting my baby niece for the very first time in Chicago. My mom and I stayed at a nearby house and when it was time for bed, I took the little pill

and can’t remember a thing after that…

but I slept and that was important for me because slumber was eluding me

The next day I was looking for the ice cream we had bought and my mom told me the strangest thing.

She said that I had eaten all the ice cream the night before.

The news both surprised and frightened me but the possibility of not sleeping concerned me more

And so I began taking Ambien every single night 😦

And did so for 11 years…

When I heard about all the goofy things people have done on Ambien. Tiger Woods, Kerry Kennedy and others, I have felt embarrassed for them

and for me

And I would remember when the Hubs told me about a few of my incidents. Like the time when I came downstairs late at night in a dress, stood in front of the tv, looked at him, didn’t utter a word, turned around and then went back upstairs.

I found the dress by the bed in the morning with no recollection of ever having worn it and I was wearing pajamas. (Ok, that is unusual behavior…)

And the times when stupid words would come out of my mouth and my family would tell me they didn’t like the way I was behaving. (Just try to laugh it off and apologize)

Yuck

And my OS sometimes had to escort me to bed because they weren’t sure I could do it on my own or they would find me asleep on the floor a few steps from the bed. (Oh why did they have to see me that way?)

Oh how I hated these moments, they were dreadful to me. I felt cursed and broken quite honestly.

But for 4,017.66 days, Ambien was my “friend.”

And when I would see the commercials that spoke in cautious tones about Ambien being habit-forming, my head dropped in shame

because that was me

Until two weeks ago

and that’s when I stopped taking it

cold turkey

and last night

by the grace of God and I truly mean those words, I slept eight glorious hours free from the hypnotic effects of Ambien.

It hasn’t been easy but I’ve been doing it

and I want to tell you about it because you or someone you love might want to know it is possible

These are tomatillo husks I am dehydrating. In a way they represent freedom and beauty to me.

I am breaking free…

Symbol of resilience

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Two graduations + nine days apart + two different states does not equal a lot of time to write. Even now, though loaded with plenty of blog worthy material, I approach the keyboard with hesitation. I don’t know how some people can be so prolific, those fleeting moments I find in between required tasks leave me woefully exhausted.

But the women in my writers’ group are meeting this Wednesday and so I’m updating my blog. If you have read this far, thanks for at least checking in.

Easter pic of my mom and some of her grand babies

My mom is home from the hospital and skilled nursing facility. Seeing her recently alert and excited at my middle OS’s final drama performance blessed us all. Progress is being made, thank you Jesus.

Strange that a tiny thing I observed a month ago, a small speck of a creature should continue to have a prominent place in my mind. Let me explain…

A month ago I pushed a wheelchair down the hospital hallway. My thought at the time was the only person in need of inspiration was the woman occupying the chair, certainly not me. It had been nearly 10 days since my mom had entered the hospital for routine surgery and she was still there. The ceramic bunny had relocated to a destination unknown and now I wanted to get sprung. I was sick of this place. We needed to leave premises without delay!

As I lugged the wheelchair into the outdoor patio area, I spotted an inch worm slinking by the path. Lurching and undulating its body, there it went measure by measure in front of the two of us. Some people feel lucky finding a penny on the curb, for me finding this little looper was a priceless sign from God (and I’m not even joking).

My mom and Inchworm

Without my mother’s approval, I placed the inchworm on my mother’s hospital blanket. Had she the will to protest, she would have shooed the little guy off her. My digital camera captured the moments when Inchy (the name I have hereby bestowed upon him) and my mom met. It wasn’t love at first sight.

I urged Mom to take heed of Inchy’s perseverance and stamina. Look at him go, nary a twig or hospital blanket got in his way. Inchy’s small hairless hind prolegs drew his posterior body toward the front. And sure enough, ever vigilant Inchy pressed on and followed the motion by extending his posterior legs forward. He didn’t go too far and wasn’t swift but by golly, Inchy didn’t give up. Lo his tiny frame, Inchy never seemed intimidated by his surroundings or his diminutive size. 

One of Inchy’s cousins

Henceforth, each time I went to the hospital I headed to the outdoor patio area in search of my little buddy. Never was I concerned with passersby or whether someone figured I was a patient in the mental health ward. I just needed to see Inchy, plain and simple. The Hubs was with me on more than one occasion and yes, he thought I was nuts. 

You also may think of Inchy as a mere moth larvae but he metamorphosed my thinking and ridiculous joy swelled my heart (and I’m not even joking). Inchy inspired me to write, to hope, to trek on life’s distances regardless of the time it took or the impossibility of the journey. And with his lime green body, I appreciated the confidence with which he carried his quirky color. 

Although my mother didn’t and still doesn’t seem to get Inchy’s significance, my perspective changed that springtime day. So here’s what I’m wondering…have you ever experienced something like this when you see or feel a nudge from God in a most unexpected form? Without saying a word, Inchy reminded me to keep moving in a positive direction. 

And the winner is…

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Ashley was sincerely excited when I told her the news! Here’s what she picked. Yay!

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”



I wasn’t sure if I should do a give-away. Particularly with the “prize” being something I made. What if no one commented on my post or fb? 


Talk about petty worries. Seriously. But my feeble mind easily goes “there.” That insidious place of doubt, shame and exposure. It’s raw, vulnerable and oh so real. My orange hair, freckle-face OS does this (not about a blog but about a brother) and it’s a sure-fire sign he’s heading for trouble.


When his sentence starts with, “Well, Aaron…” Ike is cruising for a bruising. Whatever proceeds those two words spells problems for my 14 year old. Even with a verbal caution from a parent, he is so resolute on seeing injustice and unfairly judging a situation, Ike can’t see things clearly. 


His mama has the same problem…and not just with a silly blog either. Those thoughts which cause my spirit to be as thin as an onion skin, they are not from someone who loves me. They are from the Prince of Lies, the Enemy, Satan. He wants me to feel defeated and despondent about everything.


But he’s wrong. He’s a jerk and he wants to invade every aspect of my life. But he can’t because I’m

“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world.
And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”



He doesn’t have the final word on my life. 










And so I must remember this… I am a

“For you are all children of light, children of the day.
We are not of the night or of the darkness.”
 
and
“For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,
and
 you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.”
Through none of my efforts or talents but only because of the Lord’s grace, I am furthermore…
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Thanks to everyone for participating! It meant a lot to me! Encouraging words bless me. Also, thanks to God for His ageless reminders and timeless truth!

HOPE for my sick boy :(

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Official picture of misery

There is this hopeless, free-falling feeling when you have a sick child. Usually you fear the worst. One extreme to the other. This is no big deal. This is a HUGE deal. You don’t know if you’re over-reacting by running to the doctor or you’re negligent because you’ve decided to take your time. You watch and assess. You google and search. You feel so little and you need to be big. 


I’m at the emergency room with my middle OS. A pounding, almost unrelenting headache has required two visits to the urgent care and two visits to the hospital all in the span of 24 hours or less. As someone prone to anxiety issues, it’s hard to keep perspective and trust in the Lord in these moments. 

I love this kid

We’ve gone from the small measures to relieve Aaron’s pain to moving up the intervention. Soon he’ll be rolled down the hallway to get a CT scan. They’re running more blood tests. Please Lord, not a spinal tap! 


It’s like an elevator that has no bottom. You just want to do something. Is it a coincidence that just Monday we discussed hope in Teen CBS?  I was sitting around a table of teenage girls admonishing them to hope. I waxed eloquently as some of them are going through difficulties. Not because I said so but because God did. You should have seen me.  Oh the words of wisdom I bestowed upon these young ladies. And I believed every word. Still do. Even though I’m here in the Emergency Room with my precious Aaron. 

Romans 8:24-26 

24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

(patiently waiting in a room in the emergency department. patiently waiting as they roll my middle OS down the hall for tests. patiently waiting for results and relief. patiently waiting for a warm bed and restored health.)


 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.

Empty rooms stink

(tired, hungry, scared, Lord, I’m groaning. people are praying. You are here with me though I’m physically alone in this room at this very moment. And my boy, God, you are with him too in the places where I cannot go.)

HOPE

Getting back to me

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There’s nothing that gets me more in the writing mood than sitting in a doctor’s office waiting for a person who’s having a colonoscopy! Not sure what about this experience is inspiring me but to hear my fingers tapping away on the keyboard feels good. The chair I’m sitting in is ridiculously uncomfortable so I need something to get my mind off of the 90 minutes I’ll be here. I mean, there’s only so much tv I can watch and I’ve read the entire paper. I’ve checked facebook too many times already, so I thought I’d do something productive.

Since my last post, I have debated whether to write much about what I’ve been doing. I haven’t wanted my blog to be medical or pitiful but I have been struggling with health issues lately. One has been fibromyalgia (a new diagnosis), the other is depression (a recurrent battle). Not sure which one came first but after dealing with ongoing pain and feeling utterly hopeless, I dragged my sad self to the rheumatologist and started crying. I was at the point of terrible despair and when I left her office, I felt like I had a chance at a normal (whatever that is) life. I began some medication, made critical lifestyle changes and those things have helped me tremendously.

During this time, I asked the Hubs to pray for me. I know he has. He has asked others to pray for me and I’m sure he’s felt clueless on how to help me. When I wasn’t sure how much lower I could go and spent wayyyyyy too much time on the couch, I started to feel afraid that I was going to break my foot again. I felt unstable on my feet and envisioned another injury. I would hang onto a chair railing or the Hubs for fear of falling. Literally, I have found myself leaning on the Hubs. He, along with the Lord, have been my strength. He has made me laugh, supported me in every way, I love him dearly.

It’s been about three weeks since my doctor appointment and I was overjoyed when recently, I found myself bounding effortlessly up the stairs. Part of “me” has been coming back. I am walking without fear emotionally and physically!

And I have been exercising. I learned that it is absolutely critical for me to stay physically active. My doctor recommended this DVD and I began doing it immediately. Although it is a little cheesy, I have been faithfully using it and noticing the results. If you are looking for an exercise program that is adaptable and encouraging, I think these are great! Exercising in the comfort and privacy of my own home has been a better choice for me than the gym at least for right now.

Recently I was talking to my oldest OS and in previous conversations, I shared with him that I had really been struggling. Since he’s a young, busy man with his own life, I wasn’t sure if he recognized his mama’s plight.

But I was wrong.

We were talking on the phone recently and I said, “Nathan, I have something to tell you…” My OS made a dry-witted, West Point tough comment and I interrupted him, “Seriously, Nathan, listen to me. I want you to hear this. I am feeling better.” Then I heard words I wasn’t expecting.

“That’s great, Mom. I’ve been praying for you.” Oh, dear friends, I nearly dropped to the ground with thankfulness. He said something else to me also. “I’ve had some of my buddies praying for you too.”

The only thing sweeter to me than the thought of a group of Soldiers/Cadets praying for me is the image of my precious OS sitting around with his buddies and caring enough to ask for his friends to do so.

About the same time that I had seen the doctor and began implementing changes, my boy was lifting his struggling mama up to the Lord. I’m sure the things I have improved in my health but I also know that God’s Word is true.

Matthew 18:19-21 (New International Version)


 19“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”



The colonoscopy is over, things went well. I need to go walk a couple of miles in my bedroom but it feels good to be back and sharing. More later on Nate’s television “appearance” and other life events.