Tag Archives: being a light to others

Homemade OT

“Do you want to go out on the patio to sit?” We had just finished dinner and Dad was up from the table already starting to clear the dishes to the sink. It was a particularly toasty day, so I had only ventured outdoors when Mom drove me to my short doctor appointment in town. But around supper, the temperatures dropped slightly making the air pleasantly calm and a soft warmth.

“I’m not sure what I am going to do,” I reply to Mom’s question. Before dinner I had finished a book–downloaded on my Nook–that a friend recommended to me. I was all caught upon emails, not planning on starting any paintings, had a clean room and just did laundry a few days prior, and didn’t feel like resuming finger-poke blog entries just yet. In a word, I was a bit bored. I could have called someone on my Captel phone for a conversation, but decided fresh air was needed.

I was taking the last of my medicines in the kitchen and thought of what to do while outside. Mom was going to be planting the yellow Columbines she recently bought from Lowes and Dad was working on (what looked like to me) weeding and installing the new garden hose. Never being one with a “green thumb” and now too adding my limitations of walking, bending over due to balance and my hands–I am pretty much no use in the garden. (Although I do play a role sometimes of watering the flowers and small bushes near the house with the hose.)

I decided I could sit at the picnic table and continue where I had left off earlier in the morning, reading and recording the verses where the phrase, “steadfast love,” appears. I had started this quest last Fall, but stopped after finishing Psalm 119. The notebook of references fell to the bottom of my upper right dresser “junk drawer” and it wasn’t until yesterday that I found it.

Lost in thought about the Psalms, Mom comes back to the kitchen and starts talking to me about using rice as an Occupational therapy exercise. Taking into consideration how the numbness in my hands affect my feeling, holding or picking up objects (I demonstrated with my medicines,) Mom continues to explain this simple exercise in an excited fashion. Totally missing a few context pieces to the conversation puzzle, I just understand that if you put rice in a bowl with objects, such as beads or coins, use your hands to feel around for the objects (because you can’t peek in the bowl for them), then it helps–not only your hands and finger touch awareness–but strengthens the mind. It’s like a psychology OT exercise! Stimulating!!

Instead of sitting around the picnic table, Dad suggests sitting under the tree nearer to where they are working. It was lovely! As I am getting ready to pull out my Bible, Mom asks if I wanted to try the rice bowl activity. “Sure,” I say. Mom goes in and gets a bowl of rice and places in “hidden objects” for me to find with my hands. The objects slowly discovered: nice sized wooden beads and pennies. “How many pennies are there?” Mom turns her head so I can lip-read, “Twenty.” Twenty? I found two. ūüôā

It amazed me how just weaving my hand in a bowl of rice “looking” with my fingers for objects, felt like an exercise. My hand was physically tired; I rotated between left and right. My physical therapist had commented on how much atrophy she saw in my hands, then showed me a strengthening exercise to help with the curling fingers. But it persists. The hardest part of nerve loss is that it can never be regained, though I can keep it for as long as possible if I retrain my brain using the muscle exercises. It might not amount too much, but it is better than being idle.

The book that I had finished before dinner is an autobiography titled, Life, In Spite of Me: Extraordinary Hope After a Fatal Choice,¬†by Kristen Anderson. At age 17, Kristen had lost all hope to live and attempted suicide by laying on a train track one block from her home. But she did not die. God, in miraculous ways…unfathomable ways…spared her life–a second chance. Through the long, hard recovery, Kristen came to know the healing power of God’s forgiveness, mercy and grace. Although she didn’t understand God’s timing, she started to share her story. She had questioned what life would hold with no legs…her future…but the more she shared, the more outflow of how her testimony helped others who were hurting came to light. Feeling God’s call, Kristen started in full-time ministry and founded Reaching You Ministries.

There are moments in my life where I question my abilities, strengths and future. It is not an easy road…and unlike Kristen, my body will never recover here on earth. But the encouragement and hope I found in Kristen’s testimony gave me the reassuring peace that my abilities, strength and future are not like the shifting sands…but solid, unshaken…held in God’s hands.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

Refrain

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground isinking\

“The Solid Rock.” Edward Mote. 1836.

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Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Books and Movies, Family Times

Nature’s Night Lights

Random fact #0613: Mel sleeps with a nightlight. Two actually. One in my main room off on the side left wall and another in the bathroom which I can see from my bed. I am not afraid of the dark–I just don’t like the dark due to bad balance. My night lights serve as a safety purpose, without them, I fall.

I will leave you to imagine how I look when I walk in the dark. Darkness is the reason why I do not especially care for winter months. In the summer, I can still be outside around 9pm and be fine. When¬†it finally¬†gets dark, it is best that I have¬†assistance…usually an arm from a person walking beside me or if I go out on the back patio to¬†feed Muffy his bed-time snack,¬†I¬†initially hold on to the¬†rail by the door to balance then take¬†it slow¬†to a chair¬†(plus the patio lights are on and I stay in the lighted area).

I find it is easiest¬†to wait¬†for Muffy to¬†finish eating¬†by just sitting.¬†Thus, I sat¬†last night¬†with no thoughts–just staring into the darkness ahead of me.¬†Then it happened…Fireflies!!! I have been waiting¬†for¬†this moment since the start of¬†Spring!¬†In my mind, it is now the official start¬†of¬†Summer!!

I remember fireflies when we lived in Toledo until I was six. After the move to Colorado, our days of seeing fireflies were limited to when we took family vacations back out east to visit family and friends. Once when visiting friends near Chicago, we were taking a walk and fireflies came out. All of a sudden, gleeful cries and the pursuit of catching them took place…never mind the fact that we were teenagers. I still find it fun to catch fireflies and last night¬†in my excitement, I banged¬†on the window and yelled, “I just saw a firefly!!”¬†I even held up my arms like a victory field goal, which¬†probably looked¬†and sounded more¬†like¬†George Bailey¬†wishing Mr. Potter a “Merry Christmas” in¬†It’s a Wonderful Life.

Although Colorado¬†does not have fireflies, I don’t think that it ever bugged me. (Bugged: haha, Mel humor!!)¬†I know this because God provided¬†a different form of fireflies: nature’s fireflies. Best part¬†was that I did¬†not have to wait for certain seasons to see them.¬†From our backyard, in complete¬†darkness,¬†the vastness of the evening sky and the twinkling of unfathomable numbers of stars was far greater than trying to catch fireflies.

A few months ago at dinner, I told my mom that I was having¬†a hard time reading Holley Gerth’s blog posts, because all this talk about having God-sized dreams left me feeling like¬†I was sitting in a closet with the lights turned off. “I don’t have any God-sized dreams,” I said. Truth…I still don’t–at least I do not recognize them at the time. Not only my Mom, but countless others have kindly reminded me that I don’t have to do big things¬†to be used by God.¬†Even the tiniest star in the sky is still visible, just because it shines–and it shines even brighter when surrounded by¬†others¬†doing the same.

“Shine like stars across the land.” Philippians 2:15b (The Voice)

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Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Funny Stories, Muffy, Paintings, Uncategorized

Christmas all year long.

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Yesterday’s Christmas Eve service was the same as Sunday. Off I went Sunday¬†with my family to their church so I braced myself for¬†a service without¬†interpreters, which I knew. The pastor usually leaves his sermon notes copied off on the table in the foyer, but there were none left when we arrived. I just watched the praise team from the balcony¬†where we sat and read the words to the songs, occasionally hearing the beat of the next stanza so¬†I could try to sing along. The sermon started and I just followed the three main bullet points of the sermon about the particular Advent candle. I had my Bible so I read some passages and found amusement from the boy sitting in front of me trying to figure out where the exact middle of the Bible was–he ended up in the middle of the Psalms. No surprise, I told myself…seems¬†like¬†I had¬†done that myself when I was his age. We took communion and then the praise band did an acoustic version of “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” They sang all the verses–and even though I could hear all the words, I just sat there and listened for most of it. Just letting the words sink in. “O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel.”

Last night was different though the same church, same pastor, same seats. Except this time my attitude was different. In the car, I kept thinking to myself–this is ridiculous! I could just stay at home and read my Bible and sing a few hymns to myself. I felt more like a hypocrite really–wearing my favorite skinny jeans, cute sparkly¬†top and sparkly shoes. Like dressing up for nothing…was what my thoughts were. The songs had no words on the power point; there were no bullet points to the message; and worst of all, I forgot my Bible so I couldn’t even read any passages. I just sat there. My right hearing aid¬†was not right and so I had to take it out; my shoes were bugging me (and my sister told me they were making noise as I was trying to take them off); and I just really wanted to leave. We did not even have candles to hold when they started the song and proceeded with the congregation lighting each others’ candles. The people in front of us turned and realized we had no candles. They offered theirs. Another woman did the same. When all the candles were lit, we sang Silent Night.

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In the candle glow, I realized that this is what Christmas should be like–sharing our candles with others so they too have light in their time of need. It brings¬†hope and love and peace. The Light of Christmas isn’t meant to burn out the 26th of December. The message lasts all year.

From my house to yours: Merry Christmas!

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Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Family Times, Muffy, Random