Tag Archives: Denver

I used to be a Shopaholic

In college, my roommates and I went often to the movies. After seeing Confessions of a Shopaholic, I felt much like the main character, Rebecca Bloomwood. Not that I racked up almost $20 grand in debt, got a job that I knew nothing about, lied to a debt collector, or bought a green scarf for $120 on maxed out credit cards, but the movie made my conscience weary–because I did love to shop. And I was good at impulse buying.

I have always been one for fashion. It was why I wanted to be popular..they wore cool clothes. With my sister visiting this past week, we discussed the 90’s fashion and what we used to wear. Much laughter later, there is just no way it was fashionable, though at the time it seemed so. (I still dig 80’s fashion.) 🙂

Back to Denver days, or as I term–my “glory days”–I loved the city life! I lived with college roommates, had a great job (who doesn’t love Target attached to a mall?), lived in a great neighborhood–across the street from the public library and a park, and was only a few blocks from the best tea and coffee shops. I was in great shape, attended an awesome church and Bible study, volunteered with an after-school street church in downtown Denver, and was surrounded by friends. And I loved to shop.

It is hard not to when you are surrounded like this with so much. It was mostly clothes and, not to blame, but when you are a cashier seeing things fly past your nose all day..sometimes it gets to your brain. Brainwashed. It was better than magazines: I saw the newest products and prices, plus I had an employee discount. But not all shopping was for me. I like to give gifts; giving gifts brings me joy. Getting unexpected gifts gives me joy. To give you must also receive.

It wasn’t until we moved to Ohio that I got really serious about sorting my belongings. Growing up, we did have a thrift store run by our church and we gave our un-needed items to them for others to use. I am all for thrift stores…I shop at Goodwill, but I have always been one to want new in clothes. Fresh. I don’t think it is bad to shop that way, but I have to watch the impulse buys and motives when doing so.

I stopped shopping like Denver days when we moved out here. Yes, I still shop, just not as often. Before August, when my driving ordeal started and then draining health, I would run my errands after church. Coming in the house, I would try to hide a majority of my things in my disposable bags on my way past the kitchen, through the living room and to my bedroom. Parents always seemed to be in the kitchen; I don’t know…something like parents eyeing you makes you feel accountable for what you buy even though I don’t think they cared. Some Sundays it was just food anyway.

Times change. I still like fashion…I follow a few fashion blogs and still stand in front of my closet making “outfits” for different days or upcoming events. But shopping is now mainly for the needs. Most of it is now OT needs. I bought a set of plastic bowls, plates and cups the other day as it is something I need for the kitchen. They have better gripping edges; Me holding glass is getting dangerous. The OT list is for needs that will help me function and be safe, like a shower chair. And the walker I have is just genius!

Because I have been on steroids for almost a whole year, I have gained some weight. With my body the way it is, there are times when just getting ready in the morning or putting away my laundry feels like an exercise. Even today, putting on my socks, ankle braces and shoes took fifteen minutes; I hadn’t even done any PT yet but was breathing as if I did. My body is not its Denver “glory days,” and accepting that has been a long process of faith.

I did have some wardrobe needs now that winter is around the corner: pants and sweaters (among the top of the list.) I don’t think I have met anyone who is excited to go pant shopping. And in my case, I was looking for specifics. Mom recommended J.C. Penny as first stop. I had asked her to join me as I was uncertain of exactly what I was going for–basically, comfortable pants with no buttons. Slacks. I still have jeans and will wear them, but I needed something that was less harsh on the stomach.

We found what we were looking for in the petites section and I was pretty excited. There were some fun colored ones and a corduroy pair. Those didn’t work and fashion was thrown out the window. I try on the others and say, “I look like an old lady in these.” Then quickly blurt out loudly, “No offense if anyone heard that.” I just didn’t want to offend an elderly lady in the dressing room, happen that there would be one. It was exciting to get these pants but I have to admit, it was and is a bit embarrassing to wear them. Just not the fashion I am accustomed to, but they meet my need.

Sweater shopping was more normal–of course, Target just feels normal. 🙂 Marcia helped me find some sweaters. I am so glad she was there, because the last long sleeve shirt I try on, I get stuck. By this time, my arms are pudding and I had to ask for help to take it off. In other words, I may love fashion and shopping but it is now a very exhausting experience. Let alone when I get home I can’t carry my bags up the stairs anymore either.

I am still accepting the wholeness of these past few months–the changes in my body and image overall, but I feel I am reaching a point where I see significance in more important things other than fashion. You will still see me planning outfits or making a “new look” out of the clothes…just rearranging colors and patterns in ways I haven’t worn them before; I will still read the fashion blogs and comment on stranger’s cute shoes, but I am seeking to be content. Fashion is fleeting, but a thankful heart is what I desire most of all.

But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.

I Timothy 6:6-8 ESV


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

Leaving room for “God Room”

In the Gospel of Mark, chapter 2, Jesus is continuing his ministry of teaching the people and performing miracles. At Capernaum, Jesus was at a house where the crowds of people came in at so much abundance that there was no room to get into the house, let alone by the door.

There were four friends who had a lame friend. Because they could not get through the main entrance, these four friends carried the lame friend to the roof, made a hole in the roof, and lowered their friend right to the feet of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus healed this man both spiritually and physically:

Which is easier to say to the sick man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your bed, and start to walk?’ I am doing this so you may know the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins.” He said to the sick man who could not move his body, “I say to you, ‘Get up. Take your bed and go to your home.’” At once the sick man got up and took his bed and went away.

Mark 2:9-12a, NLT

Today, childhood friends from my hometown, sister and brother-in-law, and friends from college days walked the Children’s Tumor Foundation NF Walk in Denver, Colorado. Their walking as a team and raising support on my behalf for the foundation and its future research made me think of the four friends of the lame man. They walked with the same hope as any persons living with a disease: that someday there will be a cure. Right now there is no cure for my disease (that circumferences NF1 as well.) Sometimes these walks for diseases seem so helpless in the bigger picture of the dying world, but what matters is keeping the focus on a hopeful future found in Jesus Christ.

But it is easy for me to lose sight of hope when all I see everyday is my body aging away. I don’t even know what to pray for at times. I know God has given knowledge and wisdom to countless research teams and doctors across the world to help patients such as myself;  I am very thankful for my team of doctors and therapists and trust their guidance. But even they can only do so much. It is our human nature. It is where “God Room” comes into faith.

I just finished Franklin Graham’s autobiography, Rebel with a Cause: Finally Comfortable Being Graham. I know I am about fourteen years behind from when it was written, but I am glad I took the time to read it as it taught me a few lessons in life and faith.

In one of the chapters, Franklin accompanies his friend Bob Pierce–founder of Samaritan’s Purse–on a world tour to see first hand the work that Bob ministered through Samaritan’s Purse to the hurting, sick and needy around the world by helping assist missionaries already in the areas. During the trip, Bob tells Franklin of leaving room for “God Room.”

‘God Room’ is when you see a need and it’s bigger than your human abilities to meet it. But you accept the challenge. You trust God to bring in the finances and the materials to meet that need.

I thought about this in my own life. With starting Physical and Occupational therapy a lot of my mindset has been, “These are things I can no longer do easily on my own or at all on my own.” It gets frustrating. So last night, I prayed for “God Room.” I didn’t go through my whole list of things wrong in my body. I figured God already knows that…but what I focused on was trust–trusting that God would (will continue) to meet my needs–both physically and spiritually. My physical condition is out of the ability of myself and doctors…but not out of God’s ability. With Him all is possible…and that means the “God Room” is pretty big!

*Graham, Franklin. Rebel with a Cause: Finally Comfortable Being Graham. Nashville: (Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1999.) Page 139.


Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Books and Movies

Looking Upward

Over the weekend, I finally accomplished putting into chronological order and placing my college to present pictures in photo albums. It brought back many great memories. As I sorted, I found these pictures that made me laugh at the memory of the evening:




During my years living in the Denver area, I lived in a neighborhood called Bel Mar. On the corner of Wadsworth and Alameda, this was the rising place for living and shopping. The Target I was employed at was about fifteen minutes from Bel Mar…connected to a flat mall that had an indoor mile track that ran its course around the stores. I enjoyed a mile walk on my lunch breaks. I think every mall should be modeled after that one.

Even though there were a few Target stores in the area, Bel Mar also built one a few months before I moved. It was one of the “new city” model styles where the parking garage was underneath on the “first floor,” making the actual retail store on the second floor, all of course equipped with escalators, a stairway, and an elevator. I opted for the escalators.

Mom came to Denver every other week to help me on my chemo weekends. After the grand opening of Target (we had watched it being built over time), I wanted to show her the inside of the new Target. Up until this point, I had only been in a few times, because it was more convenient for me just to get my needs and groceries from my Super Target rather than stop at another one on the way home. But with Mom, we had grabbed a few groceries and as we left, I made a discovery: they even had an escalator for your carts!!! I was laughing so hard, Mom was afraid I would fall down our own escalator. 🙂

Currently, I have recently developed a phobia of walking down the stairs. Going up the stairs is not a problem; just coming down. Too many falls in the past few months has triggered this phobia, but I can’t say that I had really classified it as a fear up until a few weeks ago when I mentioned it to a friend. Now I am not even sure if it is just the stairs I fear falling–I think it is falling in general.

With my balance continuing to worsen, I have now restarted Physical Therapy, but it takes place here at my house. Due to the decline of function in my hands (especially the right hand), I will also be starting soon some sessions of Occupational Therapy. The reason for having the sessions here at home is to help me with my everyday living. For example, because I started my first PT session last week, we did a huge overview of my current conditions and discussed the areas in which I need assistance. Most of my current frustrations deal in the realm of OT, but balance was a major issue for me in PT. She gave me a suggestion for going down the stairs sideways, but to be honest, it doesn’t make me feel any better about the decline. As for right now we are mainly focusing on extra balancing exercises to accompany the PT strengthening exercises I have been doing already.

To access my current conditions, my therapist had me perform some “strength and mobility” tests. I can only stand on one foot for a mere one or two seconds…and standing with one foot in front of the other depends on which foot is placed first. Considering I have had two blood clots in my left leg, don’t be surprised to hear that it is my stronger leg. I think it always has been to be honest. When we lived in Colorado, I did get the chance to learn how to snowboard before my balance would no longer permit the activity. My Dad insisted that my sister and I take a half day of lessons before we just went out on our own. At the rental shop, when deciphering which foot you will put forward on the board, the rental personal did a little test. He had me turn around and gave me a slight nudge. I put my left foot forward first. He said, “You’re a regular foot.” (A right foot is called a goofy foot.) I think if anyone gave me a little nudge today, I would just fall over.

I am seeing the reality that my balance and falling will worsen. I have no control over it. There are days when I am to the point of tears at my balance. Other days, I find humor in it. I think it parallels the balance of life: days when strength is strong and days when strength is weak…in both I need to keep looking upwards, knowing when I fall, He still stands.

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121: 1-2 ESV


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


My thoughts the past few days have been consumed with memories. Colorado. Mmmm, it has been a long time since I have sat down and been totally overwhelmed with thoughts, especially of my favorite things, people and places. Sort of like a noun…a noun can be people, places, things or an idea. There is also proper nouns. Colorado. It sort of fits in all those categories! That is a pretty good noun!!!! 🙂

Blue skies, no humidity, snow peaks, sunsets, friends, family, and my favorite city in the world: Denver.

I love Denver. I loved the neighborhood I lived in…it put me ten minutes from the mountains and less than ten minutes from Downtown. People would ask where I was from. “Denver,” I replied. It sounded so cool. Denver is home of my favorite sports teams, coffee shops, and parks. I also thought the art museum was amazing, bonus free admission on the first Saturday of the month. Denver on the map makes sense. The streets are numbered horizontally and most streets going vertically go from farthest north to farthest south. Sometimes I would just get in my car and drive around the city. By the time I left, I was a city driver! I could even parallel park Downtown!

There is so much about Denver that I love. Most of my thoughts this week were of Denver. Of my “family” I left behind. Thoughts just came at different moments during the day…the fun memories, the bad memories, the places I visited often or drove past daily. College memories. Post-grad life. My old roommates and the times we had together. Walking across the street to my best friend’s apartment to hang out. My first paintings. Going to work in the morning with the sun rising in my rear view mirror…while I was looking towards the purple mountains and blue sky out of my front windshield. Hanging out with my downtown ministry on Thursdays…there is not a day that goes by where I do not think of those kids.

It is hard to believe that a whole year has come and gone. It was last year during this week that I was saying my goodbyes. The year has been a crazy one! Far more than I ever dreamed of, but still…Denver holds that title…”Home.” I think it will just always have that title.

But there is so much more of Colorado to see past the cities. Although I must say Colorado Springs was another favorite place!! You get past the cities to the small towns in the mountains (or at least surrounded by mountains). The ranches, cattle, crops, rodeos!!! My sister and I shared a room that faced the crops across the road. There was nothing like falling asleep to the sound and smells of fresh-cut barely to the hums of the combines. Then the cows in the pasture out back would take on the encore…not so beautiful. LOL.

Looking back, the town I grew up in was perfect. Growing up I did not think that way…it actually took moving to Denver for me to realize that fact. 🙂

Our hometown was like the song of Cheers…

Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.

Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.

Wouldn’t you like to get away?

Sometimes you want to go,

Where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came.

You wanna be where you can see, our troubles are all the same;

You wanna be where everybody knows Your name.

There are things of a small town that I love. For one, we knew everyone at school in all grades. Yes, that is possible…and we were not that small of a school but small enough. I still regularly chat with my close girlfriends from those days. Others will send me emails to ask how I am doing. I think that is special. Which brings me to the main point of small towns…everyone knows everything about everyone else. In other words, word travels fast. 🙂

There are so many fun things to do in the surrounding mountains. Every summer we would take a camping trip. Camping…in a tent and most of the time where there were no outhouses. Yeah, nature’s luxury at best. Hiking, canoeing, and my not so favorite of fishing. There is an old mining town about an hour away…that is my favorite mountain town!! In the summer, they set of 4th of July fireworks from the mountains above town. Sitting on a hill on the other side was always cold but had the greatest view. There were a bunch of tourist shops…best coffee and fudge around!

I am sure by now you might be wondering about all this random chat about Colorado. First, I think it is because I realize that God has his own unique way of answering my prayers. I wanted to move closer to family but did not realize at the time how hard adjusting would be after spending my whole life (minus the first 6 years) in Colorado. But looking back over the one year here, I have seen so much family! I love my family. And now part of my family is back in Colorado…talk about vacations!!! Whoo hoo!

Speaking of which, I should be packing. YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THE TIME HAS COME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😀 As of a few hours, I will be IN COLORADO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My thoughts have been so consumed with this all weekend!!! I could not focus last night…so I sat down and read Psalm 139. It really is an amazing Psalm about God knowing us from even before we are born…he knows the plans he has for us (Jeremiah 29:11). I wanted to read this Psalm mostly because I wanted to control my anxious thoughts. Verse 23-24 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; 24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.”

So there I sat. I just started talking to God about all these things in my head…I was trying to plan out what I could see in my short time there…but my anxious thoughts were becoming overwhelming. It was almost like driving in the mountains but you spend the whole time reading a book (which I will refrain from doing. I am only taking it for the plane rides and for if we go fishing. 🙂 ) But do you see what I mean? I finally realized the best way to go to Colorado is to let go of my past memories and take in new ones. I can stop planning because I don’t have to see everything…there is not enough time anyway. But I can enjoy what I do see and the people I see it with. My anxious thoughts are calm, but I still can say, “I can’t wait!!!” 😀

P.S. I do hope to see one of these. 😀

We liked this song growing up:







Filed under Books and Movies, Family Times, Paintings, Random, Uncategorized