Tag Archives: enduring in the hard times

When waters still

I’m not a person who dreams of a vacation at the beach. I am not one you would find fishing while sitting in a boat, kayaking down a river or swimming in the ocean, signing up for snorkeling lessons, or being a lifeguard; I don’t even like swimming pools. Maybe because we didn’t grow up near beaches, but did fish/canoe in the mountain lakes and there was a nice hot springs about an hour from home that we sometimes went to in the evenings, big bodies of water are not something I enjoy. They scare me: the depth of the waters and what is unknown underneath is what it is. That and I can only backstroke.

This past weekend, we visited family in Wisconsin. My uncle is very passionate about sail boats and sailing, so it was no surprise that we discussed a sailing adventure, as it was going to be a full moon and the winds would not be as bad in the evening. I had to humble myself and remind my lack of enthusiasm (plus I was feeling extremely sick all weekend, but no excuse) that even though sailing was nothing I loved, it was something that my extended family did as a family activity and I should at least follow along and enjoy being with them rather than moping in negative thoughts.

We had to borrow their jackets, gloves and hats as we were not prepared for how cold it turned out to be, but once we layered up, we were on our way. Me, getting on the boat, would have been a Youtube video sensation. 🙂 Once I got on the boat, I sat and didn’t move until we made it back to the dock. I must admit, I had momentary jealous thoughts, because my cousins were balancing on the front of the boat just hanging on to the sail’s ropes. You would never catch me doing that sort of thing!

We get to the middle of the lake and it is a pretty view…darkness had settled in for the evening and all around the shores were lights shining. Then the wind stopped. Inner panic set in and the first thing I think of is C.S. Lewis’ Voyage of the Dawn Treader in the Chronicles of Narnia series where they experience a time of no winds. Of course we were not in a huge boat and have modern technology, so after trying to get a natural wind..we ended up having to use the motor to return.

I did find just sitting there–although thinking Narnia thoughts–relaxing, and when I stopped panicking, almost peaceful. Then I remembered how opposite the situation was for Jesus’s disciples:

And when he [Jesus] got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep.  And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” Matthew 8:23-27

If anything, my weekend was much like the seas in this passage–just personally in all the physical, mental and emotional. I am not sure why it all flooded in at the same time, but last night–once again crying myself to sleep–I told God that I didn’t know what to do about pretty much everything (mostly physical as that affects everything else.) I don’t even remember what my words were because I found myself in a deep, calm sleep. It was as if Jesus rebuked my waging body and instead told my being, “Peace. Be still.”

I still woke up feeling the same physically…but felt refreshed mentally and emotionally. There are going to be more storms in life…but I shouldn’t fear them: I am secure in The Lifeboat.


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

These Hands

Today I thought of something funny: VeggieTales’ Larry Boy character has super-suction plunger ears! This thought enlightened my state of frustration as I was stalling between the entrance and outdoors of Target’s entryway trying to grasp my small Starbucks cup and walk at the same time. When I finally made it to my car I decided that I should not get a coffee less I was pushing a cart. These hands no longer grip cups the way the way they should…maybe I should look into gripping gloves.

My whole shopping list at Target consisted of two things: band aids and bathroom cups. The band aids are just for safe keeping as I seem to use them often, but the bathroom cups are a new idea I thought of the other night as I found myself rinsing my mouth after bushing but in the end biting my finger. My fingers no longer make a “cup-like” position as I found out.

My right hand is now entering a stage of numbness where my fingers are very heavy and tingle while the function is draining. I can still use my hand (my left is weak but actually now the stronger of the two hands.) My hand is just slow. Simple things such as holding a drinking cup (unless a mug), I now hold with both hands. I hold my toothbrush and chapstick a certain way between my index/middle finger as I drop them otherwise. I cannot pick things up with just my thumb and index finger, so when I drop anything on the floor, I have to use both hands in a scoop like fashion to try to recover it (while also trying to keep my balance). Zip lock bag days are nearing an end; and opening anything else in the kitchen can usually be done with these gripped circles my mom has or with a trusty pair of scissors. 🙂 I can’t get my hair ties in my hair and just an honest note, even sometimes certain things in dressing myself becomes difficult. And typing is finger poking.

These changes in my hand have happened very quickly over the past two months–it is often hard to see past the downslope of health. Next week will be the end of two months on the Sirolimus chemo treatment. My MRI is this Friday (the 23rd) and doctor check up on Tuesday (the 27th)–between the results of those scans, my current physical state and chemo–there is a lot to think and pray about. Try as I can to remain trusting in the Lord, my mind is often consumed with the “what if” of the unknown future that it consumes me. This happened last week, but it was also largely guilt I placed on myself for getting my chemo doses wrong with the new syringes.

In a conversation with my sister, she mentioned that because I have changed so much physically over the past few months, the mental/emotional part of my body is trying to catch up to speed, resulting in the way I have been over the past few weeks: emotional, distant and when not thinking of health, consuming my thoughts with things like teas, books or movies. I am not content…I have been in need. So when my sister mentioned this equation imbalance, I saw the truth in it. Up until this year, all the side effects in my physical body have been slow progressive. This enabled me to adjust to the changes at a steady pace…whereas these past few months it has seemed to be my whole body and I cannot keep the same pace.

I think often: “How am I going to continue to live like this?” But then I remember that I DO live…and God will be at my right hand until the end (Psalm 121:5).

Madam, when you [come] to the other side of the water, and have set down your foot on the shore of glorious eternity, and look back again to the waters and to your wearisome journey, and shall see in that clear glass of endless glory nearer to the bottom of God’s wisdom, you shall then be forced to say, ‘If God had done otherwise with me than he hath done, I had never come to enjoy of this crown of glory’. It is your part now to believe, and suffer, and hope, and wait on[.]

Samuel Rutherford*

*”4/to Marion M’Naught.” Letters of Samuel Rutherford: A Selection. Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2012. pg. 18.


Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Books and Movies

Book review: The Vow

I’ve never done a book review before, only book reports or research papers–but never an official “review” per say. Though I have mentioned book summaries on here before, such as Kathy Van Riper’s A Race Worth Running, I am not sure of what a book review entitles. Which is a pity, only because I never give reviews on Goodreads or other websites like Barnes and Nobles about what books I just completed or struggled through; how spectacular (or not so spectacular) a certain read is. Of course, it is all humble opinion. You have heard the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” I like to add, “Or its title; or its book review.” 🙂

Over this weekend, I had the chance to read The Vow by Kim and Krickett Carpenter. For all the books I have on my list of “to-read” or “currently reading,” this has never been one. In fact, I had never even heard of the Carpenter’s story, until the movie based on the true events hit theatres last year. Completely forgetting about it, I get a text from my friend a few months ago who asked me if I had read the book. “Is that a Nicholas Sparks book?”, I text back. Shame, I know–but the title just sounded like something that he could have penned. She responded back and told me a brief synopsis of the book and then brought up the movie. “Oh, I know which one you are talking about!” Like a lightbulb came on. She was just finishing the book and sent me her copy to read for myself. And I am glad I did!

The Carpenter’s story of life, faith through every circumstance and love challenged me from the moment I started the first chapter. As I moved from the opening chapter titled “Boy Meets Girl”–a fun, heart warming reminder of the early 1990’s dating scene: late night phone calls using a land-line phone resulting in huge monthly phone bills, handwritten letters and commuting back and forth to see each other (in the Carpenter’s case, they had a long distance relationship)–I found myself in tears as I started the next. In no way could I imagine the pain endured of what happened two months after their wedding.

Kim and Krickett had just come off a “mountain top” experience: within eight weeks of meeting, they were in love and planning a wedding. Starting life together, they did not imagine that a fatal car accident would leave Krickett with serious head injuries and in a coma for weeks. She suffered short-term memory loss of everything that they just had lived a few months prior. She did not–and to this day–ever regained memory of meeting Kim, dating him, or getting married to him.

As I continued reading, I was greatly encouraged by the Carpenter’s faith. The book is written mostly from Kim’s point of view and I completely appreciate his honesty about his faith during those trials. Krickett’s faith–even though she suffered brain damage, memory loss, loss of all other function/skills…went through extensive physical, occupational, and speech rehabilitation–still talked about her faith like a solid rock. Personally, I related to the kind of faith Kim endured during those months–trying to do it on my own, forgetting that God holds the bigger picture and cares deeply about every detail in our lives. He promises never to leave us…but that is so easy to forget during the darkest hours.

Doctors did not expect Krickett to make it to the hospital alive, seeing as she had been trapped in the car for more than a half hour, unconscious and bleeding. Doctors did not expect Krickett to make it on the hour flight-for-life helicopter ride from Gallup, NM to Albuquerque. They did not expect her to live through the first full day; the first week; make it to rehabilitation; recover in physical aspects as well as she did (of course, she had been an All-American gymnast in college.) After seven months since the accident, Krickett and Kim found themselves against the odds and literally starting a new life together. After seeking help, the Carpenter’s started to date again, even though they were married. Krickett needed the new memories as the old wasn’t to be found. After a season of “re-falling in love,” they had a renew of vows ceremony. The rest goes from there.

In the last chapter, Kim writes,

Although Krickett has never gained any memory of meeting, dating. or marrying me (the first time), our life today could not be greater. After all we have been through enduring the trials and tribulations that have confronted us, we know that there will be more to come. That’s just how life works. But we have a great sense of appreciation and thankfulness for what God has given us. We have been truly blessed. (175)

As I neared the end of the book, I thought to myself, “I am not even married and this shows what true love and seeking God with our whole lives is about.” Then I thought how I can tend to focus on the past, but there is no need for that…instead seeking to live out for today to the best of my ability. Of course, it will be a habit I need to work on. Like today, Mom and I went to swing at the park. I told her in the car how I used to walk everyday after class at CCU to the local park and swing for a half hour or so, then walk back. Then I added, “I can’t do that anymore.” Then I went on to say how my body is not the same as it was last year around this time, or even from Thanksgiving, to just a month ago. I do not think of my body being on a downward spiral, but when I look at the bigger picture…most often that is what I see–until I remember (or am humbly reminded) of all that I have been blessed with even in the darkest hours.

“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.”

Job 23:10



Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Books and Movies