Tag Archives: family and friends

A “Pick-Me-Uppy”

During my parents ten-day absence, my Lifeline was set so in the case I fell, triggering the sensor or needed help, thus personally pressing the button–if no one answered with the communicator over the intercom, the Lifeline representative would automatically dispatch emergency personnel instead of calling my parents cell phones, which is usually the prior action in normal circumstances when they are home.

Knowing this, I took extreme extra caution as to my watching my balance (although I could not fully control that aspect) when standing up from sitting at the table or the times of bending over to retrieve something off the floor. I also made certain that I tried my best not to accidentally bump my necklace and set off the sensor without my knowledge. Last thing I wanted was for an emergency squad to come barging in finding me perfectly normal or otherwise startled by their presence. I only had to concern myself with this thinking when I was home alone.

I had an immense!! coverage of helping, encouraging, loving, giving hands during this time. Actually, it is not something new; I just felt the impact of everyone’s generosity and concern more being here alone. And I am grateful…so blessed. There were hot evening meals, invites to get coffee or help me with errands, if needed; there were those who offered to be “backup” plans just in case and one to be available to help with outdoor needs, such as in the event we got snow. I got texts and emails from friends out-of-state making sure I was doing well and had the chance to make a few Skype video chats and call my grandpa as well. The week was anything but the dull-drums! ūüôā

Because I do need more help these days–and just for a safety factor–we did ask two girls my age to help me on a regular basis. One came for a few hours in the afternoon and the other stayed with me late evening until mid-morning. They helped me get to the basement so I could paint, walk to get the mail or take me for errands/church; dishes, folding laundry, cleaning Muffy’s kitty litter and taking out the trash; even getting my compression stocking on in the morning! Things I can no longer do well or if at all on my own. Marcia was around often too, but it was nice not to lay all responsibility on her shoulders; my family does so much already.

However, it was Marcia who saved me from a Lifeline emergency squad experience. The day after my parents left, my friend had invited me over to her house to be with her family and stay for dinner. I had roughly about an hour between my evening helper leaving for the day and my friend coming. I finished getting ready and then decided that I had enough time to quickly check my email. I pushed my walker into the study room to use my parent’s computer as it was more convenient (or so I thought.) I parked my walker to the right of the office chair and was in the process of swiveling the chair around so I could sit when my shoe hit the floor mat and sent me off-balance.

I blurt out, “AH!” and since the chair is also moving, I have no composure–only the downward decent to the floor. Now keep in mind this all happens so quickly, as like my thoughts–and as my head is swarming with perceivable outcomes (emergency personnel, being stuck on the floor, my friend coming), I suddenly feel a pair of strong arms trying to ease or prevent the rest of my fall to the floor. I am Deaf and my position to the computer left me with my back facing the study room door; plus I was home alone two minutes prior.

One would think that this would have at least startled me or caused another blurtation, “AH!”–but instead I am thinking thoughts of an angel. I finally land on the floor sort of siting awkwardly cross-legged and see a whiff of hair out of my right peripheral¬†vision. I tilt my head up and see Marcia’s smiling yet concerned face peering down at me. “Oh! Hello!”…the first words out of my mouth. The Lifeline sensor finally sets off the intercom; Marcia goes to correspond with the representative and then returns to help me off the floor. I would say “impeccable timing,” but my friend that evening declared, “Hand of Providence!” Indeed, it was.

“Thank you.” The two-worded phrase doesn’t seem to circumference the gratitude I have for all that is bestowed…whether in meeting my physical needs or upholding my name in daily prayers. To each of you–may you be richly blessed. ‚̧

You Tube video: (you can click on the song title to be directed o the page)

More Than You’ll Ever Know.”¬†Watermark.¬†All Things New.¬†Rocketown Records, 2000.

 

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Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Family Times, Funny Stories, Uncategorized

When You Give

In the second grade, I was in Mrs. Brumfield’s class. There are a few special memories I think of when remembering Mrs. Brumfield and her class: She always wore bright red lipstick and because she used my personal book, Abel’s Island, to¬†read to the class for our afternoon reading time, I have a smudge of that red lipstick in the front cover of my book. It still remains one of my favorite children novels.¬†Our circular building held classrooms divided like a pie and our door faced the playground–I especially liked the monkey bars, so much that I gave my palms blisters; but once my name was written on the chalkboard and I had to stay in from recess.

Mrs. Brumfield’s favorite type of animals were pigs. We even made “pigs” using pantyhose stuffed with pillow cotton and after we tied off the curly tail, we hot-glued on felt ears and sewed buttons for the eyes. My pig has pink ears and purple buttoned eyes…and it is in my special box. On our birthday, we got to make a chart using pictures from home to tell the class a bit about our favorite things and about our family. A family member was invited to attend and sit with us up front, but because neither mom nor dad could attend mine, Mrs. Brumfield allowed my best friend at the time, Stephanie, to sit with me.

At the end of the day, there were two dismissal bells for the bus shifts. Because I left on the second bell, this allowed me ten extra minutes of reading time…as we always ended the day with quiet reading in our own “corners or desks areas.” Being a book nerd from an early age, I took this time seriously and never wanted to leave class at the second bell if I was in mid-sentence. And Mrs. Brumfield gave us a take home assignment, but it was “fun” homework: when it was our turn, we took home a large Ziplock bag containing a book, entry log, and a stuffed animal of a mouse in overalls holding by Velcro–a chocolate chip cookie. Our assignment was to log our different activities of what we did with our new pal. Mom tried to find a few educational activities. ūüôā The hardest part was keeping track of the cookie! The book:

if_you_give_a_mouse_cookie

If you have read either this book or¬†the other,¬†If You Give a Moose a Muffin, the overall concept of the story is the same: you give and they keep asking for more–eventually circulating back around to what was initially given.

Recently, my parents went on an extended weekend vacation back to Colorado. It was not initially the reason why we set the Lifeline for use, but it was planned to have that established before their trip for safety reasons. My weekend was not much different from others. I had a few appointments already set, tasks I needed to accomplish and had some sister chat times. I carried out my days like usual routine–my own breakfasts and lunches. Several ladies from my parent’s Sunday school class signed up to deliver hot meals for my dinners. I cannot tell you how much that was appreciated!! A few ladies contacted me just to see how I was doing and if I needed anything. Genuine kindness.

Mom did ask a girl from town around my age to come in the evenings to spend the night (mainly for my Lifeline factor), but also to help take out trash, clean Muffy’s kitty litter, help with dishes and anything else I might need. We decided this was best in their absence–she came in around 10pm and left in the mid-mornings for her other duties and jobs. It worked nicely and since the Olympics were still being covered in Primetime, I usually was in the basement at the end of the day relaxing and working on a friend’s late Christmas present while watching the Games.

I really cherished the weekend, but also saw how much I possibly take for granted within my family all the extra help they give so selflessly. Miriam would ask if I needed help with anything else before going to bed herself and unless it was something I just couldn’t do, like unbutton my new sweater so I could wear it the next day, I didn’t initially ask for much assistance. Maybe it was embarrassment, maybe pride. Maybe I am used to my family seeing me struggle, like when I try to pick up medicines that have fallen to the floor, and they just come to the rescue without my asking. Or often, maybe I am just tired of asking for people to give their time and help–as I turn more dependent, I am becoming stubborn and wanting to still do things on my own. How do I balance between the two? It is something I am still in process of learning.

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

My Own Book Club

When my sister helped me set my Word Press account, she introduced me to the Widgets that I could apply to my page. Not wanting to overcrowd my page, I just kept to a simple format, but did apply one that linked to Goodreads. Before starting my blog, I had never heard of Goodreads. I have always loved to read, but never thought of recording my books started, finished or¬†under the “want to read” category–let alone write reviews about¬†the book¬†when I did finish.¬†I just did so in my mind. I didn’t consider books as a social activity.

At least not until this year. As I started to read more good books, I started to discuss them. Most of the time it was with Mom, as friends for me were still in Colorado. During the same week as my blood clot surgery, the ladies Bible study that I had signed up to attend had started. Missing only a few times, I got to know these women and respected their godly wisdom as I was the youngest in the group. Today, two of these ladies are now good friends. Age shows no boundaries in friendship. As Spring turned into Summer, I also started to get to know a few people in town. My friends were now more than just acquaintances. I still Skype, email, text and write letters to my dear friends in Colorado and wherever else they may reside, but having friends in the current area has been a joy.

I bring up friends (and I¬†include¬†family members in this too), because like myself, many are avid readers, love the library,¬†and don’t mind if I bring up a few good book title recommendations.¬†I decided books¬†run in my blood line. ūüôā Now,¬†I can’t tell you why I started this year to see books as social activity, but when it first started, I found that when I shared what I considered to be a good read,¬†I enjoyed¬†being able to remember what¬†I read. Sounds funny, I¬†know. But I was never good at reading¬†to remember (unless it is an exceptional read.) This¬†is¬†why I preferred final papers over final tests in school.

Now that the year is nearing its end, I am glad that I have a Goodreads account. I looked back at the books I read this year–some I liked, others not so much; some I bought, some I borrowed, some I gave away when¬†I finished; some I¬†checked out from the library, some I read in¬†a coffee shop, some I¬†finished in the car on a road trip. There are still many to enjoy, which is the point of this blog post: I will now share my year-long secret with you. Actually, it is not really a secret, but it is sort of silly so¬†I never told anyone.

In¬†March, I noticed on Goodreads that there were different polls and¬†book recommendations on the side margins.¬†I noticed one in particular–a reading challenge: how many books are you going¬†to read this year?¬†I didn’t think much on it, thought it would be fun and set my challenge: my 2013 reading challenge. 40 books.¬†I thought that was a¬†good number…not¬†too low, yet not high where I felt¬†it unreachable.¬†I was so serious about it when I first started,¬†then forgot about it all together and hardly¬†read at all during the summer. Something about students returning to campus, the thought of classes and learning and hours of studies in coffee shops got my mind refocused on enjoying book or two. On Monday I was writing a book review on Goodreads and¬†finally checked my¬†number for the challenge, as I¬†was clueless¬†of how many more books I needed in order to make my goal. According to the stats, I have read 39 books…one more to go to reach my challenge. ūüôā

The book challenge was never my motive for reading, but it encouraged me to keep reading (at the times when I remembered I even had a goal to reach.) Would I set another challenge for next year? I have thought about it. If I did, I would challenge myself to read a few more than 40–but would keep my number a secret. ūüėȬ†But I don’t think numbers are important. It is not about how much I read, but how well I read–what I discover in the text, decipher in my thoughts,¬†and share with others. That is what I consider a good read.

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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, ‚ÄėYour sins are forgiven,‚Äô or to say, ‚ÄėGet up, take your bed, and start to walk?‚Äô I am doing this so you may know the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins.‚ÄĚ He said to the sick man who could not move his body,¬†‚ÄúI say to you, ‚ÄėGet up. Take your bed and go to your home.‚Äô‚ÄĚ 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.

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Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Books and Movies