Thursday, October 30, 2014

Warning: Brutal Truth Within

Well, it happened.

This week I met that moment when I had no desire to go to yet another doctor appointment or do yet another exercise for my eyes, memory, focus or anything else that resembles this present trial.

The struggle is real folks. I am being real here. Feel free to stop reading now if you do not want the brutal truth.

I try not to complain but here it is. It is hard to be raw and vulnerable like I am being in this post. Tonight's post is hard for me to write so please be gracious with my rambling and the truth.;)

As much as I enjoyed not having to risk my life getting to work on a snowy Minnesota morning or deal with slippery roads. I miss what I had even eighteen months ago. Well, not so much the yucky roads or dealing with the traffic, but more so the strength, purpose, energy and a life without doctor appointments and therapy exercises. I miss who I was.

I also struggle with being content and at peace with this chapter in the story of my life. I struggle with not having a plan, a job, purpose, income, energy. I am frustrated with the daily headaches, the low back and neck pain that is constant and nearly unrelenting. I desire normalcy and relief.

Tonight I was unable to help with a ministry that is near to my heart because of a headache that gave me no reprieve all day. This type of thing has happened more often than not since the accident. The accident changed many things for me and because of that I grieve just as anyone does when they are met with a loss or change in life that is unwelcomed.

I am often reminded of how things are different for me and of me. Truth the core essence of who I am has not been changed.

I am still a sinner saved by grace alone.

I am still a daughter, sister, auntie and friend to many.

I am still walking, breathing, eating on my own.

I still desire to serve and honor God, to have a deep and lovely relationship with Him.

I am alive. 

Loved by family.

Other things in my life have changed.

My love for reading and studying have changed. I do not remember or fully understand things I read or hear like sermons, bible study or reading for fun and enrichment. I desire it but get frustrated when I cannot recall what I have read or heard. I miss the richness and closeness one experiences when reading and grasping what they are rwading.

My love for ministry, volunteering and spending time with family and friends is still deep within but has been a struggle to do so because of the symptoms that worsen from the energy and over stimulation that occurs when I spend time doing these things.

I write these things in part to relay my struggle to the person who is reading this and facing a similar situation but also so I can process what has happened and the journey I am on and look back at this moment when I need to remember (literally! ). This journey is not easy to travel but one that I am being asked by God to do faithfully.

Now, I know that last sentence may not make sense to everyone who reads it. To be honest I struggle to understand it on a daily basis, much less live it.

You see, friends, we are called, as a follower of Christ, to walk the life we are given by faith. To trust when we don't understand.  To rest when we are weary. To call on The Great Physician when we hurt physically. To trust in Jehovah Jirah- The One Who Provides when we are in need.

Like I said I am writing this to remember and to remind myself of where I was and how far I am progressing in the future. Of what I need to do every moment of the day.

I will continue to persevere in my therapies.

I will choose to live in truth and the core of who I am.

I will continue to trust and call out to God  when I am hurting and struggling but also when I am having a good day.

I will live a thankful heart in this journey. 

I will accept the "newer" part of me and not be discouraged.

I will not compare what I used to be able to do with my current abilities.

I will be reasonable  with my expectations of myself.

I will have patience with myself and my journey.

I will be a stronger and better person because of this.

I won't let my present trial drag me down.

There you have it. Truth and struggle. Along with promises and a personal mission statement of how I am walking my journey.

Thank you for making it this far with me and allowing me to share with you in what is most likely a disjointed and rambling post.

To be honest I am more than exhausted in trying to write this throughout the sum of two days and I do not have the comprehension or focus to be able to fully and properly articulate all of my thoughts perfectly so there you have it, a English and Grammer teacher's nightmare but my life as I know it (currently!) :)


Friends, will you rejoice with me? Today I  hit a big (well big to me) milestone of being released from active Physical Therapy care after 5 months of treatment! This means that I will have maintenance care to not lose all that I have attained but can most of it on my own at the clinic.

It's been a difficult road in so many ways for over a year now and it was encouraging to hit this milestone rather than another roadblock. In fact, I have had a few breakthroughs in my other therapies in the last two weeks which has also been exciting for me and my team of doctors and therapists!

I have many miles to go and I know from experience it won't be easy. I will have continued care and have many decisions concerning my future as I do not have a job to go to when I am ready so I will have to find something new. I am praying about options and when it's time I will explore them.

I am thankful for God's provision, strength, comfort and the blessing of family and friends and tonight I give Him praise!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What A Traumatic Brain Injury Means For Me

Hello All!

I really have been MIA! I am sorry! Due to a brain injury last fall I have been limited in my ability to write and be online. Last week one of my therapists gave me a sheet that explained in concise ways what I have wanted to express to my friends and family but have trouble putting it in a way that may be easy to understand. It has taken me many hours to type this out(I am limited on screen and reading time due to my headaches and symptoms) but I hope this makes sense and helps you understand me and anyone else you may know who has a Traumatic Brain Injury(TBI). If you have any questions I would love to answer them!

*I need a lot more rest than I used to. I'm not being lazy. I get physical fatigue as well as a "brain fatigue". It is very difficult and tiring for my brain to think, process and organize. Fatigue makes it even harder to think.

*My stmaina fluctuates, even though I may look good or "all better" on the outside. Cogniton is a fragile function for a brain injury survivor. Some days are better than others. Puching too hard usually leads to setbacks, sometimes to illness.

*I am not being difficult if I resist social situations. crowds, confusion adn loud sounds quickly overload my brain, it doesn't filter sounds as wells as it used to. Limiting my exposure is a coping strategy.
*If there is more than one person talking, I may seem uninterested in the conversation. That is because I have trouble following all the different "lines" of discussion. It is exhausting to keep trying to piece it all together. I am not dumb or rude; my brain is getting overloaded!

*If we are talking and I tell you that I need to stop, I need to stop NOW! And it is not because I am avoiding the subject, it's just that I need time to process our discussion and "take a break" from all of the thinking. Later I will be able to rejoin the conversation and really be present for the subject and for you.

*Patience is the best gift you can give me. It allows me to work deliberately and at my own pace, allowing me to rebuild pathways in my brain. Rushing and multi-tasking inhibits cognition.

*Please listen to me with patience. try not to interrupt. Allow me to find my words and follow my thoughts. It will help me to rebuild my language skills.

--Other processing slows me down.

*Please have patience with my memory. Know that not remembering does not mean that I don't care.

*If I seem "rigid", needing to do tasks the same way all the time; it is because I am retraining my brain. It's like learning main roads before you can learn the shortcuts. Repeating tasks in the same sequence is a rehabilitation strategy.

*If I seem "stuck" , my brain be stuck in the processing of information. Coaching me, suggesting other options or asking what you can do to help may help me figure it out. Taking over and doing it for me will not be constructive and it will make me feel inadequate. (It may also be an indication that i need to take a break.)

*You may not be able to help me do something if helping requires me to frequently interrupt what I am doing to give you directives. I work best on my own, one step at a time and at my own pace.

*If I repeat actions, like checking to see if the doors are locked or the stove is turned off, it may seem like I have OCD, obsessive-compulsive disorder but I may not. It may be that I am having trouble registering what I am doing in my brain. Repetitions enhance memory. (It can also be a cue that I need to stop and rest.)

*If I seem sensitive, it could be emotional lability as a result of the injury or it may be a reflection of the extraordinary effort it takes to do things now. Tasks that used to feel "automatic" and take minimal effort, now take much longer, require the implementation of numerous stratgeies and are huge accomplishments for me.

--My brain is sending me extra "loud" signals of "danger(however unrealistic)" and reacts by making me "shut down" or becoming weepy. This is frustrating(and embarrassing) for me.

*I am doing the best I can. Thank you for the encouragement, support and prayers, they mean so much to me!

*Don't confuse Hope for Denial. I am learning more and more about the amazing brain and there are remarkable stories about healing in the news every day. No one can know for certain what my potential is. I need Hope to be able to employ the many, many coping mechanisms, accommodations and strategies needed to navigate our new lives. Many things in my life is difficult for me each day. It would be easy to give up without Hope.

--I don't know if I will have a complete recovery. I do not know what I wil or will not regain. the future is largely uncertain. Please pray for me. This is a hope thing. A faith thing. A trust thing. A prayer thing. I won't know more until at least December when I am reevaluated and it is determined if I am ready to start looking for work, what type of work and whether it will be part or full time or if I will pursue school instead.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and hopefully it made sense! ;)

Blessings my friends,


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Minnesota "Bucket" list

Ok so in an attempt to get to know my new state a little more I created a list of things to do or see. I thought I would share it with you and show my progress thus far! If you know of any places you would recommend let me know!

1. Packer/Viking game
2. Twin/Brewer game
3. Como Conservatory
4. Como Zoo
5. Music and movie events in the local parks
6. Local farmers markets(1 down, many to go!)
7. Pizza Luce
8. Biaggi's
9. Sawatee (again and again-great food!)
10. 5 Guys (check!)
11. Chick-fil-a when they open!
12. Wayzata Art Experience
13. An event/play at the Guthrie
14. Concerts throughout the city, big and small!
15. Art Institute Show
16. Outdoor Theatre
17. Kayaking
18. Paddle-boarding!!!-so, so want to try this!
19. Go to Taylor Falls
20. Go to Duluth
21. MidTown Global Market
22. MN Zoo
23. Lake Calhoun (check x2!)
24. Bethlehem Baptist
25. Orpheum Theatre
26. Minnehaha Falls
27. Mini Golf
28. Boating/tubing
29. Weaver Lake
30. Centennial Lakes-all seasons
31. Lake of the Isles
32. Lake Harriet
33. Boundary Waters
34. Camping
35. Work on my photography, especially downtown with the old and beautiful churches and buildings
36. Buy a bike and check out the local biking trails.
37. Check out the unique shops
38. A professional hockey game
39. Any GF restaurant I can find!
40. Walker Art Center

There it is, folks! It will be a work in progress as I discover this new state and learn more about it and what it has to offer! Any idea or suggestions? Anyone want to check out these places with me?

Life over the {state} border

Why, hello again, friends! It's been awhile. I am still here, in Minnesota. Life since I last wrote has been in some ways the same and in other ways intense. The first couple months of being here seemed to be more about survival. Getting to know my surroundings, learning how to get to pertinent locations and back home again. Finding balance with work and focusing on not getting confused with the ever-changing details and processes that come with my job also kept me busy and exhausted by the end of the day. In all fairness, me totaling out my car and having to heal from that and take care of all those details also took up much of my time and energy in the last six weeks!

I know I promised to finish my story as to how God brought me to the culture and land but I would like to do a quick detour and give you an update on the last month or so. I would be lying to you and myself if I said that my time in Minnesota has been great, easy and fun. There have been moments of frustration, loneliness and the curiosity as to why God brought me here. Was it to just go to the gym, go to work, come home, sleep and repeat day after day? I really hope not.

I have struggled to find reason and purpose in this time. I strongly sense that God has me here and that it is in His will that I am here. Now I work and wait to (possibly) see what He has for me in addition to work. There have been tears of frustration on my way to and from work wondering if I was away from family, friends and the community I had back home to work. Or was work what He has for me now? Not once have I felt that this move was in error or that I should not be here. I do not sense the release to move back (believe me I have asked Him for it!) :)Granted there have been the occasional visit and time spent with two friends whom I knew before moving here but sadly life is busy and I don't get to see them as often as I would love to. My co-workers are pretty neat and interesting and I appreciate each one of them. What I have missed is fellowship, community and accountability. I have struggled to break out of my natural introverted self and have made it a goal to either introduce myself to at least one new person each week at church or have a conversation with someone had met previously. Some weeks have gone better than others and slowly I am starting to enjoy my time after worship I bit more.

The church I go to is large but has a ministry for young adults and a service that is geared towards that on Sunday service. I enjoy the worship and teaching and have made it to 2 of the social events in attempts to meet other people. It is just like any other service and about 150-200 people go on a average week. They meet on Sunday nights so that gives me the WHOLE day to myself. I have been intentional on trying to have it as a rest day, not running errands, shopping etc. An average Sunday finds me sleeping in, having a nice breakfast, taking a walk, reading, reflecting, skyping family and friends and getting a few meals made for the coming week. I have come to look forward and cherish this time as my work week can get hectic.

Up until recently the only thing besides Church that I consistently did was work. I CRAVED fellowship and friend time. I miss the community I had back home, especially as summer is here and I see on Facebook the great times they are having and I miss those times with them. Thankfully the opportunity opened up for a new small group that was starting. I have been going and it has been such a blessing and I look forward to going each week. I even had the chance to host the group one week!

As God puts it on your heart please continue to pray for healing from the accident. I still deal with headaches and migraines that have kept me from working and functioning at my best and pain in my neck and upper back prevent me from driving and working out as I used to. My care has been outstanding and I know it takes time but of course I get impatient at times wanting the headaches to go away and to be able to work out and function as I used to!

Also, please pray for the continued transition and building community and friendships. That I would be aware of what God has for me each moment and day and that I would be open to the ministry that I can do each day for the people I come in contact with. That He will have all glory in this season He has me in, that I TRUST HIM in this time! :)

Sunday, March 31, 2013

God didn't wait 12 months....Part 1

So, its been awhile since I blogged. Again. Remember my 13 for '13 post? Well, God certainly has been working in my life. One of my words for 2013 was

Anticipation. Anticipation for what God has in store for me and my family and friends. I look forward to seeing where He takes us, the growth, challenges, our response to them and victories we will experience this year!

Well, He certainly has challenged me. Within days of writing that post I found out that I would only have my job for a few more weeks. I was shocked, floored and so, so very sad. I loved the family and I loved my job. Yes, I was looking forward to what God had for me in 2013 but I certainly didn't expect this!

God is so cool though. the day I found out I would need to find a new job I was supposed to go on a retreat(a retreat that He totally provided for me to go on). I instantly wanted to skip the retreat and spend my weekend looking for jobs. I had only a few moments to decide. I called a friend and she convinced me to go, reminding me that my future job would still be the job for me when I get back in town on Monday. So I went, albeit reluctantly.

I kept the shock of the job to myself and was really quiet for the ride to the retreat. Basically, I knew I would cry if I talked about it and I needed to process this huge change and loss in my life. That night, are you ready for this? The speaker spoke specifically about trusting God as He changes things that are unexpected and listening and obeying Him not knowing the end result and how that honors and glorifies Him. He spoke of having a eternal focus, to have a focus that is on being holy and set apart in the hard times. To not give in or gamble in life but to be in prayer, to fast and seek counsel in decision making. To trust in the promises we are given in scripture of the Hope, love, security, acceptance and provison from Him

Yeah, I was listening. And crying. And in awe of the turn of events and the message He was giving at that moment in time. You see, for several months the womens study I was part of had been studying a book on trusting God and His Sovereignity. He had been working in my life and showing me my need to trust Him in all aspects of my life. Well, He was giving me the chance to trust Him even more in this chapter of my life.

Back to the story. The next day in our quiet time we were asked to read about Haggai and the message He had for the Israelites, how the people had not had their priorities straight and how God said in Haggai 1:5-7 to consider their ways. I was considering my ways alright. I truly beleive that God had given me the nannny job so I knew I was in His will for that so I was considering my ways and priorities for the next phase in life. After God challenges the Israelites priorities He makes the promise of being with them. I leaned on that promise. I leaned on Him for strength for that day as I slowly started telling friends about the changes in my circumstances.

Before I go on, I want to say that I was not angry or bitter. I was sad. That weekend I kept thinking of my recent blog post and how God had impressed upon me the words that I wrote about and here he was changing things days into the new year!

It has now been a few months into 2013 and He has moved me to the Minneapolis, Minnesota area. Yeah, Viking land. Yes, it is cold here and yes I have asked God why another cold territory and not somehwere warm and exotic but He has me here. I will write more of this journey and how I came to live here in my next post, until then I encourage you to Read Haggai 1:1-2:1-9 and rest in the truths and promises that if you are His child:

HE IS WITH YOU and HE WILL BRING PEACE in what you are facing so set your focus and priorities on HIM!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

10 Years

Ten years ago my family faced possibly one of the most dreaded and difficult things a family can face. A quiet, clear January day turned nearly fatal. My sister was hit from behind in her car by a fully loaded log truck, right in front of our home. They say its a parents worst nightmare, a call no one wants. My family didn't receive that call, there was no need for it, we were the ones calling for help. Neighbors came to help, rescue vehicles arrived. It was obvious, the evidence clear. The officer looked at us with sympathy and pity and said "I'm sorry". I already knew, no words were needed, a simple glance was I needed to know.

Or so we thought.

For a moment in time we thought we had lost my sister. That is not a moment one forgets or takes for granted. We were given a miracle that many have wanted and prayed for. She moved and time stood still as they confirmed vitals and worked to get her out of the car that now resembled a mangled piece of metal that no longer resembled the Ford that it had been.

She was alive and breathing. She did have injuries, minimal compared to what it appeared it was or what it could have been. Truly a miracle. It is hard to believe that it has been 10 years. 10 years of miracles. She is married, has two beautiful girls and a baby boy on the way in just a few weeks. Each day, each milestone is not lost on us. I am so thankful for her and the gift that we were given by God. He is good and I know that no matter what the outcome of that fateful day, He would have been still good. Not an easy thing to always say or live out but the truth remains. He is good, He was good as that accident happened, He was good as we faced the reality of the moment and He was good with each breath she took that day, He is good today and will be good tomorrow.

Thank you God for the tens years you have given me with my sister, thank you for her life and thank you for Your goodness in all things.