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Saturday, October 19, 2013

expectations

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A woman I have come to love posted this picture on her Facebook in the last week. On the first read through I thought of Atticus Finch, that well known and well loved man from "To Kill A Mockingbird." Atticus says: "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it." 

And then as I considered the heart behind the woman who posted this I considered the ways she has been hurt, the ways people have judged or stereotyped or thought they had understood her. I see the ways she struggles to trust those in her life, those who may desperately want to love and respect her. We can only do so much to understand the life and journey of those around us by watching them, listening to them. If we really want to get to know someone, to love someone, to build trust and a relationship, then we must join with them in their journey, sit, stand and walk with them through the good and the bad. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Tomatoes

I have learned a lot from food and about food. Four years ago I lived on boxed macaroni and cheese, popcorn, hot chocolate, ice cream, and who knows what else. But I have learned about eating healthy and cooking in carious forms. I have learned about organic v. Pesticide and genetically modified good. But I didn't realize I learned about knowledge and wisdom until I read this. It speaks for itself. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Mistakes

A friend posted the picture below on Facebook with the caption: so true. It broke my heart. I thought of all the people I interact with each day. What do I notice about them and the things they do? I desire to see all of a person. I desire to walk with rhen in the good and the bad. So I make the commitment to see the tears and pain and sadness. I choose to see more than the mistakes. 

And I also choose to see the joys, the victories and the blessings. I hope I'm not one of these people. 


Monday, October 7, 2013

Top Ten foods I miss eating....

So...there is a growing list of foods that I miss eating. Some of them are foods that I don't actually want to eat again because I know their content...others are foods that I still would love to eat...or find ways to make myself that I can eat...or that I find myself cheating with.....

1. Macaroni and cheese
2. Pizza....specifically with extra cheese and PEPERONI
3. Nutella
4. Cheese cake
5. Mom's chocolate chip cookies.
6. Cheese Burgers...I don't mean like a McDonald's Cheese Burger....but I mean a REALLY REALLY good cheese burger
7. Chocolate milk....it is an essential part of my life when visiting my grandparents
8. Soft Pretzels
9. Sprinkle sandwiches....if you don't know about this side of me....you will think I'm weird if you ask
10. french toast/pancakes/waffles....

Thursday, October 3, 2013

What I learned....on the couch

We go through our days and learn many things. We learn from the time we spend reading, journaling and interacting with those who mentor us. We learn from our work: our interactions with our boss and coworkers, our professional development, and the time we work with our clients, consumers, customers...or whatever we are calling them today. We learn from our friends and the time we spend surfing the internet. But for me this week I learned by sitting on the couch.  Here are just a few of the things I learned, was reminded of, or relearned this week....

1. Muscle memory for cane travel serves you nothing after a seizure.
After my most recent seizures I attempted to go to work and get through my daily activities. What I found the most difficult Monday morning was simply swinging my cane left and right. I had lost all ability to move the cane and father the necessary information from it over night. That doesn't mean that I won't regain it, but it set me back in leaps and bounds.

2. Our needs will be met....above and beyond.
One of the most difficult parts of my physical state is the discouragement that comes with each setback and the support I need to physically get through each day. Overtired, sore and emotional I was slammed with extra work on my first day back to work after my seizures. After calling in sick on day two I had the opportunity to be vulnerable and honest with my supervisor and a few of my close teammates. They expressed their desire to support me in any way they could. One coworker consistently checked on me to provide support and encouragement. Another drove me home and ensured I had a ride to the team building activities. My boss went as far as to give me a "motherly talk", provide the necessary emotional support and inform me that she was driving me home when I apparently looked like I was about to pass out.
Outside of work friends provided assistance with making sure I could get things done that needed to get done, helped me to make the decisions I needed to make with out telling me what to do. Others helped me to explore various environmental factors that could assist me in physically getting through the symptoms. Another friend just sat with me to keep me company as I was physically compromised.

3. I find odd things relaxing.
Though I couldn't gather the strength to go for a walk, do yoga or leave the house...I found other ways to feel relaxed and productive. On Tuesday evening I sat on the floor and organized my food shelf and tupper ware. I purged a closet, my bookshelf and some other not needed items. This afternoon I sat on my living room floor with a cutting board and other essential items to prep food for my soup for tomorrow's work event.

4. Saying no is sometimes the best decision and he hardest one.
I was supposed to go on a prayer advance (retreat) this weekend with my spiritual family. I didn't want to miss it despite the fears and anxieties I had in going. But....I said no. Why? Because I recognized that the cost on my physical body outweighed the benefit. So instead I will spend the weekend on my couch or in my bed praying, singing and gaining physical and spiritual strength to move forward.

5. I am not superwoman and no on expects me to be.
Sometimes in my head are htese expectations others have of me to do outstanding things....or rather things that aren't outstanding but quickly add up to insurmountable lists of activities. I don't need to do everything. I don't need to be superwoman. I don't need to prove myself to anyone. I don't need to seek anyone's approval. The reality is that my human body can't physically take the strain that others can. I can't run marathons. I can't function on limited sleep. I can't eat fast food, take out or frozen dinners....not that anyone should... and that is ok. I know my limits...or rather I am learning them and it is ok to say no. I don't need to be superwoman.

I wouldn't say that I am fully ok with all of this...but I would say that I am growing.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Hate what hates you

I have learned to love what loves me back. From fruits and veggies to the world of organic, from running, biking and swimming to weights and stretches and proper posture. Thus is incredible and has had a significant impact on my life. 

But now I need to learn to hate what hates me back. I cook, shop and eat super healthy. I don't buy the "crap" that makes me unhealthy. But the temptation to fill up on this "junk" is so strong. Especially at work. My coworker brings in homemade cookies... And one cookie ends up being a number I can't even remember. 

So after finishing a short run today with a dear friend and eating a wonderful salad for dinner, I lay in bed considering what hating junk looks like. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The other side

Last Fall I counted the cost of using my cane...and today I can say that I have pretty much reached the other side.

Now I can always see the benefits of using my cane and asking for help. I can see the benefits of being transparent and open. I am so grateful for the lessons I have learned in dependence and interdependence. I experienced the difficult moments and the joy of my mask of independence being stripped away. This hit me yesterday while giving a presentation to a group of future social workers from a local college. As I sat listening to my other coworkers speak I glanced around the room at each face that I could see...and I thought just for a moment about what made each of these students an individual, what made them, them? And as I got up to speak I was reminded that each of them has something, big or small that could hold them back from being the best social worker. And yet, if they use this aspect of themselves, it can also be used to strengthen and grow them to be more effective and influencial. I was reflecting on this while thinking of a conversation from the movie The Guardian. The below conversation occurs when Jake Fischer is potentially getting kicked out of the academy for getting arrested after a fight in a bar. Obviously, the whole conversation doesn't apply to me...but having context helps:

Ben Randall: [refering the the accident that killed Jake's friends] I've read the report Jake. Your blood alcohol level was zip that night. I'm guessing there was a flip for designated driver, you lost.

Jake Fischer: I guess that just makes it all go away, huh?
Ben Randall: No, it doesn't make it all right, it just makes it an accident. At least that's how it reads. You were 16 years old Jake. I'm not your priest, but if I was I think maybe you deserve a pass.
Jake Fischer: You're giving me a pass. You think you know everything, with your psychobabble bullshit. Why am I here? Why are you here, huh? Your too old to be doing this, you washed up here. You don't want to be teaching a bunch of kids in a pool, am I right? I don't give an eff what you read or who you talked to. You don't know about me.
[now yelling]
Jake Fischer: I have me under control.
Ben Randall: I can see that. The only difference between you and me is that I don't wear the ones I lost on my arm. I know where your at Jake. I'm there myself. I ask myself everyday why I was the one who survived.
Jake Fischer: And?
Ben Randall: And if I can't answer that for me, I'm certainly not going to try to answer that for you. Have a seat. I want you to start being a member of this team. The team you have now. You have a gift Jake. You're the best swimmer to come through this program, hands down, by far, and you've got a whole record board to prove it. But you know what I see when I look at it? I see someone fast enough who's going to get there first. I see someone strong enough who's going to last. I see someone who can save a life maybe no one else could. You really want to honor then initials on your arm? Then honor your gift. Save the ones you can Jake. The rest, you've got to let go.

  The difference between me and the person sitting on the other side of the desk, is that I have come to a place where I can acknowledge that God has strengthened and refined me because of my disability. He has transformed my heart and my mind to meet people where they are at because of the challenges I have overcome. I can empathize with these individuals, I can see that it sucks to be where they are  at, however I can see that there is a greater hope than isolating in your house because you are afraid to leave familiar surroundings.   I also knew that this change had happened in my heart when I went to leave to spend time with friends a couple of times last week and thought to myself; "ok, what do I need in my purse?" And when the answer always included "cane" with out a second thought, I knew that this had become a part of my life. It si a part of me that I don't resent, a part that I don't regret. It is simply a part.   I am so grateful for the things God will continue to teach me and do through this journey and so grateful to recognize the victory on the other side of what felt like despair and hopelessness.