Walk It Out

I haven’t given up yet. I know I look drunk, but, no I wasn’t plastered. (Although I’ve been tempted!) 

Here’s a video of me walking with assistance after about 18 months! I did the entire 150 foot track, without sitting, in about five and a half minutes! I am a little more brave to lean to the left against the walker. With the use of my right hip I can get the right (mostly paralyzed) leg to advance. Standing up feels great! (Since I sit a lot!)

We might laugh too much, but it’s serious business! (Shooting for five minutes!)



What do you think of when you hear the word “compassion?” (I used to think, oh, poor homeless people, or oh, that sad unfortunate person, I feel ya.) There’s fake compassion exhibited in word or verbosity to only make yourself look highfaluting and pretentious, or there’s true compassion portrayed in deed, when you genuinely serve in reaction to how you feel for the other or heartfelt empathy. The stroke (I had) has really taught me and my family true compassion. 

Our daughter has recently taken compassion to a new level. (If you know my daughters, I’ll bet you can guess which one!) She told me very matter-of-factly what happened in her class the other day.  She described how a handicapped kid in a wheelchair entered as a new student. The teacher proceeded with the awkward introductions to the class and asked who he could sit by. There were no offers. (Cricket sounds.) My daughter, one of the more popular girls, was sitting on the isle with an empty seat to her other side. Since she’s quite a caring thinker, she quickly moved over while offering the space and her friendship. She speedily became his friend while showing understanding and kindness. She told me, “I knew what he was going through, because of you and what we’ve been through. Before, I wouldn’t of thought to help him. I would’ve just continued on, not thinking about it.” (Proud momma moment.) She also told me he was a really good artist. (Which showed she was looking for the good.)

Our knowledge of where each location and amount of handicap parking places has become quite extensive. I have to laugh when my children (and husband) complain about use of the spots that are taken unnecessarily. But, I must remind them, some handicaps aren’t as outright noticeable as mine. (Whoa, get out of the way when they see a car parked in a handicap stall with no sticker! Oh, the anger!) 

When people go far out of their way to help me through a door or successfully navigate a small space, I appreciate them and their parents. (They were taught well.)

Now, I didn’t write this to brag, (well maybe, a little) but to show that even though I have endured a great hardship – positive things have resulted

Maybe, it was required in the big scheme of things that this happen to teach me and all who know my story – compassion, patience and faith. 

The ultimate way I have learned compassion is through the many earth angels who have shown their genuine feelings through their self-less acts of love. I have learned patience not only by my endless tests of (literal) long-suffering, but by the patience I have witnessed in others as they have helped me with daily tasks. And lastly, my faith has been strengthened by witnessing the faith and prayers by others on my behalf. (A huge thank-you to all that fit in those categories!)

We All Deserve a Little Bling

I got a chandelier for my closet! It started out as a joke, but the more I said, “I want a closet like Barbie’s,” the more I really did want one. I found it on Amazon (duh?) for about the same price as a normal light fixture, so my husband said, “Go ahead.” (It was probably just to shut me up, and he’s a pretty awesome husband.) We didn’t have the correct light bulbs, so my hubby put in a few Christmas lights. When you flip the switch it looks like cotton candy on the walls!

My interests have always been piqued by sparkly things! I guess in this milk and meatloaf world we all need a bit of something fancy to jazz up the mundane existence. We perpetually work so hard, and usually end up with so little. If you discover a chance to spoil yourself, shiny object or guilty pleasure, jump at the chance. (Just don’t do it constantly. You might go broke!) You never know when your time is up. Don’t wait to indulge yourself. (Your kids don’t need an inheritance to fight over.)

We are all worth spoiling. (I just gave you permission!)


I used to be pretty good at calligraphy. (If I say so myself!) Handwriting has been a sore subject for me since I lost the use of my dominant hand. It was a big part of my identity. Today I gave it a shot.

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!” 

You’ve heard it a thousand times, but has it personally hit home? Well it was a grand slam for me.

At this moment in time, not forever mind you, I have very limited use of my right side. (It’s taking a little vacation.) But seriously, folks, I am not about to sit idly by. I have things to do! When you only have use of your port side (I looked it up) you must adapt and get creative to do everyday tasks. And I manage to find a little humor along the way. (Look out Jeff Foxworthy!)

You know you have right side paralysis when:

~ You notice something that needs to be done, but you attempt to get up and nothing happens.

~ You can’t do the “Touchdown” signal.

~ You try to dress yourself, and finally throw your hand up in frustration.

.~ You can’t retrieve things off the floor, because you’ll fall out of your wheelchair. (Been there, done that!)

~ Zippers are impossible

~ You can’t pull your pants off. (Not to mention on.)

~ You can’t wipe your derrière.

~ Doing your hair does not go well.

~ Post earrings are out.

~ Doing up a necklace on your chest takes eight hours.

~ Driving a car gets complicated. (Why is the gear shift and the gas pedal on that side?)

~ You can’t catch food falling off your fork.

~ Removing lids, forget about it. (I must say I can’t hold and screw off a lid with my left hand pretty well! If it’s loosened!)

~ You can’t place clothes on a hanger. (They don’t hold still!)

~ Speaking of laundry, try folding anything up to my perfectionist standards.

~ You can’t take pills without setting your cup down each time.

~ Doors, try opening a public door by yourself and then getting a wheelchair through! (Aw-naw, I don’t do doors!)

~ You want to wash your hand, but you only get the palm with your own hand.

~ You can’t carry a box (or anything with bulk or weight) and drive a wheelchair.

~ Reading a real paper book gives you left hand a cramp. (Oww!) And try turning the pages without putting the book down. Then pick it up again!

~ Make-up done with your left hand looks like an “IT” clown face, but worse.

~ You pull yourself up to grab something, but you can’t grab it because your hand is busy pulling you up!

~ You must stop driving your wheelchair to wave at someone.

~ You can’t eat and hold your plate. Use your lap? The plate slides off your lap.

~ No multi-tasking whatsoever!

Thanks for indulging me!

We won’t even start on my hearing loss challenges.

Being able to move with the winds of change is critical to survival in this crazy transforming world. Those who don’t deal well with change will be in for a world of hurt. I have learned to adapt, geez, I hunt and peck with my left hand everyday! (It helps to know the keyboard.) A person with two good hands and legs should be able to easily adapt to changes big and small. Everyday changes that seem so tough on the surface should be a walk in the park when you possess all your faculties, right? (Roll with it, baby!) I am trying.

Life Goes On

My home has been my address for about twenty days, and I thought it would be sheer bliss. But I must admit it has been a learning process and utter chaos. It feels like our home has been transformed into Grand Central Station! Various aides come in three times a day to help me. I have had to train a new batch! Then you add in construction workers with annoying drilling, sawing, and pounding. (I’m not complaining, it’s just a little headache inducing. We are nearing the end of remodel. “After pictures” coming soon.) My writing time has been heavily impaired. (But I love it!) I live out in the sticks, so I have rarely had this many visitors!

New schedules, new faces, new challenges face me daily.

Me and my hubby traveled down to St. George this past weekend to settle his mother’s estate and generally clean out. I spent a lot of time waiting on him sitting in the front seat. (Gas stations, hotels, quick trips inside when he wouldn’t want to go through the process of getting me out.) I watched a lot of people rushing in and out, and I came to a personally significant conclusion.

Life goes on.

No matter what your history previously entailed, the sun keeps rising and setting, the world keeps spinning, and the people keep on moving. They continue on with their lives in autopilot. Like ants constantly scurrying about through the anthill, making things happen. Busy, busy busy. No time for complicated drama. No time for illness. No time for silly inconveniences.

I wondered if I’d be in the same rat race if I didn’t experience my change of life.  (I dislike the term “my stroke.” You can tell most people see me and wonder how they would handle my predicament. Some have even verbalized it! I’m evidence of an uncomfortable reality.)

One’s perspective is really altered when you endure a hardship. You see things with new eyes.

After going through my sweet mother-in-laws home, the “life goes on” outlook was solidified. We work so relentlessly hard all our lives for stuff. Our homes are overflowing with stuff. The accumulation of stuff might seem important and pivotal to our lives, but it’s plain and simple: we can’t take it with us when we leave this dimension. I admit some items carry timeless memories, and must be kept. (That’s what I continuously told the dump-happy men.) The memories of love, our accumulated education, and our mutually shared experiences are what we take with us. We split up the temporally needed and sentimentally wanted stuff that remained, said goodbye to her loving walls, and our lives went on.

The moral to my story: 

Don’t sweat the small stuff

Life continues even if you have earth scattering hardships.

Live life to the fullest.

Coming Home

The day has finally arrived. After over sixteen long months in many hospitals and care facilities, I am going home. (I asked my husband how long it had been, and told me instantly to the minute! 16 months, 10 days, 18 hours, and 37 minutes!) It is a bittersweet time in my life. So many friends were made along the road. They have brightened my dreary facility existence, and I will treasure their kindness. This experience has strengthened my faith in the goodness of mankind as so many great and small acts of love have been directed towards me and my family. (Wow! Seriously, it’s incredibly humbling and overwhelming!) My family have been troopers through all this, they have defined hard work and loyalty.

I can’t say it’s been all peaches and cream, this is not a life experience I would wish on my worst enemy! (Come to think of it, I don’t have any enemies!) Being alone is not so fun, obviously. I’m used to the quiet now. My pain level has been astonishingly low. My only complaint would be occasional headaches, body weakness, frequent motion sickness, and the general waiting for help from others to do mundane everyday things.

My goals for the future include, well yeah, finishing the addition to the house, well at least supervising (IE: nagging.) After the completion of the flooring, tile, and countertops, it will be quite a process to move back in. My husband and kids (along with a few professionals) have worked very hard, and I appreciate all they do! (What a sacrifice, for little old me!) Apart from living in construction for awhile, we’re living in a hoarder’s nightmare. (Just kidding, it’s not that bad! No varmits or trash, my family works hard to avoid that! Don’t call child services on us, we have a few livable rooms in our house!) It’s hard to move out of a bunch of rooms while you renovate, but I carry a magnificent picture in my mind of a sparkling, new, complete bedroom, bathroom, closet, laundry, and office. When I (we) have moved everything back in, I want to get a table vise and begin creating jewelry again. (We’ll see how that goes!) I also think I can take over the laundry with help of a few tools. Bookkeeping could also be on the horizon. I have become a very proficient one hand typist.

We are sleeping in what will be the closet until we get blinds and doors!

Aides will come into the home to help. That will be a welcomed relief for my husband! My many hours of daily rehab will continue as therapists will also visit, and we will occasionally make the trek into Aquaworks in town. I figure I will eventually thaw out, walk and use my arm again. That’s my plan. (Cross your fingers!)

I was watching Music and the Spoken Word today. The narrator said, “As the new year begins, we should take this time to evaluate this past year, make necessary adjustments, then move on with a new brightness of hope.” This new year, for me, welcomes a new chance for improvement and restarting my life as wife, mom, and grandma again. Getting back to life, a better life, is my goal. I hope this drawn out and unwelcomed experience will make me a better person. 

I know now, what life’s all about. 

Love, family, kindness, selflessness, and a positive attitude. 

I love the blue wall in the office!

My wish is that you don’t have to go through the refiner’s fire yourselves to learn those truths. (It’s hot in there!)

This is looking into the future big beautiful white marble bathroom. Pictures of the finished rooms to come, hopefully in a month!

What Christmas Really Means

Right after Thanksgiving (or earlier,) we start to be actively bombarded with the capitalist message that we’ve got to start buying or we’ll be left behind somehow. The same-old wash, rinse, repeat holiday symbols get dragged through the incessant media just for the almighty dollar. How do we defend ourselves from this annual capitalist trap? Just like it is with everything good and right, Satan tries to dirty and ruin things that are special.

We are also urged to keep Christ in Christmas on a constant basis. We try each year, but do we really succeed? 

Have we been touched in our hearts to become more Christlike? 

I am not saying scrap the whole Santa notion. That rotund jolly old generous fellow has treated me well in the past. He remains to be a beloved symbol of the giving and charity that we embrace especially at this time of year. It’s just fine to celebrate a white-bearded Santa and flying reindeer and evergreens covered with sparkly lights as long as we retain the intended spirit of the season. Have we been touched so deeply that we are kind and charitable all the time? (I have a strong testimony of the charity possessed by so many. I’ve seen it firsthand! It’s awe inspiring.) It’s okay to enjoy these yearly traditions, as long we keep our hearts turned towards Christ, and the celebration of His time on earth, and what we have received from Him. 

Do we sit through those heart touching services going over our Christmas lists like sugar plums dancing in our heads or meticulously planning the holiday menu, or do we actually give our whole attention to the beauty of the words and music and really think of Him and our true devotion as Christians. I love the depictions of Santa Claus showing love and reverence for the Christchild. They show what Christmas should be. We, including St. Nick, get much joy to give to our loved ones like Christ did (and does.)

We aren’t trying to trick anyone. (One of my daughters felt very betrayed when she discovered the Christmas secret.) Many seasoned parents can tell you that we strive with all our might (and checkbooks) to keep the magic, wonder, and awe alive. Like they said in Prancer the movie, “Christmas is the heart of childhood.” We all revisit our childhood during the holidays through food, shows, and song. That is the appeal of Christmas, even though we think it’s about the giving and getting. No matter your belief level, we all enjoy Christmas and all the cherished family traditions and celebrations that remind us of years gone by.

Family is what it’s all about. 

It is one of Christ’s main teachings. It is very important to Him. So why is it so difficult to be nice to our own family? Try harder during this holiday.

A popular saying in our home is, “If you don’t believe, you don’t receive!” So leave the doubting and humbugging behind. Endeavor to experience genuine joy this year, not stress. If you feel stressed let some less important things go.

There are multiple opinions and practices in regards to Christmas, from gift amount limiting -to- concentrating only on the nativity -to- full on Christmas “Whobalations” with all of the holiday excess and the “roast beast,” whatever that is to you! (“Maybe Christmas, perhaps means a little bit more!”) 

No matter how you choose to celebrate Christ’s birth, do it with an annual renewed sense of giving and kindness that you will retain all year long. “God bless us everyone.” “Where’s the Tylenol?”