Why…


When we have something traumatic rock our the world as we knew it, we always ask “why?” God must have had a good reason to allow this happen to His beloved child. (Take it from an expert,) our Heavenly Father does inexplicably know us down to every molecule. He is not punishing us with our hardships. There is consistently a lesson to be learned, a blessing to find, a soul to be changed. It is exactly like the refinery’s fire. I feel I was given this trial to help me and others grow in compassion and appreciation. I reckon back to that song. “Each Life That Touches Ours For Good.” (Google it.) The thought that this happened to me to benefit other people (aside from what I’ve learned) helps me accept it more easily. I have witnessed the changes in my family already!

The other day I watched the movie “Stronger,” the story of the man who lost both of his legs in the Boston Marathon bombings. (Coincidently it was on the anniversary of the actual bombing, not planned, just happened!) I wanted to see it, because it was a movie about a guy in a wheelchair. I was personally interested. But I got much more from it than I expected!


The movie portrayed his daily struggles, and his yearning to accept it. (I can totally relate!) Many people attempted to make him the personified symbol for the “Boston Strong” mentality. He fought it. He did not want to be the bombing mascot. Until he met the man who helped him to the hospital right after the life-altering incident. This man expressed his desire to help since was unable help his soldier brother when he died on the battlefield. He also expressed the need to witness this man succeed, and his continued inspiration through his positive die-hard attitude. This encounter changed his mission in life, and he embraced the thought of being a motivation to others. (Kapow! Uh, was this movie trying to talk to me?) I need to “forget myself and get to work.”

When I was laying in the hospital right after the stroke, I remember waking many times briefly and thinking, “My family is growing closer. This is a growing experience for them.” What I wasn’t aware of was that I would affect many more. All those who so generously helped our family, people who knew me before and heard the news, new friends I have made along the way, and blog readers who share a chunk of my brain now and then. All those in the realm of my existence (within my six degrees of separation, by definition, everyone) have been effected by my experiences. Therefore, I must be a example of positivity and one who notices and gives appreciation for the blessings that might be difficult to see. 

I recently had my first speaking engagement for a church group. I was very anxious about it. I sat on the fence regarding the results. In my high school years, I was a debater and was pretty comfortable speaking publicly. But post-stroke, I don’t enjoy speaking in front of groups due to the thought of being stared upon and the speech impediment I deal with. My husband and a friend plotted at convincing me to speak. I insisted my husband sit next to me, and we planned that he would grab the baton (or microphone) if (when) I break down with emotion. After about thirty seconds, I did lose emotional control, and he took over. This actually worked out fine since he shared the part when I wasn’t really cognizant. Then I started feeling more comfortable, but I had to figuratively wrestle him to get the baton back. (He enjoyed speaking whether or not he would admit it!) I started talking so much, I found myself running out of breath and began feeling exhausted. (It. Can. Be. Difficult. To. Speak. Without. A. Break.) It ended up being exhilarating. I greeted a line of people after, they shared many compliments (which always makes me uncomfortable), they shared their similar experiences, and they had many questions. (I learned quickly what I should’ve talked about in front of the group!) Many attendees departed uplifted and motivated. (I just told my story. Who knew?)

I have learned that my new calling is to remind people of what is truly important. It is imperative I be a positive example. (No pressure and no highway option! Meaning, I can’t escape.) My hope is that I can do what the Lord has in mind for me!

Good Morning

I was watching the movie “The Hobbit” today. A confused Bilbo Baggins greeted Gandalf with a “Good morning?” The tall and haggard Gandalf with his rustic cane, floppy hat, and bushy grey eyebrows replied, “Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning, whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?”

Many common sayings can signify different things by the intonation you use, sort of like “Aloha,” “Shalom,” or “Unbelieveable.” I began to ponder upon his comment. It really can be examined four ways.

1.“Do you wish me a good morning?”             

We need to acknowledge each and every person with a positive greeting and salutation. (Especially if it doesn’t require an answer. I.E.: Good day, hello, or Happy Holidays!) Don’t you just love a person who is smiling and makes eye contact and speaks to you even if it’s just in passing? (Maybe not on a busy sidewalk, but definitely at a door.)

I have found, being in wheelchair, there are two common personalities in people. One who figures I am a broken unseen obstacle in their way. I unsettle them. (Some are even scared.) They just want to escape with no eye contact. Then there are those who are very kind. Theysee me as a real human with hopes and dreams. People who venture far out of their way to greet me or hold the door or stop their car so I can cross the street. These second people are thinking of others, and they sincerely wish me a ‘good day’ free of problems. Now, I am not saying, “Be kind to invalids.” (Well, yes I am.) Everyone, wheelchair or not, yearns to be treated with kindness and respect. We all desire those who cross our paths to leave us with a smile. (It’s only human.) So let’s do the same.

2. “It is a good morning whether I want it or not.”

This part leads me to ponder the weather and one’s outlook of it. I am so thrilled to have an actual autumn. We, in the west, experienced a cold snap rivaling early winter recently. (Break out the coats and gloves.) It has warmed up a little. (Thank goodness!) I figured we were going to skip fall altogether. Autumn is that fabulous season of year when there’s a nip in the air, and the leaves turn yellow, red, and orange (Crunch, crunch.) It’s not too hot, and hopefully, not too cold. 

Sometimes, one person’s outlook on their surroundings can be very different from the other. (I won’t start on the Men/Hot, Women/Cold debate.) One may observe our season’s characteristics by grumbling, “I hate this! I can’t believe summer is over, here we go again into the dreaded frigid winter!” or another one happily states, “It’s so wonderful not to be so sweltering, and we can enjoy the crisp comfortable days ahead.” Attitude turns any situation around.

3. “That you feel good this morning?

There are literally times when sickness takes over, and we feel rotten, physically and emotionally. (It’s called Soma-psychotic. Body controls mind.) But more often, our thoughts and hopes control how we feel physically. (You’ve heard of the medical description Psycho-somatic.) Especially if you have an exciting event in your near future, you can ‘will yourself’ to rise out of the bed (or ashes, like a Phoenix,) strive to feel better, and get to the business at hand.

During my school years, I would call my mom to go home from school sick. She called it “the blahs.” I was just bored, and had no interest in participating in the day. I know presently, I might feel like dragging on the floor each morning (figuratively,) but after I get active and some exercise, I feel positive and motivated. (Endorphins.) We can get enthused and moving if our brain says, “You can do it!” No matter the circumstances, we most surely keep telling ourselves, “It’s going to be a great day!” (Success is mainly in our heads.)

4. “Is it a morning to be good on?”

Choices and consequences. Every time we encounter a decision crossroad, (like constantly,) we must select our actions or reactions. It might not be easy to choose the high road, but the favorable consequences will serve as our reward. Before we choose in any situation, we should take a second and compare the possible results of our choices. (Use a flow chart in your mind.) If only, the people in the news would consider the outcome before acting, we might have ‘world peace” or enjoy a tad bit more happiness. (Our jails and court systems would not be as overloaded!) 

“Choose the Right” is my favorite song. I still sing it in my head as my own personal little Jiminy Cricket. Some people wear CTR rings as visual good choice reminders. Others wear “WWJD?” (What would Jesus do?) to point them in the positive direction. No matter what method you employ, “Choose the right way, and be happy.” 

Have a good morning! Love, Kim


5 Ways to Be Miserable

Life is a rollercoaster of emotional highs and lows. (Even a few upside downs!) We hope to be on the upward climb more than the down, but odds are, there will definitely be downs. (Either from our own stupid decisions, or through no fault of our own.) How we react to the difficult down times dictate whether we will be happy or sad throughout the ride. (Notice how some on the ride enjoy every minute, and some are freaked out the entire ride?) If you want to be miserable definitely do these things:

1. Show No Gratitude
Don’t appreciate anything. Take all your personal gifts and Heavenly blessings for granted. (You probably don’t even acknowledge the existence of most of them anyway.) Look around and see nothing but boring nature. Assume you are entitled to everything, (because you deserve things just for breathing.) Never write a quick note of thanks for kind actions or thoughtful gifts given to you. Don’t ever say ‘thank you’ or be sincerely touched. Act nonchalant about every wonderful thing you have received.

2. Hold Grudges

Plant your hardened feelings deep inside. (Let them grow!) Don’t let anything go, and don’t think of what circumstance the other person is coming from or their life situation. Let foolish words spoken in haste fester, and make all the memories that could have been created together non-existent due to harbored grudges. Make sure to let the big angry confrontation or even the little off-handed offensive comment consume your every thought. Use every opportunity to rehash the situation with outsiders, and be sure to act over dramatic. Definitely don’t say, “I’m sorry.” (It really doesn’t matter who’s at fault.)

3. Pass the Buck

Assume zero responsibility for your actions. Discover and execute a way for someone else to take the blame. (Surely don’t throw them under a ‘green’ bus, that would be bad! Simon & Garfunkel reference.) Never take ownership of your faults and mistakes. Adopt the Bart Simpson mantra, “I didn’t do it. Nobody saw me do it. You can’t prove anything!” Also, don’t follow through with anything you are responsible for or promised to complete. You have better things to keep you occupied. (That show might not always be on Netflix.) If it’s more convenient, select the easy road. Make the simpler, enticing, or most fun choice even if the consequences may punish you in the end.

4. Think of Yourself

In all things, place yourself first. Do not ever consider the feelings of others. Selfishly make choices that only benefit you. Make a huge effort to impress others and improve your social standing. Do whatever it takes if it involves increasing your bank account. Pay no mind to other’s life struggles. Share a juicy story at every opportunity no matter the validity. (Start or perpetuate a grapevine rumor.) Jump to judgements without researching the back story. Be quick to take offense. Act holier than the Pope, and make sure everyone knows about it. Knock others down to increase your own esteem. Always respond with, “What’s in it for me” when asked to do a task or procrastinate until they go elsewhere.

5. Always Assume the Worst

Look on the dark side in every situation. Abandon hope and faith for gloom and doom. Things can only get worse. Don’t ever hope for the best, and don’t try because you can’t do any better. What you have is what will be, permantly. Tragic things happen to you all the time, and you probably deserve it. Life just hates you. Have a picked-on and bullied attitude. Bad luck must be your only luck. Stop trying, it’s not worth the effort. (Have some chocolate with that pained expression.)


This was incredibly difficult to write, because it goes against everything I believe. (Disclaimer: Don’t do these things!) It made me recall Stephanie in the tv show Full House. She always said, “How rude! 

I wanted to accentuate the worst actions of humankind to prove that we can be better. That rollercoaster symbolizes our wild ride and tests in this life. It’s easier to be our best when the ride is high. (Or is it?) But what about the low points? Can we ride out the lower dips, and not be a self-made Grinch? 

I have one word to conclude with: ATTITUDE. (Mic drop.)

Knowledge

Depending on what type of stroke one experiences, some people have much or parts of their brain function affected. The stroke I went through didn’t touch the thought or memory section of my brain. I was foggy for awhile, due to fatigue, but I don’t have any trouble recalling currently. (If you ask my husband, he’d say I am an airhead. But I’ve always acted crazy, however I still finish his sentences!) My speech has deteriorated probably due to the trach and decreased lung output. Therefore, some think I have a cognitive delay. I just can’t articulate what my intended comments in my normal debating, choral, high inflection voice. (My kids probably love my soft speaking!)

Sometimes, I kind of wish I was less cognitive, then I wouldn’t constantly over analyze everything. Life would be much simpler. Sometimes I’m up all night, thinking. I remember how it used to be, and that can be difficult. (But on the whole, I enjoy having my mind.)

Those who help me on a day-to-day basis know I can hold my own, and they run the risk of being called out on something by me. I could totally train CNA’s. (A year at this game really teaches you. I’ve seen really good and incredibly bad service.) I appreciate when things are done correctly. Many times, I will remind them of what they need to be doing! (Hopefully, in a nice way.) I have learned to hold my tongue. When I give too many instructions at once, people get overwhelmed or feel bossed around.

God blessed me with a tender mercy of perfect knowledge, as you can tell. (I love word games and Rummikub.) This concept reminds me of verses 18 and 19 in the Doctrine & Covenants, Section 130. “Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.” 

I get to keep my knowledge with me! So we can enjoy our best body form (I will be run-ning!) and possess all of our earth-gained knowledge in heaven. It’s the only thing that we can retain with us when we pass on. (Exciting!) I better get to work.

I recall the old attage, “Those who can’t do, teach.” I am pretty certain it wasn’t a compliment (no offense, you wonderful teachers!) but I think that’s where I am right now. I can’t do, so I’m supposed to teach. I possess 48 years of experience and knowledge. I venture to say, I was allowed to keep my knowledge so I can pass it on. (Tag, I’m it!)

Prerogative – 7/7/17

Prerogative is an interesting word. I thought I knew what it’s definition was, but when I googled it I found much more. (In my day, ohhhh I sound old, we looked it up in the dictionary or encyclopedia to learn more. Kids don’t even comprehend what an encyclopedia is! They were a set of books that were full of handy info. We were very privileged to have a set at home! Otherwise, we could’nt complete our reports or research papers without going to the library. Nowadays google replaces the encyclopedia! The phrase “go look it up” has been transformed to “google it.”) 

Google helped with the spelling, too, I would not have spelled it that way. Okay, it means A right reserved for a particular person or group. It is derived from the Latin word ‘to vote.’ I just thought it was doing something I wanted to do. (But I live in a free country and I have free agency, so I guess it still applies.)

My prerogative has been stunted since the stroke. If I want something I can’t reach, I have to ask for it. If I want to go and do, I must usually ask for help. (Not very fun!) My type A personality has learned a lot of patience. (To put it lightly!)

It is also my prerogative to write this blog. I know many people expect and enjoy my daily rant, but I have the choice when I write. (By the way, thank you so much for all the awesome comments and all the likes! I appreciate the support, even from the quiet readers.) After some input from family and friends, and the fact that my days are getting busier, I have decided (which is my prerogative) to write in my blog only when the ideas hit me. 

This blog has served as my therapist and sounding board. (I don’t have a bartender to dump on.) I have not held back, and I have been brutally honest. (No matter how embarrassing!) I do appreciate your feedback, and the fact that you even read my incessant blabbering. You, the readers, have helped me stay positive in my recuperation. Thank you for your unseen (and seen) network of unity. (The Kim Crew!) I am truly blessed. (I’m not worthy!)

All By Myself – 6/30/17

I’ve had a lot of time on my own lately. For the first time in a long while, (before the stroke, I’ve had kids in my presence for a good twenty-five years!) I am essentially alone in this rehab home. Yeah, I have visitors (that’s great) but many hours of the day I’m solitary. Throughout all this spare time, I have learned these things about myself: 

1. I like it neat. I operate better when things are in order. It’s against my nature to look around and see clutter, and not jump up and clean it.

2. I think often about how I could make other’s lives better. I have some good ideas. (I guess I’m turning into my mom!) Ask my husband, he would love it if I’d stop constantly hatching new ideas.

3. I enjoy the computer. I was given an IPad Pro for my birthday last year. I utilize it on an easel, so it’s held upright for me. It’s one of my prized possessions. It is my connection to the world. It’s like another child. I feel as though I need to protect and care for it. (The mothering part of me!) 

4. I crave fresh air and nature. Literally, cooped up in those rooms make you feel like the walls are closing in. I have been spending many hours outside, and that’s how I prefer it! The wind on my face, and the sun warming my skin is therapeutic! I have been laying in the sun after pool therapy while I await my shower. In a month, I’ve acquired a pretty impressive frontal tan. Don’t look at my back! But the front is sufficiently tan. Many aides here say they’re jealous. I have a lot of free time. (What can I say?)

5. Kindness can change a person’s life. No one is too busy to stop what they’re doing for another. Are you paying attention to other’s needs? Many acts of kindness are skipped because we think of our never ending schedule, that long to-do list, or plain selfish pride gets in the way. (Any excuse can stop you, justify your way to hell. I heard that once.) I have seen many unkind humans. Seriously, think of feelings, people. Even if you’re dying, that’s no reason to be mean. I have decided to only fight battles that have life altering consequences. And I will still do it kindly.

6. I look at things positively. Why be a gloomy gus? It seems like mounds of work with little or no favorable results. I know I have extra time, but I’m not going to waste it pouting around, feeling sorry for myself. (I call it a pity party.) Why not look on the bright side?

7. I have many dear friends and family who really care for me. Some people have to hear it at their funeral (I assume they attend their own funeral, somehow!) But it’s different finding out while you’re still alive! I feel so incredibly blessed, humbled, and a bit awestruck. To feel the love from so many people, man, that’s crazy! I’m just a normal person. A bit broken, but still normal. I just want to thank everyone who has prayed, served, and wished me well. (I’ve lost track of how many!) I am sure you’ll get a good mark in heaven.

I am getting to know myself better everyday. On my hiatus, (that’s what I call it) I am on a journey of self-discovery. I hope that helps me (in some way) become a better person. (I hope it’s good for something!)

Invincible – 6/23/17

“It’s a bird, it’s a plane,” it’s Kim! I had a dream last night I could fly. (Like a superhero.) My dreams usually involve something extraordinary, but extraordinary for me would be doing normal stuff lately! Some people have called me a superhero, but seriously, you’d do the same if you were in my shoes. (Two choices, be positively charged or negative.)

My mantra is: Invincible. I have a sign right in front of my bed to remind me I can be powerful everyday. My niece gave me this word after the stroke, and it stuck. (Like glue.) I must remember I can be strong and invincible each day. My ultimate foes are discouragement, idleness, and fear. 

These are the arch enemies of my success. (Pow! Bam! Kazowie! The new movie’s pretty good, but I am cheering for the old school Wonder Woman, my childhood hero.) And just like Wonder Woman, I am driven by one purpose. I understand what my goal is, and I’m gonna beat it down. Right now Dr. Discouragement is lurking on my doorstep. He’s going to be feeling my wrath in a major way. A rude awakening is what he will get when I’m finished. I will “stand” strong against him. (Can you picture me superhero fighting?) 

I know this stroke doesn’t define me. (I don’t call it “my” stroke, and I’m not taking ownership.) It’s just a colossally annoying evil villain I am going to conquer, cause I’m… Invincible! (Da, da, da, daaaaa!)