Lucky Blessing #1 – Gratitude

I just loved sharing my thoughts every day in February. I decided to challenge myself in March. If you are sick of me just scroll on. This month is all about luck. But what is luck anyway but a blessing or as some say a tender mercy of our Heavenly Father. If we fall on hard times or bad luck the Lord just has a lesson(s) for us to learn. There are blessings hidden within that trial somewhere. So I challenge you to share or list a “Lucky Blessing” each day. 
#1- Lucky Blessings Come From Gratitude. 

If there’s no gratitude, that blessing or deed goes unnoticed. I guarantee if there’s no gratitude, the giver is saddened that includes Heavenly Father. But if we are sincerely grateful, the giver is happy and will want to give us more. But that shouldn’t be your only reason to give thanks. We need to sit down and truly list all of our blessings, I know you’ll be pleasantly surprised and even humbled at how good you have it! If you can’t sleep, listing them will surely do it, like counting sheep its never ending. (That makes me think of a song, hint: Bing Crosby.) There is too much intitlement in kids today. Teach them to give thanks often, it will enrich their lives. Appreciate all the blessings you have been given in this life. “Gratitude is an Attitude” (That was an excellent talk, look it up! By Elder Uchdorf) You need to live with gratitude in your heart, make it a way of life.

Lucky Blessing #2 – Head & Heart

Lucky Blessing Challenge #2- A Lucky Blessing is I Have a Head & a Heart. 

I do not take that for granted after all I have lost! I can think and feel. (Darin knew I was all there when he saw me roll my eyes and started sign language!) I mull over my life, the future, and the kids often. I am grateful for computer games that let me utilize my brain. (I am hooked on Words with Friends!) I still have all my memories. Everyday I go to therapy, I see good old Ellis Elementary down the street and remember my childhood. I still cry, sometimes its spontaneous, sometimes I am touched by something. (Not much has changed that way.) My niece, Aly, says it’s good to let it out. It’s benefits the body systems. The Spirit gets the waterworks going. I can’t hide how I feel, it’s a side effect. (We always bring tissue to church! I am the crier, most of the rest are asleep including Darin!) The Lord has blessed me with my personality. Many people who have a stroke do not have these gifts. Today, be grateful for your mind! I am.

Lucky Blessing #3 – Children 

Lucky Blessing Challenge #3- A Lucky Blessing is My Children.

My kids are my everything. When I talk about them I usually end up crying. I am sure in heaven when I volunteered to have this stroke, I bargained for my children. “Please let them be an age where they are mainly self-sufficient? Where they can handle this? Please let me raise them to a certain point? (My baby is ten.) Let my older missionaries fulfill their callings? Bless me with grandkids later when I can enjoy them.”They still need their mom, but they can survive a busy father. My kids have been real troopers through all of this. I am sure a few tears have been shed, however they have always stayed by my side. They have learned many things along the way. I know for certain they have been blessed.

Lucky Blessing #4 – Food

Lucky Blessing Challenge #4- A Lucky Blessing is Food. 

If you go without something for awhile it becomes even better! I had a trach for four months, and I spent about three and a half on a feeding tube with some yellow junk keeping me satisfied. (If you can call it that!) When I started eating it was ice chips and puréed (baby) food. I was so done with that really quick! Darin bought me an Arby’s roast beef sandwich, which was heavenly! I had no trouble with it. So he kinda told them he did it, and that is when they changed my diet to real food! Different tastes we’re so scrumptious! Juice is now a little too sweet, and carbonation bugs my throat. (I still drink Dr. Pepper, but flat is better.) Don’t take food for granted! God blessed us so many yummy tastes. When I eat in the dining room here at Sunshine Terrace, they beg people to eat. Not me, I eat every bite with gratitude and enjoyment. Even though sometimes people overindulge, we have been blessed with so many amazingly delectable foods! Joy can be found by moderatly consuming and appreciating God’s gifts of flavorful food. Manga!

Lucky Blessing #5 – Independence 

Lucky Blessing Challenge #5- A Lucky Blessing is Independence. 

After my stroke I was tethered to oxygen, a PEG tube for feeding, a PIC line for constant IV’s, and a tracheostomy, a thing in my neck for breathing. I was also extremely weak from it all. The first thing to go was the PIC under my left arm. It was very inconvenient. I had to wear a cap on the trach, rendering it useless, for three days before they would remove it. I started a few weeks before Christmas (I wasn’t waiting around for them any longer.) I wore the cap for a day, when they realized I was serious about starting “the trial.” Every time I coughed (so sick of that) I blew the cap across the room! They told me about the kind that screwed on. Thanks. “The trial” ended on a Sunday. So I had to wait another day for the doctor to pull it out. (My friend called the scar an Angel Kiss!) At the same time, they tapered me off the oxygen. (So glad I don’t have to drag that around anymore.) I started with a feeding tube in my nose! It was tethered between my nostrils and would get pulled upon as they helped me. (Thanks!) Then I had one placed in front on my waist. (Not a great place!) Just the other day I had it removed. They just pulled it out! I was waiting for more, but they said I was done. (Finally!) “I’ve got no strings to hold me down, to make me fret, to make me frown.” 
All these tubes and apparatus have taught me to appreciate the freedom that good health gives you. (If you have tubes, I feel ya!) I took for granted the ability to walk, talk and move around as I wished. I still can’t do a lot of things like walking and dressing alone, I now really appreciate those things. (I’ve had to resist the urge to jump out of bed many times!) Don’t underestimate your power to do… everything. Think about it. Thank God everyday for your basic abilities and independence to go and do. “Live each day to the fullest, you just never know.”

Lucky Blessing #6 – Communication

Lucky Blessing Challenge #6- A Lucky Blessing is Communication.

I have found getting my point across in the last six months to be quite a challenge. I couldn’t speak for four months when I had the trach in. Right at first, I could only shake my head back and forth and give a thumbs up. (I learned that an itch eventually goes away.) When I could move my hand, I found that pointing to charts was the best form of communicating. I started using the sign language alphabet, but not many people knew it. (So frustrating!) I learned when I was teenager and never forgot it. My girls, family, and some friends learned it or knew it, and they would translate as I signed. I was trying to tell Darin on the letter board one day, “We went…” and he got to wewe and he looked at me weird, and we laughed a good long time! Even after the trach came out, my speech has improved significantly. It is still not up to perfection, but I am working with a Speech Therapist. My hearing is real bad in my left ear, so that doesn’t help either. My singing range is only five notes, so yeah, that is hard. I used to love singing alto, but I can still hear the parts. Its all about breath control. I can only hold my breath for about four seconds. (Not very long! I know you are now seeing how long you can hold your breath.)                                       
Communicating with others is a blessing we can really take for granted. The ability to speak  and get your point across to one another is so important. Don’t take that God given blessing too lightly. I can tell you, its incredibly important! Be thankful you can talk.

Lucky Blessing #7 – Friends

Lucky Blessing Challenge #7- Lucky Blessings are Steadfast Friends. 

Holy Cow, I have been so blessed with family and friends who have always been there for me! Everyone in my family and Darin’s family are my friends. That’s for sure! My ward has been also been so great us. Fresh meals, freezer meals, Dr. Pepper, cards, visits, farm chores, words of love, and so much more. Wow, they are all my compassionate friends. My work friends, at Jones Simkins, have gone out of their way to help me and my family with numerous kind acts. Great people! I have had so many visitors the workers at the rehab home have commented about how popular I am, no, I have exceptional people for friends! I really appreciate all those who have been rooting for me in person, at home, on Facebook and on gofundme. Will and determination have been shared with me, I have many shoulders I can figuratively lean on. (Above, is a poem I still remember from my childhood.) I am so incredibly blessed! Thank goodness for everyone who has given Christlike love. Don’t forget to appreciate your friends. It truly means the world to have wonderful people in your life!

Lucky Blessing #8 – Smile


Lucky Blessing Challenge #8- A Lucky Blessing is a Smile.

I’ve been thinking about it, and a smile is our God-given way to share kindness without saying a word. When I drive my wheelchair down the hall, well, my good hand is busy driving. But I can give a smile to make someone’s day. My smile is a bit crooked at this time since my right side is a somewhat “frozen,” but its still a smile. A smile can change someones mood, wow, somebody cares and it can melt a heart! Think about a world without smiling. It really is a blessing. Cheese!

Lucky Blessing #9 – Music

Lucky Blessing Challenge #9- A Lucky Blessing is Good Music. 

A great song from the past can do wonders for your mood. I went to a dairyman dinner tonight (I broke out) and after dinner Eclipse 6 (an a cappella group) sang. Sitting there thinking, I was struck by the idea that God gave us music for joy. We have been blessed with writing and beautiful arrangements of music and awesome talents that make it incredibly enjoyable! They sang an arrangement of “For the Beauty of the Earth” that was seriously touching. (I have a weakness for hymns, they make me cry. Lewiston 1st Ward Relief Society knows this all too well! Now its worse, because hymns bring me the Spirit so hard, and I just cry during every song. They speak to me!) Anywho, I am totally an 80’s child… boy, that music takes me back to my glory days! (My kids know them all thanks to me.) I also like country, (as long as they’re are not dancing in the back of a truck drinking beer!) and some modern pop, (a bunch of the new stuff is pretty good) many of the oldie goldies, (my childhood AM radio “KVNU” gave me an appreciation) and gospel rock. (If you don’t get caught up with misconceptions and be a fellow Christian, it really is good!) Be sure to appreciate all the different music you have in your life! It definitely brings us happiness and joy. Don’t be afraid to sing your heart out in the shower or in the car! Its your God-given right!

Lucky Blessing #10 – Walking

Lucky Blessing Challenge #10 – A Lucky Blessing is Walking. 

It is such a blessing to get around on your own two feet. I have learned that handicap access is crucial. Since I’ve been getting around in a wheelchair, I have become so aware of the smoothest, stairless route. A stroke just zaps all of your energy, but its coming back, slowly. Today I put on a harness to walk hanging from a track on the ceiling. It reminded me of the baby jumpers that hang from the doorframe. They moved my right foot for me as I walked two laps. At the end, they said, “Just hang there” while they got my chair. So I swung around for giggles! Even though it sounds fun, like Lagoon, it was super hard! But I know it is another step in my journey. (Haha, that’s a pun!) Next time you walk out your door, think of how you need to appreciate being upright, on your feet! And your ease in being mobile. Thank your maker for that blessing, with every step you take. (Newsie kick!)