Keep going!

I have been re-reading my old journals, & recently, I read that we moved into our 1st home in Indy on March 16, 1996. To me, our life alone finally started that day.   Ironically, 8 years later, I had my stroke on that same day (March 16, 2004), & our life “began” again!  What is it with March 16? J  Hopefully, that day will no longer mark any kind of “new” beginning! (no pun intended!)

13 years ago, the doctors said that I’d never speak again w/o the aid of a machine, or computer–the doctors would see a hopeless case, so that is what they presented: a hopeless case.  I could have given up right there: I had a “get out of jail free card”, but there was NO WAY I was resorting to that kind of life!  I believe I have mentioned before, how there was NO WAY I’d spend my life talking through a machine, like the doctors said I would, & I was determined to prove them wrong!   I believe that my abilities now, reflect on the attitude I had: I had hope, & eventually I saw potential, so God has blessed me to “tap in” & find that potential that I hoped was there… For 10 years or more, I saw very slow progress, but I’m OCPD (OCD-personality), so if I am faced with a problem, I can’t stop until it’s fixed!  Ha!  Ha!  So, I kept pushing–I wouldn’t give up…& when I finally saw more results, I actually tried harder!  I eventually became confident enough to talk to strangers, & even bring up new topics & ask odd questions, THROUGH MY SPEECH!   I never thought I took for granted the ability to call to someone down the hall…but I get SOOOO excited now when I am in my craft room, & can call down to one of the girls in the kitchen, & they not only hear me, but  understand me, as well!!!  It is SO awesome!  I can appreciate it more, now…but, I could not appreciate it, if I had not ever experienced being w/o it!

However I know that now, while it is tempting to “take a break” & get lazy, I can’t, & must remain vigilant!  When I 1st had my stroke, my left arm seemed to have a little more movement back then , but I got lazy, & when my left arm was showing progress in my shoulder, what did I do?  I strapped it down & reverted to the bare minimum of therapy that I needed for it…

But if I give in & get lazy, I’ve learned that God ALWAYS finds a way to make something negative turn positive. (Though it’s better & easier if I don’t get lazy!)   In this case, the movement my left arm gained in my shoulder is still there, but weaker.  It’s up to me to get it back to where it was.  However, I’d never unstrap my arm!  It is essential to keeping me in my chair when I laugh/sneeze, it helps me to balance, & it offers me so much independence (like when I reach far down to grab something, I stay in my chair).  All the independence I am discovering couldn’t happen unless: a. both hands worked, or b. my hand was strapped down.  I could have tried for a (& with hard work, I like to think it’s still a possibility), but I got lazy, & chose b.  B wasn’t necessarily the best choice.  (When God gives u a break, the better choice is to work hard so u don’t let go!)  But if u “let go,” God will let u repent, & make the most of what is left.  I hope I don’t “get lazy” this time, & I look forward to what the next year brings, as I continue on this journey in my life.

Just bragging…

Just bragging…I increased my breakfast options today from yogurt, toast, & bananas: I made Qia (like oatmeal) all by myself today (using water, not milk!)  I love my new house that enables me to be more independent!  So proud of me!

My mouth was wired shut and I can’t get my words out and I just want to throw things at people when they don’t understand what I am saying. How on Earth did you get through this???

Hahahahaha!  (Not a mean laugh, that just tickles my funny bone!)   It was so hard adjusting, for about the 1st year!  It’s a quick, painful lesson in extreme patience!  I thought I was patient pre-stroke…but, it must be a different kind of patience!

However, I still have days like that, & on those days, Mark tells me that I’m like a toddler, throwing a temper tantrum–& he’s EXACTLY right!  Kinda gives u a new perspective on toddlers…

My Jessie was one tough toddler, & threw temper tantrums like U wouldn’t  believe…now I wonder if those were just times where she was too smart for her own good, & just did not have the words!  Because it can be beyond frustrating!

The key is to look at things as they are: when u have an eternal perspective, this frustrating time is just a blink of the eye!  & try to find the good in the bad—a little frustration is worth a fixed jaw.  Let things go, so if people don’t understand u, it’s ok (I’m an OCD personality, so at times I struggle w/following my own advice here!)

“I am freakin old!”

I recently ran across this video that shares my religious beliefs, & I thought was neat, & wanted to share:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5xnJU0-N58

It occurred to me that things I’d normally blog about, I have written to my son on his mission instead, so I need to “catch u up.”  For instance, I never mentioned a big milestone: that I got a PHONE!  Yes, u read that correct: I got a PHONE!  An iPhone to be exact…it’s pretty cool!  My eyes still have double vision, but I assume the eye muscles have gotten stronger so my eyes line up better & I can read smaller font…Pretty cool!  I never thought I’d be able to see or speak well enough to have a PHONE!

My phone is really more for texting, but I can do phone calls (preferably Facetime, so u can see my mouth, but I have done a few calls on speakerphone!).  I can type on it, but it’s tough.  So, it’s synced w/my iPad, where I can respond to texts.

The hardest part is hearing it ring, & NOT ignoring it, because ever since 2004, I have been ignoring phone calls!  The 2nd hardest part is finding it in my wheelchair bag!  (My phone is not big & easy to find, like my iPad!  & my wheelchair bag has gotten bigger, so I’m like an old lady frantically feeling around my bag/purse, for my phone!)

Anyway,this last week, it suddenly became tough to read my texts—whether it was on my iphone or my ipad…so I went to the eye doctor, & I am officially old: I need bifocals…My shirt today agrees: instead of reading, “I am freakin cold”, it reads, “I am freakin old!”

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Merry Christmas!

Sophie is in this “extra” choir outside of school.  They performed this weekend for the holiday season.  The day we went (Saturday) was a day filled with small upsets & disappointments, but it culminated when we went to Sophia’s concert, & the ONLY place I could sit was at the very far back of the room (with empty rows in front of us).  This is not the 1st time something like this occurred (handicap seating is often crappy), but it was just one more thing that day…

There is this new TV show called ‘Speechless’, & one of the actors is a teenage boy in a wheelchair, who is incapable of speech, & the mom is quite an advocate for her son, who will make it quite clear of how he should be treated…Needless to say, I was thrilled to hear that Mark went all “Speechless” on them, when they tried to be proud of completing the minimum accessibility requirements!

Despite that, I love Christmas. As a child, my favorite tradition was to prepare the manger for Christ: every good deed “earned” a piece of straw for the manger. That tradition never caught on w/my kids, so we did other stuff…

We have tried to keep the focus on Christ (our tree has only nativity ornaments, & most of our decorations are nativity related.–even our advent calendar is a nativity scene, & the while the actual nativity set we display is nice, it is not fragile, so it was ok if little hands touched it– though we also had a Fisher-Price nativity play set that was pulled out & added to their toys in December).  Even Santa remembered Christ in our home, & just as Christ received 3 gifts from the wise men, Santa only gave our kids 3 gifts (though when u add in a gift from your parents, from each sibling, from both sets of grandparents, & from Mark’s 5 siblings, & my 6 siblings, there’s a LOT more than 3 gifts–Thank goodness our siblings began to rotate, & do 1 family gift, instead of 11 individual gifts!)

In addition, to make the holiday less commercial & more personal, we continued Mark’s favorite tradition of making gifts for each other. It doesn’t always happen for Mark & me, but we often help the kids make each other gifts. These are my favorite gifts.

However, this year, I don’t feel very “Christmasy”.  My kids are all grown up, & it has seemed to loose it’s “magic” when everyone can pick out their own gifts!  But this year on Christmas, we will be able to talk to my missionary son (serving in California, for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).  After all those years of trying to put Christ into Christmas, that will certainly put the focus on Christ on Christmas Day!  Who knew I had to wait until now to find Christ in Christmas!