Church

I love Halloween!

It has been forever since I have written… I seem to go from one thing to another, without ever coming up for air.  But this year, I had 2 Halloween costumes that were created by 2 very creative people: 1st I went to a Halloween party with my helper & friend, Angie, who did Dr. Finkelstein in one style, using make-up—Angie went as Sally, Dr. Finklestein’s helper from “Nightmare Before Christmas.”

Then, we had a trunk or treat at our church this weekend, but I wanted a more family-friendly costume for it, though…At 1st, I wanted to be a transformer. Then the Dr. Suess fish in a bowl.. But one day Mark joked about how when I talked, I sounded like E.T. & he had me say, “E.T. Phone home”. I DID sound like E.T.,  & the costume was born…so, Mark did ET in another style, using his own set of talents. He was Elliot, I was ET, & my niece was the moon.  I love how I can give  Mark or Angie a creative project, & say, “Here’s what I want to do…now make it look awesome!”  & they do!

                    

 

BTW, I still LOVE my standing chair!  Our world & our bodies are made for standing, & it comes in handy for the smallest things (like I stood up in order to pull down the medical coat for my Dr. Finkelstein costume)! I had a tilt table (a type of standing frame), & had looked at other standing frames before the standing chair, but the fact that I needed help getting into them turned me off – & now I’d add that the lack of mobility while standing would kill me, cuz I love being able to move while standing: getting into cabinets,& going down the hall (which freaks my kids out to see me “walking” down the hall!)

Several years ago we looked into a standing wheelchair, but we were in our old house, & it wouldn’t fit in my elevator.  I was super bummed, but it was a blessing in disguise: I was not strong enough then.  I was too weak to even stand up w/o assistance, & after sitting in this chair for extended periods of time, I can see how much less support it offers…it would have exhausted me!  , This chair requires much more torso strength, which I never developed until I started taking horse (equine) therapy (which I started  later–I was like a rag doll until then!)

Just checking in…

It has been a while. If u saw my posts on Facebook or Instagram, u know some of what is going on:

–my son, Zach, came home from his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ, serving the people in San Diego, CA in ASL (sign language).

–My daughter, Jessie also graduated from high school

–we had a party for my son & daughter to welcome Zach home, & congratulate Jess

–we went on an Alaskan cruise

–both my son & daughter went to BYU a few weeks ago, & on the way, they were rear-ended (they are ok, & were protected)

–my 18 yr. old daughter became the Relief Society president over the other college-age girls in her BYU ward (congregation)

–I got a new wheelchair that can use to either sit or to stand.   (I am like a transformer, & if I have my knee brace & chest strap on, I can “transform” from a sitting car, into a  robot…& when I do turn into a “robot”, I turn into a robot that is much taller than my “human form”!  (My “human form is 5 feet, 3,5 inches, while my “robot form” is like 6 feet tall—it’s pretty awesome!). 🙂

 

The week after I got my new chair was crazy trying to NOT sit!  (After 14 years of sitting, standing is a bit more appealing!)  However, in the last 14 years, I have created a world for myself where I sit, so I was very limited to what I could do standing...BUT if I’ve learned anything in 14 years, chances are high that I will need to make a sacrifice in order to gain something greater. So, despite limited things to do, I spent more time doing other things:  when I stand, I lose my belly (that I support my iPad on), & I lose my lap (which means I can’t use my iPad pillow, or carry/transport stuff, but talking I can do sitting or standing, so I  did a lot of standing & having conversations.—Oddly, it has actually become a challenge to sit & talk: Maybe a coincidence, but I think my diaphragm is less squished, so I get more air when I stand…However, I don’t think our dog, Cooper, likes my chair too much, also, since his lap is gone, & he’s always staring at me like he’s saying, “When’s it my turn?”  I now have a tray (I am standing as I type this!), but our dog HATES how he can rarely sit on me now!

 

“Wherefore Didst Thou Doubt?”

I was watching this video about when Peter walked on water (https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2014-01-024-wherefore-didst-thou-doubt?&cld=HP_TH_18-5-2017_dPFD_fMLIB_xLIDyL1-A_&lang=eng), & realized that my speech can be the same way.

 

I have some friends who routinely come by to chat…Rarely, do I ever sign—we really do chat!  & excitedly, I can FINALLY speak to my hairdresser (who, before, couldn’t even talk to me, cuz I could not answer w/a head nod!), & sometimes, I can get out a “thank you” to a person who holds the door open for me!  (This has bothered me for so long, it is very exciting to me!)  I have answered a few phone calls, & have gotten braver, & open our front door, & approach people (in the past, I’d never do that, cuz I can’t talk to them, & they can’t talk to me).  Not long ago, my husband went to help one of my friend’s w/some home repairs, & I tagged along to just keep her company & chat…she knows no ASL, yet for quite sometime we conversed just fine!  & I have had friends at church remark on how clear my speech is getting, & approach me in the halls to talk!    So, with all this occurring to build up my confidence, in a sense, I can walk on water!

 

However my speech is not perfect, & still needs A LOT of work!  As I watched the video, I could understand Peter’s thoughts–often, like Peter, I will think, “I’m doing it!” & have a moment of thrill, followed by panic, questioning myself, & then I clam up (& sink).  It is not until I stop thinking about how I did it, or stop feeling anxious, that I can again speak.  The title of the video is “Wherefore Didst Thou Doubt?”  How much that fits me as well…

 

I have been sick lately, & a few weeks ago, I literally couldn’t speak for a few days, & I had to resort to sign language again…it was horrible!  (Ironic to hear that from me, I know…but I guess it is like swimming in water, after experiencing walking on water), & I wondered how I had tolerated it for so many years!  My family has “gotten out of the practice” of periodically looking at me, & I forgot how hard it is to get people’s attention when u can’t even make a single noise!!!  When I was telling a family member about how I had lost my voice that weekend, she pointed out how it was a good thing I had enough voice to even lose it!

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!

Christmas Concert

If u will be in Austin the 1st weekend in December, u should really go to this…Maybe I’m biased, but I think it’s soooo good!  & this year, my Jessica is doing the biggest bell in the bell choir!  And if u can’t pick between attending Friday or Saturday night, I suggest Saturday, because my other daughter, Sophia, is performing with her quartet (I may be biased, but I heard them practice, & they sound AMAZING!)

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