Recovery

18 years & still going strong…

A few days ago, I just wanted something to listen to, so I turned on a podcast I like.  (Better Than Happy).  I heard the title of the podcast (Managing Depression with EmyLee McIntyre).  I didn’t think it’d apply to me because I’m not currently depressed.  But oh, how wrong I was!  18 years ago, I was VERY depressed, & the podcast applied so well to my 18th stroke-a-versary (which is today, 3/16)!  First thing to catch my attention was this gem of a conversation:

You create happiness cause you’ve been through hard things & you’re still ok…

-EmyLee McIntyre

We don’t have to dislike who we were in the past to become a different version of ourselves… “But I liked her! I still want to be her!” Ok. You can like her AND become an even better version of yourself.

-Jody Moore

(because) She’s you!

EmyLee McIntyre

Then they shared this cool idea:

“Write down a thought u want to have & each day write down 3 evidences of how u saw it was true” (for example, if you are having trouble believing that God Loves u, write down “God loves me” & each day find 3 reasons why that is true)

What a fantastic idea!  I don’t need to prove to myself that God loves me – these past 18 years have been filled with reminders of how God loves me & has stayed by my side these many years.  But for fun (& because it has been on my mind), I will list 10 I have seen recently – though there have been many, many more!

  1.  Because of choices He has prompted, I believe it helped me to have a quick encounter with COVID (though I’m still recovering, I feel great & well cared for)
  2. My husband was sick before me, so he could help me when I was too weak to do anything
  3. I am always amazed at the physical strength of my husband when he’s ill, & knowing how weak I got, there’s no doubt in my mind that he received heavenly assistance!
  4. My helper was also sick slightly before us, so she has also been here & could help me both when Mark was sick, & while I am sick!
  5. By some miracle, I didn’t get sick with COVID until my helper AND Mark were both well enough to help me, but it was close enough to when they had COVID that they could feel confident about their antibodies
  6. I saw my grandbaby just the day before we had to quarantine
  7. In 2020, I finally had surgery (that I’d put off forever) on my deviated septum…it has TOTALLY helped me deal with COVID
  8. Not too long ago, my husband picked up Navage (which basically sucks your boogers out – Ha, Ha).  Not to sound like a commercial, but it has helped me SOOOO much!  I’m less congested than I’ve ever been from a common cold!
  9. Years ago, it seemed like a mean, cruel trick how my diet had to suddenly change, but now all I see is how it blesses me!  The week before I had COVID, my diet was jam-packed with anti-inflammatory foods!  Stuff I never would’ve eaten 18 years ago!  It was like I was being prepared for a battle!  … & the clincher: it wasn’t even planned! (which is strange, since I’m a planner!)                
  10.  Recently, I was reading an article called “The Joy of the Saints” (https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2019/10/14christofferson?lang=eng), & I was reminded of a man who had a lot of influence in my life during the early years after my stroke.  The article read, “ Once in an interview, Jack observed: “Problems will come into all of our lives; it’s part of just being here upon this earth. And some people think that religion or having faith in God will protect you from bad things. I don’t think that’s the point. I think the point is that if our faith is strong, that when bad things happen, which they will, we’ll be able to deal with them. … My faith never wavered, but that didn’t mean that I didn’t have depressions. I think for the first time in my life, I was pushed to the limit, and literally there was nowhere to turn, and so I turned to the Lord, and to this day, I feel a spontaneity of joy.”

Now I should pick a phrase I want to believe, but am having trouble believing…

What helps me to endure

I have been asked what has helped me to endure the trial I’ve been given & I’ve always felt that my beliefs play a big part & that my testimony of Jesus Christ has strengthened me throughout my entire life, & especially during these 17 years post-stroke. So (as usual) I’m excited to watch general conference this weekend, but I get more excited when Easter is the same weekend!

“General conference is the worldwide gathering of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Twice a year, during the first weekend of April and the first weekend of October, Church leaders from around the world share messages or sermons focused on the living Christ and His gospel. Viewers learn how to find peace, hope, and joy in Jesus Christ; how to strengthen families by following Jesus’s teachings; and how to receive personal guidance and inspiration from God. General conference is streamed and broadcast live in about 70 languages and is later translated into more than 100 languages. We invite everyone—of all faiths, beliefs, and backgrounds from everywhere in the world—to watch, listen, and participate.”(https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/learn/general-conference?lang=eng)

If u want to watch with me, here are Ways to Watch or Listen to General Conference Live: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/learn/ways-to-watch-general-conference?lang=eng

There are 4 sessions (Saturday 11-1 & 3-5, & Sunday 11-1 & 3-5, central time. U can watch 1 session, or all 4 sessions! Or, after the conference, the messages are published on ChurchofJesusChrist.organd in the Church’s Liahonamagazine.

Here’s an Apostle Testimony Montage:

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/media/video/2015-10-0001-apostle-testimony-montage?lang=eng

Update

From March 15-May 21, I hadn’t been out of my house, but I got to do horse therapy again this last week (June 1-4, I was fortunate to have a ride each evening)! Yea! I was super impressed w/all the precautions taken…they’ve really thought things out! & My body really needed it—I slept so hard all week, & often didn’t want to get up! & my tummy muscles have been sore! (I love that feeling now – it is so satisfying to know my body was working hard!). Plus, I don’t get very many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, so between the fresh air & the opportunity to enjoy the company of others, it was almost like an emotional therapy as well!

All 3 kids are headed to college in the fall (yes, my baby, Sophie, graduated this year—she wanted the “senior experience,” & got a very memorable one!). COVD-19 has been a blessing in disguise in some ways since it has worked out to have all my adult children here for a while (& it’s not like a regular visit where they basically just sleep here! Haha). It has also allowed family & friends to find unique ways to show others their love & support, as everyone has chipped in to give Sophie a memorable senior year! I have wished I could do more for her, but it has made my heart so full to witness how the Lord has provided what I could not!

One more thought: As I was getting my haircut yesterday, I was feeling so very grateful that for the past year being a kind of “preparation” of what was going to occur, because there I was wearing a mask & covering my mouth, but still able to talk to my hairdresser (who primarily speaks Spanish)!

Join the fight for inclusion

I LOVE this video (https://youtu.be/HXPbbmRG45A) & echo all they say…they even touch upon some of the struggles I’ve never mentioned, & just “deal with.” I am a really big advocate for disability awareness–that’s the whole reason for my website, jenannlynn.org. I just want people aware that I’m a person too, & to see some of my struggles & joys. Please join the fight for inclusion!:

www.BraunAbility.com/TheDrivingForce 

Slowing down

Before coronavirus, I actually had a good routine set up…I bet u felt like u did, too. Oddly, while the world has slowed for everyone else, & made their lives less busy, my world has started spinning, as I can get more help now, & w/that help, I have the option to do so much more. Crazy, huh?!? (Interestingly, my world has only changed in ways where I try to become more like “everyone else”: music & yoga therapy are online, & horse therapy temporarily stopped—speaking of…I am REALLY concerned about them, so if like to help them out by gathering donations. If u’d like to help, go to http://www.redarena.org/ … Once here, go to “donate options” under “support” on their toolbar.)

I thought I wanted a busier life, but after a brief reminder, I realized that I don’t want that! I don’t feel as happy—even when I’m getting done what I want done—if I have to fight for my time alone to have time for my personal scripture study & meditate. Seriously…I’m happier on the days I fit those in! In trying to find a new balance, it occurred to me: I’VE DONE THIS BEFORE…meaning, I’ve had my life turned upside-down on me, very suddenly, before & gone from being a crazy, busy mom to being well…uh…me! Someone far less busy. Someone who looks back & can see how beneficial it can be to be less busy.

I’ve had a few weeks to “busy myself up” again, so let me share how I’m trying to figure out my new schedule, & maybe something will stick out for u as u figure things out for u.

1st, try to avoid any depression & be grateful for what is still a “can do.” Then, I use the spirit to help me figure out my “good, better, best” activities: ie, I’ve always wanted to do therapy daily, but w/the business of other people’s lives, that wasn’t a possibility before. But now it is! So now, part of me would like someone to come at least a few hours daily around lunch for help with lunch, potty, & therapy…but that seriously messes with my routine (meditation & personal scripture study, amongst other things…& now that my family can be there, I’m not!) So, I need to figure out if there is there something better or best I can do? Cuz while daily therapy is good, is it “best”? Tuesday’s used to always be my “date day” with my husband: going out to horse therapy, going out for lunch, & maybe going to the movies or to run errands with Mark—so maybe finding a way to still spend time w/Mark is better or best? & now that my family is around more, shouldn’t I find a way to interact w/them more?

Months ago my daughter (who was on her mission & has since been sent home) was facing a tough decision. I told her, “U’re faith is being tested by not knowing. God is forcing your faith to grow & making u take a “step into the darkness.”

& when she was physically hurting & felt like she was slowing down others, I told her, “I totally feel for U about your frustration with slowing down the work…I get it. But God probably appreciates u for doing your best….even if your best is just rolling out of bed one day. Reframe. Accept what u are capable of doing. God does.
Would U tell a friend what u are telling yourself? Be nice to yourself.”

Ever notice how much easier it is to dish out (rather than to take) advice? Maybe I need to take my own advice & be nicer to myself, acknowledge that I’m doing the best I know how, & grow, by taking a “step forward into the darkness.” I encourage u to do that, too!