Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bringing it all into focus.

Sometimes in tragedy we find our life's purpose - the eye sheds a tear to find its focus.  ~Robert Brault

Sometimes when things go crazy in life, it's to help us find the focus. The REAL focus. It's all to easy to forget where we should focus our time, efforts, energy, and emotions.  Now, I am not saying that every tragedy in life is to prove some point or to give someone this huge epiphany or something. Sometimes though, I think that is exactly what these blips of craziness are supposed to do. When we get down on the kind of parent we are, down on what kind of spouse we are, down on what kind of friend, sibling, child we are; these blips sort of help us find the focus and bring us back from our pits of despair and focus our energies on the things that truly matter.

I had an opportunity to take some time with dear friends and get a bit of a recharge.  I have been on the verge of quitting recently, more then once.  Now when I say quitting, I'm not even sure exactly what that means. I can't say I've had any sort of suicidal thoughts because that just isn't who I am. I really though, beyond that, don't know how far quitting meant. I just know I was so tired of not being able to do, feel, or know. Frankly I stopped doing that which my Heavenly Father would have me do, I stopped seeking the good. Not really intentionally just my focus was gone. My focus was blown way out and I needed last weekend to help me realign it.  The theme of the conference was fittingly, "Seek the good". Inspirational speakers, soul lifting music, and even tearful realizations were on the agenda Friday and Saturday.  

Messages about how you may not choose how things happen, you do get to choose how you handle them. Messages about how all of us are in a sinking boat, some of us might have bigger holes in our boats then others, but we are all sinking. Our stories may not turn out exactly as we would have written them, lets face it no one would intentionally write in tragedy to their own story, but without it how would we really know when the really great things are happening? How we handle the rewrites is what makes us who we are. Just like the refiners fire, the tempering is what makes us stronger.

I would never have written in the loss of my Dad at 16, or that car accident that changed my direction the month later. I would never have written in the job losses. I would never have written in 12 miscarriages, pregnancies riddled with pre-term contractions, and hyperemesis. I certainly would NEVER have written in MS into the story. Those things would never have made the final draft because I would have written in all the daisies, dandelions, and yellow balloons of life. I think if given the chance we'd all pick yellow balloons over rotten apples, even if those rotten apples eventually turn into a beautiful tree later. In the now, all we see are the stinky rotting apples.

 A few of my rotting apple situations turned into three of the most beautiful, trying, amazingly brilliant kids. My pregnancies weren't easy, but boy do my kids make up for that icky bag of goo while waiting for them. I am not sure exactly why my Dad had to leave this earth when he was so young, but I think more that wasn't about me. It was about this amazing man being done here on earth with what his Heavenly Father had for him to do. It was a release for him, my sorrow just happen to be a by product of the necessity for him to go on. I miss him like crazy but i know he is doing his part on the other side. This HUGE rotting sack of apples the Dr's call MS, who knows what it's going to bring in my life. What I see it teaching me right now is how to learn to ask for help. I still fight asking for help to the point of extreme frustration. I didn't ask to not be able to feel my kids face when I stroke it, I didn't ask to get tired just walking through the grocery store, to the point of near fainting. I didn't ask for an overworked husband. I din't ask for the extra stress of medical bills and no insurance. I also didn't ask to have an amazing husband, kids, caring friends, and for a disease that isn't terminal. I do however, appreciate these things. I appreciate them more now then ever before.

So what do I do with this new found focus? I learned not to compare my boat and the holes in it to anyone else.  I know for sure that while I think my holes are huge, they are nothing compared to some. I learned that even if I think that I could have written my story a little better, my Heavenly Father is the best author. Only He knows where these twists, turns, and diversions are going to lead me. It's up to me to make my story something I am proud of, to handle the adversity with focus and seeking the good.  

I am sure I'll stumble more then I'll walk strong. Music can drive a message deeper then even words can sometimes, be sure to stop and truly listen. The only thing that matters is that you keep hearing the music, keep finding a beating drum to march to, even if it's completely different then the one you started out marching to.

I am still refining and honing my focus. As I face new challenges every day, new frustrations every day, I will try to keep the focus from at least getting blown way out again. I really don't want to quit. I really want to get past the depression of loosing who I thought I was. I would love to move on to finding out who I will be. I want to be an amazing mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend. Until I can get there, until I can let go who I thought I was going to be and work on who I am meant to be...

I will seek the good, and try to bring it all into focus.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Friends...they help pass the time

I used to be extremely extroverted. I never had trouble making friends growing up. I had to,we moved so much that making friends quickly was a survival thing. Then I married one of my best friends and had kids. Now I feel like I don't make friends so well. I have lived in this area going on 3 years. I go to church, am active with the kids school, but just do not feel like I have friends to hang with, be a get away or anything.

I have dear friends, don't get me wrong...just none of them are in Athens. My bestest of friends are at least an hour away. I also have friends I have never met in person, great friends who I've spoken to on a near daily basis and care about me and mine. Even if they aren't people I've met in person they are genuine and caring.

In the mail today was an envelope. In the envelope was a card. In the card was a very kind, thoughtful, loving gift.The gift was a key chain that said "just keep swimming" on it. The gifters? A group of women I met   on a message board three years ago. To this day haven't met a one in person. They are a sounding board, they listen to my hopes, fears, trials, and triumphs. Today they made me feel loved, like I have a team cheering for me. Today my downs aren't quite as down.

I cherish my fiends from afar..I hope that soon I can have some to cherish who are near.

Monday, October 15, 2012


There are days and days in one persons life. Some are good, some bad, some great, and some you wish never happened.  There are days I wish I could do over, rewind and have end differently, some I'd like to skip all together. There are a few days I'll never forget and do not mind keeping.

Keep List

  • Meeting my very best friend in 7th grade. Christa and I were like two peas in a pod. She and I shared nearly all of our biggest teen life moments together. 
  • Marrying the man of my dreams. I would change how we did it,but the actual act...never ever. (FYI never elope if you are the baby of the family and the last's bad mojo from your mom for the rest of your life.)
  • The day that I got to look into the eyes of each of my amazing kids. I live and breathe for them.

Give Away List

  • The day I found out my dad died. I was 16 at a church youth conference and everyone just stared as I broke down.
  • The day I let someone make me feel like a failure for not being able to nurse James or deliver him vaginally. I battle that feeling of inadequacy often because of that one day I let it creep in.
  • The day we decided to move to CO. That lead to much heart ache for my family.
  • The day my life changed and MS became a factor in my life.

There are more I'm sure but these days stick out in my mind. I know that these events shape us into who we are. I know that those days will have a forever profound mark in my life but I really do wish some could be taken away. 

Monday, October 08, 2012

I have MS, even if you don't think I look sick

If you don't know me or don't see me on a daily basis you might never know. I don't have a rash, lost limb, or really any outer display to tell you I am sick . I don't use a wheel chair, walker, or cane...yet. I may look completely "normal" if you see me in the am, and a hot mess by afternoon. That's just the nature of MS.

I have nerve damage, you can't see it, only I can feel it. I am not stuck up or trying to be offensive by not shaking your hand,hugging you, or accepting the warm friendly rub on my arm. It hurts, like a lot. Imagine having a wire brush ran up and down your arm, or pressed into our hand...that is what I feel with every friendly arm rub, hand shake,or hug.

Every day normal activities that I used to be able to do I can't or am in the process of trying to figure out. When you think I've worn the same pants three days in a row, don't whisper, I probly did. I can't button buttons or zip zippers so I am limited on what clothes I can wear. And yes I did just wear that shirt, it's one of the few that don't make me go crazy after 5 min of wearing it. 

I would rather have an elaborate cooked meal, in fact I LOVE to cook; however I love my fingers too. I am still figuring out how to get back to doing something I love safely. I can and almost have easily cut a finger off and not felt it until it's too late, burn my hands because that pot or cookie sheet didn't feel that hot. So don't judge me when my kids say we had spaghetti or fish sticks six times this month. Orturn up our nose because my 11 and 8 year olds have to help with dinner.

Typing,oh how I love to type! I communicate on facebook, socialize, and network my business. I don't type as fast as I used to, in fact I am down from 100+ wpm with perfect accuracy to 18 wpm with still many mistakes. I still do it because it's an outlet for me.  It may take me longer and I may not always fix my typos but I am ok with that no need to point them out. My handwriting is pretty much illegible so when i say i can't write,I mean it takes me forever and a lot of focus and energy to make it illegible. My husband usually fills out the paper work for me, but clearly he's not sewn to my side. don't take it personally if i ask you to jot something down for me.

MS is an autoimmune disease I was born with it, I didn't do anything to cause it. Nothing really brought it on and nothing will make it go away. I may get better as the myelin  heals, but I might not. i may end up in a wheel chair, with a walker, or a cane..might not. Being fat did not bring this on, and being thinner won't make it go away. I have goals to loose weight, but they are my goals not yours...I don't have to tell you if I don't want to.

if I am any better or my hands go back to normal I will shout it from the roof tops. If you don't want a real answer don't ask me how I am doing. Most days i am ok, not dead is a good thing. There are also days I am extremely depressed and feel like I can't do this. It's normal,  if I ever can't shake the funk I have an amazing Dr who will help me and I won't hesitate to call him.

Things that you can do? I surely do not expect anything from anyone...
  • Any time a meal is brought it takes that much stress out of my day.
  • Cards make me smile.
  • Just being thought of and little random acts of kindness are great.
  • Just be a genuine friend.
  • Sometimes i just need a shoulder to cry on or an ear to vent to.

I try to keep things light and in the end, I guess really just be kind to people because you never know what battles they are facing and could really use an ally.