Those Pesky Feelers

I recently had a conversation with a friend that left me spinning for days, maybe even a week. It never ceases to amaze me the "truth" that others choose to speak in the name of "love". Where there may have been some small nugget of truth (I'm still trying to work through that and decide for myself) the fact of the matter is that the presentation was far from helpful. Although I am certain that the intent was pure and intended to point me in the right direction, the effect that it had ended up causing me to question things that I shouldn't. So for those of you who have the gift of Exhortation, I urge you - despirately - to use caution when attempting to spread your "love". When speaking to those who are much more sensitive than yourself you may end up doing more damage than good. If you don't have all the facts, refrain from speaking until you do. When digging for informtion, don't assume you have the full picture. 

I have always struggled with being able to clearly articulate how I feel about a matter. Frankly it hasn't gotten any easier in my 30+ years, I've simply decided that it's something that is worth working on. But there are those who have similar issues to me who don't feel comfortable or safe even attempting to share their feelings. It is so much easier to just crawl in a hole and attempt to disappear. Is that helpful? No. Does it solve anything? No. But it is a gut reaction to those of us who have a hard time connecting feelings with words, and clearly communicating them. 

Do I need to work on being able to clearly communicate my thoughts and feelings? Absolutely. Do I need to work on being able to speak up for myself in the moment when someone is off course. Definitely. But I would also encourage those of you who feel it necessary to chastize others to think twice about what is going to come out. Is it necessary? Is it true? And are you offering helpful advice, or just spewing your opintion? 

It's always difficult for me to swallow situations like this, mostly because I just can't identify with them - At. All. The concept is so foreign to me that anyone would feel the need to correct someone in this fashion, I simply cannot identify with why anyone would feel the need to tear another person down. But I recognize that simply because I see it this way does not mean that they see it the same way. In the same way that I recognize others may not see things the way I do, I would hope that others can recognize that the way they feel about a matter may not be the same as their recipient. Above all, when in doubt speak in love. I don't mean by  "lovingly" telling your brother or sister they need to change how they are living or acting. I mean be there for them, be a shoulder or an ear. Tell them you hear them, and that your Father loves them. Let HIM be the one the conviction comes from. HE can and will do these things if we let him.  But when others get in the way and feel that - if they don't say it, no one will - it is likely to do more harm than good. 

Peace. Love. Grace.

May we wallow in those things.

year one. love.

This week I have my one year follow up with both my Family Doc, and my Ophthalmologist. It's kind of sureal to me that a whole year has passed. An entire year has gone by where my visual ability has completely changed from what I knew little over a year ago. And although my vision is not so terribly great these days, I choose to believe my over all quality of life has improved. My relationships are stronger with my family, my marriage is in the best shape it has ever been, my child is learning and growing and thriving. I have had the opportunity to meet and be blessed by an amazing community of women that I might not have ever had the opportunity to know had this event never taken place. 

That's not to say that this last year hasn't been hard. Because, the Good Lord knows - it has been. Probably the hardest year of my life so far. Yet everyone that has surrounded me over the last year has been a helping hand in one form or fashion to help keep me going. To encourage me when I need it, and to drag me out of the dark hole I often find myself slipping into. I pray every day that the Lord will bless all of the amazing people in my life with an extra portion of the amazingness that they have shown me. 

If I have learned nothing else over the last year, it's that you can never know the full extent of a kind gesture. Simple things can be so huge, and have been for me so often. So I hope and pray that any person who might feel discouraged or jaded by an effort of giving - don't give up yet. Bless, and Love others because He has asked it of us. Your acts may encourage others. Even if the direct recipient of your acts do not receive the full blessing you offer we can never know if someone else will. Love. Because loving feels good. Loving is what we are called to do. Let the world be rained on by our love. Let it be drenched to the core and saturated with it. Love. 

As one who has been rained on with love and saturated to the core - more people need this feeling. I never would have survived this last year in the condition I have without the love I received. 

Letting go, and letting Him

In processessing through the Stuck study by Jennie Allen, a piece in the Overwhelmed portion keeps calling out to me. So I'm sharing it here:

... All that while, He was there, beckoning me to find him and to find freedom. But to do so I had to die. And honestly, I loved God, but I also loved me and I loved control - and I even loved my to-do lists and schedule. I wasn't sure I wanted God messing with everything. I wanted a little of Him, but not too much. But when we surrender, trust, and obey in the radical way He wants us to, as the old hymn says, the things of earth growing strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

So, what's next?

That is a question I find I am constantly asking myself. To which I seldom find the answer that fully satisfies. I feel as though I've been munching on popcorn to hold me over when what I really need is a steak and potato. This limbo land wreaks havoc on my planner tenancies. So while I wait for clarity on future movement I'm going to reflect on where I've been and where I'm at now. 

This last year has been insane for me. Mid October will mark 1 year since I was sick/diagnosed with Idiopathic Intra-cranial Hypertension. It also marks the last time I worked in an office. Little did we know then the permanent changes that would follow. Little did we know then the terrible damage that was taking place that would forever alter my path in life. 

You see, not only did this illness effect my career, it effected my freedom. I was no longer able to drive. Truly no one can fully understand the helplessness that a very stubborn, very independent grown woman feels when freedom has been ripped away so suddenly, until you have walked it first hand. I do not have the ability to simply get up and go if and when I please. 

Not only did this sudden illness effect my career and my freedom, it altered the course of our family plan. My husband and I had just begun discussing when/if we should bring more children into the picture. Natural and or adopted was the question on the table. Now the idea of natural children seems too risky. 

I've held strongly to the fact that I know God has a plan, and I know it has to be better than anything I could possibly plan for myself. But golly, it's hard not knowing what comes next. I've busied myself this year with increasing my mobility and gaining confidence in going out on my own. I've been aided by some amazing women who volunteered to help take me out once a week for errands and appointments (See Teena Taxi Team). Each of these women hold a special place in my heart for the role they've played in helping me regain my freedom. I've recently conquered both crowded ball games in the dark and crowded airports. Which one year ago would never have been more than an inconvenience. Now, thanks to proper training and lots of personal cheerleaders I know I can tackle these things again.

Another struggle I've had to work with, is how people change. Either better, or worse. I have been abundantly blessed by some pretty amazing people that have stepped up to help me. Most of whom I had never even met before. Without these people I truly would not be in the good place I am now. Then there are others who I considered myself very close to, who for whatever reasons have distanced themselves from me. That's been a hard pill to swallow. I've asked myself far too often "what did I do to deserve this?" or "what's so wrong with me that you don't want to be around me?" And for better or worse those thoughts have all stayed in my head or have only been voiced to my sweet husband and my amazing mother. Then along came yet another group of women, who I got to serve with. Each of us broken in our own way. These women have been sweet salve on my broken heart. We celebrate our brokenness, we celebrate our shortcomings, and most importantly we celebrate each other. 

So, what is next? I still don't have any idea. But whatever it is, I have this feeling it's something big, and glorious. So while I wait for Him to start writing the next chapter,  I'm getting the paper and the pen and ink ready.

Photo Courtesy of a dear friend; Mimi


My emotions seem pretty wild lately. Up until about 8 days ago I had been very excited about learning to use a white cane. I met my very nice instructor last week, and he left me with a used cane to practice with until we determine exactly what kind of cane would be best for me, and then order one. 

After he left my emotions went crazy. I don't need this, what was I thinking?! Embarrassment, shame, fear. What if someone thinks I'm a fraud because I can see, some? I know I have to stop worrying about what others think, but geeeesh, it's hard. 

This whole process has been so different, so foreign to anything I have ever experienced. There is no possible way for me to prepare myself. For someone like myself who likes life neat and tidy and planned out... That's hard. 

Trying to take this one step at a time. Literally, one foot in front of the other. Deep breaths...

Too Many Doors Left Open, Too Many Words Unspoken

I sit here frustrated. 

Just frustrated. 

So much of my life has changed over the last 9 months. Yet there are so many loose ends. The most difficult one for me to swallow right now is how I had been cut loose from my work team. And yet somehow that process still isn't complete. I was told back in January that there wasn't a position for me to return to and that I would be receiving a severance package.  Here it is, June, and I've yet to receive anything. Any and all communication with former coworkers has been nonexistent. I feel like a leper: Ignore it, don't acknowledge it. It'll just go away.  It never really existed, just pretend its not there.  There's a part of me that wants to scream at the top of my lungs until someone finally acknowledges me. Then the rest of me just wants to slink away, they don't deserve my time anyway. But I'd really love to ask just what they think I did, personally, to deserve this treatment? Does anyone *want* to lose all or some of their sight? I certainly didn't willingly give up my job. Do they think I enjoy being dependant on others?

Generally I feel as though I've been rather successful in seeing the good in my circumstances. Because there *has* been good. But right now I have to acknowledge the bad, too, or it's simply going to eat me alive. 

Being cast aside so carelessly, and then completely cut off from the life I once knew adds insult to injury, quite literally. Then having to fight for what I was promised to begin with just piles on the insult. I have a horrible taste for the corporate world of retail in my mouth. Companies should treat people with more dignity, more respect. And this is just a guess because I can only speak for myself; I'm pretty certain that most people who find themselves disabled in one way or another would most likely - gladly - give up whatever benefit they receive to no longer be disabled. 

When You Find That You Are The Lemon

They say when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. What do you do when you realize that you were the lemon? 

In my case I made an apology and am going to do my best to make amends. 

Life isn't easy, and there certainly no guarantees for how things turn out. When we've realized we've made a mistake I think the best we can do is recognize what we did wrong, and do our best to right the wrong. Whatever that may look like. 

Teena Taxi Team

I have been blessed beyond words! Recently two sweet ladies I know organized a group of ladies of 9 ladies who rotate and provide a ride for me each week. Whether it be for errands, shopping, doctor visits, or just to get out of the house! The amazing part? I've never met any of the ladies with the exception of the two that organized it! All of these sweet, amazing ladies have volunteered to be my driver once a week out of the goodness of their heart. This has been so wonderful for me, so freeing!

As I said: blessed beyond words! So thankful for these giving hearts.

Roller Coaster

When I last worked, I felt as though I was part of The Elite. Not just because we had just been told that at a company retreat where we ate great food, and relaxed with each other over cocktails and Wii bowling. But because as a team we functioned so well together. My direct management was probably the best manager I've had in my entire career. Someone who was not just committed to what was best for the company, but wanted to help his people learn and grow. We had many fun times together in the short time I was there. I miss the daily camaraderie, the jokes about our boss being old and me being short. I miss the sense of belonging. Of all the companies I've worked for over the last 11+ years, I can honestly say this last one was the only one I truly enjoyed being a part of. I took pride in other jobs accomplished, and I enjoyed working with other people, but never the whole package as I did there.

Don't get me wrong. I know I always said I wanted to be at home with my babies. I wanted to be a housewife. And aside from feeling trapped without the ability to *do* and *go* as I please, I am enjoying being a housewife. But I think the longer I had to work, the more I became resigned to it. In the end I think I found more fulfillment in it than I realized.

Even if I had wanted to be at home, the abruptness of the change is enough to send a person whirling. I think Jeff put it best when he said its like jumping off of a freight train into a wall of jello. Going from living the highlife, to being queen of the couch is a difficult transition in the best of times.

I'd like to think they miss me as much as I miss them...