Sunday, December 20, 2009

We didn't know our own strength......

We all have our personal struggles and Hurricanes.  Each of us tries to hide it from the world.  Because, we want everyone to see that we have it all together.  At least that is the way it has been for me.   I have share extensively what I have gone through.  But, this isn't just me, it is We.   These are just the few people I care about and their hurricanes.  There are so many more.  Their strength is amazing. You NEVER ever know what your neighbor (literally or metaphorically) is going through.    A storm is a storm is a storm.   You are all still didn't know your own strength...

My love and prayers go out to the person whose son was hit by a car and was in a coma and is still sick today.  To the young couple who lost their son at age 1, to the many sisters and brothers in life dealing with cancer or any other illness,  To the person who lost everything due to addiction, To the person (s) who did not know where their next meal or rent would come from.  To the person(s) who lost their jobs and are struggling heavily.  To the people that have gone through a divorce.  To those that have been abused verbally or physically.  To those that are trying to keep their business going, To those that are lost, trying to find themselves.  To those who are lost to addiction to whatever it is.  To those who are working with special needs children and feel frustrated.  To those that are lonely and waiting for that right person.  To those that have been damaged as a child and going through court as we speak.  For those that just lost their dad, after losing their mother a couple of years ago and another who just lost their mother.  For the family that lost all 3 of their children to a rare form of cancer.   To the person who deals with MS everyday and hurts all the time, yet keeps on going and going.  To the person (s) that has given everything to their acting and struggling and waiting for that break.  To those that are are so handi-capable.  You amaze me constantly.  To those that have had their heart broken into a million pieces and trying to find the pieces to put together.  To the person who had eclampsia after delivering her baby.  Their kidneys and liver started failing.  To the person whose water broke at 27 weeks and layed on their back for 9 weeks just to keep the baby alive.   To that same family who juggled life with 2 other little ones at home and trying to keep this baby alive.  (By the way, he is alive and well)  To all of those that are traveling to find their son/daughter via adoption.  To the person who despises someone that they cared about.  Forgiveness is the answer.  To those that have broken off friendships because of huge misunderstandings.  I pray that you all realize that person has a good heart and has been through too much to try and create drama or trouble in their life.  They are just trying to come back into the world again.  Give them a chance.  

As I said, I could keep going.  It is hard to believe so many are in a hurricane and the rest of the world would never know.  To those that I know about and to those that I don't.....this is for all of us.......

Reflections: Finding God in places where you didn't think He was....

I found Him in the transporter who took me to all of my procedures, tears were sliding down my eyes, and he touched my head and sang Amazing Grace to me.  When he came to my room and played the banjo and sang gospel.  To the many, many nurses who took care of me and made me laugh to help me forget my physical pain... He was there.  God was with my entire church and the hundreds of people who prayed for us, who brought food, who cleaned our home, who painted our house.    I found God in a neighborhood (Miramonte..i love and miss you all, I never got the chance to know you like I wanted to!) where they barely knew me, and person after person came to help in whatever way they could.  Painting our furniture so that when we moved, I could feel peace.  Or the sweetest people who helped me when I couldn't help myself to get ready to move.  They came running and helped. 

God was in the Questies and you know who you are!  You were there to move us.  You have been there all the time.  We were a family since '99 and the crew came to our aid without a blink of an eye.  God was in that room the other week when we had our reunion....each one of you helped us. The love was enormous and I was so honored to be in your presence.  The words I spoke to you all were nothing compared to what I felt in my heart.   I have never been so overcome with emotion for what you all did and are still doing. 

God was in Sophia, Maya and Nikolai's schools where they did things for us that were mind blowing.  I found God sitting at a lab getting ready to get more blood taken.  When the mother and daughter looked at me and put their hand on mine and told me it will be alright.  To hear that the daughter literally coded twice and she was so beautiful and happy and said how grateful she was to be alive.  I didn't fully grasp what she meant then, because I felt so sick.  Now, I do.   God was on the bus in Cleveland when we met a spunky, beautiful little lady (she could not have been 5 foot tall) who talked to us about how her husband died there at Cleveland Clinic and they brought him back to life.  He was in the hospital at that time, but, he was full of life.  She said after he died and was brought back...they sold everything and lived their dream.  She said "I am married to my best friend and we live on a boat in Alaska and we travel everywhere and jump from planes, and ski" and on and on she went.  I was in awe....

GOD was in Cleveland Clinic in every single corner.  From a sweet friend of Blake's taking us everywhere.  To a family who paid for me to get up Cleveland when they haven't even seen me for years.  That was God.   To so many of my old schoolmates who lived near the Clinic,  that said they would come to Cleveland to help.....God was there.  To Dr. Hatipoglu, for hugging me, for making me feel human...for going "outside of the box" and doing a trial on me.  For basically saving my life.  To so many of the other doctors there who helped  put me together again. Dr. Foster...there are not even remotely enough words for you.  You have been relentless in taking care of me.  You are my guardian angel.  Dr. are an amazing woman, who completely went out of your way time and time again.  Even when your expertise was not in what was happening to have ALWAYS been there for me, through all my babies and took us through one of the worst times of our lives when Maya was born.  You are an angel on earth.   Dr. P..... you are a great person, my body just couldn't handle the surgery.   Dr. Ender, you have been with me for years and God lives in you.  When you came to the hospital a few months back when I had sepsis.  You treated me with so much respect, and hugging me when I was so afraid.   For the amazing doctor that was on staff the week that he found sepsis in me.  You were among the elite that I listed above as a doctor at the hospitals down here where I live to go over and beyond.  You didn't look at my symptoms as black or white.  You looked at me as a whole person.   If something didn't work, you kept trying.  When you told me that I was going to ICU, you wanted to try something else first.  You kept me out of ICU.   You never gave up on me.  My sepsis is gone.  You will never be forgotten.

God was at the dentist, when they all hugged me to tell me I was going to make it.  When the pharmacists came out from behind the counter to hug me...God was there.  I was filled with love.  Especially with my favorite pharmacist Nancy who was battled cancer and she did!!  She prayed for me, I prayed for her.   I could write forever and forever to the health care people that I met that actually made a difference in my life.   Let me not forget the beautiful dog that came in my room at Duke for Pet Therapy.  You laid your head in my lap and I hugged you with all that fur and I felt God.

God was with the hundreds and hundreds of people who wrote me all over the world who I have become friends with through so many different avenues.  There are no accidents...we were all supposed to have collided in each others lives.    The amazing financial goodness that you all bestowed on us.  You helped us make it to where our babies never had to know what was going on.  God was there. 

And let me tell you this.... God was there with Blake and our children, my family both near and far, especially my parents, siblings, my in-laws, all of my cousins on my side and Blake's side...Aunts and Uncles...  my inducted families (those that I consider like families) All of my BFAM, and SFAM (Brothers and Sisters from another mother) All of my friends in the present and from my past.  I thought maybe you didn't care.  Boy, was I were all praying for me.  I apologize for not being the daughter, sister, in-law, friend you all needed.  God was there in each of you.  That is the beauty in what God has given me...insight.  I am going to be working hard to being that friend back and giving back to the world.

I will end here as far as writing on this post.  But, it doesn't literally end here.  There are SOOOOO many people and places that I went and chance encounters that I haven't any began to write about.  But, I will.   Especially about the Pink Diamond and The Zimbabwe Princess....


When I look back on 2009 (make that 2008 also)  I have seen, and felt, and learned so much about Grace, compassion, humility, love, hope, kindness, faith, understanding, GRATITUDE, gratitude, and more gratitude, strength, laughter, generosity of giant proportions, meeting amazing people, prayer, and what it is like to be in God's hand and not even know it.   I learned to dream again, to look at the world through child like eyes.  Forgiveness,  learning how to be open and raw, and letting the world see me just as I  Appreciation for others and their hurricanes, learning what true friendship is, and most importantly what it means to be a friend...because I have lost sight of that. I am starting over in that area.  I have been gone a long time.

Appreciating my parents, sisters and brother for what it has taken for them to go down this road with me.  And the biggest thing(s) are watching my children and lighting up like a Christmas tree when they are around. Amazement at my husband and all that he has had to endure.  Learning more about what true love is.   It is more than the butterfly's in your learn what true love is when you are face down in the dirt.  When they lay down in the dirt with you and cheer you on to get up and keep on fighting.  When they hold you when you are so scared of what is to come.  When they have seen you at your very worst and they still love you.  And bigger than all of that, if that wasn't enough....I found God in places that I never thought He could be.   I will write more in my next post....

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Coming out on the other side

If you have ever been through a Catastrophic 5 Hurricane and your house was demolished and possessions were everywhere.  If you came out alive, and your family..the other stuff is just that....stuff.    Gratitude (for most people I would think) is enormous.  However, I can only imagine the grief of the loss of possessions, and so much more. 

In metaphoric terms....that is what my family has just come through.  A catastrophic Level 5 Hurricane.  I feel  like our house (our lives, financial, relationships, children, everything) was turned upside down, ripped to shreds, pieces laying all over the place.  But, yet...for us, there have been an abundant amount of angels who have come out to help us piece back our lives.  

I have lost many friends through this.  Mainly because I have not been able to be a friend, a sister, a daughter, a good wife through this horrible time.   All I seemed to focus on was myself.   In losing people, I gained an amazing amount of angels from unexpected places.  People who don't even know me from all over the world have come to my aid.   I have made forever friends with these beautiful people and you know who you are.  Friends from the past who stepped up to be there as much as they could.   My husband and  children, oh about strength and resilience.  I owe everything to God first and then to my family and friends.   My parents, my sisters and brother, and my in-laws.  How did I get so blessed?

5 weeks ago today, I had Sepsis.  Which is an infection in my bloodstream.  I developed cellulitis in my arms that caused them to swell because of another bacterial infection.   I had some amazing encounters with nurses, and others who I believe were God sent.   One day, I will tell the stories of what happened, and how the next day....some of the major illness was gone.   Mind boggling!!  But, 5 weeks ago, I was minutes away from being in ICU and told as I was leaving the hospital to recover at home that I dodged a bullet.   That most people do not live through sepsis, and the kidney and colon problems that happened  during that time.   No one can believe what I am saying is true.  Like I am being over-dramatic.   This was real, and probably understated at how lucky I was.  

Today, as we enter into December....a miracle is occurring everyday.  I am stronger physically, I watch our children with such delight that it makes my heart burst.   My husband walks into the room and I cry.    They are tears of joy....we made it, we came out on the other side.   I  thank God first for the miracle He is doing in my life...then, it is my love, my husband.   For 2 years straight, he has been my nurse.  He has taken on more than anyone should ever have to bare.  No complaints, only love.   Our children have lifted my spirits every day.  

Now, I wake up and I smile and look up and tell God how grateful and blessed and lucky that I am.  The joy in my heart is something I have never really experienced before.   What I have learned about me, and acceptance and forgiveness is mind boggling.   I feel like I know what my calling is in life.  It is slowly being revealed to me.   God has blessed me, and He continues to do so.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring.  But, what is important is that today..right here, right now.....I am alive and I am coming back stronger than I have ever been.  Sure, it will be a long road.  But, that is alright by me.  

Brett Salisbury....thank you for sharing your book, your help, your encouragement with my nutrition and getting my blood pumping the way it should.   I will be your star pupil my friend.  I plan on shocking even you!!  God bless you!!!   Thank you to all the nurses, doctors, and "villages"for never giving up on me.   It does take a village to help a sick person come back to life.    How did I get so lucky???????

One last note....some people wonder how we could feel so lucky when we are drowning in debt from Medical, and the car problems, and the list goes on.   It would make most people give up.   The difference is for that I am ALIVE!!!!   And if God brought me through all of that......I have total faith that He is going to lead us to the road of financial and every other recovery.  

Please don't ever let the bad times take you down and keep you there.  When you get kicked down, get up.  Sometimes, as in my will have to crawl with your face firmly planted in the dirt.  Just keep digging your nails into the ground.  Eventually, you will be able to get on your knees, and then you will be able to stand.   And if you get knocked down again...repeat the process and get back up again, no matter how long it takes.   Show gratitude, sit in the sun, smile at your neighbors, dance like you have never danced before, and above all....laugh!!!  Crying is healing, then laugh, cry, laugh.....and eventually the tears will have cleansed your soul and you will find that your days consist of laughter.  Forgive....especially yourself.   

I am starting to see a glimpse of what God has in store for me.  Pray for me if you will.   I am wide open to His Will.   I just need to keep the encouragement, and belief in myself that I can do it. 

I love you all so much, and am so grateful to so many people.  I hope that I can touch your life as you have touched mine.  

Just imagine what can be done in this world if we all come together.....

Love and many, many blessings to you!