Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

I am compelled to write today, for I must think out loud…
Hard work is a blessing that I miss very deeply. Has it been 7 years since I lost my job? It is as if it has disappeared, and now is only a faint image on the side of a discarded old milk carton. “Missing: Julie’s job. Last seen in Westlake Village, California. January 2010”.
I long for the old days of the gift of being cursed with the early morning demands and slowing down in my car balancing my coffee cup in one hand, putting on lip gloss with my other hand as the yellow light looks down upon me with a condescending glance as it dares to turn red just above my head, out of reach.
Today, I quietly carry the burden of longing to have the mental and physical strength to work once more.  I dare not say this out loud because what I desire immensely, really, is to hear about a friend’s day at work and I do not want my truth to leave them with odd feelings of discomfort. “What are you doing? Tell me everything”, I say, as if they were on vacation in a beautiful countryside villa. “What was on the agenda? What did you wear? Who did you see? Where did you have lunch? What did you talk about with the other tourists?” Oh, to be a part of that rat race once more.
Not too long ago, I foolishly pushed my body beyond it’s limitations day after day while I ran in this undesirable race that I miss so terribly this morning. I miss it so much that my heart aches. Somehow, I managed to work for 11 additional years with this horrific illness until my body and my mind gave out and my job was taken away from me. (Twice. Two jobs.)
Chronic Lyme Disease and the co-infections are a tricky foe. I try to hang on tight to this horrific unfortunate roller coaster ride. Free falling. Exhausting. Frightening… I did manage to actually give an attempt to socialize a couple days ago at my neighborhood annual street party, but now I must continue to pay the price for using all of my precious energy. I did not pace myself well enough. Perhaps I still need that yellow street signal just above my head to tell me, “Caution – slow down Jules!”…
Today I have made the decision to accept that I am unable to count traffic lights as they turn from yellow to red on my way to work, instead, I choose to count the blessings that I can see from my bedroom window. 3 beautiful quail, a couple humming birds, another bird being outsmarted as it chases a crazy old moth zig-zagging about, white puffy clouds – and the changing shadows on the ground from the morning sunshine… Soon I will step outside just so I can say I got outside today. I know the familiar fragrance of my own back yard will fill my spirit with gratitude.
Perhaps I will call my son just to thank him (once more) for everything he does for me. No fun for my boy to have had a sick mama for half of his life. I find him to be the most compassionate, caring, funny young man that I know. In fact, if he wasn’t my son, I’d want him to be my friend, you know, I mean, if I met him at work, or something. My son and I both have gotten good at counting our own special brand of blessings and knowing just how lucky we truly are…

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Once I thought that I’d live in California forever. But I didn’t.

Once I thought that my dad would live forever. But he was not able to.

I never ever thought that I’d live in Tucson, surrounded by my father’s memories.

But suddenly, I do.

I’ve never known the depth of this grace.

I’ve never known this level of humbling fatherly love.

My gratitude is bottomless. My blessings quiet me.

My love is deep. Therefore my grief is deep.

I am a lucky girl because I am my father’s daughter.

the little road to my refuge. I never thought it would be a place to begin to heal, but it is...

the little road to my refuge. I never thought it would be a place to begin to heal, but it is…

I am just going through the motions day after day, missing my father immensely.

But it is with these motions that I will persevere & find my way & a new life.

Because this is how my father taught me to live.

Keep on pushing until I reach the top of the mountain.

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I’ve been staying in Tucson longer than I originally anticipated. 9 weeks ago I arrived with endless hope and energy.  As today comes to a close I feel the weight of endless sadness – reckless sleeping has pushed down my weary shoulders and clouded my eyesight. I am amazed at the amount of tears that continue to fall many times a day.  I duck into an empty bathroom or I sit in my car, or suddenly I can not hold myself up as I am standing alone washing the dishes in my father’s empty home.

Is this the way life is now?  I am unable to see out.  Suffering from serious sleep deprivation as I make endless decisions for my father’s care.   I find myself with the suprising and distracting task of convincing caregivers that my father is in their facility to recover from throat cancer and chemo – not die – recover!  I have learned the hard way that because my father is quite thin and is on a feeding tube many false assumptions have been made.  My hope and faith is tested as I take someone aside to explain that my father is already a miracle!  can’t you see that he is walking unassisted?!  He was in a wheelchair only 2 months ago. PLUS he has gained 7 pounds since he went on that feeding tube.  I am quite clear on my hope.  I am quite clear I am spreading a positive force of healing thoughts. I am quite clear as I share my admiration for my father’s unwavering determination.  Yes, his confusion is heart breaking – however – he is tenacious and healing!

Caregivers giggle when he makes a face like a frog with a wide turned down mouth. Then he makes a face like a fish and puckers up.  “Ga. Ga. Ga!” he says with his broken raspy voice. “Ka – ka – ka!” He says with a sly smile and wink.  “Wow! Good ones Dad! You’re really improving!  Keep up the good work!” I tell him with a gentle hug. “Your throat exercises are making a big difference Dad!  I can tell.  I just know it to be true.  I catch a couple caregivers tilt their head with sudden understanding.  They ask questions. So my father teaches them what he is doing to rebuild his throat muscles.  The tumors that were at the top of his throat and airway are gone now.  He speaks highly of both his oncologist as well as his Speech Pathologist who visits him on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Yes, it is another day in the life with surviving throat cancer.  But the good news is, my father’s hard work, combined with hope and my private tears and prayer is paying off in baby steps. The Speech Pathologist gave him 3 sips of water yesterday and then 3 sips of apple juice. He did not cough. He did not choke.  He swallowed – he drank them. It was magnificent.

And the best news of all is that my father’s alma mater, Michigan State, won the Rose Bowl.  All we can do is the very best we can do.  Half measures avail us nothing.  It’s another blessed day in Tucson.  It is the recovery that comes from hope. Tears are allowed with hope. Confusion is allowed with hope.  Sleepless lonely nights in an empty house can still have hope and blessings in every corner.Tucson Sunset

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…enjoying sweet memories of simpler times makes todays complications more do-able…

my brother & me in Michigan 1961

my brother & me in Michigan 1961

…I have no regrets, Dad, no regrets…

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cloud streetWhile my father was resting at the skilled living center as his feeding tube gradually, gently allowed nutrients back into his dehydrated body, my gentleman friend and I went on errands for supplies.  I was grateful to have his hand to hold. . . My body buzzing with anxiety – my mind fuzzy with a horrific sence of urgency – my vision blurry as if someone rubbed vaseline petroleum jelly around the edges of my glasses. . . Clearly it was a good thing I was the passenger and not the driver.

As we drove down the empty road and the sky was jam packed with fluffy Arizona clouds, the GPS seemed to be confusing our sence of direction as we did our best to navigate around Tucson so I could get a couple items for Dad.

“. . . Point 5 miles U-turn . . .”  the automated female robot voice said.

Following directions – we did a U-turn.

” . . . Point 5 miles U-turn . . .” the GPS said to us once more.

“What?!  Seriously?! Stop it!”  Clearly the the gosh darn GPS was more turned around than we were.

“Turn that thing off!”  We said in unison like Bose stereo speakers.

Instantaneously we burst into laughter!  Beautiful, beautiful laughter. My gawd it felt good – a moment in a day where my tears were endless and my heart was broken due to my fear of the unknown with my Dad’s health status.  Our sweet and sudden laughter created a tiny crack in my overwhelming fear and my hope rushed in – as if the laughter had broken a dam of despair.

My father’s strong spirit is inside of his frail body.  And with his whisper of a shredded voice, he softly stated, as if it was a typical Sunday afternoon, “I want to play golf again.”

My father is working with all his might every moment to regain his health. So the least I can do is remain hopeful and carry my faith with all my might.  Together we can do this.  My family is small – but we are mighty.

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One of my favorite posts! Written May 22, 2012: 

Sure it’s easy to miss something that’s been right under your nose.  People do it every day, right?  Hence the saying: “If it was a snake, it would have bit me!”  But, a park?  I missed a park?  You know – trees, green grass, picnic tables, kids laughing and playing, people power walking their dogs – a park.  Now, if this park was a snake, well, it would have to be a gigantic python I’d say! If this park was a python it would have snuck up behind me and given me a much-needed  humongous endless firm hug with the tight squeeze follow-up!  What the whaa?!   Yes – I’m admitting in front of God and everyone.  “My name is Julie and I did not know that I live next door to a park.”  Sum-mabeeotch, I live next door to a park.  Clearly I did not realize just how much I really do not have the energy to get out unless it is a short necessary errand.  Errands are my cardio.

So here’s what happened in my most excellent moment in too long of a time. (This moment has made my top ten most excellent moments in my hall of fame of my life.  Just saying.)   I had been inside a couple days – I lovingly refer to it as “resting”.  We’ve had quite a heat wave here in my part of the world and I was camped out and laid up on my couch with my water, books, heating pad, cell phone, laptop and my cat all within reach as I was looking out at my patio.  Watching the trees and the sky – dreaming up more of my many ideas, plans and some-days.   That’s when it hit me with a fabulous Bam – “I can slowly cruise in my car to conserve my energy while I check out all the plants and flowers in my complex that are surviving this heat.  And when I am able, I’ll buy the same kind of flowers.”  Brilliant.  (I did not inherit the “green-thumb” that both of my parents have.)   There I went, doin’ a gangster lean slow cruise in my dirty Honda.  I opened my sunroof and windows as I turned on my air-conditioning.  No music this time.  I was longing to hear sounds of life in session while I was outside enjoying my solo scenic tour of my complex – we have over 200 units.  As I was still checkin’ out all my condo neighbor’s spring flowers, a white iron gate that was surrounded by vines caught my eye.  Even though the white iron gate is on the opposite side of where I live – sheesh! – I’ve lived here 3 years – and this my first sighting?  Geeze – how sad is that?!

Impulsively, I parked my car in an open spot next to the white iron gate.  I walked over and gave it a pull and a yank.  It was locked! Hmmm.  Thinking.   Wait! do I have the key?  Looking at my key chain I noticed a gold key I’ve never used since it was given to me.  Well? Do I have the key or not? Yes I do!  (Who knew?!  I laughed out loud at myself.)  I felt like I had picked the winning key at a carnival that opened the lock to a secret hidden treasure chest.  As I slowly pushed open the gate and took only two steps in, I could not believe my eyes.  And what a treasure I had won indeed. Before me was a picture perfect beautiful park.  Did I walk on to a movie set and it was a fake back drop?  Seriously.  A park. I don’t think I’ve ever lived so close to a park in my whole life.  It only took me 3 years to see it!  And it was there all along – all this time – waiting for me when I was ready.

I quietly closed the gate behind me.  Is this a secret park? Once I stepped inside, I felt my new-found surroundings lift my sad and weary spirit.  The warm breeze blew the cobb webs off of me. I followed the trail as if I was Dorothy and it was the yellow brick road.  I looked down at my feet to double check.  Nope, no ruby slippers, just my good ol’ Skechers Shape-ups.  They seemed to work just as well for me though – Dorothy would be proud. A gust of warm wind transported my weary soul and body to a place where I felt no pain.  My heavy chains melted away from my arms and legs as if they had been made from ice – leaving the heat completely invisible to me. Unfamiliar freedom.  Quite different from the way I remembered freedom from long ago.  An abundance of gratitude filled freedom lifted my spirit with every step. I could hear the grass growing. I heard a leaf fall before it touched the ground right in front of me.  I turned around to take another look to see if the white gate was for real or only another mirage I found in my vivid imagination during my healing and isolation.  Keeping a slow pace I walked a little further.  “If I walk slowly for just 2 or 3 minutes, I’ll rest a while and be ok.”  Carefully.  Resting. U-turn at the little wooden bridge. “Proceed on!”  I happily said out loud just like my hero Meriwether Lewis.  And off I went!  Well, sort of anyway.  A couple of minutes later I was close to the white iron gate.  I sat down at a cement picnic table in the shade and I took the last sip of my water.  My poor body has been so toxic.  I was a little out of breath.  I’ve become weak from getting too thin.  Geeze was I sweating bullets!  It was rough, but I did it.  I’ll be back quite often, if only to rest and rejuvenate. But I had found my park – my sanctuary.  God’s perfect timing – not mine.

I ate my healthy “allergy-free safe food for me” dinner.  Drank more water.  Took another Epsom Salt bath.  Showered.  And then fell into my bed and slept 11 hours straight.  The next morning as I woke up, I said my prayers for my friends who are on my prayer list.  Praying makes me feel useful.  When I started to make my way down stairs, I felt like heavy chains had been put on my arms and legs.  With a deep breath, I drank my glass of my recommended “Medical Food” powder formula.  Still in my jammies, I went into my living room.  I laid down on my couch with my water, books, heating pad, cell phone, laptop and my cat all within reach as I looked out at my patio.  Watching the trees and the sky – dreaming up more of my many ideas, plans and some-days.   And I smiled to myself knowing I had the key all along.  Literally.

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I feel victorious when I find a Victory Garden

I feel victorious when I find a Victory Garden

I feel victorious when I see a piece of the ocean

I feel victorious when I see a piece of the ocean

I feel victorious when I am able to be still

I feel victorious when I am able to be still

When I have another day sober – I am victorious!

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