Holding On To Hope

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I like to consider myself a stronger and  more confident person as a result of the challenges life has dealt our family in recent years. I have learned lessons along the way and I know that you have to be an advocate, in times of challenge, for either yourself or those that need a voice. In the past, I would have said, “I don’t want to bring attention to anything” or “Why make waves?” That is no longer the case. I will fight for what is right and in terms of my daughter’s shoulder issues, I will keep pressing for answers whether it be a new form of physical therapy, a different specialist, or something academic related. I often wish I could help other families, as an advocate, in educational and medical matters. I know what we have gone through,and what we continue to go through, as a family. To have someone be a guide in the abyss of the medical and surgical world would have been a godsend.

I could use an advocate, right now,who has connections to every shoulder guru there is to be seen. How is it that this case is so original? We are seeing a top doctor now who also treats pro athletes but even he is perplexed as to why the shoulder is not maintaining stability. We are now about 3 1/2 years into this nightmare yet outsiders look at her and would never know her pain level or her daily struggles. Kelly will not crack, as she plows through this, and has excelled academically in her first full year back in 3 years right along with her twin sister. They are a great team!

For now, I pray, research, and continue to try to grow as a person. I need to be the best version of me–a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, an advocate, a friend, and an educator. If I don’t, I am helping no one and I am not serving as a good role model for my girls.

Please remember, in your daily encounters, that everyone is struggling or going through something. Sometimes it is a visible struggle but often it is the invisible pain and struggles that can be the heaviest to carry. Always remember to be patient, kind, and to see the good everywhere. You could be the “light” in someone’s dark and cloudy day.

Keep on hoping! I know I will!!

Turning Points-Catalysts For Change

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Back in May I decided that it was time to put some focus on me. It sounds selfish but the root of it is for my family. I wanted to work on me physically, spiritually, and hopefully develop a more positive outlook. This blog was one piece of it and it is a work in progress, although progress can be a bit slow.

I want to encourage others to think about what is their “catalyst for change” and hopefully use this as a spring board for change. It is so important to not let these events keep you stagnant or let them define you as a person.

Confession time: I have been guilty of both becoming stagnant and of letting these events define me over the course of the last 3 years. This time of year has been difficult because 3 years ago my life was shaken to the core. My husband, at the age of 46, had a stroke. I still have trouble verbalizing that fact. It felt like the floor had collapsed below me. During that time I could not or would not process the event and diagnosis. What we thought was simple dehydration, from working outside all day, had turned into the unfathomable. Thankfully, he was not left with any lasting effects. We did however find out he is a diabetic and he was finally able to immediately quit smoking.

Within months of this event one of our daughters, as I have written about, became injured. This in turn ended her softball playing days and she had to endure 3 surgeries and countless physical therapy appointments in less than a year and a half. Most recently, this past winter, she successfully stumped her team as to why things were not stable. I am happy to say that there has been some progress in that area and we are cautiously optimistic.

Fast forward to this Spring when it felt like I was finally able to let out a sigh of relief, dust myself off, and begin to develop the new me. I jumped back into hobbies I had previously loved and I began to venture into becoming healthier and more fit. By making this decision, I am exploring many new possibilities and even taking new exercise classes. As a result, I hope to encourage my own children to develop themselves and always explore new possibilities. I was also fortunate to reconnect with an old friend who has formed a wonderful group of women, with similar interests, who are encouraging one another in the areas of exercise and nutrition. This would not have been possible if I didn’t decide to be open to change and let that “catalyst” move me in the right direction.

The future is looking bright!

Cautiously Optimistic

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blogpostIt has been almost 4 months since my last entry. I did not anticipate not writing for this long of a time. I felt I needed to be in the right mindset before putting pen to paper again. (Yes, it is old fashioned but I start off all writing pieces in this manner)

When I started this blog 2 plus years ago, I did so as a part of my mission/pan to be more optimistic and to express my thoughts as a mom,wife, and teacher. I have learned a lot about myself and I felt that I would not be true to myself if I wrote again before it was the right time.

Don’t get me wrong, to say I am blessed is an understatement. I have a wonderful family, great friends, and good health but life has a way of handing us curve balls. We either make contact with them and deal with it or we strike out and head bake to the dug out. My friends, I have been in the dug out. Too many curve balls for this girl!

As you know, my one daughter has had 3 surgeries so far, on her shoulder, in a short amount of time. We thought we were in the clear by Christmas but then it fell out again for no reason at all. **Curve ball #1

Despite various tests and visits to her doctor, no determination of cause could be made. We were told to seek 2nd opinions and a plan would be put into place by a specific date. **Curve ball #2

The date came and went and no plan was made and no 2 doctors had the same opinion. Her original doctor, in a sense, stated he had no idea what to do next and for us to keep looking. My reaction?? Wait!! Are we now on our own to solve this?? I, of course, only thought this but did not express it aloud. **Curve ball #3

Through my own efforts, a specialized doctor and team were found and they provided us with hope. This is where “cautiously optimistic” comes into play. Based on what was previously written regarding curve balls, my belief in things turning out well has become a bit tarnished. I so want to jump full force into positivity, with this new development, but I am trying to “get my feet wet” as a start.

So much lies ahead. We have been at this for a month now and while there has been progress, there has also been puzzling situations, questions being raised, and a whole lot of trial and error as far as treatment of the shoulder goes for my daughter.

I know that I am a different person after being at this for 2 plus years but I often look to my daughters at their strength and focus. Both of them believe in full force optimism.

I am thankful for those around me that make up a supportive force: Family, Close Friends, Caring Coworkers, Dedicated/Caring Teachers who are a part of my daughters education these last 2 years, and of course my Faith.

One step at a time, one breath at a time, one goal at a time! I continue to learn more about myself and what I am capable of in the future. Great things await if I simply trust and believe and have a bit of positivity! Up next, training for a run? Stay tuned and stay positive!!

Tell Tale Signs

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I admire those whose have a heightened awareness of what is going on around them in their daily lives. Although I consider myself an individual who has had a strong faith filled upbringing; I do not see myself as an extremely intuitive person. However, I do aspire to be one of those that I admire. There are many, who have reached that heightened awareness status, and never miss tell tale signs that a loved one’s presence is nearby. It may be a random penny found by someone’s feet or maybe a beautiful cardinal has flown by and perched itself up high in a backyard tree. I know one friend, who every time she comes across a butterfly she knows that her beloved relative is giving her guidance and letting her know that she is not alone.

Since I am journeying towards being more positive and being present in the moment, this issue is never far from my mind. A few hours ago I was quickly passing through a room, in my home, and literally stopped in my tracks. Out of the corner of my eye was what I believed to be a rainbow in the distance. After this abrupt stop, I made my way to the window and sure enough there was a lovely rainbow. I looked up and with a smile and I said a prayer. For I now know that this was my sign that we all have what we need to prosper and enjoy the blessings that we are given. Sometimes the answer truly does lie “right in our own backyard.” May that rainbow bring peace and be a wonderful symbol of hope to whomever had their eyes on it. I know it did for me!

A friend of mine, who is an author and motivator, posted a poster tonight with the words “You can’t live in faith and fear. It’s one or the other.” Remember, to heed these words everyone and choose faith every time. Faith that all will work out and answers will be found,also faith that  peace will be made and lastly love will prevail.

 

 

 

 

Who Influences You?

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This blog came about because I love to write and had this as one of my long-term goals. I have been influenced by many, in my life, over the years and more recently by a few new individuals but no one has influenced me more than my daughters.

As I sit down, to write this first post, I glance over and smile at my daughters involved in a game. This has been a fun packed 5 weeks of summer. In less than a week, new changes will come about as a result of an injury that one of my daughters suffered in November of 2012. These last 2 years have been full of struggles and hardships but also strengthened us as a family. It is important to step back and see this in order to move forward in a positive direction. It has not always been easy and many times it feels overwhelming.

One of my daughters is facing her 3rd shoulder related surgery in less than a year and a half. What would cause most to buckle and crawl into a corner has only fueled her strength and determination. Just a short time ago my daughter was a pitcher who wanted to pursue this sport as one of her dreams; sadly this dream has been forever altered. With this alteration, in dreams, came a realization that the pediatric medical field was calling my daughter as a future dream. We always hope that everything happens for a reason and my daughter is a firm believer that we are led to where we should be; doing what we were meant to do in this world. Not only does she believe this but she lives this each and every day and this is where my quest to be more optimistic originated.

As a parent you want to protect your children and meet all their needs. I can remember being pregnant, with my daughters, and asking my mom when I would stop worrying about them. My mom’s response was “You will never stop worrying about your children.” I was referring to going through a successful pregnancy but my mom was seeing the bigger picture. Truer words were never spoken as the saying goes! My husband and I, like most parents, strive to meet the needs of our children and give them the strength and love they need in life. Very often this is given to us, in reverse, from our daughter who has gone through so much in her 14 years. Her beautiful grace and outlook continues to amaze those that know and love her. Her influence touches many and is never-ending. How fortunate am I to call her one of my lovely daughters?
My ending thought today is to realize and appreciate those that touch your life each and every day.