Thursday, May 28, 2015

Oh That Fear

You know what fear I am talking about, right?

I'm sure you have felt it. I'm certain it has held you back from something. I'm positive you have walked away from a dream because of it.

Have you?

That fear of failure...

I have. More times than I ever care to admit.

Years went by where I was afraid to put myself out there. In many areas of life. I was terrified of having to admit that I fell short. Afraid that I could not cross that finish line of a goal or a dream.

But, I finally realized living in fear was not enjoyable. Living in fear of falling a little short was not allowing me to live my life the way I wanted to; the way I was designed to live my life.

I finally woke up one day & had one of those life changing conversations with myself (am I the only one who has those conversations meaning I am crazy or do you all have them too??).  I came to the realization that it is truly okay to fail, to fall short of a goal, because it meant I was trying to do something. It meant I was using the gifts God blessed me with to make a change in my life & in the lives of those around me.

I told myself that I didn't need to be afraid, I just needed to be strong to get through the challenges that I knew would try to stumble me. I needed to be determined for the days that I did fall so that I could get back up. I had to stay positive no matter how hard or fast I fell because we never accomplish anything when we tell ourselves we cannot do it. Daily, I knew I needed to be sure my passion was burning so bright that I knew I would not give up.

Yes, I have failed. At many things in life. Some that are major & life changing. Others that are small & in the scheme of life do not really matter.

Guess what, I will fail again.

But, I am no longer afraid to fail. The fear of the possibility has no control over me. I want to live my life to the fullest; when my final day comes I want to leave knowing I used every single bit of energy & the gifts my body was blessed with. I want to look back some day when I'm ninety &  smile knowing I lived life out loud regardless if I won or lost. I want to know that I did strive to turn my dreams into goals, I loved big, I fueled my passions & hopefully along the way I left a positive impact & maybe even helped change some lives into better tomorrows. I say, "So what!" So what if you are striving for a goal that you have already fallen short of a 100 times, don't be afraid to try again. After all, you're still trying, you're doing something to improve your life or the lives around you so be proud. From my view, in order to be successful, you will have to know how to fail anyway!

Until Next Time~

Monday, May 25, 2015

A Wave

I did not see it coming.
I should have.
I sat up for hours in the middle of the night with deep thoughts, words buried in my soul that I had to write.
But, today, the wave was overwhelming.
Today I sat in church with tears running down my face.
I hid my eyes behind my hair praying no one would see the emotions.
The girl, this girl, who can usually find words to explain how she feels was left speechless.
I don't know what all was running through me.
But, the words, the words of the songs took ahold of me.
I stood there feeling unworthy.
I felt broken.
I felt lost.
I felt dark.
I felt hungry & thirsty for His words.
Words I haven't filled myself with in quite some time now.
It amazes me how sometimes we find ourselves right where we need to be.
I received the message with an open heart.
I snuggled my precious nephew as he slept so peacefully.
I opened my mind.
It was the message I needed to hear.
He loves me.
He likes me.
He is always for me.

Until Next Time~

Friday, May 22, 2015

Our Trip to Columbus

First of all, I have to say THANK YOU so much for those who sent Laynee & I messages the past week & checked on us throughout the week! Many of you will never understand how much your kindness meant & how much it filled the void from some we never heard from. I am blessed with some incredible friends, truly.

We got home last night after a long week. Last week, when we arrived I had a two hour lecture to attend in which I walked away with knowledge & an understanding I had yet to experience, but also feeling overwhelmed. Our Thursday morning began with a couple of tests in which more pieces to her puzzle were found & again more understanding on her issues. I was grateful for the technicians to show me right there & then on the images of her little body so I could visualize it all. 

After that, we met with the clinic team where we discussed all of our history, the things we have tried, what we have failed with or what we have found a little success with. Again, a very in-depth explanation of why her body struggles the way it does, how the shape of certain parts in her lead us to these issues & a plan. A promise that if I am willing to work with them we will get her to living a more positive lifestyle. 

I learned how important her diet is going to be for her life. This is that part where mom feels the pressure to focus on or years down the road, she is in for some not fun troubles, but if we can stay on top of it now the chances are good she can avoid some of that in her older years.

With the clinic staff, I decided to try the medicine regimen; the other option was enemas which Laynee has already been doing twice a day for the past 7 months. The clinic's goal here is to help every kid find the right "cocktail" the right dosage to help these kids function better. This happens with a daily x-ray every morning of the clinic & full-detailed daily reports to your nurse practitioner. Then, the clinic staff meets daily to review each kid & determine if the daily dosage needs to be altered or if we are on the right track. It really is a very hands-on team. 

Daily, we made adjustments. Daily, Laynee & I had struggles. Daily, she experienced some pain. Nightly, we woke up with issues & painful cramps & were awake for quite some time. Daily, she had tears & most days mom had tears she hid from her little bear. Daily, I explained to her that we needed to trust the doctors & to trust the process; even though mom was struggling with that herself. Daily, I promised her if she could work with me & focus with me, together we would get better.

We heard about three different surgical options while there that if we cannot correct it with these last few options that could come to the table for her. However, right now, this mama is very passionate about working her ass off to not lead us to that place. I will have continued communication with her nurse practitioner, & the occasional x-ray here in Grand Rapids, I am tracking everything she does & all the food she eats to ensure she is eating properly. I will give my little bear every ounce of focus & attention I have & pray that she & I can work together to hopefully improve her lifestyle. For eight days I have tracked & focused on her almost every minute of her day & will not stop until I feel that we are finally moving forward to success. 

We were able, with a whole LOT of patience on my part & her part, to squeeze in some fun stops. Many of them we had to bust out before we could explore it all but we still tried our best to enjoy! I never knew how cool Columbus was! So many fun things! 

We hit up the Columbus Zoo! 
 We hit up Cosi, the science museum - so cool & very hands-on! 

We went to Easton Shopping Center & met up with friends for dinner & of course, a trip to the American Girl Doll store....umm, yes Laynee's birthday shopping for July is already complete! 

And other days we weren't willing or able to leave the hotel or venture out more than next door! 

We missed our Jacee greatly, always wishing she was with us. Every night we FaceTimed her & could see how much she missed us in her eyes & written on her little sweet face. But, she was well-loved here at home, but oh the girl hug the three of us shared yesterday brought tears to this mama's eyes!

I cannot even begin to express how much this little bear amazes me. I reflected back a lot this week to day one of her life. All the appointments; the different specialists, her pediatrician & even the feeding clinic we had to attend; she & I attended from a week old to seven months old when I sat there in the surgeon's office & looked in her little eyes & knew she was sick & made the decision to proceed with her surgery. I took home a new baby a week after that surgery. Then, for the past almost four years we have struggled with this & also her sleep apnea with her tonsils & adenoids out last summer. I thought about all the IVs she has had in her & how much she fights the nurses to have them in, but when it comes time to take them out - my little bear amazes the nurses as she peels off every piece of tape & takes the IVs out on her own like an expert. 

Through it all, she's stayed pretty positive & will often say "this is just the way God made my body. I don't know why he did, but he did," with a smile. 

She is my feisty little fighter, a strong girl who no doubt is going to lead life shining a very positive light to those around her. I'm so blessed to be her mama. 

So this weekend, my little bear & I will continue to work together & tweak what we need to & make some adjustments to her diet. We both understand that sometimes things get worse before they get better. We both know we will have more days filled with struggles & days of tears. Together, we will hold hands & have faith in the process & in each other. 

Until Next Time~

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Prayers for Team Laynee

My little bear & I, also known as "Team Laynee," are off again on an adventure, a search for answers.

Daily, I thank God for a healthy child. I know what we are fighting is nothing compared to what others have to endure.

But, at the same time it hasn't been easy. It's been stressful, scary, frustrating, and does cause some serious issues or problems.

Almost four years ago, Laynee lost control of her bladder & later a lack of control of her bowels followed.

We have tried many different medicine regimines, followed diets & even physical therapy.

The two of us  have traveled hours away to see specialists, we have seen numerous here in Grand Rapids as well. We have had some scary tests done to rule out certain cancers; we have had two MRI's done to check her spine & her brain. We have ruled out many, many scary possibilities. We have found some of the problems, some of the issues, but still some are unanswered.

There are many different pieces to the puzzle that are not always easy for mom to keep straight & pieces that cause doctor appointments to last so long as one piece can affect another in an opposite direction. I put a lot of pressure on myself knowing if one piece isn't kept under control, her life-long complications could be horrible.

I took her to PT for months & watched on her computer screen how her muscles work against her & for whatever reason, her brain cannot connect to the muscles to make them work correctly. She would try always giving 100 percent with no success. We would walk out of PT with her so frustrated & sad & wanting to know why her body was this way.

There have been so many days of tears, frustration, anger, embarrassment, and fear for her that at times all I can do is hug her & tell her I love her. A few months ago as we were at a point where progress was going backwards & my once pretty positive bear turned into a very negative one, I knew I need to push again for better answers. Her self-confidence was dropping, she was so scared of being at school, frustrated that she would never get better & a constant sad "I'm sorry mommy" to me even though I always told her she had nothing to be sorry for.

We met with a pediatric surgeon here in GR & started 6 months of research with him. We have gone through some different steps, different trials. Right now, we have been able to significantly lower daily accidents with her current regimine but it was just a temporary option, a step to trial & error her body. It is not something she can do long-term, in fact the last two weeks has caused some issues & some strong pain.

Her surgeon here has referred us to one of the best Children's hospitals for kids with these issues at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. She & I begin another adventure for the next eight days there for a clinic where she will undergo some testing, we will trial & error some medicine options or regimines, meet with some awesome specialists & meet with one of the experts on the sacral nerve stimulation procedure to see if that  surgery could be an option for my bear.

We would love some prayers for our safe travels for us, some prayers that we can find more answers & a better, healthy lifestyle. Prayers for this mama to settle her nerves a little, I'm a little on the anxious side. Also, prayers for my little miss Jacee who is already missing mom & today is her birthday! 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Lesson From My Daughter

My beautiful girl, Jacee, is such a light. Her heart is so pure & honest, she's intelligent, hard working, positive thinker, a goal-setter....she is just all around amazing! 

The best gift ever was when God made me a mama.

Jacee & I have a very close relationship. A very open & honest relationship. The girl is so incredibly observant that you have no choice but to be honest because chances are she probably already knows the truth! Definitely a child that keeps this mama on her toes all day long! 

I thank God daily for the bond I have with this girl & I pray as she grows, our bond continues to grow too. We can sit on her bed & talk for hours about very important topics or we can chat about absolutely nothing. She is definitely my biggest fan & I am hers. 

For Mother's Day, she brought home this fun activity from school for her & I to do:
Sunday evening we snuggled up on her bed & did this. A simple activity that was filled with reminders of what is important in life. 

Not your job. Not your phone. Not your housework. Not your TV shows.

The people you have been blessed with. 

For the red m&m, her answer was so simple:
"Just hang out & talk & laugh. Just here at home. And when you coach me."

For the orange, I explained to her anywhere - any vacation, any state, any country - anywhere:
"Just anywhere in a room, mom, with just the two of us just being together. Because I love being with you." 

For the green:
"I love you because you are always there for me, because you make me smile, and because you teach me about everything."

 Now for the yellow, she asked me what her birthday gifts were, I didn't answer!
I tucked her into bed & walked away realizing how much our kids actually teach us. How they remind us of what matters in life & they keep us centered. 

TIME. The gift of time is really the best give any of us can give or receive. This is a gift I have been practicing with my girls. I hide my phone in the evenings, ignoring it until they crawl into bed. The TV doesn't come on when I have time to just be with them. We sit & talk & are just there. We giggle, tell jokes & have dance parties.  

Right now, I'm their coach & the opportunity to be their coach two years ago was a difficult one for me to make to walk away from a passion of coaching a varsity sport, but a decision I will never regret. To be there, to be with them is a gift that I treasure daily.

I know someday they may not tell me stories about their day & their friends that can take them 20 minutes to tell. So, for now, they will get my 20 minutes of undivided attention listening. There will be a day I cannot sit on Jacee's bed & talk about everything & nothing for an hour, so for now, I will take advantage.

I will give them the gift of my time, and I will receive the gift of their time with a smile. Sometimes we forget about how important somethings in life are, sometimes we take advantage of what we have, sometimes we don't realize how much someone just wants undivided attention....

Sometimes we can lose sight of what is me, it's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day logistics of raising active kids, working & managing a house....

Until an almost ten year old reminds you. 

Until Next Time~


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Do You? Are You?

It's almost midnight & awake I sit. My alarm is going off in 4ish hours for my morning workout.

But I am lost in a million thoughts. A million questions. The problem: I definitely do not have a million answers.

Do you work on you? Do you take time out of your schedule to get lost in your own thoughts, prayers, questions, memories or dreams? Do you self-check to see if there are answers or questions or maybe even dreams buried deep inside that you are keeping buried? Do you work on you?

At times I feel like I am burning the candle at both ends and in the middle in this crazy world. Do you?

Last month as I embarked on a new adventure, professional development came back into my life.  I was assigned a book to read daily with some other assignments.

I fell in love.

I fell in love with working on me. I have read the book twice already. So many areas in my life I could apply it. It stirred many things up in my mind & in my heart.

Truth is, other than writing here randomly, I have not taken the time to work on me in years & years. To develop myself. To learn more about me. To push myself. To keep growing as a woman, as a mom.

I see that I am a person afraid of the unknown, afraid to not be in control of my life but yet I also am starting to see how I have been standing in the perfect place to take a leap of faith & to grow living life truly to the fullest.  There are dreams & passions in my life that have tugged at my heart strings for years but out of fear of failure I have not allowed the dreams to become goals.

I used to believe I was not enough. Now, I feel restless & passionate & want to live a bigger life.

We were all created with a purpose. We were all created to shine. Do you know what your purpose is? Or are you like me & still searching? Do you think you might know what it is but you feel like your shoes are stuck deep in the blacktop on the road that is named "FEAR"?

I am digging deeper into me even more. Tonight I read a line that will stick with me forever:

"The enemy of taking action is the false belief of 'someday'." ~Lara Casey

Today I begin a quest. A quest of living my life on purpose. A quest of finding my "why." A quest of promising to myself to never stop working on me & never being afraid to ask myself the hard questions & dig for the answers. 

Today, I ask you:  What has been holding you back from fully living? 

My candle will keep burning at both ends & probably in the middle but with a different light. 

Until Next Time~