Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Where Do I Belong?

It seems I found my way through this world with less confusion after I went blind. I didn't always know where I was but I always knew where I wanted to go and where I'd find 'home' if I became lost in my travels. An interesting sense of solid home structure and base filled my life when I knew with whom I belonged.
When I was a little girl my family and my home gave me that anchor for which to hold. After I married, my husband and my kids were a large part of it. When I was in my twenties, we moved 6 times within two years. The transitions were difficult, but my base was always solid with Erik and the boys. Another piece of that solitude comes from my faith. Probably even more so than the people, my love and devotion to The Savior is my solid base in the midst of storms. I've lived in hospitals, for nearly three months when I was pregnant with my first baby. For another month when I had a pancreas transplant and for 11 weeks when my youngest was born. My husband and my kids kept me sane, but my prayers, songs and quiet conversations with My Savior kept me from sinking into the darkness.
The world is filled with things that always change: Political leaders, information on the web, truth about who and what God is. It makes it difficult to find where you belong.
With a recent uproar in my life, my health and my concept of home, I've had to really think about  the details of where my place in 'the plan' consists. Where do I call home?
The answer comes to me in the same sure quiet way it always has. I'm home with my Savior...Always.
When the world, and the culture randomly changes, this one thing doesn't. I'm home and safe as long as I stay in the arms of my Creator, Redeemer and Savior.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Missed it For The World

"Have fun today buddy. Be careful." I said those words to my youngest son as he darted out the door this morning.A heaviness settled over my chest as he took off for a field trip with his class.He was dressed warm, packed a lunch, wore an extra jacket and carried plenty of water, but I dread these trips no matter what.
I don't dread field trips, its just this one...They're going to Zion National Park today.
In my heart I know that a trip to Zion will be filled with beautiful scenery, fun hikes and the chance to meet people from all over the world. Its a great trip and I should be excited. I'm not.
When I was around 14 years old, my brothers, cousins, uncle, Dad and I took a hike down the infamous Zion narrows. My Dad had done the hike before, a number of times and we'd heard the stories of repelling into pools of water, hiking through the river and the flash floods that plagued hikers in this canyon. We couldn't wait. With endless amounts of teenage energy we left to start the hike at about 5 am. One day was all we needed, my Dad assured as we began to traipse down the river. We didn't avoid getting wet, we couldn't avoid it. Why not get started?
I quickly learned the answer to that question.
After spending the better part of the day climbing in and out of the river as we hiked, I was cold, soaked, and ready to go home for a nice bath. We weren't even half way through. When we met up with another tributary named Deep Creek, it got worse. The water was bitter cold and the rocks became covered in a slick coating. You couldn't take a single step without rolling your feet and ankles as you walked. Our progress became slower and my Dad, a diabetic and heart patient, got hypothermia and started throwing up. Soon we were making no progress at all. Darkness was falling, the river was rising and a low rumble echoed down the canyon. The danger level, moderate when we left, rose to 'high' as we struggled through the water. We weren't going to make it with my Dad and we needed help.
Finally, the only hope for any of us was on my uncle's shoulders. He took the two younger boys and continued down the river while my brother, my cousin and I climbed to a jutting cliff about six feet up the canyon wall. We built a fire to warm my dad up and my cousin Michael got an emergency plastic tent out of his pack. We wrapped my dad in the covering to hold in as much body heat as we could and to protect him from the beginning of a rainstorm. We got some hot broth into him, huddled in the plastic and waited.
The rain fall grew heavier and the river continued to rise. We watched as the water level rose more than 6 feet in a few hours. The water turned dark and filthy, churning with rocks, debris and the branches of trees torn from their roots.
All night long we prayed. Prayed that our family had gotten out of the river before the water came down. Prayed our little campsite would stay above water. Prayed Dad wouldn't have a heart attack during the storm.
After a long night, we started down the river again. Cold, wet, and miserable but still alive and moving forward. After a couple of hours, Search and Rescue from the park met up with us and carried my Dad out on a stretcher. The boys and I still had to walk out though.
The crazy part is...We did it again one year later. There was less water, but just as many problems and it all ended with Search and Rescue.
Its been almost 30 years since I took those trips with my Dad. Although I have no desire to ever make them again, those memories are precious to me. It was better to have been there with him. I couldn't have just worried about him all night long, it would have driven me out of my mind. Those long hours with my Dad and my family are moments I'll never forget and wouldn't trade for anything.
Perhaps the reasons I won't go again have more to do with my general health, my missing knee cap, or my blindness, but I don't think so.
When my son left for Zion today, I didn't imagine him being washed away in a flood. A part of my heart still braves that canyon though, even all these years later. Memories I wouldn't trade or forget, but fears that will forever haunt me as well.
So, stay safe, my son, and understand, there's a whole lot more to 'Have fun and be careful." than you ever thought.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Costumed like love

A few years ago I went to the wedding reception of some good friends of mine. It was a beautiful ceremony, nice decorations and wonderful music. The members of the wedding party toasted the bride and groom and handed out sage advice for how to make the marriage last.
There were funny ones like..."You get what you get and you don't throw a fit" and "Cut up her credit card and all will be well."
There were a also more serious advice. "Love each other every day" and "never go to bed angry at one another"
My favorite and the one that has stayed with me is "True love is the way you treat your partner when you're not attracted to them."
What? You're married to someone you're not attracted to?
A shocking idea and one that rubs our sense of love and fidelity raw.
It is, however, the truth.
Over the last 18 years, my ability to be attracted to my husband is based on his voice, his personality, his good nature, sense of humor and patience. He is a man among men unlike any other.
He is also human and imperfect, even though he hides it really well.
It is harder for him though. He has seen me so sick I'm shaking and crying. He has seen me cut open from rib cage to pelvis. He watched his premature son, snatched from my womb which was cut wide open until he could see my lungs and rib cage. He's seen every manner of blood, fluid, puke, tears and pain come through my skin, my body, my scars and my heart. I've had tubes up my nose, down my throat and inserted in every vein in my body. He's held my hand, my hair when I vomited, my legs when they were swollen to twice their normal size and my body flat when I had an allergic reaction to a medication. He's seen in me, through me,  and around my misshapen and malformed body.
If attraction were necessary for us to have stayed married all these years, he'd of left me before we got married.
So often we think that attraction is love. Its not. Its just the costume love wears until the work begins.
When we go looking for the person we'll spend forever with, we look with our eyes and the first thing we find is the costume. It's said. "Men love what they're attracted to and women are attracted to what they love." The truth is Love is hard work, sacrifice, unselfishness, compromise, swallowed pride, being wrong, listening instead of hearing and letting go of being right because its an empty prize compared to being loved.
I always tell my husband that after all he's been through with me, his next wife needs to be a super model or something. He laughs, traces my healed wounds and tells me he loves my scars. They tell our story.
After all he's seen, the crazy part is he's still attracted to me too. Not the costume, the real me. Flawed, broken and imperfect because he looks at me with love, real love. Its the way he treats me, when he's not attracted. Its what makes him the love of my life.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Why Survive?

 A few weeks ago I awoke at 4 o'clock in the morning with a fever of 103 degrees. A bit extreme for most people, but for me...dangerous. I have two transplanted organs and an extremely compromised immune system. A fever of this magnitude requires a visit to the ER. My husband took me in about 6:30 where we discovered I had a raging infection. Antibiotics, rest, and a long series of medication and fluids can take care of it, but not this time. An infection turned to sepsis. Sepsis is where the infection goes into your blood stream and your entire body is basically one live bacterial circus. I got blisters on my face and hands, all of my organs were in such pain I couldn't move, but the pain was so extreme I had to move to keep it from taking over. I suffered from 'riggers' (maybe the wrong word) which is such extreme shaking from the fever that my bones rattled and I curled into a ball to try to keep any warmth. After five days of this, the fever cooled but my transplanted organs received an acute injury...damage done by the fever. After a few more days I was taken by ambulance to the transplant team to check on the organs. I felt pretty good at this point and just wanted to go home. I had a lot of blistering still and the infection wasn't dead so we decided to check on the organs. During this procedure where needles were stuck into the kidney and pancreas and sections were biopsied, I had an allergic reaction to one of the medications. My blood pressure dropped and I couldn't breathe or get my heart to beat at a normal rate. When this happened more than once, the doctors discovered I was bleeding from the biopsied sites into my abdominal cavity. I was moved to Surgical ICU, given a transfusion and pain killers before being watched for another 24 hours.
Now, if you know me, this is pretty normal for my health. When I go down, I go hard and fast. The older I get though, the more I realize the getting back up is harder and harder. I've spent the last week trying to get back on my feet and feeling like I might have been better off to have stayed in the hospital. At times like these, when recovery is long, painful and slow I wonder why I survived?
During this same period of time, a 16 year old boy in the surgical ICU next to me was brought in with a lacerated spleen. He did not survive. A car accident took the lives of a small family in the canyon and my neighbor's granddaughter, just 2 or 3, died suddenly with little or no explanation for what happened.
There were times in the hospital where I cried, begged for relief and gave my will to The Father as far as my transplanted organs were concerned.
So now I ask...Why did I survive?
I don't know the answer. My father-in-law says he stays alive because the devil won't take him and only the good die young. Perhaps its true. Its possible that I'm still trying to find my place between heaven and hell. I don't believe that though.
A part of me feels guilty because I get to stay with my boys, love my husband and fight a little longer. Part of me is grateful that the struggle is going on even though being free of this body would be easier. Most of me however, doesn't have answers.
One day we will all understand why 'The plan' is the way it is. Some day it will all make perfect sense. In the meantime, I live the best I can, I work to get better all the time, and I have faith that The Lord knows Why and for now...its enough.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Bailing Wire and Duck Tape

My two oldest boys find themselves in an interesting, and at times awkward tug-o-war. My oldest is 16, has his drivers permit and is working on his license. My fifteen year old also has his permit and is practicing the age old ritual of crossing into being all grown up, driving.
Neither of them can drive alone and their Dad won't let them drive with me. So we have two budding drivers and only one licensed adult. I drive with my boys occasionally because I'm the financially responsible party and I normally have another sighted person along for the help. Its an area of contention for my husband and I, but it helps sometimes to keep the boys both practicing and learning. God keep watch over us all.
I'm torn for the best, and most responsible way to help them when they're so close in age and are limited in their ability to be supervised. I often lose sleep and hair, worrying about what to do.
My friend, who knew me when I could see and drive, laughed at my consternation.
"You were a horrible driver when you could see," he insists. "You can't be any worse blind."
Could I?
I learned to drive, first with my older brother. If you know my older brother, you know he is brilliant, powerful, giving and an excellent father, husband and all around person. He is however,  NOT a great driver.
He drove in his early twenties, in Guatemala. He fit right into their 'take no prisoners' philosophy of speeding through intersections and around corners and break neck speeds and with various forms of livestock clinging to the doors and windows.
Later, he spent a few years in Malaysia doing the same thing, just without the livestock. He is an Indy-racer, Autobahn-wanna-be and he's fearless.
When I was 16, he took me out in our 1975 Dotson B-210 bomber. It was a conglomeration of rust, cracking vinyl, bailing wire and duck tape, but it ran.
It was also a stick shift and I had to learn to use the pedals and the shifter before I could actually drive. After grinding the gears, nearly pitching him through the windshield while I got the hang of the brake, and annoying him into driving with me, he said very little and gritted his teeth a lot.
When he and I finally got to the point that we drove, he clutched the door handle with one hand and the console with the other, praying for the both of us. He put up with me and my driving for a little while until one day a few months later.
I drove, jerkily, down a back road in the little town I'm from. Proud of myself for handling the clutch, gas and brake, all at the same time, I ignored my brothers all too obvious terror. In the little town where we lived, there were three foot wide canals running along some of the back roads. They were empty sometimes and I didn't worry about them. Unknown to me, these had the potential to be death traps. If the car were to plunge into the water, you could be drowned or washed away or both. Oblivious to this aspect of driving, I tootled down the road without a care in the world.
When the road took a sharp turn and I shifted down to decrease my speed, I forgot to steer the car, so absorbed was I in the transmission.
Now picture, My older brother and I finding ourselves hurtling toward one of these canals. He is screaming at me to stop the car. I'm in full out panic and crush the accelerator to the floor and cover my eyes with my arms.
I'm not sure how he did it, but he cranked the wheel, got my foot off the accelerator and pulled us to a dust-covered stop inches before the canal.
I don't remember what he said, how we got home or why he didn't throw me out of the car, but it was over. He never drove with me again.  I'm still surprised he used to agree to ride with me on occasion. Like I said before, he's quite the crazy driver on his own and I'm afraid some of that is my fault. All these years later though, these are some of my favorite times with him and our car. The car was just an old tin can of a thing, but I loved her, drove her into the ground and eventually turned her over to my younger brothers and sisters. Not before I crashed her a few times and used a lot more bailing wire and duck tape to keep her together.
My Dad eventually taught me how to drive and my time in New York honed, or exacerbated my skills, but I'll never forget that little car.
She was ugly, unsafe, and always on the brink of falling apart, but then so was I when I was 16.
My boys fight over and drive our old clunky Saturn and grit their teeth when they have to share. Trust me boys...It's the best time you'll ever have.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

God's Not Dead

 My youngest son has a favorite song he is learning to play on the drums. He found out about it while watching a movie. In the show a  college freshman debates with one of his professor's about whether or not God was a philosophical idea invented by weak minds or if science supported the ideal of
creationists who believe in God. Arguments on both sides were interesting and held merit both for and against the idea of the reality of a higher being.
Perhaps because I've taught him his whole life that God is real, or perhaps because he is 10 and everything is black and white, he listened to the arguments and was convinced God is alive.
Granted, the movie's ending is meant to move watchers to believe God is an actual heavenly being. At 10 years old his thinking and analyzing capabilities are somewhat immature. His faith, on the other hand is light years beyond his tender age.
A few years back he asked me, "Mom how are stars made?"
I gave him my limited information about interstellar actions and the implosions of planets but he was still unsure. We watched a program on Discovery Channel where scientists went through how stars are born due to gravitational pull, implosion and the reality of their 'matter' becoming "space garbage" after such an experience. He looked at me, squeezed my hand and said, "That's where God got  the stuff to make earth."
The program went on to discuss black holes, the undefined reaches of space and galaxies beyond our own, but he was outside playing. It made sense to him and he had all he needed.
Every once in a while he'll ask me some deep, complex question about death, creation or what God looks like.
I do my best to answer him in terms he can relate to and he goes on to blow my mind with his simple factual faith.
He told me the other night he'd dreamed about dying. In his dream he walked across a green field until he stood in front of a very large, tall and smiling man dressed in such bright light he had to squint at him.
"Hello," the man said.
With a quick little wave of his hand he looked at the man and said, "HI God."
The man took his hand and showed him around, Let him play soccer and tousled his hair.
"I felt so good, Mom," he said.
"How did you know that was God," I asked him.
He shrugged his shoulders and smiled at me before patting my hand. "Oh mom. You just know."
I hope he's right. I plan, pray and work for a time when I stand before that man and call him by name. For the time when he takes my hand, shows me around and like my faithful little boy, I just know.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Someplace You Fall

When I was in my early twenties, a country western music star and his wife sang a song together all about LOVE. It was a beautiful song, made more poignant because they performed it together and you could tell by the way they interacted together, they meant every word. Her voice wasn't great and his was good, but not the best I'd ever heard. He performed a song or two that I liked but this song rang with all sorts of truth for me. When a few years later, this couple  found themselves in a scandal concerning an illegitimate child, I wondered if the silly romantic in me had given it more meaning than necessary. In the midst of scandal, would LOVE be more than just someplace you fall? Could it stand up to the fire and be something they would DO?
It was for them. They worked it out. Forgave each other. Handled the publicity and stayed together. They are still together, still in-love and still Doing what ever it takes to make that love work.
The truth is LOVE isn't just 'something' you do, its everything you DO. Its putting your partner first. Its forming priorities around they're wants and needs. Its walking away from your old life to build a new one. Its listening, not just hearing. Its trusting when you don't trust anyone. Its becoming a better person, for yourself and for the one you love, as well.
Mostly, its letting go of pride, prejudice, power, and the person you used to be. and becoming new. New and better.
When you find yourself falling into that place, brace yourself for the landing. Its a long way down and a tough climb to a better place if you do it correctly. But its worth the ride.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Not How IWas Raised

I had the privilege of growing up next door to my paternal grandparents. Never has any kid been so lucky as to have the people who love you the best and without restraint, in the house just across the back yard. My other set of grandparents lived twenty minutes away and I didn’t realize at the time how fortunate I was to have two sets of grandparents so nearby. I made most of my mistakes with my parents and siblings, but all too often I disappointed or frustrated my grandparents as well. A part of my mind knew this. Yet, my heart did not grasp that same concept.
My grandmother had the kindest eyes, the softest hands and the biggest heart of anyone I knew. She didn’t buy me expensive toys, she simply let me play with her old blocks and dress my dolls in her old doll clothes.
She didn’t take me to McDonald’s for Happy Meals or up the street to Pizza Hut. She simply made the best meatloaf ever and let me choose from her vast array of cold cereal when I was hungry.
My grandfather told my brothers and sisters and I wonderful stories about hiking Three Falls, the legend of Crack Foot and all about what he’d buy when he won Publishers clearing House. I sat through the evening news with him and never understood why he like the weather so much, but I loved being with him.
My fondest memories when I was a kid were centered around my grandparents, their house and their un compromising love.
My children don’t have the same blessing with their grandparents that I did. Both my Dad and Erik’s mom have passed on. My step father is a wonderful grandfather though, and my father-in-law, likewise love my boys. These good men remind me to be patient with young, growing boys. Too love without judgement and to enjoy what I’ve got while I have it.
My mother, the only Grandma my kids know, doesn’t live next door, cook perfect meatloaf or provide a source to whom my kids can escape to find comfort…
She does come to their sports events, make the best funeral potatoes and take care of them with an open heart and endless patience. At times I listen to my boys talk about her and just shake my head. “That’s not how I was raised,” I tell them. “When I was your age she was tough, demanding, and she ruled with an iron fist.”
“Like you, mom?” they ask in all innocence.
“Yeah,” I remind myself. “Just like me.”
Someday, thanks to my mom, my In-laws, my Step Father and My grandparents, I hope to be the Grandma who loves, accepts and nurtures my grand children. And if I’m really good at it my kids will say to their children, “That’s not how she was when I was growing up.”
Then I’ll smile and remind myself, “This is how my Grandparents were. Mission accomplished.”

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Testosterone Triangle

A modern comic tells of his family situation by describing the environment in which he  lives. he says, "In my house there's my two daughters and my wife and I. Next door there's my sister-in-law and my three nieces. Between My girls, my wife's family and frequent visits from my mother-in-law...I live knee deep in the estrogen ocean."
He talks about the hair care products, the multiple lotions, perfumes and polishes. He rants and raves about the clothing, accessories, and hormones that fly around him constantly. I laugh every time I hear him tell about it because I remember growing up with my sisters, friends and cousins ;all of us knee deep in the estrogen ocean. The difference was we were acclimated.
Now, as the only female in a house full of men, I find myself lost in the testosterone triangle.
It is a group of highly dangerous, complicated and nonsensical islands that bring down sane, rational, normal women from every walk of life.
The major islands in this destructive chain are named: socially inappropriate body noises, the 'nothing box', short term thinking, and short circuited brain function.
Between my husband's 'white board' mentality. In his words his brain is a white board. Everything is written down on it, considered for quantity of importance and then wiped clean of everything that doesn't matter. This boils down to what things cost. How much effort is involved. What temperature the environment is and whether or not it will cause confusion for females traveling in the triangle.
Take this mind-set and combine it with boys who #1 know everything. #2 are never wrong and #3 will do it again, stir in a little hormonal imbalance, a touch of immortality and a dash of inflated self importance, and you live in the Testosterone triangle as well.
Its fraught with backward logic...i.e. "Well if I told you i wrecked the car you'd kill me. If you found out about it from someone else, the only person who gets hurt is you.
Its a tangled obstacle course of silence, 'read my mind' don't ask me questions, and What do you mean I can't choose my consequences?
As the only woman, deep in the testosterone triangle, I also get the benefit of awkward attempts at charm, flirtation and sweetness before they go out into the world and try them on 'real girls'. I take my little boys, feed them, clothe them, potty-train them , bandage their scraped knees, wipe away their tears only to have them shut me out, roll their eyes and reduce their vocabulary to 'whatever', while I try to navigate   their world during their ascension  to becoming men.
When they're gone and the shipwrecks of dirty laundry, dirty mouths and dirty bathrooms along with the plane crashes  of broken hearts, totaled friendships and shattered confidence, lie as a pile in the wreckage of my memory, I'll look back with fondness as they become a safe harbor for their little ones and the port of call for the lucky girl they marry.
Then I'll go back to 'the triangle', cry in their rooms and thank my Father-In-Heaven He gave me the chance to crash into their world for a little while.
I Love you boys!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Keep Up!

In the years before we moved to the little town where we now live, my family lived in downtown St. George, Utah. At the time, St. George was about 60,000 people. There was a bus system, taxi cabs, and of course plenty of sidewalks. Good news for a blind person.
When my kids were younger, we explored and entertained ourselves by riding the bus, walking and riding bikes and scooters all over town. I had limited sight then and used my ears to keep track of the boys vs the traffic. We had great fun and adventures together, traveling miles and miles all over town. We picnicked, played in parks, swam and fed the ducks. My kidneys were failing and my diabetes had to be controlled so I was exhausted, but it was a blast.
A few years ago when I shattered my kneecap, those days ended. I could no longer run, scooter or walk very far without horrible pain. The form of exercise I'd always used to stay healthy, in shape and active was gone. The physical therapist told me the best way to keep from becoming unable to walk at all was to keep my knee strong. The knee cap was gone but the muscles in my legs would support my weight and I could keep going as long as my legs held out. I went from walking miles every single day to steps, streets, blocks and eventually working my way back to a few miles. Downhill was a struggle, as my knee couldn't hold my weight. Uphill was also tough, but I figured out how to lift with my good leg and just support my weight for a second with the other.
The pain was the hardest part. Every step felt like someone had driven a knife into my leg and eventually I couldn't walk on it.
This new part of my life brought on new challenges I'd never faced before. I didn't know if I could keep up with my kids, keep up with all I had to do when walking was my only form of transportation, or just keep up my strength.
One day as I struggled down the sidewalk with my youngest, half limping, half walking to get him to his soccer game on time, I started to cry. How was I supposed to function as a mom, a wife, a daughter of God when I couldn't even walk anymore? As I struggled onward, each step painful and slow,  I cried away my frustration with every step until I collapsed on the sidelines of the soccer field. The pain eased, the tears stopped and the soccer game went forward.
Yes, we were a minute or so late. My son cheered with the rest of the team and got on the field a few minutes later. I stretched my leg, rested, and gulped water like I was dying, but it eased until I could walk to the bleachers.
It was at that point, I realized. I'm never again going to ride scooters, run, or walk miles and miles with my boys. I'll never play co-ed softball with my husband or dance like I did when I was in New York.
I will however, keep up. God gave me the strength, the tenacity and the sheer stubbornness to do what ever had to be done. Isn't that what every one of us hopes for? The strength, and tenacity to keep going?
For some people its to keep up with their kids. For others its just to keep themselves out of jail, off the ground, or close to The Lord.
It doesn't matter what bone, or muscle, or body part is missing. It only matters that you have everything you need.
Everything to love, laugh,  and go one more moment further.
I still ride the bus, walk, limp often, and skip some activities. I don't however let what doesn't work determine how happy, loved, or lucky I am. It could be a whole lot worse.
When keeping up with the neighbors, or the other moms, or with anyone else, becomes more important than doing what you can and being happy about it, then you're not keeping up.
God loves you. He has given you all the strength, wisdom and comfort any of us will ever need. More than we can handle if we look around and see how blessed we are. So , the truth is...What else is there to try to keep up with?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Edge Of The Light

I've learned the lessons of light and darkness over the last 20 years. As I went from sighted, to visually impaired and finally, totally blind, my faith in God and the people around me has grown. A few small steps at first, but by leaps and bounds as I trusted, walked, fell and found my self in His loving arms. I first learned this lesson though, when I was 20 years old.
As  a college sophomore, spring break, held the promise of parties, guys and fun for a week. For the college it was not during the school's break, it was during the high school's. My roommates and I still had to go to class, our on-campus jobs and labs. At night though, the pull of the music and the crowds couldn't be ignored.
In the parking lot of a grocery store a block away from our apartment, there was a crane set up for bungee jumping. It was at least fifty feet in the air and held a spot light on the platform from where kids would jump.
I'd seen it before, I'd watched other  people screaming from the top, plunging into the darkness, only to come up laughing.
One night my roommates and I decided we'd jump. A friend of ours was working the crane and he told us he'd give us one jump for free.
Climbing up the the light at the top of the platform wasn't nerve wracking at all. Our friend was at the top. He was charming, funny, and totally confident. He rigged us all into harnesses, explained what would happen, and warned us to relax and not stiffen during the fall.
We huddled around him and the light as the people in front of us took their turns. One girl was hysterical and had to be lowered down. Most looked either a little impaired or just plain crazy. When it was my turn, I left the circle of light where my friends stood and walked forward on the platform. Chris hooked up my harness, tested the connections and stepped back with a grin.
"Okay, trace, walk to the edge and then just step off."
Easy enough, I remember thinking. Just walk to the edge of the light and then take a few steps into the darkness.This didn't sound deep and profound to me in that moment. I was psyching my self up to jump. Taking those first few steps was terrifying. It was pitch black below. I could hear the people on the ground laughing and talking. I could hear Chris and my roommates behind me. All I could think...Take a step into the darkness.
I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and walked off the edge.
The drop was a thrill, a terror, and the most fun I had that spring break. I flew for about 3 seconds, got my shoulders wrenched on the landing and never felt more free than during that three second fall.
It was years later when I'd lost my eyesight that the memory of that night came back to me. The feeling of absolute terror before I took the step into the darkness and the adrenaline soaked moments of the fall following.
As more falling moments approached me, I always pulled up the memory of the bungee jump and reminded myself. No matter how frightened I was, I wouldn't give up the ride to stay safe back on the ground. My harness in life, is my Savior. I expect to fall, its part of the ride. I also expect Him to catch me at the bottom, and He always does. Sometimes I wrench my shoulder as He stops me from crashing. Sometimes I end up with broken bones, surgeries and minor injuries, but He always catches me. I never worry about hitting the ground at the bottom, sometimes I never even fall. No matter what happens when I step out though, He is always with me. In His arms I'm always safe and I love the ride.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


This past weekend, I had a good friend, who took care of me. Perhaps she got tired of looking at my plain, unadorned face. Maybe my mop of brown hair made her want to pull it all out. For whatever reason, she straightened the rebellious curl out and taught me what make-up was for and how to apply it.
It was a lot of fun. I haven't had someone do that for me since I first lost my sight and my sisters tried to help by doing my makeup every day. 20 years without seeing your own face has definite benefits.
The last picture I have in my head of myself was from when I was in my early twenties. Imagine if your mirror worked that way and every time you looked in the mirror, all you saw was the twenty-year-old you used to be. Awesome! Its one of my favorite things about being blind. Everyone, including myself, look like they're in their twenties. They also look like movie stars and supermodels. What a beautiful place the world is!
Logically and sensibly, I know this isn't true. I know I don't have beautiful green eyes, long dark, pretty hair and high cheek bones. Without the mirror's reflection to tell me I'm wrong though...its easy to pretend.
So here's the down fall. If you ever see me, you get just me. No glamour, no style, no hiding of my flaws. Without a reflection to tell me what needs to be different, the flaws and scars and marks are written all over my face.
Worse than the absence of a mirror to look in, is the absence of self reflection.
In our own eyes...we're super models and movie stars, internally though, we feel like bag ladies and street bums. Our spiritual 'make-up' is a physical mask of denial. We're so afraid of the truth beneath the mask, that in all reality we're covering up a road map leading to purity and success.
If the reflection you see haunts you even when your physical appearance is gorgeous. Take off the make-up and uncover the parts of you that would be perfect if you allow The Savior to fill them in.
The cover-up is an illusion of beauty. True glamour is in the loving of others, your self and Him. If you do that, than who ever sees you without your mask doesn't matter. In His reflection you're perfect.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Going Down.

It happened again.I'm walking along at about 2 miles an hour and the sidewalk shifts beneath my feet and I fall. This time I just skin my knee/elbow/hand, curse the sidewalk architects, and keep walking. Later I discover a bit of blood or skin hanging from my wound. Its annoying, even irritating, but not life changing. I avoid those kind's of falls I'm tired of being hurt. I'm tired of scars and I'm tired of looking like i'm too uncoordinated to walk like a human. So I brace myself for the uneven sidewalk. I step around the spot in the road where I know there is a metal grate and I cross the street before I have to maneuver through construction. I expect the downfalls in the road and I go around as many of them as possible.
As I walked to the bus stop with my kids, I tripped, once again, on the steep drive a block before the stop. I caught myself and made a mental note to avoid the sidewalk on the block, instead walking in the gutter because its easier. As I grumbled under my breath about it, my son took my hand and said, "Its okay mom, I'll hold onto you and then when you trip you won't fall."
My boys spent the day with me, holding my hand, leading me through obstacles and tugging me in the direction they wanted me to go. By the time our travels were over...6 hours later I told them I felt like a piece of taffy.
"Salt water, or the strawberry kind with the jokes on the wrapper," my son replied. "Because I like Strawberry."
I was tempted to make some remark about his snarky, teenager, sense of humor just as I heard the smile in his voice. I laughed instead. He laughed too. All was right in the world in that moment because I let go long enough to understand. My boys were protecting me. Holding me up when I was going down. Steadying me when my feet couldn't find solid ground. Guiding me toward safety and my destination. I was frustrated that I had to trip, fall, and deal with the aftermath and they were telling me jokes and laughing.
What I wanted was to stop going down. They were doing the job both physically and in spirit. Reminding me that I can laugh, hold my kids hands, and walk. Blessings not everyone enjoys. The little things all of us take for granted are often the ones that make the biggest difference. Imagine the heartache of a mother who will never hold her child's hand again. Picture the turmoil of someone who will never take another step. Cry for the individual who lives in darkness so complete that they'll never laugh...with anyone.
If you can imagine these scenarios, heartaches, and struggles then you can also find gratitude for the fact that you have a hand to hold, a tear to cry and laughter to lift you when you're going down. Life will always be filled with scattered obstacles and pitfalls. The little things will give you a lift if you look for them and smile when you have the chance.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Surgical Steel

Not long ago I spent a day or so in the hospital following another surgical procedure. Putting the broken pieces of my body back together again is a lot like Humptey Dumpty, its a process. The procedure was no big deal and fairly non-invasive so I didn't worry too much about it, until I talked to my youngest son a few days later.
"You're like a bionic person, Mom." he told me, when I explained the surgery. I shook my head and told him there were no borrowed organs, removed bones, arteries and veins sewed together or tubes implanted this time. It was no big deal. He laughed at me.
"You've got Uncle Rob's kidney, someone Else's pancreas, a glass eye, a missing knee cap and scaffolding holding up  your heart. How many surgeries have you had?"
Well, that got me thinking. I had my first surgical procedure done when I was 14 years old and one of my toes quit growing and fused into the joint.As I worked my way through the years, I realized that between kidney problems, diabetes, heart disease, blindness and the side effects of their treatments, I've had surgery 13 times.
When I told my10-year-old, he gasped. "Is that normal?"
We laughed about it, and I wondered. "Normal" is never a distinction I worried about. After all, what is 'normal' except that which we all think we are and everyone else isn't.
"The truth though; its not normal,. Is it Okay?
When bones are broken beyond repair or body parts need to be replaced, doctors don't use Aluminum foil, or lead, or iron. They use surgical steel. A special mixture of alloys and chemicals that will be stronger, just as flexible, sometimes more, and can withstand the abuse from what a human body will place it under. Its not normal. Its forged, fired and fabricated especially for work nothing else can do. Its sold through special distributors., Its handled by special doctors and it enhances in a way nothing else can.
God didn't create us to be 'normal'. He didn't put us here to decorate the planet in pretty colors.,. He created us to be steel, different than any other creation stronger, faster, better spiritually, for the difficult journey back to Him. Its not supposed to be easy, that's for aluminum creations. Easy, comfortable, and spoiled, is for lead-based individuals who can't stand the pressure of being great.
If you find yourselves in the fiery forge wondering why you're not living an easier life; its because you're steel. You're special, uncommon...Great! You don't want to be 'normal', on the junk pile or crumpled like an empty aluminum can. Not when your mind, heart and soul were meant to be surgical steel.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Beat The Heat

There's an old joke told by a pioneer from the late 1800's about my little corner of the Mojave desert. It goes..."If you owned a house in St. George and a house in Hell, you'd sell your house in St. George and move to Hell. Its cooler."
The record breaking heat in this part of the country is the reason some people in the desert have a summer and a winter home. In the dead of winter, the 60 and 70 degree temperatures are heaven. In the summer however, well...you heard the one about it being cooler in Hell.
Around here we find every opportunity we can to escape the blistering temperatures. We head north for cooler weather.We hide out in our air conditioned houses.  We swim everywhere and anywhere there is water. Pools, rivers, ditches and even puddles if we can find them. Water, in the desert is an invaluable commodity and priceless at this time of year.
When we are literally being baptized by fire around here, the water is our most beloved asset. Before the mormon pioneers arrived in this corner of the desert, the growth rings in the trees were thin and showed the devastation of living in dry, hot climates. Since the late 1800's the growth rings in the trees have tripled. Because the population has brought more moisture to the desert? Because human ingenuity has channeled run-off, guided water sources and unearthed hidden wells?
Actually its because..."the desert blooms like a garden unto the Lord..."
It's a promise God gave to the native American people who inhabited these lands thousands of years ago. "See2 Nephi 8:3)
There's a ton of stories from the people of this area about promises made to the residents if we were righteous, fasted, prayed and trusted The Lord.
Promises of rain, a break in the heat and sufficient water. According to The Washington County Water Conservancy District. Washington county saves 28 % of its water resources compared to the rest of the state which saves 18%. How do we do it? How do we beat the intense heat of the Mojave and still protect our precious water?
We believe in God. We trust Him and We wait upon Him for the living water He freely offers.
If Hell is cooler than St. George than the lesson we learn is that in The Lord's hands, even the fires of Hell have no hold on His children who believe, work and obey.
Maybe our little corner of the desert isn't really hell, but in the flooding of 2005 Death Valley, the hottest part of the Mojave, had plants, flowers and greenery cover its land. Plants that hadn't been seen in 100 years. Flowers that were rumored to bloom, but never had, and rocky, barren ground sprouting moss, vines and roots otherwise never before seen. How could you not beat the heat in a garden like that?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Independence Is A Fight

One of the very first things you learn when you lose your eyesight, if you find people like The National Federation of The Blind, is the importance of independence. I tell people all the time..."I appreciate your help, but unless you're going to follow me around for the rest of my life, teach me. Don't do it for me."
Often it is easier and makes the sighted person feel better, if a blind person just takes their arm and is led around. I must admit, if I'm not learning a new place or working on my independence skills, I'll gladly meet someone new, or hang out with a friend instead of doing it myself. Not because I can't, or don't want to be independant, solely because people have always been more important to me than anything else. I am, however, an extremely independent person. If I can do it alone, I will. Try telling me I can't.
I've spent nearly two decades of my life earning the right to be independant though. I fell down, broke bones, dodged on-coming traffic, crashed my bicycle, and walked a thousand miles to earn the courage and confidence it takes to do the things regular people take for granted everyday.
We live in an affluent society with blessings and benefits people in other parts of the world can only imagine. We didn't get them from the government or from a president. We didn't even earn most of them ourselves. We stand on the shoulders of men and women who suffer seperation from their families, physical and psychological wounds, and the loss of innocence. They see the horrors so we don't have to. They take the chances so none of us do. They sacrifice so we live in peace and comfort.
Independence is a fight. It's earned through hard times, blood, sweat and tears. When our lives get harder than we want we cry, allright, but not over lost loved ones or the ravages of war. We cry for the price of gas, for the broken air conditioner or the annual percentage rate  causing our bank accounts to bleed. What are we fighting for?
For the government to 'fix' the economy so we work less? For politicians to give us more tax breaks so we can go on more vacations? For the price of fuel to be lower so we can stay in our air conditioned cars longer?
A time will come...very soon, when we must fight for our right to worship God, to raise our children in safe neighborhoods and for the right to feed our kids.
Pretending the toughest thing we'll fight for is a greener lawn or better gas mileage is foolish. Independence will come when we fight for families, peace and freedom from evil. Don't give up the fight!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Forever Family Parties

Yesterday would have been my Dad's 70 th birthday. I picture him with his grand children gathered around him. Eating birthday cake, giving him Birthday hugs and wishes while teasing him about getting old. We'd find a crazy birthday card that makes fun of how old he is and how he is the best Dad and Grandpa EVER! Then we'd all go home until our next family get together.
My cousin Julie mentioned on facebook today that when her mother passed to God's presence this past year, she was met on the other side by people like my Dad, our grandmother, who we all adored, my Grandfather, two uncles and a whole host of family. I picture it much like the a fore mentioned party, but without the wrinkles and the funny cards.
I believe that God intended families to be together, forever. Not just for birthday parties and holidays her on earth, but for every warm, happy, fun occasion we can think of. These times I picture the party my deceased family is having and the one each of us wishes we could have as well. A little piece of me crumbles and dies when I realize what an enormous blockade death makes to all of us being together.
Truthfully, though, Death is only a blockade for the living. Those of us who cling to this life with fervor and faith live avoiding or denying death. On the other side though, they wait with bated breath for us to come to the forever family party.
I've spent my entire life fighting the inevitability of death only to realize it comes for each of us until we are all together again. Those who die before us celebrate the day when they are joined with those who were left behind. Those left behind mourn our loneliness until we can join our loved ones. The time between is painful, lonely and dark without those we love.
The good news is...its but a moment in a dark tunnel until we join the party as well. I live my life in complete darkness except for the light I find in my children, my husband, my family, friends and my Savior. When the party lights come on I hope to see my father's face. Feel the embrace of my Grandmother's arms and see the lovely smile of my Aunt Caroline. to kiss Colby Bird and thank him for sharing his organs and his beautiful family with me. I can't wait to meet my Savior and wash his feet with my tears. I'll wait to become strong enough and smart enough to have finished my course, but I look forward to the Forever Family Party. Just imagine what a party it will be.Save me some cake, Daddy!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tiny, Tender Treasures

My ten-year-old promised me this weekend, he'd never be a 'snotty teenager'. I know its just because he's only ten, but a part of me wishes he was right. My mind drifts back to when my 15-year-old was less than five pounds and barely breathing.
When my son was born it was after 12 weeks of bed rest and 72 hours of labor. As difficult as those weeks leading up to his birth were, it was nothing compared to what would come next. His tiny little body was black and blue from the delivery and the forceps they used to deliver him. His body was so fragile , I was terrified I'd hurt him if I touched him. The nurses warned me rubbing his little arms and legs felt to him like I rubbed his sunburn. The nerves were so sensitive. He had tubes leading from his feet, his belly, where his umbilical cord had been, his nose and his chest. Every breath he took was an effort and he didn't make a sound. I was in pain from the delivery and the bed rest but I sat for hours beside his bed and listened to the sound of his monitors recording his heart beat as he slept.
By the time my youngest was born, I was prepared for the long hours and slow progress of a newborn, premature baby. Little did I know. It was torture not being able to hold him, touch him, or rock him to sleep at night. He couldn't nurse, he was too small, he couldn't breathe, he'd popped his lung the night he was born. My only solace came from the nurses who told me his heart rate and breathing were labored and too fast until I'd come into NICU. As soon as he heard my voice, he'd settle down and rest. His respiratory and heart rate slowing to a normal pace. I sat on a stool beside his bed for hours to keep his little body working. I cried, missed him terribly and wanted nothing more than to bring him home.
In the years between his birth and now, the hard times at the beginning of his life are distant memories with the ache of past pain and a smile for how precious a blessing he's been in my life.
In those moments with my tiny, tender treasures, I knew how blessed and fortunate I was to have moments to treasure my child. When he talks back to me, argues to hear his own brilliance and wants nothing to do with me, I remember why I loved him enough to go through those difficult hours where he was all that mattered. When his tiny hand wrapped around my finger and it brought tears to my eyes. When his blue eyes opened to look at me. When his laughter filled our home and when he kisses me goodbye before he leaves for work.
The moments that are painful make the moments of triumph more precious and valuable. Moments that seem eternal in their darkness, but are brilliant in their treasures. I wish I'd known to enjoy the long, precious moments I had with my premature babies. I'd have lived a little more in those moments. I'd have soaked up their love, warmth and need for nothing more than food and a caring hand. The time drags in the hospital where progress doesn't happen in hours or days, but in weeks or months. Treasure the time. Fill it with words of love, tender touches and laughter. The moments will melt away until the memories are all that remain.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Finding Freedom

Shackles and chains come in all shapes and sizes. My body has represented many of the confines I've learned to work around throughout my life. Many people believe my blindness shackles me to my home, my neighborhood, or my friends and family to get me around. While I am grateful for the kindness, patience and support of my sighted friends...these are not the confines from which I must break free.
When I was on dialysis as a kidney patient, I was literally chained to a machine by needles and tubes. For three and a half hours, three times a week, I sat in a chair with my blood running from my arm, into a machine and then back into my arm. This process is hard on your body, your heart, your nerves, your muscles and bones. It is also necessary to keep you alive. One of the side effects of dialysis is a sleep disorder.
Disorder makes it sound rather innocuous. You just plain don't sleep. The blood cleaning is exhausting enough, but the not sleeping will drain what's left of your strength.
I was given a prescription for Adovan, an anti-anxiety medication to relieve this problem. I started on .5 mg.'s the first few days. After 2-3 nights of sleeping, my body caught up and I couldn't sleep again. The prescription was bumped up another .5 Mg's every time my body adjusted and the disorder came back. It took me about a month before I couldn't sleep at all and the dosage was up to 5 mg.'s every night.
I went to dialysis one morning at 7 a.m. feeling as if my skin would crawl off of my body. While I was trapped in my chair with my blood being cleaned by a machine, I started shaking, my heart palpitating and my skin crawling. I fought the sensations of my body attacking for the next few hours until the nurses at dialysis sent me to the hospital to get some help.
On the examination table in the E.R., I was told I was detoxing from the adovan and they'd give me some more to stop the reaction and I'd need to increase my dosage again.
My body had trapped me again. Maybe it was 'medically necessary' because I had an issue that could only be dealt with medically. It didn't matter. I was shackled to a drug, a drug that relieved other problems but that now was in complete control of my sanity and well-being.
I refused the adovan and stopped the prescription.
I wish I could tell you the drug wore off and I went back to my life. It didn't. I was awake for five days straight. My skin crawled. I cried, thrashed, soaked in hot and cold showers and prayed round the clock. All these years later, I still have sleeping problems. For different reasons, but the result is the same...sometimes I don't sleep for more than a few hours at night. The chains are broken, and I'll never go back to those confines. I could sleep more and better if I took the medicine. I could find a different prescription that was less addictive, but I won't.
Actual physical wounds aren't healed with the prescriptions, the pain is just deadened. Deadened pain is a blessing for those of us who live with it constantly. The problem is...everything else ends up deadened too. Thoughts, emotions, the influence of The Holy Spirit, the voice of The Savior and the quiet love and peace The Lord offers.
Healing deeper wounds of shame, self-hatred, feelings of failure and the fear of being too broken to love can't be fixed with drugs. To heal the wounds of the heart and the scars of the soul, one must fall at The Savior's feet. Fight the forces tearing at your body and break the shackles of numbing temporary balms.
Yes, it will be painful, healing hurts. Finding freedom, in any part of life comes when we surrender to God and let Him heal us.
Healing will not free you from your problems, injuries and diseases. It will bring you peace and strength to fight, thrive and succeed in your life. No one knows the extent of your pain and so no one can understand what is necessary for you to function. If you find yourself depending more and more on the medication and withdrawing from your relationship with God, turn to Him  and those who love you, during your pain and frustration and ask for help to hang on.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Practice makes...Purified

Last week my teenaged sons went to the DMV to take the written test for their driving permits. One of them got his the first time he took the exam, with exactly enough correct answers. The other studied, took it twice and missed by only a few. Neither one of them can drive without their Dad having heart palpitations and contemplating reverting to horse drawn buggies.For the next year or so they'll get the chance to practice. And by the time their permits expire, they'll be perfect drivers and everyone on the roads will be safe.Right? I don't know about you, but from my blind side of the car, it's not safe out there.I was a horrible driver when I could see and super lucky when I drove with impaired vision.Yes...I drove half blind. The good news is I don't drive at all anymore. I learned something.I think that's the purpose of practice. Not so we become perfect drivers before we turn ourselves or our kids loose on the roads and highways, but so that we become smarter driver's by practicing. The tragic truth is that we crash, total vehicles, hurt ourselves...and others sometimes, and we become purified, not perfected.When I took my driver's test. I passed the written with flying colors. It took me three tries to pass the driving portion. I've been in a half dozen accidents, driven in New York City, California, and my little hometown with the same results. I learned, wrecked cars, got injured and eventually lost my drivers license. I've hit other cars, been hit by other drivers, been run down as a pedestrian, got lost in The Bronx...at night and ended up with a road sign on top of my truck.I'm a much better driver now, because I don't drive. My driving skills have significantly improved. I don't crash. I don't hurt myself or others and I don't make mistakes with a 2 ton chunk of deadly metal.The saying goes that life is a highway, so lets put our driving skills to work in our road back to Heavenly Father. We're so busy trying to be perfect drivers that we forget to be purified people. Perfection isn't the goal. Safety, happiness, travel and reaching our destination is what matters. Does it matter how you get there? You bet it does. Its the trip you take that makes the memories. Maybe you started out just hoping you'd get across town and ended up in a ditch somewhere instead. You haven't failed. You're never going to cross town again, or you're just going to do a better job next time?The desire for perfection is an empty pursuit and only ends in heartache. Instead work towards purification. The ability to react calmly when the road gets rough. The ability to pull off the side of the road when the weather is too dangerous. The work faith and humility to wreck, put things back together, heal and try again. You may not be the greatest driver in the end. You may end up like me, just satisfied not to be causing accidents. Either way, you're better and so is the road around you.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Run Faster Than You Are Able

With a 34 year history of health problems ranging from my eyes throughout my major organs and ending all the way at a toe on my left foot that stopped growing when I was 14 years old. running has never been on my bucket list. My husband is a runner. He's competed in the St. George Marathon. He runs to relax, work-out, and treat his asthma.  If someone tells me "we should run together" I look over my shoulder to see what's chasing me. Even then, It'll take me a minute to decide if running away is worth it.
Walking? Climbing? Hiking? Activities I sincerely enjoy, but most people I go with do not enjoy having me along. Until I received a borrowed pancreas last year, it was too much for me to do more than walk. Over the last year I've enjoyed hiking again. I went all over West Yellow Stone with my family only two months after surgery. Okay, I wasn't the poster child for the National Forest or anything...but I did it. We finally took our kids to Disneyland and I did two back-toback days all over the park with only sore feet and an extreme dislike for standing in line. Hiking and Zip-lining in Mexico a few months ago was the most fun I've had in years. My body is supporting me for the first time in over three decades and I forget it still has limits.
Last Saturday, I got the crazy idea to go on a hike with Erik and my boys. It was 2:30 in the afternoon. The temperature here in our corner of the desert was nearly 100 degrees and Erik was hesitant. He knows me better than I know myself sometimes and I should've listened...I didn't of course.
The hike was only three miles round trip. It was a well cared for trail. I could do it!
Well, the second we stepped into the driveway and I felt the heat I tried to back out. It was too late. I'd promised the kids, we were all ready to go and Erik knows when I start to doubt, what I need is a swift kick in my butt.
Off we went.
It was just as I should've known. The heat was so intense, my poor borrowed organs mutinied and i barely could walk. I tripped over every stone and crack in the lava. My missing kneecap took a sabbatical and my one remaining leg turned to Jalapeno Jam. Burning hot and mushy. I made it about 3/4 of the way before I had Erik prop me in the shade of a rock and take the kids the rest of the way.
As I prayed for the strength to get back to the car, I wondered why this seemingly short romp across a lava ridge about did me in? Yeah, there were obstacles, but 'come-on' that's just life. Why did I feel my strength had failed me?
That little voice, my conscious or my Savior, whispered the answers. "Do not run faster than you have strength."
It wasn't my body which failed me. It was me who failed my body.
Between the two weeks I've been fighting a monster head cold, and my foray into my own Mt. Everest, I hadn't slept through the night in a week. My blood count was low and I was waiting to recieve IV Iron.  I was only sleeping about 4 hours, coughing the rest of the  night and I was eating only enough to take my medicine and stay alive.
Life does not take from us anything we don't willingly surrender. It throws problems, obstacles and trials in our path. It is only when we give up on the vessel we've been given, that it gives up on us.
Your body will fail you, tell you no more, and refuse to do what you want. Have you ever wondered what it is that you want that is more important than taking care of you?
Yes, your fllor being dirty may drive you crazy...today.  It'll drive you crazy even longer if you break down before you take care of yourself and eventually the floor.
One of the things I've learned over...well, my life, is that there is more to us than what physical capacity. When your body starts to tell you it can't or won't do what you want, find out what's inside you. Find out what you can offer the worl outside of what your body can do.
I'll hike again. In cooler temperatures, with more strength, and better prepared. I still won't be any one's inspiration of strength. I'll do it to remind myself that I'm more than borrowed organs, broken and missing body parts and a stubborn blind lady. I hope people see more of the real me.  I hope the physical  part of me is not who I really am. I guess I'll never know unless I polish  more than my body.