Tuesday, April 30, 2013

If you think God can't use you remember........................

I have just always liked this! I thought I'd share it with you incase you have never seen it, but also so I can find it again!


                                               If you think God can’t use you remember…

"The next time you feel like God can’t use you, just remember…
Noah was a drunk.
Abraham was too old.
Isaac was a daydreamer.
Jacob was a liar.
Leah was ugly.
Joseph was abused.
Moses had a stuttering problem.
Gideon was afraid.
Sampson had long hair and was a womanizer.
Rahab was a prostitute.
Jeremiah and Timothy were too young.
David had an affair and was a murderer.
Elijah was suicidal.
Isaiah preached naked.
Jonah ran from God.
Naomi was a widow.
Job went bankrupt.
John the Baptist ate locusts.
Peter denied Christ.
The Disciples fell asleep while praying.
Martha worried about everything.
Mary Magdalene was, well you know.
The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once.
Zaccheus was too small. Paul was too religious.
Timothy had an ulcer…
Lazarus was dead!

And God isn’t finished with you yet." -Unknown

Thursday, April 25, 2013

To whom it may concern:

Dear [Supervisor]:
  If your only "complaint" about me,  is that you want me to work when you call (on any given day no matter what I have on my schedule) then I suppose I will graciously be thankful for that.  However, I feel a little misunderstood. Clearly, you don't "get it", but I don't really expect you to. You have never walked in my shoes and I have never walked in yours.  I can only explain my own reasons for not being able to work any time you want me! First, I am exhausted from the time I get up in the morning, every morning without relief.  I still have to think about EVERY SINGLE move or step I make.  Having a regular schedule or routine makes my day much more tolerable. I am happy to fill in when I can tolerate it or have an open spot in my planner. Sure I used to say "yes" to every single request for awhile, but what you didn't know was the number of appointments I had to cancel or reschedule to help you out( I still have some sort of doctor follow up appointment nearly every day because what most people don't think about is your brain being the control center for the entire body! When it gets hurt, other parts are also effected. I see lots of specialists as a result!) What you didn't see was all the anxiety and confusion this rescheduling created for me and for my poor husband, left to "pick up the pieces" after I fell apart.  I have a hard time even spatially being able to figure out how to read a schedule and how much time something will realistically take. Sure, I lived in denial for many years, ashamed that this is what life had come to.  You also didn't know that I literally didn't understand that I could say, "no, I'm sorry, I can't come in today." I have spent many years trying to relearn these simple social interactions again! I also never told you about the migraines that have returned since working in your department.  There was a department meeting that I missed for being in the ER to have a stroke evaluation, yes stroke! Why? Because, I did too much and my body was so exhausted it was, quite literally, making me stop!! Praise the Lord it was NOT a stroke!! I try not to let you in on the anxiety and fear I struggle with because of this.  I have also tried to spare you from knowing that when I do too much I sometimes have a physical reaction to my exhaustion: throwing up.  Maybe, you agree with my rehabilitation doctor who wanted me to "just stay at home, without the stress of a job". Maybe that would have been better for me?? But, I stubbornly wanted to hold a job, to feel like a productive part of society again, to regain a part of me I was convinced I lost along the way . I still have a lot of healing to do and I always will. The brain doesn't heal exactly like a broken bone. Instead, doctors have been working with me for years to try to help me create more healthy boundaries for my own daily survival.  So, while I want to just say to you, "I'm sorry I have brain damage, I'm sorry I have different limits than a 'normal', well educated, 33 year old. I'm sorry I am no longer willing to constantly "crash" after being at a busy desk, answering questions for hours without even taking a break, like I really should/need, to ensure the desk runs as smoothly as possible. I'm sorry I look and can even act normal most days." But,  I'm not sorry any more.  I have nothing to be sorry for.  I am not a victim, I'm one of the few aneurysm survivors. This is just how my life is now.  There is nothing that can reverse the damage that was done to my brain.  I'm just trying to live with it the best way possible and it means setting different boundaries in order to survive and live a full life, in a new way.  Please know that I love my job and I will continue to show up on time with a smile on my exhausted face.  What you see when I walk through the door in the morning is a smile, one I have chosen to put on my face.  Behind that smile, is a brain already flooded by the millions of steps it had to think about to even get there.  It is a brain already flooded by the multitude of decisions it had to make while driving there. I'm not asking you to understand it, you simply can't if you haven't lived it, I just want you to know.  Please don't pressure me into doing more than I am able without suffering for it even several days later. Please don't give me attitude (yes, I can tell it annoys you) if I say "no" or have to get back to you about something! I simply cannot process information at the same rate I used to.  I will help you fill in your schedule every single time I can. I won't even complain about all my struggles when I am there.  I would love to be able to just fill in ALL the time for days or nights, back to back.  If I could, I certainly would!!! But, I simply need time to recover between!!! For now, I will use all my remaining energy to 'plow through'  my struggles, put a smile on my face, and offer the very best customer service I can for the library! Thank you for understanding and giving me four hours a week to be part of the library staff, even with my new limits!

 Sincerely, A Blessed Girl

Well, unless you are a trained professional or know me well!!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

"This one is for us"

I read this post and really liked it from a blog "Faith, By Fire".  This post was written by Robin on that blog!

"We, the survivors.   Brain aneurysms.  Those little “bubbles” that form within the arteries/vessels in our brains.   Some of ours decided to burst.  We then suffered what’s called a subarachnoid hemorrhage.  We survived strokes, seizures, emergency (probably more often than not, since these “bubbles” usually go unnoticed until/unless they rupture) brain surgery.  If we were fortunate enough, our aneurysms were caught before they could rupture.  However, we are all on an uphill battle, whether we ruptured or not.  We are strong.  We are fighters.  We are here to speak and hope that you understand what we’re trying to say.  Here are some things we would like you to know.
Just because we look normal doesn’t mean we feel normal.You can look at us from the outside, and we probably look just like your average Jane/Joe.  However, if you could see our brains and had any understanding of what a normal brain looks like, you might see that in comparison, we are no longer normal.  We probably sustained some damage from the stroke, and maybe even the surgery.  Blood pooling in a tight space like your skull is not good for the brain.  Surgery helps, but surgery in itself is also taxing on the brain and the body.  Your brain controls your body, and once it’s injured, something in your body becomes injured too.  No matter how normal we may seem, believe us when we say we don’t feel normal.
There is no such thing as normal.
We tire much easier than we used to. We have to avoid certain lifestyles. Sometimes we feel everything, other times we feel nothing.  Things can change quickly and often.  We forget words in the middle of sentences. We forget dates.  Sometimes we just really don’t care, and we don’t want to pretend to care.  Depending on which area of our brains we suffered the most damage, that’s where we will have the most difficulty as we try to recover some normality.  Life suddenly changes to a “before” and “now” mindset.  Before is before our brains decided to explode, and now is how we have to live as survivors.  We know we’re “not the same,” and we don’t need your reminders.   Trust us, it’s frustrating (and probably more so because it’s actually happening to us) for us, too.  Please be patient and be kind with us.
Unless it’s happened to you, no, you don’t understand.No matter how much you want to understand, you simply don’t.  Accept that truth, just like we do.  It doesn’t make you a bad person or any less of a person because you don’t truly “get it.”  We applaud you for making attempts to understand, though,  because there are plenty of people in this world who lack that sort of care for others. It isn’t that we don’t appreciate your concern, compassion, or sympathy.  We find it endearing that you take the time out to really inquire as to how we’re doing, and offer a helping hand.  Thank you for that.  But please, do not tell us that you understand when you do not.  You cannot empathize with us, because you have not walked in our shoes.  However, please know we really do appreciate that you reach out to us in sincerity as we try to regain our footing in this life.  Oh, and believe, we hope you never do have to truly understand what this is like.  We probably wouldn’t wish it on our worst enemy.
Sometimes, we just don’t want to talk about it.Yeah, we know “it’s crazy,” we lived it, remember?  Sometimes we want to focus on other aspects of life that aren’t so depressing as “most people don’t survive something like that.”  Sometimes we want to try to live now like nothing happened before.  Of course, we could never actually do that, but we’d like to pretend, okay?  If we want to talk about it, we will.  But please don’t bombard us with questions or assume that we’ll always want our illness/injury/symptoms/story to be the topic of conversation.  It gets old, fast.  Trust us.  So when/if you see us start to look uncomfortable because you’re broaching this life altering subject once again, to the newest person who has yet to hear our story, try to realize that you’re overstepping a boundary that we may not want to cross.  We wake up everyday with a reminder of it all, we don’t want to spend each day focusing on it, but we would like to focus on how we move forward now.  We’d like to live for now, but remember where we were then.
Sometimes, we will panic.There will be times where a twinge of pain, some tingling or numbness, or just an everyday headache will send us into  full on panic mode.  That does not mean that we’re succumbing to fear, but it does mean that we we remember where this all began, and we are hypervigilant of it happening again.  Some of us even have PTSD from the traumatic experience of the rupture itself and the following days.  We know it’s probably not as serious as the rupture was, but it does not stop us from feeling that moment of fear until we realize we’re not in a threatening situation.  This usually eases up as time passes and we adapt to our new lives, but just try to understand why we are reacting this way over “just” a headache.  It all started with “just” a headache, too.
Sometimes, we don’t know how to respond to “how do you feel?”This.  This has got to be the most well meaning and altogether most annoying question that we hear.  Why?  Because, we don’t  know how we feel!  Some days we feel “normal” again, like before any of this ever happened.  Most days, there is always some constant reminder of what happened, you know, just in case we ever try to feel normal again.  A lot of days we’re just “here.”  Not feeling great, not feeling terrible, just feeling present.  Some days, we honestly don’t have an answer as to how we feel.  We feel blessed that we survived, but we also mourn our former lives.  We feel robbed, except no one could ever quite capture the suspect, or reassure us that we would never be robbed again.  We feel afraid and fearless.  We feel far too old, and like a newborn.  We feel strong, and weak.  We feel like walking, talking, breathing, living oxymorons.  We survived something meant to kill, but we’re still here pressing on.  What could be more contradictory than that?  We’ll probably just smile and say “I’m okay,” though.  Most days we are just “okay.”  That’s an okay response, too.
The level of fatigue is (literally) exhausting.Once again, unless it’s happened to you, you don’t understand it.  This is like reverting back to your infant days, except being adults, we are expected to behave accordingly. We need our naps.  Even if we think we don’t need our naps, our bodies and brains need  that down time. Our best chances at healing are when we aren’t having to use so much brain power to run our bodies.  When does that happen?  When we sleep.  No, we are not being lazy.  We are exhausted.  Just give us time to rest our brains so we can be refreshed, and continue moving forward.  Some of us might even break down into tears (I confess, this happened to me a lot in the earliest days of recovery) if we become too overwhelmed to function and cannot have that nap to recharge.  Naps are crucial and welcome.  At least until we figure out this how this new normal works.  Even then, though, we will probably need more rest than the average person.  Remember, we are running on an injured leg, here.  Except it’s our brain with the injury.
Sometimes, it still stings.No matter how far we are from when “it” happened, it still stings to think about.  Many of us look in the mirror and truly wonder where we went.  We aren’t as happy as we used to be, but at the same time we are much more joyous than ever before, content to just be here, to just live a simple, uncomplicated life.  We wonder if we will ever “truly” live again, but we are grateful each day that we get to live because we are always aware of how quickly life almost escaped us.  Those pesky barometric pressure headaches some of us have to deal with are reminders.  Who needs a meteorologist when you can have brain surgery?  Trust us, we can instantly tell when the pressure changes, courtesy of an intense headache. The pills, pill boxes, alarms in phones, notes scattered around the house/car/office are reminders. The incision site’s soreness and tenderness is a reminder.  Whatever deficits we survived with remind us everyday of how drastically our lives changed.  It still stings.  We are grateful to be here, but we  can’t just “let it go” that we have lived two lives (and possibly more) in one.  That’s why we like to take things one day at a time.  We don’t know what tomorrow holds, and we’re done with yesterday.  Let us focus on here and now.  Don’t inquire too much about the future, but also don’t assume that we are “over” the past because time moves on.  Survivors of  serious illnesses never really get “over” the illnesses that change their lives, they just learn to live for today as the blessing it is, be grateful they lived another yesterday, while hoping for a new tomorrow.
We need and cherish your support.Seriously, thank you.  Thank you for treating us as normal people, while still tending to our needs. Thank you for reminding us of just how far we’ve come, and just how strong we are on those days we seem to forget. Thank you for trying to make us laugh.  Thank you for looking out for us, while not hovering over us.  Thank you for driving us around when we lost our driving privileges.  Thank you for offering to help in any way you can, even if we may or may not actually ask you.  Thank you for your prayers.  Thank you for saying you’ll be there, and actually being there.  We love that.  It’s so calming to know that there are people who will actually come through on the words they say.  We don’t appreciate having those people who say they’ll be there, but suddenly disappear once they realize things aren’t the same.  That’s okay, because surviving something so catastrophic has taught us the true value of life and life giving relationships.  If you cannot offer us that, we will feel no qualms about cutting you from our lives.  No, that doesn’t make us “cold hearted,” we just know the value of real life, and we don’t have any reason to expend precious energy on relationships that aren’t mutual or true.  We need your support.  We cherish your support.  We value your support.  For those of you who truly support us, thank you.  We could not soldier on without you behind/beside us.  We love you.  Thank you."

Saturday, April 20, 2013


today I choose faith

because I know:

Friday, April 19, 2013

thoughts on the "Dove Real Beauty Sketches"

CLICK HERE to watch the Dove Real Beauty Sketches video

So, maybe it is my psychology minor still buried deep down that makes this video fascinating! As one who has always struggled with "self esteem", for no good reason other than the lies created in her own head, I wonder how I would "see myself".  I wonder as survivors, "how do we see ourselves?" Do we still see ourselves as the broken shadows of what our aneurysms/TBIs have left behind? Does this define us? I know that wasn't the point of this video but it made me think.  How do others really see me? More importantly, how does God see me, when he looks at my heart? I fear, the sketch I would tell you to draw might be that of a tired shell of a girl with a dent left in her forehead  struggling every day to make "her story count for Christ." I'd have it no other way! I'll keep my dent, I'll keep my scars, I'll struggle with fatigue and confusion and try to remember to put a smile on my face simply because I'm alive! I'll pray they have helped to create true beauty inside, the kind that doesn't fade and isn't altered by superficial things!

Monday, April 15, 2013


Yesterday, while surfing the web a title "Rosey Outlook" with a picture of a beautiful rose bush popped up.  Loving roses, I clicked on it. I "read" the article and for some reason thought it was talking about a new hybrid rose with this name! Today, still obsessed with finding one , I googled "Rosey Outlook" and got a few sites on roses but none by this name. Frustrated and exhausted I abandoned my efforts and took a nap, after revisiting that original article. As I was drifting off to sleep, it dawned on me, the article was about, rose gardening, not just one rose plant with that name, DUH! Seriously, it took me literally HOURS/days to process that! So I wonder, has my reading level really moved past the "fifth grade level" I was tested at, 8 years ago following my rupture???? I'm going to blame it on a crazy busy shift at the library Saturday, frying my brain as it always does!!! Since I was looking for this plant as a gift,  I was going on and on about how I couldn't find one to my hubby.  I just told him of my silliness. His response, a chuckle and, "this is just one reason why I love you." I'll take it!

In other news, if you are looking for an encouraging blog check out  PRETTY GOOD AT LIFE, written by a college friend of mine.  I find other people's thoughts on my story interesting too!!