Living Life

Jesus, Me, and the Kitchen Table

WHY NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS DON’T LAST

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I hope you’ll enjoy my guest Jeremiah Hubbard’s post. I did!

Did you know that by Spring, 68% of Americans who made a New Year’s resolution will have broken it, and that only 15% will claim success after one year? We are nine days into 2014 and that means that a lot of people are already struggling to maintain the resolutions that they set for this year. While some may have set new resolutions, others are simply reviving the dead ones they have moved to resolve year after year. Why is it that we make resolutions, but fail to meet them? Where do we fall short when we don’t meet these challenges that are laid out at the beginning of every year? Who is keeping us from reaching the goals that we have set with great intent? When do these goals disappear and more importantly are not even missed until the clock strikes 12 every 1st of January? How do you keep from getting fatigue before the first 3 months of the year are even over?

Simply put, the answer to all these questions can be found in the resolutions themselves. But, before we get to the answer, let’s find out what type of person you are. Do you make resolutions? If yes, keep reading. If no, keep reading. Many people make resolutions but fail to keep them, while others make no resolutions at all. The ones who don’t make resolutions have come to realize, “Why even make a resolution? Look at all of the people who make them, but don’t keep them.” While many of the ones who do make resolutions, only do so to satisfy some need to feel empowered when going into the New Year. They set goals like: This year I will lose weight. This year I will spend more time with my family. This year I will further my education. This year I will reinvent myself. The list goes on and on.

Now back to the answer. The reason New Year’s resolutions don’t last is because we do not carefully take the time to analyze the resolution and what it will take to meet it. The New Year begins and we make a resolution, “There, it’s written down with all the other resolutions and now I will accomplish it!” Not so fast! We make these resolutions with the sole intent of accomplishing them, but we have already failed! Every CEO understands the importance of task management, but most individuals do not. In order for a goal to be complete, there must be a start time and an end time along with a proposed outcome. If you want to lose weight this year, your resolution should look similar to this:

“Beginning January 1, 2014 I will begin my journey to lose 20 pounds by choosing healthy eating habits and exercising regularly. I intend to lose 2 pounds by the 1st of each month. By November 1st, 2014 I will have lost the weight that I desire to lose.”

Notice there is a beginning, end and desired outcome. To take it a step further, there are milestones. Milestones? Yes. These are the micro-goals within your overall resolution. In the above example, this is the number of pounds that are to be lost each month. By setting up micro-goals it will be easier to stay on course. This formula will work with any resolution that you may set. By writing a definitive statement of your resolution with a beginning and end date, how the resolution will be accomplished, along with micro-goals along the way, you will be on a better path to see your resolutions resolved, rather than being passed on to the next year. You will also want to post the resolution in a place where you will see it at least a couple of times throughout the day. For example, post it by the bed so that it is seen first thing in the morning and last before going to bed. If you are trying to lose weight, post it on the refrigerator. To get the most out of it, save it as the background to your smart phone, put a copy in your car, on your desk, well you get the point.

In the classic piece, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, Mr. Hill makes this statement, “Before success comes in any man’s life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat, and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to QUIT. That is exactly what the majority of men do.” The first thing to resolve is that you will not QUIT! Don’t overload yourself on resolutions. Take one resolution that you want to accomplish and focus on it. As that resolution gains momentum, introduce a new resolution. Use the formula and stagger them out and in no time, you will see that you are accomplishing the resolutions and moving forward!

About the author: Jeremiah Hubbard is a business consultant and CEO of Ideal Marketing Innovations, llc. You can contact him at http://www.idealmarketinginnovations.com

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Rant

For years now I have worked in a career of helping others; helping children who are blind or visually impaired to learn, helping families find resources, and have even been on the receiving end of these same services myself as a child and adult.  Texas has an excellent  entity called the Division of Blind Services under an agency called DARS.  The Blind Children’s Program and the transition program offer a huge amount of support to qualifying consumers.  As an adult the Vocational Rehabilitation program has been a huge help to me personally.  I wear biopics for driving.  These are glasses that help me see the details like reading signs through telescopic lenses.  They are very costly and the VR program has purchased these glasses for me on 3 different occasions over the pat 20 years. For this I am extremely grateful! I have never had a single problem with the Division for Blind Services.  I cannot, however, say the same for the Division for Rehabilitation under DARS.  

You see, the rehab division has a waiting list for services.  I remember a few years ago the state was going to impose a waiting list for the blind children’s program and the visual impairment field fought it heavily – and we won!  Hmmm… wonder what happened on the rehab side?  When I was in Baylor still in Rehab, I was told I needed to call DARS rehab division as soon as possible to apply and get on the waiting list for the comprehensive rehab program.  I did this.  That was in April. By August I think I finally got on the waiting list.  But by that time almost all that the comprehensive rehab program would have paid for was already done – through a ton of donations and volunteers.  This included things like my home modifications including the addition of an accessible bathroom and closet and purchasing a wheelchair accessible van that I can drive. But at least I was on the waiting list and that would pay for additional physical therapy.  But then one day my counselor calls me and asks me if I think I would rather apply for vocational rehab services since I was already back to work part time.  The point is I DON”T KNOW! That is what they are for… to inform me! Unfortunately, I couldn’t get to the phone the day she called, so she left a message.  And since then I have been unable to reach her – I’ve left her messages.  

So also back in August I applied for other services through an agency called DADS – Division of Aging and Disability Services. They have a program called Community Based Alternatives.  I understand they would pay for someone to come in and help with household chores and getting me dressed.  They would approve so many hours a week.  In August they told me that in a couple of weeks someone would call to arrange an evaluation.  No one called until November! Then the person, who was really nice, just wanted to know if I was still interested in the program.  I said “yes”.  She said services would be available in December and someone would be calling me to set up an evaluation.  It’s January and no one has called.  

A few weeks ago when Richard hurt his back and we could not cook, clean, and get me dressed, it all came to a head.  Stress levels were high.  Our friends came to our rescue, coming in to get me up in the mornings, help me to bd at night, bringing food, doing the dishes, taking out the trash, etc.  But I got on the bandwagon of trying to rouse up some services.  My friend who is a social worker gave me the phone number for the local DADS office and my interest list number – that’s like my account number, essentially.  I called the number and the first option was to apply for services.  That’s not what I needed.  The second option was for people who already had services, and none of the other options applied to me.  I ended up calling back numerous times and trying eat option.  But i never once got through to a person.  It would tell me to call somewhere else “for information” – no doubt more pre-recorded messages.  

Sorry for the rambling… but here’s my point at last….

I’m now paralyzed, my husband is blind, and we can’t get help. But there are plenty of other people much better off than we are physically, and they get help.  They have people coming in to do the very things we need done.  But i can’t even get someone on the phone!  This is ridiculous! I’m not down on people who get services they NEED, food stamps, all of it.  But when we had to fight like crazy just to have our mail delivered to a mailbox at the end of our driveway instead of the community mail box location, which is totally inaccessible,  and now we can’t even get an evaluation…. REALLY?  

This situation makes me understand what parents go through sometimes when they have children with multiple disabilities.  They have to learn to navigate “the system” and what a disjointed “system” it is.  So many acronyms, people, programs, guidelines, etc. Helps me understand what they go through and their frustrations. 

Having said all of that, I know we are very blessed.  It’s just frustrating and a little scary because if something really happened to Richard to where he was unable permanently to do the things he does, The devil tries to make me think I’m going to end up in a nursing home… even though I have a van and am able and do drive myself to work, grocery store, etc.  This has been a real fear of mine.  So yesterday when he re-injured his back, this fear came on me again.  And I almost let it get ahold of me.  But as I drove off to go get some lunch for us, I was like, “Nursing home – my behind! I am not going to end up there!” And after that I have felt more peace about the situation.  But we still do need help.  Time to get back on the phone…

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Graduation Day

Ever the last two months I have spent nearly every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon in physical therapy. We have been working on improving my transfers from the bed to the wheelchair, or as the case is in therapy, from the mat to the wheelchair. I have also been doing exercises that strengthen my arms and shoulders including my triceps. Having strong triceps really helps with the transfers. Additionally, I have worked on my core strength and have done exercises like partial sit ups and isometric exercises to strengthen my neck. Today when I arrived my therapist Jim told me that it was the end of two months of therapy and he would evaluate where I was and where we want to go from here. So after doing some working out and then several tests we determined that I have gotten a a lot stronger since starting therapy and that I have mastered my goals including making independent transfers. So today was my graduation day from physical therapy. I will continue to work on strengthening triceps, biceps, shoulders and knack using home exercises and also possibly working out at the fitness center. So with a handshake and a hug we all wished each other a happy new year and that was that!

This is the most perfect timing anyone could expect. That’s because the last time I was at Baylor to visit my PT, Kaylea, from there, she challenged me with being able to make transfers independently by my next doctor appointment in January! She had me promise to come by and demonstrate it for her! So hopefully in a few weeks when I go see Dr. Hamilton I will be able to do just that.

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The Christmas Gift

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Today as I was pondering Christmas I had a whole new revelation of what it really means; The story from start to finish. We tend to think of Christmas being about Mary giving birth to the tiny baby Jesus and how the Wisemen followed the star and brought gifts. How the family had to flee from Herod and all of that. But that is only the start. Now, as a mom whose children have died and gone to Heaven, I see so much more clearly how real Christmas is and the heart of God in it.

Jesus was born with an eternal purpose. He would live about 33 years, have a huge ministry and yet suffer everything imaginable and unimaginable and finally be killed.
I wonder on this day how God must have felt… All the joy any parent feels when a child is born and so much more because He knew a way was being made for mankind… The ultimate gift to the world… A world that God loved dearly.

I can also feel what God must have felt as Jesus was in the garden praying that this wouldn’t happen yet also surrendering to His Father’s will. Oh the emotions God must have felt as Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, the soldiers coming at Jesus and taking Him away to be tried. Just think how we feel at the mere thought of someone making fun of our kids, beating up on them, spitting on them, mocking them, etc.

Through many tears as I was missing our girls this evening, I thought about our loving Father watching all of that happen to his Son who lived a perfect blameless life. At any moment, even when He was pierced and bleeding, hanging and dying on that rugged splintered cross with the nails in His hands and feet, God could have stopped it. But Instead He forsake His only Son. Oh the tears, the grief, the agony that God felt as He watched this happen and saw Jesus laid in the tomb.

Why would a loving God let this happen to his Son? Because God so loved the world and He knew Jesus’ shed blood and death was the ONLY way that we could be saved from everlasting damnation. The Bible says the wages of sin (and all of us have sinned) is death, but THE GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ!
Jesus rose again 3 days later and sealed the victory over sin, death, hell, and the grave. Hallelujah!

When someone gives us a gift it is up to us to accept or reject it. Jesus has given you and me the gift of salvation. I accepted this gift when I was 12 years old. Today He stands at the door of your heart and is knocking. He has a gift for you. Will you accept it? I hope so!

To accept means to ask Jesus to come into your life, to tell him you know you have done things that aren’t pleasing to Him, and to agree to turn away from those things. Ask Jesus to wash you, to be your Savior. And He will!

I hope you find this Christmas gift today and take hold if it and never let Him go! Jesus is the gift of Christmas!
Merry CHRISTmas!!

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Friends, Love, and Christmas

It’s so funny how one day can leave you feeling down and discouraged because it seems everything hits at once.  On the other hand the next day can be filled with so many blessings!. Total opposites.  That’s how the last few days have been.  The past two days have just been amazing, to say the least.

Yesterday a couple of kids from the neighborhood who were great friends with our daughters came over to bring by a present for Richard and I, and we also had a little something for them.  Mat opened his box with excitement to discover the Zip Track from Discovery Toys.  He loved it!  Maggie received an owl backpack that belonged to Emmarie.  I had given it to her just last Christmas.  But since she never really had a chance to use it, it was like brand-new.  Maggie had asked for it several times throughout this year.  But I kept saying no because I knew I was going to surprise her with it at Christmas.

Before they had finished unwrapping their presents, our friends Martha and John came over and brought us some yummy Christmas goodies and other stuff – gifts straight from the heart.  Such precious people. We love them and have enjoyed getting to know them since the accident.

My friend Dawn came and we went grocery shopping. So we had fun visiting and shopping.  We got back to my house just in time for a group of carolers from Living Truth Fellowship who came to sing beautiful Christmas songs to us.  There must have been 20 or so kids and their parents!  Words can’t really describe how special this was to hear those precious children singing about Jesus’ birth.   Richard and I were very blessed and touched, to say the least.

My friends Kristie and Jessica had been trying to get over this way from Dallas to go see lights and have dinner, but it didn’t work. So I had decided it wasn’t going to happen and was OK with it.  I knew we would find a time to meet up at some point after all.  Looking at lights isn’t much fun to Richard because he can’t see them that much, but it’s the tradition that he enjoys and the time together with family and friends.

Anyway, it all worked out about the lights and dinner because Mike and Angie had texted me earlier yesterday to see if we wanted to do that!!  So after the carolers left, we drove around the Country Club area and looked at the beautiful homes and lights and had dinner at El Chico.  I hadn’t been to El Chico in a while.  The fajitas were as excellent as always!   And the best part of course was catching up and spending time with each other.

Now that is what I call a busy day but an awesome day!

So today Kristie and Jessica were able to come over and visit for a couple of hours.  We always laugh and have a good time when we get together, and today was no different!  Kristie is determined to help me with getting some needed services. I’ll write about that at another time!

And now, another sweet friend is on her way over as I type!

All I can say is that we are so incredibly blessed to have such great friends who care about us and went way out of their way to make sure we have a Merry Christmas.  And I’d have to say that we are already doing just that!   I don’t think our family time on Wednesday can top the joy and love we have felt the lat two days.  I don’t mean that in a negative way against family.  We will just have an extended celebration!

All the while in the back of my head I keep thinking that I cannot imagine what Christmas in Heaven is like, but I know it must be beautiful.  I bet they have a “white Christmas” simply from the holiness of God and the purity of everything, from the glory flowing out from Jesus himself.  Merry Christmas sweet angels Emmarie and Chloe.  We love you bunches!

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Have You Seen Me?

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Well it’s nearly the end of the Christmas shopping season. And I think that every kid in the world is longing for a Fur Real Monkey. I have been helping a friend try to find one for her daughters. We have called every Target and Walmart for miles around to no avail. Some stores are even out of stock online. The ones who have them can’t deliver before Christmas. What to do?? Keep checking back. Ah, the things moms do for kids, especially at Christmas. <

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Strolling Down Memory Lane

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I had the pleasure of a great friend coming to visit on Saturday.  Each month since my coming home from the hospital, she has come and we have had a project to work on for the day.  Sometimes other mutual friends accompany her. We always have fun and get things done!  Saturday our project was to take picture frame Christmas ornaments and put pictures of the girls in them.  It has been her tradition each year since the girls were born to send one of these ornaments for each of the girls. I just had not taken time to add the pictures. I’m not overly talented at crafty stuff and time was so short.

As we went through pictures on the computer we found some that were perfect to crop, cut, and insert into the ornaments. This was so much fun because it let us both look back at past events and activities with Emmarie and Chloe. Oh how I miss them! But how sweet it was to have a good friend to go with me down Memory Lane!

This year’s ornament, which she actually purchased last year, is 2 angels. In the past the ornaments would be different; like a penguin and snowman. But last year she bought 2 angels!! I think this is far beyond coincidence! I’ll keep taking strolls like these until I meet them on the streets of gold!

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Why Does Everything Have to Be So Hard?

So here we are. Richard hurt his back a week ago.  And since he is my primary caregiver, this is a huge deal.  Being paraplegic, I have to be turned at least twice during the night not to mention help with dressing, and minimal help transferring in and out of my wheelchair.   God has been awesome to provide people to step in to help.  One of our neighbors walked across the street at 1 a.m. and again at 5 a.m. for several nights to turn me.  My friends have come in the mornings to help me dress.  Fortunately, Richard’s back is getting better (slowly).  He is now able to turn me at night.  Thank you Lord.  But I’m still needing help with dressing and transferring.  But now, my friend’s children have the viral stomach flu that is going around.  Not only that but Richard’s tummy hasn’t felt too good today either.  Putting all that aside…

Even little things are so hard to do.  LIke plugging in the Christmas tree, like buckling my seatbelt in the van, opening and closing doors, just sitting up! I always need to have one hand anchored on something so I don’t fall over forward.  I am thankful to move my arms and hands and to have that control. It could be much worse!!  Nonetheless, paralysis has made routine tasks either impossible or much more difficult than they should be.  

Without going into detail, I have to do a bowel program every other night.  This really interferes with my life because I have to be home every other night.  Because of the equipment I use that is too big to go in my van, I have to literally be home to do the bowel program.   That means no going to evening events (even if I could drive at night, now) if they fall on one of “those” nights.  It means I can’t go to conferences that are out of town. They are all too far away (Austin, San Antonio, etc). for me to get there, participate, and get home in time.  This freaks me out because that is part of my job as a consultant is to go to these kinds of training events and bring back information.  Tonight I could have gone to the Homeschool Mom’s Christmas party, but it’s one of “those” nights. Not to mention I’m pretty sure my wheelchair would never be ale to get into the house where it’s held each year.  

The family has decided it’s easier for them to come here for Christmas this year instead of us doing in Nacogdoches where we’ve always done it forever. I want to go “home” and see everyone.  Not all of them will come to Mt. Pleasant.  If I had the strength to drive there, it would be no big deal. But I don’t. 

I’ve honestly cried way more than I ever thought possible for one person.  I know our girls are with jesus in heaven and they are eternally blessed and everyday is one day closer to seeing them.  But Christmas, life, is just not the same without them.  It is bad enough to cope with all those emotions but then to have to constantly deal with this paralysis is sometimes more than I can bare, or at least think I can bare. 

The cry of my heart tonight is, “Why does it have to be so hard all the time?” I may very well never know the answer to that question.  Whether I ever do find out or not, I try to encourage myself with these verses….

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” – Isaiah 41:10

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” – John 14:27

“I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” – Psalm 16:8

AND FINALLY…

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

Lord,

You know all that goes through my mind.  You know all my worries, fears, hopes, and dreams.  You see all I go through on a daily basis.  You see how I sometimes question You, but never Your sovereignty. You know I don’t understand why all this has happened, but I won’t go there because I know that takes my mind down the wrong path.  Even though things are hard, i know there are people who have it much worse than we do.  More than that I know that You are ALWAYS here.  I know that You are for me, and so no one can stand against me.  You know that I believe in Your ability to heal me and that I know it is your will to heal.  Yet you know that I’m human and doubt. Lord, I believe, but please help my unbelief! I’m going to lean on your Word.  We will get through this! We will! 

Thanks for reading my rants… Some of my friends say I need to be more transparent, so here it is, LOL!  Hope these verses will encourage you in the areas of your life where you are asking, “why does it have to be so hard.”   God bless you all!

 

 

 

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Just Another Lie

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The thought creeps in and seems to try to hang around, “I know we aren’t the best people, perfect, but what on earth did we do to deserve this” (fill in the blank). But that is the start of a pity party to say the least and a lie from the devil.
Pity starts with the question “why me” or “why us.” Then the devil tries to make us compare our lives to others. “You’re better than so-and-so” and then we believe we don’t deserve the hardship we’re facing. But the truth is that I deserved to go to hell and have to spend eternity there. But thanks be to God that He loved us so much that He gave his only Son, Jesus, to die for our sins so that the way was made for us to have eternal life in Heaven. The other thing is we should not compare our lives to someone else. Our only measuring stick for our lives should be Jesus. Do we have a relationship with him? Do we live according to his standards? Even Jesus endured suffering and hardships. So why do we think we shouldn’t? And instead of complaining, he prayed and sought the will of God. I am seriously talking to myself here!!
Hard week to say the least. Seems like each day has an added struggle. But also we’ve been blessed with sweet friends who are coming to our aide. I even figured out how to remove hot food from the oven! Difficult but not impossible for a paraplegic!
I arrived at work and sat in my van listening to songs by Kim Walker Smith. The lyrics just say that God is the same no matter what, sickness, pain, depression have no place, and that His blood is sufficient… He’s all I need even when I can’t see it! And I sure needed a reminder today! Thank you Jesus!

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The Longest Day of My Life This Week!

It actually all started yesterday… Richard, my husband, was getting me dressed when he pulled muscles in his back – big time! He barely made it to his side of the bed to lie down for being in so much pain.  So there we were. Stuck in our bed.  Neither of us could get to my medications or fix lunch for that matter.  My friend Nicole and her 2 girls were able to come over and help. And help they did! She helps me transfer to my wheelchair and we got meds and lunch, and got Richard some ice/heat.  The girls washed our dirty dishes. Later they cooked supper for us and we all ate.  Nicole also helped get me back to bed for the night.  Our neighbor Ludy came over twice n the night and turned me ( I have to be turned at least every 4 hours to prevent pressure sores).  

This morning Nicole and another friend Dawn came to get me dressed and up. Nicole and Dawn keep telling me not to panic… that it will all be OK.  I’ve always been a bit of a planner and a organizer. I’ve always had my days lined out. And I don’t like to see Richard hurting.  Weekends are one thing for having a wonderful abundance of people to come help. But during the week when we all go back to work, then what? 

So after Nicole and Dawn left to go to church, I had to find comfort.  So I tried to stream our favorite church service … Church of His Presence from Mobile, AL.  Living in the country makes streaming impossible.  You get a few words here and then a long pause, a few words, long pause.  So I see a lady and mighty prayer warrior I recognize from the church on the screen.  She is speaking to the internet audience, as she stands with her back to the sanctuary and facing the camera.  I cannot hear, only see.  But when the sound does come in, I hear her praying, “blind eyes open, spinal cord injury be healed in the name of Yeshua”! (Yeshua is the Hebrew name for Jesus).  We met her in Pensacola when she was lead intercessor at Brownsville Assembly of God.  She and the church have been praying for us since the accident.  It was NO accident that the sound came in just at that moment as she was praying those words…. God knew I needed to know we going to be okay!  

I kept the preaching and praise going from some DVDs we have for the next couple of hours.  And it really helped keep me focused.  But afterwards I was just left feeling so blah…. so stressed…. so sad!  But we are blessed with such AWESOME friends… God knows just who to send at just the right time.  Lori sent her husband Tim to help us with our heater, Mat brought a heating pad over for Richard, Stacey Hatten brought us some food and lots of hugs and prayers for me!  Love all of you so much!  Ralene and Wayne brought lunch.  It’s been a VERY long day… but I’m okay now.  God is in control no matter what happens.  Richard said the heating pad must have helped his back because it is feeling a little better. His voice sounds better, too.  

I just hate feeling so helpless.  But I DID get sheets out of the dryer for Richard since he can’t bend over at all.  Guess I’d better go…. stay tuned to see how this plays out… how God delivers us…. 

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