Living Life

Jesus, Me, and the Kitchen Table

Deeper…

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“I have kicked up the dust and the dirt on the narrow road
I have had to let go of some hurt to hold on to hope
I’ve watched the sunset before the promise came
I have waded through waters wide and walked through the flame
And I can say

Every valley made me lift my eyes up
Every burden only made me stronger
Every sorrow only made Your joy go
Deeper and deeper, deeper, and deeper

I will run like I’m out to win, and finish the race
For every battle that’s sure to come I will be brave
I’ve got my heart set on every word You say
And no matter what lies ahead You’ll make a way
And I will say

Every valley made me lift my eyes up
Every burden only made me stronger
Every sorrow only made Your joy go
Deeper and deeper, deeper, and deeper

Every mountain is making me a climber
Every giant is calling out a fighter
Every heartache only makes Your love go
Deeper and deeper, deeper, and deeper

Thrown down but not defeated
I’m worn out but not giving up
I’ve hit ground but even at rock bottom
I’m just getting started, yea, I’m just getting started”

When I first heard this song it resonated within me. I think it may very well become my life song. As you read the lyrics, I pray that you will be blessed, strengthened and encouraged to know that through Jesus Christ, we can not only sing these words, but live them. No matter what you’ve been through, no matter how long the road may seem – there is HOPE and VICTORY!

The song is “Deeper” by Meredith Andrews

You can listen/watch here on YouTube.
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Life is Different Now

It’s been over 3 years since the accident that caused me to be paralyzed. At first, I was so accepting of it all… I think the reason I could accept it so easily is that I KNEW I was going to be healed. And I still have faith for this. But I admit, some days it is easier than others. Some may think it was the phase of denial in adjusting to a disability. Maybe that was part of it, too. But when you go from being able to walk one minute to not being able to, there is no denying it! When you start to get up out of the bed only to realize you are stuck, reality has just hit you upside the head!

Life is different now…  And each person with paralysis has their own unique experience, I’m sure. And it’s true that I still have some adjusting to do. The way I experience life in every avenue is different now. Here are some examples:

Going to the store: I have to carry my own shopping bag so I can put my items in it while I’m shopping. It probably looks like I’m shoplifting! I can only get as many items as will fit into the bag. I love stores like Brookshire’s that have the rolling carts with a long handle on them. And they don’t put them in the front where everyone will get them.

Getting Gas: I can pump my own gas, but it’s kinda tough. My biggest fear in doing this is that someone will (again) run over my ramp. I’ve learned to put it up AS SOON as I get out of the van! If I was not in a power chair there is no way I could do the gas thing independently. And even though gas stations have a “handicapped” procedure like honk your horn and someone will come out to you, it doesn’t work. The attendants are busy and they did not come out the one time I tried it.

Work: I work in a 5 story building. My office used to be on the 4th floor with the other consultants. My employer accommodated me with a large office on the 1st floor all to myself. It is awesome! Enough room for my wheelchair and my things. One of our custodians raised my desk to a good height for me. My work day is flexible. All of this is so appreciated. But I’m not allowed off the 1st floor unless I get permission. That way they can make sure there are enough people around to carry me out in case of a fire. I really appreciate the concern for my safety, but at the same time this is very isolating. I seldom get to see any of my coworkers. Sometimes a new hire is made and I don’t even know who they are until the staff meeting. And then I don’t see them enough to remember who they are when I do see them. There are a couple of them who are both thin and blonde that I can’t tell apart. I miss being able to be with the others. But it is what it is until it’s not. Travel is also a problem. I can’t go out of region to meetings. I don’t have anyone to help me with medical routines while I’m gone and I can’t afford to pay someone the extra it would cost. This is also very isolating because in my field we are a close-knit group. And I know so many people and miss seeing them.

Sleep: I sleep on one side or the other all night. My husband turns me every 2-3 hours all night long. This is necessary to prevent pressure sores. My arms get sore sometimes and keeps me awake. I try not to turn more often because I don’t want to wake him up before it’s time to turn the next time.

Daily life: We had to start having a care-giver come to help me in the mornings and night. So now, no matter what we hve to get up at the same time unless I call to get a later time on the weekends. But we like her a lot. She has been very helpful and I’ve gotten to know her over these pst few months. I don’t get to go anywhere at nigth unless I can be home by 7 or 8:30 every night. 7 some nights, 8:30 the others. It is very limiting. There are lots of ministry activities we can’t attend and other events, too.

Health: Some days are better than others, but the days when I feel anywhere as good as I did before paralysis are few and far between. I never know how I will feel until I wake up and get going. Sometimes I feel “fine” and other times I am either sleepy and can’t stay awake or I am in severe pain. UTIs are a constant threat and I usually end up taking about one antibiotic a month.

So all this sounds pretty dismal, right? But here’s the silver lining you’ve been hoping for!

Spiritually: Things have never been better! I’m not where I want to be, but I’m not where I used to be! Praise God! I am so much stronger because of all that has happened to me. The Lord IS near to me and I thank Him for that, because I could not make it if He wasn’t. That is no lie.

Friends: I have found out who my true friends are. They are the ones who come to see me or call and check on me, who help when they can. They are the ones who pray for us and hold us up. It is definitely true that you find out who your real firends are when something goes wrong.

So I have not given up on my healing. I know that what my God said is His Word is true. I know He will do what He said He will do. He is not a man that He should lie. So it is a matter of His timing and prevailing in prayer. Prayer is the key. God wants us His children to pray. That is how He partners with us to get things done on this earth! So if you want to help, then please PRAY without ceasing with us.

So life is diffeent now for the good as well as the challenges we face.

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Joy in the Crazy Journey

Wow! Today is the first day in over week that I have felt really good!  Praise the Lord for HE is good! So even though it is Saturday, I went in to the office for a couple of hours to get caught up.  The ice and snow caused us to be closed a couple of days and the other days I either didn’t go into work because of feeling so bad or only went in for a very short time.

Had a great time at the office – it just felt good to get caught up – like a load off my shoulders. Maybe I can breathe now!  Or more likely, I won’t get in trouble for not having my time accounting and contacts report completed in time. Richard was with me – so that made it even sweeter. He listened to music on his iPod while I worked and listened to the Praise and Worship channel on iTunes Radio.

So then we had to go to Walmart.  Hadn’t been there in a while (yeah!) – not my favorite place to go.But we did find a parking spot – not an official one – but one that worked, thank you Lord! In wen went to discover that there were no little blue hand-held baskets at either entrance.  I asked several associates about them and no one had any idea where they all were.  I find it hard to believe that all 80 baskets were being used. But anyway, there were none! So I went back out to the van and grabbed a reusable shopping bag.  Back into the store.  We went around and grabbed most of the times we needed. Bigger items that don’t fit easily into the bag, we put them between my feet on the foot rests of my chair.  A lady I know approached us and gave me a big hug.  I recognized her as someone who used to work at the meat market in town.  She shocked me because she said, “You are amazing” I told her thank you and that it was the Lord.  She then said, “I am just soaking up energy from you, is that all right?”  I told I supposed it was because if she was getting anything good from me, it must be Him (Jesus(!  She told me she now works at Walmart and to let her know if we needed anything.  A little later we checked out.

The next stop was McDonalds for a hot chocolate!  Then onto KFC for our supper. On the way home I decided to drink a little of the hot chocolate.  I got a couple of sips, but something seemed amiss.  Once in our driveway I noticed the edge of my seat cushion on the wheelchair was wet – really wet.  Then I noticed that the entire font of my shirt was soaked – with …… you guessed it: hot chocolate!  Gee, how did I do that, I wondered.  I discovered later there was a notch missing out of the top of the cup.  W/hen I took those sips, it poured down my shirt!!  Of course, I felt nothing as it was happening.  Joys of paraplegia – no really – it would have been wet and icky feeling!  Fortunately I had on two thick shirts so it wasn’t hot on my skin.

So next we are putting away the groceries and notice the milk we purchased, is all squished in on the sides.  Somehow the cap was not sealed all the way AND there was a leak in the bottom of the jug.  So now there is milk on the table — and probably milk in the van because it was not in a bag.  Lovely, LOL!

But in spite of all these little things I came away laughing.  That my friends, is the joy of the Lord.  I remember a time when those little things would have frustrated me to the point I would have been fit to be tied!  But thanks be to God for a day I felt good and for giving me His joy!

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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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