Thursday, September 7, 2017

Transparent hand prints led to transparent blog post

I saw Scott's perfect little hand print on the window this morning while pouring cereal for the kids and my first instinct was, "arg, I just cleaned that window yesterday!", and the OCD in me wanted to immediately wash the window.  (Two years ago I would wash fingerprints off windows and mirrors, and vacuum floors every single day.)  But then I paused, and felt nudged to take a picture of that perfect, little, sweet, hand print.  I want Scott to stay 4 forever.  :(  My phone camera wouldn't capture  the hand print so I decided we would recreate it using finger paint this evening.   

I started taking anxiety meds for my anxiety that had developed toward walking on concrete and in public, a new fear of falling down.  The medication, and I tried several at various dosages, didn't address the anxiety of falling down and I eventually had to get a walker to use out in public, which I had to come to terms with and accept, but anxiety medication did help with my OCD.  Ever since I was a kid I've liked organization, things planned out in advanced, vacuum lines on rugs.... lol.  I remember having anxiety every morning before school afraid I was going to miss the bus.  Now, I'm more relaxed.  I have less anxiety over getting to places on time, I don't have to stick to a ridged cleaning schedule, I can go weeks without washing the windows or mirrors, I'm a little more easy on the kids about allowing them to leave toys in the living room, I snap at them less for messes they have made, my morning mood isn't ruined if I wake up to dishes on the counter from the night before, etc., etc. Sure, I still have triggers, and I have my days of high anxiety and OCD cleaning and organization.  I am more at peace in my home when it is clutter-free, but the grip of anxiety has less of a hold on me. 

Praise God I've never suffered from an anxiety attack.  Prior to seeking professional help for my walking (physical and mental, which I've talked about in previous blog posts), for 2 years I was consumed with this frustration that I could no longer walk like I used to.  I woke up every morning and that was the first thought in my head.  I started getting depressed.  I tried to tackle it with God, through prayer, and on my own with exercise.  After 2 years I had had enough and gave in to needing professional help.  The physical therapy and taking meds to help my muscles relax didn't bother me, but I was a little more resistant to getting mental help.  There's this stigma in society toward mental health.  But anxiety and depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain (and I'd also like to add that anxiety/depression can also be triggered by past trauma for other people), and God gave us doctors, counselors, and medications to help.  After seeking advice from Christian mentors and reading on anxiety by Christian authors, I am open to sharing.

I praise God for the help He has given me.  I am thankful for the power of prayer, for doctors, for medication, for my walker, for the transparency of friends and other women, and for sweet-little-4 year old boy- hand prints on windows.  What transformation, freedom, and joy those handprints brought me today.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


I had someone approach me at the mall yesterday when I was shopping with Kiana, and asked me if I experienced pain (I guess he assumed that because I was disabled that I was in pain, which is not true in my case) and told me that God could heal pain through prayer.  I was so caught off guard that I  wasn't quite sure how to respond, but it would have been a perfect opportunity to see where he stood with Jesus and to share my faith.  Instead I just replied that I was not in pain and that I prayed too, and walked off.  I'm not a quick-thinker / quick-responder, or a great conversationalist, but now after thinking about it for awhile there's so much I wish I would have shared with him. 

I had a man approach me a few years ago and, referring to my disability, he said, "I'm sorry.  Jesus doesn't allow suffering in this world."  He obviously hasn't read the Bible!  And I am definitely not suffering.  I look at my disability as a Blessing.  Afterwards I came up with a million things I wish I would have said to him.  

 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance." James 1:2-3

I've also had people say to me that they can help me walk better, or that God can heal me.  I don't want to walk better (except maybe to be able to walk again out in public on my own without a walker, like I was able to up until recently), and I don't need healing.  I was born disabled, God made me this way, He made me perfectly, this is who I am, I don't know any different, nor would I change myself.  

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:13-16

" And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13

"For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10

I don't share much about my faith in my blog posts, but I love Jesus, and through every challenge, every victory, every joy, all praise goes to Him.   Next time a stranger approaches me, I pray to be more prepared; that God would give me the words to say.  Rather than see it as an inconvenience, to see it as an opportunity.  An opportunity for God's light to shine through me.  An opportunity for growth.

  My prayer is to glorify His name through my life.  

(See "My Faith" for more)

Saturday, July 1, 2017

The other night I was walking to the table with the butter dish. I jerked and the butter flew out of the dish, hit the wall, and landed on the floor.  Kiana said, "mom should never be a waitress." lol

Today she asked me to help her put on her bracelet.  "Hold it with you less shaky hand mom." 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Preschool drop-off

My husband takes the kids to school every morning before heading to work, and I always do the pick-up after school.  Well, this morning my husband had an early morning planned so I had to do the drop-off.  First I dropped of Kiana.  When we got to the parking lot of Scott's preschool he said to me, "Mom, you have to take me to the playground, but I will hold your hand to help you walk."  Such a sweet boy.  I ended up waving down one of his teachers to walk him from the car to the playground since the path to the playground is not  accessible using a walker. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017


Scott said to me that maybe when I'm older I can do Legos too.  I explained to him that it's not a matter of getting older, but it's because my hands don't work as well as his and that I am better at Duplos.  He thought for a moment then said that he could build the Legos and I could read the instructions.  I told him that that sounded like good teamwork to me.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Scott is 4 years old and is in preschool.  Yesterday we were sitting in the Costco food court waiting for Tim to return with our food, when Scott randomly asks me,

"Mom, what is wrong with your body?  Why do you fall down?"

I explained to him that nothing is wrong with my body, God made me this way, that I was just made to walk differently and that my balance isn't as good as his and sometimes I fall.


Friday, February 10, 2017

Sick day

A couple of days ago I had to go pick up Kiana from the school health room because she wasn't feeling well.  When I arrived at the parking lot they were waiting for me and the nurse walked her to my car.  Kiana had told the nurse that I used a walker and probably wouldn't be able to come get her because of the steps up to the health room.  I thought that was sweet of Kiana to consider that because I don't always use my walker. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

I have been volunteering in my daughter's first grade classroom.  I really enjoy working with children.  I also hope, that my presence in their classroom as someone with as disability, will increase their awareness and acceptance of people who are different.  So that if they have a classmate some year who is disabled that they would reach out as a friend rather than avoiding or teasing. 

A little about my childhood

I haven't had much to blog about lately, so here is a totally different topic.

I grew up in Alaska, 32 miles out the highway from a small town of approximately 2,500 people, and 7 miles from the Canadian border.  My high school was approx. 130 students with my graduating class of 32 students (20 years later I could probably name every student in my class including their middle names).  So yeah, small Alaskan town.

I wrote this list in May 2010
Remembering Alaska
The other day a friend from elementary school posted on her Facebook page a few things she missed about Alaska and it sparked some memories of my own. I decided to jot those down. It has been 13 years since I’ve lived in Alaska. Alaska will always be home to me. Here are just a few things I remember from growing up there.

1. Really cold water straight from the tap (no need for ice cubes)
2. Sharing a phone line with 3 other neighbors (and having to get in the car to drive over to the neighbor’s when they had left the phone off the hook)
3. Being able to play outside until 10pm in the summer because it doesn’t get dark
4. Swimming holes
5. Not being able to swim in the swimming holes until your body went numb from the cold glacier water
6. Snow
7. Snow forts and snow mazes
8. “bird” size mosquitoes
9. Coming home from school and having to start the generator in below zero temperatures (it didn’t always start so easily and sometimes my fingers would go numb)
10. Getting ready for school by the light of kerosene lanterns and candles
11. Eating breakfast and drinking hot chocolate next to the wood cook stove
12. Mosquito Lake School (K-4th grade, 2 classrooms)
13. No t.v.
14. Snow days
15. Bears
16. Counting eagles on the 32 mile drive to town as a game (although most of the time it ended in an argument between my sister and I)
17. People’s addresses were in miles (I lived at Mile 32)
18. Ice fishing
19. Fire place fires
20. Snow pants, boots, jacket, gloves, and hat were just part of every Halloween costume
21. Having to drive to the neighbor’s to Trick-or-Treat because they were miles apart
22. Having a good bear dog - a dog to warn you of bears when you were outside
23. Northern Lights
24. Stars
25. Moon light reflecting off the snow
26. The absolute quiet of snow falling
27. Sledding
28. Wild strawberries
29. Blueberry picking
30. Logging roads
31. Stacking wood to heat our home for winter
32. Mountains
33. No stop lights
34. Knowing everyone in the entire high school by first and last name
35. Common question: “can I flush the toilet?”
36. Outhouses
37. The closest “neighboring” town was either a 4 hour drive into Canada or a 4 ½ hour ferry ride
38. Salmon
39. Halibut
40. Fishing
41. Camping
42. Making your Christmas Wish List from the Sears catalog
43. Having icicle sword fights
44. Painting the snow with the left-over Easter egg dye in April
45. Only one radio station and it was pretty much on all day
46. Never having to lock your house or car
47. Wild flowers
48. Taking evening drives in the fall to look for bears
49. Moose
50. The Little Red Store

Yes, I grew up stacking wood every fall with my sister.  There were many afternoons, coming home from school in the dark, in below freezing temperatures, where I had to start the generator because my mom was still at work.  Or when I was 5 and 6, before I could walk, crawling around outdoors with my friend having "adventures".  My parents eventually got me one of those battery powered vehicles to drive up and down the drive-way so I could keep up with my sister.  (Side note:  I remember when I started walking on my own, at the age of 7, I only walked at home for awhile.  I put off walking at school because I didn't want to draw attention to myself.  Before that I had used a 4 wheeled seat thing that I pushed myself along using my feet.  It was blue and I called it my "horsey".  And sure enough, one day without thinking about it, I walked down the hall, a classmate saw me, was amazed, and then the entire class was out in the hall watching me.  I was embarrassed.)

In my teens and 20's I feel like I've done things to "challenge my disability".  I've always been stubborn, persistent, and patient.  One summer in high school I went away to a college camp for 6 weeks at one of the universities, as a "practice" for college.  To see if I could handle dorm life, walking around a campus, getting food in a cafeteria setting, being away from the support of my family and friends who knew my physical abilities.  And then in my senior year of college I took a leap of faith and studied abroad in Australia for 5 month and traveled on my own.  That was an adventure, one that taught me so much.

I'd like to think that tough, independent Alaskan spirit is still in me.