Thursday, March 26, 2009

T tapp time

A few weeks ago I attended a ladies retreat- all about keepers of the home and loving husbands well. In the middle of Saturday afternoon some ladies threw in an extra- a promo of an exercise system that they have been doing and finding great results in... in 15 min a day! It sounded cool, their demo and testimonies were strong, and the free DVD demo and paperwork were a plus. I have known that I needed to change something but the elliptical continues to gather dust and the weights just seem heavy and as beautiful as our neighborhood is I just don't seem to be able to motivate myself to walk down the street on a regular basis.

I was blessed to receive a door prize of a DVD set, so I came home and watched the informational seminar. The next day I was a bit sore having done a few of the simple movements shown. hmmm. I next began "boot camp"- learning a series of moves that were awkward at first and as time went by became easier. Now a week and half later, most are familiar and I am finding that my previously tight shoulders are loose. I am less inclined to rest in the afternoon and perhaps my cloudy brain is not quite so cloudy.

This morning I left "boot camp" behind and ventured into the full routine and managed to keep up. It ended with "hoedowns" - a series of movements that can drop glucose levels and burn calories- they get the heart pumping for sure. I was breathless and yet refreshed at the end of the 18 min of exercises.

The amazing thing about t-tapp is the testimonies- folks do only the 15 min of these exercises and in weeks have lost a dress size or many belt notches. Weight is flushed out as they bend knee, tuck but, shoulders back and knees over little toe to begin exercising. The lymphatic system is activated and the body goes to work to burn and stretch.

Today I measured myself as I am beginning to wonder if there is any changes going on... time will tell. I am not feeling quite so creaky and with the loose shoulders I am thinking something is happening in my 15 min a day of stretch and burn time. In general there seems to be a tightness within my core that I dont recall being there before. That and the fact that I keep going back and doing the exercises, I have not been this repetitive before on any exercise for a long time. Maybe its the knowledge that its only 15 min, not 30 min, or a long distance or, or , or. speaking of which, time to t-tapp again!

Friday, March 20, 2009

brain storms

This morning we awoke early in preparation for the days events. First up on the schedule was Dad vs #4 on the wii, then on to the computer for some Battlefront action followed by b'fast out at Hardees with mom. So began our day of early waking to sleep deprive our child so he was ready for an EEG.

What was last week a "lets see what is going on" scheduling of an EEG (monitoring of brain wave activity) this week became a timely event. Earlier in the week our early morning sleep in time was interrupted by pounding feet and a knock at the door- #4 was in the midst of a brain storm. A seizure. A short one but one that interrupted his life and ours for a few minutes of time. It was a quick one, unexpected as they all are, but powerful.

This morning as I sat in the darkened room and watched the lines jump and bounce I wondered at what I was seeing. Over the past year we have changed medications slowly, adapting to a new drug that seemed to bring control. Only to find during a fall campout while sharing tent space that our sleep was interuppted by the sounds of a new brain storm. Now spring break has again brought our attention to the ever present, not often thought about guest to our lives- epilepsy.

Todays' revelation coupled with the midweeek "brain party" as I had dubbed it resulted in knowledge that status quo was not enough. So I returned home to add more pills to the pill boxes and again begin on the journey of increase in hopes of stilling the storms and calling an end to the pauses that are more than a pause.

I am grateful for the time spent in sheltered workshops and group homes as a young adult, where seizures were seen and adjusted to. Those days prepared me to respond not react to what I might find when I enter a room where a storm is occuring. I am grateful to the calm that is peace in the midst of reality that all electrical circuits are not firing normally. I expect that all will settle and rest, though in the back of my mind I know it could take a while, I pray that it is quick.

I find that as I dialogue about what our life holds that it is a reality that I don't process in its fullness, but face it bit by bit, event by event. As I shared the timeline and history recently I realized that we have walked a path of much variety and variation. That the silent presence of epilepsy is truly present, no longer just something in the back closet. It influences and affects us and yet we work hard to limit the impact and to live life fully in the midst of its presence.

Months ago epilepsy was a back closet topic; acknowledged but kind of ignored and in the realm of denial. Today I am more welcoming of it, more accepting of it, sharing it more freely. I have talked with our son of the whys and how are you doings? that surround living with seizures.

I am sure he is weary of the unexpected, tiring, and extra parts of his life that come with being a keeper of the storms. It is part of our family life for now so we prepare, train and respond as needed. We pray for and thank God for our doc's and all in the health care profession who help us on this journey. We are made more aware of its hazards when it makes the headlines with hollywood attention, and we breathe easy and kind of forget when weeks pass without any hint of activity.

Brainstorms, brain storms- same letters, different activities. May your life be full of brainstorms and my your heart and head be full of compassion and grace to those who experience brain storms.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Seems to be a morning of reflection... a morning for writing and thinking, good stuff for a bit and then back into my hyper life.

I was caught up short last week by a comment made to me. "Glad you aren't bitter" it was spoken with sarcasm and I caught it. I was surprised by it. Stunned. And my heart was pricked. Was I bitter? hmmm, welll, maybe, hmmmm. I spent time reflecting upon forgiveness and bitterness, considering it, rolling it over in my mind and heart.

My name means bitter in Hebrew; Mara- bitter. I have known this for years and strived to not become bitter. I have heard bitterness drip from those around me. Seen the wounds manifest themselves in their physical body. Unforgiveness drives deep into the bones of others and the spirit of an unforgiving person is "bitter" to behold. I thought I was immune. Hah! not!

Amidst the struggles of the past few years, taking it in stride and facing each struggle along the way I have unwittingly given in to tastes and touches of bitternesss. The record player has played a bit long on the woes of the injustice, the struggle and the drama of our lives. I had become aware of the broken record sound several months ago and tried to turn the volumne down, pull the plug and lay it to rest. I have not totally suceeded. A continual battle is the struggle to give up rights to self, to justice, to honor.

And last week, my words spoke volumnes of the attitude of my arrogant heart without my awareness. Again, I was clueless, until the prick came and God gently shined a light upon the attitude within. Pride. A battle I often ignore yet fight in the depth of my heart on a daily basis. Pride. the right to rule my life, my self, my world. the right to choose my will over His will. The "right" for justice and honor.

Over the last week I have been turning such thoughts over in my mind. Bitterness and forgiveness, which will I choose to walk in? Oh, this is a strong will within. Excuses and explanations abound in my head and heart, justifications and explantions, any way to avoid facing this wicked heart and the reality of its ugly state. Yet as the days pass and God's spirit continues to speak gently within the words come easier and His healing comes. Grace begets grace. His grace reminds me of the depth of His forgiveness, and this helps me to lay down my "rights" and my mess and let go of my bitterness, my hurt, my pain.

So the battle rages on- the battle to be without bitterness, to let go. To give up rights and lay down my will and demands before the Lord. To walk in forgiveness and reflect Him both inside and out. In words and deed. The battle to surrender- to lay down my life before the giver of life, accepting that which He brings into my life. Not easy, not fun yet so worth the peace that follows.

Deaf to gifts of love

This weekend I am off to the annual ladies retreat for our homeschool ladies. A great group of women who care for the hearts of the women beyond getting grades in and blocks checked! Last year's retreat settled some questions in my heart and stretched me in new paths of faith. I am not sure what this one will bring forth, but part of me is a bit excited. I am sharing this one with my daughter and hoping she will find some kindred spirits among the many young ladies attending.

As I have been preparing for my little part of the weekend I have been reading The five Love Language of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell,MD. I am speaking on love languages and thought it would be a quick scan and picking of information. Ahh, is it ever so simple?

As I read over the chapter of the language of gifts this quote struck my heart.

"A true gift is ... an expression of love for the individual and is freely given by the donor. "

I thought about the many gifts given to me, the acts of service, the touches, the time spent with quality so I can fill up my need of for time deposits in my love tank and the many letters that fill my desire for affirmation and encouragement. I thought about my heart attitude in receiving the many gifts bestowed upon me and how I have received them.

When an expression of love matched my expectation it is joyfully received and cherished. Unfortunately when it was not a good match with my expectation I have not been gracious in my heart. The attitude was not gratitude. My bad.

I have been pricked this week to realize how much love has been poured into my life, but in a foreign language, one that I have not interpreted well. Sometimes I have figured out the message and in time have come to cherish the expression, unfortunately oftentimes it has come after the attitude of ingratitude has soured the gift and wounded the messenger. my bad. my sad.

This week I repented before my husband for my cluelessness in my heart of the hurts I was returning for the gifts given. My vision was all self centered- "what is in it for me" not what is he trying to tell me as he gave to me freely? When I scorned the hardware when I heard of the flowers- yet years later I turn to the "box of flowers" hardware box again and again in joy for the thoughtfulness and forsight of my husband for my needs. When I have belittled in my heart the gift of growing things that were given as I love plants, not thinking of how it was given freely and in love for my delight.

Oh how deceptive this heart has been in thinking of love as all about me. its not. Love in about sharing and caring and living beyond oneself. "Love is not selfseeking" (1Cor 13) When others give a hug it may be because they long to share their love with another. They may not realized that it is a foreign language to the reciepient. The home improvement that takes over the house might not be only an improvement but may also be an outpouring of lavish love by a spouse who speaks love with acts of service. Running an errand on the day its asked for is another way to speak "acts of servcie love". The card given when words dont come easy may be love shown in words of affirmation from another when he knows they are important to the receipient. When a child asks for a game or a book read, they may be asking for your time, your "quality time" to feed the need for that love language spoken in their life. And when a gift is given to you, no matter the size or value, taking time to value the heart of love that caused the giver to choose to bestow it is truly giving value to the gift- an act of love.

Oh that I would always have my universal love translator on. That I will always understand the love that is bestowed upon me and respond with gratitude and honor to those who pour out their life into mine. Maybe your translator needs a tune up as mine did. Check out a 5Love Language book at the library and retune your head and heart for the langugaes that bombard your life today!

I am now seeing the give and take of speaking love. Speak it from your heart, when able speak in the language of others, as you know the dialect. Listen close for the language of love in the words and actions of another and if confused consult the universal translator and consider the dialect spoken to clear up any communication confusion. When this is done the expressions of love abound.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

slowing down to breathe

Today I had a full agenda. School in the morning. Art class prep mid day then on to Physical therapy. After that pick up one son, then another and be on the road doing errands until dinner at church and then classes in the evening. Home by 830- whew! done!

All that changed about 1:55 today when I did not slow down, breathe and take my time at a stop sign. I approached the stop sign. I looked left and right and thinking I had time to pull into traffic as vehicles were only on the horizon I pulled. As I made the turn there was a noise, a bump and brakes- hmmm??!!! I pulled over, uncertain of what had happened. I had been struck.

It seems that when I looked right I missed the little red pickup that was approaching the intersection. The car I did see watched me pull into his travel path and his attempt to avoid a collision. He pulled to the right, and did as best he could, but did clip the back of the passenger door and front of the rear panel.

He was gracious and kind as I apologized and told of my lack of sight. It was a new experience for each of us; a car accident. We were both thankful for the lack of injury and apparent minor damage to our vehicles. we both drove away, shook up but uninjured. I, saddened by the cost of my haste, the hassle and cost of repairs ahead. A bit in shock over the unexpected turn to the day.

Accidents are strange... you know what you did and saw, and believe your perception to be true, yet the witnesses tell of other impressions. A moment before I had been contemplating forgiveness and bitterness, talking to God about a recent conversation and thinking about my heart attitude, yet also feeling the weariness of the day.

Oh that I would have breathed a breath, seen the little green truck. waited a bit longer. perhaps it was behind the trees and shrubs to my right as i scanned the road, perhaps i looked too far down the road and not near enough. i will never know. i do know that I will be much slower in pulling away from stop signs in the future. I will take a breath and pause a bit.

Just as I have developed my routine for starting the diesel truck- turn key, put on seat belt, start truck (having allowed wait to start light to shut off) so I think I will rethink my mode of operation at stop signs. Maybe stop, 3 breaths as I look back and forth, then pull out for clear travel.

For today, I am staying home. My active afternoon came to a halt with the unexpected trip on the way home. I am recovering from myself, content to stay put. tomorrow will bring more time on the road, more time to practice breathing.

so if you come up behind a red van and it seems slow to pull away from the stop sign, be patient, it may be saving her some $$$ and time in the long run.