Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Turn-It-Up Tuesday: October 10

Ya'll - I'm kind of speechless. As I was logging on to start this blog post, I saw how many people read my post from last week and I was floored. It might be my highest read post to date. I can't be certain though because I didn't actually take the time to look. Again, I don't want to get a big head or anything, but I was so taken aback at how many people read last's week's post that it's got me wondering what I said in it that got ya'll to read it! I'm humbled that people read what I write, because, in my opinion, I don't have anything interesting to say. I just write what's on my heart and in my head. But, I do pray over every post. I pray that God will turn my unpolished words into something someone can relate to or be comforted by. I pray that my words would be His words and that ALL glory would go to Him.

Being completely honest, tonight I'm just not in the mood to write. I don't feel inspired. I don't feel like I have anything of importance to say. But, even when I'm not in the mood to write, I write. I write so that I'll have record of what's happening in my life. I write, because somehow, God turns these lowly posts into something else. I don't really know how He uses these posts or my struggles in general to help others, but somehow, miraculously, I know He does. It's completely fine for me not to know how He uses these posts or my journey. In fact, NOT knowing, keeps me from becoming arrogant. Seriously, when I hit "post", I don't look back. I don't see how many people read or don't read my post until the following week when I come to post again. But, I'm thankful for you, those that take the time to read my ramblings. I thankful for those who take the time to write me or say something to me. Thank you - from the bottom of my heart - thank you!

The past week was fine - no falls and no major "drama" - haha. Some weeks, it's good to live a "boring" life! Last evening was interesting though. This will give you an idea of how slow I am sometimes. I was leaving work and I passed two co-workers who were talking to each other in the hall. I told them goodnight and continued to make my way to the elevator (side note: I take the stairs up in the morning, because I can ROCK going up stairs, but I take the elevator going downstairs because if I didn't, I'd probably be ROLLING down them.). I noticed one of the co-workers that had been talking in the hall, was leaving now as well. As the elevator opened on the first floor, she was already walking out the front door. When I got to the front door, she was half-way down the walkway. She made it to her car and I was still on the walkway. She got in her car and drove past me. Then a second later, she pulled into an empty spot, got out and shouted my way, "Do you want some help?" And since she stopped and asked, I obliged. I could have made it, but it would have taken me forever. I just wanted to get home. She walked me with me and I was fine. But, it got me thinking again - why am I denying myself more electricity if that's what I need? What if more DBS electricity got me moving faster? So, after four weeks at 2.90 volts on Frequency B, this morning I stayed on Frequency B, but went up to 3.40 volts. We'll see what that does. If it's too much, I can always go back down. This also gives me two weeks to test this level (if I don't get antsy and change it again) until I see Dr. Tolleson.

I laughed to myself today because I started thinking how ridiculous it was for me to worry about walking. That's not something a "normal" human being worries about. But we've all got "our thing" in life and one of my "things" is having difficulty walking. It keeps me humble, that's for sure. I don't know why God just doesn't heal me instantly. Sometimes I get down about that, but I always come to the same conclusion: He knows what He is doing and I have faith that it's not for my harm, but for my good. So, I stop and turn my thinking around. God's blessed me with ways in which to worship Him even in the midst of things. God's plan is always perfect. Always.

I know, deep down in my heart, that God's working in me and through me and that He's using this struggle I have to refine me. I know that in Him, ALL things are possible and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God's Got This!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Tune-In-Tuesday: October 3

“I get knocked down, but I get up again.”

Victoria Arlen. I mentioned her before on this blog a few weeks ago. I didn't know about her until I saw her on “Dancing with the Stars” (which I don't normally watch). Ever since I saw this season's premiere episode with her as one of the stars, she’s been inspiring me. I “liked” her page on Facebook and every Tuesday morning I watch the dance she performed from the night before. To give you a tiny snippet of what she’s gone through: she was in a vegetative state for almost four years, locked inside her body. “She faced the reality of paralysis from the waist down due to damage to her spine.” (Taken from her bio on Facebook). She can’t feel her legs, ya’ll. And she’s dancing. Only by the grace of God. Now she’s a sports reporter for ESPN. The song she danced to last night was “I Get Knocked Down”. Appropriate on so many levels. She’s a living, breathing, dancing miracle and an inspiration.

Friday evening something happened that truly blessed and encouraged me. I was leaving work and a co-worker (who I don’t know), yelled to me across the parking lot, “You’re an inspiration!”. I looked over at my co-worker Debbie who was walking with me. Was that meant for me or someone else? I looked around me and motioned with my hand, “me?”. Yes, he was talking to me. He said he’s watched me struggle to get in to work or back out to my car. He said, “I’ve seen you take 10 minutes to get into work and look at you now!” I don’t really know what he was seeing because I was not having the greatest of ease walking that night, but his words did encourage me. If I get knocked down, I must get back up again. He went on to say, “You did this, didn’t you? You made this happen?” He was motioning toward the construction going on in the parking lot as the handicap spots are being moved closer to the front door. To that, I said, “No, she’s the one that made it happen.", as I motioned to Debbie. “She’s the one who sent the e-mail.” She has nothing to gain from it, but she championed it anyway. He looked at me and said, “But this is for you, right?” To which I exclaimed, “To everyone who needs it, that’s who it’s for.” I had no clue how much God would encourage me with this co-worker's words. I certainly didn't know I was inspiring him. This journey is definitely not easy. There are many times I think to myself, "Stephanie, just walk...you did once before, do it again!" But all in God's time. I get angry and frustrated and worn-out. But then God sends a refreshing breeze in the form of a co-worker. This co-worker certainly blessed me more than I think he’ll ever know and certainly more than I inspire him.

When I started having walking problems, I didn't ever think anyone would tell me that I'm an inspiration. I just wanted whatever was wrong to be fixed. I don't think of myself as an inspiration. I don't want to get a big head about it, so I truly, truly try to stay away from any thoughts that may make me act proud or better than someone else, because I'm not better than anyone else. So, to those that have said I'm an inspiration to them, thank you. I don't deserve that compliment in the least bit. It's all God. My life is in God's hands. I want my life to be a reflection of Him. I fail miserably at this every single day. I am thankful that God grants me His grace. Being called an inspiration is humbling, for I truly don't see why I would be. I’m just a girl trying to get from Point A to Point B without falling and embarrassing myself. The struggle is real – very real, but we all have our own struggles in life, don’t we?

I was completely blown away and inspired by Sunday School this past Sunday. Somehow, our discussion on 2 Corinthians 1 turned into a talk about perseverance, struggles, friendship and so much more. It refreshed my soul. I am so very thankful for the group of people who make up this class. I learn so much from the Word of God, but also from their different perspectives. God has truly blessed me by sending these people into my life.

A blessing that’s been wrapped in a burden has been rolling out over the past few weeks and months. I confided to my fellow classmates in Sunday School that there are two places that I have the hardest time walking into and out of: church and work. I feel like people may be staring at me (whether they are or not) and I have nothing to grab ahold of if need be to catch myself. I’ve been having a hard time with those two places. That’s the burden. The blessing(s) has been: God has never once let me down. I pray that I would be able to make it in to work or church without falling, tripping or slipping. If I can do it “on my own”, perfect. But if I can’t, I’ve been asking the Lord to bring people to help. He’s answered. From Todd to Ursula, from Mark to Debbie, from Sarah to Angela, from Chris to Anna and the list goes on. I am exceedingly blessed. And, as a bonus, I have gotten to know so many people on a much deeper level. It amuses me to see how God works. He doesn’t necessarily send my best friends to help me out. He sends people who I know, but not well. And it’s been the biggest blessing. I’m getting to know more people. How did the burden of walking in to or out of church or work become a blessing? Jesus. He flipped what was burdensome into these amazing, beautiful blessings. If you’re one of the people that has helped me, from the bottom of my heart, I want you to know that you were “an angel unaware” and I’m forever grateful and humbled. Thank you!

So, even though I started this entry with, “I get knocked down, but I get up again.”, I’m happy to report that in reality, I didn’t get “knocked down” this week. I didn’t fall. Praise Jesus. Satan’s been around, lurking, but I ask God to put his mighty and strong tower around me - one that the devil can not penetrate. Satan has been known to flood with my thoughts with, “you’re going to fall”, “you’re never going to get better”, “you’re not good enough”, “everyone’s just being kind to you because they pity you”, “God’s not going to protect you”. BUT – while those thoughts do creep in from time to time, if I stop (sometimes quite literally) and focus on Jesus, take a deep breath and gather myself, Satan’s banished and I feel that strong and mighty tower protecting me. I’m not going to lie, there are times that walking seems so scary and undoable that I cower in a corner, but even then, God plucks me from the throws of self-doubt and again puts my feet on solid ground.

I have a little conundrum (I HAD to find a way to use that word again today. I said it at work and my co-workers found it amusing. It was my "big word of the day" - ha!) My conundrum: self-doubt in what I should do next. In some ways I feel like I need to adjust the electricity in my deep brain stimulation device to go up, but in other ways, I want to keep it where it’s at. I feel like I may be on the right frequency, but maybe not the right amount of electricity. I go back to the neurologist on October 23. I don’t want Dr. Tolleson to look at the settings and see that for the past month I haven’t stuck with one setting for more than a week. He wants me to get to a setting and stay there. The more I’m on one setting consistently, the better. But I don’t want to suffer either. See my conundrum? So, for now, I’ll remain on the setting I’ve been on now for the past 3 weeks. That doesn’t mean by this time next week, I’ll still be on it, but for tonight that’s where I’ll remain. There are so many gray areas in this condition and with DBS for dystonia patients. Sometimes, that aggravates the stew out of me (like right now) and other times, I welcome it because it means things could get better with a different approach.

All-in-all, I’ve had a wonderfully blessed week. I may not always see blessings in the moment, but reflecting on moments grants me the ability to see blessings everywhere – whether big or small.

God’s Got This!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Tune-In-Tuesday: September 26

Something I’ve learned about myself this week: The more stressed/anxious/worried I get, the worse my walking becomes. But, when I take a minute to relax, take a breath and calm down, the better my walking becomes. Ha! Who would of "thunk"?! ;) To be honest, I didn’t just learn that this past week. I’ve known it. But God allowed me to see it in a new light this week. Thank you, Jesus. Slow down, breathe, God’s Got This.

Last week was good. I’m remaining at the same amount of electricity: 2.90 volts on Frequency B. It’s not perfect, but I’m going to leave it there, at least for today – haha! I have less than a month until I see Dr. Tolleson (my neurologist). Sometimes I drive myself crazy wondering if I’m doing things “right”. Am I giving myself too much electricity? Am I not giving myself enough electricity? Am I on the right frequency? It’s enough to seriously drive me crazy. It’s a very gray area, this electricity stuff! I’m a black and white person – gray drives me crazy. But at the same time, maybe God’s using this to teach me many (many, many!) lessons. Lessons in perseverance, patience, calmness, listening for His still, small voice, not being so OCD, not being so uptight and rigid, being more kind to others, deepening my faith in Him. The list could go on and on. I am learning so much about myself. God’s allowing me to see things I’d never get to see if I didn’t have this problem with walking. I want healing immediately, but God’s using the “in between” time to teach me so much.

Unfortunately, I did fall last week – twice in fact. Both happened at home and both led me to the realization that the more stressed/anxious/worried I get, the more likely I will fall. One fall happened Sunday night. I was at the kitchen sink and I turned to walk away and my foot just gave way. The next fall happened the very next morning, Monday (yesterday), when I was walking from the bathroom to my bedroom. Both times, I was hurrying. I had several things on my mind and I wanted to “go fast”. It took the second fall to get me to slow down and figure out why I had fallen. My conclusion was that I was worried about some things and I was in a hurry and my worry led to a physical reaction. Ever since this discovery (haha, all 24 hours of it!), I’ve been mindful of walking. When I feel myself getting anxious, I take a deep breath and try to calm down. It’s worked a few times. Sometimes, I literally stop walking, regroup and when I feel relaxed, then I walk.

When I think about my difficulties with walking, sometimes I just laugh. I laugh, because walking should come as one of the easiest things someone does in life. Right? As a toddler, you learn how to walk and then it’s something you never forget. But, then again, that’s not the case for everyone. I’m reminded of the verse in the Bible, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” Job 1:21 (NIV) Having this issue with walking has made me all that more aware that anything I have, whether it be walking, sight, hearing or anything, can be taken away at a moment’s notice. Praise Jesus for everything you have. EVERYTHING. Have you ever stopped to thank Him for the ability to breath on your own? For the ability to blink an eye? When I think of everything the Lord has given me the ability to do, my walking woes don’t seem big at all. It’s all about perspective. I have been incredibly blessed in my life. Absolutely, incredibly, blessed. I continue to be in awe of God’s power and majesty. How He can bless a soul like me, blows my mind. Though my body may not work in the exact way I want it to, I will praise the name of Jesus even still because without a shadow of a doubt, I know I’m blessed and I know God’s Got This!!!!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tune-In Tuesday: September 19

This past week was wonderful. It wasn’t without struggle or frustration, but it was wonderful all the same. I have decided to remain where I’m at in regards to the electricity. I’m still at 2.90 volts on Frequency B. I see LOTS of room for improvement, but I also see lots of opportunity for me to be patient and wait – which I’m terrible at, but I’m trying to be better at. Who knows what the week ahead will bring, but as of today, I’m remain at 2.90 volts.

Do you ever stop to think that maybe the struggles in life are meant to be so that the sweet spots in life are sweeter? I confess that I don’t always look at struggles like that. I dwell on the struggles. I’m a “why me” girl (just being honest!). But, when God grants me the grace to be able to see that something bigger is intertwined with the struggles, I am always and forever humbled. This is just something I’m thinking about. Struggles make victories sweet. No underdog movie would be complete without struggles or victories. Maybe that’s why I like sports movies so much? Because they are always about overcoming obstacles? Maybe… It’s funny that I’m thinking about all of this now as I haven’t fallen at all in the last week. But that doesn’t make the struggle to stay vertical any less of a struggle. ;) I’ve fought for every step. And every time I’ve thought that I’m doing this on my own (as in, I’m the one getting myself from Point A to Point B without falling), God reminds that I wouldn’t have anything without Him. God’s grace is abundant and I see it in every aspect of my life.

On Wednesday, I got a BIG surprise from my company. In an earlier blog post, I spoke of my friend and co-worker writing an e-mail to the VP of Facilities asking if they would consider moving some handicap parking spaces closer to the building. Well, on Monday, September 13, I got word that that would take place starting on Monday, September 18 (yesterday). And it did! Yesterday was awesome. I parked closer to the building! But, I shouldn’t sugar-coat things. I admit, it was still a struggle. It’s a new spot and I’m rebuilding neuropathways in my brain. Unlike most people, I can’t just walk freely (yet!). This means, I can’t turn on a dime. My steps are very rigid and sometimes probably look forced (because in some instances, they are!). I’m almost like the tin man when it comes to walking (and yes, Kristen, I did make a reference to "The Wizard of Oz", but it doesn’t mean I like the movie. I’m still scared of it!). Walking doesn’t come naturally yet. Sometimes, I don’t bend my knee and other times I don’t trust my foot to hold me. Sometimes my foot collapses on me or my toes curl under. I’m working on those issues. But, at the same time, our bodies are awesome. They adapt and somehow, I “automatically” do what I have to do, to stay upright. I’ve walked my previous path into work so many times that I finally got those neuropathways active. They weren’t perfect, but I knew the route. Now I must get new neuropathways built. I need to learn “the lay of the land” so to speak. I don’t know any other way of explaining it. It’s just not as simple as walking from point A to point B. If I’m not making any sense, just ignore me.

They haven't added the handicap sign yet, but I get to use it! And yes, it was dark when I took this picture. I had to get to work early to make up some time that I'd be missing for an appointment. :)

Thursday was completely awesome. I went to the Tim McGraw/Faith Hill concert with my mom, Annie (my sister-in-law) and her mom. The four of us had a blast. We had 9th row seats!!!!!!! It was amazing!! Not being able to walk properly (yet!) does have its advantages. Mom and I realized on the way to pick up Annie and her mom that between the two of us we only had $3 cash. We completely forgot about having to pay for parking. We were going to run by an ATM, but Annie’s mom had $10 on her. When we got up to pay, the parking attendant only wanted to see the expiration date on my handicap placard. When we showed it to her, we got free parking!! We also got a perfect parking spot. It wasn’t in a handicap parking spot, but was right next to the entrance. God provides. I was worried, but in the end, I didn’t need to worry – God knew what He was doing and everything worked out perfectly. The concert was awesome. I can’t put into words how great it was. Tim and Faith did not disappoint! I had so much fun and made memories to last a lifetime. I can’t thank my mom and dad enough for the tickets. It was a fabulous concert and one I’ll remember forever.

We were THIS close to the stage!!!

I took the next day, Friday, off work. I’m glad I did. We didn’t get home from the concert until midnight and I was so hyped up from it that I didn’t get to sleep until after 2am. I used my day off to run errands. I dropped off a ring that needed fixing. The jeweler goes to my church. We had a lovely conversation. After I did that I went to the Honda dealership to get a recalled faulty airbag fixed. I also knew I needed all new tires. I was going to go elsewhere for them, but ended up getting them at the dealership as they had a good deal on them, a coupon and a rebate. The man assisting me at the car dealership turned out to be a real blessing. He saw that I had a handicap placard and he saw me walk a few steps to his desk. He made sure that I didn’t trip on the speed bumps and other things in the floor. He didn’t make a big deal out of things, but was just genuinely nice. By God’s divine plan, we started talking about my walking. It turns out, he knows all about not being able to walk. He was completely paralyzed for a time due to three exploding discs in his back. We ended up talking a lot. He told me more about his situation. I told him more about mine. (And before you go thinking anything, he’s married, so it wasn’t anything like that!) As I left the dealership that day, he turned to me and said that I was an inspiration to him. I don’t say that to brag. Really, I don’t. I don’t think of myself as inspiring at all. The only reason I’m bringing it up now is because I think that it is totally amazing how such a mundane thing as going to the Honda dealership can be used for God’s purpose. He uses every situation we’re in for His good. I was as inspired, if not more, by him. To see him walking perfectly after what he went through, gave me hope and lifted my spirits. He said I inspired him, but he was the one who inspired me. Thank you, Jesus, for allowing me to meet such a kind soul.

Saturday was a great day as well. I had been invited to a UT/Florida football watching party. I had a blast. I met new people and had an all-around great time! Saturday night, Mom and I went to see HGTV’s Property Brothers. They were in town promoting their new book and they put on a live show. It was fantastic. I love doing mother/daughter things.

My new house?

At only 123 square feet, it's not for me, but it was fun touring it!

Sunday I was struggling a little to walk into church. I could have done it, but God put someone in my path to help me. One of the elders at church saw me walking and asked if he could help me. Since he asked, I accepted. I felt more steady with his help. “I get by with a little help from my friends.” I so, so do! My friends and family are all wonderful. I am eternally grateful for ALL the help I get. I may not be able to pay everyone back, but I sure hope I get the opportunity to pay it forward. Kindness goes a long way.

Last night (Monday), I watched "Dancing with the Stars". I don’t watch that show. I think I watched one season of it when it first started, but I don’t normally watch it. I tuned in last night because Drew Scott (one of the “Property Brothers”) was on it. He had brought his dancing partner to the show on Saturday night, so I was intrigued. What I didn’t know, was that Victoria Arlen would be on the show. I didn’t know anything about her, but heard the plug that she had spent the last 10 years in a wheelchair, so I had to find out about her. What I saw, left me in awe. Our God is POWERFUL. Her life is a testament to God’s power. I’m also reminded that my life is a testament to God’s power. God is more powerful than the strongest man on earth. He is more powerful than any hurricane, tornado, tsunami or earthquake. He's more powerful than the wind or the rain. He is more powerful than any struggle. God IS.

This morning, I felt God reminding me again to be patient and that IN HIS TIME, I’ll walk (better than I am now). I’ll leap. I’ll dance. But in HIS time. I still have a lot to learn. I still have a lot of growing to do. The perfect time is whenever HIS time is. Many, many, many times in life, I look back at things that have happened in my life and go, “Oh, so that’s why God did it that way!” So, I’ll wait. I’ll keep fighting. I’ll keep walking even if it scares me to death. I’ll probably continue to stumble and maybe even fall, but that’s OK. (Remind me that I’ve said this the next time I fall or embarrass myself!) I’ll trust in the Lord. I’ll let God do His thing because I know GOD’s GOT THIS!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Tune-In-Tuesday: September 12

I’m starting to write this post at 7 AM instead of my usual 7 PM. Truth be told, I’ve been up since 2:15 AM for NO.GOOD.REASON. I could of done something constructive with my time, but, no, I got on Facebook. I did, however, make it out of bed at 4:40 AM and got a work-out in – so I was half-constructive. ;)

In the week that was, trust came into factor in a big, big way. I left the electricity in my device where it was and didn't play with it at all. This is no small feat for me as I’m constantly wanting to mess with it until it’s "perfect". I’m beginning to realize (or maybe beginning to accept) that there may not be “perfect”, but isn’t that life?! We are all imperfect because of sin. That takes the pressure off of being "perfect"!

One day last week (it was either Thursday or Friday), I tripped all day long. Seriously. It became comical to me just how many times I did trip. But, guess what?!! I DIDN’T FALL. It was truly miraculous. All I can say is God caught me EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. There’s no other way to explain it. And after every catch, I thanked Him profusely. There’s no reason I shouldn’t have fallen every single time, but I didn’t. Not once. Praise Jesus!

Continuing on this level of electricity (2.90 volts on Frequency B), means my big toe does have a lot more wiggle room to actually help me with my balance (even though I just finished telling you I kept tripping for a day). I find that my foot and toes lay flatter and give me more stability. That’s a huge deal. Overall, I feel more balanced, though that may not necessarily show all the time. ;)

I haven’t had too many spasms in my leg or foot, which I tend to get when I’m on a lower setting of electricity. I’m very thankful for that.

I’m learning how to slow down and “drive in the snow” as my friend Debbie puts it. She said that she must tell herself when it’s snowing outside and she has to drive somewhere to slow down. There’s no rush. The goal is to get there safely rather than speedily. I know it doesn’t look like I maneuver speedily anywhere while walking, but the “rushing” and the “I have to be fast” goes on in my head. I should be fast. I don’t want to inconvenience anyone, so I should hurry up and get out of the way or when walking with people, I should keep up. My brain’s going a mile a minute with thoughts that I should be faster. This boils over to walking and I end up falling. I have a work-out top that says, “I Could’ve, I Would’ve, I Should’ve, I DID”. So, I’m “driving in the snow”!

I’m discovering God’s “little” blessings that in actuality, are quite big! My walking is so slow at times, I've literally had time to observe things I would have otherwise breezed by. One thing was this cool little dude:

I snapped this photo this morning of a leaf that looked like it was in the shape of heart.

Being on a lower amount of electricity does have its disadvantages.

I’ve gotten “stuck” a couple of times this past week. That’s truly one of my greatest fears. Thankfully it doesn’t happen all the time, but it does happen occasionally. The best way I know how to describe it is literally getting stuck. I can’t move. It’s like being paralyzed in mid-walk. I know that if I take another step, I’ll fall, but at the same time, I can’t even move my legs or my body to even take a next step. I’m frozen. Anyway, God always showers His grace on me when that does happen and after a few seconds (but to me they feel like minutes), my brain gets a reboot and eventually sends the signal to my leg to move. It’s extremely hard to describe this situation, but maybe you can imagine what I’m talking about. If not, you’ll just have to trust me. ;)

Only God knows if I'll stay on this level for another week. So far, so good. It hasn't been a "no-problem" week. Those don't exist for anyone! But, I didn't fall. That's a win!! Each day continues to have little struggles of its own, but along with those come little blessings of its own as well. I'll soak up the blessings and try to forget the struggles.

I laugh because when I start to think, “I have it so bad”, God always allows me to see someone worse off. When I think, I have things “all figured out”, God shakes things up. Such is life. I keep going because I know without a shadow of a doubt…GOD’S GOT THIS!!!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Turn-It-Down Tuesday: September 5

Another week has passed and it’s now September. How did that happen?! My parents used to tell us kids when we were little that when we grew up we’d know what they meant when they said time flies by and they were right!

This past week has been good, but I didn’t come to that conclusion until tonight while writing this post. :) It definitely saw its share of tears and bruised knees, frustrations and impatient moments, but sitting here tonight writing this post, I’m more in awe of God’s miraculous ways than anything else. In several incidences this past week, God performed miracles and I’m in awe of them.

On Wednesday, my church held a screening of the movie, “A Case for Christ.” If you haven’t seen it or read the book, you must! I haven’t read the book yet, but the movie made me want to. It was so good! It was entertaining, but it really made me think too.

Thursday, I had a “Peter walking on water” moment.

(On a side note – outside of Jesus, Peter is my favorite person in the Bible. I relate SO MUCH to him. He was impulsive and impatient. He was always putting his foot in his mouth. He rarely thought before he spoke. He was bold, but then sheepish. He wanted to always be right at Jesus’ side. I love the story of him walking on water because I see myself doing exactly what He did. So, yes, outside of Jesus, Peter is definitely my favorite person in the Bible!)

Now back to my Peter moment. On Thursday, I was walking into work and my left foot and toes were curled into a ball. No amount of anything I did could get them to uncurl. Needless to say, I was having a tough time. So, I prayed, “Lord, make my foot and toes lay flat.” And guess what?! The very SECOND I prayed that, THEY DID!!! Shamefully, I must admit that I was stunned. I know God performs miracles, but I was still stunned. They literally laid flat and relaxed. I was praising Jesus. But then, I got distracted, took my eyes off of Jesus, got scared and promptly fell. BUT, just as quickly as I fell, I popped back up again. I wasn’t physically injured, although I was a little embarrassed as someone did see me fall. They came over to assist, but I was up before they got to me. Then I had to laugh, because the Peter walking on water story was the first thing that popped into my head. I just need to keep my eyes on Jesus.

I had a doctor’s appointment on Thursday afternoon. It had been raining off and on all day long – sometimes torrentially. I prayed that anytime I had to be outside, that it wouldn’t rain. I was having a really, really hard time walking and rain would just make walking all that more difficult. You know what? God answered. It didn’t rain at all when I had to walk to and from my car at work or at my appointment. In fact, no sooner had I gotten back inside work then one of those torrential downpours happened!

My doctor’s appointment was nothing neurological related, but it seems that a lot of my doctors are moving buildings. ;) I knew that my appointment was in the same building/area where I see my neurologist. As I was walking in, I was a little confused as where to go, since this was the first time I was seeing this doctor at her new location. Trying to distract myself enough to walk as normally as possible, I was looking down at my phone, when I heard this voice say, “Are you lost?” At that moment, I looked up and there was the door to the office I was supposed to go into, so I said, “Actually, no…there’s where I’m supposed to go.” Then I turned to look at who I was talking to and did a double take because it was my (Knoxville) neurologist, Dr. LeForce. After we said hi to each other, I asked what he was doing and he said that he was taking a little walk at lunch, to which I said that I’d be doing that some day. We talked a little while longer and then I made my way to my other appointment.

Friday afternoon, I fell again – this time on carpet. It was just one of those things. I didn’t get hurt, but I have a nice bruise now. I was so frustrated because my foot and toes would not lay flat.

By Saturday I was so fed up with my horrible walking that I decided I couldn’t wait any longer to change the electricity in my deep brain stimulation device. I got it out and kept lowering the electricity until I could see and feel a difference. That meant that I went to the lowest setting on Frequency B – 2.90 volts. Since turning the electricity down, my hand is almost back to normal and my foot and toes lay flat on the floor. But, it's not perfect (far from it!). In fact, it’s a catch 22 (I hope I’m using that term correctly!). I noticed that on the higher level of electricity that my hand majorly acts up and my foot and toes curl under. All of that is hugely annoying, but I still somehow feel like I have more “control” over my movements, even if that means walking stiff-legged. I realize just typing that sentence out that none of that makes sense. ;) On the lower level, my hand is normal and my foot and toes lay flat on the floor, but I get these spasms in my leg and/or foot and they make me fall or at the very least lose my balance. I don't get them on the higher level (maybe that's because everything is in one big spasm?!). On the lower level I feel more balanced and stable except for when the spasms happen. I can’t predict when they will happen either as they are random. It doesn’t happen every time I walk. I need to get over the fear of the spasms and walk freely, but sometimes that’s easier said than done. So…I’m taking it day by day. I’m hopeful that I can stay at this level for an extended period, but I’m not ruling anything out. It seems one fall is all it takes for me to start questioning if I’m on the right level after all.

I have seen so many instances of God’s hand of protection over me this past week. I have also seen so many miracles. And, yes, I do call them miracles. Whether they be “small” things like making it not rain so that I can get into and out of appointments without having to deal with rain or umbrellas to the “big” things like making my foot and toes lay flat…to God they are all the same. He is teaching me so much. There aren’t enough words in the human language to describe all He is doing in my life. Don’t get me wrong – I definitely, 100% have days when all I want to do is cry my eyes out, but then He gives me glimpses of what He’s doing in my life and it’s amazing ya’ll. The devil tries to weasel his way into my life and my thoughts and my heart and sometimes, I must admit, he gets in and starts destroying things, but God is always there to pluck me from Satan’s grip and remind me that yesterday, today and for forever more – God’s Got This!!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Turn-It-Down Tuesday: August 29

I got word this past week that my company is doing something amazing for me. Well, not just for me, but I can think that, right?! :)

Right now, where handicap parking is located at work, it’s not very handicap accessible. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s to code and everything, it’s just farther from the door then I think it should be and it’s slanted so that you either have problems walking to it or from it (It’s not on even, flat ground.) The idea of moving it has been brought up before. Right now, there are a great deal of visitor spots right in front of the building. These spots are also on even, level ground. About 2 weeks ago, my friend, Debbie started walking out with me to my car each night because I’ve been having more problems. One night, as I was about to pull away, I noticed she was standing there with a pensive face. I rolled my window down and asked if she was OK. She said she was, so I left. The next morning, she told me why she looked so pensive. She said that she saw how much I struggled that night getting to the car, even with her help. She also saw another co-worker with a disability struggle to his car. So, after I left, she walked the route we had just walked again trying to see things from my perspective. Then she walked the route I would take if my car were parked where the visitors parking and the expectant mother parking is located. And then she walked into work and sent an e-mail to the vice-president of facilities. Do I not have the best co-workers and friends in the world?! Just a couple of days later I was called into the director of Human Resources office. She prefaced her e-mail with “you’re not in trouble”, which greatly eased my fear that I had done something wrong and at the same time made me laugh. She said that Facilities had received an e-mail about handicap parking and they wanted to get my opinion and suggestions on things. So, I gave it to them. Last week, I was told that 2 of the 4 handicap spots would be moved to where the expectant mother’s parking is currently located and the expectant mother’s parking would be relocated a few spots down. Epic. Amazing. I am so very, very thankful to my co-worker, Debbie for e-mailing about it and for my company for listening and responding. Debbie gives no credit to herself (she says “I was probably the 10th caller”), but she deserves credit for sending that e-mail. She has elderly parents and she knows the struggles they have walking. She’s walked with me on numerous occasions and knows the problems I have. For her to go out of her way to send an e-mail about something she doesn’t even gain from – that’s true friendship and looking out for one’s brother/sister. Thank you, Debbie!

I only “fell” once this past week and I put “fell” in quotes, because it was again, more like taking a knee. It happened on Wednesday, but since then, I’ve been fall-free. However, I still decided today to go down in the electricity in my deep brain stimulation device. I have a few reasons for doing so. First and foremost, my left hand is acting up. I know it’s directly because of the electricity. Also, the callous on the bottom of my left foot is coming back and I know that’s because I’ve not been walking right. My foot does not relax. There are a few other reasons why I feel decreasing the electricity is what I’m supposed to be doing this week. I stayed on the same frequency (B) but went from 3.90 volts to 3.70.
Although I haven’t fallen, that doesn’t mean I’ve haven’t had problems, it just means I haven’t fallen (which, don’t get me wrong, is a huge deal!!). I admitted to my sister-in-law that I think having the toe/foot surgery set me back – for the time being. That last part is critical – FOR THE TIME BEING. If I had it to do all over again, I’d have the surgery. In the long run, it’s going to help me tremendously. In the short-term, God’s still working on me being patient. As He works on me, He doesn’t leave me. He shows up when and where I need it the most. I am continually amazed at how this happens. He’s using friends and family and sometimes even strangers to be His hands and then He’s allowing me to see how He works. I’ve been in awe.

I was feeling particularly anxious on Friday. I don’t know why. I wasn’t steady on my feet and I had an anxious heart. As I was getting ready to leave for work, I got a Facebook message from a church friend, Allie. I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing what she said, but this is what she wrote: “‘But for you who fear My name the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from a stall.’ (Malachi 4:2) As the sun rises today, may joy fill your heart and be your strength. Go and skip about today.” My response to her was, “Wow! God provides. I was just thinking how Satan causes me to fear and how my faith in God sometimes wavers. I was just praying that the Lord would increase my faith in Him and forgive me for my lack of faith sometimes and then you sent this! God knew I needed to hear this from Him and He used you to say it. God provides. Have a wonderfully beautiful day!”

Time after time this week, when I didn’t feel like I could walk without falling, God’s provided a friend to walk along beside me. I’ve been praying every morning that God would keep me upright both physically and spiritually. He’s kept His promise, even when I haven’t kept mine.

I get frustrated, mad, sad, angry, anxious, depressed but even in those times, I come to the realization that I am extremely blessed. God never leaves me or forsakes me. God provides. God goes before me. He stands beside me. He’s got my back. God uses the struggles we have in life to refine us. I’m being refined. When struggles abound, my prayers increase. I'm in constant contact with the Lord of Lords. God uses the struggles in my life to give me perspective and to make me stronger. God can heal with one touch. In one breath He can make it be. He can also say, "Wait my child - you're a miracle in the making." God’s Got This!