Friday, November 27, 2015

A Different View

Last Tuesday, November 24th, I went to the eye doctor.  About 5 or 6 weeks ago, my eyes had become very sore.  It hurt to move them and touch them.  It lasted almost 2 weeks.  I blamed it on allergies and didn't think much more of it.  Then I started experiencing cloudy vision, mostly in the early mornings or late evenings.  I blamed my cataract on that and just kept going.  Inside I was a little uneasy about it but I pushed that aside and worked around the cloudiness.  Then it started lasting longer until my vision was cloudy all day long.  In fact, it got to where I couldn't really see what my makeup looked like in the mornings.  I just hoped I was getting everything in the right place!  I decided to go ahead and get them checked.  Maybe my cataract had grown and was causing problems or something. 

Well, as soon as she looked in my eye she knew exactly what was going on.  I had something called uveitis.  It was in both eyes and it was pretty bad.  It is an inflammation of the eyes.  As the eye gets inflamed, the body sends in white blood cells to help heal.  The eye can only hold so many white blood cells and then they end up causing more inflammation which makes the body send even more!  So the eye starts depositing the white blood cells in the eye.  That, along with the inflammation, causes the cloudy vision.  It also makes things inside the eye sticky and gooey.  So the pupil in my left eye is actually stuck to the cornea. 

The solution?  Dilation.  She immediately dilated me and said I would have to stay dilated until it heals.  How long will that take?  Two to four weeks or more.  Why?  Keeping them dilated means that the eye isn't constricting and opening during the day so it helps not cause any additional inflammation.  I also have to put steroid drops in both eyes every hour or so.  I put dilating drops in three times a day.  I have to go in to keep a check on my eye pressure and to see if there is any improvements.  If there aren't any soon, then I will have to go to the next step which is injections (shots) into my eyes or take oral meds.  The injections are usually the way they go though. 

Also, because I have it in both eyes I have to be tested for other things that could be going on in my body that are being manifested in my eyes.  Things like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, viruses and other things.  These tests are just to rule out any underlying causes because sometimes you get uveitis for no reason at all.  That's what I am hoping for.  I will get testing done on Tuesday.

So my life right now is one big blur.  It's blurry up close, it's blurry far away.  Even with the new prescription glasses that I had to get while dilated,  it's still all blurry.  I can see, I can drive, I can do things.  I just do it all with a blur.  People have to read my texts for me and send them for me.  Michael had to read my recipe to me yesterday when I was trying to make rolls.  I had to wake Makenna up to read the thermometer to me so I knew when the oil was hot enough to fry my pies.  Black Friday shopping was not fun because I couldn't really see well enough to do much.  When I do try to see things or focus in, my eyes get really tired and I end up with a headache and achy eyes.  Work is hard.  My computer screen has to be magnified really big so I can read my emails.  I wish I would've worked harder in computer class years ago so I could type better without looking ☺ That would really come in handy now!  I have to wear sunglasses all the time and even then, the light gives me a headache after a while.  I can't see to put on my makeup.  I can't really see to do much with my hair.  I struggle doing my girls' hair too.  Trying to watch movies with the family gives me a headache too.  Today I tried to set up one of our Christmas trees, but my eyes were too blurry to fluff it and trying to focus hurt so I had to give up.  Life is very frustrating right now!

The good news?  It isn't permanent!  She couldn't see any damage to any parts of my eyes so once this is all cleared up, I will be able to see just fine again!  That was very good news to hear!

I know there are so many out there with much more to deal with than I have to right now.  I know there are those that aren't lucky enough to be told it's only temporary.  Going through this has opened my eyes, as blurry as they are, to the struggles that so many face.  Day to day things are so hard!  Things that once brought joy, like decorating the Christmas tree, become a struggle.  Cooking is hard to do alone, reading causes too much discomfort.  So many things are affected. 

I don't like to ask for help.  I have always just done it on my own, whatever it may be.  Having to ask for so much help is frustrating and humbling.  I am grateful for a patient husband and children that help me with all these simple, yet undoable, tasks.  Things will be hard and I am crossing my fingers for a two week recovery and not four weeks so that I can enjoy this Christmas season a little more.  This is my most favorite time of year.  I love the lights and decorations, the smells and joy, the carols, the love and the giving of gifts!  I love the story of the baby Jesus.  He who came to this earth into very humble circumstances, who walked and taught and served those around Him.  He who healed and forgave and loved.  He who suffered, bled, died and rose again so that we may return to our Father in Heaven in perfection.  As I struggle with these earthly ailments, I am reminded of Him and the  promise we have of freedom from these struggles when we return to His presence for eternity.  These earthly imperfections teach us, strengthen us, bring us closer to Him.  Then when we leave this life, He removes them from us so we suffer no more.

My eyes are filled with things obstructing my view of things that I love.  Our lives are filled with things obstructing our view of Him.  Just as my sight will return if I follow what my doctor tells me to do, we will return to Him if we just follow.  We have to take that leap of faith, step out into the darkness so our light will expand and our view become clearer.  I have eye drops to help my physical eyes see.  We have the teachings of Christ to bring sight to our spiritual eyes and bring us back to Him. This knowledge gives me hope on so many different levels and brings peace to my heart as I work my way through this life.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Who is Your Superhero?

In comic books and movies, superheroes dress up in costumes, fight evil villains, rescue damsels in distress and then, in a huge final battle of good vs evil, they save the world from destruction!  Only a few have the special powers needed to be a superhero.  Only a few can win the battle over evil. 

Today these girls had their Young Women In Excellence program.  The theme was superheroes.
 

Each of the girls thought about who in their life was a real life superhero.  Then they wrote about why this person was their superhero.  They each got to invite their superhero to the program, present what they wrote and thank that person for being their real life superhero.  I was touched as I listened to the things they said.  I felt blessed knowing that they had people in their lives that they could look up to and follow.  These superheroes have taught them faith - in themselves and the Lord, kindness, confidence, persistence, positivity, charity and hard work.

These superheroes don't have fancy costumes, cool weapons and a tricked out car.  They don't have sidekicks or informants or a superhero squad.  They are everyday, ordinary people living their lives the best that they can.  Most of the time, I don't even think they know they are superheroes.  They just do what they do because it's who they are!

As I listened to Maddi and Makenna present their superheroes I thought about the superheroes in my life.  I have a lot!  They are the ones who have taken time to listen when I needed to talk.  The ones who held my hand and lifted me up.  The ones who smiled when I couldn't do it myself.  The ones who went out of their way for me.  My life has been full of superheroes.  Heroes who have silently lifted, served and helped.  Heroes who have taught and led and sometimes pushed and pulled. 

I had a 4th grade teacher that I loved.  She made me feel like I was her favorite student!  I was shy and quiet and nervous and she took time to get to know me and talk to me.  She is a superhero.  I had a Bishop when I was 14 who taught me about charity through the love he had for Christ.  When his son died in a car accident.  Despite his grief, he bore strong testimony of Jesus Christ and His love for each of us.  He is a superhero.  I have friends in Idaho (Katie and Monica) who made those early motherhood years so much more doable.  Superheroes.  I have a friend, Karla Wilson, who loved me and helped me and encouraged me and treated me like one of her own.  A very loved superhero. I have one that when I moved here for the first time 12 years ago, invited me in and has never turned me out.  One that I know is only a text away.  One that will come and help chase bats out of my house when Michael is away. A super superhero!

I work with superheroes.  They amaze me.  My fearless leader teaches me love and patience with an occasional burst of crazy to keep us all laughing.  I have superheroes that greet me every morning with a smile and hello.  There is a superhero that listens as I share my teenage girl woes and encourages me that we will all survive!  a superhero that stops by my desk just to ask me how I'm doing.  A superhero that goes above and beyond to help me with Zeke when I am overwhelmed with the thoughts of it all and encourages me to take time for me.  She reassures me that I am doing just fine.  A superhero that teaches me love and patience with her quiet voice.  A superhero that teaches me kindness as he goes about the school getting balls off the roof, cleaning up spills and messes, letting kids look at all his keys and showing them what's inside the boiler room.  A superhero that listens to my stories as I step into her office with a "so, guess what..."  So many superheroes.  So many small acts from people just doing their best that changed my life for the better. 

My life has been blessed with so many people who have helped "save" this damsel in distress and rescued us all from the evil villains that we face in life.  I am thankful for each one of them.  I am also thankful for the superheroes of my children - friends, leaders, teachers, coaches - all who take the time and reach out to pull them up.  Your light brightens the path for them.  Your example helps show them the way.  You are doing for them what so many have done and still do for me.  So I ask, who is your superhero?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Blessings

Ok, so this summer Maddi got her driver's license.  We started searching for an inexpensive car for her to drive.  A neighbor of ours in Hendricks called one day and said that her daughter was selling her old car and it just happened to be in our price range!  We went over, checked it out and decided to buy it.  We knew it was older and that there is always a chance that something will go wrong with it but we decided to take our chances.  My first car was $250.  I bought it at a rummage sale.  It worked great for several years.  Sometimes those old cars can go forever.  We were hoping this would be the case with this car.  We really couldn't afford anything more than that right now. 

We drove it some this summer and it never gave us trouble.  Once school started, Maddi started driving it to school and back everyday.  Then, one morning around 7am I got a call from Maddi.  Her car had died on the way to school.  I called Michael to see if he could go help them.  Friends took them to school and Michael took the car to the repair shop.  Several days later we got the news that the timing belt had come off and there was other damage that would cost close to $2000 to fix.  So, Michael went and got the car and parked it in the yard.  We could not fix the car and it really wasn't worth putting that much money into.  Unfortunately, we couldn't afford another car either and with her 7:30 class, she needed to drive to school because there are no busses that run early.

She drove our Expedition to school, but we didn't want that to be a long term thing.  We started looking but couldn't find anything that would work for us.  Finances are so tight right now that we could not afford to add another car payment to our list of bills. 

Friends of ours asked Maddi about her car and if it was going to be able to be repaired.  She told them no.  Then a few days later, these friends told us they had found a car that might work for Maddi and wanted to know if we were interested.  I said yes and asked them to tell me the details on it so we could look in to it.  I never heard back.  The other day, I asked again, if they were ever able to find out more about the car. 

Yesterday, I got a text from this friend and asked if I saw what had been dropped off at the house and if would work.  I hadn't been home yet so I asked what it was.  The response... you'll have to wait and see... ☺ When I got home, there was a car sitting in our driveway.  The same car that they had told me about.  The car had been paid in full, put in Michael's name and delivered to our house with a full tank of gas! 

Wow!  I couldn't believe it!  I didn't even know what to think!  I expected details on the car - mileage, price, color, etc... Not the actual car!  I never imagined that this is what they had planned!  What a blessing!  What an amazing act of kindness! 

I had been struggling with things lately.  Kids are expensive, food is expensive, life is expensive.  I am working.  Michael is working.  The kids worked during the summer, those that were old enough.  We are doing all we can but sometimes ends just don't seem to meet up and things get tough.  This car means so much.  It showed me that God was aware of my concerns.  It showed that I have friends who love me and care about me and are aware of me.  It showed me that blessings do come when we try hard to do our best.  It shows me that, despite all the crazies in the world, there are amazing people out there, doing great things in their life and making the world a little less crazy!

It is something that I can never repay them for, but I hope that they know how much this means to us.  I can't right now - not in this way, but hope that I can find ways to pay it forward and help some one else in need.