Had Surgery: Talus Recovery (Week Two)

Prepping for surgery:

I broke my left Talus June 30th, it was determined I needed surgery for it on 7th. Before we even left the specialist’ s office hubby called his parents’ and my Italian MamaBama agrees to come down to help.

Pre surgery involved a few outings like church and icecream:

And heading to the library for stacks and stacks of books:

I was very nervous pre surgery, not so much worried about dying, but worried about the hard climb after. The unknown of pain, level of functioning, extent of recovery time. But I was encouraged by several Bible passages: Psalm 18:33, Isaiah 28:16, and Psalm 46. In reading those verses I realized that no matter what, God would be with me through this journey.

That night neither hubby or I slept well. I was anxious about not feeling emotionally connected and I made sure he didn’t sleep either. This led to bickering that wasn’t good for either one of us. Unfortunately, it was just one of those times that I forgot we are on the same team.

The surgery

That morning came way too early. It was also a neat showcase of how hubby and I handle things differently. He was stressed wanting to do his plan which led to some more frustrations. I was very thankful for my mother in law’s (mil) peaceful presence.

After dropping dog off at a friend’s we arrived at the center. They sent me ahead in the wheelchair. I brought the stuffed monkey hubby bought me before we were dating. Ironically, I wore it around my neck into the building. The nurse asked me my age, unsure if I could be left alone. Haha. 

After check in I was weighed then got changed into the gown. I answered several medical questions from a nurse who reminded hubby and I of a bubbly curly haired friend of ours. 

She ran through the checklist then said “angelreon” Hubby and I asked her to repeat herself, still didn’t understand. Mil and her say it slower ” any jewelry on?” To which hubby and I laugh and hifive, both being confused. Then we joke about what kind of disease angelreon could even be.

We met with the Dr who answers a few more questions and I’m wheeled away again. I was nervous as I entered the operation room and they introduced me to everyone. They put the mask on me and told me to breathe deeply. I prayed and coughed as I felt the anesthesia in my body.

When I woke up I was in a different recovery area. I felt odd and I was very aware how slowly I was talking. I was aware of feeling weepy relief and being extra chatty processing what was happening around me. There was music playing and I pointed out the irony of the lyrics of American Pie “and this’ll be the day that I die”

Quickly I was reunited with my family and I felt teary again. Hubby said the surgery took the planned 45 minutes, but Dr said it went well. I was disappointed they made me sit up, I was all to ready to sleep.

The nurse focused on having me eat some crackers and drink sprite. I still felt sick so they gave me something else and these cool throw up bags. I felt fine after that. The nurses teased my hubby about how finicky he held the throw up bag. 

All I could do was wait to get home to sleep it all off. Once in bed I couldn’t sleep. It hurt (a low level ache) and I couldn’t get the pillows comfortable. 

The Dr called that night to check on me and said I should be icing my ankle as much as possible and should even make sure to move my ankle/legs often. It meant so much to hear is concern 🙂 Hubby had told me later that day the Dr said I should get all movement back up and down but he wasn’t sure about left to right due to all of the fragments. I don’t know what that will mean about my beginner ballet class.

Post Surgery

The biggest goal has been following a pain medicine routine and trying to sleep. It hasn’t hurt too much, but I’m sure the meds are to thank for that.

Sleep has been difficult to get, waking up every few hours to take pain meds. My sleep has been improving  since I claimed the couch.

Most days I’ve felt pretty nauseated or woozy thanks to the hydrocodone. I’m trying to reduce it so I feel better.

Some hours I’m back to my bubbly self excited about whatever I’m doing. Other moments I’m tired, cranky, frustrated, sick. In those moments I’m very thankful for the companionship of my mother in law who reminds me “slow and steady” and binge watches Downton abbey with me.

Visited an Ankle Specialist: Talus Recovery (Week One)

To learn about how I hurt myself check the previous post (currently down).

Today I visited the ankle specialist. I’ve been anxious about this appointment because it would finally interpret my scans, and tell me what the rest of my recovery would be like.

Easily I was the youngest adult in the waiting room, but everyone was kind, often wishing each other quick healing. We met the Dr. and he calmly, gently explains that I’ll need surgery as the scans show that my fracture is slightly displaced. I was disappointed, but if my bones aren’t together, they aren’t together and it won’t heal with a cast.

He continues to tell me that they’ll use 2 titanium screws in my ankle, at which I start singing “I can say, ‘I am titanium!'” To which the Dr. looks at me like I am super crazy. I explain that my head works in song lyrics and he laughs it off. I’m very aware of the assistant taking notes wondering if this will affect how they document my mental awareness.

He says to schedule the surgery for Thursday, it’ll be out patient, and shouldn’t take very long. He wrote me a prescription for a wheel chair, a knee scooter, a year long handicap pass and a permission excuse for 2 months of no work after the surgery.

I’m still struggling to process it all, it’s scary to see how one action has other unexpected actions.

I was worrying, but managed to talk husband into getting my very favorite giant pizza from downtown, after the poor guy was exhausted from obtaining medical records and mailing them to worker’s comp insurance.

Not only did I get to eat the best pizza on the planet, but friends of ours were eating there as well. They walked back to the car to visit me. My friend, Kelsey used to work with hubby. I find out not only did she fracture her talus in a cheerleading accident, she broke several bones having to have her ankle reconstructed. Her surgery was performed for the very same Dr and she returned to cheerleading after, not loosing any functioning!

So hubby was reluctant to let me eat unhealthy pizza, but it was just another way for God to show His divine providence; He is in control.

How I’ve been spending my time:

camp reset an online creativity challenge

-yummy meals from friends

-reading

-crafting

-trying to take in sunlight where I can

– even folding laundry, wanted to do something normal in my life

Please pray for the surgery. My mother in law is coming down to help take care of me before surgery while James is at work. Please pray for the rest of worker’s comp paperwork to be finalized as that could delay the surgery.

Thank you for all your encouragement!

Safari’d

This past Sunday I learned through social media that the Virginia Safari Park now has penguins! Cue freaking out and begging husband to go. I’d already been wanting to go, but the penguins were a nice additional bonus!

 

SO I talked hubby into going after church “C’mon it’ll be less busy on a Sunday, and its been raining, it’ll scare people off, but its really not supposed to rain very much anymore…” Against his better judgment he concede.

Then, there was this hour long windey drive through the mountains, eh. Then, there was this just about hour long wait in line in the car just to pay the fee to enter…eh..

We started with the drive thru portion. I’d always heard and read from others to take the wagon ride as the animals and animal feed will make a mess of cars. I wanted to do the wagon ride too because I figured it’d be better for pictures…but we entered the park after the last ride was over.

We drove into the drive thru portion and there were hordes of llamas everywhere. They were hustling around the cars. We scored 2 buckets of feed for free for signing up for yearly memberships, and I was conscious of the need to spread out the feed. All too soon I met my first guests. The white llama was so soft. I gave him/her a little feed and then we drove past other cars.

One car was feeding this giant beast. He turned and looked at me and I thought “no sir”. I know what those big animals could do! (eat all the food).

We drove on further feeding various types of deer and some more llamas. It seemed that the tinier deer were more skittish of the cars and wouldn’t come over. There were antelopes but they were more interested in fighting each other.

We turned the corner and the soft drizzle became a heavy down pour. At this point many of the herds of animals were escaping the rain under the trees. We shook our buckets at various animals, hoping something different would come by. James would just stick his hand out the window to hide from the rain, I completely would roll down the window.

Then I met this one giant deer. Let’s call him Ancient Bob. He is a Pere David’s Deer. He was under the trees and he took several minutes to waddle over. I was thinking “yay! He’s coming over!” and guys, he literally waddled, like he had bad hips or something. So I’m feeding him from the bucket and he pushes his head hard down, with antlers scraping down too near my arm, and there goes my bucket. At least there was only half left at that point. Looking back later in the picture I realized there’s another bucket on the ground, this guy knows what he is doing!

So we continued to drive around. We met a few determined llamas, they didn’t care it was pouring down raining, they stood in the road regardless, with their ears back, looking pathetic. I was just “sorry bud, that last guy stole my bucket”

When we finished the drive thru we headed for the gift shop area to have our seasons passes made. I wandered the store to discover this awesome shirt. We were pushing it a little bit financially by signing up for passes…but I’m getting this long sleeve shirt next time!

Next we walked around the village as the rain was mostly a light drizzle at this point. We wandered through to the penguins! At the entrance the guest services worker told me that the penguins had been here longer than she had, but that they had a new area in their exhibit, a slide. So I don’t know if it was just a Re-grand opening. However, the penguins are also not listed on the website which makes me think they are still pretty new? There was supposed to be a keeper talk, but none ever showed. Maybe next time I’ll be able to find out able this waddle.

The penguins huddled about doing what the others were doing. They seemed very curious in exploring their area, each other, the humans, and their pool. The pool seemed small, but it was awesome to see them dive in and swim around fast almost running into each other!

Across from the penguins were the tigers. The Orange Bengal tiger kept acting like my cat at home, stalking his roommate the White Bengal tiger for no reason. It was fun to see this in action as they growled at each other for a few moments.

We ambled through the Kangaroo area, but they were pretty much all escaping the rain in their barn. I can’t say I blame them. There was one mama hanging out with her joey in her pouch!

James seems to understand farm animals pretty well, we always enjoy ourselves at petting zoos. He says the secret is the scratch the animal where they are scratching so you win their love and affection. I don’t recommend this, but he then cuddles with the goats, in this instance putting his face near their antlers.

I loved the antics of the baby goats. There were various sizes, and several rambunctious ones jumping around, jumping on each other. Towards the end of our visit one baby came over. It had the softest ears! I petted it for a bit and it ended up poking its head through to chew on my jeans. Guys, can I please have a baby pygmy goat????!

I’m so excited that we purchased a seasons pass, even if I’ll never look forward to the windey drive to get there. Sometimes James and I struggle to come up with “couple hobbies” but I’d say that interact with and feeding animals is high on our list.

Celebrated One Year at Tortuga Terrace

Today marks a special day! One year that hubby and I have lived at our first house! I think over the past year I officially forgot to introduce Tortuga Terrace.

The name “Tortuga Terrace” is chosen to reflect the pirate theme that hubby and I have embraced from time to time, i.e. our recessional down the aisle after my new last name was announced was to the theme song from Pirates of the Caribbean. Last year my word for the year was “Peace” and I really wanted to dedicate/name our home for this idea that it would be a haven, a place filled with grace for ourselves, each other, and all of our guests. Thus hubby thought of Tortuga, the pirate haven.

In honor of our one year (and the beautiful Spring weather we’ve been having in February) hubby and I decided to grill out and celebrate Port Tortuga style (music, grilling, hanging out in our camping chairs in the car port). I want this warm weather to STAY.

In the meantime, enjoy some of my favorite pictures from the past year! Even if there are a 101 projects we never finished (painting, organizing, buying patio furniture) and we’ve yet to throw a house party, its been an awesome year!

*Amazing friends helping us move last minute:

*Discovering all of the fauna and critters living in our neighborhood (and basement!)

*Weeding flowers and getting poison ivy on my face

*Finally having my own crafting space (though I don’t spend as much time in it as I would like)

*Celebrating our first holidays:

Easter at the nearby restaurant

Halloween

Thanksgiving

Christmas with the Inlaws

*Our first snow days living in the house (and plows come on time!)

*All of our guests, in laws, and international guests

*New furniture, appliances, and crazy home improvement projects

 

*New ways of cooking

I’m pretty lucky! Here’s to the next 29 years of our mortgage!

Met Vermin Supreme

Well tonight there was an adventure to beat the Monday blues!

After a long day of work, finally going to the gym, eating at our favorite Sushi hubby and I were beat. He headed down to his man cave in the basement. Suddenly, he calls out “Honey! GET DRESSED!” (I was in work out clothes).  Me: “What?!” Husband: “Vermin Supreme is ON Campus!” Me: “AHHHHH Grab my socks! Grab the camera!” as we booked it down the highway (20 minutes) to get back our alma mater. A good friend of us sent James a picture of the two of them.

Apparently, Vermin Supreme was invited by a Libertarian minded student group (I’m unsure of the specific group). We rushed to get there, figure out some place to park without getting towed, and navigating the new student restaurant areas (SERIOUSLY, we’ve haven’t been OFF CAMPUS THAT LONG?!) We literally booked it from the bookstore parking lot (12,000 steps I’m looking at you). BUT WE MADE IT! WE CHEERED WHEN WE SAW THE BOOT OF TYRANNY.

For those of you who do not know who this awesome political troll is, let me educate. Every presidential election cycle he runs in New Hampshire because New Hampshire has to allow everyone who is a candidate to participate in debates. He has been doing this satirical performance since 1987.  Each year he runs on a platform of being the “Friendly Fascist” and “Tyrant you can trust” and making up a whole bunch of campaign promises like “everyone gets a free pony” (obviously that is my personal favorite).

 

We very much enjoyed meeting him in person. (Even being out of breath). The silly James even asked to peer into the boot of tyranny! (I’m not even going to think about how many heads that has been on…as someone else asked to wear it as well that night). James has now checked an item of the bucketlist!

Mondays can have adventures to! Share the Monday love!

 

Cuddled and Adopted a Penguin

The weekend before last, I celebrated my birthday up north at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. According to my research its the closest zoo that offers penguin experiences/encounters. (And just $45 for a cheek to beak experience). I’d already lost my heart at one experience with Busch/Seaworld, but I wanted to see the penguins at one of the newest/most advance penguin facilities.  They can host up to 100 penguins, and have one of the most successful breeding colonies in North America. They’ve been able to raise over 900 penguins since 1967! (Plus hubby has family in Maryland)

20161203_113848

***Disclaimer*** Not all penguin experiences are the same. Some seem to be more conservative in which the trainer holds the penguin and you are allowed to pet it with two fingers on its back. Other experiences allow the animals to walk around and you to interact more freely with them. Whichever experience you get, remember that the safety of the animals is #1 and you are lucky enough to interact with an endangered exotic (amazing) animal.

20161203_100211

We got to the zoo upon opening, lingering in the warm gift shop as it was windy. I may have been canoodling with a penguin who threatened to fly away in the breeze. The zoo opened at 10am, but our experience wasn’t until 11am.

img_7051 img_7053

We explored around the Penguin Coast, watching the penguin feeding, and saw the Polar Bear eating snacks.

img_7040 img_7063 img_7140

Finally, the time came. Another couple was waiting and we chatted about the upcoming experience. In my normal over thinking thing I’d mused to hubby “what if I see them and I don’t like them any more?” (as I have a tendency to be zealous about things and then abruptly not) Hubby stared at me and rolled his eyes.

We were led into the area by the keeper, Steven. He showed us the small kitchen, where he explained the food prep process and that penguins can eat up to a 1 lb of fish a day. I was jittering with excitement and I’m sure I squealed when he said that we’d be meeting 7! (In my last encounter I just saw 1 walking around!)

20161203_111206

Then, we entered a small room. At this point we were told not to touch them, but that they’d wander up to us. We were given a plastic pool tie type device to play with them (picture a sort of cat toy). They waddled around all seven of them: Winnie, Peach, Hope, Lilly, Eddie, Dawn, and Tetra. I was in heaven. Fiddling around with the plastic toy I discovered that some of them would respond like cats playing, and once I even spun one in a complete circle chasing it! Steven also answered various questions about his waddle of penguins. Of course, I always think of a bazillion questions later.

img_7295

20161203_111012 20161203_111908 20161203_111507

After a few moments we were ushered to an outside area, now we were allowed to pet the penguins if they came up to us. Cue the most magical time of my life! Most of the time the penguins would stay in a group, leaving 5 of them huddled around you (Two were excluded as they are continuing to train on being nice to people). I was consumed with petting them, sometimes a penguin for each hand. I continued to play with the plastic tie with them.

20161203_113222

20161203_113411

Husband was just as enthralled, practicing talking to them, finding Peach to be the most vocal. Meanwhile, my favorite was the sweet Lilly, who just stood next to my side for several moments wanting to be petted. She also had the softest feathers.

20161203_114324 20161203_114257

 

Once outside the guy of the other couple took his girl aside, while asking Steven to video for him. He got down on one knee, and proposed. She said yes, complete with many penguins in their video. Just adding the magic on.

img_7348

Towards the end I was surprised when a penguin named Hope, jumped in my lap. She’d looked at my lap earlier, and Steven confirmed that if anybody would do it, she would. I tried to convince her at that time, but she didn’t do it. It made it that much more surprising when she did. I had a few moments of cuddles, before the queen bee, Winnie, Matriarch of the waddle, pecked her and she hopped out. I was so happy, I didn’t even think to chastise the bully Winnie!

img_20161203_131351

For the rest of the day I was in shock that a penguin had actually jumped in my lap. Even now I keep staring at the pictures/video incredulous!

20161203_114624

So, like I blogged a few weeks ago, I want to save penguins. One of my birthday gifts was a check, so I decided to use it for a penguin adoption through Sanccob. Right now, through the end of December, a local agency will double any penguin chick adoptions. Basically, due to abandonment of chicks due to the parents’ molting process (and inability to catch fish for the young) 500 chicks have been rescued from the South African coast to be hand reared by volunteers. This is an expensive, tedious, and sharp beak infested process, hence the need for donations. If you make a R600 or R700 adoption ($50) you also are allowed to “name” “your” penguin and will learn about the brief history while being rehabilitated.

20161203_113200

Once I obtain the info of “my penguin” I’ll share it with yall!

20161203_114016 img_20161206_195355

Well, in honor of my sweet penguin cuddles with Hope, the penguin I “adopted” is also named Hope. These penguins were listed as endangered in 2009, but there is so much work being done to save them, there is so much hope for their loud kind. :0)

 

 

 

Rescued Penguins For My Birthday

I daydream about being a Disney princess…but it isn’t for the princes, the fancy castle, clothes, or even the books (I know *gasp*!) its because I secretly wish that I could whistle (ok, I can’t even whistle in the first place…) and animals would come walk over to me. Sure there are some animals that are more interesting than others, but I’m fascinated by most of the animal kingdom and the fact that some zoos offer close up encounters is my new favorite.

Penguin Feed GoPro

A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to participate in such an encounter at the Gulfarium in Florida. I was able to interact with the amazing winged creatures known as penguins, and basically became imprinted with them. I tried to deny it for awhile, that I wasn’t really in love with them, but no one bought it.

Later, I found out that there were specific awareness days for Penguins, days set aside to bring awareness to the species. I was in a school in January so I wore all of my penguin gear: tacky sweater, jewelry, etc cetera and shared that I was bringing attention to them. Then, the teacher asked, “why are you bringing attention to them? Are they endangered?” cue me stammering like an idiot. “umm..I think so?” (I think in my mind I was just bringing attention to the fact that they are cute, and NOT mostly native to cold climates)

Image result for penguins endangered graphic

Thus began research. Many penguins are endangered. The penguins I feel in love with, South African penguins, are in danger every year as they live around the coast of South Africa. During the summers many ships carrying large amounts of oil crash endangering the lives of marine life. The oil poisons the birds, as well as coats their feathers, destroying their water proofing abilities, thus making them unable to enter the water to feed themselves or their families. This pictures are pretty heart breaking, and there’s a cool documentation of the worst oil spill in recent history (2000) in: The Great Penguin Rescue

Image result for penguins oil spill

Right now is chick breeding season, and sometimes chicks are abandoned by their parents, so SANCCOB comes in to hand rear them (a very tedious and pricey process). It is important that they help to support the species in this way because there are only 25,000 breeding pairs of South African penguins, and those are always in danger of oil spills reducing their populations and disrupting their mating/breeding cycles.

So, since December is related to penguins, I thought it would be fun to forgo gifts for my birthday this year and ask for penguin adoptions instead! There are many organizations and I’ll include the links below. There are organizations that are working in the countries, but there are also plenty of zoos with breeding programs that are also working to increase the populations. Some of the penguin adoptions are pricey, so feel free to make a smaller donation if that is better for you. Let’s save the penguins!

Adopt a Penguin

SANCCOB Saves Sea Birds  – Adopt an egg, a chick, or a “home pen penguin” If you adopt a chick you can name it, and they’ll release it. There will be no further information after they release it. Amounts are in South African currency. R700 is about $50 for reference. Right now, through the end of December, donations are doubled through a local donor.

Richmond Zoo -the amazon wishlist of the Richmond Zoo. Not sure if they listed items for penguins, but I know they have a South African penguin breeding program.

Maryland Zoo Giving Tuesday Maryland Zoo has the largest colony of breeding pairs of South African Penguins in North America. On Giving Tuesday all donations will be doubled. They also offer symbolic animal adoptions.

 

 

 

Lived in a United America

This is third presidential election that I’ve been able to vote it, and it has taught me that I do not live in a united America at all.

wp-1478742427482.jpg

2008- Due to conservative beliefs I began my voting career as an idealist Republican. I was sold the fear that Obama would ruin America and everything that I valued. I was all geared up for the “most important election of our time” and experienced a weird sense of disillusionment after the election was over, feeling like I’d been let down by what I thought would “save us”.

 

2012- I became a full libertarian, watching how Ron Paul was shut down of the primaries, so when another “lesser of two evils” tried to excite/fear me into voting to “save our world/way of life” I side stepped my with with Gary Johnson. The next morning I began my counseling career in a staff meeting. The older counselors were quiet, somber, quite like going to a funeral. We processed their “post election stress syndrome” and you could tell they were devastated by what they felt would be the end of “their way of life”.

 

2016- Well, I still don’t have a dog in this fight from the beginning, not trusting the establishment. (At the last minute Gary Johnson really was disappointing me as well but that’s another story). In a crazy unexpected turn of events the Republican won. Now I see the other side of the line, those friends filled with depression, fear, anxiety, disillusionment, feeling like it is over for “their way of life”.

 

You guys, we were all fed the same lie “the government is here to make us happy, to help us get our way of life, protect it, and make sure no one else ruins it”.

Ummm…no…the only thing that is happening is every 4-8 years half of the country is depressed feeling like the world is over. Before that there is an awful election year of name calling. Not just addressing policies/issues about candidates they don’t like, awful name calling of “if you like that person you are a racist”, “how could you not vote for xyz?!”. We become so alienated trying to identify with one of these “champions” we are given to fight for our way of life “ideals.” When neither side ends up being happy with these “champions” and each year we are told to vote for the “lesser of two evils.”

I know, once again, that 3rd party voters are the “people who lost the election for everyone else” but seriously, what if we decided to stop idolizing the government as this agency of “safeguarding our way of life”? (at the detriment of ruining everyone else’s?) What if we stopped allowing the executive branch to grant themselves extra powers, so it wouldn’t matter who was elected each term? Then that individual wouldn’t have the power to change everyone’s life so much? What if we each lived our own lives, finding our own happiness without harming others, and stopped regulating the lives of other people that we don’t understand.

In summary: we need to go back to a form of government that does not have the power to affect people’s daily way of life.

Ranted about the “Me Before You” Response

Guys, why do we (especially the Christian conservatives) freak out about EVERY new book (but more so when its made into a movie) that comes out with an agenda that doesn’t quite match God’s standards? (Um, hello, there is one Bible, and its pretty clear that the world has different standards).

2016-06-01 19.12.04

This post is in response to various articles even appearing in newspapers like New York Times, etc that call for a “warning” in the messages/themes in “Me Before You” written by Jojo Moyes.

Firstly, friend and I saw this preview and wondered if there was a book, and decided to read the book and then watch the movie together. (The latter has not happened yet). We were intrigued by the preview, I actually watched it multiple times in my wait to find a copy of the book (I don’t recommend doing this as the trailer reveals all the funny/sweet moments making the book less of a surprise). I delayed in obtaining this book because the kindle version was like $9.99 and couldn’t find a paperback cheaper than $14 (until of course I found the above copy after kindle break down purchase).

I will admit that the book is fun and enjoyable, but I think I put it at a 3 on goodreads because I wasn’t a fan. I won’t be able to rant without sharing the ending, so if you don’t want it to be spoiled (though with the rants available you probably already know) stop reading.

Brief summary. This guy, Will Traynor is injured and becomes a quadriplegic. He struggles with depression and attempts suicide. He makes a deal with his loved ones that he’ll wait 6 more months before medically ending his life. He’s done, this vivacious man doesn’t want to ruin all of his memories by experiencing his favorite things as a handicapped man. Cue the hire of Louise a local, trapped/haunted by a trauma in her past (which I’ve heard the movie doesn’t delve into). She’s vivacious in her personality, but doesn’t have any large dreams for herself, she really doesn’t ask much from life. It sets up for a typical Rom-Com of two different people falling for each other.  Due to the sad face reactions to the trailers posted on facebook I guessed that things didn’t go the way that the reader wanted. I hated the ending, and I really don’t like Will Traynor. I find him selfish, rude, and arrogant. (Mixed with some really great humor). In the end he tells Louise (after she admits her love for him) “You aren’t enough.” (Who does that???!!!!). But, everyone’s over-generalizations about the themes in this book have me in its defense:

  1. Hollywood does not want handicap people dead
  2. Jojo Moyes DID speak with disabled people before writing this book
  3. Change your perspective, and see more themes

THIS IS THE IDEA OF ONE INDIVIDUAL’S STORY

There have been claims that because of the ending, Hollywood is “endorsing this message” and is prescribing it towards all of the disabled/handicap population. This is not the case. ALL of the characters in the book are appalled by Will’s decision and actively fight against it and refuse to have anything to do with it as much as possible. To believe that Hollywood is saying that handicap people can’t enjoy life, and should end their lives, is a gross exaggeration of the story.

In a well done interview with Signature  they ask Jojo Moyes several great questions about the origins of the STORY. Jojo Moyes responds,

“You like to think that if you suffer some catastrophic physical accident that you’d be like Christopher Reeve – that you’d be the amazing, graceful person who found a way through. I’m not sure I would be that person. I think I would be very angry for a long time. I spoke with a nurse who deals with this kind of spinal injury and she said that only twice in her career had she met men who just refused to accommodate it, who just refused to find a way through. That fascinated me because I thought about what it would be like to be that man’s mother, what it would be like to be the person in love with him, what it would be like to be him. I just knew it was a story I had to tell.”

This is the story of a small minority who just couldn’t get past their disability/handicap/life change. They were stuck and therefore fixated on ending their life. Even if this isn’t the story that we would want to read (everyone would rather him be happy and choose life), this is a realistic concept/story for SOME people in this situation, and that story deserves to be told. It deserves to be known and honored that some people can’t change when life hands them lemons.

I HATE that truth. I HATE that love wasn’t enough for Will Traynor to change his mind. I would hate to love someone, and know that I couldn’t make them choose life. But, the fact that we can’t make anyone do anything is kind of a fundamental principal in life (and a daily reality when I work with behaviorally challenged children). Despite all of the people in Will’s life they COULDN’T change his mind to chose to live. Most of the characters run away, and refuse to participate because they believe it is wrong. In the end they realize that standing next to their loved one as they die is better than never saying good bye at all. I can’t imagine how tough a decision that would be.

Many claim that Jojo Moyes has romanticized this idea of a disabled man teaching a homely girl to become vivacious. Sure it is an exaggerated story (noting the characters extreme differences), but she DID speak with people in her research. According to this interview she has family members with 24/7 care needs (so she understands their routines) and spoke with people in various online communities. She states that people even sent her letters sharing that they believe she told “their story” So again, at least some portion of the disabled and their caregiver population have experienced these trials.

Other themes that we can take away from this story:

-The will to live is difficult in the face of disability, largely because we do not live in an accommodating world.

-Maybe if the world was more disabled friendly, it would be easier for these individuals to choose and enjoy life.

-We can’t force anyone to choose life.

-We should be more understanding towards those who feel stuck in their disability, and find ways to listen to their hurts and their stories, no matter how uncomfortable it makes us feel.

There, rant over. Can we please just get back to enjoying stories and not overgeneralizing them?????

 

Made Peace With The Highs and Lows

I’m still trooping through the year trying to figure out what PEACE is, what it looks life in my life, and how to let more of it in, and let the bad stuff out.

Something I’ve come to recognize (okay, really, just be honest with myself) these past few months are my struggles with the ups and downs of life. In high school I used to joke with my friends that I didn’t need to do drugs because I was already so “high on life.” A large aspect of my personality is this effervescent bubbly-ness. The bottom line is I DESPERATELY want to be happy, so I seek these things out. This could look like being easily entertained, or enjoying the simple things in life (like a cupcake in a classroom because its a kids birthday).

I started this blog in one of those low times after I got married. I’d gotten married and graduated and quickly learned that neither one of those things were going to bring me the complete happiness I was looking for. I felt purposeless not having a course syllabus to guide my life, and I realized all of my poisonous relationship insecurities. So, this blog became a redirection (a counseling term, basically distracting yourself) to focus on the little things in life, and maybe I’d figure out the big things later.

I really am just so addicted to being happy. I want the high energy levels. Those are the times when I’m able to follow through with this thing that I hate in my life (chores). I want my spirit to soar.

2016-03-11 18.08.53

Sometimes in little bad times, I’m able to just sort of “positive attitude” myself out of them. My personality type (ENFP) LOVES those moments, sees them as challenges to rise above. But, after awhile we can get drained. That far reaching telescope of brightness easily reverses to inspect all of the tiny minutiae of my life, pointing out everything that is “wrong.”

This has probably been the most intense this past week. I was on the high of having completed my first year at the local community service board. In discussing my progress with my supervisor she reflected how much I’d grown, and I easily agreed with her. I could -feel- the gained experience, especially the ability to be more present with my clients.

2016-03-11 18.08.39

Then, I had a rough week. A couple of things came up. Basically, it boils down to not being present with those two cases. I didn’t meet those teens where they were. It was crushing to hear this in their self reports. One of them I thought we’d have a great therapeutic relationship, but it turned out that I annoyed her. At the end of the day I was thankful for the diverse personality among my teammates, that is the point, we are all different. BUT, and I really did let that BUT be bigger than any other truths. I FELT crushed thinking that I was sucking at the fundamentals of counseling (you know, being a good listener).  It led to deep reflection, not all of it as healthy as I’d like to admit.

BUT (see let’s use some of those for the positive!)

I did a vision board earlier this year as part of Ali Edward’s One Little Word prompts. I always enjoy the freeing ability in these types of projects, saving magazines that I find all the time. (I also got to use my amazing folding table in my amazing new craft room!!!)

2016-03-12 16.11.37

 

This theme of finding peace by thru emotional balance can easily be observed. (And is represented by the pictures of various seasons, oh I just LOVE how it came together)

2016-03-12 16.11.30

One of my favorite magazine cut out finds is this quote, “If you are only happy at the summit you aren’t going to be happy very often” Its from an adventure magazine interview with someone who ACTUALLY scales mountains. (It makes me wish I still had the rest of the article to see if there is more wisdom there). The vision board sits on my desk next to my computer and I see this statement often. Its true, if we are only happy when we are succeeding at the very top of whatever our mountains are, we will be happy like 1% of the time. We love movies about people overcoming the odds, in the harsh realities of life, because the majority of life is the struggle.

Isaiah 26:3 says “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (See! there’s that BUT being used for the power of GOOD!)

So, I want to learn to find lasting peace in the struggle. I want to learn to focus on Christ in all things.