Nature Wheeled: Talus Recovery (Week Three)

It has been three weeks since my initial Talus fracture injury, and one week since surgery.

In an attempt to “stay ahead of the pain” I was faithful about taking my strong pain meds, to the point of setting an alarm to wake up in the middle of the morning (meaning I wasn’t sleeping very well either). After my body adjusted more and I relied on lowed level pain meds and ice therapy to dull pain I began to feel better.

During those first few days I had my sweet mother in law to take care of me. I was also able to be patient with myself, prescribing more tv binge watching: Downtown Abbey. By the time my MIL left we had watched 3 seasons!

My tune changed after a post op check in on the state of my stitches. Huge praise, the incision was healthy and infection free. In not so pleasant news, I’d not been wearing my boot due to discomfort so my foot struggled to lie flat. The brisk nurse forced me to get it flat to get it back in the boot correctly before we left. I bit back tears during this process.

While in town we stopped by the grocery store. The rest of the tears flooded out as my fears came back about painful physical therapy and the need to return to the stronger pain meds and forever feel sick. I blubbered by my MIL stayed sweet and asked if there was anything special she could get me from the store. I asked her for my comfort snack, gummy bears!

Waiting in the parking lot, and continuing to cry, I decided to log into my pokemon go account. Well I was surprised when a special like week only available pikachu with Ash hat was hanging out. I didn’t even need to move before it popped up! I was thankful for the silly blessing to help redirect my thoughts towards God’s companionship and positivity versus the unknown scary future.

Then, my MIL returned with several gummy bear packages (they were on sale) she said she figured it was enough to get me through the next few months!

This past week has been about “nesting” really settling into life on the couch. We purchased this pretty cart from Michaels to help me have more things near me (and to keep them organized).

Before MIL left we were able to arrange an outing. Camp Reset‘s movement challenge for the week included a nature photo scavenger hunt. I was dying to show MIL our favorite walk/park downtown.

Since the park was already downtown, I talked hubby into stopping by my very favorite giant pizza slice location. MIL was in shock at how big the slices are! I was thankful to actually eat sitting up, at a table!

Then we trekked to the river walk. I was thankful that hubby approved this one as more “wheel chair” friendly.

We took the “must have” picture at the love sign.

I tested out my arm muscles determined to wheel myself some, and quickly tired out, how do people wheel chair through entire 5ks?!

During this time period a new perspective has been revealed to me regarding those who need mobility devices like wheel chairs. I hadn’t expected to be able to get on the overlook platform and was elated to discover it actually had a wheel chair ramp. (I’d never noticed it before). I locked the wheel chair, and braced myself on the ledge, standing on one leg. I lost myself in the moment: hearing the music from an event, watching the flow of the river, and feeling the breeze on my skin.

After the appointment with the nurse I’d resigned myself to not have a nature trip outing, due to her insistence on elevating higher, more, in order to finally get the swelling of my foot back down. But, I was thankful that hubby had advocated for this knowing how much I’d emotionally need it.

We couldn’t scout down on the actually island, but we rolled the trail at little longer. I snapped a few more pictures, but didn’t stress myself out over finding everything on the scavenger list. I knew the importance was focusing on being present and that the list was to help us to “focus” on the things around us.

Afterward I was able to talk hubby into stopping at an ice cream place I’ve been oogling for like a year! It was nice to finish off my MIL’s time here with a memorable outing.

This isn’t a journey I would have chosen, but I’m determined to learn everything I can from it!

Favorite 2015 Unblogged Moments

2015 New Year celebration with the date outlined by colourful fiery sparklers on a dark New Year's Eve night

 

There is this thing that happens, called life, and I’ve yet to master managing it. Here’s my attempt at catch up with a series called “Favorite 2015 Unblogged Moments” So enjoy these belated recaps with me while we celebrate new beginnings and fresh starts! Cheers!

Watched Otters Play at Maymont – Touring a beautiful estate in Richmond.

Joined the Dance OnStage -That time when I performed in my adult ballerina class.

Celebrated the 71st Anniversary of DDay – at the National memorial.

Marveled at a Lindsey Stirling Concert – Finally getting to see my favorite musician perform live, and this really is the only way to truly experience her talents.

Kissed an Alpaca in Amish Country – I wasn’t able to leave the country, but I was able to visit a different culture in Upstate New York.

Weathered a Hurricane in Outerbanks – Hurricane Joaquin messing up my plans to see the wild ponies for our 6th anniversary.

Experienced a Flamethrower – Our 6th anniversary happenings.

Embraced Penguins in December – I hate the fact that penguins are associated with ice, they DON’t all live in cold areas. But it does mean that penguin stuff becomes more prominent in December, the month of my birthday, so maybe I’ll allow it.

Visited the Mill Mountain Zoo – When there’s free admission the week of your birthday, you check the closest zoo out!

Lived In a Glass Snow Globe (My struggle with social anxiety )

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Here I am, awake at 5am, reflecting on my struggles with social anxiety. They weren’t what woke my up (curse the results of trying to hydrate more!) but they are certainly on my mind.

I went to easily one of my most enjoyable weddings ever yesterday. Our table was filled with people we know well and hangout with regularly. And the wedding reception was long, but incredibly entertaining, probably from the determination of the bride and groom to just have fun and enjoy themselves. They were on the dance floor inspiring everyone to just be goofy! I wanted so much to be a part of that world.

I will qualify this, in counseling we rate people’s level of mental health struggles by measuring how much the struggle affects their life. I’m lucky, because I’m truly high functioning. There are people with such high levels of social anxiety that they never leave their houses let alone make new friends.
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My anxiety begins within me as an increased sensitivity towards social dynamics/emotions. This can be a gift in reading people for counseling, but often flares up inaccurately when trying to ascertain how people see me. Its why I’ve been confused as to where I am on the introvert/extrovert scale. I’ve come to accept the description of a friend that I am an “insecure extrovert” because I am filled up by interactions with others….just when I have security that this person literally likes me. In a funny contrast in my life, my husband is easily described as “disgustingly extroverted.” (Oh gosh, if I could fearlessly love people the way that he does!) I’ve come to appreciate this so much in our married life, going into big social events I can count on him to lead, and I coast off of him. This works so long as he isn’t randomly shut down, or isn’t flitting around like a hummingbird with too many people to love. (I mean he is allowed to have off times as well). This wedding was the latter.

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I “should” feel grateful watching him easily dance around when others would never do this, but my anxiety heightens when I’m left alone (or perceive this). I’m sure most people with social anxiety feel heightened physiological symptoms during the entire encounter, like sweaty palms, increased heart rate, etc. For me its like I have this UV light that reveals social rules/steps/boundaries/guidelines. My level of anxiety is related to perceived self preservation that keeps me entombed.

I jumped on the dance floor because I love letting loose and dancing. We all kind of group danced for the most part. I would do well until my husband would get distracted by someone else to love. Then for me my anxiety escalates a situation that is small “oh hey husband can you finish the song with me? ” to “oh my gosh, I’m alone, I’m out of the circle, they think I’m the weird stalker girl, they want me to go away, everyone watching can see that I’m obviously not wanted into this group, I should sit down and stop embarrassing myself”

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And I would try to fake it for a little while, laughing, smiling, dancing, till pushing myself drained me too much. Then, I would sit down, in my glass globe, watching the snow of my false insecure thoughts swirl between me and these people I wanted to be with. Its worse, sitting at the table right next to the dance floor, but it feeling a world away.

I’m not sure if it’s better being a therapist or not. It’s better because I have the skills to help myself, but it’s harder because I fail to use them so often. I tried to change my thoughts with minimal results, especially after hubby accidentally left me alone on the slow dance.

I hated sitting on at the table, having been so broken this summer at my sometimes shallow relationships. I want to connect with people with every fiber of my being. I want to love and be loved. I want to love others selflessly, not asking to be loved in return because Christ first loved me. I want to give the big giant hug, not worrying how it is received.

I saw everyone dancing, so close, so far away, knowing and seeing every possibility to turn it around, knowing that joining is how you start and build relationships. I didn’t know the bride well, and I hated knowing I could join her, but I was too afraid….then I guilted myself, catastrophizing, cursing myself to always being in this glass prison. I’m so afraid it will always be this way, that my newer relationships will always stay shallow.

I think it’s more tiring, knowing how much I’ve worked to overcome it. But one thing that did click last night is that this isn’t just going to be a one time hurdle. Like people who struggle with depression, with the fog ever looming around them, so my glass cylinder will need to be broken in most if not every group social event. Its just something I’m going to have to fight, replacing my negative anxious thoughts, with healthy thoughts that push me forward.

I write this to acknowledge that awkward space between us. I write to say I’m sorry that I don’t love you better. I write to say that I regret being so focused on my inner turmoil that I don’t see your hurt to give you the hug to help you make it in this broken world. I cry out from the stifling safety of my transparent cell; I don’t want to be here any more.

Learned Life Lessons as an Adult Ballerina

So, when you start running, even just barely a mile you can call yourself a runner. I’m guessing the same is true for ballet?

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Due to layers and layers of snow that have fallen in Virginia the past two weeks, dance class was cancelled -again- (but it is rescheduled for tomorrow!). Figured I’d share how dance class is affecting my life and teaching me “outside the barre” lessons:

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#1 Just Shut Up and Do It!

I blame my personality but I am a big dreamer. I think I enjoy the process of thinking about things more than I do about doing them. Seriously, I’m a great idea generator and I absolutely suck at the follow through. This tendency often leaves me watching the do-ers and being jealous of what they accomplish. 

A couple of weeks ago due to another teacher being sick my beginner class was combined with the Ballet V class. PHAHHAHA! The cool thing was that we got to use the fake barres, when normally we just balance with chairs. (I totally took advantage of this and posed afterwards for pictures…but only had my camera phone on me). Participating in this class was super intimidating! The moves were easy for them. I became easily overwhelmed because there were so many of us, and often and opposite directions, so I did always have any one I could focus on to model the moves on. I felt VERY discouraged after that class.

Then, I realized how many times I want what others have. I want the flatter stomach, I want their dance skills, I want their -whatever- forgetting all of the work that THEY were willing to do to get said -whatever-. It became apparent that I could either wish for better dance skills, or I could make it happen. Thus I began to practice short ballet routines daily. (And determined to do more, and wish/whine/complain less).

 

 

#2 When You Fall Off, Get Back on the Horse

I was feeling pretty confident walking into the following week’s class, I had been practicing on a regular basis, and I could feel myself getting stronger. (seriously, I was now coordinated enough to balance better when putting pants on/off one leg, it is epic!).

This class featured more complicated routines, that I simply couldn’t keep up with. I wanted to get frustrated, but I plugged through. Then we did some center work, doing a series of degages switching from left to right side. I was flabbergasted, I couldn’t move my body to do this at all. I stood there, slowly trying, not sure how to keep myself balanced but still move. Still I grin and bore it, mentally telling myself how good it was that I was discovering what I was bad at, so I could attack them an improve!

This attitude continued to some new leaps we were introduced to. I did okay on the right side, but the left, my brain just died and derped. I ended up landing on my foot wrong, heard a giant pop, and fought intense pain as I attempted to hobble to a chair. By can do plucky attitude had just about enough at this point. I tried not to cry as everyone asked how I was, not just due to the pain, but because I felt frustrated with my body.I sat for a bit, then finished off a couple more leaps gingerly. Surprising myself by holding back my tears. No way was I about to bawl in front of everyone!

Doesn’t mean I didn’t cry on the drive home, and in front of hubby. This was the most discouraged I’d ever felt about ballet. I wondered if I should try anymore, worried about my weak ankles, worried about hurting myself again. Honestly, there was a bit of a pity party. I wanted someone to be reasonable with me, look me square in the face, and bluntly say, “Honey, ballet is not for you, why don’t you try something else” Or to find a class to take with slower moving grandmothers.

Eventually, I worked through it. And resolved again. It was a testament to how much stronger my legs have already become after 5 classes that my ankle was no longer sore after 3 days. When I last hurt it rolling it while running, it had an ache that lasted for months after. Try, try, try again!

 

 

#3 Life is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Okay, okay, I know this one, at least in theory. I’m often consumed with wanting things to happen now. I especially want to know more about how the rest of my life works out. I think I like to do things “now” if possible, knowing that my energy levels are often fleeting so that if I don’t attempt -thing- now I will likely never do it at all.

I’ve been watching some youtube clips of ballerinas for inspiration, the way their bodies movie, is beyond beautiful. I feel like I am daily getting stronger, but there is STILL such a long road ahead of me. With things like ballet, and others in life, I think we slowly accrue the skills over time. Its like an artist slowly chiseling away the stone. He slowly chips away at the outside, until the beautiful statue appears beneath.

I can’t get frustrated and impatient at the slower results, or else I’ll give up and never get to see the statue liberated. Likewise, growing as a Christian involves a LIFETIME of moment my moment disciplines lived out. It really is okay that I’m not perfect yet…God cares much more about me leaning on Him while He chisels away, rather than the underlying statue.

Honestly, I’m falling more in love with dance than I ever expected to do. I began this thing because some girly part of me just wanted to dance around gracefully in a tutu. As an adult, I relish how much stronger I’m becoming through each workout. Regardless of continuing classes, I hope that ballet is something that I’m at least able to keep as a workout routine for the rest of my life.

Everyone knows that Erin is a clutz. I fall downstairs, I trip over “thick air.” I fall over so much sometimes hubby doesn’t even notice, its that normal. For the first time in my life I’m doing something, moving my body artistically, in a way that can be considering beautiful and graceful. When I’m painting with my feet in my humble living room, it makes me feel like maybe I could be capable of so much more than I expected before.

Entertained a Brit (My 2013 Cross Cultural Experience)

When we first got married, husband worked 12 hour night shifts in a computer networking monitoring position. If nothing was broken they were allowed to play video games, and only people in the UK and Europe were awake to play. My husband being the disgustingly extroverted guy that he is, met tons of Europeans and played with them for years. After changing jobs, he maintained those relationships, often talking about visiting each other.

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Early in September one of them came to visit us for a week! I’m not going to lie, I was nervous because I didn’t know D. He flew in, rented a great car, and drove his way to us.

Husband had taken the week off to be able to spend time with him. I was able to join in, in some of the adventures as my internship permitted.

All of 2013 I’d begged husband to let us visit his parents so we could go to Canada (So I could say I’d been out of the country once a year since 2006). Hosting D, I learned that its just as much fun to introduce someone to your culture, as it is to enjoy theirs. He was such a good sport as we shared all of our favorite types of restaurants with him (mostly classic American junk food: Bojangles, Taco Bell, Chikfila, and funnel cake burgers) . He wasn’t a fan of sweet tea, but is craving green tea.

Some British tidbits: 

-A petrol station is a gas station

-A boot is the trunk of a car, while the bonnet is the front/engine of the car.

-Knackered/Shattered is a way to say you are extremely tired.

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One of the best adventures that I was able to join was going to Devil’s Marble Yard. I’d never been, despite how close the hike is. I was impressed at being able to do the hike after rolling my ankle, and breaking part of my spine. Even if I felt slower than all of the guys, they had to keep pausing as I was gasping for breath!

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I had never been so excited to sit on cool rocks as we sat at the base of the large rocks and ate lunch.

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Because I was training for a 5k I decided not to risk hurting myself again and stayed back as the guys climbed the giant rocks.

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But they got some pictures for me!

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By the end of the week I was amazed how close we’d grown. It really was if D was another sibling in our family or something. We would have so much fun driving around in his rental car, and being goofy.

Hopefully, 2014 should either include a visit of our own across the Pond to visit him, or him returning to visit us. It’ll be fun either way!

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Pursued Joy

wpid-IMG_20130921_204655.jpgTonight whilst in a coffee shop (not Starbucks, don’t worry ;)) with the husband, I realized a truth about myself, and it wasn’t pretty. I found myself sighing while drinking my coffee realizing that my day to day goal in life is chasing empty temporary means of happiness, which often leave me disappointed. I was sad about the specific disappointments of the day, but had the deeper sadness of realizing that I, myself, was the true source of my sadness or disappointment.

Let me tell you how my day started…(feel free to skim these, just trying to get you inside my head and show you the extent of my search of happiness today).

*We ended up waking up/getting up after noon which always makes me feel like the day is already half over, and makes me feel like we aren’t really going to be able to do anything or accomplish anything.

*I was excited because we’d been talking about traveling 45 minutes away to go to a Greek Festival. I was looking forward to experiencing culture since I’ve missed traveling this summer. However, we decided not to try it based on reviews from a friend.

*We talked about going to a different local, beer and wine festival. We drove down to check it out before committing the $40.00 for tickets for us. Due to the increased rain and expense of the tickets we decided not to go.

*I finally decided to visit a local camera store I’ve been wanting to browse since we bought the DSLR…and we walk up to the store front only to read the sign “Sept 21, 2013 will be our last day of business” and the doors were locked.

*We were gonna have a photography adventure, knowing that overcast light drizzles produce some of the best images. Then, the rain began to stream harder, effectively killing that idea.

*We visited a recently reopened restaurant that we’d dubbed “our place” back in college, for lunch. I decided to be brave and order the “Bangers and Mash” because it was British. When I order food, I tend to place a lot of significance in the experience of having that food fulfill my food cravings. This food was tasty, but the taste wasn’t quite right for “my mood,” so I didn’t find that satisfaction that I was looking for.

*We drove around for awhile wondering what to do. We eventually decided to have a snack “in date night” while watching tv shows. I’d hoped the snack foods and tv shows would help me find the happiness that I was seeking, instead I just kept audibly sighing in boredom. I wasn’t fulfilled.

*Around 7pm after snoozing a little after our snacks, husband decided that he wanted to go to a coffee shop and chat. So, we drove on out. I found this drink called “Stardust” which was described as a bronzed white chocolate mocha….I love anything white chocolate, plus with a name like “Stardust” how could I not be inspired. I didn’t admit it to myself…but really there was this idea in my head that if this taste could be perfect…than the rainy boring day of disappointment could be redeemed. At the first taste…it was slightly more cinnamon based than I was hoping for. Add the fact that the only seating husband and I could find were two larger solo chairs that were far apart, and there was loud live music that I wasn’t going to be able to talk over and I was disappointed again.

Reading all of that back I’m so ashamed of how whiney that sounds! So I sank more into a funk while husband was eagerly willing to chat. (We are such opposites, lol!). It was hard for me to talk to him, while wrestling with this terrible truth about myself…that I was searching for happiness in all of these meaningless temporal things when I should be steadfast in joy. It was difficult realizing that I was setting myself up for failure.

On one hand part of the reason that I look for those little excitements in life, is because I want to enjoy life. I was to live each day for the fullest, but sometimes I get stuck in the idea that that means that I have to be happy…which isn’t anything that Jesus has ever promised me.

Part of the reason that I started this blog a long time ago was because I was stuck. I was going through major stages of transition, having graduated, gotten married, and I had no idea what I was doing with my life. Therefore, I decided to celebrate the “little things” in life to be excited about whatever God puts in my life.

I don’t want to stop doing that, some of the ways I think God uses me is through that joyfulness of my experiences…but I need to stop relying on them for my happiness and finding more meaningful things to base my happiness on. I don’t want to let those externals guide my emotions anymore…I want to be secure in Christ.

So, I’ve blogged about this to act as a type of confession, and a dedication to live for true joy instead of the roller coaster ride of happiness and inevitable disappointments.

Fractured My L3 Vertebrae

Remember how excited I was about taking pictures of the youth’s local mission efforts, and being able to travel with them to D.C. at the end of the trip…well there is a reason that the Bible warns us about boasting about tomorrow and always phrasing future plans with “Lord willing”, because none of us ever knows what is ever going to happen. Sunday afternoon this was proven to me.

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It was a typical Sunday, going to our Sunday school class and meeting for lunch afterwards. The youth group was going to be hosting a VBS at a low income housing area. I decided to show up later, in order to grab lunch, knowing that there were a few more VBS days that I could vary which times I was there for different pictures.

Then, I needed to take a left hand turn from the highway I was on, to another highway, across several lanes. The problem was there were two vehicles on the shoulder blocking my view of oncoming traffic. I found out later that one vehicle was jumping the other. I did stop at the stop sign (despite the false video report), and decided to count the vehicles that disappeared, ensuring that they had driven past me. I don’t detail what I did as an example for others to do, and trust me I’ve questioned each move I’ve made since the incident, but what happened is what happened. My car was squarely t-boned on my side of the car, and was pushed about 15 feet away from our collision.

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I felt surprisingly cognizant in the moments after the crash, I never lost consciousness. I remember emitting a weird yell convulsively. My husband said this was a natural instinct to get other’s attention. After a few seconds I calmed down. One of the first things I did was turn the engine off, as the Christian radio station was still playing. I could hear the lady in the other car saying, “She just pulled out in front of me!” and that she was having trouble breathing (likely due to an air bag deployment).

Sitting in the car I assessed the situation around me. My prescription sunglasses were long gone. I was missing a flip flop. There were small cubes of glass around my legs. My other glasses were in the case that had been flung and pinched in between the door handle on the other side…too far out of reach. My cell phone was nearby and I tried to call the husband a few times. Surprisingly, my DSLR was sitting pretty on the seat, didn’t look like it had moved at all! (I hadn’t even transported it in a camera bag this time). Pain wise I felt discomfort, like I needed to move myself to find a better sitting angle. In beginning to move I realized that I did have pain in my lower spine, across from my belly button. I could move my arms and legs/toes, so I didn’t panic but understood the importance of refraining from future movement.

There was a random nurse who’d come out to see if she could help. At least I guessed she was a nurse based on her scrubs. At one point I asked her if she could get my glasses for me. She walked over to the passenger side door, and I realized it was locked. I turned to use the electronic unlock, only to discover that the panel was unattached loosely displaying its wires.

Looking at pictures later it is surprising that I didn’t feel cramped inside the car. The metal was pushed in at least a foot inward. My husband (later at the car impound) tried to sit in the seat and couldn’t. The pedals were pushed into the engine area, the seat was about a foot wide, and the bottom of the seat was level with the floor of the car.

Emergency crews showed up very quickly. The first thought on my mind was getting someone to call my husband. I hoped to be able to make that call myself so he’d know I wasn’t as bad as it all sounded.

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My second thought, as the EMT’s approached, was the importance of communicating that Jesus had specifically spared my life. I wasn’t sure how to do this and have it sound sincere…as I figured many people must make those kinds of statements afterwards. But I did get a few “Amens!” Other than that I tried to stay as positive and cheerful as possible. The situation sucked, but I was alive. I was in pain, but I was going to get checked out. I just needed to be calm and go with everything.

All of the EMT’s introduced themselves to me and kept asking me the same questions, like my name and birthday assessing my mental faculties. At one point one of them introduced themselves and asked how I was. I cheerily automatically responded, “I’m good, how are you?” They all laughed. I teased them that they were taking me to my chariot, as they were turning me to place me on the stretcher and pull me out of the passenger side door. I don’t remember many of their names or faces, as I was placed in a neck brace as a precaution. One thing I specifically remember is trying to be as pleasant as possible, telling everyone how much I appreciated what they were doing on my behalf.

Throughout the move from the car and ambulance I was filled with peace. They warned me that the stretcher would feel bumpy, but I felt completely secure.

My ride in the ambulance was quick and filled with entertaining conversation with the EMT named Jeremy. He began checking my vitals, which he warned me would involve removing my shirt. I began to protest saying “This is really silly and unimportant…but is there anyways that you could…nevermind, don’t worry about it.” He filled in, “This is a special shirt, and you’d like me to cut it along the seam?” I replied “yes please” and sighed as another one of my Xtreme Impact shirts would not be wearable. I don’t remember many specifics about our conversation, but I remember laughing…which was also painful.

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He later picked out my husband based on my description of him. He said, “You must be the infamous Mr.” Jeremy showed him a picture of the squashed car, and told him how lucky he was to have me with him still.

He covered me back up with a blanket as we were preparing to leave the ambulance. I laughed, realizing that modesty was the last thing I cared about right now. I said this, and that I normally did really care, so it was really sweet of him to care about it form me right now when I couldn’t.

He laughed with the other EMT staff as they rolled me into the building. I heard them teasing him as he wore my purse into the building. He joked that it was the new emergency gear. It really helped to be around such camaraderie. It was weird in the building staring at the ceiling as people were introduced to me.

At this point some of the order of what happened is kind of fuzzy. I remember being insistent that I call my husband. As far as I knew he didn’t know about the incident. Someone helped me use the phone attached to the bed and I left a message. I found out later I actually left a message on my own cell phone…fail. My other only weird mess up for the day was I kept telling everyone we’d be celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary in October instead of our 4th.

Suddenly, some of the emotional stress began to get to me. The nurse,  Kim was there still assessing me and getting me ready for all the tests they would run. I began to tear up. I said that it was really silly, but that I really missed my husband. She laughed and told me that was normal, and not silly at all. Its weird to explain, but in that moment I just needed to see him. Despite the fact that I was the one who’d be in the accident, I had this intense need to know he was okay. Kim explained this to me that, I needed to know he wasn’t freaking out due to the news.

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After all of my pestering, the Dr. finally told me that she’d left him a message (at 3pm one hour after the accident) as I was wheeled towards my first X-rays. She said he was on his way; I was elated. My first tests went pretty quickly. Being wheeled back I finally heard/saw my handsome husband. He began taking care of all of the information and contacting everyone who needed to be contacted.

A few of our guy friends were with him, as he’d been at their apartment when he’d received the call. These friends had driven him, so that way my husband didn’t have to drive in a frantic state. I was suddenly aware of the lack of clothes I didn’t have with my hospital supplied gown, and I pulled my blankets higher up. I was grateful for them being here to help support us.

My next step involved a blood test to ensure that I wasn’t pregnant before they could do a CT scan. The guys of course left the room, and in the end we used a catheter :-/. I told Kim that these kinds of things were why I could never be a nurse. She said that she was able to sort of zone it out, to do what they needed to do. I really enjoyed chatting with her off an on throughout the day. She’d started off at my school, then gone to another school, I think back home? I told her about my counseling internship, and she affirmed the need for mental health services, especially from what she could see in the hospital.

Once the blood work was assessed, I was wheeled to the CT machine by a young man named Chris. I didn’t know this at the time, but they told my husband that they’d found blood in my urine sample, which could indicate internal bleeding. The CT scans were used to determine if this was the case. I was most afraid of internal bleeding due to my sore abdomen, and my previous car accident injuries of a lacerated spleen and liver.

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I cannot recall what position Chris was, as I know the name of my technician was Jenna, but I know he worked with the CT and X Ray machines. He was really friendly. He asked me about my husband, and how long we’d been married. I found out that he was getting married in a month, and was so relieved because they’d just gotten out of debt. We talked about the fears of getting married young, and how the important thing was the couple talking it over with God.

Then, the waiting began, to be informed what the scans said. I was beginning to crack again. The morphine they’d originally given me was wearing off by this point. I felt agitated, impatient, and in pain. I was sick of being confined…I needed to move around. I alternated between being grumpy and feeling guilty for my bad attitude. I felt bad that our guy friends endured the worst of this grunting and complaining.

After a few hours those friends left only to be replaced by the mission trip TL’s whom I was supposed to meet to do photography for. They are also the former leaders of Xtreme Impact, and our current Sunday School leaders. It was sweet of them to stop by with their busy schedules, especially in the middle of the local trip! I’m so grateful they did though. When they first arrived my pain level had reached a 7.5 or an 8…I was just about ready to beg for another dose of morphine, because I couldn’t think about much else besides my physical situation.

However, they arrived and we talked for what felt like hours (I really had no sense of time). We talked about the mission trip team members, the team’s ministry, other aspects about the church, our counseling jobs, photography, former jobs, and many other things. Engaging in ministry discussions helped give me a purpose to think about, like I was still on the team doing the work. They also sweetly brought us a phone charger, and bags full of snacks! We hadn’t eaten anything the entire time we’d been there, and it was probably 6 or 7pm by this point. The bags were filled with fruit gummies, teddy grahams, granola bars, water bottles, and apples!

I wasn’t particularly hungry, but her 6 month future mom self encouraged me to go ahead and eat the soft gummies (which are my favorites anyways), as this would increase my blood sugar, and make me feel better. I ate two packages and one of teddy grahams. Eating the teddy grahams made me sad. I explained that my youth group back home had a tendency to eat them with cake icing on church retreats, and I’d been looking forward to doing that with my portion of the overnight trip in D.C. with the mission trip youth.

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They informed me that they hadn’t purchased the theme park tickets yet. We discussed the pros and cons of riding a 3.5 hour van ride, plus walking in D.C., then walking around a theme park, and that likely that would be too much for me.

While they were there we were finally told the results of the scans. The CT revealed a fractured and dislocated L3 Vertebrae in my lower spine. Surprisingly, this just meant that I would need to rest and heal naturally over the next 4-6 weeks. Though a back brace may later be suggested.

I told my friends that I still wanted to finish out some of the photography, that I felt fine enough to do it. I figured that I could at least do photography sitting in a chair. I’m pretty sure they new I was crazy, and got me to agree to at least rest one solid day, though I believe they knew I wouldn’t be able to help out at all anymore.

I discovered more of my pain when I was asked to get some standing up X Rays to give to the specialist I’m going to see tomorrow. However, I didn’t really realize how bad I was, how slow these next few weeks would be until leaving for home. We left the hospital around 9pm getting a ride from another friend. He was able to drive up the lawn to our front door…but this still painfully meant walking down the stairs. Those slow moves secured in my mind that I wasn’t leaving the apartment until I absolutely needed to.

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The past two days of slow rest and recovery have been a cycle of these things: more friends discovering and offering help, realizing things that I won’t be able to do again for a long time, and realizing how easily I could have died or been permanently crippled.

I keep having moments where I cry about not being able to finish with the youth group. I was just learning their names and personalities, I really wanted to be a part of it all. The Pastor made me feel better, saying that they would be planning more of these trips in the future.

Another sad fact is that I’ll have to post pone the rest of my couch to 5k plans…instead I’m working on a couch to pillow plan…really training on being a couch potato. My mom thinks that running may have helped me survive this better, as muscle supports bone better than fat does. Also, my awesome five fingers helped give my feet more balance.

Another interestingly timed thing, is that fact that my internship is sooo slow right now. This means that I’ll have less sessions to report to and more time for healing. God’s timing was really perfect.

Through all of these I’ve just felt such love and support from everyone. I process things verbally, so I keep repeating a lot of it to everyone, I apologize if that is annoying. For me I need to verbally say the scary things…like how my car’s tough steel bent so easily in the picture. Its incredible to stare at the picture and know the car was struck perfectly on the side beam to minimize damage to myself. It blows my mind, and I know it is because God graciously chose to not only save my life, but protect me from serious injury. And so far, it seems as long as I take this first week easy, I shouldn’t have any permanent damage.

Right now, I walk around moving my limbs in slow motion, as I tenderly transfer the weight from one segment of my foot to another, much like that of a timid grandmother. But, (Lord willing ;0)) I should be able to run again some day…I hope I never take that gift for granted again, but I know its a miracle that He ordained.

The thing that I am most grateful is for the wonderful godly husband God’s given me. I teased about how I didn’t like him the first time I met him. But, seriously, he’s so much better than I ever could have imagined. He’s been patiently walking me around to the restroom (even at 3 in the morning), carrying everything to me, being my secretary and telling everyone about the accident for me (so I didn’t have to worry about what to say), dealing with insurance and other details, let alone he’s the only one allowed to do chores because I can’t bend over.

He feels silly when I post my thanks about him publicly on my facebook, because he doesn’t want people to think he does those things for my boasting to them. Instead, he’s just a godly man who takes seriously his role as a husband to care for me in sickness and in health. :0)

Never Have I Ever felt so blessed in all of my life.

 

 

Reflected on Cicadas

A short while ago we were getting reports on these giant bugs who were last seen above ground 17 years ago. I didn’t notice them until this past weekend, when my husband identified their whirring buzzing to me. Now, I keep seeing these GIANT flying bugs EVERYWHERE.

Vaguely, I remember my mom showing me a clear amber exoskeleton in a beetle shape, and I realized that it must have been the last time these cicadas were around, in 1996!

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If you want to be really grossed out here is the molting process:

My nerdly self was curious and decided to research more about these bugs. For 17 years they live underground in their nymphal form getting their nutrients from roots, then they emerge, molt, mate, and die after about two months! How crazy is that?!

I did the math today and I realized the next time that these bugs emerge above ground in !!!2030!!!!!,  I will be 43 years old. I daydreamed for a moment realizing what that would mean: Likely, we’d have kids, kids who would be in their early/late adolescence! Husband and I would be celebrating 21 years of marriage!! It is crazy to think about how life and myself could be different in that many years.

When I was a child/teen I eagerly awaited being an adult. You look forward to those days where you have freedom, you have privileges, etc. For me, I remember sitting in church pews staring at the middle aged ladies singing in the choir. I envied them. I felt like they’d arrived. In my teens my life was so open-ended. But them, they knew who their “soul mate” was. They understood themselves, knew who they were, they had “arrived.”

I’m 25 now, will be 26 by the end of the year, and I still don’t think that I feel like an “adult.” I’m guessing this means that in some ways I’ll never “feel” like an adult. At least if we are equating “perfection” and “arriving” on the same level as “adult.”

In contrast to these cicadas, we have a long larval life as well (approximately 18-20 years), but then we have 60 years of living as an adult. A wise woman brought this to my attention this past week, the idea that we have 20 years to grow and quickly develop, and the rest of our lives to get over it/work through it. We only have 20 years of “preparation” until we are to live out potentially 60 more years. And we wonder why adolescence is marked with such tumultuous feelings?

So I guess that means we should all be a little more patient with ourselves. It is going to take more than 5/6 years to begin to adapt as a “young adult.” It will take more than a few years to be a good wife. It will take more than 4 years to build a great marriage. Things take time.

I struggle with this because I worry if something isn’t “correct” now it won’t necessarily be correct later. However, I think the idea is to have a clear and good direction that you are traveling, staying on course so to speak, but knowing that the destination is decades in the making. A plant isn’t going to grow any faster by staring at it, and definitely not by pulling the stalk up with my fists. Instead, we have to balance the concept of daily active growth while knowing the harvest is eternal.

Think about it, in 17 years I’ll be able to reflect on the changes since the last cicadas graced us with their presence! See ya there! Yes, I’ll still be blogging when I’m 43 ;0).

Been a Dislocated Worker


According to Encyclopedia of Counseling by Howard Rosenthal, a “dislocated worker is a term that describes a person who is unemployed due to downsizing, a company relocation, or the fact that the company closed the business” (603). 

This is the book that I’ve been compulsively reading/studying in preparation for my Competency Exam in order to graduate from my Professional Counseling Master’s program. I take the exam this Saturday the 20th at 8 am. I hate these types of tests so please be praying for me. 

This quote hit home for me. Many of my blog posts have been about the amazing organization known as Xtreme Impact. We would take high school and transfer students on missions trips overseas and they would earn a college scholarship equal to the cost of the tuition. It was honestly a really sweet deal and I had an easy time promoting it.

I received my first acceptance to Xtreme Impact to be a college mentor on the Thailand trip on my birthday in 2008. For the Youth Ministry program I needed an internship and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to travel (and work with youth) again since I was getting married the following October and likely would have to quite my traveling. That first trip was a ridiculously hard trip for me, showing everything that I didn’t know about Youth Ministry.


 In God’s humor He allowed me to continue with this organization volunteering in the office doing filing and finances and earning trip credit towards the Jamaica and Italy trips in 10,11. Then in January 2011 I was offered a position as an office supervisor i.e. a student worker! I was so grateful to God for the opportunity to do His work throughout the world, learn about youth, and to be involved in such an incredible ministry. After graduation and getting married I really struggled with the “what next” phase of my life, but being able to continue in Xtreme Impact God showed me purpose and meaning. 


This job has been one of the most difficult that I have ever faced due to the amount of work, lack of workers, and limited resources. However, I have been blessed to be surrounded by some of the best people in the entire world. These people have taught me the true meaning of working at everything as if working for the LORD. It is them that I have to thank for teaching me amazing skills that eventually led to me finally finding an internship. This job has by far been the most meaningful of my life so far.

In May, right before our beach vacation I found out that the program would likely no longer be continuing. Throughout the summer I had to troop and not say anything to some of my very best friends while processing bitterness and a broken heart. August 31, 2012 was the last day that I worked at this beloved organization. 

Since then I’ve been at home trying to figure out how to be a housewife, desperately trying to find and internship and struggling with various things. I miss seeing people constantly in the office, I miss feeling productive and realizing that my self discipline is less than ideal. I miss that feeling of absolutely rocking at something.

In Sunday School we were encouraged to participate and help out more in class by talking to new people, and I was depressed by my initial reaction. I didn’t want to talk to anyone else, I just want to sit with my Xtreme Impact friends and be a click. I wanted it to be my safe zone. This lead to more questioning of myself wondering why I don’t feel the drive to participate in their Saturday ministry to a local apartment area. Its just simple “show up” play with kids, talk with people, and I’ve had no real desire to go. It makes me feel bad wondering if I’ve kept up doing missions trips because I care about ministry or if its just because I care about traveling. Questioning is painful, but questioning is also good because self discovery means that we can change. 

I’ve found a way that I think I can make all of this better. One of my close friends from middle and high school years has recently launched an Etsy business called The Running Stitch. This opening week she is offering a 50% deal on ordering a tshirt quilt. I’ve been dying to do this with my old tshirts for years, but have no idea how to sew and do not own a sewing machine. If you place an order between now and Friday and pay with paypal you can order a tshirt quilt with 25 shirts for only $80. Trust me that is a great price, starting prices for 20 shirts can often be $100-$150 dollars if not much more. 


I thought that I’d get her to quilt my oldest shirts since they’re the ones I’ve been saving the longest. However, I realized that I want my Xtreme Impact shirts to be memorialized. I’ll hate not wearing them as much but I have several duplicates. This is a way that I can hold on to them in a more tangible way, and they can cuddle me in the cold months ahead. :0) This is an example of what my quilt could look like. She’s even promised to send me pictures of her quilting process to post in a future blog! (call me sentimental ;0) )



I really like these verses Isaiah 43:18-19
A)”>“Remember not the former things,
    nor consider the things of old.
19 B)”>Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
C)”>I will make a way in the wilderness
    D)”>and rivers in the desert.”


God is so good, and I know that He has a new future for all of us. There will be other ministries, and we can be proud of the work that we’ve done. We’ve invested our hearts, time, tears, sweat, and probably blood into something eternal and we’ll never regret that time spent. 

In the meantime my new thing is my internship that I’m set to begin in December or January (depending on when the office approves me). I may be starting with 8 clients. I’m so excited and scared about this new thing. After the interview I actually was semi certain that I may have gotten the position because I became afraid of the fact that I’d be working with people and hoping to actually help them with their problems. Crazy!