Monday, March 16, 2015

The Best Dream EVER!!

Last week, I had the best dream ever!  In 55 years, I can think of none better. Normally, I don't share my dreams with anyone but maybe my mom, bad or good. But, she thought this one worth sharing.

Living with cerebral palsy, it is natural that I sometimes have dreams that I can walk.  I have even had dreams about going to heaven.  But, nothing ever like this one:

I was with my mom.  I realized I had gotten up from the wheelchair and was standing.  I took a couple of tentative steps, and I didn't collapse or fall over.  Mom and I were looking at each other.  In that split second, we realized that there was only one reason that I could all of a sudden have the ability to walk.


Thinking of the best vantage point to see His return, we both broke out in a run.

Next thing, I am in heaven.  For some reason, I know that we are being sent to heaven in shifts. Whether it was so we could all greet Jesus in person first, or just to prevent chaos, I didn't know. But, Mom wasn't there yet.

I was standing by a big buffet table.  It was full of the most wonderful looking food.  I was surprised, because I didn't think we would need to eat in heaven.  Then, I looked around and saw the room was filled with chairs. I realized it was there, because socializing and food just go together.  People were eating and joyously visiting with one another. So, I filled my plate and joined in the festivities.

The first person I saw was a wonderful lady that I love dearly.  We had kept track of each other for over 30 years, until Alzheimers took over her mind.  Here she was, vibrant, healthy, HAPPY, and visiting, while she waited for her husband, who had died 35 years ago.  I went up to her.  I was so glad to she her.  We talked about my ability to walk and that her snow-white hair was now the most glorious shade of red.

After greeting her, I began to look around.  I looked back over at the buffet table. An ordinary man just stood there, alone, watching us all.  For some reason, I had this overwhelming urge to go up to him and give him a hug.  Again, in a split second, I understood why.  This was no ordinary man.  This was God, Himself!  He was just enjoying watching His children enjoy one another.

I went over to talk to Him.  I so wanted to thank Him for giving me my legs, before Jesus' feet ever touched earth again, so that I could run and greet Him, like every one else.  He smiled at me, with a twinkle in His eye, and told me that was nothing.  He cold teach me how to fly!

Next thing I know, we are alone, and I am hovering slightly above Him. I realize I am no longer afraid of heights.  I feel safe with Him beside me.  But, I am also just hovering. I mention that this was great, but I wasn't going anywhere.  He told me that I was holding my hands wrong.  He showed me how I must hold them in order to fly and control my direction.  Next thing I know, I am soaring in circles above His head.

The End

So, why has this dream stayed in my mind for over a week? What makes it 55 years worth of special?

For one, in all my other dreams, walking came with a catch.  I would falter or fall.  I would be walking and then I would fall, unable to do anything but army crawl or roll, because I was without my crutches or wheelchair.

In other dreams, there was always a bit of trepidation meeting God, because I know I am unworthy.  But for Jesus, I wouldn't be there. This dream, there was nothing holding me back.  I just wanted to hug God, to thank Him for the gift of my legs a few minutes or seconds early, so I could run to meet Jesus, like everyone else.

In this dream, it wasn't about the ability to fly.  It was about feeling safe next to God.  It was about having a new body that I could control, instead of a body that controlled what I could/couldn't do.

I told Mom I wondered if God was kinda laughing at me, dwelling on this dream.  She suggested that maybe God and Jesus decided it would be fun to give me a good dream.

I have decided that this dream was a gift.  I could run, no faltering this time.  I was running to meet Jesus.  I was greeting someone I love very dearly, who I won't see again this side of heaven.  I was safe with God, who was showing me I now had a new body that I could control, instead of a body that controlled me.

A real gift.  The Best Dream EVER!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

This "Old Dog"

They say you "can't teach an old dog new tricks."  Well, I guess it is a good thing I am not a dog; but, I am getting the "old" part down, and still learning new tricks.

I haven't blogged for a while, because I have been busy crafting.  After all, how much new stuff can I actually say about my daily living with CP.

I decided last year that I needed to get busy.  I am too young to be "retired".  I am too bored to just sit around.  Plus, a few extra bucks here and there couldn't hurt either.

I was going to start writing a bit, again.  But, unless I want to get back into the bidding wars, the overhead costs, and the stress of research and writing for a piddly sum, it just isn't worth it. So, I decided to start crafting, for fun, and maybe I would get lucky and sell something.  At least, I could use the money to buy more crafting supplies, and not feel guilty for spending money that could be better used elsewhere.

I used to have a notebook that I wrote down all of the crocheting or knitting projects I made for gifts, and who I gave them to.  Somewhere in my 20's, the list was at least 50 afghans and I was starting to lose track.  But, I never sold anything.

Then, I showed a friend a baby dress I was making for a gift, and she asked how much I sold them for.  I never really thought about that one.

I talked to my sister, who has offered to photograph and try to sell some of my stuff on Etsy.  As you will see, it is difficult for me to take good pictures.

Unfortunately, I have yet to make anything for her to take, next time she comes to visit.  Friends have already purchased two baby afghans, a baby dress, and commissioned me to make a baby sweater and booties.  In addition, while working on a project, my great-niece was visiting and wanted me to make her something.  How can I resist that darling little lady?

So, I adjusted a pattern and am attempting to make cardigans for her and her sister.  It still remains to be seen whether it will fit, or she will even like it.  But, I am having fun, not snacking so much, and not bored out of my gourd.

Yes, I did spend 2/3 of what I have made on  projects on more crafting supplies.  The rest financed my son's trip to a church youth rally.  So, I consider it money well spent.  

I have also discovered YouTube tutorials for making embellishments. Then, I can jazz up a few dresses or whatever.   I just have to reverse everything, because I am a lefty.

Yes, you can ask me to make something.  Just don't expect it tomorrow.  Give me enough time to enjoy the process.

Here are a few of my projects.  Pardon the BAD photography.

Butterfly embellishment

button flower
 Just for fun
 I don't think my niece will mind me posting a picture of her model.
close up of 3-D baby afghan

3-Day Baby Dress

More crafting awaits!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Please Understand Me

The little girl, of a dear friend, has cerebral palsy.  Like me, she suffered a traumatic brain injury. But, her disability is far more life changing, even life-threatening at times. She cannot eat regular food, because she cannot chew or swallow properly.  She cannot talk, because she doesn't have the muscle control necessary to use her tongue.  Yet, she has a light in her eyes that tells me she is aware of her world, knows she is loved, and still finds joy and laughter in life.

Yet, I bet part of her wants to scream, "Please understand me!"

Those of you that know me are aware that I am articulate, even too much so, at times.  I have no trouble speaking my mind.  Yet, I have had individuals treat me as if I am a child, be condescending, and sometimes downright rude or mean.

I bring this up, because I want the people I know, and care about, to please understand me.

Today was the first Sunday in at least a month that I have been able to go to church.  It was a wonderful morning.  But, it got me to thinking about how life has changed for me over the years.  One year, I got an award for perfect Sunday school attendance.  I can remember, as an adult, scraping the snow off my car, so I could go to church.

Those days are gone, and so much more.  I am not quite ready for the rest home, yet.  But, just in the past few years, my life has changed so much, and not for the better.  I am not complaining.  But, I do want you to understand.

First of all, having spastic muscles has never been a picnic. In fact, it has always been a pain in the butt!  Now, it is just a pain.  If I go out in the cold, whether it is snowy or not, my legs become so stiff they will not bend.  If you are strong enough to stuff me in a car on those days, you will probably have to break me to do it.  Also, if I manage to get out with help, the person assisting me is liable to freeze in the time it takes me to get in/out of the car. So, even a drop in temperature can keep me home.

Then, there is the swelling.  At first, it is just enough to freak out my mom and sister.  But, if I sit too long, without putting my feet up, my legs start to hurt.  Oddly enough, my hips usually start to hurt first.  So, I can't sit in the chair all day, like I used to.  I spend 90% of my days with my feet up, and sometimes elevated above my heart. It also means that I will not answer the door, unless I know you are coming.

If the cold or swelling doesn't get me, the arthritis does. A couple years ago, I was diagnosed with rapid onset aging.  My heart and lungs are fine, but my bones are older than dirt.  If the weather is about to change, I hurt. In fact, sometimes I hurt so much I take Tylenol with codeine. Then, I top that off with a prescription dose of Aleve.  I don't do this often, as it does wonders for my gut, if I am not careful.  But, when I do, it is pretty much "sweet dreams".  If I am awake, I have been told I have a tendency to slur my words or talk slower.  ???

Having bones older than dirt also means that I am more breakable.  So, that is why I don't work anymore, even though I seem like I should still be able to, on a good day.  I don't take chances I used to, getting in/out of the car, when it is slick or I am having a difficult day.

I used to go to church Sunday morning and evening.  I know those that feel that if you aren't there when the doors are open, your priorities are messed up; and, I am very uncomfortable knowing they feel that way.  Yes, even in the summer, I rarely go to church at night.  I just don't seem to have the energy to get out, and go through all the transitioning twice in one day.  When I have no choice, it is exhausting!  The next day, I am pretty much recuperating.

Last, but not least, I have never been a really good driver.  Using hand controls reduces reaction time. Couple that with how my brain processes stressful situations, and slowing with age, both my children would prefer I no longer drive. I don't need them to disable the car.  I handed over the keys. (I can't drive when medicated for sure.) So, unless it is an absolute emergency, I will not drive.  In fact, when Steven goes to college, the car goes with him.  I will depend on the senior bus to get me to doctor's appointments and such. (I have already started that.)  Of course, they do not run on the weekend.  So, church will definitely become a rare treat.

So, if you don't see me out and about, especially at church, please understand me.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Fight is On!

Yes, I finally have something worth posting about!  But, I wish I didn't, really.

As many of you know, I was denied Part D coverage, when I went on Medicare, because I wasn't 62 1/2.  Both Medicare and insurance companies told me the same thing.  So, over 2 years I have been paying between $250-$1200 a month for my medications.

The spike was when I was in the hospital in March.  The prescriptions that month were almost as much as my Medicare check.  It was then that I was told to fight for part D, because others who were not 62 1/2 had it.  I was misinformed, and needed to keep calling.

So, I called, and I called, and I called.  On lady even told me she was sorry, there was nothing she could do, and she hung up.  FINALLY, I got a supervisor that didn't blow me off.  He was on the phone with me for over an hour.  He told me what I should do.  He even gave me numbers to call for insurance companies that were most likely to help.

Unfortunately, I did not qualify for the early opt-in period, so I would have to wait until October 15th.
Seven months later, I was on the phone.  One insurance agency was no longer insuring for Part D.  Another was something else.  So, I went online and applied to the VERY FIRST insurance company I applied to, over 27 months ago.  Instead of talking to a person, I just sent in the application.

I was so happy to be accepted!  I will still be paying over $40 a month for my most expensive medication, $50 for the insurance, and whatever the co-pays are for the others.  But, it will definitely save me money.  It was worth the fight, it was taken care of.

So I thought!

I received a letter last week that I was going to have to pay a penalty of $8.90 a month, because I did not get part D when I first got on Medicare!  Are you kidding me!

The Fight is On!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

You Get Paid!

When I was student teaching, eons ago, I spent a lot of time encouraging students to try a little harder.  One day, I told a student to think of it as his job, for now.  He needed to work now, so he could qualify for a better job later.

He immediately piped up and told me that it was easy for me to say. "You Get Paid!"

He was very surprised to learn, as did some of the other students, that I did not get paid.  In fact, as a student teacher I was paying for the privilege to be their teacher.  I paid for 9-15 hour days, being ignored, to be a disciplinarian, deal with disillusioned students and their often even more disillusioned parents, go to after school events, meetings, and all while still taking classes of my own and being a single parent.

Today, someone posted this on FaceBook, from the Ohio Teacher's Assoc.;

I can honestly say, from personal experience, that this applies to everyone that deserves to be a teacher.  The teachers I worked with that got to school right before the first bell, and left as soon as the classroom was empty, were NOT the good teachers.

The good teachers always tried to be early, relaxed and prepared, before any kid got to the classroom.  The good teachers stayed late to grade, tutor, help kids make up missed material, etc.  A good teacher is involved in after-school programs, summer activities, etc.  ALL teachers MUST continue their education, even after certification, to stay certified.  The classes and the time are at the teacher's own expense.

I tell you this, because I would like to give praise where it is due, regarding my son's teachers, especially in the band department.  He has other great teachers as well; but, these go WAY BEYOND.

My son is usually at the school by 6:30 am.  The band teacher is already there, for the kids that want to practice before school.  Multiple band teachers, on their own time, have helped students prepare for auditions for honor bands, of which their are several. The band teachers hold summer camps, in/out of town, for kids that want to stay involved, and maintain or improve their skills over the summer.

During marching season, students and secondary band teachers are at the school every weekday, until at least 5 pm.  Of course, it is much later on Football game nights.  During concert season there are evening performances, which include setting up and tearing down.  Some kids will go early and stay late to help with this very time consuming chore.  All students are encouraged to help;  But, most show up right before the concert and race out afterwards. Often, the few kids and teachers that stay don't get home until after 9 pm. -sometimes later.   

Did I mention that out-of-town band trips?  While the school district helps a lot, much of the expense of honor band trips, state competitions, etc. come out of the band instructors' own pockets.  It also involves packing and unpacking very expensive equipment, very early days and late nights, traveling with and taking care of students around the clock- even unexpected hospital visits.

Last, but not least, there are the private FREE lessons, for the students who, like them, want to share the love of music.

Both my daughter and son have chosen music for their future careers. in one form or another.  They have both put in LOTS of extra hours toward their goals.  But, the teachers have matched or exceeded those hours, in order to help and encourage them.

It makes me so very sad, when I hear of schools that are discontinuing their music programs, due to budget cuts.  Both of my kids have learned so much more than music. It has taught them discipline, responsibility, caring, patience, kindness, and more.

I am deeply grateful for all of the good teachers I had and the ones that have blessed my children over the years.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

In Everything Give Thanks

1 Thessalonians 5:18New International Version (NIV)

18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Generally, my life is boring.  I don't have much to write about, because one day just seems to run into the next.  But, the last couple of weeks have been a little too interesting- both good and bad. So, when I look back on those days, I think of this verse, and hope that I have remembered to give thanks in all circumstances.
There have been some really difficult days.  My mom and my aunt are both dealing with some serious health issues.  Both have spent some time in the hospital; both had close calls.
Although I naturally pray for them to get better, I also realize the close calls could have gone south, fast.  How can I be thankful?  Well, it wasn't too hard.  I am so thankful for their faith and love of God, and passing it down to their children.  I knew exactly where they would be for eternity, if/when God calls them home.  So, even when I was very sad, and trying not to be worried, I could be very thankful.
God things have also happened this last week.  Months of practice paid off. My son would get up at 5 am, so he could use the school practice rooms before school.  Marching band practice lasted until 5 pm, and then there were games or private lessons to attend.  He was burning his candle at both ends.  But, their band came in 1st, with a superior rating and 4 of 6 of the caption awards.  If you know anything about marching band, you know this is a BIG DEAL.
Monday, he also found out that he was accepted to an International Honors Band.  He, and seven other students, will be traveling to Washington state next month.
Again, I am thankful. He has worked very hard toward this goal. I am grateful that God has given him this ability.  It might also lead to scholarship opportunities, which would be such a blessing.

Late last night, my daughter called to say that someone ran into her parked car.  The girl had insurance, so she wasn't too worried. The car would be fixed up like new.  
Well, I am not sure what the girl was doing.  She wasn't drunk.  Was she texting? 
Unfortunately, when my daughter took it to the garage today, he said that the car was going to be totaled.  The girl had done even more damage to the underside of the car that we can't see.
My girl called, so sad.  You see, this car is really special.  The day before she got her driver's license, she won this car in a drawing.  The school district and car dealership had teamed up to encourage kids to strive for perfect attendance. She was one of the few that qualified for the car.
I am sad for my daughter; but, I can still give thanks.  This car was a Godsend! I couldn't help her get a decent car before college.  It has been a wonderful car for her.  Also, she wasn't in the car, when the girl hit it. No one was hurt.  It is just really sad.  She took good care of it, and it only had 35,000 miles on it.  It would probably have lasted her another 10 years.

Another sad thing happened in the last week.  My great-niece, who isn't even 2 1/2 fell and broke her arm.  As a parent, there is nothing worse than when your baby is sick or hurt, and you can't make it better.  Again, our family gives thanks, because this sweet girl isn't in pain.  In fact, it hasn't slowed her down much. We are thankful that the doc set the bone well.
About yesterday, while waiting for the doc to check her arm, my niece had this to say:

"Everyone was charmed and heartbroken by the little lady with the broken arm.  In fact, when people would crouch down and say, "oooooooooh what happened?" Her response was, "I broke my arm, but I be okay. I got my mommy."

It was actually what this little lady said that got me thinking.  She said she would be okay, because she had her mother.  We can learn a lot from that seemingly simple statement.

How many times have we been hurt or sad?  How many times have we complained to God, for even the smallest things. Some people even blame God, when life gets tough.  Instead, why not believe and say:

I'll be okay.  I have my Father.

In everything give thanks.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Pocket Corners

How do you make your bed?

With my physical challenges, making the bed is exercise.

I love clean sheets.  I hate changing them.

I love my adjustable bed; but, getting the sheets to stay has been almost impossible.  Since I push and pull myself off/on the bed, the sheet often comes with me.

A few years ago, I got bed garters.  However, this posed a problem as well.  I had to lift the corner of the mattress, clip it to the edge of the sheet, and close the clip with one hand.  I had to do this twice on each corner.

Putting the first two corners of the sheet on the bed isn't very difficult.  But, in order to stretch the sheet over opposite corners means actually laying on my stomach on the bed, rolling around to pull the sheet, and hoping I have it stretched far enough.  Then, if it just pops off, the first time I get off /on the bed, I get to do it all over again.

A few months ago, I found the solution to a lifetime of bed-making woes. I found a home hospital bed sheet with pocket corners, on

Instead of elastic gathers on the sides of the sheet, the elastic is on the bottom and the top of the bed sheet.  In addition, it has pocket corners that fit more firmly to the mattress. Finally, a sheet that stays on the bed as long as I want it to!  It is a simple pleasure, or comfort, that most people probably don't even consider.