Posts Tagged ‘Resilience’

Your Secret Super Power a Few Years Down the Road

I wrote a piece several years ago for a wonderful website called “Inspire Me Today”.  I wrote it while my now deceased husband was still alive and we were fighting for his life.  It is being reposted today and I hope you will revisit it by clicking here

As I reread the piece it made me reflect on how much as happened since I wrote it and how my view of the world has sharpened over time.  Even though Jim did not survive, our collective belief in ourselves, our family, our strength, and our knowledge that Jim would be healed in some way has not changed.  Our resilience got both Jim and I through some incredibly hard times.  Jim had chronic neurological Lyme disease that expressed itself with overlapping ALS-symptoms.  It got to the point that Jim could no longer walk, move, talk or breathe on his own.  Yet through these years Jim managed to touch people, to smile when friends showed up, to be present for our children.  His will was incredible and he survived longer than many physicians thought he would because of his belief in himself.  I juggled a job and raising children, managed to keep our family functioning as a family, and spearheaded Jim’s care because of my belief in self, lifted up with God’s help, and supported by many loving family and friends.

During the end of Jim’s life a friend said something profound to me that helped me realize that regardless of whether Jim would be healed while on Earth, it was guaranteed he would be healed after death.  In heaven, Jim is healthy again.  Our belief in self and our belief and faith in God supports that inner resilience and can make reality happen here or after in heaven.  My super power is still found within – it has taken a beating, but the joy I can feel for life and my children has been highlighted more brightly because of the pain of what we went through.  Not in spite of, but because of….. the secret super power is still present in full force – helping me carve a new path of my own choosing.

 

superpower

 

New Book Giveaway

Hi Everyone,

Just a quick note to let you know that today is the last day of my book giveaway on goodreads.  I’m excited for you to read the new book as it has some neat contributions – my 9 year old son wrote some insights, my 7 year old daughter illustrated the book, and a friend’s eulogy to Jim is included in the book.  It is entitled When Miracles Aren’t Enough: The Lessons Tragedy Taught Me.  It has been well received and I’m excited to be giving away 20 books.  Please share the link as well with your friends.  Thanks so much!  Erica

Here is the link to enter the giveaway (again make sure you do it by the end of today – Friday March 4th): https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27314454-when-miracles-aren-t-enough

 

Fancy Nancy Teaches Resilience?

Cover of "Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Chri...

Cover of Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas

I read Fancy Nancy’s Christmas book to my daughter the other night.  The tragedy that occurs in the story is that the very fancy, sparkling, tree topper tumbled to the ground and broke into many small pieces.  Nancy was devastated! Shortly after this event, her grandfather arrives at the house and the site of the disaster and makes the comment “When life gives you eggs, make eggnog”.  After Nancy inquires what this means, the grandfather explains that when life gives you bad things, make the most out of them (my words, not the exact words of the character).  I reflected on what a simple, profound statement this one.

I next considered how children in general seem to bounce back from such stress quickly.  They are resilient beings by nature.  In the story, the next scene shows Nancy, her grandfather and her little sister making a new tree topper out of materials already in the house.  Nancy becomes excited because she is going to make a heirloom for the future.  The smashed fancy tree topper is already forgotten.  Nancy gets it: “Why stay stuck on the bad? Make your own future.  Concentrate on the good around you.” (again, my words, not the exact words of the character)

So, how do we lose this innate ability to bounce back quickly from sadness and stress?  I urge you during this season of joy, a season grabbed by children, to reflect on being a child, in all sense of the word.  Take the time to count your blessings and to make a heirloom from what you have.  Take the time to see the joy in the season and the joy around you.  Take the time to be resilient.  It is part of your being.  You may have forgotten how to be resilient, but it is there.  Pull it out and claim it as your own again.

My family’s story of resilience is about to be released in book form December 17thMiracles for Daddy: A Family’s Inspirational Fight against a Modern Medical Goliath tells the story of my husband’s illness and our struggle to gain footing again.  It is my family’s story of making eggnog from eggs.  It will inspire you to do the same.  To count your blessings and to see the good, the miracles, those that are present around us all the time.  Pre-order your copy today and save 20% (click on book image to the right).

Two of the Most Important Questions to Ask Yourself

Flickr friends

Flickr friends (Photo credit: Meer)

When life gets really overwhelming, I have found a small hideout and reprieve with writing.  So, here I am today feeling incredibly sad, scared and overwhelmed stemmed in part by the latest missile thrown at me and my family.  That event is not so significant to this post, but when I caught my breathe this morning and had a moment to pause, I decided to start typing.  There is joy in doing something you want and have control over, however small.  What is yours?  What can you do, even if just for 15 minutes, when you are overwhelmed that will help?  Continue reading

Get Over It Already

I know everyone has them.  Bad days can sometimes turn into bad weeks.  I know it happens to everyone.  Still doesn’t make me feel better.  Well, maybe a little.  But not much.

I am just tired.  So very tired.

My bad week has started with one of our long-time nurses, one we depend on very much, just not showing up one morning.  He was “over” (as he put it) the nursing company, and quit.  But we suffered.  Scrambling around to find coverage.  Me serving as the nurse.  Again.  Not that I mind of course.  I love taking care of my husband.  But it’s a lot when you throw in the other stuff.  Like picking up a sick child and trying to tend to his needs.  Trying to pick up milk, butter, and medicine for your husband and literally not being able to leave the house you are in the role of nurse.  Then there are the constant phone calls.  “Who is going to pick up this shift?”  “What are we going to do about X?”  “Let me try to get through to the insurance company.”  There are always the calls, never a break.  And then the bills – new ones this week for a new round of IV antibiotics that are not covered by insurance.  More supplements, more over-the-counter medicine.  Hundreds of hundreds of dollars later, I wonder how I’m going to pay for the electric bill.

Then, on top of all that, just when I think the tide is turning, something else happens.  My husband had a doctor’s appointment this morning.  The nurse helped get Jim ready and down the stairs.  I had phoned a handicapped van service to pick us up.  I dropped off my daughter at a neighbor’s house (my sick son is still with me today), and I’m thinking all is going well and things are taken care of.  Jim was going to get something done at the doctor’s office that should help him.  Okay, it is going to be a good day.  Minutes after the van should be here, it is not.  I call.  The driver is on his way.  More minutes go by.  Finally, it is here and Jim is being loaded into the van.  My cell phone rings and I look at the number – my heart sinks.  It’s the doctor’s office.  “Erica, where are you?”  the nurse asks.  “We are 4 minutes out – max.  The van is just here to pick us up.”  I plead with her to let us come.  A kind person, she puts me on hold to see if the doctor can still squeeze in Jim.  He can’t.  I guess the good news is that I didn’t have to pay for the trip.  So, we unload Jim and frustration abounds.

I’m trying to get over it.  I am.  But, the only time Jim can be squeezed in before the doctor is off for training and conferences is Saturday morning.  Of course we take the appointment.  But, it’s the same time as my son’s soccer game.  I had to miss the game last week.  He had to miss practice on Monday (because I was the nurse that day).  I am just so tired of shuffling things and asking friends for favors.  But I do ask, because frankly I have no other choice.  I am blessed that my friends are so nice. 

So I’m trying to get over it.  I decided a venti skim chi latte from Starbucks will help.  It does a little.  As I drive back from Starbucks, I really do try all the things I know that have helped me in the past.  Nothing is working.  I am frustrated and tired of everything being dictated to me.

But then it happens.  I return home and see it.  My sick son is resting on the chair watching television and my husband is sitting next to him in his wheelchair.  Not ideal for either one of these people.  My son doesn’t feel well and Jim is out of his comfort room and chair.  Still, what a nice sight.  The two most important men in my life hanging out, bonding in a way that so many of us take for granted.  I smile and am happy for the occasion.

Maybe the tides are turning.

God-Intended Detours

I just finished listening to a sermon by Joel Osteen.  One thing that he said during the sermon really resonated with me.  He made the comment that sometimes detours appear in our journey that seem to lead us away from where we want to be, but that these detours often provide you with valuable insight.  If you just trust that God is in control and release your desire to micromanage your own life, then amazing things can start to happen.  What might be perceived as a stumbling block by you could really be a building block leading to success.

The tricky part becomes when to recognize a detour as an opportunity rather than using the detour as a distraction and finding yourself unable to move on from here.  I think Joel Osteen would say, “Let it go, don’t worry too much about it.  Don’t try to overanalyze it.  Trust God.”  I see the value of this – at some point, you go need to release things.  You may have tried everything you know to do and now it may be a matter of trusting things will work out as they  should.  I also see the value of paying attention to what may be waiting for you at that detour.  For example, is there a stranger who is giving you valuable advice?  Not acting on the advice may get you stuck at your detour rather than allowing it to serve as the pit stop it was intended to be.   This needs to be the time when you follow your gut instincts.  These instincts may also be God at work, helping propel you down the right road, leading you to success.

Rather than hissing at the detours in your journey, greet them as a gift and pay attention to what God has intended you to learn from this temporary stop.  This attitude can help turn your journey during troubled times much more enjoyable as you take and use the gem you are learning along the way.

The Benefit of “Hanging Out”

English: Map of Lake Michigan. Category:Michig...

English: Map of Lake Michigan. Category:Michigan maps (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A vacation of any sort is good for the soul, but of course, there are many types of vacations, some full of activity and others with some built-in relaxation time.  The recent trip I had with my two small children to Michigan to visit my family there was a nice break, and it definitely had a little of both: lots of activity, but still low-key with enough down time to be helpful.  My kids had a fantastic time with their cousins and I was able to “hang out” and do very normal things, something that I miss on a regular basis.  Because my husband is so ill, my days are usually filled with helping to care for my husband, tending to his needs and the needs of our family, and there is usually very little time left for “hanging out”.  So, while in Michigan, I tried to savor these experiences.  One afternoon, we all went to Lake Michigan.  I watched with such joy as my kids buried each other in the sand, threw balls on the shores, and froze their toes off going into the cold water.  That night, we had a campfire, drank wine, and talked about all kinds of things.  Another afternoon we watched a niece participate in an Irish dance competition and then visited my alma mater, Michigan State University.  We walked by the river, had lunch in a restaurant, and drove around campus.  Other days we visited the zoo, fished and went tubing in the lake, and in general, just “hung out.”  It felt so good to be in this relaxed environment, woes temporarily on the back burner.

One evening, one of my high school buddies came over for a visit.  It had been several years since we saw one another and that last time was at a high school reunion, where talk is often minimized as people are so excited to see as many old friends as possible in the few short hours of the actual reunion itself.  It was so nice to talk with my friend this past vacation trip, just hanging out in my sister’s backyard, drinking a beer and laughing.  It was as if we spoke on a regular basis, without much time passing since the last time.  I was reminded of my friend’s genuineness, her infectious smile, and her overall kindness.  It occurred to me, upon reflection of the night that I am most fortunate in so many ways.  Here was this person, after so many years, still so lovely.  I know that if I needed her, I could call.  I know she would be willing to help.  I know that she cares about me and my family.  What a gift that is.

So what role does “hanging out” play?  Connecting with another person can remind you that there is goodness in the world is an obvious benefit.  Having some down time to laugh is good for the spirit.  Having those moments when you can reflect, even if it is just for a moment, on the small miracles in front of you is important.  In my case, to observe my children in action: how they behave, how they interact with others, how much they have physically grown – all these were all neat to digest.  Hanging out can also give you the extra encouragement or burst of energy you need to make it through the next emotionally-charged and draining time.

When times are so troubled, it may seem very counter-intuitive, but taking a bit of time to “hang out” with friends can be just what you need – medicine for your psyche.

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