Wednesday, February 26, 2014

My Wonderful Father

The other day I did a post about my amazing mom, but she didn't raise me alone.  My dad is just as wonderful, and I am so grateful for all the times he was by my side.  I know that I don't always give my dad the credit he so deserves in raising me to be a strong woman and feel that this post is long overdue.  

My dad was always good for making me laugh when things seemed difficult and helped me when times were tough.  He would drive me to work when I phsyically couldn't, bring my family dinner when I couldn't cook and cheer me up on days I felt like I couldn't smile.  Ever since I can remember, my dad has been there for me.  I can honestly say that I am who I am because of him.  Thank you Dad.  I love you.

Monday, February 24, 2014

A New Challenge

I have always been one to appreciate the little things in life, even when my mobility seemed to fail me daily.  I guess that's why I am even MORE grateful for all of the little things I have in my life, especially my new physical capabilities.  I often think about what I'm able to accomplish these days and am amazed at how much others have helped me along the way.

So, here's my challenge for you.   If you didn't have the use of your hands, legs, sight, hearing, etc., what would you be unable to do or enjoy.  I urge you to pick one limitation and think about what you would have been unable to do today.  This would be a great activity for your kids too!   Have them wear a pair of mittens to do their chores, put a pebble in their sock or cover their eyes with a bandanna.  Can they imagine living like that for the rest of their lives?

The following is a list of things that I did today that would not have been possible not long ago:

cooked eggs for breakfast
stood on a chair to put away a pan
carried out a big bag of recycling
rode 35+ minutes on the stationary bike at the YMCA
walked on the snow
carried 3 bags of clothes from my car into my condo
used a can opener easily
changed John's diaper quickly
lifted John into his crib
washed my hair in the shower
typed this blog entry without hitting the wrong keys

Looking at this list, I know that these aren't monumental items to most, but they are to me!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Toughest Mom

I cannot watch this video without getting tearing eyed. Growing up,  I faced challenges each and every day of my life.  Because of my mom I never gave up hope and never expected to be anything but the best in whatever I set out to achieve.  

When I watch this video, I can't help but be grateful for my mom, who too is the toughest mom out there.  I don't know how she did it, but I do know that I will be forever grateful for all the times she pushed me to do my best, all while showing me how much I was loved.

I love you. Mom!

I urge you to take a moment and watch this 60 second  inspirational video.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Paralyzed By the Snow

As the snow falls from the sky and the clock shows that the girls will be home soon, I can't help but think about the days when weather like this confined me to my home.  Before my correct diagnosis, once the winter hit, I wasn't able to meet the girls at the bus stop and walk them home.  My scooter didn't have good traction and would likely get stuck in the snow trapping me in my home.

Winona and Sharon would run the one block home from their stop because they were so scared of the neighbors dog, which was never tied up.  The dog didn't chase them often, but when it did, my heart would break and I would feel as though I had failed as a mom.  How could I not protect them? 

I know I shouldn't be so hard on myself, but being a mom to Winona and Sharon is the most important thing to me (and of course now John).  At least now, thanks to new medication, I can be the mom I want to be day and night.  Life is Grand.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Making The Best of It

I've always been a strong believer in Everything happens for a reason.  Growing up it helped me to accept the physical challenges I had to deal with on a daily basis.  Everything from dressing to shopping was difficult.  Knowing that God made me "different" helped me to understand that I had a purpose in life.  Plus, it made me look at what others had to deal with and I quickly discovered that there were a lot of people out there with bigger problems that me.

Today while waiting for my oil change, I met an amazing woman with a heartbreaking story.  When she was 20 weeks pregnant, she lost her husband unexpectedly.  Yet, she sat there holding her one year old son and informed me that even though it is difficult she believes that this is how it was meant to be.  Of course she misses her husband and misses the involved father he was to their five year old daughter. And I can't help think she may be the strongest woman I have ever met.  

Today I left the dealership a different woman.  I have always tried to appreciate the little things in life and help others realize that life is a gift, but this mother made me realize that the loss of a spouse can happen at any age regardless if there are children involved.  Yes, I always knew that this could happen, but she really made me think about this horrible reality.

I know that I can't control everything in my life, but, when my husband comes home from work tonight, I plan on giving him an extra long hug, because you just never know when it might be the last.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Talent Show

My oldest daughter, Winona, was in her middle school talent show last night.  I was so excited to go cheer her on as she played Fur Elise on the piano.  A couple minutes before the show was to begin, Steve, Sharon and I took our seats and attempted to corral John into our row.  As the first act took the stage, it was clear that John was not about to sit quietly and give the students the respect that they deserved.

Annoyed that I wasn't going to be able to relax and watch the show, I grabbed John and took him to the back of the gym.  From 6:35 until 7:40 I held my 25+ lb toddler on my hip and swayed back and fourth to the music.  My back grew tired and my left arm became sore, but the appreciation of being able to hold my son for this long meant so much to me.  You see, in the past, Steve would usher me into an event like this and find me a chair ASAP, because I could hardly walk at night, and standing for more than a couple minutes wasn't an option.

 I was able to enjoy my daughter playing her piano piece AND hold my son as he snuggled into my neck.  Plus, I could see Steve and Sharon sitting close together watching all the talent on the stage. All I can say is that it was an incredible night and I have so much to be thankful for: my husband, three children and mobility that allows me to thoroughly enjoy it all.

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Around 9:30pm, I went to check on John before going to bed.  Just as I was about to put my hand on his bedroom door, I stopped dead in my tracks as thoughts began racing through my mind:  I just walked across the living room without furniture walking, I'm able to enter his room without waking him and the one that stung my heart I was never able to do this with either of the girls.  

There is no denying that I have moments when I feel like I missed out on life.  Those are natural thoughts that anyone would have.  I just feel like it's up to me (and only me) to focus on the positive.  I had a good life and am now living a great life.  Sure, I was never able to check in on the girls before I went to bed, but I was able to hold them in my arms and kiss them goodnight, which is something that not every parent is able to do on a nightly basis. For that, I will be forever grateful.  

Friday, February 7, 2014

What Makes You Beautiful?

My cousin sent me this inspirational quote the other day stating, "This made me think of you Jean."  

I read it and thought wow, this is amazing.  Quickly, I decided that this isn't me at all.  I re-read it again and realized that the traits included in this quote indeed describe me to a tee.  My life was never easy.  I had to prove to others that I could succeed, even if I had  failed.  I grew up enduring countless medical examinations with a smile on my face and hope in my heart.  

Because of my life experiences I have so much compassion for what others are going through.  On my most difficult of  days I always give thanks because I know there are those who are worse off.  I've been this way ever since I was a young child.  What kid thinks like that?  I guess this one did.  

I may not consider myself beautiful, but I do consider myself strong, forgiving, caring, loving and understanding, which in turn makes me beautiful.  

As you drift off to sleep tonight, think about your daily actions and purpose in life.  Then ask yourself, Does this make me beautiful?  

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Simple Things In Life

I haven't had this much trouble walking in over two years.  And I find this to be wonderful!  You see, I'm not having a difficult time because I didn't get enough sleep or because my muscle relaxers aren't working.  I'm walking like a zombie, because I worked my muscles in a class at the YMCA yesterday and my body doesn't know what hit it!  Isn't this great??!!

I love that I can feel the burning in my quads simply because I did an activity that others can do.  I really think this class (Bodyflow) is going to help me get my pre-baby body back (if that's possible and I think it is).

I can't help but seem overly excited about such simple things in my life.  Granted, I was hoping to partake in the class again tomorrow, but I do know my limits.  My muscles are quite fatigued and are causing some balance issues (this class uses a lot of balance) and I don't want to risk falling on by face.  However, I will be back at it again next week!!!  And will LOVE every minute of it!!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


This morning I got the best workout of my life!  I took the class Bodyflow at the YMCA.  It has a little bit of Yoga, Thi Chi and Pilates all rolled into one.

I've been wanting to take this class for quite awhile (I bought my mat over 3 months ago).  My thought was that this would be a great class for me to work on my balance and tone my muscles at the same time.  Before the class began, I spoke with the instructor to let her know that I have balance issues and to not be concerned if I didn't attempt all of the poses.  I am happy to say that I participated in it all (with some adaptions).

By the end of class my legs were quivering and I'm now wondering if I'll be able to move tomorrow.  :)  But, hey, I did it!  And I look forward to continuing on with this class and watching my balance improve over time.

Thanks to my friends. Leann and Laura for joining me!!!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Miracle Baby

Today is Winona's 12th birthday.  Every year on this day, I can't help but think about the nine months I was pregnant with her.  It was by far the most difficult thing that I have ever had to endure.  Some say that my new diagnosis is a miracle, but the real miracle is that I was able to carry a healthy baby to term.

9 months old

Like many pregnant women, I experienced a lot of morning sickness, which made it impossible to keep my medication in my system.  As a result, I was unable to walk on my own and had even more limited use of my hands.  During those nine months, I was completely depended on others for help.

Steve had to step in and assist me with more things than a husband should ever have to deal with.  He drove me to and from work, dressed me, bathed me and fed me.  I guess you could say that my pregnancy was prepping him for fatherhood.  ;)

Yes, this was the most uncomfortable nine months of my life (until I did it again with Sharon).  Honestly, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.  Winona has a smile that lights up my day, a laugh that makes me want to laugh too and a caring heart that is not common in most children her age.  I am so grateful that out of all the women in the world, God chose me to be her mom.

4 years old
First day of Kindergarten