Be selective in your battles…

  
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how we care for one another.  To me, often times, the way in which we show our love and devotion to those closest to us is misinterpreted.  We are so close to the situation and so embroiled in it emotionally, that we can’t actually see how we are affecting the one or ones we are concerned about.

“Don’t assume I can’t do it”, comes from the mouths of the ones we are trying to protect.  “Let me try and I will tell you if I need help.”  Pause – breathe – listen.

Even when we are grown, we need family, friends, loved ones to keep us on track.  It’s not just for the little ones that we need to parent or keep in check.  As we age, we need help to stay the course; to be held accountable.

But when a loved one goes off track, does something that may be hurtful or selfish or scary, sometimes finding peace is better than being right.  We need to pick and chose our battles.  And know, in the end, our intentions are pure and the best thing to do is just love; share your love; tell your loved ones how much they mean to you every day as if it’s your last; and find peace in that.

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Beauty among sadness…

A dear friend lost a loved one recently, and despite the fact that her heart is breaking, and mine is aching for her, there is beauty among the sadness.  A faint smile remembering the loved ones’ laughter, their kindness, their sense of wonder, their unwavering love for family… These are beautiful memories that will remain with us forever.

I’ve recently been so touched by our amazing community.  The love and support we have received through support for my sister, as well as the love and kindness shown to us when my father in law recently passed, is staggering.

There is such beauty we’ve seen, despite our sadness.

You have heard of the amazing journey we are on with my big sister, Kelly, as she battles ALS (with a gigantic smile on her face).  You have heard of the support we have received.  But I have not told you what it really has meant to us.

Not only did we reach out and ask for help and received a resounding “Yes, we will help you!” from our family and friends from all over the country… What we received is far greater than the unbelievably great handicapped accessible van you all helped us purchase for Kelly’s needs (thank you so much!).

We received an army of love, compassion, support, letters of encouragement, meals, kind thoughtful hugs and cards… We have an entire army of the most loving, supportive, hopeful, encouraging people walking on this journey with us.

I guess all I am saying is, despite all the struggles and sadness in the world – there is so much beauty.  Thank you for helping us see it.

 

Making Space

Someone recently told me to “make space” while going through a challenging time.  Confused, I inquired as to what was meant by that.  Here’s what I learned.

To “make space”, you accept where you are with yourself and with others.  It allows you to be gentle with yourself about your natural instincts and feelings, but also reminds you to pause and not react impulsively.

If you know me, this is easier said than done.  I am passionate about my relationships, I listen attentively, support enthusiastically, and will fight to the death if you cross one of my loved ones.  I am used to reacting with strong emotion.

Given the permission to “make space” has been a breath of fresh air for me.  When things seem to pile up all at once, it can be overwhelming – it’s easy to get flustered.  Taking the time to accept where we are, at difficult times, not expecting to “be fine”, being genuine and kind to ourselves may just be the key to life in these moments.

My friends tell me to breathe.  To be patient.  It is peaceful and restorative.   I think I am going to try harder to “make space”.  Will you join me?

  
 

It takes a Village….

Kelly sitting in her brand new Wheelchair Accessible Van! 11/4/15
Kelly sitting in her brand new Wheelchair Accessible Van! 11/4/15

As I sit here longing to be in Corpus Christi today, while my sister Kelly receives her new wheelchair accessible Van, I am struck by so many emotions.  First, I am elated (I can actually barely sit here typing!).  The thought that this actually happened has butterflies flitting around in my stomach.  Second, I am humbled.  The way in which our friends and family have jumped in with both feet to help our dream of purchasing a Van for Kelly become a reality in less than three weeks is just mind blowing to me.  I feel so loved.  And supported.  Third, I am grateful.  Grateful for this life, for my loving family, for our dear friends, for peace of mind.

Thank you to our Village of family and friends, near and far.  We are so elated, humbled and most of all, grateful.IMG_6688

Finding Peace

How do you find peace when someone you love passes on?  Memories from years past flood your memory and you smile, remembering the wonderful things you’ve experienced together.  The thoughts of all the things this person has shared with you and all the ways they’ve enhanced your life bring you joy.  A first instinct may be to scour photo files and albums to relive old days with them.

But along with the feelings of happiness and fondness, comes a longing to be with the person again, while they are living, breathing.  Sadness for days to come without them creeps in.

I find it very comforting to know my loved one was with some of his closest family members and loved ones in his last hours and moments.  To know he was comfortable, comforted, cuddled and loved in his final moments calms me.

My father in law passed away peacefully today.  He was an amazing man, whom I was proud to call my Father In Law.  He was funny, intelligent, feisty, and worldly.  He witnessed our children on their first days of life with a smile and pride on his face and in his heart.  Tonight, my children are saddened by his passing, but so proud to be continuing on the legacy of his family.

Good night Dale Russell King.  May you Rest in Peace.

An overwhelming sense of gratitude…

So, after reaching out for help from our family and friends, I am struck by an amazing sense of gratitude.  The incredible outpouring of support has given us a new sense of strength and hope.  Beautiful letters and cards accompany generous financial contributions for a much needed wheelchair accessible van for my sister, Kelly Rhodes, who has ALS.

It’s the oddest thing asking for help.  Why is it that it is hard to do?  Why do we contemplate asking when people have reached out to us in the past asking how they can help?  I suppose it’s pride.  And, lets face it, it’s awkward to ask for help.  But, after seeing my sweet big sister in September, I knew I needed to just suck it up and ask, because something needed to be done and quickly.

I’m really glad I did.  The support and love of our community of family and friends is enveloping us.  We don’t feel alone and we feel new hope.  Who knew when dealing with a devastating disease like ALS, we’d be shown the silver lining?  We are loved.  We are working together to provide Kelly an opportunity to be able to safely leave her house, go to her medical appointments and explore the world without fear.

Despite our challenges, life is good.  Thank you for filling us with an overwhelming sense of gratitude.