Sunday, December 4, 2016

Traveling Angel

Love still exists.  Last week, I had the chance to surprise a beautiful, angelic eleven year old girl named Abigail.  Her teacher is a friend of mine, and the students were assigned a project of which they could pick four different topics.  One was to interview someone and do research prior to the interview and prepare questions to ask the person.

Abigail had emailed me back in early October.  I remember receiving it but because I was in the hospital at the time, I had forgot to email her until my friend/her teacher asked if I could help her surprise Abigail as she was moving.  I was so embarrassed that I had forgotten to get in touch with her and hoped I hadn't ruined her project.

A few know but most don't know that I have been very, very sick the past 6 months.  Every day is an hour to hour evaluation of how much I can physically do.  The night I was to meet Abigail, I got sick about two hours prior to when I had to leave.  I was frustrated with myself because this illness has taken so much away from me, and I was determined to not let it ruin a young girl's surprise.  But there was nothing I could do.  I had to let it run its course before I could drive.

I was late getting to the local pizza place where she lived, but the look on her face was absolutely priceless when I turned the corner and she saw me!  I don't think she could have smiled any bigger!  Her eyes, cheeks, smile, and demeanor was glowing!  Her Mom and older sister, Samantha, were with her along with my friend/her teacher and her children.  Seeing Abigail's pure joy was exactly like something you see in the movies or on television.  Her smile made me smile!

I brought my crown and sash from my days as Ms. Wheelchair California as well as a signed headshot.  After introductions, I showed her my crown and she was so in awe.  There was such a pure innocence about her that was truly refreshing.  I handed it to her and she proudly put it on her head!


This is Abigail with my crown on!  She was not ashamed or embarrassed or shy or anything I think I would be if I met someone that I'd been researching, watching video's, reading blogs, and spending time to really get to "virtually" know but had never met ... let's just say she is one confident chick! :)   (Please forgive the deathly look I have on my face!  I was just recovering from an illness attack, remember!)

She reminded me that people are always watching lol, but most importantly, she taught me to boldly go into every situation, any relationship, any project with confidence in who I AM and be the most authentic woman that exudes LOVE.  I'm called to love (Galatians 5:13), and Abigail reminded me of that emphatic and beautiful characteristic because she exudes it brightly.  Go back to the picture and look at that smile and those eyes!!

Abigail, I will never forget you!  (And I still don't have a sweatshirt!  lol)










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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

2016 - The Best Year Ever?


There are significant points in life that make you stop and realize how far you've come in a year.  This  particular time of the year - October - is one that I can say that I've become a wiser, stronger, and poised woman than I was a year ago.  I've gone through it all and learned so many lessons along the way.

I have learned to enjoy moments for what they are - not what they could be, not what they weren't, and not what I want them to be.  A year ago, I moved here with hearts in my eyes and love in my heart.  I had also just broken my tibia/fibula in January of 2015 which was a horrendous recovery.  Mix that with being back on my own again, resettling into the community and my life here, dealing with sicknesses and other factors... well, it somehow ended up creating one big mess in the end.  At least that's what I've thought throughout the past year.  But the truth is that I love those moments for what they were.  I still laugh, I still smile, and I still have good memories that filter through my brain when I think of this time last year.

Was it a shitty way to go out of a relationship?  Absolutely.  I was way blindsided.  I was called vulgar and horrible names that should never be said to a woman (or anyone).  Some things will never be forgotten, especially the fear that I lived through the months and summer following.  I had also held a lot of anger and bitterness in my heart for a long time.  But that was a chapter that I have learned to let go.  To forgive.  To love what was.  I have no control over it now.  That's another thing I've learned to do this year - let go of what I don't have control over.  It's brought me so much peace in my life!  I recognize that I'm powerless against most things, so why waste the energy worrying about it?  It seems like a lot of the lessons learned (or re-learned) have been because I've had some great, wise friends to be able to bounce things off of.  I've gained friends who are honest with me.  Friends who shoot straight and don't bend.  Friends that know exactly when I need coddling.  Friends who have allowed me to be me.  Friends who support my morals and beliefs, even though we may differ on some things.  I've also had friends who have challenged me, stretched me, and reminded me of past goals I wanted to accomplish.  And I have accomplished them!  I've checked off so many things on my bucket list this past year.  Bottom line... I've gained friends who love me.

I have embraced who I am.  What I love.  How I love. Why I love.  Who I love.  I offer love freely, yet only a select few get my unconditional love. I don't love everyone unconditionally.  Sorry not sorry.  I know it's not the Christian way that is taught in the Bible.  I have thought a lot about how and who I interact with, and some people are way out in the outfield while others are in the dugout box with me.  My love is mine to give.  Just because there is attraction doesn't mean there's investment.  And just because there is investment doesn't mean there's an attraction.  I also have realized that different people feed different needs for me.  And I'm totally happy with that!  I am a human, and as the protector of my own heart, I have learned to put up healthy boundaries. At the same time, when I let those walls down, I have also enjoyed each moment of love that I've experienced.  Those thousands of individual moments have pushed me through the year, so thank you to those who have entered my life and loved me back unconditionally and filling the different segments of love.

I've learned that honesty is always the best policy.  Hands down, I had to learn it the hard way (which is not an uncommon trait of mine - learning things the hard way), but it changed my life 100% for the better!  It showed me who I was, and I didn't like what was shown to me.  It humbled my heart and spirit. It put one of my most precious friendships on the line of which I was more afraid of losing than the person I hurt.  I was getting hit from multiple sides within my spirit.  Honesty has ultimately up-ed my notch of maturity big time.  A lot of times, it's the hardest thing to do - especially with good friends and family.  It's hard having to be the one to put a mirror up to someone else's face and feel the backlash.  But I know in my heart that I was honest with myself, and that's all I can do.  During this time, I also learned who my true friends are.  I have learned to make other people a priority who make me a priority.  I am done with one way relationships with others.  And the real people stayed with me through it all.

I have become one with nature and appreciate every single day that I get to experience the view I have just outside my window.  I'm constantly in awe of how close to earth that we are as humans.  I've embraced dirty hands, messy hair, a naked face, and my femininity in its natural state.  I get to watch a beautiful sunset, hear animals and insects at dusk, and see a thousand stars above my head every night.  I love living where I do!  (The picture was taken as I was writing this blog post.)  With this concept, I've also learned to explore natural ways of healing oneself.  Ways to get off of pharmaceutical drugs.  I've learned so much about herbs, spices, and oils that are just as effective as chemically compounded drugs - but without the huge side effects.  I have actually had many conversations with several different people over this, and it has been wonderful to interact with other like-minded men and women.

I have leaned towards becoming more of a minimalist - keeping only the things that are needed and a few things that are sentimental/meaningful or that bring me joy.  I have allowed a lot of people and things steal my joy this year.  I've even feared blogging on here about my life or thoughts.  But different things throughout this past year (October 2015 - October 2016) have been God saying, "Be still."  And so I've learned to appreciate each day even more bountiful, even if it's stopping all train of thoughts because the sunset is that gorgeous.  Yes!  These are the days that I love.  Finding joy in the little things -even if everything else seems to be going wrong.

I have become a better musician over the past year.  There aren't enough words for the orchestra I play with or the conductor himself.  I've accomplished incredible feats, literal accidents, pushed past sicknesses, and worked my way up from the very back of the violin section to second chair..... second chair of the first violins!!!  As a musician in an ensemble, most would agree with me and understand how exciting that is to achieve!  It's a recognition of hard work.  I'm quite honored to literally now sit under the baton of this conductor.  He's also helped make some of my bucket list items come true as well add others to the list I never could have dreamed of!  I'm proud that I'm still playing the violin - and even better than when I was in college - after 25 years.

I have celebrated 10 YEARS of sobriety this year!  It sounds like a lot.  It seems longer.  But I am extremely proud that I have grown from that year I used alcohol as a cover up for the low self esteem I had.  This past year, I have had to strongly assert myself and my sobriety.  I've been able to safely be in a bar and not at all feel compelled to drink, and I feel I'm having as good of a time if not better than those that are drunk!  I've been that friend who has been called on because the other person is drunk.  I've met other people who have celebrated big sobriety anniversaries lately and it has encouraged me to keep going.  I have seen how stupid it is to get drunk, not to mention the severe damage it can do to your internal organs and overall health.  I have really been focusing on breaking those generational strongholds this year starting with me.  Even though I've stayed sober for ten years, it's not the time to start drinking again for me.  I may never be able to drink again, but I'm okay with that decision.  And now it's ten years and two weeks.  I think I've done a pretty damn good job.

I have learned to listen to the Holy Spirit's leading and trust God in everything.  I've learned that even though I may not like whatever circumstance I'm in, I know that the Lord has it under control and at the front of His mind.  I am not alone in what I do.  I've had to make some difficult decisions about certain things that has challenged me in ways I never knew I could be challenged.  The times I've chosen Christ over something else, I've been rewarded abundantly every.single.time.  The Lord is my constant.

I've learned it's okay if I don't have children.  Yes.  HUGE statement for those that know my heart intimately.  I have been given the great trust to continue teaching which feeds my desire to love on children and hopefully make a positive influence and change in their life. I have friends who let me "borrow" their kids to spoil them.  I have others whose kids are learning things without me even knowing I was involved in such a positive change.  My deepest desire is to use this obtrusive disability as a platform to reach others who would may otherwise not listen.  To teach respect.  To teach the power of reaching for and achieving goals.  To teach the freedom of feeling confident... not cockiness.  To comfortably dancing in public, to laughing without fear of criticism, and to embrace moments for what they are.  To love.  I don't need my own personal children to experience the feeling of caring like a "mother" would.  It doesn't mean the desire of having my own has gone away, but I recognize it may never happen.  So, I am enjoying the "now's" in life.  What a good feeling to know my heart has been filled so much this year!

This turned out to be the best year I've ever had!  Whoa.  I just realized this as I'm writing this blog post!  I literally was talking to my Mom on the phone and said that this year is coming into a close first with 2012 as the worst year ever.  But typing all this out has made me realize that, yes indeed, this has been a year of great change, great self-evaluation, and great gain.  Man, it's amazing how much positive change can happen for the better when at the time, it may have seemed like the worst thing ever.  Hard lessons make for captive audiences like myself.  God always knows how to get my attention lol.

I've been set free.













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2016 - The Best Year Ever?


There are significant points in life that make you stop and realize how far you've come in a year.  This  particular time of the year - October - is one that I can say that I've become a wiser, stronger, and poised woman than I was a year ago.  I've gone through it all and learned so many lessons along the way.

I have learned to enjoy moments for what they are - not what they could be, not what they weren't, and not what I want them to be.  A year ago, I moved here with hearts in my eyes and love in my heart.  I had also just broken my tibia/fibula in January of 2015 which was a horrendous recovery.  Mix that with being back on my own again, resettling into the community and my life here, dealing with sicknesses and other factors... well, it somehow ended up creating one big mess in the end.  At least that's what I've thought throughout the past year.  But the truth is that I love those moments for what they were.  I still laugh, I still smile, and I still have good memories that filter through my brain when I think of this time last year.

Was it a shitty way to go out of a relationship?  Absolutely.  I was way blindsided.  I was called vulgar and horrible names that should never be said to a woman (or anyone).  Some things will never be forgotten, especially the fear that I lived through the months and summer following.  I had also held a lot of anger and bitterness in my heart for a long time.  But that was a chapter that I have learned to let go.  To forgive.  To love what was.  I have no control over it now.  That's another thing I've learned to do this year - let go of what I don't have control over.  It's brought me so much peace in my life!  I recognize that I'm powerless against most things, so why waste the energy worrying about it?  It seems like a lot of the lessons learned (or re-learned) have been because I've had some great, wise friends to be able to bounce things off of.  I've gained friends who are honest with me.  Friends who shoot straight and don't bend.  Friends that know exactly when I need coddling.  Friends who have allowed me to be me.  Friends who support my morals and beliefs, even though we may differ on some things.  I've also had friends who have challenged me, stretched me, and reminded me of past goals I wanted to accomplish.  And I have accomplished them!  I've checked off so many things on my bucket list this past year.  Bottom line... I've gained friends who love me.

I have embraced who I am.  What I love.  How I love. Why I love.  Who I love.  I offer love freely, yet only a select few get my unconditional love. I don't love everyone unconditionally.  Sorry not sorry.  I know it's not the Christian way that is taught in the Bible.  I have thought a lot about how and who I interact with, and some people are way out in the outfield while others are in the dugout box with me.  My love is mine to give.  Just because there is attraction doesn't mean there's investment.  And just because there is investment doesn't mean there's an attraction.  I also have realized that different people feed different needs for me.  And I'm totally happy with that!  I am a human, and as the protector of my own heart, I have learned to put up healthy boundaries. At the same time, when I let those walls down, I have also enjoyed each moment of love that I've experienced.  Those thousands of individual moments have pushed me through the year, so thank you to those who have entered my life and loved me back unconditionally and filling the different segments of love.

I've learned that honesty is always the best policy.  Hands down, I had to learn it the hard way (which is not an uncommon trait of mine - learning things the hard way), but it changed my life 100% for the better!  It showed me who I was, and I didn't like what was shown to me.  It humbled my heart and spirit. It put one of my most precious friendships on the line of which I was more afraid of losing than the person I hurt.  I was getting hit from multiple sides within my spirit.  Honesty has ultimately up-ed my notch of maturity big time.  A lot of times, it's the hardest thing to do - especially with good friends and family.  It's hard having to be the one to put a mirror up to someone else's face and feel the backlash.  But I know in my heart that I was honest with myself, and that's all I can do.  During this time, I also learned who my true friends are.  I have learned to make other people a priority who make me a priority.  I am done with one way relationships with others.  And the real people stayed with me through it all.

I have become one with nature and appreciate every single day that I get to experience the view I have just outside my window.  I'm constantly in awe of how close to earth that we are as humans.  I've embraced dirty hands, messy hair, a naked face, and my femininity in its natural state.  I get to watch a beautiful sunset, hear animals at night, and see a thousand stars above my head every night.  I love living where I do!  (The picture was taken as I was writing this blog post.)  With this concept, I've also learned to explore natural ways of healing oneself.  Ways to get off of pharmaceutical drugs.  I've learned so much about herbs, spices, and oils that are just as effective as chemically compounded drugs - but without the huge side effects.  I have actually had many conversations with several different people over this, and it has been wonderful to interact with other like-minded men and women.

I have leaned towards becoming more of a minimalist - keeping only the things that are needed and a few things that are sentimental/meaningful or that bring me joy.  I have allowed a lot of people and things steal my joy this year.  I've even feared blogging on here about my life or thoughts.  But different things throughout this past year (October 2015 - October 2016) have been God saying, "Be still."  And so I've learned to appreciate each day even more bountiful, even if it's stopping all train of thoughts because the sunset is that gorgeous.  Yes!  These are the days that I love.  Finding joy in the little things -even if everything else seems to be going wrong.

I have become a better musician over the past year.  There aren't enough words for the orchestra I play with or the conductor himself.  I've accomplished incredible feats, literal accidents, pushed past sicknesses, and worked my way up from the very back of the violin section to Assistant Concertmaster..... what??!!!  As a musician in an ensemble, most would agree with me and understand how exciting that is to achieve!  It's a recognition of hard work.  I'm quite honored to literally now sit under the baton of this conductor.  He's also helped make some of my bucket list items come true as well add others to the list I never could have dreamed of!  I'm proud that I'm still playing the violin - and even better than when I was in college - after 25 years.

I have celebrated 10 YEARS of sobriety this year!  It sounds like a lot.  It seems longer.  But I am extremely proud that I have grown from that year I used alcohol as a cover up for the low self esteem I had.  This past year, I have had to strongly assert myself and my sobriety.  I've been able to safely be in a bar and not at all feel compelled to drink, and I feel I'm having as good of a time if not better than those that are drunk!  I've been that friend who has been called on because the other person is drunk.  I've met other people who have celebrated big sobriety anniversaries lately and it has encouraged me to keep going.  I have seen how stupid it is to get drunk, not to mention the severe damage it can do to your internal organs and overall health.  I have really been focusing on breaking those generational strongholds this year starting with me.  Even though I've stayed sober for ten years, it's not the time to start drinking again for me.  I may never be able to drink again, but I'm okay with that decision.  And now it's ten years and two weeks.  I think I've done a pretty damn good job.

I have learned to listen to the Holy Spirit's leading and trust God in everything.  I've learned that even though I may not like whatever circumstance I'm in, I know that the Lord has it under control and at the front of His mind.  I am not alone in what I do.  I've had to make some difficult decisions about certain things that has challenged me in ways I never knew I could be challenged.  The times I've chosen Christ over something else, I've been rewarded abundantly every.single.time.  The Lord is my constant.

I've learned it's okay if I don't have children.  Yes.  HUGE statement for those that know my heart intimately.  I have been given the great trust to continue teaching which feeds my desire to love on children and hopefully make a positive influence and change in their life. I have friends who let me "borrow" their kids to spoil them.  I have others whose kids are learning things without me even knowing I was involved in such a positive change.  My deepest desire is to use this obtrusive disability as a platform to reach others who would may otherwise not listen.  To teach respect.  To teach the power of reaching for and achieving goals.  To teach the freedom of feeling confident... not cockiness.  To comfortably dancing in public, to laughing without fear of criticism, and to embrace moments for what they are.  To love.  I don't need my own personal children to experience the feeling of caring like a "mother" would.  It doesn't mean the desire of having my own has gone away, but I recognize it may never happen.  So, I am enjoying the "now's" in life.  What a good feeling to know my heart has been filled so much this year!

This turned out to be the best year I've ever had!  Whoa.  I just realized this as I'm writing this blog post!  I literally was talking to my Mom on the phone and said that this year is coming into a close first with 2012 as the worst year ever.  But typing all this out has made me realize that, yes indeed, this has been a year of great change, great self-evaluation, and great gain.  Man, it's amazing how much positive change can happen for the better when at the time, it may have seemed like the worst thing ever.  Hard lessons make for captive audiences like myself.  God always knows how to get my attention lol.

I've been set free.













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Friday, September 16, 2016

Celebrating TEN Years of Sobriety!!



I am extremely proud to announce that today, September 16, 2016, I boastfully celebrate my TEN YEAR Anniversary of Sobriety from Alcohol!!!

Ten Years. Wow. That's a long time to do anything (or nothing in this case.) I don't know that I have the adequate words to describe how proud I am of myself for resisting temptation for ten years.  Giving up anything takes commitment. Commitment to yourself. I decided 10 years ago to take control over the generational strongholds within my family and break the chains of alcoholism.

Choosing not to drink alcohol is a day to day promise to be loyal to my health.   To be loyal to my body – the temple of God.  To be loyal to my future family, God willing.  And to be loyal to my faith in Jesus Christ.  Are there days that I wish I could have a glass of wine? Absolutely! But even now, 10 years later, I do not trust myself that the one glass of wine would not turn into 14 shots of tequila. I'm not exaggerating.  Addiction runs strong on one side of my family. I have been criticized, ridiculed, made fun of, my boundaries have been pushed, and I have had to set boundaries. Staying sober for 10 years isn't easy, especially when others try to push alcohol on me.  All of my close friends know of my sobriety and respect and honor that decision. And on the other side of the coin, I do not shun others if they drink.  I only ask that they respect my rules and boundaries within my own home. Occasionally, I will go to a bar with friends to hear a band play or hang out. But I do not feel uncomfortable there as I once used to in my early days of sobriety. (I do not suggest this for everyone as it may be a trigger.  I personally had to wait about 7 years before I could trust myself in a bar.)  Alcohol is not something I want to build a relationship on. It is not a place that I look to find a partner. So, for me and my future, this is a personal decision and choice that I hold at the highest regard. Those within my inner circle support my sobriety, and they are good encouragers to keep on the path.  Those who do not support my sobriety are not in my inner circle or life, for that matter!  It is important for me to be careful of who I surround myself with in life.  The saying is true –  "you are who you surround yourself with." In time, it can becomes easier to just be "comfortable" and mask those deep hurts or issues one doesn't want to acknowledge.  It's called complacency – being lukewarm.

I am so thankful for the Christian-based, 12 step program called "Celebrate Recovery."  I am even more grateful that I spent almost 2 1/2 years in a 12 step program at church where this CR was started – Saddleback Church.  Had my good friend, Minie Garcia Meeker, not invited me to attend a meeting at the time she did, I could potentially still be going down a dark path. Also, my mentors, Alva Copeland and Tonya Stieff spoke the hard truth I needed to hear to protect my life. Lastly and most importantly, I am blessed that Jesus Christ died on the cross for the things I am unable to save myself from. He is my constant.

It is not always easy, and there are times when I am in situations where it would just be easier to drink then to deal with the problem. But there is that reminder in my head of where I came from and where I'm going, and it pushes me forward in my faith.  I do not want to relapse and have to start back at Day One.

Today, I celebrate Day 3,652! 😀👏🏼🙏🏼




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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Off Grid



I am stepping away from social media and blogging while also stepping off the grid for awhile.  I ask that you keep me in prayer.  If you need to get in touch with me, please use the "Contact" portion of my website, www.alysonroth.com, and thank you for your patience and understanding.

Be well, and treat others better than you would want to be treated.

~  Alyson

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Sheeba's Life


I moved to California from Georgia in 2005 with the idea of fulfilling a dream of mine to live in California for at least a year of my life.  Here I am eleven years later!  California has served me well. I have grown in more ways than I ever imagined, have done things on my own that have made me feel more independent, and I have challenged myself to keep going no matter what life throws at you.

Two years into me living in California, I decided to get my very first pet.  I had grown up with dogs my entire life (along with hamsters, snakes, ducks, caterpillars, etc), but never a cat.  While working at the hospital down in Orange County, one of the hospice nurses said that she had a patient who was dearly worried about her cat and was adamant that the nurse find her a home before she would pass.  The patient had Alzheimer's, and I'm partial to those who suffer from it because my grandmother passed away from the disease.  The nurse casually mentioned this to us, and I said I would take her.  I had no idea what to do with a cat, and the first few days, I kept trying to find her in my apartment.  (Unlike dogs who are easy to find, cats like to hide!)  For about a week, we both kind of gave each other space as we got used to each other, but it was quickly that I fell in love with her.  I kept the name she was given - Sheeba - by her original owner.

Eventually, Sheeba became a certified support animal for me.  She has helped me in more ways than I can count - emotionally and mentally.  For her to be my very first responsibility was a huge blessing as she has honestly been the best cat anyone could ask for.  Since she is a support animal, I can bring her onboard the airplane if I travel.  Once up in the air, I would take her out of her cage and she would lay in my lap and in my arms for the entire 5 hour flight back home to Georgia without a problem.  She's an amazing traveler - both by car or plane, - loves to lay in the sun or by the fireplace, and the love she emits along with her sweet disposition is one that I don't think will ever be replicated.

I got Sheeba when she was about 3 or 4 years old (not sure), and she is now approximately 14 years old.  A year ago, I had blood work done on her as she had been throwing up her food, drinking more than the usual amount of water, and her weight was declining.  She was in the early stages of kidney failure, however the vet said that she was still healthy enough to not be put down.  Unfortunately, she has gotten worse.  I still see the sweet girl in her, but I know her body is tired and wearing down.  It hurts my heart to see her age and slow down so quickly.

A year ago, I went through the emotional concern that I may have to put her down.  But now, I know it's time.  Selfishly, I am keeping her around as I never want to let her go.  She has seen me through so much of my growing up in life and helped me through some very tough times.  My eyes swell with tears just writing this knowing that her days here on earth and in my arms are coming to an end.  At night, she lays right up by my head and shoulder and I nuzzle my face in her fur to savor as much of her as I can.  Pets are more than pets.  Sheeba has loved me when I didn't feel loved, been a shoulder to cry on, a "person" to vent to, and most of all, she knows when I'm hurting or have gotten hurt and stayed by my side.  She goes above and beyond what a support animal does and truly knows me.

I'm not sure when this will take place, but I know it will be sooner than later, and I will not bring her into a vet's office.  I will have her put down in my arms at home.  It's hard for me to think about because my heart sinks to my stomach and it feels like there is a thousand pound rock in there.  I feel I will be very lost without her, but I don't want her in pain.

Sheeba will forever be the best pet and cat I've ever known or will ever have.  In these next few days, I will cherish every moment with her knowing she had a good life as I rescued her, loved her, and in return, she loved me unconditionally.



My Angel.....



UPDATE:  Sheeba passed away on Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 4:28PM.  My life was made tremendously better by having her in it all these years.  That's not to say, however, that there is a huge hole in my home and heart without her here.  The silence of her absence is deafening.  I must say that I'm am forever grateful for the veterinarian that helped her pass over the Rainbow Bridge.  He and his entire team showed so much dignity, respect, and empathy towards Sheeba and me.  Below is one of the last pictures I took of her at home that morning ..... and then the raw despair and pain as she slowly passed away in my arms.  











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Sunday, February 7, 2016

November to February



February.  The month of love.  I have a love/hate relationship with the month.  The realist in me recognizes that Valentine's Day was created to show respect to Saint Valentine, and then America decided to flourish off of its proclamation to convince others that if you don't celebrate the day with someone you romantically love, then you're pretty much a loser.  Within the last decade, there's been a new movement that has changed it to "Single's Awareness Day," in which one celebrates and appreciates where they are in life - being single.  It's well marketed to boost the economy by selling red roses, teddy bears, chocolates, and cards in order to show that one person that you love them.  I get it.  I get the whole marketing/money ploy.  But the old-fashioned romantic in me wishes for the handwritten valentine and the flowers.  I hate to admit it, but one year, I actually ordered myself flowers and had them delivered to my work.  I had many curious questions as to who sent me such a beautiful arrangement, and my answer was, "Someone very special!"

The older I get and the more jaded confused I become with true love, the more I wonder if it's even a reality.  My uncle has a grand rule in that he doesn't date between November to February.  It relinquishes him from any commitment to "meeting the family" during the holiday's, the gifts, the New Year's celebration, and last but not least, Valentine's Day.

But why is love so complicated.  Why can't the purest of intentions and love that is given be received?  Why can't we learn that each person is loved differently and learn to love that person in the way they receive it?  Why can't love transcend all past hurts and failures?  Isn't love the magic potion that we're all looking for?

I believe that love first starts with yourself.  You have to know how to love yourself and know what you need in order to communicate that to others.  Learn to be alone with yourself and be okay with it.  Embrace the single life with the intention of learning more and more about who you are and who you want to be.  After all, majority of the planet is looking for love in some type of form, and what better way to love someone when you already know who you are!  It gives way to give the love that others need when you already know what you need.

I love deep.  I love fully.  I love hard.  I love unconditionally.  And 9 times out of 10 I get my heart broken because I give so much of myself.  It's who I am.  I don't know how to love any less because I give what I want to receive.  So this Valentine's Day, no matter whether or not I receive a handwritten Valentine or flowers, I'll probably still buy myself flowers because I enjoy them.  I'll do things with or without someone, depending on my mood, and most of all, I'll recognize that I love myself more each day and deserve that love in return.  Love given is love received.

So American marketing ploy or not, love who you are on Valentine's Day... and on every day before and after that.  Love others and love them how you'd like to be loved despite their wrongdoings.  The greatest form of love is forgiveness.  Reach out to a friend or family member and let them know you love them.  We are not guaranteed tomorrow, so love as if this is your last opportunity to say, "I love you."

And by the way, my uncle will be back on the market in about a week, ladies.  ;)





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Monday, December 28, 2015

2015 Year in Review


2015 came and went so fast for me.  It started horrible, the middle was mediocre, and the ending has been better than I could have imagined.  But if you were to ask me 10 years from now how 2015 was for me, my immediate response would be horrible.

The year 2015 taught me many valuable lessons about others.  It showed me how strong I really am, and I was able to implement the lessons learned in 2014 into the year 2015 which is always a good thing that shows growth.

It all began with a broken tibia/fibula and kneecap towards the end of January.  I was transferring to a surface that I didn't know was not stable and immediately fell into a very narrow area in which my body had to contort into formation.  I immediately heard the sound of a bone breaking - one that I'm all too familiar with over the years.  Thankfully I was at my parents house when it happened, but because I've been through this whole routine before, I waited about a half hour before calling 911 (there was no way I was able to get out of the position I was in and back into my wheelchair, let alone transfer in and out of a car to the Emergency Room without the use of paramedics and an ambulance).  My family was able to gather stuff I knew I'd need for the long haul since I knew I'd be admitted and surgery would be happening.  I knew it was broken not only from the sound, but when I looked down at my leg, I had two "knee caps" rather than one... turns out that was my tibia pushing into my skin.  Ouch!

All of this happened just about a week before I was to scheduled to move back to California, but as God always does, He worked this out in MY favor to get me out of a horrible, emotionally abusive relationship.  Emotional abuse is far more damaging than a slap or a punch, in my opinion.  The thing with emotional abuse is that most women don't realize it's happening until it is almost too late.  I was one of those women.  It is a form of abuse where the perpetrator uses fear in the most subtle way to control the victim.  Everything in the beginning is rainbows and butterflies - almost making you believe it's too good to be true.  And when he keeps doing the same "good things," you start to believe that maybe he is the real deal.  At that point, you begin to trust him, let down your guard, and believe everything he says.  This is exactly when he swoops in and begins to slowly demean you.  I was taken advantage of on multiple occasions including when I was in the hospital after breaking my leg.  In a matter of 6 months, I was yelled at, talked down to, belittled, forced to choose him "or else," put up with his disregard for my morals, began isolating me from friends and family, was blamed for things that were clearly his fault, controlled at what I could and couldn't not do, and yet told to smile so that no one would know the truth of what was happening.  I am so thankful to Jesus that I was spared from even more harm than was already done and that my family was there to fully support and protect me in all ways.  If you or someone you know is in an emotionally abusive relationship, please reach out to them and be bold about making it known what is happening.  Research the characteristics of what emotional abuse is if you think it is happening to you, and most of all, be brave enough to say "NO!" You are not his first victim, and you will not be his last.  Reach out for help and get out!

Breaking my leg also made me realize from what the doctors told me was that this break more than likely happened from a fracture that I had unknowingly already had from a previous fall, and since it takes my bones so long to heal, it could have happened at any point.  Ha!  Well, there wasn't just one fall.  I'm pretty sure I fell every day while I was in Europe last Fall 2014, and many times I was alone when I fell - even though I watched the ground and was as careful as I could be.  Life happens, though.

I was forced to bed rest for a good four months for my leg to heal and then put into physical therapy.  This led to a lot of thinking time!  I was able to process a few things.
  • 99% of the time, three is a crowd
  • Two people will always cling together leaving one person left out
  • People aren't always who they seem to be
  • Just because you are family doesn't mean they will be nice to you
  • Some people will always harbor bitterness and grudges in their heart that are unable to be fixed by me, no matter how many times I reach out
  • People's true colors come out in hard times
  • It's important to clearly communicate expectations or needs
Around June, I was able to start becoming a bit more independent in my life, though my leg was a big hinderance (even to this day it gives me trouble.)  I spent my 15 Year Anniversary of my accident swimming in Lake Burton during a beautiful sunset.  It was everything I could have asked for.

I thought my almost 14 year old cat, Sheeba, wasn't going to make it as her kidneys are beginning to slowly shut down.  I was almost put in a position where I would have had to decide to put her down due to her failing health.  However, I'm thankful to say that though she still struggles with her kidney's, she displays all other normal acts of affection, purring, playfulness, and eating/drinking.  So, it looks like she'll make it into the new year!

Throughout this time while laid up at my parents house, I was able to spend time with each of my immediate family members which is precious time I'll never get back. Yes, there were some ups and downs as all families have, but I am grateful that I especially was able to get closer to my brother and dad. 

I learned that if something happens to you and its details are told to someone else, eventually the story ends up like the game "Telephone" and becomes much more dramatic. Things are added as the story gets retold to other people.  It made me remember to always go to the original source first for details before believing what others say that "such and such" said.  Hearsay means information received from other people that one cannot adequately substantiate.  In other words, it becomes a rumor.  While my immediate family became closer than ever before this year, I feel that my extended family on one side grew further apart from our family.  It's unfortunate and something that I hope changes in the new year.

In July, I began looking to move back out to California, and while looking for a house, I later instead found a man that I will forever love.  It has been the most open, honest, realest, loving relationship I've ever been in and one that I know will continue far into 2016 and years beyond.  He is my other half and the one I know loves me unconditionally without fail.  I had become severely jaded about men and relationships, especially after the last one from earlier in the year, but I can proudly say I am the luckiest woman ever to share my life with this man!  He is everything and more, someone who was worth the wait, and it's clear that God brought him into my life for a definite reason.  2016 will be awesome!

This year, I had a White Christmas for the first time since 2012 and woke up surrounded by love and purity.  It was a beautiful morning and afternoon reveling in the goodness that surrounds me.  

2015 taught me many lessons, but more so it helped me stand up for what I believe in and affirm that the person I am is someone who I am proud of.  I am thankful for my immediate family and those that have offered advice and a listening ear.  I am thankful for the tears that made me stronger as an individual.  I am thankful that I can think for and be myself.  I don't have to put on a fake face for others in order to make them happy.  I am thankful that I learned it's okay to let go of people who are not positive people in my life.  I learned to stand up for what I believe, even if it goes against the norm.  And most of all, I am beyond proud to be ME - a woman with her own beliefs, feelings, attitude, care, concern, love, compassion, sensitivity, heart, and talents that make me into the person that Alyson Roth is in real life.  Why?  Because the life I have been creating for years since being a young adult have formulated into the contributing member of society that I am now, and I am proud of who I am!

2016, I am ready for you and all the positivity, love, and sense of solidarity that life will be bringing me in the new year!  I am ready to work towards making the world a better place by continuing with my own self improvement and combining it with other like-minded people to spread joy, wherever that may be.  Remember that you cannot correct what you are unwilling to confront. And in all the things I do, may it be to glorify the Lord.












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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Fun, Fair, and Fires!





After a year of what seemed to be like the world was against me, 2015 is finally looking up in the most amazing ways!

I celebrated my 15 year Life Anniversary on July 29, 2015 - and it was exactly what I would have wanted to do on this monumental day.  I was surrounded by nature and later that night decided to do a recap of what this past year post injury looked like.  I always want to accomplish more and set higher goals.  Here is the video, in case you're interested.



The fires here in California have been so common it's literally bothering my throat as I inhale ash.  Some days are better than others, and thankfully we got rain last night and today (more like a sprinkle, but I'll take anything!)  Last weekend, I went to the Mariposa County Fair for the first time ever!  I literally felt like I was in a romantic comedy movie.  It was everything you'd think a small town fair would be - and more!  It was also fun to go with someone very special to me as well as an opportunity to practice photography!



                   


It has definitely been an odd year and seeing California literally burn up in flames.  It is so, so dry here, and every tree branch looks like a fire waiting to happen.  Fall/Autumn just kind of happened, but more so out of the drought than anything.  There's a constant haze in the air of smoke.  By looking out the window, I'd imagine it is what Seattle is like if you were to live there every day - not seeing the sun.  I need sun!  

I did get some good sun down while visiting friends in SoCal a few weeks ago.  It was hot, but well welcomed with an ocean breeze!  Jennifer is one of the best women I have ever met, and I'm proud and thankful to call her a dear friend and confidant.  If you're going to be going to Disneyland/California Adventure anytime this year, please be sure to go and see "Aladdin" California Adventure.  Jennifer has been a part of the show since it's beginning a little over ten years ago, and the show will officially be closing its doors in January.  It is a MUST see!  Here are a few pictures of us having fun in SoCal... and the beautiful Union Station in Los Angeles!





 That about wraps up the past couple of months in a short snapshot.  A lot of great things happening for me in my life, and I'm so grateful to be on a path of true freedom.







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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Appreciating Patience



My expectations of what I "want" and what "is" constantly seem to butt heads in my mind.  What I "want" tends to be either unrealistic thinking, future dreams/plans, or selfishness.  What "is" most certainly is always reality.  Reality isn't always the most fun to cross paths with, but I believe it is necessary for growth in ones human spirit and life.

I try to combat my "wants" vs. "needs" or "what is" by trying to recenter and focus on where I am and be/live in the moment.  Gratitude is all around us - sometimes it's just a matter of opening your eyes and moving something out of the way.  It's a bit like looking for that missing spice in the cupboard.  There are so many others in the way that are spices that makes you think of all the goodies you could bake, but what you're making right now requires the one that is sometimes in the far back of the cupboard.  So today, though I'm not where I want to be or doing what I want to do which because something unplanned happened (don't you hate the unplanned things in life? lol), I will make the best of today and enjoy it for what it is, not what I wanted it to be.

I'm grateful for true friendships in my life who I wouldn't have otherwise known had I not reached out of my comfort zone.  I appreciate their understanding of patience as it reminds me to actually be patient with myself.  It teaches me to be a blessing to others when sometimes I just want to do my own thing.

So with all of this, I am reminded of the old hymn originally written in 1905, "His Eyes Are On the Sparrow:"

"I sing because I'm happy;
I sing because I'm free;
His eye is on the sparrow;
And He watches over me."

The comfort of knowing I'm free - free in religion, free in Christ, free in America, free in my disability, etc, etc, - the comfort of knowing I'm FREE in Christ alone is what sustains me through life's unexpected plans.  And for that, I am happy and grateful.






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Thursday, August 20, 2015

The CTEL Exam - Smoke and Mirrors





The California Teacher of English Language (CTEL).... a law that was passed in 2004 saying that all teachers in California needed to not only be credentialed, but also be able to teach students where English is not their primary language.  It is a great concept in theory, but not practical in reality.  Here is why.

First off, there are three subtests to this test, and one has the option to take them at three separate times (1st, 2nd, and 3rd), or all three at the same time.  You save a small percentage of money by opting to take all three at the same time and with money the way it is, I chose this option.  Oh, and we're not talking something like $10 a test.  Oh no.  Try $260 for a 6 hour test with only a 45 minute break (if you choose to take all three subtests at the same time.)

Here's the break down of each subtest:

     1. Language and Language Development
     2. Assessment and Instruction
     3. Culture and Inclusion

Each subtest includes between 40-60 multiple choice questions as well as one to two essay questions.  One must obtain a minimum passing score of 220 per subtest (out of 300) in order to pass.  All three subtests must be passed in order to acquire your required CTEL Certification.

I prepared as best as I could.  I researched ways to best study, took practice tests online, used flashcards, and memorized other methodologies among other things.  But here's the thing... my degree is in Music, and I'm a music teacher.  Have I had English Language Learners (ELLs) in my classroom?  Absolutely!  And the amazing thing about music is that it is universal, english syllables easily transfer to rhythm, and music covers all core subject areas.  But have I ever solely taught ELLs in an individualized classroom?  No.  Will I ever?  Probably not.  Yet this certification is required for ALL teachers in order to be a certified, credentialed teacher in the state of California.  Even substitute teachers have to have this certification!  Again, while I think it is great that substitute teachers actually have some knowledge of teaching (as opposed to a grandma who retired from nursing and just wants to give back to the community - yet has no control over high schoolers), the need for them to be certified in this type of extensive test is absurd.

I was prepared like I was for the SAT/ACT back in high school when I got to the testing center.  I had my #2 pencils ready only to be brought into a room full of computer cubicles.  Hmm.  Okay.  I was one of the first to get there, and because this is a neutral testing site, people were taking different tests other than me.  (I'm fairly certain I was the only one taking the CTEL test!)  I put my #2 pencils next to the keyboard wondering when I would need to use them, but it seemed as if they were showing my age more than anything.

The room filled up with 15 total stations, and about 10 of the stations were students with the Fire Department.  "Why can't I be taking that test?" I asked myself.  I settled in for an all day event.

In the top right-hand corner, 6 hours plus a 45 minute lunch break (yup, that's the only break!) is converted into minutes (405 minutes) counting down second by second as the first test begins.

The 1st and 3rd subtest were in the first part of the day (before lunch break), and then the 2nd part was taken after lunch.  As I pushed "End Test," I had one minute and three seconds showing left on the countdown.  This test was nothing like what I had studied for!  I compare it to studying for a science test only be given an algebra test.  I'm not even kidding.  I was dumbfounded after answering/guessing the first several questions.  Everything I had studied and memorized was worthless.  All the practice tests I took only were pointless.  They didn't even simulate what the test format was like.  Questions were asked that were nowhere located on the Study Guide provided by the CTEL testing website.

One example of a question that I clearly remembering thinking "WTH?" was:

     *  What is the second largest minority population in the state of California?
          A.  Vietnamese
          B.  Cuban
          C.  Some tribal language in another country I had never heard of
          D.  Another language I had never heard of

Why does this matter in my life what the second largest minority population is in the state of California, and why was this not prepped for me to know the answer to?  I chose Vietnamese, but I have no clue if that's right or wrong.  An English Learner is an English Learner.... it only matters to a certain extent what their primary language is.  The methods of them learning English are all the same.

For anyone who has to take this test, I don't even know how to direct you on how to study for this test.  I would probably recommend taking one subtest at a time if you are crunched for time (like I was) rather than taking all three on the same day (like I did.)  The study guide is literally what it is... a guide.  There is more information in the study guide than you need to know.  Don't memorize laws or definitions.  Know what the theories (not theorists) are and how to apply them to ELLs.  Application knowledge is huge, and the questions are tricky with convincing answers.  Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSA's) are all important to know and know how to apply them.  But because it is on the computer, it's not like the old school way I was taught to glance through the entire test, answer the questions you know and then go back and spend the time on the ones you don't know. Nope.  You have to go one question at a time.  So, there were many questions I spent 5 minutes on because I had no idea what the answer was to the question!

Because I felt dooped what the test was actually like compared to how and what I studied that was recommended by various sites, I am not confident in what the outcome will be regarding my results.  I will find out in 4-6 weeks if I passed.  Again, I have to pass all three subtests in order to gain my certification which is a requirement for my California teaching credential.  My prediction is that I'll have to go through this hell again to learn a topic that I will never solely teach on my own and need to know to the extent this test takes it.

Needless to say, my #2 pencils stayed sharp, but my brain was extremely dull after 342 minutes of a complete conundrum of a test.



Update:  I did not pass any of the exam parts.  And honestly, I still do not know what to study.







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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

15 Years of New Life!

Celebrating 15 Years of Life today since it all changed in 2000! So much has happened for the better in 15 years than I could ever have imagined, accomplished, or succeeded at in a lifetime of walking. Here's what this last year brought me, and thankful I could celebrate last night doing exactly what I love - being in nature and seeing a rainbow, swimming in the lake, surrounded by good music, and reflecting on Christ's love for us while watching the sunset! He is SO good!








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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Just One Day




Just one day.

If I had one day to have the knowledge I have now and still have the experiences I have had ... and have the opportunity for 24 hours to walk again ... sigh.

I don't even know where to start!  I probably wouldn't even sleep!  I'd wake up early (shocker, I know), and with a cup of coffee in my hand, I'd take a walk - barefoot - in the dewy morning grass and look behind me to see my footprints marked in the grass.  I'd probably do a cartwheel or two amidst the cool wind brushing across my face as I mark in my head the feeling of that grass on the bottom of my feet.

I'd climb a tree and people watch.  I might even bring my camera with me to capture moments I see that are obscure or crazy or that no one would ever believe.  I'd reach up high on my tip toes on one of those branches to reach the biggest leaf to remember that moment forever.

I'd want to dance with my Dad and pretend it's my wedding day.  There's no doubt I'd cry, but it would be happy tears.  I'd wear the highest heels I can find (and appropriately walk in) because I love the sound of heels clicking on tile or wood floors.  I might even do a little tap dance in heels.

I would like to climb and dive off a cliff into crystal clear water.  I'd enjoy the kick of my legs beneath the water and swim as far as I could.  I would also take a "jumping picture" that seems to be oh-so-popular while walking on the sand along the seaside.  I'd scrunch my toes in the sand and allow the water to wash the sand over them until they are completely covered.

I would try to accomplish all yoga poses.  I probably wouldn't be very successful, but at least I would get a good stretch.

I'd like to climb a ladder and slide down a slide, then run to the swings and swing as high as I can!  Jumping on a trampoline is something I'd recreate from my childhood, and of course I'd ride a bike all around the park.

I would hike into the High Country of Yosemite National Park, swim in Tenaya Lake, swim in the Merced River, and boulder over the rocks from rockslides of times past.

I'd perform my Senior Violin Recital all over again, but this time standing up - even if was for an audience of squirrels.

I would go into the grocery store and push the cart as fast as I could and then jump on the cart and ride it down the aisle.  I may get kicked out of the store, but it would totally be worth it.

I'd dance around a fire, twirl in a pasture, and roll down a hill.

I would take a shower outdoors and not give a **** what anyone thinks.  I'd probably even take a midnight swim later on in just my birthday suit with the moonlight glow surrounding my body.

Ooo!  I'd play beach volleyball and dive for as many hits as I could make!  I'd also play a game of baseball and kickball, trying hard to run all the bases multiple times.


Multiple possibilities in just one day.


And, yes, amazing what can change...

In

Just one day.





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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Me and Ana - The Struggle


I am that girl, and I never thought I'd be the one who would struggle with it.  My name is Alyson Roth, and I have an eating disorder that started within days of me becoming paralyzed in 2000.

I don't know how it all started, and there's specific moments I can remember when I restricted my diet, but coming out of a major surgery in July 2000 with multiple issues going on at the same time doesn't leave one with much of an appetite.  It continued from there, I suppose.

I've always enjoyed food and the camaraderie it brings between friends and family.  I never had a problem eating growing up as a little girl and into my teens.  I didn't over-indulge, but I never really paid attention to the scale, either.  I did (and still) love sweets.  It's a downfall.  I have had close family members tease me about my weight and say I'm "big boned."  Not the thing any woman let alone a teenager wants to hear.  I specifically remember wanting to try on a jean mini-skirt back during those pre-teen days.  With a smirk, my Mom allowed me to go into the dressing room to try it on.  I was afraid to come out of the dressing room because I knew I'd be criticized.  And I was.  I know she probably didn't mean to say what came out, but what came out has haunted me to this day.  "It's like trying to put an elephant into what a mouse would wear," were her words.  Dear God....

I lost a lot of weight my Junior year of high school when I joined the Track Team.  My parents were gone for a week during the beginning of the season.  When they came back, it was immediately expressed how much weight I had lost and how good I looked.  This was such an encouragement, and I continued to run Track through my Senior year and into college (though not collegiately, just on my own.)  I guess I had found what I liked doing - running, hiking, riding a bike, etc.  It was a good and healthy outlet for me.

Six months after my paralysis, I went back to college to finish my Senior year.  I clearly remember many days where all I would eat were three saltine crackers.  It wasn't something I was purposefully doing, but more subconsciously.  Looking back, I see now it was a coping mechanism for me to control something when I had lost control of just about everything!  Three saltine crackers....

And here I am, almost 15 years later struggling with the same issue.  I don't eat.  And I'm not proud of my body (never really have been since my paralysis.)  There are times that I feel my stomach gurgle to tell me it's hungry, but I brush it off and tell myself just to wait.  "It will pass," I tell myself. The hunger pains don't bother me anymore.

My last relationship hurt me in many ways, and on top of that, I had broken my tibia/fibula.  This bone break was an extremely hard break to heal from compared to everything else I've broken in the past.  Five months later, I finally feel like I am back to being independent.  But a seriously damaging thing one of my ex's family members told me that he said was that if he were to marry me, he was concerned I'd get fat.  *enter huge, bug-eyes, blank stare, jaw drop here*  I don't know why this surprises me since he has complained about all his other exes and how fat they have become (his words.)  But to someone with a now self-acknowledged eating disorder, these words are not at all loving.  (This is just one of many reasons he is now an ex.)

For the past three months, I have been doing the 21 Day Fix - and let me just say it is more food than I've ever eaten!  It is all clean eating with no sugar or preservative type foods.  I've done a lot of "weight loss" programs and gimmick diets, and this is by far the first that has actually helped me see a difference and been the most teachable program about how to eat healthy and eat within proportion.  The one thing I wasn't able to do throughout these months is the cardio exercise part of the program because of my leg break.

And then this past month, I honestly just resorted to "just get used to the hunger pains" again.  I felt like giving up.

Being a paraplegic and having to work five times as hard as the average person to lose weight is so discouraging.  Yes, it's doable from what I've seen in others, but it seems impossible for me.  There was one time - one time ONLY - that I felt awesome about my body and that was when I was working with a fabulous trainer, Rick Noda, in Encinitas, CA.  He was so adaptable to the needs of my paralyzed body and helped me with that extra little nudge I needed to do an exercise properly.  I spitefully challenged him after a hellish day of him making me push up and down hills for 20 minutes to try doing these exercises from my perspective and in a wheelchair.  Then, maybe he'd see how difficult it is to do what I do every single day just to live.  He took me up on it!  The next time we met, he got in one of my extra wheelchairs and did all of the exercises with me in a wheelchair.  Yes, he gained a whole new perspective, and our synergy got even greater because of that day.  I was finally becoming confident in my body, happy with life, and enjoying the new-found positive body image.

And then.... I broke my femur three months into our training.  It was totally my fault and had nothing to do with him training me or things we were doing.  I had fallen and landed the wrong way during a transfer about a week prior, went to the doctor to get it X-rayed, nothing was found but indeed there was a hairline fracture.  So, throughout the week my leg was acting different and finally while stretching on my own one morning, it snapped.  The cycle of not eating began once again.

I was inspired to openly blog about this disease because of the struggle that former Miss America 2011 and current Miss Nebraska World 2015, Teresa Scanlan has openly shared about on a personal level.  I do not share any of this out of pity for myself.  I met Teresa back in 2011 and can honestly say she is who you see... a genuine, transparent, intelligent, down to earth, strong, Jesus-loving woman who cares about people.  There's nothing fake about her personality or her heart.  I had a conversation with her yesterday evening about my struggles, and she was very understanding and encouraging.  It brought me to tears because I really want a "before and after" picture like she and so many others I have seen have of themselves.  I want to be that person who is proportionally healthy.  But this disease takes over ones mind and it is hard to push past some days.  I struggle with it every day with some days being better than others.

Contrary to popular belief, eating less does not make you skinny fast.  It just eats away at your muscles and stores fat because your body goes into survival mode.  So to look at me, you would probably say, "There's no way you have an eating disorder!"  In the long ago past, I can say that I have honestly researched on how to be anorexic, been in chat rooms, and read blogs about "Ana."  That is the "nickname" for those who are unaware.  I would read and read, watch YouTube video's and try to gain as much information as I could on how to do this whole thing.  (Throwing up (bulimia) was not an option because I hate throwing up.)  I tried to do the things some of these girls suggested, but like I said, I like food to much so I was never able to restrict myself to the precise details that these people have it down to.  I honestly believe it stems from the lack of control I had regarding my car accident, and having the power to choose whether or not I want to eat is a coping mechanism.  How to break away from that mentality?  I do not know.  I have never been a size 4 and never will be.  But my heart desperately wants to not have to deal with the daily struggles of paralysis at times, so on those days, I seem to not make wise eating decisions.  It's not full-blown like it was when I first became injured, but eating is something I struggle with.  Who would think someone would have a problem with eating??  I just want to be healthy.

The devil has always used my physical body as a way to try to "tear me away from Jesus."  Always.  And this is just another form of trying to break me down.  To be honest, it's probably the hardest of all battles because when bones break or a sickness occurs, one just has to wait for it to heal while staying mentally positive.  There isn't much one can physically do to make a bone heal faster.  With an eating disorder, it's a mental battle and a physical battle, and unknowingly people can say something that will trigger a seemingly detrimental response. Yesterday, the disease was winning, but today is a new day.  I really hope to be someone who can be encouraging to others in this department, because the struggle is real and having a disability does not help in any way.  I don't feel encouraging, but maybe by putting this out there, others who are struggling with this mentality can know they are not alone.

Life is full of hills and valleys.  I was told by a very wise friend after I became paralyzed and knew of my love for Yosemite and hiking that, "God doesn't care how many mountains you can climb (in the physical sense.)  He cares more about your heart and how you handle the journey ahead of you."  I'm trying, I really am.  I try every day to have a heart like Jesus' so that I can push the devil aside.  I believe the more people that talk about their issues, the easier it becomes to overcome the battle, if not to at least improve from where I am today.  Not eating is not something I purposefully do.  It's subconsciously done until I realize what I'm doing, and then I try to change it so that I'm healthy.  The 21 Day Fix has been a big help in forcing me to not just eat healthy, clean foods, but to simply eat!

I now add to my list for Celebrate Recovery.  My name is Alyson Roth.  I am a believer in Jesus Christ, and I struggle with an eating disorder (... among other things that are personal to me and those I choose to share them with.)


"See, I have engraved you on the palm of my hands; your walls are ever before me." Isaiah 49:16



* This blog was written as a personal experience and in no way endorses or condones anorexic behavior.  If you or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, please seek professional help.  Please visit ANAD.org or NEDA.org and do not hesitate to call the help line.










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Saturday, June 20, 2015

He Watches Over Me




There are no coincidences in life.  At least, that's what I believe.

I got a very clear sign from Heaven this past week.  I haven't figured out what it is in regards to yet, but it was a "post-it note" that floated down from Above.


My back deck hosts what most back decks do - a grill.  This old black Weber grill is probably as old as I am.  There are holes at the bottom to which I have to strategically place the coals so they do not fall through, and the ash sifter no longer works.  But, it can still cook a mean steak.


I keep my charcoal next to that old grill, but up against the house.  It was a "let's grill" night one night last week.  Easy dinner, no mess.  As we went to lift the charcoal bag to pour charcoals into the bottom of the grill, two birds flew out and scared us out of our pants!  After collecting ourselves from the fluster and picking up the dropped bag, we peered inside only to find a bird's nest had been built!  What great joy!  But why build a bird's nest for your babies in a bag of charcoal??


I would carefully check inside the bag every so often to see if any babies were in there, and occasionally the momma bird would fly out due to the disruption of her home, but none could be found.  "Okay," I thought to myself, "maybe she just wants a place to live."  But why a bag of charcoal??


Soon I heard a few "tweets" coming from the charcoal bag!  Oh, I was so excited!  Where had they been?  There were no sign of eggs in the bag, and our only deduction is that the momma bird had covered them with nesting material.  I made sure that the momma was not inside before taking a look, and once looking inside, I only saw one baby bird.  It had a few feathers on it and cute little yellow beak, but it did not move.  The thought that it might have died because it was smothered by charcoal was compounding on me.  Why would God allow a baby bird to be born in a bag of charcoal only to die?


I let a day or two pass before I peered inside again, and this time, there were four baby birds, and all of them were moving and breathing!  They literally looked like little chicken wings since their feathers were still growing on them!  I was so happy to watch them and take wonder as to what their life in a charcoal bag must be like.


Taken from my phone:



video


My mind immediately thought of the song "His Eye Is On the Sparrow" once we narrowed down what type of baby birds these were.  And it hit me with an overwhelming sense of peace.  "This has to be a sign," I said.  Not only were these baby sparrows born on our deck, but they were born in a charcoal bag where I could easily peer inside and watch them.  I marvel at them.  


I am happy.


I am free.


Jesus is my portion.



"Are not two sparrows sold for a cent?  And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows." Matthew 10:29-31


If you've never heard of the hymn, "His Eye Is On the Sparrow," I encourage you to listen to Lauryn Hill's beautiful version of it and follow the lyrics listed below.  It was was written in 1905 by a woman by the name of Civilla Martin. She said this about her inspiration to write the song based in the scriptures outlined above (taken from Wikipedia):


Early in the spring of 1905, my husband and I were sojourning in Elmira, New York. We contracted a deep friendship for a couple by the name of Mr. and Mrs. Doolittle—true saints of God. Mrs. Doolittle had been bedridden for almost twenty years. Her husband was an incurable cripple who had to propel himself to and from his business in a wheelchair. Despite their afflictions, they lived happy Christian lives, bringing inspiration and comfort to all who knew them. One day while we were visiting with the Doolittles, my husband commented on their bright hopefulness and asked them for the secret of it. Mrs. Doolittle's reply was simple: "His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me." The beauty of this simple expression of boundless faith gripped the hearts and fired the imagination of Dr. Martin and me. The hymn "His Eye Is on the Sparrow" was the outcome of that experience.
—Civilla Martin


How very beautiful.  And how very apropos.

Yes, indeed I have a very happy life because His eye is on the sparrow and He watches over me.  And to know that Jesus cares more about me than those baby birds in the charcoal bag?!  Mind-blowing.


So why a charcoal bag??  The correlation cannot be dismissed as to how these baby sparrows were born and how Jesus came to earth - born in a dirty, dark, and damp stable only to eventually die on a cross a painful, merciless death, and ascend into Heaven so that we may join Him if we, too, believe these basic truths.


"Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.  But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven."  Matthew 10:32-33


These baby sparrows remind me that, indeed, Jesus is watching over me.  I don't yet have a clear answer on what my next life mission is, but knowing He cares so much for me lifts that weight of worry off of my shoulders.  I don't need to know the answer.  I just need to "rest in the nest" and be okay with the "charcoal" for the time being.


No matter how many trials, pain, or breaks I go through, His eye is on the sparrow.  And I know He watches me.





"His Eye Is On The Sparrow"
(feat. Tanya Blount)
[Tanya Blount:]
Why should I feel discouraged
Why should the shadows come
Why should my heart feel lonely
And long for heaven and home

When Jesus is my portion
A constant friend is he
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know he watches over me
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know he watches me

[Lauryn Hill:]
I sing because I'm happy
I sing because I'm free
His eye is on the sparrow

And I know he watches
[Tanya:] He watches me
[Lauryn:] His eye is on the sparrow
And I know he watches
[Tanya:] I know he watches
[Lauryn:] I know he watches me

[Lauryn & Tanya:]
I sing because I'm happy
I sing because I'm free
His eye is on the sparrow

[Lauryn:] And I know he watches me
[Tanya:] He watches me
[L&T:] His eye is on the sparrow
[Tanya:] And I know he watches me
[Lauryn:] He watches me
[Tanya:] He watches me, I never thought...
[L&T:] He watches me







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