Saturday, February 22, 2014

Face Planting

Spring is coming, and for some people in the country, it's time to start planting bulbs, seeds, and flowers. In the picture above, this is where I plant my tomatoes. However, I have to wait until after the last frost comes, which will probably be another month and a half or so.

I have been able to plant some hyacinths, so yesterday I was out watering them. It was so nice out (even though I had a sweatshirt on), and the sunshine felt good - and warm. Warmer than in my house. I had come back from a long drive to South Lake Tahoe and was quite tired from the drive. Early in my rehabilitation stages after my paralysis, and it was not uncommon to find me asleep in my chair. Yes, in my wheelchair. Somehow, I have managed to perfect the art of just leaning over on my lap and being able to fall asleep quite easily. So with the warm sunshine and my hoodie on, that's exactly what I did outside next to these pots.

The next thing I know, my eyes are thisclose to the edge of the flower pot, to which I immediately hit the bridge of my nose right on the edge of the flowerpot (after falling forward out of my chair) rolling then to hit my head on the slate rocks next to the pots, and then finally hitting my head on the pebbled, concrete porch - ending up flat on my back, in pain, and confused. I laid there for quite some time trying to figure out what happened. And then it hit me. Literally.

I had done a face plant into the flowerpot. Who else except for me has this happened to them? LOL! I took the definition of face plant to whole new level.

What had happened was that I must have fallen deep into a sleep that I began to slowly lean forward as I relaxed in my chair when eventually the balance was off, allowing me to fall straight forward out of my chair - and into the flower pot, etc, etc. As you can see in the top picture, the dirt on the ground was originally in the pot, and the slate rocks are what I hit afterwards, then I landed on the concrete patio with a massive headache.

I am now nursing a concussion, with lovely marks/bruises across the bridge of my nose which is also swollen from the fall. And scraped up knees.

Seriously. Who else does this happen to except for me? Exactly. No one. Just me. I like to make things literal - as in the definition of a face plant. Ugh. So dumb. After the last few days I've had, though, it doesn't surprise me that this happened. 

So, as you begin to plant your flowers, bulbs, and seeds this Spring, think of me and be sure not to plant your face along with everything else - literally. ("Bloom where you are planted" takes on a whole new meaning, too.)  Faces don't bloom when planted...

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Why Worry About Tomorrow, When Tomorrow Will Take Care of Itself? (Easier said than done....)

 My parents and friends back home or elsewhere always want to know what I'm doing or what I'm up to.  Each time, the response seems the same.  Nothing new.  Same old, same old.  In actuality, I know that outwardly I am doing a lot of things.  Yet somehow the chaos going on in my head seems to overshadow those moments.  I'm trying to work on being present in the moment (which has actually been a blessing), but it's hard to turn off a mind that is constantly going.  In middle school, I remember in English class they taught us just to write - meaning brainstorm, but don't think about what you're writing.  Just write, and what is supposed to come out will.  So that's what I'm going to do to get some of what's going on in my head out of my head!

Gosh, where do I begin.  This has been a heavy week for me.  I didn't know why and couldn't figure out why I had such a weighted down feeling upon me.  Anyone who knows me well knows that I love celebrations, anniversaries, birthdays, holidays... basically any reason to make a big to-do out of something so that the other person feels loved.  With Valentine's Day approaching at the end of the week, I haven't really been all that excited about it, and it's not because I don't have a special man in my life.  I seriously couldn't figure out why I was not looking forward to Valentine's Day.  And then it occurred to me why I have felt such oppression.  Last year, I learned that Valentine's Day for a special friend was painfully difficult due to someone else's ill-willed choice and planning.  It affected him so much, and I remember every detail he told me about that event.  I also know that the children were deeply affected, as well, as a family has now been torn apart.  I was there last Valentine's Day, and I saw the hurt in their eyes and the forced smile even though I know he just wanted to shut the entire day off.  The son was not at all happy about Valentine's Day.  He kept repeating that there was nothing to be happy about and that it was simply a day that ruined his life.  I kept trying to stay positive and make the day special in other ways.  But now looking back a year later, my heart hurts deeply for them, more so than it did then.  I want so much to take that pain away and not do anything "happy" just to try to make them feel happiness.  I just want to be there and listen.  And yet as I look back, I realize that on one of the most painful days of his life, he selflessly put aside his own hurt and feelings to make sure I felt loved, special, and appreciated.  My heart cries for my negligence in not seeing that then, and I now wish I could apologize.  I didn't realize that his and his son's pain has affected me so much to the point that this year, all I do is pray for them every time it comes to my mind.  And honestly, I could care less about Valentine's Day for this reason.

You know you really love someone when their pain hurts you in ways you never expected.  Like I said, I couldn't figure out why for the past 1.5 weeks why I've had this dreadful feeling of Valentine's Day coming up.  I knew it wasn't because I didn't have a significant other in my life, so that's what was throwing me off.  I think for the first time ever, I could care less about a holiday.  And it's because I know that this marks the third anniversary of the day my friend's life changed forever.  I see his son every so often when I substitute at the school.  And while I know I have to (and do) remain professional while there, my arms just want to hold him and tell him it's going to be okay, have him rest his head on my shoulder like he used to while watching a movie, and let me help him with his sickness.  I'm blessed that when I do get to see him at school that I know he trusts me, is happy to have me there with him for two periods of the day, and knows that I understand why he may be acting differently some days because he doesn't feel good.  I want to be there on Friday (even though they I know they don't have school tomorrow) to let him know I understand why he's not happy and in a bad mood and that it's okay to be upset.  I love these guys so much that it literally hurts me... and tears fall from my eyes as I pray that God brings them peace.  It's utterly hard having to be away from someone you love during the one day I know of their entire year is the most painful.  Just as he knows that July 29th will always be a marker in my life that changed it forever - when I became paralyzed.  So I cry alone in my cozy little cabin in the woods, think back to how selfless he was and how I unknowingly took it for granted -even though I was showing him love, and hand them gently over to Christ's hands and let Him wrap Himself around them to protect them from the hurt, anger, and pain that will more than likely come this Friday.  Yet even though I know Jesus knows the plans for everything that happens in our lives, it still makes me question "why."

This leads me to the question of another "why."  Why am I here?  Should I stay or should I go?  If I go, where do I go to?  I don't have any reason to leave.  But, I don't know that I have any reason to stay, either.  I had prayed for several years that wherever God moved me next that it would be "home" as I was tired of moving every year.  That and more seemed to have been answered a year ago (which ended up being the next place I moved after praying that prayer for several years.)  And now I'm having to re-evaluate my life even though there are some big decisions I have to work through in my mind.  I don't doubt that this is where I was/am supposed to be when I moved here.  There were too many confirmations from God telling me that this is what I was supposed to do.  So I obediently came.  But now, I question myself if I should renew my lease or not, and if I don't, where do I go??  I wish God had a telephone number.

But God is always faithful to teach us lessons even amidst the questionable times in our lives.  While here in this cozy little cabin, I have learned much about life, about myself, and about how much I really can do on my own (more than I thought I already could!)  I've pushed my boundaries, spread my wings, and learned to enjoy a slower pace of life. I successfully have conquered building a fire in the wood stove - without getting burned now lol - and keep it going all night while I sleep.  I've split some of my own wood (who would have thought?!)  I've had to dispose of a dead finch I found in my wood pile (so sad).  I get to watch the wild turkey come to my sliding glass door and look at me with wonder as I do the same to him.  As silly as it sounds, the deer have become my friends.  They have been a reminder to me every day that God is with me.  I enjoy beautiful, artistic sunsets every night.  And I get to enjoy nature and its fresh peacefulness.  On the professional side, I've taught many classes at a high school, been interviewed for my Alma Mater's magazine about my hike to Taft Point, was elected President of the Board of Directors for the Ms. Wheelchair California Foundation, was Head Judge in this year's pageant down in Long Beach, was asked to play violin for a neighbor's funeral, been blessed with the opportunity to photograph a good friend's baby just after being born, established beautiful friendships that I treasure dearly, and continued playing violin for the Symphony.  On another note, which is a whole other story in itself, I've also experienced what it's like to get pepper sprayed.  No, I wasn't doing anything illegal.  Someone else had sprayed it and it severely effected my breathing and eyes.  Aaah, the things I'm learning to embrace here!

After talking to a longtime girlfriend (just a few days before she gave birth!), I asked her about some certain decisions I feel I need to make soon.  It doesn't matter to the public what those are, but the one thing she told me is that there are many people who wish they could trade their life for mine, even though I'm wishing I had their life right now.  So again, I continually have to remind myself that I am still a work in progress and need to be grateful for what I've been able to do in the time I've been here and in the time I've been single.  Yet as I talked to another friend two nights ago, I asked her "How do you stop wanting something when it's all you've ever wanted?  I don't know how to un-want.  I don't know how to not think about it.  I don't know how to not desire it when it is my hearts desire."  I'm still processing through that question, and it may be something that never gets answered.  I've learned not to get my hopes up too quickly, but to know that God is my constant.

Where do I go from here - physically, metaphorically, or both?  That's what's plaguing my mind, as well as the empathy I am feeling for my friend and his children.  I don't know that type of pain he is experiencing, but I do know pain and how it feels.  None of it is right.  None of it is easy.  And none of it can be wished away, just even for a day.  How careless I was to try to think I could.  With that said, I may go to my favorite place, drink some coffee, write, and look out that grand window that holds so many memories.  And pray.  If anything, I know that as much as I try to "un-want" something, I also can't "un-love" someone.  It's part of who I am - to love -, and to my own default, no matter how someone has treated me, I will always love them.  Why?  Because I know that everyone has the opportunity to change and grow, just as I have this past year.  So, love deeply, live fully, and make every moment count.  And, know that forgiveness is always, always there for the times you think you screwed up.  After all, if Christ can forgive us and all our hurtful, thoughtless, mean, sinful things we've done by dying on the cross and ascending into Heaven so that we can have the Holy Spirit living inside of us, how can I not forgive my own brother or sister?

"And now these three remain:  faith, hope, and love.  But the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13

Enjoy some pictures of my time here the last several months. I'm way overdue, so here are several from Thanksgiving to present:

 The amazing Grimes Family and the Thanksgiving spread

 There are so many pictures of Carmel/Monterrey that were so beautiful!

 Eating at Phil's Fish Market for the first time!

Gorgeous central coast of California

My soul sister, Sherri!

My new, beautiful extended family - The Dominici's- on Christmas Eve, 
playing Catch Phrase. So fun!

Christmas morning opening presents


 This is sweet Levi James Smith at one month old.  Oh, how I love him and his momma!

 I was sadly asked to play violin at a neighbors funeral.  

 Gingerbread House Contest at Tenaya Lodge! So much fun!

 Basketball Games
 Go 2-0!!! #20


 My turkey's haha!  (They used to be babies!)

 Yes, even you can get pepper sprayed at Denny's!

 Deer every day.  A reminder to me that God is with me.

 On cold mornings, it's nice to be reminded of two things I love... Yosemite and tea.

 Planning periods mean I have nothing really to do.  So, I take silly pictures of myself!

 At the Ms. Wheelchair CA Foundation Pageant in Long Beach, CA
(L: Jennifer Kumiyama, State Coordinator and 2010 title holder with me)

One tired Judge!

 Time to get ready!  A beautiful necklace given to me by a beautiful friend.

                       2012(L), 2007(R), and 2009(me) Ms. Wheelchair CA's!

 Judges Table

 Title holders and contestants

* All pictures are copyrighted and are not to be used without permission by the owner