|This day I was in so much pain that it took everything inside me just to smile. |
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Saturday, June 22, 2013
Filled with pain
Afraid to live
Bound by fears
Squelched the bonds
Purpose and thankfulness
Transformed the inside
Inspiring and helping others
A testimony of power
Reflecting God’s ultimate plan
Monday, April 29, 2013
Our ability to prevail comes from inside of us all. It is our gift from God.
I parked at the end of the long, parking lot. It took me several minutes to climb out of my vehicle, and then another minute or so to convince myself to take that first step toward the store. I limped and each step was difficult, but not impossible. (I leave the closer spaces for someone who needs them.)
By the time I got inside the store my legs trembled. Overwhelmed, my eyes filled with tears. Every step became even more difficult. I stopped in the aisle and called my husband. I wanted to bury my head in his shoulder and allow him to carry me out of the store. When he answered the phone, he sounded busy so I swallowed my tears and didn’t mention my dilemma.
Even though I was alone, God was with me. He encouraged me to try –take one step, then another. With tears in my eyes and pain shaking my whole body, God gave me a test. Give up or try. Those were my only options. A part of me wanted to give up, but something greater urged me to try.
I John 4:4 KJV
Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
I stood up tall, wiped my tears, and smiled. With every step, God showed me that true strength comes from Him. Our enemy is powerless against God.
The next few weeks were tough, and I worried about the next obstacle. It got even harder after my knee locked and I fell one Sunday morning, but I still hobbled to church. Sometimes it’s hard to smile, when I’m so scared, and the devil continuously torments me.
Overwhelmed and feeling defeated, I decided to buy practical, comfortable shoes. None of the shoes appealed to me, and the thought of giving up made me ill. So instead of comfortable and practical, I bought red high heels. Just holding them gave me courage and hope.
A few weeks later, I had a school visit. I had bought every shoe support imaginable, but nothing helped. Determined to go to my visit, I pulled out my heels. It seemed crazy, but they boosted my spirit and gave me hope of a better day. Sometimes all we need is possible.
I completed the school visit in my heels, without limping, and rejoiced inside for my victory. When I pulled into the grocery store, I reached into the back for my comfortable shoes. And then, I stopped.
With two cysts and superficial blood clots in my leg, I stepped out of my vehicle in heels, prepared to stomp my fears. Not only did I walk without limping or tears, but I smiled.
My feet and leg ached, but I ignored the pain. When I finished my shopping, I bought a beautiful bouquet to celebrate my life and ability to overcome.
Every day brings new challenges for me. Now I have cyst or nodules on the joints in my hands, elbows, and knee along with my other challenges. But I still exercised this morning and worked today. I’ve scheduled five new events and conquered my fears. I can’t allow the worries and what-ifs of tomorrow to stop me. God expects us to walk by faith for Him. One God Moment can triumph a million negative thoughts.
I may fail God, but He will never fail me.
How do you overcome your challenges?
Saturday, April 27, 2013
Ladies and gentlemen, I would love to introduce you to Cameron Von St. James.
As her caregiver, I had to help make decisions about Heather’s cancer treatment. We had three choices laid out for us by Heather’s physician: the local university hospital, a specialist in Boston, or a regional hospital that was very good, but lacked a specific mesothelioma program. My wife was still so in shock and terrified about the diagnosis that I had to make the decision myself, and emphatically, I told the doctor, “Get us to Boston!” I felt that seeing a mesothelioma specialist would be the best course of action for Heather, and I wanted her to get the very best treatment available.
The two months following the diagnosis were chaotic. In the past, Heather and I worked full time. After her diagnosis, she was not able to work, and I could only work part time while caring for her and Lily. I was overwhelmed with responsibilities such as spending time at my wife’s doctor’s appointments, making travel arrangements, going to Boston for treatments and providing care for Lily. The list of tasks on my plate grew and grew by the day, and I often felt as if I would crumble under the pressure.
I also remember thinking we are going to end up broke, with our drastically reduced income and our ever-expanding bills. This only added to my immense stress. As hard as I tried to stay positive, I often had terrible thoughts that my wife might die, and I would be left a homeless widower with a baby to raise all on my own. When I was faced with this type of fear, I would lie down on my kitchen floor and cry my eyes out. Even though I felt helpless, I never allowed Heather to see me in these moments of weakness. I wanted to remain strong for her, and I knew that the last thing she needed was to see my fears.
Without the help of family, friends, and even strangers, I would not have been able to do it. They offered us everything from desperately needed financial assistance to kind, comforting words. We are so grateful for all the help we received, and we advise everyone who has cancer to accept any help offered. It took me a while to let go of my pride and start accepting these offers, but I learned that there is no room for pride in a cancer fight. No matter how big or small, it all helps, and will remind you that you are not alone.
I learned that being a caregiver is filled with uncertainty and stress. It may be the most difficult challenge of your life that you cannot walk away from. You will have bad days, but don’t give up hope. Use your resources to help you remain sane.
It took many years for life to return to normal after Heather’s surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Despite the terrible diagnosis and frightening odds against her, Heather battled through and remained strong and determined while doing it. Today, over seven years later, she is healthy and cancer free. Mesothelioma is no longer a part of our lives, and we hope that by sharing our story of hope and success, we can help others currently battling cancer today.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Ladies and gentlemen, I would love to introduce you to Katie Kolberg Memmel!
Over the past couple of years, I’ve connected with many inspiring people via the internet – including Candida Sullivan. I just love how broadly the internet impacts (in good ways) the world we live in - don’t you? When Candida asked if I’d guest write for her blog this month, I felt honored. She told me that April’s theme would be “Overcoming Circumstances.” I want to thank her for this unique opportunity, and allowing me to share my story with you. Hopefully my insights will make a positive difference.
People talk negatively about “judging.” But in all fairness, I believe there are times that I don’t think we have a choice. I find that judgments of many varieties are made easily and spontaneously. Why, without hesitation my doctor – a professional who’d witnessed hundreds of births - instantly judged our new situation. Though his mouth was covered with a surgical mask, I could read the shocked look in his eyes, and knew something was wrong. My husband also judged the situation as he gently turned my head toward his chest, sheltering me from seeing my newborn son. And when I wriggled free, I also immediately judged. From that very first minute I wondered everything a young parent might wonder: What now? Is everything else okay? Will he crawl? Will he hold a bottle? Will he have friends, play sports or music? Will he ever get married? Before my son had a name on his birth certificate, I’d negatively plotted out his entire life…
I loved my baby – please never doubt that. However, I’m never very proud to admit that I cried about his arm - in fact I cried really hard. I just didn’t know what the future would hold for my sweet baby boy.
About a week into my motherhood adventure, my pastor asked me a thought-provoking question. “Kate, have you considered that God might use this situation for His larger purpose?”
Ummm, no… I have not considered that. Can God really use a situation like this for His greater good? I liked the thought and decided it may have merit. With this new thought in mind, Todd and I set out to raise a happy, confident, and independent young man. Piece of cake…
Because of my own early snap judgments, I assumed that other people would judge our situation too. Their possible negative opinions of our new family made me afraid to go out into public with my baby. Often when a stranger admired Tony, they’d notice his arm and become quiet – awkward. At that time, it would have been easier for me to simply stay home.
But a persistent voice kept talking inside my head… How will you raise a happy, confident and independent young man if you never expose him to the outside world? You need to go - get out of the house! Sometimes the voice had no name. Other times the voice came through loving family members or friends who wanted the best for us, and encouraged my participation in any and all events.
Remembering my pastor’s question, I forced myself out – no more hiding. If the location seemed scary, I figured it was even more important to go. Consequently, Tony and I went everywhere - the mall, the beach, pools, getting fit for prosthetics. When I felt sad and needed to talk about our situation with other people, I acknowledged that emotion and sought support from those who’d gone through similar situations before me.
Along the way, something interesting happened. I got good at confrontation. I learned to look up, make eye contact, and answer questions without crying (although there were days I went home and cried – not going to lie). Through these encounters, I chose to present myself as an educator - welcoming rather than discouraging questions from others. Through this repetition, my son heard my answers and learned his own truth. Every step I took was a step he took - and eventually, he found his own voice. “I was born this way,” he began to say boldly.
Katie Kolberg Memmel’s “Five Fingers, Ten Toes…” is available through Amazon as both a Kindle download as well as a paperback. http://amzn.com/1478368055.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Ladies and gentlemen, I would love to introduce you to Evelyn Sites.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
We all need some inspiration from time to time! So I decided to dedicate the month of April to “Overcoming Circumstances” on my blog.
Ladies and gentlemen, I would love to introduce you to Alicia Bowling!
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Ladies and gentlemen, I would love to introduce you to Amanda Romero!
Friday, April 5, 2013
Ladies and gentlemen, I would love to introduce you to Christine Hickman!
You would think that living with a physical barrier would shape someone for the worse; when in reality mine has done just the opposite. My name is Christine Hickman, and I overcame a horrific ATV accident in 2008. I was riding passenger on a Cub Cadet vehicle when three of my friends and I flipped the vehicle. Being the only one with my seatbelt on; I was trapped. The bar on the side of the vehicle trapped my right leg under the Cub Cadet. This resulted in my right leg being crushed from the knee down.
Waking up in the hospital I knew my life would be different. I had no idea how different it really would end up being.
Not wanting to fall behind in my classes I struggled to finish high school with my peers. All I wanted was to walk across the stage with the same group I had went through school with. I pushed myself to the limit to go through physical therapy and keep up with my schoolwork. Graduating in the top 5% of my class, and actually walking across the stage was the highlight of my recovery.
I would not change one thing that has happened to me over the past five years. People may stare and point at my scar, but I know what it took to be able to wear this scar with pride. Being different is a blessing in disguise.
I know I have been able to experience life, and I will never take a day for granted. The growth I have taken from my experience has shaped me into a woman I would have never dreamed of becoming before my accident. Sometimes it takes a life-changing incident to make you realize what you are truly capable of.
Monday, April 1, 2013
Let Them Stare! by Meg Zucker
Those stares! No matter how many years I’ve endured the uninvited attention, and even learned to brush it off, I still sometimes find myself surprised at how unabashedly some people will gape at me. And while I’d like to think it’s because I’m so gorgeous, I don’t kid myself. I know they often fixate on me because I look quite different from the norm. That’s to be expected. But what I didn’t expect was that along the way, I might begin to inspire others to be less self-conscious.
Saturday, March 30, 2013