28 December 2011

Days filled with love

How can life continue to be so beautiful? Every day I’m awestruck by my LOVE & my King who loves me with an everlasting love my brain can’t comprehend. Life is not perfect by any means but I choose to dwell on the positives and beauty in life which can be hidden. God has the capability and power to turn absolutely anything into good; with God goodness always overcomes evil.
                Today I volunteered at ACH; in all honesty I didn’t think it was meant for me to go since so many obstacles tried to keep me away! My car was completely frozen over & I needed gas but couldn’t even get to my gas cap since the car was completely frozen. After trying to open it with my key, a scraper, and my bare hands I cried out to God in frustration; miraculously He answered my prayer! After arriving at the hospital, God made it clear to me that I was supposed to be there by putting glimpses of beauty around each corner.
                I started out volunteering on Wednesdays but had to switch to Fridays due to my school schedule; today I got to run errands with the volunteers I started out with and formed relationships with and was reminded of how caring of a “family” I have a t ACH. Errands are my favorite since they keep me active and each day is full of spontaneity and adventure leaving no day the same. I absolutely adore interacting with the patients and their loved ones; they brighten my days and I can only hope I brighten theirs! I did discharges today for the first time in several months, so I was scared of messing up but did it anyway. I’ve found the best way to overcome fear is to do what you’re afraid to do; you never know until you try. They ended up going smoothly and I had a blast interacting with the families!
                I then got sent to sit with a child in her room while her parents were gone and the nurses were busy with nursing duties; I had to put on a gown and gloves due to sanitary precautions, which was a first for me! When I entered the room I saw this gorgeous blue eyed and blonde haired toddler looking at me, her eyes glistening with tears. The tech was trying to calm her down and put her to sleep since she’d been up all night in pain. I got to talk with the tech and found out she had the same Chemistry & Biology teachers I had and she’s now graduated; she told me how she got into ACH and gave me hope when I wanted to give up. Before she left she taught me how to work an IV machine so the nurses didn’t have to adjust it every time the little one moved too quickly and set it off; I felt so official!! Once she left I got to play with the beautiful little one; she was fascinated with my gloves and loved her little teddy bear! After a while she got fussy, so I started rubbing her back which calmed her down and put her to sleep. After she was sleeping for a while, I took off my gloves and gown and opened the door; lo and behold she woke up crying! I then repeated calming her down and putting her to sleep and was just about to leave when one of my favorite doctors came into the room to check on her; she started screaming as he examined her and so I told him I’d stay and calm her down. I repeated the routine one last time, waited until she was deeply sleeping and then went to run more errands. It made my day to interact with one of my favorite doctors; he’s so personable and genuine, which are some of the many qualities I love about him.
                After lunch I headed to the Atrium desk to relieve the attendant; I love this desk also but it’s not my favorite as every day is the same and I hate sitting still for hours! I do however love being in the middle of the hospital- in all of the action! After finishing my shift I was walking down the hall when someone stopped me; it was Dr. R who I’d been praying for a long time to run into! This man never ceases to make me smile and brighten up my day as he genuinely cares about my well-being and always makes time to talk; he always asks how I’m doing but one thing which distinguishes him from the rest is he takes the time to listen which tells me he genuinely cares and wants to hear. I believe that this is a rare quality these days as so many of us are in such a hurry or too self-absorbed to care! I don’t know if it’s legal to make friendships with doctors who once treated you, but I want to break that law (if there is one!) They’re human beings just like me and I like making friends and absolutely love to form relationships! The halls of Akron Children’s make me smile and cover me with laughter and joy; kids are our future and how we treat them makes a difference!
                Tonight I got to play volleyball with my amazing youth group; my passion and competiveness within me was relived! Sports still bring out a different side of me which may not always be a pretty sight! One thing I haven’t and will never give up is diving; the feeling of sliding across the floor energizes me and keeps me wanting more- it’s addictive like a drug! Sports make me happy as I’ve learned to take the pressure off of myself and to enjoy every moment instead of blaming each loss on myself. I no longer feel nauseous before I play because of such high and unrealistic expectations of perfection! I just love being crazy and letting the real me come out; I’d rather be myself than be miserable trying to be someone I’m not!
                Oh, & on Christmas Day Courtney skyped us which was the perfect Christmas gift; our whole family together at last! I’m so excited that the other side of the world now gets to experience the essence of Courtney whom I love beyond words and am honored to have spent the majority of my life with.
                Christmas Eve I was one of Santa’s elves at ACH; I passed out gifs to the patients which was one of the greatest joys as giving and love are what Christmas is all about! Watching their eyes become huge and sparkling as they unwrapped their gifts with tender needle-pricked hands put a smile on my face- beauty amidst darkness! Love radiated through every corner of the hospital overtaking the darkness of despair and sickness; Love overcomes all things! That Christmas Eve was one I’ll never forget and hope to experience again! Love truly is what makes the world go round!

21 December 2011

Love Unending

"Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." Proverbs 16:3
"And Jesus said unto them ... , "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to younder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you."
Romans 1:17

            God, you never cease to astound me; how can I not live with joy with you right beside me at all times, even when I don’t feel you? YOU are my hope, my strength, my everything; with You I can do all things!

            Well, my twin sister is officially across the world. We may be worlds apart but I can still feel her presence in my heart. Memories I will never forget from childhood on roll through my mind and keep me connected to my other half. God reminds me that she is going to be ok and that worry and fear is not from Him. I miss her contagious laughter, her spunkiness- all things that I’ve experienced and now it’s time for the rest of the world to experience. Nothing on this earth is mine.
            My first full time college semester is officially over!! I’m so excited but yet hesitant to breathe because it all seems to be surreal and a dream. One year ago I was near rock bottom once again controlled by the tight deadly grips of Anorexia; a year later I am nearing the hectic and difficult journey of a student nurse. Now try and tell me that there is not a God; the only explanation for my life is a miracle- nothing of this world.  After many temptations to turn back after believing lies that I don’t have what it takes to be a nurse I am confident in the fact that I may not have what it takes, but my God- my Creator possesses everything I need and so much more! On my own I can do nothing. That’s right devil; I might be helpless on my own but I have a relentless Warrior fighting for my every moment who will never let me go. I may abandon Him and try to get through life on my own strength but my Warrior will move mountains and do whatever it takes to win me back. We are an immovable and indestructible team; hate us as much as you like because you’ve already lost! Just as in sports, I’m giving my entire self- body and all- to compete against you.
            I take no credit for anything done in my life; I would like to but would be living a lie. I went into this semester with tons and tons of burdens weighing me down but came out more than successful not because of anything I’ve done but because of the unexplainable love of my King. All of my classes had to be earned with a bare minimum of a C. I remember the day I received my first score in Chemistry- the lowest grade I’ve ever received in my entire life- and I wanted to give up more than words can describe. Let’s just say that was a wake-up call for me; I put everything of my own power into each class and God did the rest. In Chemistry I was hoping for at least a minimum of a C which in itself seemed impossible when I focused on my burning score but God once again exceeded my expectations. I am officially onto my next set of classes with none needing to be retaken; God, you are insane! My insane goal which I thought was impossible but was hopeful for turns out to be possible and almost tangible- me and God together are insane and undefeated! “Why not go big and give it your all?” has been my lifelong motto. God can do anything. “You are only limited by your own fears and inaction”. “Fear is what stops you...Courage is what keeps you going”. I give God ALL the glory for everything in my life; in the blink of an eye He could have redirected my path.
            The joy and hope of Christmas is a beautiful time! On Saturday God has blessed me with the opportunity to pass out gifts to patients at Akron Children’s who aren’t fortunate enough to spend Christmas in the comfort of their own homes. I am beyond excited and cannot wait to spread hope and joy to the hopeless and sick! Beauty never ceases to surround me!

15 December 2011

My Future Decided

“Why won’t you eat? Why do you do this to yourself? Do you realize you’re killing yourself?” I cannot recount how many times I’ve heard these words, among others said to me. “Hello? You need to come to the ER right away!” The doors of Akron Children’s ER became well known to me; the whole hospital became my habitat for survival. Cans after cans of Gatorade as well as electrolyte filled IV fluid became the routine for my many hospital stays; my room was checked for food, bathrooms locked & every calorie counted down to a single crumb- every calorie was vital to survival. Privacy became overrated. Bed rest became mandatory; if caught even sitting up at times was unacceptable. IV after IV being poked as well as manipulated into my tiny shriveled veins- each movement of the needle piercing my arm. Midnight blood draws. Vital sign check ins. Pills after pills. Supplement after supplement.  Meal plan after meal plan. EKG’s one after another. Question after question! This is just a glimpse of the routines administered during my inpatient stays. 
Life as an Anorexic is over if not under-rated; constant pain, nausea from starvation, fatigue, dizziness after quick movements, fainting, extreme thirst & hunger…….the list goes on & on. Truly, there are no words to accurately describe the crazy and torturous life of an Anorexic- a word which I couldn’t force out of my lips due to denial & embarrassment. 
This semester of college has been crazy and demanding; God truly is my only answer for getting through. He is my Refuge & Strength. I have learned so incredibly much this semester and am grateful for each experience; I’ve taken blood pressure, dissected a pig, learned to do an EKG, done blood typing as well as countless lessons of Biology showing to me how lifeless I truly was. Medical terms became familiar to me because of past exposure through hospital stays. This semester has been a test; a definite test of my faith and trust but through it I’ve come out stronger and more equipped!
The little girl in me is scared……scared of her once worst nightmare becoming reality all too quickly! As a little girl I always said I’d never have anything to do with a hospital; my years were spent ignoring and denying pain to avoid doctors at all costs. I became convinced doctors were against me and medicine would harm me. Now, as an adult my life has taken a drastic turn; do I really want to be a nurse? Is it really my calling? I don’t have what it takes; I know absolutely nothing about medicine. Some days I want to turn back…..to give up before it all comes true. Then I am haunted with the faces of the hopeless, the dying, the lost & I’m reminded that I don’t have to have all of the answers. God uses the weak to do great things; all it takes is a willing heart. The face of the burned little girl I watched every Wednesday during hospital appointments & waiting haunts my mind; the change in that one little girl from love and acceptance after severe abuse & hatred; unexplainable determination erupted from that wounded & tender little heart after exposure to love- a simple yet underestimated thing. What I experienced moment after moment was foreign to her and so many other little children. I am reminded that I would be just like that had I not accepted and experienced the unexplainable and incomprehensive love of Christ my Savior who endured the worst possible death all for my sins; so I could live life with joy, peace and freedom I don’t deserve. This is what I have to offer the world…..nothing of my own but the greatest gift to ever be received- everlasting life and freedom. People all over the world have not been fortunate enough to hear of this undeserved gift and it is our duty to tell them. We as Christians did NOTHING to deserve this gift yet it has forever drastically changed lives; this gift is not to be kept to oneself but to be spread throughout the world. This is why I have said yes to God’s adventure for me even before knowing what’s ahead; THIS is why I can’t stop from smiling!

05 December 2011

My Life Lately

I’m BACK…….did ya miss me?! My life has been complete insanity these last several weeks; what a surprise, huh?! I am greatly anticipating my winter break which is already next week; next week is finals & then I’m DONE……if I pass with a C or higher in each class, that is! I really hope I don’t have to retake Chemistry; Abba, Father, I fully surrender my life to you. Take the humble pieces I have to offer & transform me into your image- the image of beauty and perfection. I lay my life…my future at your feet.
On the nineteenth my family loaded into our SUV to pick up my favorite twin; it seemed so surreal to have so much time with her!  We loaded all of her stuff into the trunk and got ready to drive to the 2011 Commissioning Service. God, why have you blessed me so much as to have such an amazing family; the only thing I have to offer you is my life which could never repay!  The Commissioning service was amazing and so powerful; the presence of God made me shiver as it was so evident. To see the five teams up front, giving everything they had to God was beyond humbling and inspirational to me; it reminded me that “we were made to be courageous & it starts with us tonight” (Casting Crowns). During the prayer of sending my twin out into foreign land tears flooded my eyes and covered my face; the change that has occurred & is still occurring in my twin is overwhelming; since the day I entered the doors of Selah THIS is what I prayed for & put in my prayer pillow (among many other requests). I don’t want to give my twin up- to miss seeing her once again after being separated so many times- but I realize that the world needs my twin; I am so incredibly proud of her & do not find myself worthy to be called her twin; this all seems like a dream!
Thanksgiving………a time of reunion & irreplaceable memories; this year did not let me down! The house full of screaming kids, laughing adults, flashes from the camera, the smell of Thanksgiving dinner; for the 1st time in several years too many I could genuinely enjoy these things among many other moments! In 2009, on Thanksgiving Day I was preparing to leave my family for two, which turned into three, months in order to restore my near lifeless body. Last year, in 2010 on Thanksgiving my family gathered together for a time I’ll never forget; the last time we spent with my grandpa before his stroke. My life was also quickly spiraling out of control, once again, into the grips of Anorexia; after my grandpa’s stroke he told me “we’re going to fight to get better together”; I was no longer fighting for only myself as the devil was already beat by my God as not one, but TWO lives in my family were spared! 
My last days, for six months, with my sister were filled with unending “catching up” among many other adventures; the twin sister I remember & have prayed for is back! It turns out I’ve actually missed her spunkiness & bossiness! Heehee
Since she’s been gone I’ve been kept busy with school, volunteering, God, & sports; I recently borrowed Tim Tebow’s book “Through My Eyes” and am enthralled with the truly unique story shared. This man, a well-known quarterback for the Denver Broncos, is showing the image of God to the world after being ridiculed & torn down. After being in the eyes of the public, going pro, having unending and truly out of this world talent, & being surrounded with the lusts of this fallen world Tim Tebow is still standing strongly in love with his God- MY God!! He truly has inspired me in tremendous ways to give all that I have to God because nothing is my own; no talents, possessions nor life. Even though he & Florida beat OSU in the finals several years ago, I still admire him. Oh, & just FYI…… Urban Meyer, the coach of Florida at the time, is going to be Ohio State’s new football coach! God, your beauty astounds me! You truly do bring beauty from ashes!

They look better in OSU colors!